Chapter twenty four
“Rachel and John have prepared a little welcoming dinner for you. So once you have freshened up we can go over to their place,” said Grandpa as he drove us towards our home. Rachel is my Grandpa’s best friend uncle John’s wife, she is a very warm and kind person and not to forget an excellent cook. Most of my childhood days were spent in her kitchen baking and learning to cook a variety of dishes.
“That’s so sweet of her. I missed her cooking. Good thing I didn’t eat anything on the plane.” I smiled looking at my Grandpa who was looking ahead on the road and smiling.
“We all missed you so much, Ell. I know your work keeps you in New York. But I wish I could see you more often. Who knows how long I’ll live.” He gave me a side glance and concentrated his attention back on the road.
I scoffed and turned my head towards him,” look at who is talking about dying. Especially coming from someone who hasn’t aged a day since I last saw him. Was it five months?”
Eyes fixed on the road,” eight months Ell.” He retorted.
I didn’t realize it was that long. I mentally noted that I would try my best to come visit him often.
“I’m sorry Grandpa. It has been quite hectic at work and I was also busy preparing for my supposed wedding which got canceled.” I said casually. I no longer feel bitter about my relationship with Richard. I can talk casually about it without having to break down crying.
Nodding he said,” I understand. But aside from everything. How are you really doing?Do you want to talk about it.” Grandpa sounded very concerned.
“I’m fine Grandpa. It was difficult at first, but I am healing and I am very happy.” And I smiled thinking about that grey-blue eyed man.
“I am relieved to hear that Ell. I don’t know what that preppy boy did but I want you to know that never ever let any man make you feel you don’t deserve to be treated right or love you unconditionally.” saying that he drove into a familiar residential area with houses on both sides of the road and white picket fences adorning most houses. After passing some few houses, Grandpa finally parked the car outside the garage of our house.
“I will Grandpa. Don’t worry I am fine. Everything happened for the best.” I assured him.
" Will I’m glad to hear that. Come on let’s get you settled in and go over to John’s place.” he smiled and got out of the car.
Once we were inside the house. I quickly made my way upstairs towards my room with grandpa following behind me.
“I paid the cleaning lady an extra to clean your room. I didn’t want you to come to a dusty room,” said Grandpa as he settled my bag on the console that was to the right of my bedroom door.
Smiling I walked towards my room which was exactly the same as I left behind. Turning to face my Grandpa,” Thank you so much, Grandpa. You are the best.” I gave him a tight hug.
He patted my back and said,” Welcome home Ell. Now freshen up will hit over to John’s.”
Once Grandpa left, I unpacked my clothes and put it neatly in my wardrobe. Taking my toiletry I went to the bathroom to freshen up. Feeling fresh after that quick shower, I changed into my shorts and a loose t-shirt.
Just as I was thinking of grabbing my phone and hitting downstairs.
My phone rang, I rummaged through my handbag to retrieve my phone.
I smiled as I saw who the caller was.
" Look who finally decides to call me.” I smiled and sat down on the bed.
I heard him chuckle,” Bella you know how heartbroken I was when you rejected me. I had to regroup myself. Ah! Poor me.” he said and started laughing.
I laughed and thought how Sebastian always manages to joke and make all the unpleasant things lighter,” You are a moron you know that Seb. I think I should call you moron only. It suits you.” I laughed and he joined me and as the laughter subsides I asked him sincerely,” How have you been.”
“I’m good Bella. What about you. Did you miss me too much that you had a meltdown and had to keep yourself occupied by going to our place.” he chuckled.
Rolling my eyes. I plopped down on the pillow.” yea right. I missed you so much I couldn’t take the loneliness. So I booked a flight home.”
“Oh really. Damn! I should have come sooner to New York.”
I giggled as he said that.” Are you in New York. When did you come back?” I asked.
“I reached two hours back. And I thought I would take you out to dinner.”
“Too bad Seb. I came home for the weekend to spend some time with Grandpa.” I replied twirling my hair with my index finger.
“I see. Will I guess I’ll see you only when you get back then.” His tone sounded serious. I thought he was upset?
I can handle the goofy Sebastian but not the serious one. It makes it a little uneasy after all his confessions about his feelings for me and I really want to maintain a good relationship with him in spite of it. I am selfish for wanting it but I don’t want to lose him, his friendship.
To lighten the mood I said,“aww I killed your plans of wanting to eat those delicious dimsums right?” I grinned.
I heard him chuckle and I felt relieved,” You know nothing taste as good as that meal I shared with you, Bella. I am barely alive since I haven’t eaten well. You have to make up for it. I am no longer that hot guy, girls are running away from me because of how lanky and thin I look.” He wined and I burst out laughing, him joining me.
Rubbing the tears that spell out of my eyes for laughing so hard.” You are impossible Seb.”
“I’m the best Bella.” he chuckled and paused heaving a sigh,” I miss you so much, Bella. I wish I could meet you now.” his voice very soft.
I wanted to say I miss you too because I really did. But for some reason, I didn’t. I just remain silent for longer than I intended to. Sitting up straight and I thought of saying something funny. But my mind went abnormally blank.
I heard him chuckle,” here is the part you say. Oh, my dearest Seb, I miss you too so much.” He poorly immediate my voice.
I scoffed,” Very funny Seb. Wait till..” Before I completed my sentence I was distracted by the knock on my door. It was Grandpa yelling from the other side of my door to come down if I am ready.
“As much as I want to continue this pleasant conversation. I have to go Seb. My Grandpa’s calling me. I’ll be back on Monday. So we can catch up ya?” I said opening the door and walked towards the stairs.
“Sure Bella. You have a good time and looking forward to seeing you.”
“Thanks, Seb I will. Bye.” I cut the call once he said bye and climbed down the stairs. Grandpa was waiting for me on the front porch sitting on the cane chair.
Once we locked the house. We walked down the footpath towards John’s place which was a block down the road. After walking for a while we finally arrived at their place. I was enveloped in a tight bear hug by uncle John squeezing the life out of me.
Aunt Rachel tapping lightly on the shoulder of uncle John,” Now now John don’t knock the air off our Ell here.”
Uncle John chuckled as he released me,” So good to see you, Ell.”
“Me too Uncle John.” I smiled.
Rachel hugged me briefly and put a hand on my shoulder,” Come let’s go inside. I made your favorite Beef brisket.”
“Thank you so much, Aunt Rachel. You shouldn’t have troubled yourself.”
“Oh its no trouble at all. John and I were so thrilled when we came to know you were coming home.”
We all sat down in the living room. Which was a cozy room, with a fireplace, tugged in the far left and a vintage looking console right beside it adorned with family picture frames. John and Rachel have an only son, who is married and living in LA with his wife and three children, two sons and a daughter. His daughter is of my age, I used to play with her whenever they came here for the holidays. We still keep in touch sharing the occasional hi, hello and wishing each other on our respective birthdays.
The dinner was as always very delicious. Since Rachel was from the south, born and raised in Texas and hence the expertise in making the delicious beef brisket. It was served with equally delicious sites, baked baby potatoes, and a green salad. Once dinner was done we all sat outside on the front porch enjoying a plate each of Aunt Rachel’s special Banana split.
Aunt Rachel and I were sitting on the two sitter swing while uncle John and Grandpa sat opposite on the chairs facing us.
“So how’s work Ell,” asked Uncle John taking a mouth full of the banana split.
“Work’s hectic and challenging but enjoyable at the same time. I get to meet and interact with different people and learn a lot too.” Finishing the last remains of the banana split and keeping the plate on the center table.
“That’s really good to hear. Your parents would have been very proud of you,” said Uncle John with great sincerity.
“I hope so.” I smiled.
“They will be Ell. And just so you know I am very proud of you. Always know that.” smiled Grandpa, his emerald green eyes glimmer with joy.
Putting an arm around me, Rachel gave a light squeeze,” We are all so proud of you Ell. Now apart from work, do we get to hear anything about romance. After all, New York is all about romance and musical Broadway.” she giggled.
I smiled thinking about Dominic. But then I contemplated whether I should tell them about him.
“Go on tell us and don’t you worry about your grandpa. I’ll knock him off if he disapproves.” grinned uncle John giving a sly side glance at grandpa.
Grandpa scoffed,” As if you can. You are becoming too slow and weak. What with all the junk food you are wolfing down these days. You don’t have the stamina to fight me anymore.”
“Want to test my strength. How about we arm wrestle.” challenged Uncle John turning and facing Grandpa.
“Look at this two. They will never grow up.” Rachel whispered to me. I laughed as she whispered that.
Placing her half-eaten desert on the center table she folded her hands on her chest. And in a reprimanding tone, she scolded,” You two big childish grownups. Don’t you dare spoil this lovely evening with your egotistical bickering.”
Both uncle John and Grandpa were innocently looking at Aunt Rachel like small kids being scolded at. I couldn’t help but burst out into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
Aunt Rachel continued with the scolding unaffected by my laughter,” Is this evening about you huh?” she questioned them.
“No” they both answered softly looking down.
Aunt Rachel sifted her attention towards her husband,” and John you better behave. Otherwise, the sofa is going to be your sleeping place for the rest of the week.”
“I am sorry honey,” muttered Uncle John flashing a wide smile.
Aunt Rachel just shrugged and faced me,” Sorry about that Ell. But you know how these two are.”
I laughed watching as Grandpa rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair. I didn’t mind their bickering at least it diverted the attention of discussing my love life. If it was only Aunt Rachel it would be fine, but it is a bit awkward to gush and discuss Dominic in front of my Grandpa and Uncle John.
We ended up talking about other things and finally, it was time for grandpa and me to go back home. Aunt Rachel wrapped some of the leftover beef briskets and the banana split for us.
It was already dark when we reached home. I kept the food in the fridge which was filled with fresh vegetables. I wondered whether Grandpa still maintains the kitchen garden in the backyard. I’ll have to check it out tomorrow.
Grandpa was sitting on the living room sofa waiting for me.
Stifling a yawn with my palm I sat down on the sofa opposite him,” I had a really good time.”
“Me too. I think you should rest and get a good night sleep. Tomorrow you can swing by the shop if you want.”
“I would love to and maybe later after lunch, I was thinking of visiting mom and dad.” I gave a small smile.
“You do that Ell. You can pick whatever flowers you want from the shop.” offered grandpa.
" Thanks, Grandpa.”
Sitting up straight,” Alright then let’s say a short prayer together and call it a night.”
Once we finished praying, we said our good nights and went to our respected rooms. Grandpa’s room was just across the living room. I felt so warm and happy inside as I shared a prayer together with my Grandpa after a long time. It was what we always do since I was a little girl. Grandpa and I would say a prayer together before he tugged me to bed and he read me bedtime stories from the storybooks and I would drift off to sleep hearing his comforting voice.
I changed into my comfortable nightwear and once settled on the bed. I decided to call Dominic. He cut the call after two rings and video called me instead.
“I’m missing you so much, baby.” came his voice a little croaky from waking up. Hair a little disheveled, his head rested on a white color pillow.
I smiled,” I miss you too. I woke you right, I’m sorry.” I apologized.
“No, it’s fine. I was going to get up. It’s past 6 am here.” he flashed that handsome smile at me which makes my heart beat frantically.
“Oh, yea. And I am going to sleep now.” I giggled.
“How is your grandpa?” he asked. Tugging one of his hand behind his head.
“He is good. We had a good time at Uncle John’s and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner cooked by Aunt Rachel. What are your plans for later.”
“I have a none stop long tedious meeting with my executives. Tomorrow is the opening of the company so I have to clear out all the last minute details.”
“I see. Have a good working day.”
“Thanks. I’ll let you rest then. Call me tomorrow soon as you wake up. I love you, sweetheart. Sleep well.” he said in all his assuring loving voice. His grey-blue eyes as always holding so much depth and sincerity.
I did the most unexpected thing I lean my lips towards the screen of the phone and kissed him. I felt embarrassed realizing what I did but it quickly disappeared when I saw the widest grin I have ever seen on a person’s face. He returned the same gesture. Finally cutting the call I switched off the side table lamp and drifted off to a deep slumber.