“And it’s currently Thanksgiving eve, folks! Call on in with the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on this holiday. Do it quickly! The best story will win tickets and VIP access to Ed Sheeran’s New Orleans tour stop in May!!”
I was tired of the guy’s southern accent, so I pressed the power button to turn the radio off.
Amaya was sound asleep with little Gracie in her lap, and the sun had rose completely about half an hour ago. It was a lot hotter in November in Louisiana than you’d expect, especially compared to up north. I’ve had to shed a few layers of clothing to prevent me from sweating to death. I was down to one of my old Nike workout tanks and some basketball shorts, but Amaya, on the other hand, was still dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie. How she was doing it, I have no idea.
Speaking of Amaya, I was gonna have to wake her up soon. According to Google maps, I was less than 5 miles from entering the state and I couldn’t wait to surprise her.
She’d been going through something all on her own lately and even though she wouldn’t tell me what was happening, I was going to be there for her the whole time we were in her hometown. That is if she even wanted to keep me with her.
I don’t want her to send me back north, but if that’s what she wants then that’s how it was gonna be. The “Welcome to Louisiana” sign was now visible to me and I could feel my heart rate picking up.
Knowing my luck I was probably in the wrong state.
I glanced back over to Mya with her pretty lips parted showing just a small fraction of her perfect teeth. I remembered back to the gas station and to our almost kiss. It made me wonder a few things.
Would she have let me kiss her? Or would she have shoved me away?
She had every right to push me away. I’d been nothing but a jerk to her, and someone like me didn’t deserve a kiss from someone like her.
I continued to wonder what was happening to make her so nervous and solemn lately, but who knows?
Unfortunately, Amaya keeps her deepest and darkest locked away from the world where no one will ever see. It worries me that she’s keeping something so toxic inside with no chance of ever letting it out.
I put on my right blinker and pulled off to the side of the road before putting the car in park. I took a deep breath before turning to the side to shake the sleeping beauty.
“Mya. Mya, wake up.” I told her.
After lots of shaking, coaxing and a promise for a chocolate bar, Amaya finally squinted open her eyes. I swear the girl sleeps like someone who’s already six feet under.
“What could you possible want that’s more vital than my beauty sleep, Theodore??” She asked in an annoyed, but cute and sleepy voice.
I hated when anyone called me my full name, but when Amaya said I was totally okay with it. But I’d never let her know that.
“You don’t need anymore beauty sleep, trust me.” I rolled my eyes at her with a chuckle.
I watched as her jaw dropped open and her cheeks flamed a fresh, strawberry red before she tried her best to recover. She snapped her bottom teeth to her top ones so quick I was surprised they didn’t shatter. “Whatever.”
I let out a soft laugh before I pointed out the top of the windshield to show her the ginormous sign in front of us.
She looked confused at my finger before following the direction it was leading.
Her eyes nearly popped out of her sockets like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“We’re here.” She said in an uncertain tone.
“Well not technically. Once we cross under that sign we’re there.” I winked over to her.
“Oh, Theo. You and your smart-assy ways are so charming.” She rolled her eyes.
Even though the comment was as sarcastic as sarcastic could get, she still had a cute little grin hanging on her lips.
“You know you love it.” I smirked.
“Yeah, right. I love it as much as I’d love getting stung by a jellyfish.” She playfully punched my arm before gazing out the windshield once again.
“You can’t deny the truth forever, princess.” I said as I watched her carefully.
Her hair was tied to the side in a loose braid and she had taken off her hoodie and was now wearing an old and ragged t-shirt, but you wouldn’t ever hear me complaining about it since it hugged her curves perfectly. I couldn’t help but be fixated on her heart-stopping yet inviting hazel eyes that were trained on the sign above our heads.
She just woke up and didn’t even have a second of primping yet she still put supermodels to shame. How could one be so perfect without even trying?
It wasn’t just her looks that had me under her spell, it was her warm and loving personality.
Amaya Dawson was truly too good to be true, and anyone would be lucky to even know her.
“You’re starting to creep me out with all the staring, Theo.” She nonchalantly stated snapping me out of my trance.
“Sorry. It’s hard not to. Especially when I’ve got the best view in my passenger seat.”
Oh if the guys from the team could hear me now they’d be telling me how “whipped” I was, but if it’s for Amaya then I don’t mind one bit.
“Ooh. Someone is mighty flirty today.” She finally looked away from the window and over to me before cracking a smile.
“You should know by now that it’s a true gift of mine.” I chuckled before turning my head back to look at the traffic as a distraction.
“We should probably get back on the road before it starts getting really busy, with it being a holiday and all.” She told me from behind.
“Yeah, you’re right.” I sighed watching as car after car passed by us.
I turned back around and was about to snap my seat belt back into the buckle before Mya reached out and touched my hand.
I looked up to her and gave a questioning look.
“Let me drive. You need sleep, and I’m all charged up again!” She grinned at me.
I was happy to see her at least somewhat happy again, but I didn’t mind driving only a little farther so she could just relax.
“That’s okay, princess. I got it.” I told her.
“Theo, please?” She puffed out her bottom lip as she begged.
With one look at her there was no going back. “Ugh. Fine. But one scratch on my car and-”
“Yeah yeah. You’ll never speak to me again or just murder me in my sleep.”
“I don’t know if I’d go as far as murder-”
“I promise I won’t scratch, your precious!” She said the last two words like Gollum in Lord of the Rings and it had me laughing.
“You’re such a nerd, but it’s so cute at the same time.” I chuckled.
“Oh, shut up!” She smacked my arm and it hurt about as much as getting hit with a marshmallow.
“Okay, okay. You can drive her, but you gotta be quiet so me and Gracie can nap!” I told her before unbuckling and getting out.
We switched seats and it wasn’t long before we were back on our adventure and I was out like a nightlight.
When I woke up once again the clock on the dash said noon and despite it being sunny earlier in the day, a light drizzle had begun to fall.
I looked down in my lap to see Gracie had moved to the back seat and Mya was sitting in the drivers seat gazing intently at the window as little raindrops streamed down it.
My eyes eventually adjusted to light before I took in my surroundings and realized where we were.
“Mya. Why are we at the hospital? Are you okay? Are you sick?” I asked leaning over and putting the back of my palm on her forehead checking to see if she was feverish and checking her complexion to see if she was pale.
She gently grabbed my hand off her face and held onto it with a squeeze. Her mouth remained shut like it had been super glued shut and her eyes stared into mine for a split second before turning back towards the window.
“Princess, you gotta talk to me. Why are we at the hospital?” I kept a hold of her hand for support and comfort.
“I...I don’t want...” I watched as a tear slipped slowly down her cheek like the raindrops down the window. She swiped it away with her opposite hand and turning to look at me. “If I tell you there’ll be no going back. And if I tell you I’m afraid you’ll never see me the same.”
“Nothing you can say can make me think any less of you, Amaya. No matter what it is.” I told her firmly.
Whatever’s happening or has happened in this hospital for her is what has been bugging her lately. It’s been the heavy secret that’s been weighing down on her small shoulders. I just know it. I could feel it.
“I don’t think you can say that. You knowing what I did...it’ll change your view of me. I’m not a good person, Theo. Not after this.” Her voice became shaky and her eyes darted down to the console as if it had become an everyday and regular fascination.
“Trust me, Amaya. You are an extraordinarily good person. You’re the best I know. It’s the past and it’s going to stay in the past. I’m here for you, no matter what you’ve done.” I told her firmly lifting her chin to look at me. “Got it?”
She bit her lip to keep the pooling tears in the lids of her eyes from spilling and let out a few sniffles before giving me a curt nod.
She kept quiet for another few minutes and she furrowed her brows as if she was debating in her mind whether she should tell me or not. Fighting all the pros with the cons and all the cons with the pros.
I put my remaining hand on her shoulder and held her steady. “Take your time. I’m right here for you, princess.”
After a series of deep breaths, shakes of the head, nods, and fish-like opening and shutting of the mouth, she finally looked determined to spill her secret.
“This is a hospital. And my father is in there...” She tilted her head in the direction of the facility and smiled sadly to me.
“I’m so sorry, Amaya. I had no idea-”
She cut me off with a quick shh.
“This is a hospital, and my dad is in there.” She took a deep breath in and out. “And I’m the reason he’s in there.”