“Stop fidgeting, it’ll be fine.”
“I can’t help it!”
“You’re re-meeting my parents, Rhea, not going off to war.” Phillip said from the driver’s seat. I glared at him.
“Might as well be. It’s scary!”
“I survived meeting your father. Literally. I met him in hospital. Besides, she already loves you. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“Well she and my mother have been dying to get us together for years so I suppose she’s just happy it’s finally happened.”
“Wait, what do you mean?” Phillip asked.
“You do know they’ve been rooting for us to end up together since we were born, right?”
“No!” Phillip cried. “Mom never told me!”
“Didn’t you ever wonder why they pushed us to be friends when we were kids?”
“I do…I remember telling her I didn’t want to be friends with a girl because girls have cooties.” He smiled. I giggled. That was adorable. “Well, in that case, why are you worried?”
“Because I want them to like me for who I am now, not because your mom and my mom are friends.”
“Fair enough.” Phillip said. He pulled into the driveway of his house and I sucked in a breath. I’d been here before, but it was different during the day, and it wasn’t crowded with teenagers and littered with beer bottles and smashed plastic cups.
I got out of the car and slid from the car seat to the ground, Phillip walked around to my side and grabbed my hand, shutting the passenger side door with his hip. He led me inside, letting the door shut on its own. He kept his shoes on and I wasn’t sure if I should too, but I decided I should follow his lead as best as possible.
The grand staircase was painted white with a shining brown hand railing and the huge chandelier in the foyer glittered and chimed slightly as it shifted slightly. I saw Phillip’s mother emerge from the living room and she approached me, a smile on her face. She was very pretty, with dark hair and eyes, a slender figure and a bright smile. I saw where Phillip got his features, especially those long eyelashes. She was dressed casually in jeans and a button-up blouse. She had her long hair tied back in a braid.
“Hola mama,” Phillip kissed her cheek. There was something so sweet and attractive about seeing a son respect and care for his mother.
“Hola niño,” she replied, smiling at him and then turning to me. I smiled back. “Well, Rhea, dear you’ve certainly grown up. Such a beautiful young woman. Come here give me a hug, chica.”
I blushed, grinned, and did as she said, embracing her. She wove her arm through mine and led me through the living room and into the dining area, which was adjacent to the kitchen, where Phillip’s father stood with a beer in his hand and watching the TV intently.
“Aw c’mon!” he groaned.
“Henry, novio, Rhea is here.”
Henry’s attention switched from the television to me. He was a tall man, but shorter than Phillip. He had brown eyes and what hair he had left was grey. He was a little round around the middle, but his smile was bright and cheerful.
“Hello Rhea. It’s nice to see you again. It’s been so long.” He said as he came around to greet me.
“I know. Hello Mr Kingston.” I shook his hand. He waggled a finger at me disapprovingly.
“Now, now, you’ll make me feel old. It’s Henry.”
I didn’t know what to say so I nodded instead.
“And don’t try calling her Mrs Kingston. Unless she’s in court or at a function, she hates it.” Henry whispered, eyes glittering with laughter as he jerked his head toward Phillip’s mother.
“Phillip help me with these, will you?” Josephine asked, pointing to the plates and cutlery. He left my side to help his mother and I stepped forward too.
“Let me help too.”
“No, no. You’re our guest.” Josephine said, “You just relax.”
“Don’t argue with her if you value your life.” Phillip warned me when he saw me open my mouth. Josephine hit him in the back of the head with the dishtowel.
“Don’t be smart, niño.” She snapped. “Set the table.”
“What are we eating, dear?” Henry asked.
“Chicken enchiladas.” She replied. “Have you ever had them before, Rhea?”
“Uh, no, but I’ll try anything once.”
Josephine beamed. She and Phillip finished setting the table and Henry led me over, pulled my seat out for me and then sat at the head of the table. Josephine and Phillip brought over a garden salad, pieces of fresh bread, butter, and a tray of what looked like wraps. Josephine sat down opposite me, on Henry’s left hand side and Phillip sat next to me. I helped myself to salad and Phillip placed an enchilada on my plate. Nervously I cut into it and I discovered it was amazing. I helped myself to a second one and appreciated Josephine’s cooking.
“This one knows how to eat.” Josephine stated, “I like that.”
“So, Phillip tells us that you’ve been tutoring him in Biology.”
“Yeah I have. He’s improved a great deal. He works hard.” I replied. Phillip nudged my leg with knee.
“What is it you want to do after high school, Rhea?” Henry asked.
“I want to study to be a veterinarian.”
“That’d be interesting. What college are you thinking?’
“I’m trying to keep my options open, but…Stanford.”
“Stanford is hard to get into.” Josephine stated. “What are your extracurricular activities?”
“I was with the hospital volunteer program, and I’m taking three AP classes.”
“She forgot to mention she’s on the honour roll.” Phillip stated.
“Impressive.” Henry said. I blushed and focussed on my plate.
“Your friend is the one, expecting, yes?” Josephine asked.
“Mother.” Phillip hissed, warning in his voice.
“I was only asking in case she needed help. I can get the paperwork if she needs to file against the father for child support.” Josephine went on.
“Oh, thank you, but Felicity and the father, Matt, have already sorted all that out. He offered to pay support without legal action.” I explained.
“Well I’m glad she’s got help. I see so many young mothers in court, looking so afraid. Is she doing alright?”
“She’s handling everything as best she can. She’s struggling to sleep and stay on top of work, but she’s doing alright. I’m helping as much as I can.”
“You’re a good girl.”
We continued eating in silence for a while longer.
“Can we expect you at the state finals game next week?”
“It’s out of state, dad.” Phillip pointed out. “Rhea has to stay here for Felicity and she’s pretty adamant about studying for exams.”
A wave of guilt washed over me and I felt the need to explain. But Henry and Josephine simply nodded, looking at each other.
“That’s fair enough. Shall we call you to let you know the outcome of the game?”
I blinked. “Yes, that would be wonderful.”
After we finished lunch, I helped clean up, ignoring the Kingston’s in their three-way protest. I cleared away the table and wiped it down while Phillip and Henry rinsed and stacked up the dishwasher, Josephine placing the leftovers in the fridge. When we were done, Phillip grabbed two cans of coke from the fridge and told his parents we were going to go study now. Josephine spoke a warning to Phillip in Spanish, but I didn’t need to speak the language to know what she was saying. He rolled his eyes at me and jerked his head for me to follow him. He led me up the stairs and through the upstairs corridor and then turned left. He ushered min and then closed the door behind me.
Phillip’s room was far bigger than mine. A desk and chair was pushed against the wall, and opposite that was a king sized bed. He had some gym equipment in the corner next to the large windows, which overlooked the backyard. He had a walk in robe and bathroom, and he hastily went over to close the wardrobe door, but not before I saw a pile of clothes on the floor. On the wall above his desk was a collection of shelves. On top stood trophies and medals.
“Okay so what do you want to study first?” I asked finally. He placed the cokes on the desk. I glanced at his textbooks on the shelf. “English? I’m kind of nervous about that one because we have to write three different essays…”
I trailed off when I felt Phillips arms wind around my waist his chest pressed to my back and his lips against my cheek. He removed his lips from my cheek and I spun around in his arms.
“What was that for?”
“You just looked so cute talking about school I couldn’t help myself.” He said. Phillip got a look in his eyes that I’d never seen before. “Besides, this is the first time that I’ve had you to myself in weeks.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy.”
Phillip smiled. “You should be sorry. However are you going to make it up to me?”
“I don’t know. Any suggestions?”
“I may have a couple…” he said. I giggled as he lowered his head to kiss me. This wasn’t like any usual kiss. This was different. Phillip and I had kissed before, but it wasn’t like this. We made out sometimes, but usually it wasn’t for very long. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or anything, it was just that usually he kissed me when we were in public, or studying, or in the library. We’d never been alone like this in the past four months of dating.
He was holding me in a different way than he usually did, his arms around my waist and back, pressing me close to him. His kisses started out soft and sweet, but soon it became passionate and rougher. He tilted his head a little more and opened his mouth and I don’t know how, but suddenly his tongue was in his mouth and it wasn’t unpleasant. Not at all. I’d always thought Felicity was exaggerating the perks of French kissing, but damn, was she spot on.
I wanted to be closer to him, so I rose up on my toes to wind my arms around his neck and pulled him closer, if that was possible. I lost myself in the moment. His hands were everywhere; one tangling in my hair, the other was sliding down my side, past my ribcage, past my waist and then around to the small of her back. He stopped there, fingering the edge of her shirt and even though I felt a moment of nervousness, I didn’t make him stop. I wanted to see what he would do.
Phillip’s hand went under the material and up bare skin, causing gooseflesh to erupt on my skin. His other hand soon joined the other and my shirt rode up a little while he touched the skin on my back with his fingertips, tracing my spine, my shoulder blades, the material of my bra. He didn’t undo anything, he didn’t take anything off me, but in this moment I understood what Felicity talked about. The adrenalin, the rush of emotions and hormones and suddenly I understood why it was so easy for people to lose themselves in moments like this.
Phillip started moving then and I tried to keep up with him. it was hard walking backwards on your tiptoes while trying not to break a – frankly – hot kissing session. My knees hit something firm and I realised it was his bed. Whoa. Holy crap. Whoa.
I didn’t want this to stop though.
Phillip pulled his lips from mine and looked down at me. I felt a little dazed from everything, and I couldn’t help but admire how gorgeous he is. With a sly little grin he pushed my shoulder gently and I overbalanced, falling backwards onto the bed.
“Hey!” I cried. Phillip laughed and climbed on top, hovering on all fours over me. I probably looked ridiculous and I blushed.
“You’re so beautiful. You know that?”
I didn’t know what to say. “Uh, thanks. I do now.”
Phillip shook his head, smiling. He leaned down to kiss me again, lips warm and soft. The stubble on his chin was a little annoying, but it was easy to ignore. He pulled away suddenly to kiss my cheeks, then down my jaw to my neck. And wow. It took my breath away. I’m not sure when I did it, but I brought a knee up to press into his hip, holding him to me.
He pulled away and looked at me, a cheeky grin on his face. “Still want to study?”
I laughed and squealed a little when he grabbed me and rolled us over, his laughter mingling with my own.That was a fun afternoon.