Even though there had been some rocky points in the time spent in the company of the Thompson’s yesterday, the good times were there to keep everything in balance. So only thinking about the positives, I climbed out of bed with a pure smile on my face.
I opened the curtains to let the light seep in and to help myself wake up. With one look outside it was easy to decipher that it was a cold morning. Layers of frost coated the precisely cut grass, driveway, and the sleek company car parked out front.
And leaning against the already running car looked to be one of the drivers I had seen yesterday. He had gloves on and was reading a newspaper while his breaths of fresh air gave off puffs of white clouds. It was probably below freezing outside, but the man acted as if nothing bothered him and as if he was immune to the bitterness that winter was bringing to the state of New York.
I continued to watch him as he folded up his newspaper and tucked it under his arm. He stood as still as a statue before I saw Will’s familiar figure emerge from the Thompson residence and saunter out to the waiting vehicle.
The chauffeur immediately opened the silver-handled door and tipped his hat before Will slipped inside. The door shut behind him immediately and the driver rounded the Cadillac to the driver’s side. It didn’t take long before the car pulled out of the driveway and was on it’s way.
The chauffeur was probably taking Will to work. He did say he had somewhere to be early today. On the topic of things Will, the last thing her had said to me...“never let him go” still bounced around in my mind. What could it possibly mean? I assume it’s along the lines of not breaking up with Theo, but why would I ever do that? He’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
Before I could give it any more thought, there was a knock on my door. I shut the curtains before rushing to answer it. I was hoping it was Theo, but when I opened the door it revealed the butler from last night. I tried to hide my disappointment, but it didn’t take long for my excitement to return when I saw the big silver platter in his hands.
I was hoping it was food. How I was already starving this early in the morning was beyond me.
“Good morning, madam.” He bowed his head like I was royalty.
“Good morning, sir.” I chuckled at the thought of me even being royal. I’d be like Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries, if not worse. “What have you got there?”
I pointed to the covered dish in his hands, only growing more curious with time.
“Oh! This is just my way of saying thank you! You surprised me yesterday. You really did. No one around here ever says thank you, so in return for your gratitude I wanted to give you some of my own.” He smiled politely and I immediately felt kind of proud for being the one responsible of giving him such a positive change in mood.
“Oh, you didn’t have to go through all that trouble. I was just being polite.” I smiled back to him.
“Sure I did. I just wanted to say thanks,” He admitted. “May I come in and set this down for you, miss?”
He nodded towards the desk in my room and I realized the platter might be getting heavy.
“Oh! Yes! Of course. Come on in.” I stood aside enough to let him pass so he could set the platter on the elegant desk in the corner of my room.
“I had the chef whip this up for you,” He said as he set it down. “I really hope you enjoy.”
“I’m sure I will. Thank you so much.” I smiled to him.
He nodded in return and with that he was out of the room in a flash. I chuckled at his kind gesture and closed the door to my room before returning to my desk and removing the cover of what I’m assuming was some breakfast.
As soon as I removed the lid, mouthwatering gusts of the food in front of me invaded my nostrils. I already knew I was going to love this meal just by one look at the food. The chef had somehow arranged my plate like an artist. It was all perfectly spaced and the foods even looked like they were color coordinated.
In the exact middle of the plate there was a stack of sweet-smelling waffles with the perfect amount of syrup and cream piled on top. To the side there was a mini bowl with raspberries stacked perfectly with a small mint leaf to accompany them.
I took a mental picture to remember what was probably going to be the best tasting and most expensive breakfast of my lifetime. I couldn’t wait another second before snatching up my fork and knife and digging in.
It took me all of five minutes to complete the meal, and if they had a ratings site, I’d give the kitchen staff here a review with a gazillion stars rather the usual measly five. But looking at the clock, I saw that time was really flying by and it was probably in my best interest to start getting ready for the long day ahead of me.
I tidied up the plate the best I could, and recovered it before I proceeded into the shower. I had already decided on an outfit for the day, so as soon as I had dried my hair and slipped into the preplanned outfit that Tucker and Annalee had helped me arrange before we’d left for New York.
We had paired an off-the shoulder classic red sweater with a pair of medium dark jeans, some brown combat boots, and a simple gold watch. It was a cute outfit that I couldn’t have possibly have gathered together on my own, but with the help of my friends the impossible became possible.
I curled my hair in loose curls, but out of laziness, I decided not to wear makeup.
Looking in the mirror, I smiled at my reflection in the adorable outfit. I would have to ask for Tucker and Annalee’s help more often.
My quiet morning soon came to an abrupt end when my phone suddenly started ringing. I walked over to my nightstand where it was currently charging and noticed someone was attempting to videochat with me. I unlocked my cell and saw it was Annalee’s number that was on display.
I quickly answered the call hoping that everything was alright back home.
“Annalee?” I questioned anxiously.
Her face immediately popped up, but her hair was a mess and her eyes still looked sleepy. I assumed she had just woke up.
“Hey, Amaya. What’s up?” She replied with a sleepy smile on her face.
“Oh, nothing much. Just woke up and got ready for the day. How about you?” I chuckled noticing a stray hair standing straight up on the top of her head.
“I just woke up, but Tucker insisted on calling you as soon as our eyes opened.” She yawned before Tucker suddenly came into the picture. I watched as he plopped on the couch beside her and made himself comfortable.
“Oh, Tucker’s there?” I asked confused.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. I meant to tell you, but I didn’t want to spend the first night here all alone, so I invited Tuck over. I had him sleep on the couch. I hope that’s okay.”
“Yeah. Totally okay. He can stay as long as he wants.” I reassure her with a smile. “How’s everything going? How’s Gracie? Oh! And any word on the application?”
“Lots of questions,” Anna chuckled. “But to answer all your questions, it’s all going great here. I spend most of the time curled up in a blanket binge watching Netflix and drinking hot cocoa. I’m trying to get in the holiday spirit here.”
I laughed as she brought a mug to her lips of what I’m assuming was another cup of cocoa. Annalee had made it strictly clear how much she hated coffee.
“But onto the next question.” She whispered something to Tucker and he nodded quickly before getting off the couch.
“What are you guys up to?” I questioned suspiciously.
“Oh, nothing.” She acted innocent but her smile said otherwise. Suddenly Tucker re-entered the picture with Gracie in his hands. He sat back down beside Anna and grinned like a child.
Gracie looked as perfect as could be, and especially cheery in her cute little reindeer ears and red and green Christmas sweater.
“I picked up her holiday outfit. Really clashes with her fur color, wouldn’t you say?” Tuck questioned as he modeled my pup in front of the camera.
“Oh yes, definitely.” I laughed and smiled at how cute my dog looked. “Hey, Gracie! I miss you.”
Her ears suddenly perked up in surprise and her tail shot up and wagged as she recognized my voice. Even Grace still looked a bit sleepy with her eyes barely open and it was safe to say she was too sweet for her own good.
They put her back onto the floor and by the sound of he hurried little paws on the floor, I’d say she ran off somewhere to fall back asleep.
“She misses you guys,” Anna admits. “But no worries I’m keeping her entertained until you get back.”
“Happy to hear that. Thank you for watching her, Anna.”
“Eh, it’s nothing. You’ve helped me more than anyone, so I’m just returning the favor.” She smiled genuinely.
Before I could say anything she jumped up excitedly. “Oh, and before I forget! The application! I got something in the mail yesterday from the university, but wanted you to be watching while I opened it!”
She ran off before I could even respond and I just laughed at her excitement. I had almost forgot Tucker was there since he had been so quiet, which was very out of character of him.
“You okay, Tuck?” I asked concerned.
His eyes widened like my question caught him off guard, but he quickly recovered. “Yeah I’m fine. Just zoned out a bit.”
“You sure?” I asked.
“Positive! Now let me see what outfit you got on! You better have kept those outfits in the right order or I’m gonna be seriously-”
Before he could finish his sentence I quickly showed him my outfit with a small laugh. “See? Everything is all together.”
“Good girl. Damn I’m good with outfits!” He bragged but scooted closer to the screen. “How’s his family been though? Is his brother as equally gorgeous?” He waggled his eyebrows as he whispered.
“He’s very handsome.” I chuckled.
And just like that Tucker was back to his old self, but I still knew something was up with him. But I wasn’t going to push him. He’d come to me when he was ready.
Annalee re-entered the screen and she was excitedly holding a large manilla envelope. I watched as she quickly jumped onto the couch and started tearing the paper open.
“Ready?” She asked both of us and when we reassured her we both were she opened it and ripped the papers out. There was a whole stack of them.
I watched as her eyes skimmed the lines quickly and her lips moved while reading it. Her eyes bugged out and they moved from me to the paper and back, almost like she couldn’t believe what was in front of her.
“I GOT IN!! I START CLASSES NEXT SEMESTER!” She screamed before she jumped off the couch and the papers shattered around her.
Tucker quickly got up with her and hugged her.
“CONGRATULATIONS, ANNA!” I shouted.
“Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I can’t believe this. I didn’t think it’d happen!” I saw that there were tears now streaming down her face as she cried happily.
I continued to watch their celebrations through the screen and I started to wish I was with them. At least I had Theo here with me.
I was so invested in my conference call that I failed to hear the knock at the door. “Mya?”
It was Theo! Finally.
“Hey guys. I gotta go, but talk later okay?”
“Okay. Bye, Amaya!” Anna said in a high-pitched voice as she still reveled in the happiness of being accepted in the college.
“Sure thing, girly.” Tucker said with a sad smile. “I miss you.”
“Miss you too. I’ll be back after Christmas, I promise.” I chuckled.
“Better be!” He chuckled and waved before dashing off.
“Congratulations again, Anna. You earned it!” I told here.
“Thanks, Amaya. Have fun, okay? Just focus on Theo and not his evil family, okay? I’ll try to keep the apartment clean and I promise I’ll replace that vase I broke.” She said quickly like she was trying to get the confession over with.
“Okay sounds good,” I nodded but then I put everything together. “...Wait! What?!”
“Bye Amaya!” And with that the call ended.
Well good thing I had only spent five bucks on the thing.
I set my phone back down and went to the door to answer it. I put on a smile. It felt like it had been forever since I’d seen Theo. In reality it hadn’t even been a whole day, but I was excited to see him.
I swung the door open and there he was. In all his handsome glory, his hair was styled perfectly with gel, which he usually didn’t use. “Only on special occasions,” I remember him telling me.
He was dressed in a white button-up under a gray sweater with the white sleeves rolled up just enough to give him that preppy look. To complete his perfect outfit, he had on a pair of just-right fitting khakis, some fancy shoes that probably cost half of my tuition, and an expensive wool coat was draped over his arm.
“You look mighty spiffy today.” I winked to him and chuckled. A smile cracked on his lips and I felt proud for being the one responsible for that.
“And you look beautiful.” He admitted before leaning closer, looping an arm around my waist and pressing a kiss to my temple. I closed my eyes as his lips seemed to linger longer than usual.
When he pulled away he had a look of sadness on his face, but before I could ask why he wiped a smile on his face. He walked around me and entered the room.
“I see you’ve already ate, and without me?” He gasped sarcastically.
“Yeah. Sorry about that. It was brought up to me, and you know I’m not one to turn down free food.” I chuckled.
“Eh that’s okay because I already ate too.” He chuckled.
This conversation seemed to be going nowhere, and I don’t know what it was but it felt like Theo was different from the guy I’d left at the dining room last night. But I just decided to change the subject.
“I’l take the dishes down in a minute, but what are we getting up to today?” I asked kind of anxious to get out of this house.
“What do you want to do?” He asked as he stepped closer to me and wrapped his arms around my waist.
All the feelings of difference just fluttered away. Theo was getting back to normal now, and I smiled knowing my boyfriend was on the verge of being returned to me.
“Hmm...any cool places around here?” I asked.
“The city is actually pretty close. Wanna go see New York City?” He asked like it was no big deal.
I hadn’t seen the city since I was extremely young. I only remember hints of the Big Apple, so seeing it again like it was the first time sounded incredible.
“I would love to, but don’t we have lunch with Ethel though?” I asked looping my arms around his neck.
“We can have her push it back an hour, and if we leave right now we can go see anything you want.” He offered with a smile.
He still seemed a bit withdrawn, but I just chalked it up as to be the early hour. I assured myself he’d be himself again as soon as he was fully awake.
“Sounds good!” I smiled and went to pick up the platter, but he stopped me and took it himself. “I am capable of doing some things on my own, ya know?”
He just chuckled and walked ahead of me. “Hold on! Let me grab my coat!” I chuckled as I tried to my best to hurry and catch up with his long legs.
“Let’s get a move on, Miss Dawson. Lots to see.”
I followed closely behind him, excitedly ready to go see the city again.
We finally came to the kitchen and Theo dropped off the platter, just as I saw a man in a chef’s hat walk by. “Did you enjoy the waffles, miss?”
“Oh, yes! They were delicious. You should write a cookbook.” I suggested.
He chuckled as he continued to whisk a thick liquid in a bowl. “We’ll see about that, little lady.”
“Great to hear that. I’d definitely buy it!” I nodded to him before he walked off to the stove with a grin on his face.
“Good morning, my favorite lovebirds!” Ethel suddenly popped up from behind the chef.
“Good morning, Ethel.” I smiled to her.
She rounded the counter and walked up to me. She took my hands in her’s. “Don’t you just look absolutely darling? Doesn’t she, Theo?”
“She definitely does, Ethel.” I looked over to him to see a smile blooming on his face as I felt a blush blooming on mine. She chuckled as she noticed my crimson cheeks before looking between the both of us. Her eyes remained on Theo’s for a bit longer than mine, but cleared her throat to change the subject.
“So, what are you two up to today?” She asked as she dropped my hands and leaned against the island.
Theo looped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. “I’m taking Mya into the city to see everything.”
“Oh, doesn’t that sound nice?” She said with a small smile as she carried the platter over to a sink, but her eyes seemed to stay on the ground.
“Yeah. About lunch, I want to give Amaya the full experience so I was wondering if we could push our meal back about an hour?”
“Oh, that’s fine. Just don’t be late.”
“Yes, mam.” Theo mock saluted and I chuckled at his silly manner.
“Alright. Well you two better get going. See you later, okay?”
“See you later, Ethel.” I smiled to her before Theo quickly led me out of the kitchen and held my hand as he led me down multiple hallways.
“Slow down, Theo.” I chuckled as I tried my best to keep up, but we finally stopped when we came upon a door. It stood about 6 feet, was made of metal, and caused a dead end in this hall.
The door handle was even all decked out with a fancy security keypad on it. It looked like something straight out of a spy movie, which made me wonder what could possibly be behind this door that was so top secret or required so much protection.
I watched as he typed in the code and the door swung open. Theo offered me his hand as we stepped into the room that was engulfed in pure darkness. We took maybe two steps inside before Theo reached out and flipped a switch, which immediately caused rows upon rows of lights to flicker awake.
The whole room erupted with light and revealed two flawless lines of expensive cars. Majority of the vehicles were tones of silver, black, and white, but there was a few stray brightly colors of red, blue, yellow, and even an orange.
My eyes must’ve been wider than the sun as I stepped further into the room as I looked at all of the automobiles laid before me. I heard Theo chuckle from behind me as I continued to look around the room of vehicular beauty.
“Pick one.” He said as he pointed around the room. “Although I think the Lambo is my personal favorite.”
“Pick one? For what?” I asked confused.
“Well if we’re going into the city, we have to get there somehow don’t we?” He smiled.
“Oh, gosh. There’s too many to pick from though.” I bit my lip as my eyes darted from a BMW, to a Mercedes, Rolls Royce, an Audi, etcetera. The list went on and on. Some I didn’t even know the brand of, but there was no doubt in my mind that they had high price tags.
“How about...” I closed my eyes, spun myself a bit to confuse myself a bit and pointed my index finger in a random direction. “That one!”
Theo laughed at my actions and stepped around me to point to which car I had chose. “Well at least we’ll sort of blend in. I was praying you wouldn’t pick the Rolls Royce. Dad had it custom made and if we wrecked it I’m 99% sure he’d disown me.”
I opened my eyes to see what I had picked and it was a gorgeous car. I stepped closer to the car and reached out to touch it. I let my fingertips graze the cool exterior.
It was absolutely radiant. The color was a metallic silver and under the light it appeared to be sparkling. My hands traced over the brand logo and it’s colors of red, black, and gold. I examined it closer. The symbol looked like an old coat of arms cut into four sections. In the middle was a stallion and above it all it clearly read “Porsche.”
“The Porsche 911 Carerra S. Nice choice, Mya.” He chuckled as he smiled over to me.
I still stood there in complete shock as he walked over to a little cabinet in the corner of the room and swung open the door. Inside were lines of keys and I watched as Theo carefully selected a black key and closed up the cupboard. He tucked one hand in his pants pocket before swiveling back around pressing a button on the key.
Suddenly the car next to me roared to life and its headlights shone brightly in the dim garage. There was a sudden spark of excitement in my body. I was getting to see New York City with Theo all while riding around in a fancy shmancy car? I just had a feeling today, in complete contrast to yesterday, was going to be a very enjoyable day.
“Are you going to get in or just stare at the car all day?” Theo chuckled as he walked over to my door and held it open for me.
“Sorry. Just got a little distracted.” I shrugged with a small laugh before climbing in.
“Happens to the best of us, princess.” He smiled before closing the door.
He was calling me by my nickname again, which was a sign that the tenseness between us was finally wearing off. We were finally getting back to our old ways.
He climbed in and immediately zoomed off in the direction of the garage’s outer door.
The interior of the Porsche was just as extravagant as the exterior. It was all adorned with all of the latest trinkets of technology. All the leather was jet black, giving it a classy look along with all the silver trimmings. After I gave the interior of the car a good look over, I found myself not having anything to do.
The drive into the city started to feel like it would take an eternity. There were hundreds of trees with bare branches surrounding the road and they somehow made the journey feel extended. There was still an awkward silence between us that didn’t feel right, but it was slowly fading. I decided talking would be the best way to work through it.
“So what all happened after I left dinner?” I questioned.
I’d kind of been aching to tell him all about the time I spent with Will that night. To tell him all I got to see and how I felt even closer to him than before.
“Not much. We closed up the deal with Freeman, but it took forever to get rid of the old geezer. The man can drink,” He chuckled before he looked over to me with a remaining grin. “Mother was a little...difficult, but we eventually worked things out.”
He shifted his eyes from me and back to the road like there was something he specifically did not want to talk about. I was obligated to talk to him about his problems, mainly his devil-like mother.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You seem a little...off today.” I said as I reached out to hold his unoccupied hand.
He looked down to my hand and smiled before holding on even tighter. “Yeah. Everything is fine. You don’t need to worry about anything. Today’s about you and me.” He shifted his eyes back to the road before lifting my hand up to his lips and pressed a kiss to the back.
I instantly felt reassured. This was my Theo. The one I had fallen in love with. He was back and I was eternally grateful. If we could survive through this time with his parents, I know we could get through anything together.
The guilt I felt while lying to the woman who I was confident was the love of my life was instantaneous. I knew everything was the exact opposite of okay. Things couldn’t have been worse.
My mother was threatening me with having Amaya expelled from the college she worked so hard to be accepted into. The only way to dodge the threat was to break up with Mya.
Did I want to? Of course not! I love Mya more than anyone or anything. But there were obvious pros and cons to each scenario.
Dumping Amaya would have the positive of her being able to stay in her dream college and uphold her aspiration of graduating from the same university as her father. But the con of the situation would be that I would have to lose her...possibly forever.
Not breaking up with Amaya would result in her losing the hope of ever attending her favorite school in the country. But I would still be with her, but the guilt of being the reason in which she lost her dream would all be on me.
So it all comes down to whether I should be selfish or selfless, and sitting beside her right now I think I’ve finally come to a decision.
“Oh my gosh! Theo! Look at that!” Mya held my hand tight as she continued to point at literally everything that popped up on the screens in Times Square.
“Yeah,” I chuckled sarcastically. “The famous Coca-Cola sign is super fascinating.”
She playfully hit my chest as we continued to walk down the busy sidewalks and look around. “Shut up.”
We had been out and about for nearly two hours and we had seen almost everything she wanted to see. So far we’d been to Central Park, the Central Park Zoo, and Radio City Music Hall. She wanted to admire the signs in Times Square even though I tried to convince her on ten different occasions that they just looked like shiny billboards. She was persistent though and I knew from experience not to argue.
“Okay. Where to next?” I question as I sip from the hot cocoa that we decided on getting since it was still chilly outside despite the sun’s efforts to warm us up.
“Hmm,” She contemplated between locations on a map that she insisted that we’d pick up from a tourists booth at the beginning of our adventure. “Let’s hit up NY Public Library, then Grand Central Station.”
She snatched the drink out of my hand and tugged me along as she continued to walk in the direction of the house of books.
“The library? Seriously?” I chuckled as we dodged people left and right.
“Uh, yeah! It’ll be cool. It was in Ghostbuster, ya know?” She added like that was such a sell of the place. I felt like it was just a place where books lived, but Mya always found ways to find “boring” places fun and exciting.
“You are such a nerd.” I laughed.
“I am NOT!” She shouted but there was no doubting the grin growing on her face.
“Are too.” I mocked as I let go of her hand and quickly walked away from her, but I still continued to laugh as I kept looking back to watch her try as hard as he could to catch up with me with her short legs. You could see the frustration growing on her cute face, but the laughing lines were still noticeable around her mouth.
Well...they were noticeable until she tripped. What happened next all seemed to happen in slow motion, but there was no stopping inevitable. Especially from the distance that was between us, so I just stood and watched in horror as the next few moments played themselves out.
The white cup that she had her fingers curled around in her left hand tipped as Mya tripped over her own feet. In her clumsiness, she had somehow managed the cup’s lid to pop off and within seconds it was all over the front of her once white coat.
The brown liquid quickly spread and seeped into the fabric of her jacket. She immediately halted in her steps and moved her hair from her face to examine the damage of the chocolate beverage.
Her jaw was dropped and she was in completely shock, which is the reason I couldn’t contain my laughter. Mya was always accident prone and that had always been one of the many things I loved about her. It was always cute how much of a klutz she was, but despite her adorable way of being uncoordinated, the current look on her face at this moment appeared to be, well...deadly.
But her scarily calm facade immediately turned up into a wicked smile. Her eyes were locked on mine just before she bolted in my direction.
For being in jeans, she ran surprisingly fast. I knew she’d be onto me within seconds but I stayed rooted in my spot. When she had finally skidded to a stop, we were toe-to-toe. She looked slightly winded but there were still definite signs of frustration on her facial features.
“Something wrong?” I asked in a completely innocent voice.
“Um...yeah. You made me spill hot chocolate all over my new, white coat!” She said dramatically throwing her arms above her head.
Unfortunately she still had the slightly empty cup in her hand and ended up flinging the reminants of the drink onto people behind her.
“Hey! Watch where you’re flinging your coffee, you idiot!”
“What the hell?!”
The people who she had assaulted with hot beverage started to loom closer, which is why I reached out and grabbed Mya’s hand. I immediately bolted for the library before we could even hear the other strings of curses that were meant to come.
“Shouldn’t we stay behind and apologize?” She asked as he resistantly pulled on my hand and looked behind us.
“No. This is New York and if they weren’t expecting at least one bad thing to happen them today then they chose the wrong city to live in.” I told her as I tried to keep her eyes on the way we were walking.
She just chuckled and walked beside me. “You’re kind of a jerk, ya know?”
“Yeah.” I chuckled along with her. “It’s one of my better traits.”
“Yeah yeah. Here comes your whole macho douscheyness.” She laughed and started to breathe faster. “But hey can we stop running? I’m dying here.”
“Sure. Sorry for my extreme athleticism.” I apologized smugly.
She just rolled her pretty brown eyes and scoffed before before realizing we had made it to the building of books.
“Oh! We’re here!” She said enthusiastically before walking up the cement stairs with me trailing behind.
I followed closely behind her as we ascended the steps and passed the tall, white pillars. I watched Amaya as she stared in admiration at the building that was the home to thousands of books. We remained in the library for only about 15 minutes since we were on an extremely tight schedule.
Next stop was Grand Central Station. Why Amaya found such fascination in a train stop would always be a wonder to me, but I did tell her she could go anywhere and unfortunately she chose a place of transportation. If I’d known she liked them so much I would’ve take her on a date to the Greyhound bus station near school.
We made it to the train station in record time and of course Amaya was in complete awe. She always found such beauty in everything, but that was yet another thing I admired about her.
After Grand Central, we ended up at the Empire State Building, then the Brooklyn Bridge, and lastly the Statue of Liberty. I had wanted to take her Ellis Island since she loved places of history, but we sadly didn’t have enough time for the museum and lunch with Ethel. We had already pushed it back once, so I wouldn’t allow myself to do it again.
So after snapping a few pictures of Mya posing in front of the now-green lady, we decided on picking up a box of Ethel’s favorite cookies from her favorite bakery in the city. Then we rushed back home for lunch. As soon as we walked in the door the clock struck 1 PM.
Ethel was always a stickler for being on time, which is why I was truly thankfully that we were right on schedule.
“Oh! There you two are! I thought you weren’t gonna make it!” Ethel exclaimed in a relieved tone.
From years of knowing her I knew she would’ve been mad if we were late, but knowing I had escaped her scolding left me relieved.
“We almost didn’t make it on time...which is why we brought you these!” I lifted the white box as I told her with enthusiasm.
“You’re lucky I’m a nice and forgiving woman.” She said in a serious voice but I could tell she was fighting to keep her smile to herself. She walked in front of us, leading us from the foyer, through the kitchen, and into the staff’s dining room.
“Oh my gosh it smells so good in here!” Mya sighed beside me.
From years of living here and being around Ethel, I already knew what she had baked and I was truly stoked. It was my favorite, of course!
“It sure does. Now sit down! We haven’t got much time till that fancy pants gets here, so I’ll go grab the food!” Ethel said gesturing for us to take our seats immediately.
We did as we were told and plopped in chairs next to each other and began taking off our jackets. Just as she was about to leave out of the swinging door which connected directly to the kitchen, Ethel gasped.
“My dear, Amaya what happened to your coat?!” Both women’s eyes went wide as they realized the ruined coat in their midst. Mya’s eyes wide with embarrassment and Ethel’s wide with fear of not being able to save the cloth.
“Well...you see um...” Amaya stuttered and I noticed her cheeks beginning to glow a deep red. I noticed she’d like the attention to be on anyone but her.
“It’s a long story,” I chuckled to lighten the mood. “You might wanna sit down for this one.”
“Oh my goodness! Let me go grab the lunch! I’ll be right back!” And with that she rushed out the door.
I laughed as I watched her. I could tell she was intrigued. Typical Ethel...she always loved a good story. Unfortunately, our story was probably going to be disappoint her. After all it was just that Mya spilled her drink on herself.
“You okay, princess?” I questioned as I stroked her beet red cheek.
“Yeah I’m fine. Just a little embarrassed you know? I’m such a klutz. With all the sightseeing we did today. I kinda forgot that my coat had a huge brown stain on it.” She rubbed her forehead in humiliation.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’ll tell the story of a lifetime!” I winked to reassure her and she scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion.
“How are you gonna make it sound it exciting? All I did was—” She began to wonder aloud but Ethel swinging open the door made her snap her mouth shut.
“Now you two need to tell me all about this incident! I’m completely intrigued now!” She said as she set the glass pan and a big bowl of salad on the table.
“Wow! My favorite! Ethel, you shouldn’t have!”
“I hardly ever see you anymore. Of course I’m going to make your favorite! Baked macaroni and cheese casserole!”
“Well thank you. It smells heavenly!” I said as another waft of it came my way.
“You’re welcome, dear.” She sat in a chair across from us and began serving food onto each of our plates. “Now...tell me what happened to that poor coat.”
I looked to Amaya mischievously before turning back to Ethel.
“Well, you see, Ethel. There was a small store robbed today. And we were mere feet away from where it took place! The guy who robbed the place bumped into Amaya and made her spill her drink all over the front of her!” I told the story in vague detail since it was after all..a fake story.
“Then what happened?” Ethel gasped as she chewed on a piece of cheesy noodle.
“Yeah...what did happened next?” Mya gasped sarcastically from beside me. I kept the eye roll to myself and continued on with my story.
“Well I had no idea at the time that he had robbed somewhere...but I did know that he had rudely bumped into Amaya, so I stopped him. When I noticed the huge stacks of money in his hands I knew something was up.”
“Oh my goodness!!” Ethel said with her eyes bulging from her sockets. This story really had her intrigued apparently.
“So I kept ahold of him and called the police. Everything eventually sorted itself out. By the end of the whole thing, there was even a little crowd surrounding us and they even gave me an applause. It was a crazy day. Wish you had been there, Ethel.” I tsked before I scooped up another piece of casserole into my mouth and chewed into the deliciousness.
“Wow. That is certainly crazy. I’m just glad you two are alright!”
“Yeah me too.” Amaya agreed with a slight smirk on her lips.
“But anyways I can soak your coat, Miss Amaya. Have it good as new for you!” Ethel offered.
“Oh no. That’s okay. I don’t want to inconvenience you.” Mya politely turned down her proposal.
“No that’s okay. I’d be delighted to.” Ethel said again in a cheery voice.
Mya thought on it for a minute before finally agreeing to it. “Okay. If you really don’t mind.”
“Not at all! Having Theo around here as a child, I had to clean a lot of food stains.” She looked directly at me making Mya laugh. “Just leave it on your chair before you go and I’ll have it all cleaned by tonight.”
“Will do. Thanks again, Ethel.” She smiled to her as she began to unbutton her coat. Thankfully the stain didn’t get on her clothes underneath.
“Sure thing, honey.”
We sat there and talked for about an hour, and of course Ethel wanted to know everything! How we met, how long we’ve been together, and even our first kiss story. We, of course, declined to answer that last one. She also asked normal questions like how our classes have been going and about any friends we’ve made.
The conversations we had were friendly and I could tell their was a mutual liking between Mya and Ethel. Which was surprising on two levels since Ethel hated almost all girls I’ve brought here and since it usually takes Mya a long while to adjust to people.
I didn’t mind though, since the two most important people in my life were getting along.
We were on the topic of how Amaya had sent her roommate to the hospital when the conversation halted.
“Well, hold that thought because I really need to use the restroom.” Mya said as she stood up and tucked her chair back under the table. “Where is it again?”
“The closest one to here is by the front staircase. Fourth door on the left.” Ethel directed her.
“I can show you where it is.” I offered as I noticed her eyes darting around...something I noticed she did when she was trying to figure something out in her head.
“No that’s alright.” She smiled to me. “I think I’ve got it. You two are catching up. I’ll be back.”
With that she quickly walked out the door and I smiled after her. Typical Amaya to think of others.
I continued to eat, but stopped when I felt Ethel’s eyes staring into my soul. Slowly, I looked up from my food to see her sitting there with her arms crossed in an intimidating manner.
“What?” I asked with my mouth still full of macaroni. She didn’t respond just stared harder. “Seriously, Ethel. What is it? You’re scaring me. Is it Mya? Do you not like her? I could’ve sworn you did.” I said confused as I set my fork down.
She cleared her throat and sat up straighter. “First of all, don’t talk with you mouth full. You’re not a baby anymore so stop acting like one.” She scolded resulting in me immediately swallowing my food. “And secondly, of course I love Amaya. She’s the sweetest girl you’ve ever brought here!”
“I knew it!”
“Which is the exact reason I’m mad at you!” She yelled but quietly in case Mya was close. “Well...that and you lied about that robbery.”
“You didn’t believe my story? Ah, man. I need to work on my storytelling skills.” I muttered in an “aw shucks” kind of tone.
“Focus on the real problem here, Theodore Thompson!”
“What? I’m confused. You do like her...but you’re mad at me.?” I tried to piece the scenario together.
“Yes! I could tell from this morning. You’re trying to distance yourself from her. You weren’t acting yourself. Why are you trying to push away someone that actually makes you happy?” She was irritated now. I could tell that by the sound of her voice.
I nudged my plate to the side, suddenly I had lost my appetite.
“You don’t understand, Ethel.” I muttered not in the mood to talk about the unfortunate future.
“Well then make me understand, Theo. You know you can tell me anything.” She told me desperate to help.
“No. I can’t drag you into this.” I sighed.
“Theo? Does this have anything to do with your mother?”
When I didn’t answer she knew my answer, but she had no time to respond to this revelation since Mya had reentered the room.
I immediately plastered a smile back onto my face. “You find it alright?”
“Yeah. Took me some time and accidentally opened a coat closet, but I eventually got it.” She chuckled as she sat back beside me.
I laid my arm around the back of her chair and acted relaxed even though I was anything but. “We were just talking about getting started on desert! I’ve been eyeing that strawberry cake this whole time, and Ethel does make the best of course.”
I looked to Ethel to help me back up my story and she looked saddened but put on a tight-lipped smile to recover. “Yeah...” She chuckled as she looked around the table. “Silly old me! Looks like I’ve forgotten the cutting knife! Let me go grab one.”
And just like that all was back to normal...at least in Amaya’s eyes they were.