“Nope.” I crossed my arms.
He tossed the shirt onto the ever growing heap in the corner of my room, but was quick to whip up a fresh one. I watched with careful eyes as he smoothed out the wrinkles and did his best to make it look picture perfect. He held it up with an open mouthed smile for reassurance.
“Uhhhhh.....nope.” I sighed.
Anna handed him a cream colored sweater from the back of my closet and he gave it a quick once over before letting his eyes light up.
“This one! You need to take this one!” He tried to convince me.
“Hmm...it can go on the maybe pile.” I said pointing to a completely separate mound.
“Wow. It and the other three shirts you didn’t wholly hate. How can one hate their own clothes anyways? You picked them out!” He scoffed.
“You know why, Tucker. My wardrobe for New York has to be perfect. His parents’ expectations are extremely high, and I don’t want to embarrass Theo.” I said as I twiddled with the fabric of my blanket.
“Who cares what they think? You’re dating their son, not them. And I know for certain that Theo would think you’d look gorgeous in anything. You could show up in a paper sack, and that boy would still have some serious goo-goo eyes for you.” Anna said as she sat beside me on the bed.
“Yeah, girl you are so lucky. Too bad that boy doesn’t bat for our team or I would’ve snatched him up in a heartbeat.” Tucker sighed dreamily.
“Stop trying to steal my boyfriend, Tuck.” I chuckled as I patted the opposite side of me for him to sit.
He smiled and obligingly pranced over to plop down beside me.
“We’re going to get this together for you. We promise, Amaya.” Anna pledged as she leaned her head onto my shoulder.
“Yeah we promise. Because we all know you don’t have a single fashionable bone in your body.” Tucker cracked up which led to Anna bursting out in some giggles of her own.
I tried hard not to chime in with them, but within seconds my laughter broke through as well.
“I’m very fashionable.” I said referring to the clothes that were currently on my person.
“Yeah. Cause we all consider a chocolate stained hoodie and some raggedy sweatpants a true fashionista.” He admitted as he pointed to my current outfit.
“Hey! I wasn’t trying at the moment, but I can dress nicely on my own.”
“Yeah. Yeah.” Tucker waved before climbing off my bed once again. “Let’s get back to it. We don’t exactly have a bunch of time.”
“I don’t leave for another 4 days.” I pointed out.
“Honey, we need a whole month to get you ready. So 4 days isn’t a lot.” Tuck said sassily.
“Well okay then. Let’s just hurry. I promised Theo I’d go watch his game!” I told them ready for the millionth fashion show of the day.
Wish I was rich so I could just hire a designer to pick out all my outfits. That would make my life a million times easier.
“Yeah we know. It’s not like you’re going alone. Ole Thompson needed somebody to watch over ya.” Anna pointed to herself before folding some jeans before dropping them into my very empty suitcase.
“Yeah sorry about that. The whole babysitting thing was all his idea.” I apologized for dragging her into something that makes her miserable.
Anna was more of a baseball-watching kinda girl, so I understood why she wasn’t exactly thrilled to be going to a football game. She said it was in her genes since both sides of her bloodline were deeply devoted Red Sox fans since the beginning of time and would be until the end.
“It’s okay. I understand him. The doctor said you’re healing perfectly, you just got off your meds, and you’re just starting to get better. He just wants someone to look out for you, so you don’t get hurt again. Which he totally picked the right person. I am a black belt in karate, after all.” She said with her hands proudly glued to her hips.
“Oh, really?” I asked curiously.
I never met anyone who was in karate before, but Annalee didn’t exactly peg me as someone who could karate chop another human being...on purpose. She was too sweet to even hurt a fly.
“No...but I did knock a kid’s tooth out once...well it was on accident. That still counts though, right?”
“No, sweetie. It doesn’t.” Tuck sigh with a tsk.
“Oh whatever. I think it does.” She shrugged at Tucker’s comments.
“Amaya!” Anna said as she caught a glimpse of something in my closet and bolted to it.
“What is it this time?” I sighed tired of looking at so many clothing pieces. It felt like I’d be looking for outfits till the day I turned 85.
“This cardigan!” She reached deep into the closet and yanked a plastic hanger off the metal bar.
“Eh no.” I said taking one look at the old-lady-like sweater my mom had thought was cute at T.J. Maxx.
I never had the heart to tell her it looked like it belonged to an old witch who had been brewing a potion for a century.
“You are so picky.” Anna sighed as she chucked yet another item onto the no pile.
“We’re going to be here forever.” Tuck whined before trust-falling onto the no’s.
Swipe, ping, click.
The familiar tune helped me gain access to the suite and with a creak, the door swung open. It was already getting dark outside so the room was already dark inside, but I resolved that problem with a click of the light. The room was immediately illuminated with bright, florescent lighting. I sighed once again at the modern beauty of the suite. It was a place that no matter how many times you’d seen it it would still amaze you.
It was left exactly the way I had seen it before Theo stormed out with me in tow. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a great day for Theo on the field, but off? Not so great.
It’s been nearly a month since the whole ordeal went down, but it was still fresh.
I shake my head clearing the bad thoughts away, and walk further into the room allowing more room for Tuck and Annalee to shuffle in behind me.
“Whoa. This is amazing!” Anna gasped at the sight in from of her.
“Agreed. Your boo must have some serious dough.” Tuck craned his head taking in every single inch of the room.
“Tuck.” I said warningly as I gave him a serious look, but on the inside I was bubbling with laughter at his choice of words.
“Okay okay,” He held his hands up in surrender before plopping in one of the high quality movie theater-like seats.
“Ooh that’s nice.” I chuckled while watching him wiggle around in his seat to get comfy.
“Glad you like it.” I rolled my eyes before turning to Annalee. “What do you think?”
“Average. Would still take a Sox game over this.” She said with a smile.
That girl had to be the Red Sox number one fan. A good majority of her wardrobe was nothing but their merchandise and she was constantly talking about their stats, players, and recent games. But in total honesty, she had me at a complete loss when it came to the bat-yielding sport. Baseball terms weren’t exactly my strong suit.
“We can have this debate a million times, Anna, but you’re never gonna change my mind. Football beats your baseball any day.”
“I’m too tired to fight you right now so I’ll just keep it nice and simple. You’re extremely incorrect.” She shrugged before sitting in the chair beside Tuck.
The game was to start in an hour and the stands were practically already full with fans decked out in their team’s colors. It didn’t surprise me that the stadium was near it’s full capacity. I mean this was the semi-final for the National Championships. Who ever won this would move on to the finals.
I walked further into the room and down the short flight of stairs until I was standing in front of the large window. I peered as far as I could in attempts of catching a glimpse of Theo, but sadly came up with nothing.
I could see the players from up here, but I was still too far to catch their numbers and names on the back of their jerseys. After about five more minutes of trying I was unsuccessful and I gave up. I flopped back on the surprisingly inviting leather couch.
I snatched the remote off the coffee table and switched on one of the plasma screens having it already land on a sports news covering the game. Theo’s parents must’ve left it exactly the way it was when we bolted.
Just thinking about them had me remember that in just four short days I’d be in their midst once again, unfortunately. The only things to get me through the whole event would be the fact that it was for Theo.
He’d done so much for me, and it was finally time to return the favor.
I felt my phone vibrating on the sofa beside me. I leaned over to grab it and check who could possibly be calling me. The few people I do talk to are either in this room with me or down on the field about to play a football game, which is why I was extremely surprised when I saw the name of who was calling.
“Theo?” I asked skeptically.
“Hey, princess. You here?”
The sound of his voice instantly made me smile.
“Of course I am. Who would want to miss the chance of seeing you play?” I questioned truthfully as I sit up on the couch.
“You got a point. I am pretty amazing.” I could practically see him shrugging in an all knowing way.
“Okay tone down the ego.” I chuckled as I took a quick look over to my friends who were both facing me with huge grins on their faces.
I waved them off in attempts to get them to turn around, but they wouldn’t budge. I rolled my eyes and shut myself in the bathroom.
“Fine,” He sighed dramatically, but I knew from knowing him that he had a actually had a big smirk on his lips. “It’s overly inflated today, because I just know we’ll win.”
“Oh yeah? How do you know that?”
“Because my good luck charm is here.” He said happily. “You.”
I was about to respond to all his cute and couple-gooey words, but I was cut off when Danny’s voice rang through the speaker.
“Sorry, Amaya, but your lover boy has to go now. We have a GAME TO WIN!” He must’ve directed that last part to his teammates or the crowd because the tons of shouts and applause was now ringing in my ear.
“Danny! Give me back my phone, or I’m gonna kick your ass later!” I heard Theo yell.
“No, pretty boy. Yu’ll get to talk to her after the game which is about to start. Can’t have you playing on the field with your phone pressed to your ear, now can we?” Danny questioned in a mocking tone.
“Shut up, Danny. Just give me the damn phone.” It sounded like there was a struggle on their end as they fought for the phone. “Hey let go of my face!”
“Never!” His laugh boomed over my speaker. “Sorry we gotta go, Amaya!”
He said the last part as if he was in a hurry and a bit out of breath...almost like he was running away?
“Okay, Danny.” I laughed. “Tell I said good luck, and that I’ll see him after, okay?”
“Will do, girl.”
I clicked the end button and left the bathroom only to run into two bodies who were standing right outside the door.
“Were you guys eavesdropping?” I question with a suspicious look on my face. I already knew the answer.
“Um...” Annalee looked anywhere but at me. “ItwasallTucker’s idea!”
“No!” Tuck gasped at her accusation like it was absolutely absurd. “We were just...just on our way to the kitchen!”
“Oh yeah? And what exactly were you guys going to the kitchen for?” I pocketed my phone and crossed my arms waiting for their answer.
“Uhh...” Tuck drawled before he backed up into the kitchen and snatched something off the counter. “This!”
“Alcohol?” I auestioned already giving a face to show I disapproved.
“Oh, little Amaya. You’re such an innocent goody-two-shoes.” He said with a mischievous grin before pulling me and Anna over to the lounge area with a quite full bottle of liquor.
Tuck and Anna both let out excited giggles as we all planted our butts on the couch.
Oh shit. This was going to be bad.
“Come on, guys we can’t drink. I promised I’d watch Theo play.” I said as I referenced to the tv.
“Such a Debby downer.” Anna frowned over to me.
“Yeah it’s just a little alcohol, Amaya. Don’t get your granny panties in a bunch.”
“All I’m saying is that I can’t watch the game while getting drunk off my ass.” I shrugged.
“Fine! We’ll put it away, Mother Theresa.” Tuck got up to take it back to the counter where he had found it.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Anna’s frown deepened even more. ” Please, Amaya. I need this right now. I still haven’t heard anything from admissions and I really need just one care-free night. You don’t have to drink, but can me and Tucker at least?”
I looked at her pleading face a became even more conflicted. She has been having a rough few weeks. In the time waiting for her letter to arrive, she’s done a lot of pacing and cleaning the apartment to keep her mind occupied.
She’s basically become a live-in maid and dog babysitter since she insists on staying in all the time since her packet could “arrive at any time.”
At least that’s what she always said when I invited her to tag along with me.
I let out a sigh. “Fine you guys can drink.”
Tuck let out a squeal of excitement before grabbing even more bottles of random alcohol and two glasses before sprinting back to the couch beside Anna.
“Don’t get too crazy, okay?” I asked them as Tucker started to pour the thick, crimson liquid into their cups.
“Uh-huh. We promise.” He waved it off before clinking glass against Anna’s before they both took a long, greedy swig in sync.
“Ooh that’s nice!” Anna said delighted to have tasted it.
“So true. Definitely expensive.” Tuck puckered his lips as he nodded and examined the label on the bottle.
I let out a sigh of slight annoyance as I turned my attention to the tv. The game was just about to start and I was determined to watch it through.
I had only made it through the first quarter of the game and the giggles behind me had never ceased. And I was beginning to become agitated.
By the end of the second quarter they were both extremely buzzed. I could tell by their incoherent sentences and jumble of words. I don’t think they even knew what they were saying.
“Come on, party pooper. Get drunk with us.” Anna slurred.
“Yeah come on, buzzkill.” Tuck chided in with her. “This is some good stuff.”
I watched him thoroughly examine the bottle in his hand like it was a brand new species to the planet. “You’ve been super nervous lately. A good drinking might even take your mind off this whole Thompson family horror show coming up soon.”
He was right about me being nervous all the time. Eighty-five percent of the two weeks I had known Tucker has been of me stressing over this whole thing with Theo’s family. Even the day Sam introduced me to him over lunch I was freaking out over how to do my hair the day we arrived in New York.
“Hello? Earth to Amaya Dawson.” Anna drawled.
“Yeah I’m here...give me that bottle.” I said as I snatched it out of Tucker’s hand.
What can I say? I kinda needed this, and I’ve never been one to turn down free stuff.
“Seriously. I love you guyyyysss.” I droned with a grin and closed eyes.
“I love you too, girl. I mean look atchu. You’re perfect. I mean who couldn’t love you?” Anna responded back in a high-pitched voice.
“True that. All three of us are the three most perfect specimens to roam the earth everrrr.” Tuck slurred as he wrapped one arm around each of our shoulders brining us all closer.
“Like wayyy more perfect than a swimming pool of chocolate?” I asked in a questionable voice.
“Totally wayyy.” Tucker drunkenly agreed with Anna.
I ran my tongue over my now dry lips before loudly smacking them together several times.
“I cannot feel my lippos.” I said in awe.
“Whoaa. Me either.” Anna said as she touched her face with her fingers. “I can’t feel any of my face to be honest.”
There was a complete silence for almost a whole minute before all three of us started snorting with belly-clenching laughter.
My laughing came to a halt when I suddenly felt my boot vibrating. “Guys. Why is my foot moving all on it’s own?!”
“Whoa that’s soo cool. Are you an alien or something?” Tuck asked without moving anything except his mouth.
Anna chuckled at his response and the odd behavior of my lower limb became a distant memory. But then it happened again.
“It’s happening agaaaaain.” I whined.
“Maybe we should take you to a hospital.” Anna said nodding in approval to her own idea.
“Yeah...but let’s take my boot off first to get a better look.” I slowly removed my shoe with such precision that an accomplished surgeon would be jealous.
But all our thoughts on my quivering foot were all thrown away when my unanswered phone came tumbling out of my boot and into my hand. It was vibrating constantly like it was screaming at me to answer it.
“Ohhhh. It was just my phone, guyss!” I declared happily I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital for the millionth time. I’m seriously surprised they don’t know me by name by now.
Without even bothering to strain my eyes and check who it was I answered with a click of the green button.
“Helloooooo. Who’s there?”
Anna and Tuck instantly started sniggering behind me and I made a huge effort to get them to shut up.
“Guyyss shut up. I is on thee telephone.” I said with a quirked eyebrow.
Their hands slapped over their mouths to contain more, but I could still see the wicked grins crinkling all the way up to their eyes.
“Why yes it is, captain.” I gave a mock solute only to result in even more laughing.
“Shhh.” I hushed them whilst still laughing myself.
“Are you...drunk?” He hesitated.
I couldn’t tell if he was mad or not due to my dulled senses. Thanks a lot alcohol!
“Mmmmm....noo?” I responded not sure if that was the right answer.
He let out a sigh. “Who’s all with you?”
I squinted at the figures on the sofa. “Looks like we got a Larry, a Curly, and a Moe.”
A laugh spluttered out of my mouth before I could even stop. Why did I have to be such a giggly drunk?
“Amaya, I’m serious. Who’s all with you?” He asked in a concerned tone.
“Fine, party pooper. It’s just me, Anna, and Tuck.” I puffed my bottom lip out in a small pout.
“Sorry I just had to make sure you were safe. Thank god the doctor took you off your prescription last week or you’d probably be knocked out right now.”
“I’m a safe person. I thought everything through before I’d even started drinking.” I admitted.
“Ah-hah! So you were drinking!” Theo shouted proudly.
“Hey! That’s not fair. You tricked me into saying it.” I groaned.
“Oh well,” I could practically see the shrug through the phone. “I’ll be up to take you and your hooligans home in a minute.”
“See you soon.” I replied, but just as he was about to hang up I remembered I wanted to tell him something. “Wait!”
“Congrats on the win. My baby’s going to the national Championships! Wooooo!” I cheered loudly into the phone. Despite being drunk off my ass, I had watched the whole game. They won by six points in the last quarter.
I was only slightly buzzed when that had happened, but since Theo had interviews and had always insisted on taking a shower after games, the semi-final had been over for quite sometime...giving me quite sometime to get even drunker.
“Thank you, babe. I’ll expect you to tell me everything I did wrong in the morning, when you’re sober and less nice.”
“The audacity!” I dramatically gasped.
“See you soon.” He chuckled before there was a click indicating he had hung up.
“Jerk hung up on me.” I muttered laying back on the couch.
“Men ain’t shit.” Anna muttered in a half sleepy state of mind.
I took a look around the lounge area and saw it was an absolute mess. Tuck was completely passed out, and Anna was about to go next, therefore I took it on myself to do a little damage control before Theo got here. This expensive suite looked like it had just been hit by a tornado and then some.
I picked up all the bottles and deposited them in the trash bin before attempting to sweep all the popcorn crumbs scattered on the table with my hands. I’d yet to find the cleaning supplies in my foggy state, but this would have to do.
Swipe, ping, click.
“Honey, I’m home!” I heard Theo’s voice and a smile instantly graced my face remembering the time he’d said that when he first moved in.
So much has changed since then...who would’ve ever thought I’d wind up here?
“Hello, strangerrrr.” I sent him a hopefully flirty wink, but with my face still numb from all the liquor I had consumed it probably resembled the stink eye.
“Ooh that’s attractive.” He chuckled before walking further in the room.
“Shut ittt, Thompson. Youmight have just won a game, but that doesn’t meeeean you’re conshtantly on good terms with me.” I said as with words were running together.
“Now there’s the Amaya I know and love. Shining through the drunk exterior.” He tried his best to keep his sly grin contained but his lips were getting the better of him.
I threw him a glare and went back to cleaning.
“You don’t have to do that. I can have someone clean it up.” He said as he attempted to hold my hands to stop me from doing easy labor.
“I can easily do this. It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.” Like the child my drunk self was I let out a unattractive chortle as if I had said the funniest thing in the world. “Plus, I made the mess and I’m gonna clean it.” I said before I slipped my hands from his.
Theo chuckled to himself before leaning down to and placing a soft kiss on my cheek. He left behind a fresh and clean scent behind, most likely from his recent shower.
“What was that for?” I questioned with my cheeks already beginning to warm up.
“For being you. Can never take the easy way out, can you?”
“Well if someone is responsible for something they need to take the consequences of their actions.” I shrugged as I plucked the last piece of popcorn from the carpet and tossed it in the trash.
“You’re gonna be one of those mean moms, aren’t you?” Theo asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“Last time I checked I wasn’t pregnant.” I confessed confused.
“Yeah but some day, maybe? Can you imagine our kids? Your smarts and my athletic abilities? That kid is going places.”
“This “kid” is metaphorical...you do realize that don’t you?”
“Shh..” He pressed a finger to my lips. “Don’t ruin the moment. Just imagine.”
His eyes shut as he leaned in and our lips were a mere few inches away from each other.
“Okay. Our kid would also be extremely cute.” I admitted playing along with his fake scenario game.
“Not to be mean or anything, but you smell extremely booze-y and I think I might be drunk just from the smell of your breath hitting my nostrils.” He said as he wrinkled his nose up.
I shoved him away with a chuckle. “And I’m the one ruining the moments, here?”
His smile stretched a mile wide and then his perfect laugh sounded.
I stood there admiring him in this moment. He was so happy and careless. I knew to cherish these few moments while they still existed. We all knew that within a few days things would be very very different in the Thompson mansion. It would be like stepping into a war-zone.
I was just hoping I’d make it through those painful four days without stepping on a mental breakdown grenade or firing a rocket launcher at someone.