Edward had loosened his tie like he did every day when he got in from work--at the company (William’s Future) he and his wife Jude founded over twenty years ago.
Steven hopped up from the table. His iPhone rang on cue, looking at the caller id, he answered it. “What’s up?” Steven wore a gray sweatsuit and dark sneakers. He usually wore a short, trimmed afro.
“Is that a friend, honey?” Jude asked, curious.
She pushed back her black hair and knock crumbs off her denim jumpsuit and crossed her ankles. Her houseshoes barely hung on her feet. She looked like an older version of Paige.
He nodded and quickly jogged up the stairs. “Yeah, bro. I thought I told you that already...” A door closed upstairs.
Paige took her time eating the last of her food.
“How are your friends? You saw them today at school?” Jude asked.
“Yep, Danielle and Crystal were joking around as usual, Mama. Those girls are something else but they’re my sisters though.”
Edward came back into the kitchen. He picked up his cup of tea and drank greedily from it.
“Is everything okay, Edward? Was that Phillip again?”
“Yes, ma’am. He was a busy bee today. One of the clerks had to take off for a funeral and he had to train the rest of the representatives inside the call center.”
Paige tuned her parents out as they fell deeper into conversation about their company’s duties. She gently placed her plate and glass in the sink.
“You don’t have to do that, Paige,” Nana replied.
“That’s ok, Nana. I wanted to. I don’t mind helping out with the chores.”
“I know, hon. You go ahead and rest. I know you’re tired from that long day in school,” Nana smiled.
Nana had always made Paige feel good ever since she was a child. Paige glanced over at her parents who were still debating some policy about work. She took her time walking up the stairs to her bedroom.
When she passed by Steven’s bedroom, she heard laughter coming from the door. Paige flopped down on her flowery bedspread and looked around her room at her furniture.
Paige’s smart TV was off. Her Queen-sized bed sat up in the far corner, the chest and drawer were littered with her favorite accessories. Paige’s mini computer office sat in shadows on the other side of her room.
A phone rang somewhere downstairs. Phones were always ringing in the Williams’ household. Edward and Jude were very busy professionals. Paige’s iPhone rang. She had set it in the ringtone of Rihanna’s “Needed Me.”
Paige got up to answer it. “Hello.”
“Hello, may I speak to Paige?” Zack asked.
“Oh, hey, Zack!” Paige became excited.
“What’s up, babe! You busy? Are you available to talk?”
“Yeah, sure!” Paige abruptly sat up.
“Good. You already have dinner?” He asked her.
“Yeah and I’m full too!” she laughed.
“What you eat, boo?”
“We ate some turkey and dressing with gravy, salad, mixed vegetables, lemon pudding, and fruit juice.”
“Hmm, that sounds good.”
“What did you and your family eat, boo?” Paige asked seductively.
“Man, we ate good too! Turkey, ham, collard greens, cornbread, beef stew, fruit salad, steam vegetables, cheesecake, and lemonade.”
“I see, sounds delicious.”
“Yep, so what are you doing?”
“Nothing now. Just relaxing and chilling.”
“Awe ok, that’s cool.”
“What about you, Zack?”
“I was watching television earlier. I hung out with my boys and their girlfriends after school for a minute before I came home.”
There was a moment of silence. Then he broke it when he saw that she remained quiet.