Chapter 41 – Gregory
The first semester of my Senior year flew by and now the amount of work still needs to be done is catching up with me. Groaning, I stare at my dairy and dread pools in my stomach by the amount of stuff that I still need to do, review and finish.
Like seriously, who in their right mind thinks its a good idea to assign two 50.000 word reports on two totally not related subjects and a 10.000 book report on the same day?!
Thankfully, I have the two reports nearly done but kept procrastinating the book report and now 48 hours before the report has to be handed in, I have yet to open the book and read a word. Deciding to finish the two reports first, I roll my neck, preparing myself for a long night behind the PC screen. I barely manage to finish the two reports before dinner and have them printed before telling myself that I will start the book after.
After dinner, I sit on my bed, book stubbornly staring me in the face. The genre is not really my thing (18th-century poetry) but, it needs to be done. Shivering as the spine creaks as I lift the cover, I find myself surprisingly lost in the content.
Nearly dropping the book in freight when there is a knock on my door sometime later, mom stands on my room threshold dressed for bed. It is only now that I notice that the hall is dark and there is no sound in the house.
“Don’t stay up too late okay?” He says as he pushes off the door frame, ready to leave, “Remember that you made the promise to drop Nance off at Rafa’s tomorrow around noon.”
Now that he mentions it, I vaguely remember Nance asking me about Rafa’s birthday party and the agreement to get her there.
Right, I will just finish this poem and then go to bed.
I decide this as I take a peek at the little digital clock on my nightstand that reads 1 AM in soft glowing green numbers. Turning my attention back to the book, I have to wrestle to put it down to go to sleep.
Needless to say, I am grouchy when I am forcefully woken the next morning by a too cheerful younger sibling who made it his mission to jump on my bed while screaming on the top of his lungs that I ‘NEED TO WAKE UP NOW GREG!’
Winching, I turn my head the other way, hoping to quiet the noise a little. That obviously didn’t help as that movement alerted Lo to the fact that I am awake and he started bouncing harder, shrieking on the top of his powerful lungs.
“Okay, okay. I’m up, I’m up ” Grumbling, I push him aside and reluctantly leave the safety of my bed. Staring grumpy at my breakfast didn’t do anything for the loud chatter going around me become bearable. It only goes cold, and cold food is not fit for human consumption. So, I gingerly scoop up some of the perfect scrambled eggs and take a tiny sip of orange jus, to flush down the tablet for my now pounding headache.
Nance snorted as she noticed me, “You really look like a wreck, it is hard to think that it is because of an allnighter instead of drinking all night.”
The narrowing of my eyes has her burst with quick laughter, which she smothers with her hand and turned her head away. “ANYWAY,” she continues, “If we want to make it to Rafa’s birthday anytime today, we need to get going.”
Closing my eyes and resisting to bash my head against the table, I breathe out and get up like a zombie and shuffle to the little key hook with all the car keys and swipe my own.
Lo and Nance were full of chatter on the way to Rafa’s house where I will drop off Nance before going back to town to drop Lo off at Sean’s house.
As of late, Lo seems to have found to balance the time he spends with both his friends. Although never at the same time, somehow, Sean and Syl never managed to play well together. They will be okay for a while before something happens and either gets upset and blame the other. Sadly, Lo usually chooses Sean’s side instead of Syl’s, what is what everybody usually expects.
This way Syl ends up sad and is closing himself off more and more. It worries Tay, Gordo and Meredith to death, the way Syl is refusing to do things together. Tay even admitted that he is starting to miss his cheerful little brother that would have a smile for him when he came home.
“Be good okay Lo?” I say to my wriggling little brother as I lift him out of his car seat after dropping a blushing Nance off at Rafa’s house. Lo gives me a wide smile that makes his eyes sparkle with mischief. “None of that now Lo, I will tell dad what you did last time you were at Sean’s house.” I give him a stern glance that has his shoulders slump a little as he trudges up the few shallow steps to the house where Sean and his mother were waiting for him.
“I will pick him up at four o’clock.” Mrs Marks smiles and gives me a nod and a slight wave as I get into the car. I watch Lo enter the house and the door shut behind him, sighing at the amount of work left to do, I put the car in gear and start the drive home.
During the longest drive ever, I had every light against me, I feel my phone vibrate in my back pocket and am very tempted to take it out and have a look at who texted me. Bitting my lip, I contemplate the decision, but in the end, with a lot of willpower, I leave my phone where it is. I don’t want to be roadkill.
So when I am on the drive, I put the car in park, I whip out my phone and smile. Tay texted me, asking if I could be tempted to come over to his house for a while. My fingers blur as they speed over my little keyboard with my answer. Rereading my answer, I am glad that I didn’t press send like I usually do without checking.
So with a deep sigh, I delete my original message and give him a short grumble that I couldn’t go sadly because I was well behind on school work. Getting out of the car, I trudge up to the house and listlessly call that I am back before nearly crawling up the stairs because I have absolutely no energy to do anything but sleep.
My rumpled bed is a big distraction during my first half hour of doing some work. Soon I got the hang of it and am startled out of my last paragraph on the poetry book, which I can proudly say I finished before starting the essay again from scratch when my phone chimes with the special ringtone I use for the veterinary.
My voice is hesitant and a little confused as Cicely's cheerful voice tells me I am late for the afternoon shift that I traded with her so that she could go on a ‘hot date’. Feeling like I could bang my head against the wall, I grumble that I will be there within 30 minutes as I just need to finish up some homework. As she starts to complain I hang up, reread what I had put in my last paragraph and finish it before instructing the pc to send it to the printer.
As the printer whirls to life and starts to slowly spit out my book essay, I run around the house to get my stuff ready. We all learned a lesson about leaving printed paper out of the printer when Lo thought he could use one of Mom’s important documents as a drawing paper and scrawled all over the script that took mom hours to compile.
The printer gives a soft ping sound that it completed its task, I grab it off the little tray and carefully stuff it in a little plastic slip to keep it from being folded, and sprint up the stairs and leave it on my desk before dashing back down again and out the door.
Anna doesn’t look impressed as I skitter into the practice 25 minutes later, panting from dashing over from the car park. Under her slightly disapproving eye, I clock in and start to put the leftover paperwork on the desk in order and check stoke and start making notes on what should be reordered before she sighs with her hands on her hips.
“You will lock up right?” She has her coat on and is looking at me with soft eyes. She cups my cheek, rubs her thumb under my eye. “Thanks for doing this Greg, I know it will take a lot out of you to work with Tony but please bear it?”
I nod my head, knowing she really likes this guy that is taking her out on a date. She smiles relieved as she grabs her purse and heads out the door.
The door barely closed behind her and Tony peeps in from behind the door that leads to the surgery, demanding that the next appointment needs to be rescheduled as he needs a quick break, but falls silent as he sees me sitting behind the reception desk.
“Oh, it’s you.” He grumbles, glaring at me with all his might but I ignore him. He always weasels out of a cosmetic operation, making Anna do double the work while he does next to nothing.
“Yes, it is me.” I smile brightly as his next appointment stands up, clearly excited to see him. “He is ready for you now Mrs Strausse.” I have the pleasure of seeing Tony blanch as the slightly heavyset sixty-year-old woman comes over to his side, dragging her unfortunate Pekingese with her. Tony's glare promises retribution as the door closes behind the pair.
The day was a whirl of activity, with the regulars calling in and stopping by to have a chat, that I didn't realise that I had missed my lunch by at least an hour and a half when my stomach grumbled loudly in the silent reception room.
"GO and grab yourself a bite to eat Greg."
The words hadn't left Anna's mouth when the ding of the door opening sounds and we all turn to see who turned up at this time of the day.
I am up and out of my seat in a flash, nearly tackling him to the ground, and the container holding a freshly made batch of mushroom risotto flying.
"I know you missed me Il cuore, but it will be a waste if this ends in the bin and not in your yearning stomach."
He carefully sets the container on the desk after dragging me along from the door to the desk. My nostrils flare as he removes the lid and all the wonderful scents of freshly baked pasta and mushrooms and melted parmesan cheese.
Faintly I hear Anna's giggle 'so the way to get a man is through the stomach' and Tony's groan to it but I am too busy stuffing my mouth with the rich melted goodness to care much.
This is sooo good!!!!
I let out a happy huff, smacking my lips as I just barely keep myself from lickign the little container clean.
Ready until the end of my shift. I smile brightly as Tay leans over and kisses me with a murmur of 'see you later'.
Still, I can't help but compare Meredith's cooking to Papa's. Hers is good, delicious and has a lot of love in it. So does papa's, and I feel papa's has something else in it. Something that makes it stand out.