The next morning, I wake up and check my phone to see that there are no messages. Should I message Jason back? I open my phone to start typing a message.
What am I his bro? I erase this quickly.
Hey, Jason. I had a fun time last night.
No. No. No. No. I quickly erase it and begin a new message.
Hey, Jason. Thanks for last night.
NO! Definitely not.
Hey, Jason alkjdkjghkfjdhglkjhfdjkghlfkjsdhg
I angrily press random buttons in frustration. Maybe I should just wait for him. Giving up, I put my phone in my pocket just in case. I walk downstairs to have breakfast with my parents. Breakfast is always a special affair. Instead of eating comfortably in our pajamas, my family is already dressed up. Instead of having obligatory family dinners, we instead have obligatory family breakfasts. Thus, breakfast is the only "family time" we have.
I sit down on my regular seat on the right side of my father and grab a bowl of cereal.
"Where were you last night?" my mother asks me.
"Um… I met up with a friend last night," I tell her. At least it's sort of the truth.
"Which friend?" my father asks me.
"Diana," I make up at the top of my head.
"Really? My dad asks as he flips through the paper, "Cause I saw her last night at the supermarket. Where were you last night young lady?"
I think of some excuse to make up in front of my parents until the doorbell rings. I let out a breath of relief. Saved by the bell. I run over to open the door to see Benji on my doorstep.
"Benji, what are you doing here?" I ask him.
"I came to apologize," he explains looking genuinely repentant.
Now? He can never give me a break can he?
"I really can't do this right now. Let's talk later," I close the door to end the conversation, but Benji slides through the crack and enters my house.
"What are you doing?" I ask him incredulously.
"I won't leave till you hear me out," he says stubbornly.
"You-" I try to say something to him to persuade him to leave my house until my mother walks in and asks, "Cassandra? Who's there?"
Kill me now. Why?
"No one," I lie to her and try to hide Benji behind me.
Instead, Benji seizes the opportunity, and says, "Hello, ma'am my name is Benjamin von Adalwulf." He shakes my mother's hand and looks like the perfect gentleman, while I'm still in pajamas.
What is he up to?
"Hello Benjamin," my mother takes his handshake. "Aren't you Ms. Willow's son?"
"No. She's my guardian," he says.
"Really?" my mom says.
"Yes, she's my relative who is taking care of me while I study here in America," he says.
"Oh that's nice," my mother says, "Why don't you join us for breakfast?"
"No!" I intercept, "Benji's probably busy and has to go somewhere." I try to push him out the door, but he manages to weasel out of my push.
"No, I don't," Benji says, "I'd love to stay for breakfast."
He walks to my mother who leads him into the kitchen where my father is sitting.
"Hello, my name is Benjamin von Adalwulf," Benji introduces himself confidently with a handshake.
His confidence never ceases to amaze me. I'm so nervous that I practically expect my father to start yelling at Benji for interrupting what he likes to call "precious family time." Even my best friends are scared to bother me in the morning for fear they would unleash my father's wrath.
My dad looks up from his paper and looks at Benji. After what seemed like forever, my dad takes Benji's hand, "Hello, I'm Cassandra's father, James."
I hold my breath as I anticipate my father's next move.
"So, Benjamin, are you a senior like Cassandra?" my father asks as he takes a bite into his eggs and puts down the paper.
"No, sir. I'm a sophomore," he answers.
"Benjamin's that boy that Cassandra is tutoring right now. Remember when I told you that Ms. Von Adalwulf asked Cassandra to tutor him?" my mother pipes up cheerfully.
"Really?" my dad says uninterested.
"So, Benjamin I heard you came to America last year. How are you adjusting?" my mother asks.
"Fine. The people at the school are really nice, and it's been easy to adjust."
"If you don't mind me asking, why did you come to America?" my nose mother asks him.
"I came here to find something," he smiles but with an air of finality. My mother doesn't press on with any more questions.
"Do you have any plan to go back to Germany or stay here?" my father uncharacteristically asks.
"I plan to go back."
"What do your parents do?" my mother pipes up again.
"My family runs a large barley farm as well as brewery in Germany," Benji answers.
"Really? Your family makes beer?" I ask him surprised.
I mentally slap myself for speaking up. Don't speak to the enemy! Control yourself. I pretend to ignore him and concentrate on my breakfast. I can't just forget what happened yesterday.
"Yeah," he looks surprised that I answered. He looks me straight in the eye and says, "We've been brewing beer for the last 200 years."
I almost forget that my parents are in the room until my father says, "Oh really?"
"Yes," he says without losing eye contact with me.
Why can't he just leave me alone? Just when I thought I could live a Benji-free existence, he always returns back to me like a boomerang. I break away from his gaze and concentrate back on my breakfast.
"Don't you miss your parents?" my mother asks concernedly.
"Yes, I miss them very much," he says forlornly, "especially my siblings."
"You have siblings?" my curiosity is too much for me.
"I have a younger brother and sister."
This leads to a conversation about his siblings who happen to be fraternal twins. He went to talk on about how they are troublemakers and how he usually has to take care of them. I have to confess that I can't imagine Benji being responsible.
"Well, I think it's time to clear up," my mother says and starts bringing the plates over to the kitchen.
"Thank you for the breakfast, Mrs. Forest," Benji says and helps bring the dishes over to the kitchen.
"Oh, no problem," my mother gushes.
Oh god! She's probably only being nice to him because he's the son of the president of the Board of Education. She's only following her one motto in life, "We must look nice for out guest."
Benji helps us clean the table and even presses the start button to turn on the dishwasher. What a charmer. My father and mother both leave for their respective activities for the day, golf and tea with friends. This leaves the both of us sitting alone in the living room. Benjamin von Adalwulf has charmed his way into my house and found a way for him to be alone with me.
"You're mom makes a great breakfast," Benji makes conversation after an awkward silence has fallen between us.
"It was just toast and fruit," I tell him.
"Yeah, it was really nice," he says.
And, the silence continues. Like a gift from the universe, I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. Is it Jason? I quickly take out my phone to see that there is a text from him.
Hey whats up?
I quickly open my phone to answer him back.
Not much. You?
I eagerly await his response when Benji gives me an annoyed look.
"What?" I ask him.
"Are you texting that guy again?" he asks.
"Why should you care?" I ask him defensively.
"Cause you chose Jason over me!"
I lose whatever response I had mentally prepared for.
"Look," he carefully molds his words, "I didn't come here to fight. I came here to apologize."
"Benji-" I try to stop him.
"Please just listen to me," he puts his hands on my cheeks and turn my head around so I have no choice but to stare at him. I might as well hear what he has to say.
"I… I… I'm sorry for being a total asshole. I'm sorry that I made you upset yesterday. I'm just… I'm sorry," he finishes.
I don't know whether or not I should really forgive him. I really want to stay angry with him, but I feel like I can't. He does look adorably sad with his head hunched over waiting for my response.
"As long as you're sorry," I say slowly.
Benji detects that I have forgiven and hug me in happiness.
"Thank you, thank you!" he says in excitement, "I guess you're coming back to tutor me on Monday right?"
"I guess so," I pretend to sound reluctant.
"Well, I got to go. So, I'll see you Monday," he bounces off the sofa and proceeds out the door.
"I guess I'll see you Monday," I open the door for him.
"Bye, mein schatzi," he says and kisses my cheek before running home.
That boy sure has a way of apologizing.