Defining Us (Book 2 of Discovering Me Series)

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Chapter 21: Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey

{Isabella}

“I am pleased to have opportunity to meet Milo’s closest companions. I have already met four of you. May I be reminded of the rest of your names?” Milo’s mother joined the eight of us for dinner the next evening.

She was seated at the head of the table as our guest of honor.

“Hi, I’m Morgan.” She timidly raised her hand, removing it from her lap.

“Sami”

“My name is Elle, Your Highness.” She bowed a bit from her seat.

“Call me, Kat. I no longer bare an active title.” She corrected calmly as she brought a glass of wine to her lips.

“I’m sorry.” She cringed, discomforted by her flub.

“It is hardly your fault, dear. Our marriage has been over for a very long time. This is very informal. I want to learn more about you. Vincent said he had a lovely time with you at Milo’s birthday celebration.” She finished the last of her wine.

“Are you sure you can handle all of this – blue hair, inside jokes, and the inability to pick up social cues?” Sami asked after using all of her energy to drink her water with poise.

“It will be an adjustment, but I figure I can manage. Vincent could. ” She ushered a servant over. “A cardinale, please. Replenish immediately.” She handed him her empty glass to clear the table.

“Mother, -“ Milo whispered to her.

“This is my last day here. I am allowed to spend it in the way of my choosing. I want to get to know your friends.”

Milo rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“What do you want to know about us? We are pretty boring.” Ryan made himself more comfortable in his chair.

She shook her hair out of her face. “Whatever you can tell me.” She lifted her drink from the silver tray that was offered to her without looking.

“I’m single.”

Elle occupied the seat across from him. If his stifled yelp was any indication, she kicked him.

“I am more than twice your age. You are bold. I know that now.” She lifted her drink to her lips.

“What made you dye your hair blue?” She addressed Sami after drinking the majority of her drink.

Milo kept his head down, pushing around his pre-dinner salad with his fork. I rubbed his ankle with my foot. He looked up, but kept his expression grim.

‘I love you’ I mouthed.

His eyes fell back down to his food.

“Honestly, um – to feel more like myself. Everyone around me kept telling me I was lying.”

“I know the feeling all too well.” She finished the reminder of her drink. A servant placed a new one in front of her the moment she did. “I have said and done the correct thing my entire life. It is refreshing to be around people with a different philosophy.” She didn’t touch her salad, dedicated to filling up on alcohol instead.

My hand started trembling at the familiar sight. I swallowed hard and momentarily clinched my eyes shut. I nursed my glass of water, suddenly parched and no longer hungry.

“I hacked into the palace’s security system again last night. We made a slip n’ slide on the south lawn using tarp and the hacked sprinkler system.” Finn announced, cutting his lettuce into smaller pieces.

“You do not sound remorseful.” Nick pointed out.

“I’m not.” He popped a piece of it into his mouth.

Kat laughed uncontrollably to the point of needing to cover her mouth. “I apologize. I just that – “ She took a deep breath. “They always talk about how protected we are – untouchable. A child showed them were are not – not once, but twice.” She resumed cackling.

“It is pretty funny.” Ryan diffused some of the discomfort at the table.

She laid her free hand on her pearls and resumed drinking.

“I am begging you.” Milo pleaded beneath his breath.

She moved her hand from her necklace to the side of his face. “They all think that you are an extension of your father.” She shook her head. “The bad – the bad you get from me. I got so good at hiding it and here we are.” She tapped his cheek lightly and put her hand down.

“Mi̱téra-“

His use of Greek brought a small smile to her face. “You finally acknowledged me. I have endured an impossible amount for you. Now it is over and it is still business as usual around here. I leave to tomorrow and your hero does not even care.” She laughed humorlessly. “19 years and nothing.”

He averted his gaze with tears in his eyes, clearly embarrassed. “I asked one thing of you – one and this is what you do instead.” Milo pushed back his chair and stormed off.

“This was you before them!” She pointed to herself before limply pointed at us.

I ran after him.

“Stop!”

He picked up the pace and threw his arm back, silently telling me to go away.

“MILO!”

He spun around and held his arms out. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!”

“YOU!” I screamed with the same amount of passion.

He sighed and looked down. “Get me out of here. Please.”

“Tell me where you want to go and we’ll be there.” I approached him slowly.

He held his arms out to receive me when I was close. “The cottage. The water calms me down.”

I hugged him. “Sounds perfect.” I rubbed his back.

“I’m sorry.” He kissed the top of my head.

“She upset you. I get it.”

“I should not have taken it out on you.”

“I didn’t take it personally. I knew you were caught in the moment. If you kept going after I stated what I wanted, then that’d be a different story.”

“She is right about me.”

“No, she’s not.”

“But Iz, I --”

“Are your own person. You both have poor coping skills, but that’s not inherited. It’s taught. Fight it.”

“How can you love someone like me?”

“I could ask you the same question. We’d respond the same way.”

I remained silent for an extended period of time. “I cannot lose you.” His voice was strained.

“You won’t. I’m right here.”

“I love you so much.” He kissed the top of my head.

“I love you too, okay? I’m right here.”

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