Chapter Thirty One
So, my doctor was at my house right now.
Probably bad news.. right?
Anyway, I went downstairs when my mother called for me. I could hear my doctor’s voice, and I had a slight sense of dread overcome my insides.
“What’s up d-”
“Please, stop,” my father interrupted, almost laughing. “For the fourteenth time, stop repeating that joke.” I smiled sheepishly and shrugged. He shook his head in amusement from the couch, leaning forward.
“But its my best work!”
“Stef,” my mother said from where she was standing, half in the kitchen. “We have a guest, keep your antics to yourself.”
“Just this once,” I bargained. “So what’s the scoop?”
“I’m concerned that your health isn’t improving,” the doctor said. “Your weight has gone down even more, you’re pale, and your mother tells me about your uneven sleeping patterns. Also your frequent illnesses in your throat..”
My mood dropped from playful to horrible in a heart beat. I can’t lie and say that I hadn’t noticed these things, especially the weight loss and irregular sleeping patterns. I cleared my throat, avoiding the known presence of my choked up throat.
“The treatment isn’t working?” My mother asked, her voice painfully quiet and serious.
“I can’t tell without proper testing, but her symptoms are accelerating. If this continues to happen, she will have to be hospitalised and monitored closely.”
“What does this mean?” my father asked, holding his head on his hands. “What do we do?”
“I would suggest complete restriction to bed rest,” the doc said. “Including no school or activities,” she added, looking at me before she started talking again. “Your parents can look after you and track your condition, alerting me if anything changes. It also puts you at a lesser risk of infection, which could influence the treatment progress.”
“So... I get to do nothing? What about school? I just finished mid year exams! And I just got a job, too!” I exclaimed, standing up after I had unconsciously sat down on the floor.
“You got a job?” both of my parents said ludicrously. “Since when?” my mother continued.
“Since an hour ago, when they called me,” I replied with a witty tone, although I was pained inside. “It was going to be a surprise.”
My doctor sighed and blew out air. “You can go to your job, but school is forbidden. Too many risks of infection, I’m sorry,” she said.
I swallowed down bile in my throat.
“Alright, fine,” my mother said, eventually losing the battle with her thoughts in the silent room. “No more school.”
“But-” I argued.
“Stephanie,” my mother said tiredly. “Don’t argue with me on this one.”
I opened my mouth, but caught a glance at her expression. The sheer pain made me stop, and I was back to being silent.
“If her condition changes at all from now,” the doctor said. “call me. And I’ll be continuing to give you updates on her treatment results and schedule.”
“Thank you doctor,” my mother said, walking the doctor to her car outside. The house was back to being quiet, my father and I sitting in the tense room.
“I got the job at that new cafe on the corner,” I told my dad. “My first shift is next week, on Tuesday. It was meant to be after school, but I guess it doesn’t matter anymore,” I said bitterly.
“Stephanie, don’t fight us on this,” he said sadly. “We are doing this for you and your health.”
I didn’t say anything, I just went upstairs and walked into my room. I threw myself onto my bed, and contemplated screaming into my pillow for an hour. I was going to miss my only year of high school, along with the best friends I had found in... ever.
Oh, shit. What were the guys going to think? I hadn’t told them, and my absence will raise questions. What if they come here? They had somehow gotten my address before.
Tomorrow, Monday, I wouldn’t be at school like normal. Would my phone blow up? I didn’t want to deal with that. Maybe I should smash my phone? Blowtorch it? Throw it out a window? This was definitely the stress talking.
I huffed and threw my head onto a pillow.
It had officially been a week since I had been thrown into the jail of my own house. I was bored, my brain was bored, and I had lacked any social interaction with anyone other than the two shifts I had been given at the cafe. They were mainly training shifts, so all I had to do was pay close attention and I had it memorised quick.
My phone had died from the incoming calls from the guys and Amber, and I hadn’t been bothered to charge it and deal with all of that. I just used my laptop to watch as many shows at possible. Which was a lot, by the way.
I had another shift today at 4:30, and I was getting ready to go now. I was really hoping that no one from school would be there, but knowing my luck they probably would be. It wasn’t a very known cafe, so I had a little faith.
Before long, I was putting on my work uniform and getting driven there by my dad. My parents had stayed home a lot more now, but usually that resulted in late nights and lots of coffee. I said goodbye to my dad before I walked into work and clicked on for the day. I said hello to the manager, and started waitressing tables.
It wasn’t very crowded, only couples and friends occupying a few of the tables. It was a slow afternoon, and I didn’t have much to do other than clean tables and wait for customers to come in.
One of my coworkers, Pattie, was making coffee when she asked me to grab some more milk from the back. I went and got it, but when I returned I recognised some familiar faces walking past the large glass windows of the cafe. I ducked behind the counter, but seconds later I heard the bell on the door ring. I swore I nearly crapped myself, and my head was full of curses.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I knew the voices all too well. Pattie questioned what I was doing, but I shushed her and pulled her down with me. We didn’t know each other very well, but I knew she could help a girl out.
“I know those guys, and I don’t really want them to see me. Can you wait on them and I’ll do the coffee?” I asked, stealthily setting the milk down on the table. I risked a peek, noting what table they were at.
“Sure, they are really good looking too. Bonus!” She laughed, standing up. I rolled my eyes and crawled across the floor before I stood up in front of the large coffee machine which obstructed their view of anything in my direction.
I watched Pattie go over there and start talking, giggling particularly loudly and almost rubbing up against Ethan. I narrowed my eyes but said nothing, hiding the tiny bit of rage that bubbles inside of me. I continued to watch as she put her hand on Ethan’s arm while waving her hips in Xavier’s face.
“Seriously?” I whispered quietly, operating the machine. She came back over and gave me their orders. I put extra chocolate and marshmallows in Jordan’s hot chocolate, and I knew he would love that.
“Score!” I heard him yell out when Pattie gave them their drinks, performing the same tricks she did before. I couldn’t call her out on it, because that would be a bit unusual and uncalled for. So I stood there hidden behind a coffee machine.
After around half an hour of me hiding behind the machine, they finally left and I was safe to be out in the open again. At least I was now a master of making coffee, despite a few spills here and there.
My shift finished three hours later, and I was picked up and taken to the warm confines of my home.
I had been grocery shopping with my mother when I saw him. Ethan, standing in the toy aisle with his little twin sisters. They were begging him to buy them some superhero action figures, and he was losing the battle every second. Eventually, he gave in with a large smile on his face that could warm many hearts, including mine. The girls cheered, clutching their toys with joy.
One of the twins, Ally, spotted me then. My mother had left to go and find more important things that we needed, so I had been left standing there, like an idiot, watching them.
Ally screamed with excitement, both of the twins running over to hug me. I smiled and bent down on one knee, squeezing them both. “Hello girls.”
They said hi back, and proceeded to grab toys off the shelves and show them to me. I, however, was busy looking at Ethan who stared at me with surprise. He came over and hugged me tightly, wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I put my arms around his muscular yet lean waist, and damn, his smell was amazing.
“Where have you been?” he asked without letting go. “No one has seen or heard from you in ages.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, shutting my eyes to avoid the watering of my tears. “I was sick, and I still am.”
“You look like shit,” he laughed, letting me go. I chuckled. “No, but seriously, you don’t look healthy. At all. Should you be at home? In a hospital? I can call one if-”
“No,” I laughed. “I’m fine.”
“Will you be coming back to school?” he asked, making sure that his sisters weren’t causing havoc or disappearing.
“Maybe, when my doctor says I can.”
He nodded. “Um, would you like to come over for dinner? I’m cooking tacos.”
My jaw slightly dropped but I reeled it in. “Let me find my mum and ask her. She should be fine with it,” I said. “Be right back.”
I walked fast around the store, finally finding my mum in the freezer aisle. “Mum.”
“Can I go to a friend’s house for dinner? He’s here, and we just caught up, and I haven’t been allowed out of the house and it would just be for-” I rambled.
“Yes, alright. You can go, but can he drop you off?” she replied, inspecting some yoghurt.
“I’m sure that’s fine,” I said. I hugged her. “Thanks mum, love you.”
She snorted. “Go on, have fun.” She winked, causing me to raise an eyebrow before I sped off again.
I found Ethan in the same aisle as before, trying to wrangle his little sisters and stop them from running amuck. He looked up, flashing me a smile. I gave him a thumbs up.
“Let me pay for this stuff, and then we will head home,” he said. We walked up to the counter, paid for the groceries, and then left the supermarket.
We got into his car, and started driving. Within five minutes, we pulled up in front of a house. It was small, and a unit. There were no others car in front of it, and large bushes were concealing most of the view. I could tell it was a blocky house, and it had one story.
It had started to rain, and thunder followed. As soon as we got out of the car, we were soaking wet with our hair and clothes dripping.
Ethan unlocked the door. “My aunt is supposed to be looking after us while my mum is in hospital, but she’s always out drunk. Come on in,” he said, walking in. He told the girls to go and get changed out of their wet clothes as soon as they got inside.
The place was filled with classy furniture and family pictures. There were old bookshelves and antiques placed on tables. I got a peek into the girls room which was filled with toys, and I saw other doors veering off to the right in another hallway. I followed Ethan into the kitchen, and the girls took their new toys into their room.
“Got a clean shirt I could borrow?” I asked.
“Oh shit, yeah. I’ll grab one, and show you to the bathroom.” I followed him to his room where he got two shirts and a pair of shorts, one for me and one for himself along with the shorts for me. He easily took off his wet shirt, oh boy, and then put on a dry one. He left the room, and I quickly got changed. I went back out into the kitchen.
“You look good in my clothes,” he winked and I rolled my eyes.
“Thanks,” I said, looking around at the house.
“It’s small, I know,” he muttered, unpacking the bags.
“I like it, it’s nice. Lots of family vibes here,” I shrugged, starting to help him with the unpacking. We finished unpacking, and Ethan grabbed some bowls and cutlery out.
“Do you want to help me make tacos?”
“Of course,” I scoffed. “Who wouldn’t?”
“Let me just get some track suit pants on. Do you want to cook the meat or get the other ingredients ready?” he asked.
“I’ll cook the meat,” I said, “You go get changed.”
He clicked his tongue and went off to change out of the rest of his soaked clothes. I figured out how to use the stove, and quickly had the meat cooking by the time he got back.
“Music?” he asked, going over to a stereo that I hadn’t seen. “What kind of music are you interested in?”
“Rock? Led Zeppelin?”
“Fuck yes,” he said, turning on a song of theirs. I started moving to the beat while I was cooking, which was pretty entertaining if I do say so myself. Ethan watched me, shaking his head with laughter as he cut up some vegetables.
“Where’s the salt?” I asked. He grabbed it out of a draw and held it up in his hand. Because he was significantly taller and strong than me, I was jokingly offended.
“Come and get it,” he taunted with a smirk on his face.
“Don’t be such a di-”
“I don’t condone bad language in this house.” He shook his head in disappointment.
“You literally said fuck before,” I pointed out.
He shook the salt in his hand. “Maybe I should just put this on top of a high bookshelf.”
“Challenge accepted, butt head.” I stretched my arm out, going on my toes to try and reach it as he pulled his arm further behind his body. I was completely up against him as my soul focus was getting the salt.
He kept laughing as I failed and pouted, but didn’t move. Ah, and we were back to being incredibly close once again. However, this time, none of us pulled away. It was like a trance that only compelled us closer.
I admired the details of his face and lips as he leaned it, and I almost went into cardiac arrest as his lips hovered literally centre metres away from mine. He gave me a small smile.
“Still want it?”
“Oh shut u-”
And he cut me off by kissing me.
Anyone could’ve predicted it, and I was still surprised. Surprised, but happy as hell. I shut my eyes as our lips melted together, my body flush against his as he leaned against the kitchen bench. My hands ran through his dark hair, and one of his caressed my cheek. His lips were soft yet the kiss was passionate and slightly hungry. My heart was probably dying right about now.
We smiled and pulled away, panting for air, before we kissed again.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to make tacos.