“It was such a delicious meal. Thank you, Ethel.” I smiled as we stood up from our chairs. I made sure to push my seat in with my soiled coat still laying on top the back.
“Oh, your welcome, child. It was such a pleasure to learn more about the girl that Theo absolutely raves about.” She had a grin on her face, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.
She gave me a quick nod to me before turning to look at Theo. He was gathering up all the dishes on the table, keeping his eyes down. Ever since I had come back from the bathroom he had been a bit drawn back.
But I didn’t bother to ask. Ethel probably was scolding him about how fake that robbery story was. I softly chuckle as I remember all of his laughable details. No one in their right mind would believe that tale.
Both Ethel and I watched as he carried every single plate, glass, and fork. Ethel and I walked behind him, making sure he didn’t drop anything. Surprisingly, he didn’t.
He placed everything in the deep sink of the kitchen where Ethel was already beginning to roll up her sleeves to clean our messes.
“Need any help, Ethel?” I asked as kindly as I could.
“No. I’m fine, dear. You go have fun.” She said as a dimple indented in her one cheek as she referred for me to go with Theo.
Theo had already grabbed my hand and was attempting to hastily drag me out of the room, but just as we were about to make our exit, I caught Ethel filling the sink and guilt immediately overcame my senses.
I slipped my hand from Theo’s and turned back around.
“My, what are you doing?” Theo asked in a slightly annoyed tone, causing me to reverse back to look at him.
“The least we can do is help Ethel, Theo. She went through all that trouble to make that meal for us.” I whispered back in an equally bitter tone.
Why as he so opposed us being around Ethel? He loved Ethel like she was his own mother. Why was he resisting doing something as simple as the dishes with her?
Without another word from him, I rolled my sleeves up and went to assist her with the chores.
To say Ethel looked surprised was an understatement. She looked astonished but quickly wiped the look from her face.
“I thought I told you didn’t need any help, missy.” She said it with her yellow-gloved hands on her hips and her one eyebrow quirked sassily.
I knew I had to say the right thing here. “You raised the most important person in my life, and I know that dishes are nothing comparison, but it’s the very least I could do for you. Let me help you out?” I pleaded but I slapped on the sweetest look possible to help hurry her decision along.
This time she didn’t hold back her shock. There was a slight grin on her lips as she nodded her head in approval. Still silent, I watched her bend down to retrieve a pair of gloves for myself.
I accepted them gladly and with on my face beaming, I slipped them over my hands.
I looked around for Theo and found him standing in the place I had left him, but this time he looked less bitter. Less annoyed. He looked different, more cheery and more carefree. I watched as he followed suit in rolling up his sleeves and made his way over to the sink. I grinned knowing I finally got my way and without as much arguing as I previously thought there’d be.
After the last dish was finally dried and put away, we shared our gratitude towards Ethel once again before leaving out the swinging door.
We didn’t have anything to do for another few hours when another dinner took place, so I convinced Theo to take me up to his room. He was surprisingly obliging with my request. Being the reserved person he is, I thought he’d put up more of a fight before taking me somewhere so important to him.
Ever since we’d gotten here, this was the one thing I had been looking forward to. It was the place where he grew up and for some odd reason, I was dying to see it. Maybe because I wanted to see another portion of his life other than the present? I don’t know what exactly it was but I could hardly contain my excitement.
We climbed the monstrous staircase, and instead of heading down the hall which led to my bedroom we turned the opposite way. I followed Theo closely as he held my hand the whole way. After we passed what felt like a hundred doors, he finally stopped at a wooden one close to the end of the hallway.
His left hand continued to be wrapped around mine and his right hand reached up to capture the doorknob in his palm.
“Ready?” He asked me.
I nodded quickly and with my answer, he pushed the door open. Within seconds Theo was pulling me inside and closing the door swiftly behind me.
“If my mom knew you were in here, I’m pretty sure she’d kill me.” He chuckled nervously.
I continued to hold his hand and looked at him with a grin, reassuring him that we’d be fine. In this moment, there was a calmness that had taken over me. Oddly enough, Theo’s room really gave off a serene energy.
I take my slide my hand out of Theo’s and step further into the bedroom. The walls are a deep navy and the floor is a deep colored hardwood. The lamps are oddly shaped but give off a natural glow. The bed is what I’m assuming is a king due to its large size, but is decked out in grays and dark blues. The whole room seems to be perfectly color coordinated.
Directly across from the bed is a flat screen on a jet black tv stand with every gaming console placed underneath. Two charcoal-colored saucer chairs sit perfectly symmetrical in front of the tv. Beside it, stood a tall shelving unit filled with every game on the face of Earth.
I run my fingers over the titles as I read each one, and when I’ve read each one I continue to adventure the room. I move my eyes to the corner of the room to see he has both a window seat and a sliding glass door. The door, of course, leads to his own private balcony, which seems like a typical (over the top) Mrs. Thompson move.
I continue going around the room and see he has a desk all set up with what I’m assuming was the latest model of an Apple iMac. His laptop sat untouched on the window seat.
I finished observing the room and couldn’t help but notice there was so much missing from his bedroom.
“This is an amazing room,” I said as I continued to look around in awe.
“What’s so amazing about this? It’s just a room.” Theo admitted as we walked further in the door.
“Not just a room. It’s your room!” I chuckle as I playfully slap his arm.
“Exactly. Just a room.” He chuckled along with me.
“No. It’s your room. You grew up in here. You went through your teenage phases in here. A bedroom tells a lot about people, ya know?” I tell him as I continue circling the room.
I’ve noticed every detail of this room, and not one single detail of this room had anything to do with Theo. It’s like every single detail that connected him with this room had been erased. Was he sure this was his room?
“So what’s your diagnosis, doc?”
I’m taken aback and a bit confused by such an odd question. “Huh?”
“You’ve been staring around my room for the last five minutes like a crazy person like you’re trying to solve some big mystery. So what’s wrong with it?” He questions intrigued with one eyebrow lifted higher than the other.
“Nothing’s wrong with it,” I tell him as I shrug one shoulder.
Theo looks suspicious as he squints his eyes and leans in closer. “Uh-huh.”
“What?” I ask innocently.
He just continues to stare at me but a smirk is growing on his face.
“What? Is there still food stuck in my teeth?” I wonder aloud as I cover my mouth and begin to run my tongue along my front and most noticeable teeth.
We had eaten with Ethel forever ago, but it really wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve gone around this whole time with junk embarrassingly crammed in my teeth.
“Nope. Your teeth are perfect, I promise.”
“Then why do you seem like you’re up to something?” I questioned back as I crossed my arms.
“I’m not up to something,” He chuckled. “But you seem really intrigued by my room, and I think I know why.”
His hands made their way into the pockets of his khaki pants as he slyly walked over to me.
“And what could you possibly think I’m so intrigued by your room about?” I asked curiously.
He couldn’t possibly know what I was thinking about in this moment. Could he?
“Oh, yeah I do.” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “You’re wondering how many girls I’ve brought up here.”
My jaw immediately dropped and my face instantly reddened. Not even close.
“Not even close!” I slapped his chest. “Why would I possibly be thinking about that in this moment?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you’re a little bit jealous?” He said as he slowly raised his shoulders and quickly let them drop.
My eyes widen before I could stop them. Of course, he would think that’s where his mind would be. Always in the gutter.
But now that he’s brought the topic up, I really am starting to wonder how many girls he’s had in this room with him on special rendezvouses.
Normally I’m not a jealous person, but now that it’s out in the open I began to imagine all the supermodel-like girls he’s had brought to this room. I bet he had sex in the very spot my feet were planted. My face screwed up in a disgusted way before I could stop it. Sorry, it’s a reflex.
I moved from the spot I stood from and quickly walked over to the glass door at the edge of the room. Of course, Theo had himself a balcony where he could oversee the backyard which unsurprisingly had an in-ground pool, lavish patio area, and a nicely-sized guest house.
Nothing really surprised me around here anymore. I bet they have their own petting zoo around here somewhere.
I gazed out the window that was taller than me and noticed it had begun to snow outside. The weatherman had predicted a light snowfall, and I watched as the beautiful white fluff had started to coat the ground.
It was beautiful. Such a captivating event to watch, even if most people categorized it as something so simple. Snow was winsome at the very least.
Each and every snowflake was unique in its own way. But within seconds it would land and join millions of others, and within days or weeks, it would all just melt. All that beauty just to vanish? It just didn’t seem fair, did it?
Snowflakes were a lot like people. All had their differences and there were billions of us on this planet. But all of us ended up on the ground, all contributed their beauty to the world, but eventually, all would vanish without a trace.
I guess you could say the same for relationships. Every relationship had their contrasting aspects, but all have their own beauty. But not all vanish. Some vanish with death and others with disagreements or betrayal, but true love lasts forever and luckily I think I found my forever love.
Suddenly two large hands capture around my shoulders and by habit, I leaned into him. I instantly breathe in and feel a sense of protection. Theo always had that effect on me, no matter what the circumstances that always would be the case.
In that moment I knew I could care less how many women had been up here. The past is the past. Theo was mine now and I knew deep down he’d never betray me like that, and I wouldn’t ever betray him.
“I was just joking, you know?” Theo whispered in my ear before leaving a kiss on my temple.
I turned my head to look up at him and he looked completely genuine. No hints of comedic humor remained on his lips or in his eyes. Just hopes of redemption.
“I know.” I gave him a small smile before turning back to the window.
“That’s it? Just ‘I know?’ Is this some type of test?” He asked skeptically.
I chuckled before I turned back around. “No. It’s not a test. I just don’t care how many girls have been up here, as long as I’m the only girl here with you now.”
Theo’s lips suddenly tilted up, showing his perfect teeth before he looped his arms around my waist to bring me closer. For a minute we just stand there in the moment, watching each other. Then his sooty eyelashes fall to look down on my face. His right-hand moves up from my waist and to my hair.
“You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, you know that?” He says randomly as gently brushes the hair that currently curtains my face and pushes it over my shoulder. His palm comes up to capture my cheek and instinctively I lean into him and soon feel the corners of my lips upturn.
“On the inside and out. Just so perfect.”
I look down to try and hide the blush that was beginning to grow across my cheeks. His sudden directness had caught me off guard.
I raise my head back up but keep my eyes trained on Theo’s chest, rather than his face, like a normal person would in a conversation.
“I knew from the first time you yelled at me that you’d be something.” He chuckled.
I smiled at the memories of our first meeting.
“You were all like ‘Could you turn that phone off!’” He was sure to do the phrase in a high-pitched voice, which sounded nothing like me.
“I asked if you could turn it on silent, not off!” I corrected him smugly.
“Either way. I remember seeing you for the first time and I was just taken aback by how stunning someone could look in just a simple pair of leggings, a sweatshirt, and some Converse.” He chuckled as he relayed the memories of that day.
“And I remember chasing you out of there. You were astonishingly quick for someone with such short legs. I was surprised I even caught up with you.”
“I walk faster when I’m irritated, you know this.” I chuckled as my forehead came to rest on Theo.
“Oh, I know. Trust me, I know.” He said, with what I assumed was a smile, as he wrapped his hand around the back of my head and began to run his hand soothingly down my hair.
“And then you told me I wrote like a dude.” I laughed.
“Again. Sorry. Past me didn’t have the privilege of having such a great knowledge of Amaya Dawson. Luckily, I do now.”
We stayed quiet just soaking in all the memories of our reminiscing. Who would have thought that I would’ve ended up with the gorgeously tanned jerk from The Grind?
Definitely not me.
“Hey, Amaya?” He asks pulling me out of my own thoughts.
“What is it that you were wondering about?” He asks curiously.
“What do you mean?” I question as I lean back a bit to see his face.
“You seemed really interested in my room. You were just staring off into space like a scientist stares at her new subject.”
“Oh, yeah. That.” I chuckled nervously.
Now that I’d had time to think about it, the thought of me questioning Theo where all his belongings are seems invasive and rude. Maybe this was just all he kept in his room.
“Yeah,” He chuckles too. “That....what exactly is that?”
“Oh. It’s nothing. I forgot.” I shrug. “Psh. Me and my clumsy brain.”
He pulls me closer to him with an all-knowing grin. “What is it, Mya?”
“I don’t need to know now. It’s your business, not mine.” I say in a nonchalant tone before casting my eyes away from him. Deep down I really really wanted to know the truth, but I can let this one go.
I feel his index finger and thumb capture my chin and raise it so I have to look into his perfect cocoa eyes. “My business is your business, princess. Ask me anything and I’ll tell you.”
I knew there was no use arguing. It would just be a back and forth fight between the two of us until I finally gave in and asked him the truth. So I might as well just save us both some time.
“Fine.” I gave in and a triumphant grin soon takes over his lips. He patiently waits for me to ask and I take a deep breath and begin.
“I was just kind of wondering..,” I shrug to prove that it’s no big deal. “Ya know...where all your stuff was.?”
“What was that?” He asks cupping a hand to his ear. “You kind of mumbled.”
I rolled my eyes and cleared my throat to speak a bit louder. “I was just wondering where all your stuff is.?”
“Huh?” He questions again.
“I was just wondering where all your stuff is.?” I say louder.
“What’s that?” He basically yells and that’s when I realize he’s messing with me.
“Where are all your memorable belongings???!!!!” I shout loud enough to try and overpower him and end up in a laughing at just how ridiculous we are acting.
“I know. I heard you the first time.” He chuckles. “Just wanted to see that classic grin of yours.”
I roll my eyes at him but the grin remains.
“But to answer your question, all my “belongings” are over here.” He grabs ahold of my hand and leads me to a door that I had completely overlooked.
I had actually overlooked 3 doors. One led to the attached bathroom, the second to his walk-in closet, and the third he was leading me to right now. I had no idea what lay dormant inside, but I was about to find out.
We reached the door and Theo took a deep breath. “You ready?”
I nodded with an encouraging smile.
I didn’t know what was behind the door, but I’m sure it was just another closet with his old little league trophies and maybe some pictures.
Theo’s hand wrapped around the handle and twisted. The door creaked open to a dark room. I couldn’t see two feet in front of me, but he must have noticed me squinting my eyes, attempting to see.
He chuckled at my actions and reached around me till his hand landed on a light switch. And with one simple tap, lights turned on one by one, lighting a surprisingly large room.
With my mouth agape and my eyes wide, I shuffled inside. The room was what you’d imagine an ultimate men’s cave to be. The main theme of the pace seemed to be like the interior of a log cabin.
There was a fireplace underneath the large plasma screen hanging above the mantle, which had even been decorated for the holidays. I’d bet my hat (if I was wearing a hat) that Ethel had decorated in here for him.
There were two cozy leather recliners sitting side-by-side where you could easily prop your feet up to watch a football game. All while getting your feet toasty by the fire.
On the far end of the room, there was a sophisticated pool table with an elegant dark glossy finish. Near it, there was an air hockey table, foosball, a jukebox machine, and even a mini-fridge. There was only one small window that overlooked the snowy yard beside the mansion. I already knew this was Theo’s go-to place to get away. I mean who wouldn’t want to get away here?
This was the ultimate man cave, but it still gave off a homey feel. This room was unlike all the others in the house, less modern and cold. There was a warmth to this room, like Mrs. Thompson’s frigid fingers hadn’t yet had the opportunity to make it her own.
“I designed it myself.” Theo smiled with pride.
“It’s very you.” I chuckled admiring his mantuary once again.
I looked around the room once more and noticed I had completely neglected the one wall. I took short but quickened steps to be able to see it up close. It was a trophy case. But it was dim and I couldn’t make out all the awards that were strategically placed on the glass shelves.
“Here.” Theo offered as he switched another light on next to the glass case.
The lights came to life all around the awards and my mouth once again dropped in awe. The whole case was completely filled with pictures, plaques, trophies, banners, and medals. Was there something this guy didn’t win?
I started at the far end of the shelf, noticing it started with his younger years and worked up to the present. I noticed Theo watching me intently as I went from picture to picture, and trophy to trophy. There was a lazy smile on his face like this was a sight he really enjoyed watching.
I smiled back at him, truly happy he had taken down a wall enough to show me more about him.
“What’s this?” I asked curiously as I pointed to a picture of a young Theo, of maybe 10 or 12, wearing a nice little suit while shaking a hand of a tall and expensively dressed man.
Theo stepped closer to the case and partly shut his eyes, an attempt to see better. “Oh! That’s me meeting Roger Goodell! Nice guy.”
I nodded. “Uh-huh...”
“You don’t know who that is,” I watched as his one eyebrow quirked. “Do you?”
“Yeah of course! Psh!” I said with squinting eyes and a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders.
Theo smirked like he knew something I didn’t, and at this very instant, he did. He crossed his arms and leaned against the trophy case. “Oh yeah? Then who is it?”
“Ummm...that’s that guy. From the thing...you know the thing on tv!” I took a stab in the dark for the answer.
There was no doubt in my mind that the guy in the picture was famous. I’m sure the Thompsons knew hundreds of famous people.
“Come on, Amaya! If you get it right, I’ll let you know what we’re doing tonight.” He winked as if that would bribe me further.
Well it kind of did. With that gorgeous face and that killer smile, he could convince me to do just about anything.
“Ugh. I don’t know! I wanna know what you have planned, but I don’t know who that guy is!” I pointed my thumb in the direction of the Goodin guy...Goodin? Goodlaw? I can’t even remember what the guy’s last name was. “Can’t you just tell me?”
“Okay...he is one of the sports reporters for,” I thought hard about it....for like two seconds. “ESPN!”
I felt confident with my answer and the shocked look on Theo’s face proved my shot in the dark answer was correct.
“Wow.” He said in a level tone. I smirked smugly waiting for him to admit defeat. “That’s another wrong answer. Guess what we’re up to is gonna be a surprise!”
“What?! I thought I got it right!” I shouted.
“Nope. Far from it actually.”
“Then why did you sound so shocked?”
“Because your answer was so far from right that it actually stunned me.” He chuckled.
“Well, who is the guy then?”
“My dad knew him back in the day actually. Their paths crossed somehow, but he’s actually the commissioner of the NFL,” Theo told me with a flat look on his face.
“How the hell was I supposed to know that?” I threw my hands up in disbelief.
“I thought you knew football.” Theo scoffed playfully.
“College football. Not NFL. I don’t watch it.” I shrugged.
“So you only like watching me?” He waggled his eyebrows before I playfully slapped his arm and laughed.
“NFL is what got me started playing, actually. I loved the game from the very beginning though.” He admitted with a knowing smile as he looked at the old picture.
“I’m really glad you found something you love,” I said smiling as I continued to look through the awards with amazement.
“Yeah,” He hesitates for a moment and I suddenly feel his eyes lift from the glass case and to me. “Me too.”
I turn to see him staring at nothing other than me. I look into his eyes and notice they seem a shade darker than usual, almost like coffee rather than his usual chocolate hue.
I watch as he takes a step closer to me and his palm wraps up around the side of my face. His charcoal-black eyelashes sweep over his eyes as he looks down to me. I watch as his perfectly pink and soft lips part to speak.
“I love you.” He admits unexpectedly.
My eyebrows scrunch together in confusion at his sudden declaration. I look up to him to see his eyes trained on me with looks of nothing but adoration and warmth. But before I could ask about his random timing he leans down and places his mouth on mine. We instantly move in sync and I feel the sparks immediately ignite between us.
They never die and are always there. Those fireworks that every early couple admits to having, they were right here between Theo and I.
A lot of couples say theirs die over time, but I have a deep feeling that ours will never fade. My connection with Theo was one in a million. Something that could never be replicated and something to cherish.
The kiss quickly picked up and just as I was about to suggest we take this to his bed, Theo began kissing a line down my jaw and across my collarbone. A soft sigh escaped my lips before I could stop it and my cheeks immediately bloomed with color.
Theo’s head immediately pops up and he stares into my eyes before he smiles sweetly and presses a simple kiss to each cheek before he suddenly bends down and hoists me up. My legs instinctively wrap themselves around his tight torso and my arms around his neck. His large and muscled arms hold me up by staying wrapped around my waist.
Theo wastes no time in getting me back into his room and it isn’t long before my back softly lands on his bed. I waste no time as I pepper little kisses along his perfect and sharp jawline which I can tell surprised Theo but he gives no objections.
The kissing and spark-filled touches do nothing to relieve the sexual tension that continues to fill up the room, so I make the bold step in reaching down to the hem of my sweater. I fiddle with it as I watch Theo staring down at me in disbelief and tenderness. My breathing picks up at his watchful and lusting eyes before I finally pull the thick sweater over my head.
I’m left in my delicate bra and jeans. I immediately feel self-conscious being exposed in front of Theo for the first time, but his wide eyes and huge grin slightly reassure me.
“So beautiful.” He says in a husky tone as he looks at my face and down to my chest.
“Are you sure you want this, Mya?” He asks looking deep into my eyes.
“Yes. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life.”
He smiles boyishly hearing that and his lips disappear into my neck. Another sigh escapes my mouth before I can even try to stop it. Not that I care to stop it this time.