“New York? Like...as in the city?” I asked him stupidly confused.
I understand he’s from New York, but why would he want to go there for the holidays? Especially with his parents there waiting to sink their possessive claws in him.
“Well, unfortunately my mother wants me there for appearance purposes at one of her stupid rich people parties...” He trails off looking off to the drying grass.
“Why would you willingly go to your mother’s party?” I roll my eyes not believing he’d actually put himself through that purposely.
He looks up at the sky as if doing that will help him avoid this conversation all together.
“Theo?” I question as I give his shoulder a nudge. quick punch.
He ignored it and looked down to the ground and then to Gracie. Knowing he’s trying to avoid this I give him a punch to the arm. “Theo!”
“Okay okay.” He gave up. “I have to go. I don’t have a choice.” He admitted as he crossed his arms and leaned back into the bench.
“And why’s that?” I ask as I quirk an eyebrow curiously.
He let out a sigh and I watched him as he swiped a frustrated hand over his face.
“Don’t worry about it. I just need to go, and I really need you there with me. You’re the only person who’ll probably keep me from throwing my mom’s caviar in her face.” He chuckled as he nervously scratched the back of his neck.
He was avoiding the subject of why he had to go to the party, so I let it slide for now. I sighed and considered my options. Stay home while he goes to a fancy party in New York? Or go with him but have to deal with his psycho parents?
“Eh I don’t know...” I trailed off as I looked at little Gracie as she laid down and watched as her eyes started to flutter shut, ready for a nap. “Your mom and dad aren’t particularly fond of me, if I do remember correctly.”
“So what? I’m fond enough of you to make up for the both of them.” He shrugged as he stretched out on the bench and laid his head in my lap.
I mindlessly played with the soft, brown wisps of his hair as I tried to come up with more reasons to not go.
“What about my family? I’d like to be with them for Christmas as well, ya know?” I stated as I watched his eyes flutter shut.
“We only need to stay at my parents place till the 23rd.” He noted.
“Okay...” I said as my mind began to wander.
“I can even have you flown down to Louisiana. That way you don’t have to drive.” He said with his eyes still closed.
“You? I’ll be taking you with me, of course! You need to know what an actual family Christmas is like.” I admitted with a smile and it was hard not to notice the grin that appeared on Theo’s face as well.
“But I like the road trips. They’re adventurous and fun. I mean I doubt you’ll get your car stolen a second time.” I smirked when his eyes peeled open to give me a glare.
“Low blow, princess. Low blow.” He muttered before sitting up.
“Well maybe you should be more careful with how well you leave you car keys attended.” I chuckled remembering back to his big mistake that actually lead to many memories and bonding moments.
He gave me a sly smile before he tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. “Touché. See, this is the helpful insight I need with me in New York.”
“I don’t know, Theo.” I sighed. “Maybe you should just do this on your own. It’ll probably result in a lot less problems that way.”
“Please, Amaya. I need you with me. I’ll do anything. What do you want me to do?” He asked in a pleading voice.
“Anything?” I began to smirk.
“Anything.” He repeated.
My grin only grew slyly and Theo groaned. “Oh, no. What have I gotten myself into?”
I was sitting on the couch with Gracie that night waiting for Theo to come out of his bedroom. After lots of sulking and spouts of self-pity, he finally agreed to my terms.
“Hurry up, Theo. You’re gonna be late.” I yelled over the volume of the television.
“I don’t even want to go, so if I take my time I’ll miss them anyways. Sounds like a win-win to me.” He muttered loud enough for me to hear.
“Theodore Thompson! We had a deal.” I shouted starting to get irritated with his attitude. “Come on!”
“Ugh!” He whined like a child before exiting his bedroom and walking into the living room.
He was dressed in a pair of dark jeans and a t-shirt adorning his own college football team. His outfit was paired a pair of casual work boots and a black leather jacket.
“You look handsome.” I smiled as stood on my tip-toes to reach out to fix his collar that had been sticking up behind his head.
He gently grabbed my hands and looked me in the eyes with a mischievous smirk. “Let me take you out on a date then. We can go anywhere you want. The choice is all yours.”
I slipped my hands out of his and placed them on my hips before grinning. “That’s very tempting, but you know very well that we have made a deal.”
“You’re impossible!” He threw his hands in the air with his exclamation making a laugh burst from my lips.
“I know I am, but that’s why you love me.” I said as I walked up to him and placed a hand on his cheek. “You and I both know this will be good for you.”
“I doubt it.” He rolled his gorgeous eyes at me. To lighten his sour mood I leaned up to kiss his cheek and wrapped my arms around his waist.
“I have everything under control. Mark and Josh are gonna be there to make sure you don’t do anything stupid, Danny and Joey promised to make sure you have a good time, and Blake said if you get into any trouble he knows a guy at the police station.” I chuckled.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to go. I’d rather stay here with you.” He said as he let his own hands go around my hips completing the full embrace between us.
He leaned down to my neck and left a kiss there before trailing up to my ear. “We can have so much more fun here, don’t you think?”
His voice was husky and it almost made me change my mind.
But I knew he needed this. Theo couldn’t constantly be with me. He needed time with the guys, time out and about. It was healthy for him to go out and socialize with others rather than spend all his time solely with me.
“Theo,” I whispered which only resulted in him pulling me closer. Just as I was about change my mind and keep him holed up in the apartment forever, there was a sharp knock on the door. “Oh! The door!”
I pushed Theo’s chest resulting in an annoyed whine before running to the door before my stupid conscious could try to convince in doing otherwise.
After checking to see who it was I tore open the door. “Evening, boys!” I grinned seeing them all lined up and looking rather spiffy.
“Good evening, gorgeous.” Danny said before he gave me a flirty wink.
“Come on in!” I stepped back to let them all crowd in the apartment before shutting the door.
“Whiny baby is over there,” I pointed to Theo, who looked kind of pissed off. “but he’s all ready for a night on the town.”
“Come on, Thompson. It’s gonna be a great time.” Joey admitted.
“They’ll be calling it ‘The Greatest Guys Night’ in the history of all men!” Danny proclaimed as he looked off into the distance as if to imagine it for himself.
“We can even prank a little if you want.” Blake offered. “I remember how much you used to love that.”
“Come on, Thompson. Let loose. It’s gonna be fun, so stop acting like a little girl who just had her favorite toy taken away from her and let’s go have a great time!” Josh nudged him into moving towards the door.
“Fine. Let’s go and get this over with.” Theo rolled his eyes before leaning down to kiss me on the cheek. “I can’t believe you’re making me hang out with these idiots.”
I heard Danny gasp and watched as he placed a hand over his heart. “You just love hurting me don’t you?”
We chuckled together as Danny wiped a fake tear and sniffled before running out the door.
Everyone filed out until it was just me, Theo, and Mark.
“I’ll keep an eye on him, Amaya.” Mark promised all before having to practically drag Theo out.
“Have fun you guys!” I laughed as I watched them get onto the elevator before shutting the door behind me.
I walked back to the couch and resumed watching tv with Gracie curled into my side. I covered up with a blanket as I felt the chill leave a trail of goosebumps up my arms and legs. Being from Louisiana, I still wasn’t used to the freezing temperatures up here and it would surely take some more time to adjust to it.
The apartment was completely quiet with Theo gone, something I wasn’t used to. But I knew this is what he needed. Theo needed to socialize with other people other than me. So we had made an arrangement. I would go to New York with him up until December 23 and in exchange for this favor he would start hanging out with his friends more.
We agreed when that horror show (or more commonly known as ‘his mother’s party’) was over we would both go to Louisiana for my family’s Christmas festivities. We haven’t been dating long, but they loved Theo, so I figured why not?
I mainly agreed to go with him because of the pleading look in his eyes. I truly did not want to go, but I knew without me things would go wrong. Being in a relationship means sacrifice sometimes, and if this is what he really wanted then I could offer up a few days of being selfless to help him out.
Theo has always been there for me, so what would it hurt to help him out. His parents are wretched, but as long as we stick together I’m more than sure we will be okay.
I continue to flip through the channels and find nothing appealing, so I turn the tv off. I begin to head down the hallway to my bedroom, but am stopped when I hear a sharp knock at my door.
I roll my eyes, but walk for the door anyways. Gracie follows with her ears perked up in a curious manner.
I get to the door and without even bothering to check who it is, I unlock the two locks and begin to swing it open.
“You couldn’t have spent one night out with the guys? We had a deal, Theo and I swear-” I immediately stop talking when I realize the person who is standing in front of me isn’t Theo.
The complete opposite of my boyfriend actually.
“Annalee?” I couldn’t keep the surprise out of my voice.
“Hi, Amaya. It’s so nice to see you.” She sent me a warm and genuine smile.
Although I was completely confused, I knew it was rude of me to just leave her outside my door.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so surprised to see you. Please come in.”
I let her in my apartment only to have Gracie start growling and barking viscously at her. “Gracie! Stop that right now!”
Her sounds of unwelcome ceased before she lowered her head with a cute and guilty look on her face.
“Sorry about that. She’s just not used to you.” I said apologetically.
“That’s alright. I’m sorry about just barging in like this.”
“That’s alright. Can I get you something to drink?” I asked before walking to the kitchen and flicking on the light.
“Some water, if it’s not too much trouble.” She said humbly.
“Sure thing!” I said before digging out two bottles, and handing one to her.
She was now sitting on one of the bar stools at the island and I was standing across from her.
“Thank you so much.” She said before twisting the top off and drinking greedily.
“You’re welcome.” I smiled to her.
Moment of awkward silence passed between us and just as I was about to talk she beat me to the punch.
“I guess you’re probably wondering why I’m here.” She said with a nod.
“Well I’ll admit I am a bit curious.” I told her.
“I might as well get this all out to you. No
point in waiting around...I need to get it out while I still have the courage to.” She admitted with a nervous chuckle.
I waited patiently for her to continue.
“Well, as you know, I left this college and stopped being your roommate because of my boyfriend. As soon as I left I immediately regretted it. My boyfriend and I had been together for some time and I trusted him.” She tried to keep it subtle but I noticed her disgusted face when she said the word ‘trusted.’
“He was going to community college and I wanted to attend with him to be closer to him. I didn’t want our relationship to end because of us being a long distance couple. I loved him with all my heart, you know? Which is why I didn’t hesitate in moving in with him.” She let out a dry chuckle.
“But things soon fell apart. We ran out of money and he lost his job which caused a fight between us. Things got worse and he started acting off as if he was hiding something from me, but I brushed it off and tried to get on with our life together. He knew very well that when I turned 18 I would receive an inheritance from my grandparents. Both my parents passed away so this was going to be the money I depended on to get me through my college career. It’s a rather large amount, and he knew that.” She looked at the counter and began drawing designs on it with her finger.
“Which I soon found out is why he was staying with me in the first place. Long story short I came home from classes one day to find him in my bed with another girl...turns out he was cheating on me the whole time with my now ex-best friend.” She let out a bitter laugh.
“I immediately packed up all my things and got on the road to head for here. I’ve already contacted the dean and they’re looking over my admission, but he said he still doesn’t know if I’m getting in or not due to an already full class. But he also said there’s still a chance, so I came anyways. I needed away from him and I knew this is the one place I wanted to be. This has been my dream college since I was a girl.” She said with a small smile.
“But cutting to the chase, Amaya. I know I shouldn’t be asking this of you considering all the wrong I’ve done to you, but I was wondering if I could stay here until I find out if I got in? I’ll find a new place if I do get in, but if I don’t I promise I’ll be on my way. Either way, my inheritance is to be to me by Christmas and I’ll be able to pay for any expenses then. I know this asking a lot of you and-”
Before she could even finish speaking I ran over to her side and gathered her up in a big hug. I felt her body go rigid at first with confusion, but eventually her arms wrapped around me as well. It didn’t take long for her tears to start flowing and sobs to escape her lips.
“Of course you can stay here. You’ll always be welcome with me.” I told her with a smile already blooming on my face. “Once a roommate always a roommate, right?”
We both laughed at my terrible joke and before long we were plopped on the couch watching tv together with Gracie between us. Despite their not-so-friendly meeting, Gracie and Annalee had become instant friends. Probably because Annalee was willing to spoil her and give her as many belly rubs as she begged for.
We chatted and stayed up late until I realized I had class in the morning and needed at least some sleep. I set Annalee up in my room on an air matress I had luckily brought from home just in case an emergency.
I tried to get her to take my bed for the night, but she kept refusing despite my many efforts.
“Again I’m sorry about this. I don’t know how comfortable it’ll be.” I admitted looking down at the makeshift bed.
“No! This is perfect, Amaya. More than perfect. Thank you so much for everything. It means the world to me.” She smiled at me before giving me another hug.
“Guess we should get to sleep, huh?” She asked still in our embrace.
“Yeah. Probably.” I sighed not looking forward to classes tomorrow.
Once we got all comfy in our beds and said goodnight to each other, I turned the lights off and curled up in my blankets. Gracie, the little traitor she is, decided to sleep with Annalee instead of me.
I’m kind of glad she did though. Annalee really needs people (...and animals) there for her at this point in her life and we were more than willing to help her out.
I fell into a sound sleep before three in the morning rolled around as did a loud pounding on my front door. A little scared of who it might be, I slipped out of bed anyways due to my curiosity of who it could be.
I really hope it wasn’t Annalee dousche of a boyfriend, but Theo was supposed to stay with his friends tonight so it could really be anyone.
I got to the door and quietly looked through the peephole only to see my boyfriend on the other side grinning like a little child. I rolled my eyes and opened the door.
“Theo! You were supposed to stay the night with Mark.” I whispered.
“Yeah. The guys thought a fun time would be going to a bar, getting drunk and going back to play some Playstation. But since I remained the only sober one the whole time it got boring very quickly. Plus I missed you the whole time.” He said as he placed kisses down my neck.
“Theo. We can’t do this right now.” I whispered pushing him off me. Despite loving the sensations of those little butterfly kisses on my neck, I really didn’t want Annalee to wake up and have that be her first meeting of Theo.
“What? Why not?” He whined with an adorable pouty face.
I giggled at how childish he sounded. “Because. We just can’t.”
Might as well let this moment last longer. We all remember how he reacted when I took in our other tenant.
“Why not? I came all the way home and now I can’t have a makeout sesh with my girlfriend?” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively resulting in a bright blush to break out on my cheeks.
“No. Come on. Let’s just get to bed.” I offered by grabbing his hand and trying to get him to go to his room.
“Come on, princess. Who’s gonna see us?” He asked as he began to kiss my collarbone.
“Um...Gracie?” I offered.
“She’s probably asleep somewhere.” He shrugged as he continued his kissses.
I’ll admit it did feel amazing, but I also didn’t want Annalee to catch us in the act. It’s be awkward for all of us and with how loudly Theo knocked it wouldn’t surprise me if she had woke up.
But there’s also a chance that she slept through it.
And there’s my devilish conscious once again! But she did have a point.
“Ugh. Screw it.” I admitted before bringing Theo’s lips to my own and passionately connecting his with mine.
Our mouths moved together and were molded as one as if they were meant for each other. I had been in the process of removing Theo’s leather jacket when a voice rang out.
“Everything okay, Amaya?” Annalee’s quiet voice sounded and Theo immediately went frozen in front of me.
All the lights were off except the one directly above us, making me want to punch myself in the face.
“Mya...who is that?” He whisper-yelled.
I let out a sigh of defeat before separating both of us from each other.
“I’m alright, Analee. Sorry you had to see that.” I told her and heard something drop to the ground as if she had been holding something as a weapon.
She flipped the lights on in the living room where she was standing with little Gracie sitting by her feet.
“Annalee, this is Theo, my boyfriend and roommate. Theo, this is Annalee, our newest houseguest.” I nervously smiled to Theo but the look on his face told me he was all but thrilled.