The Football Player's Roommate

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Chapter 56.

3rd Person's Point of View

Cecilia Martins felt guilt immediately rise in her stomach as she watched the scene from a random third story bedroom. Amaya Dawson, the poor girl whom she had met just yesterday, was hastily climbing into her new car and tearing out of the driveway. Luckily she managed to avoid several expensive vehicles along the way.

Cecilia knew the whole thing was her fault. Amaya and Theo breaking up was all on her, but it’s not like she had a choice. She had been set up.

“You did well.” A voice sounded out in the dark room from behind her. The devilish speech immediately sent shivers down her spine. The person soundlessly walked from the door to stop right beside her.

“I don’t care about my performance.” She moved away from the evil person as quickly as she could. She shifted to stand at the other side of the room. “I did what you told me to. Now are you going to finish your end of the deal?”

Without saying a word the person held out a large envelope stuffed so full with dollar bills it was about to burst. “It should all be there. Enough to cover the divorce attorney, and then some to live on. It’s the amount we agreed on and if I may say so myself, it’s more than generous.”

“Just shut up and give me what you owe me.” Cecilia said and took no time in ripping the money-packed envelope from the person’s hands.

Her employer chuckled at her hasty actions. “Someone’s feisty today. Be careful, Cece. You don’t know half of who you’re dealing with.”

Being called Cece had been a real low blow. That was the one nickname her lover had called her and she had always adored it. But having the sweet name come from this vile creature’s mouth had almost ruined the name for her all together. “I know enough. You are just the worst person I know, Camilla. What could that sweet girl have possibly done to make you hate her so much?”

Camilla’s demeanor had changed completely from joking to serious and bitter. Cecilia knew immediately it was time for her to get away.

“That is none of your business. Now go. You have a lawyer to call, don’t you?” Camilla shooed her out of the room as she continued to watch the brand new Range Rover bolt out of the long driveway.


Theo

I stayed in my room for what felt like the longest time ever. I just stood there staring at my door, waiting for a certain red dress to swish its way through the entrance.

But time passed and as time kept passing, my eyes continued to glance down at my Rolex. Ten minutes turned to twenty, and twenty turned to sixty. Sure, the Thompson house was packed to its capacity, but there was no way it would take a whole hour for her to find me.

My first emotion was concern. Where could she be? Was she alright?

I bolted from the room and my pace picked up as I trekked along the path that led downstairs. My expensive black dress shoes had never seen such speed. With my mother around, I wondered if Amaya was in any danger. My mother was almost always a terrible person, but she would never physically hurt Mya, would she?

As I made it to the top center of the grand staircase, I overlooked the guests mingling below but still no extravagant ruby dress. Just a sea of every color but the one I was trying so desperately trying to find. I hurried down the steps, and began to scramble to find at least one person who had seen her lately.

Many said they hadn’t seen the beauty in the red dress since she had disappeared through the kitchen door. So I went to the one person who had seen us last, and the main person who I had put all my trust in since I was a young child.

Ethel.

When I found her she was still bustling around the kitchen and ordering people around. She was hard at work and I hated to bother her, but I was completely determined to find Amaya.

“Ethel, have you seen Mya?” I asked breathless. My lungs were trying to keep up with me but were failing. My heart seemed to be going three times faster than its normal pace. All the possibilities of what could be happening were absolutely nerve-wrecking.

She took a deep breath, probably upset I was disrupting her reign of terror, but she still replied. “Not since you two went outside. Why?”

All the waiters shuffled back out the door with flutes of champagne and an abundance of finger foods to cart around to the guests. Seeing that all her subjects were now gone, Ethel took a sigh of relief as she walked over to the table and seated herself.

She looked exhausted and I suddenly felt bad to burden her anymore. Ethel truly held this place together and on top of everything she was always helping me out with my crises and caring for me. She was always working and I realized this wasn’t her job. It was time for me to work things out on my own.

“I just haven’t been able to find her. Sorry to bother you, Ethel. I’ll talk to you later.” I shouted running out the door which led to the snow-covered yard that lay outside.

I was right about needing to handle this on my own. But where would I even start? I let out a frustrated groan and looked up to the sky.

"Where are you?" I inwardly asked Amaya, wishing she was still by my side.

Almost like she was here and pointing me to clues, a small trail of footprints showed themselves. They were leading away from the mansion and towards the front entranceway. I followed them and silently thanked Amaya for not covering her tracks.

Her trail ended leading me to the valet’s stand, meaning she had most likely already left. But I had to be certain.

“Anything we can help you with?” The one valet asked me.

“Um yeah. Have you guys seen a brunette in a big red dress by chance?” I questioned.

“Oh you mean Miss Dawson? With the Range Rover?” He recalled.

I found it odd that he knew exactly who I was talking about with such little details, but I didn’t question it.

“Yeah that’s her! Did she leave already?!” I asked frantically already coming up with a plan to find her.

“I’d say about 40 minutes ago? Isn’t that about right, George?” He asked the second valet next to him.

“Hmm? What’s up?” He asked looking up from his clipboard as he handed off another pair of keys to a couple that were just leaving.

“Miss Amaya Dawson in the red dress?”

“Oh yeah! She was smoking! Cute face and a great rack.” He kept his eyes on the papers with his head nodding and a smirk growing on his lips. My anger immediately sent from 0 to 100, and I felt my hands turn up into fists.

As he took his eyes from the clipboard he must’ve seen the rage and tension swirling in my facial features because he quickly cleared his throat. “So yeah...I’d say it’s been about 35 to 40 minutes.”

He’s lucky I was in a rush or else I’d smash his face in. I exhaled, trying to calm myself down as I un-balled my tightly knuckled fingers from their rage-filled entrapment.

“Alright thanks for the help.” I muttered before starting my travels back into the house. But before I made it to the door I heard whispers.

They were terribly masked whispers, so I heard every word.

“Seriously. If that girl ever left that Thompson dude, I’d surely tap that.” I could hear the grin on his face.

My anger immediately sparked to every nerve in my body. I was in a rush, for sure, but I when it comes to making things right I always have time.

Before I could even stop myself my feet were carrying out me back over to the valet stand and my hand was sailing through the air to connect with the dousche canoe’s eye socket.

As soon as the deed was done, I pulled back and looked down at what I had done. I didn’t feel guilt, and I didn’t feel atonement. The only emotion that was flowing through my body was pure satisfaction in hitting that asshole pervert.

“Next time think before you go on and on about how hot my girlfriend is. I know she’s “smoking,” believe me, but she’s only mine. Enjoy the black eye, champ!” I gave him a playful hit on the shoulder, to which he flinched.

I chuckled at his actions as I walked around the man balled up in a fetal position and into the front entrance of my house. I managed to dodge many conversations by just avoiding all eye contact and walking directly to the garage. After making sure no one had seen me and punching in the code, I swiftly opened the door.

I flicked the lights on and grabbed the first pair of keys my fingers landed on, happening to be a fast little Audi. Just what I had needed.

I picked up pace and opened the driver’s side door, but before I could securely shut the door behind me a voice sounded out from the shadows.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

I’d know that voice from anywhere and I unfortunately knew it was going to slow down my chase. No question about it.

Her heels elegantly clicked against the smooth cement until they were standing between me and my door, preventing me from going anywhere anytime soon.

“You know where I’m going. Now move. You’ve done enough don’t you think?” I scoffed bitterly.

“Neither of us are going anywhere, Theo.”

“Oh is that what you think, mother?” I smirked wickedly before quickly turning the key. The ignition sparking to life beneath me.

Just as I was about to tear out of the garage with mother far behind me, she quickly ripped open the back door and climbed inside. She must’ve known my plan to race out of here as quickly as possible with her in my rear view mirror.

But I didn’t care about her being with me. She was no distraction of where I really needed to be. With Mya.

So against her loud yells of demands, I bolted from the garage. Guess she’d just have to make the journey with me since I had no time to get a different car or to convince her to get out.

It was definitely going to be a long trip.


Amaya

As soon as I had hit road that wasn’t the Thompson’s driveway, I just drove. I hadn’t even cared what direction I was going in or whether it was getting me anywhere. I just desperately needed to put distance between me and that house quickly.

I was driving and a blubbering mess for about an hour when I suddenly realized that I had left all my belongings behind. My money, credit card, and even my driver’s license. I mean not every girl stuffs those in her bra to go to a fancy party, but if I had known this is where the night was leading I would have done just that.

But I didn’t. I didn’t foreshadow Theo dumping me or running away from the Thompson estate, but all of that happened and I had no idea what to do. Luckily my dress had hidden pockets, so I had been carrying my phone on me.

So as soon as I could, I pulled off to the side of the road and dialed the number of the one person who would always be there and care for me no matter what happened.

After three rings her sweet voice came over the speaker.

“Amaya, sweetie? Are you alright?” By the coarseness of her voice I knew she had just woke up.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m sorry. Did I wake you up?” I sniffled.

“No no no. I’m fine, sweetie. What’s the matter I know you and you never call me this late unless its an absolute emergency.”

I inhaled deeply and before you now it my voice cracked and I was a sobbing mess.

“Theo broke up with me and I just had to get out of there so I ran away and I left all my stuff behind at his house, mom. I’m on my way home, but I’m over 1,400 miles away from Louisiana and I can’t make it without any money.” I cried as I described my full dilemma to her listening ears.

She remained silent as she tried to take the next few seconds to process all the information and come up with a solution. And within record speed she had an elaborate plan.

“Okay first of all, where are you?”

I immediately sent her my address.

“Okay yeah I just got your message. Hold on, and let me do some research.” She said and I heard her moving items around on what I assumed was her desk. I heard typing and clicking and I grew more and more anxious, hoping she’d go faster. I could practically see her with her little blue reading glasses squinting at the screen of her computer as she tried to quickly read. I had missed her so much, and it was hard to believe it’d been a whole month without seeing her face. I was so ready to be home and to forget all that had happened these last few days.

“Okay. I’m going to send you the address of somewhere you can get transport and I’ll send you some money through the phone. You can transfer it to pay for anything you need.”

I was inwardly thanking myself that I taught her how to transfer money by cell phone before I left for school.

“Sounds good, mom. What’s the transport?” I asked.

“Well there’s an airport about–”

I didn’t even let her finish.

“It’s too expensive, mom.” I had no money on me and there was no way I’d let my mom pay several hundreds of dollars for a one way ticket.

“Alright. This says there is a bus stop coming up in about 20 miles, can you get there?” She questioned and as I could feel my tears drying onto my face, I checked the gas tank.

I had a quarter of it left which would be plenty to get me another 20 miles. I nodded my head before realizing she couldn’t see my actions.

“Yeah I can get there.”

“Are you driving right now?” She questioned.

She had always been a stickler about me being on my phone while driving.

“No, mom. I’m in a cab.” I lied. There was no point in telling her the truth. I was going to give the car back. I wanted nothing to do with the Thompson family, and keeping this car definitely kept a connection between us.

So I planned to drive to the bus station and leave it in the parking lot. I’d call someone to pick it up later, but now just wasn’t the time.

I was focused on one thing right now. And it was getting home to Louisiana to be with my mom for the rest of my holiday.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come pick you up, sweetheart?” My mother asked.

I couldn’t make my mom drive that long just to come get me. “No, mom. That’s alright. I’ll be fine on my own. I don’t want you to have to drive that far. It’s too much.”

“No no no. You’re my baby, and I know you’re in pain. You shouldn’t be alone right now. Let me just get my stuff together and-” She stopped speaking and from the clattering sound I knew she was digging through her junk drawer in search of her car keys. She was always losing them.

“No, mom. That’s alright. I really just could use some time to myself. I promise I’ll call you as soon as the bus makes it to Louisiana.” I was hoping she wouldn’t fight me on this.

“Are you sure? Will you be okay?” She still sounded worried.

“Yeah, mom. I’ll be fine. I’m nearly 20 years old. I swear I’ll be fine,” I chuckled. “but I’ll see you as soon as possible. I’ll text you when the money comes through.”

“Text me when you get on the bus too. Tell me how long you’ll be, and the address of the closest bus stop you can make it to. I’ll see you soon, sweetie.”

“Alright, mom.” I chuckled as I wiped my eyes, completely forgetting about my makeup. It had to have been a mess by now.

“Alright. I love you, sweetheart.”

“I love you too.” I sadly smiled to myself. The last few days had been hell, but I couldn’t wait to be with my mom again. I really needed her shoulder to cry on and to finally be home.


Theo

After only five minutes of silence on this little road trip, my mom had unsurprisingly been fighting with me. Mainly about turning the car around and forgetting about Mya forever.

My best bet was she was doing this just to distract me, but that still didn’t stop me from fighting back.

“For the millionth time, mother, no! We are not turning around. You shouldn’t have climbed in the car if you wanted to be home. You knew what was going to happen.” I rolled my eyes and continued to pick up speed.

“Well someone had to stop you from making a big mistake!”

I seriously considered pulling over and dropping her off in the middle of nowhere, but it was officially winter and freezing outside. Unlike her I wasn’t cold hearted enough to do something so cruel, so I just continued to drive, ignoring her presence.

“Amaya is not a mistake.” I voiced angrily, not able to forget her saying that.

“But she is, and if you do catch up with her and make your amends, I hope you know our deal is off. She’ll still be kicked out of the university and her family will be on the streets soon enough. And you’ll have no one to thank but yourself.”

I remained silent for a time, taking in everything she had been running her mouth about. I knew she had it in her to pull through with everything she had claimed.

She had absolutely no empathy for others. All she cared about was herself and getting her way. But no part of her “plan” benefitted her, so I still had no idea why she had wanted to do all this in the first place.

“Oh. No snarky remark? That’s odd for you, Theo.” She said in a vicious tone.

I kept quiet, knowing it was slowly killing her. She was like a child in that sense, she hated being ignored.

“Theo!”

“I’m just wondering why.”

“Why what?” She asked turning to the window. By her actions, she knew the questions that were coming, but whether she answered them was another story.

“Why do you hate Mya so much? Everyone else seems to like her. Why are you so set on getting rid of her? What did she ever do to you?”

When she didn’t answer I only became more aggravated. “No answer, huh? Imagine that! The famous, crowd-pleasing, and self-absorbed Camilla Thompson has nothing to say?!”

The car only filled with more silence, making me even angrier. “Why are you trying so hard to take away the one person I’ve ever actually loved?!”

As soon as the final question left my mouth, my mother turned away from her window and locked eyes with me. She looked sad, and in her eyes she looked almost regretful. An emotion I had never seen in my mother’s stone cold irises.

For the next few minutes the tension in the car between us could be cut with a knife. I had never been so candid about my emotions with my mother out of fear she’d use it against me.

But either way my little outburst seemed to silence and shock her. She looked to be debating whether to say the next line, but she ended up doing just that.

“You really do love her, don’t you?” She questioned lowly, like the realization was finally settling in.

How could she possibly not see it before?

I had calmed down and took a deep breath before I sighed. “I really do.”

She remained quiet, almost like she was thoroughly thinking over what to say next.

“Alright. I’ll tell you the real reason behind my behavior since I met Amaya Dawson. You’re not going to like it, but you need to know. It’s time you knew.”

By the sound of her serious tone, I didn’t know if I really wanted to hear this, but my curiosity got the best of me.

“I’m ready to hear it.” I admitted, waiting for her to finally come clean.

“I’ll tell you everything. But first you need to know you are going the wrong way.”

I scoffed. “How would you even know that?”

“Because I am having the car tracked as we speak, and it’s going the opposite direction than you.”

“Tracked? Seriously, mom?” I questioned.

“Are you really surprised? You know I’m a little crazy.” She shrugged as a fun grin made it’s way onto my mother’s face.

I hadn’t seen this side of her for so long. She was actually smiling? Actually admitting to her craziness? It must be the end of the damn world.

“About time you admitted it.” I chuckled bitterly.

“Hey, now. Be nice or I won’t be giving you the address.” She joked.

The tension had almost lifted. I instantly felt more comfortable being around her. It wasn’t like I was constantly walking on egg shells around her anymore. Almost like I was free. The whole air about her was different.

She was acting like a mother, a persona I definitely preferred to her usual condescending one. It was like I could relax around her for the first time in years.

My mother was a very complex person. Evil as the devil one second and sweet as honey the next. I wouldn’t get used to this new attitude because there’s a very likely chance that this Camilla Thompson could possibly be gone within the next hour.

It was a coin toss with her. I definitely wouldn’t be forgiving her for all the shit she’d done to me my whole life tonight, but to get her much needed help I would try my hardest to get along with her.

As much as I hated it, mom was the key to finding Mya, and without her that was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

“Fine fine. I surrender. ” I muttered.

“That’s what I thought.” She nodded happy with her success.

“So where am I heading?” I asked and she pulled up the app that was currently tracking Mya.

I wasn’t one to go all stalkery, but I really had no other choice. If I was to catch up with Mya and tell her everything I needed to know where she was.

“Okay! Looks like she’s about twenty miles south of us, so if you step on it you may be able to catch up with her.”

She didn’t have to tell me twice. I pressed the gas further into the floor and listened to my mother’s directions, hoping they were correct and helpful in getting us to the right address.

I kept at that speed hoping it would get me to Amaya sooner, but I guess that just wasn’t fated.

As if all luck avoided me, it wasn’t long before flashing red and blue lights began to blind me through my rear view mirror.


Amaya

After what had felt like forever, I had finally made it to the bus station. I shut the car off and quickly climbed out of the fresh Ranger Rover. I would surely miss it, but it was definitely coming of time to part ways with it. I locked the doors and carried the keys with me as I made my way closer to the entrance of the station.

With my tear-stained makeup and my big dress, I was guaranteed to be labeled crazy as soon as I stepped through the door. Which is why I wasn’t surprised when all five pairs of eyes set on me as soon as the jingling door closed behind me.

I averted my eyes from everyone and made a beeline straight to the counter. The money my mom had promised to send me had come through, and as much as I hated spending her money I was just ready to be home.

“Can I help you with something?” The cashier asked as soon as I had stopped at the counter.

“Yeah. What’s your closest trip to Louisiana?” I questioned.

She immediately went to work, clicking away on her little keyboard. “We have a route to New Orleans in an hour and a half. Will that work for you?”

I was surprised at how well that worked out for me. I was expecting her to tell me there was no routes till tomorrow. That would be just my luck.

“Yes. That will be just fine.” I smiled to the lady.

She told me the amount and my eyes nearly made their way out of my eyes sockets, but I paid anyways.

Luckily the place also had a 24-hour gift shop/convenience store, which I took full advantage of. As soon as I walked in I immediately went for the phone chargers.

Leaving in a haste left me without one and I knew I needed one for the long trip home. I also purchased a new, and slightly odd new outfit, a large enough bag to stuff this stupid dress in, a blanket, some much needed makeup remover wipes and a bunch of snacks.

I made my way to the bathroom to change out of the dress and into the most interesting outfit I had ever seen. A black hoodie with white letters saying “Greatest Grandma In The World” (it was either this or “Sexiest Husband”), a pair of gray sweatpants that cinched at the ankles, fuzzy pink socks, and a pair of cheap slide on shoes.

If only Mrs. Thompson could see me now. She’d be sure to hire a lifestyle coach just because of the clothes choices I made.

The thought of her instantly made me cringe, but also reminded me that the car was still here. No need in hauling around the big dress when I could just leave it in the vehicle.

So I made my way out to the Range Rover and unlocked it once again. I sighed in removing the expensive jewelry and gently setting them in the glove compartment before placing the dress on the back seat. It was like I was removing the burden of a richer life. A weight had immediately lifted itself from my chest. But at the same time as I felt like I was losing something as I decluttered myself, more like I was losing someone.

After checking everything once again, I closed the door to the dream car once more and locked it for the last time.

I made my way back into the station and settled myself into the corner of the room. I had everything I needed. All I had to do was wait on the bus to pick me up from this hell that I call life and take me home.

I texted mom with all the details of my bus and plugged my phone into a nearby outlet. Before I knew it, I was covering myself with my new blanket and closing my eyes ready for a quick power nap.


Theo

“This is all your fault!” I rolled my eyes to my mother.

“My fault?! You were the one speeding like a bat out of hell.”

“The bat part not exactly correct, but the hell part seems about right.” I shouted, not caring that we were causing a scene.

“Don’t be such a damn drama queen.” Mom scoffed.

“I wouldn’t be if you hadn’t wound us up in this situation!” I gritted my teeth, trying to keep my composure.

“Stop being so over dramatic. We have a lawyer on the phone talking to their chief, and we will be out of here and on our way to your girly friend again in no time.”

“All I’m saying is if you hadn’t tried to bribe the police officer we wouldn’t be in this mess.” I crossed my arms, annoyed. “Dad’s going to be pissed when he finds all this out.”

“That’s what we have professionals for. To cover all this up, and honestly I don’t care what your father thinks anymore.” She shrugged and I noticed she had taken up a new look of aggravation like the mere mentioning of my father stirred something up in her. And it was nothing good.

Just as I was about to ask, the chief of the police station walked up to us. “You’re free to go, you two. Your lawyer is very...persuasive.” I knew by the way our lawyers worked they had somehow threatened his career or something as equally low and dirty. “You’re lucky. The officer at the front desk will give you your belongings and help you from here.”

Without another single word the chief walked back to his office and slammed the door behind him. But I didn’t have to be told twice. I immediately made way to the front desk and was given all my belongings along with my keys.

It was a damn Christmas miracle to be getting out of a jail cell with my mother. I’d rather be locked in there with some crazy drunkard than her.

I paced myself as fast as I could to my car with my mother in tow. She was lagging behind and I rolled my eyes.

“Hurry up, mom! I don’t have all day.”

Ew. Now I sounded like a mom.

“I’m right behind you, so stop your whining.” I could hear her heels clicking quickly in efforts to keep up with me.

“You’re not doing a very good job.” I muttered under my breath.

“Theo. I swear I am going to kick you in the shins if you don’t stop being such a smart mouth.”

I chuckled at how motherly she sounded. It was about twenty years too late, but she seemed to be settling into the mom style quicker than expected. And with it came a sense of me not entirely hating being in her presence. She was actually becoming bearable.

We finally made it to the car and we both slid into the Audi in complete silence. We drove, and mom only talked to give directions.

She wasn’t talking nearly as much now and I feel like it had something to do with my dad, considering how much her mood had changed when I brought him up.

“What’s wrong, mom? You’re not constantly bugging me now, so something has got to be wrong.” I admitted as I continued driving.

According to my mother’s stalker app we were about 25 miles from Amaya’s last known location. The trip to the police station had set us off our original trail, but we were quickly and thankfully catching back up. Dealing with my mother’s crisis may be able to keep me from worrying about my own. I could already feel my hands sweating from nervousness of just seeing Amaya again.

What would I say? Will she just run away again? Would she ever forgive me? Will she still love me after everything me and my family had put her through?

“Nothing is wrong. Focus on the road.” She said sternly. “You’re going to take a right on this next exit.”

“Obviously something is wrong. What’s going on with you and dad?”

She took a deep sigh, but her eyes stayed glued to the phone. “Your father and I’s business has no concern with you.”

“It actually does. Whether you guys like it or not, Will and I are your children. You may not act like our parents, but we deserve to at least be in the knowing of what’s going on.”

“Your father and I are going through some problems.” She kept it brief and said it like it was nothing.

“Wow. So descriptive.” I rolled my eyes as I made the right hand turn onto the exit.

“What more do you need to know? It’s not your marriage, so keep your nose out of other people’s business, Theodore!” By the rise in the tone of her voice you could tell she was becoming more agitated with me.

“Well I’d like to know before it hits the newsstands and I have to read it from a magazine myself!” I admitted back just as agitated.

“Your father found out I cheated on him! Okay? Does that make you feel better?” She yelled to me, taking her eyes off the phone app for the first time since we got back in the car.

My foot surprisingly stepped on the brakes causing them to screech on the road. I was in shock. Mom had cheated??

I had always known their marriage wasn’t overflowing with joy, but for my mom to be unfaithful and break her commitment to my father was something I hadn’t seen coming.

She had always been one to follow rules, and I figured she’d follow through on the vow that she had made with my dad on their wedding day all those years ago.

“Well aren’t you going to say something?” She questioned.

I remained silent since there really wasn’t anything I could say. What does one say in a time like this?

“Theo?”

“I don’t know what to say.” I answered honestly.

“Can you at least hear me out? Hear what I have to say for my constant terrible parenting and behavior for the last two decades? I’ll admit it now, I did a really shitty job, but I want you to know the truth and I want you to hear it all from me.” She pleaded, sounding like she really wanted to get something off her chest.

We still had just 15 miles until we made it to our destination, so what’s one little crazy story going to hurt? Hell, it would get my mind off Mya which would probably help my heart rate by a lot. Besides, what’s my mother’s cheating on my dad have anything to do with me?

“Sure. Tell me everything.” I agreed not knowing just what I was getting myself into.


Amaya

“Boarding call to Louisiana! Last call for boarding to New Orleans!”

Oh shit! I was about to miss my bus. I scrambled out of my seat and hurriedly gathered all my belongings. The woman, whose voice I recognized as the front desk clerk’s, shouted again only making me more nervous.

Had I really slept that long on that uncomfortable seat? God my neck is killing me now!

I rubbed my tired eyes and forced my legs to go as fast as they possibly could to move out the door. I made the short trek to the large coach bus, waiting with the doors wide open.

I took the first two steps up and stopped. Getting on this bus would take me away from Theo, possibly forever. Was I really that ready to give up on him?

I never did give him the fair opportunity to explain himself, so was this really what I wanted to do? Just leave New York with all our business left as is?

Sure he had admitted that he was planning on breaking up with me, but maybe I could’ve convinced him out of it. We could’ve gotten past it and lived out our happily ever after.

“You getting on the bus today, girly?” The older and pepper-haired bus driver gruffly huffed out.

Was I ready to go?

I took a deep breath, reconsidering staying in New York to hear Theo out. Leaving meant leaving behind everything and possibly cutting ties with him altogether. I almost wished someone was here to tug me off this bus and make the decision for me, but I was only greeted by a stale and cold breeze. I let out a sad sigh and climbed the remainder of stairs.


Theo

My mother’s hands wrung together with her latest smart phone resting in her lap. Her eyes were no longer attached to it as she stared out the windshield of the vehicle.

She still had yet to tell me all these “truths,” but had probably decided to back out. I wasn’t surprised. She’d done that same thing numerous of times in the past.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me anymore, mom.” I told her.

“No. I need to tell you. It’s time you knew.” She nodded, probably convincing herself that she needed this just as much as I did.

She took a deep breath and let out a shaky and anxious exhale. This was really tearing her up inside. I could tell by the look of pure fear placed on her facial features.

She took one last deep breath and set her phone aside to give me her full concentration.

“So about two months ago your dad came home with his breath smelling like his favorite scotch and his clothes like his favorite whore’s perfume.” She bitterly started out.

The fact that my father cheating on my mother made me upset was a surprise, but the fact that he was unfaithful to her wasn’t. He had always been a sleaze-ball.

I remember as a child, all the times he’d flirt with my tutors and babysitters while my mother was in the exact same room. He had no cares for her feelings.

“I wasn’t surprised. He had cheated on me more times than I could keep track. He had been doing just that for our whole marriage. Early in our marriage I found out he had cheated for the first time and I had reacted by cheating on him with a past boyfriend. I continued spending time with my ex, but your grandparents, my parents, soon found out.

I always figured they had private investigators following me around back then to “keep an eye on me.” Turns out they did, so when they got word about my discretions they threatened to take away my inheritance.

If I didn’t fix my marriage and break things off with the old flame I’d lose everything. So I did as I was told and moved on with my life.

So I patched things up with your father and we both agreed to no more infidelity.” She scoffed. “I felt such love for him back then, and I had faith in him. I felt like we had just went through a rough patch and would be okay.

I kept my promise, but it took him a whole two months to be back to his old ways. He was always scurrying around with some little floozy, and I was about to confront him about it.

But that’s also around the time I became really sick. With me spending a lot of time with your older brother I figured I’d picked up his stomach bug since he had been sick for a few days. His pediatrician said it wasn’t anything to be worried about, so I wasn’t worried about me catching it.

I went to the doctor the next day without telling your father. I knew he wouldn’t care too much of me getting a stomach flu. I just wanted to get there and get home.”

I kept silent. My mother’s earlier life was actually quite intriguing. Who knew?

“So I got there and they tested me for the flu but they said the test came back negative. So my mind instantly went to thinking I had picked up an STD from your dad or my ‘old flame’.”

“Ew! Mom, too much information.” I scrunched my face up disgusted.

“Sorry, but we agreed to the whole truth, right?”

“Right. Sorry. On with the story, but leave out the gross stuff.” I told her, ready to hear the rest of the story.

“So they tested me for that, but with all my symptoms they were convinced I was pregnant. I told them time and time again that I couldn’t be. I knew what it had been like to be pregnant. With your brother, I was never sick, so I automatically figured I couldn’t be.

But they took a test for it anyways. ‘Just in case’ they told me.” She chuckled and watched me to see how I was reacting to everything. “And when I heard back from the doctors, they told me I was clear of any STDs, but the other test came back positive and I was pregnant.”

I continued to drive, waiting for everything to connect. At first I was thinking of where my unknown sibling could be right now, but then my mind went to thinking she probably just aborted the baby. But then it hit me.

I was the baby.

“So...you’re s-saying-” I stuttered.

“Yes. You were the baby, and at first I didn’t know who your father was.”

“But you figured it all out in the end? My dad. The man with the last name of Thompson was my father. The man I’ve lived with my whole life.” I let out a thankful sigh. “Well...that’s a relief because I thought you were saying I had a different-”

And that’s when I looked to her. My mother’s face told it all. You could see the regret in her eyes. The pain of keeping this secret hidden from everyone for all these years. All 20 years.

“I’m so sorry, Theo.” A tear streamed down her face and my mind went blank. She had just truly confirmed it. She had confirmed that all my life I have had a different father. A father who was out in the world living his life while I could’ve been in his.

The truth was really hitting me hard. I couldn’t even concentrate on my driving, so I pulled over on the side of the road and cut the engine.

I let my forehead come down to rest on the steering wheel and in the silence I was still having a difficult time coming to terms with everything. She had thrown this at me out of nowhere.

I have a different father! Theo Thompson has a different father?! Well technically not Thomspon...anymore. I don’t even know am I anymore. I’m questioning my whole life.

“How long have you known?” I mumbled out.

“I had doubts ever since you were born, so I had a paternity test taken when you were about 2. But your eyes. They resemble your biological father’s so much that deep down I knew your father couldn’t possibly be the same as Will’s. You do have a lot of my features which kept everyone convinced that you just looked like me, but really you do look like your biological dad.” She admitted.

“I’m sorry, Theo. I know this is a lot to process. I hate springing all this on you at once, but you needed to know.”

“When did your husband find out?” It felt so wrong to call him my father any more. He wasn’t my dad. He was only Will’s.

“He’s known for about 10 years.”

“You kept it from him for 8 years?!” I asked shocked.

“Yes, Theo.” She was crying now. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want him to disown you or kick you out or anything.”

So much more made sense now. Why dad...Mr. Thompson always seemed to love Will more. Why he didn’t even give it a second thought on who would get his company next. Of course he wouldn’t give it to me. I wasn’t even his blood.

“He didn’t. He’s known for almost a decade, but hasn’t said a word. What’d you do to keep him quiet? He’s not exactly the man to be screwed over.”

“I just asked him to keep quiet and he did. He just distanced himself from you, knowing you weren’t truly his hurt him, but it all came back to bite me in the ass.” She sniffled as she wiped under her eyes.

“How could there possibly be more to this story? I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I HAVE A DIFFERENT FATHER!” I shouted.

“Yes. I know. I’m sorry about everything. If I could go back and handle things differently...better, I would, but I can’t. But I promised you earlier I would explain my behavior and I wanted to.”

I nodded, encouraging her to go on with a just blank stare. My mind was racing at a mile a minute.

“Your dad...the one I’m currently married to, knew you were coming for the Christmas ball and everything, so he also knew you’d be bringing Amaya. Who he was not particularly fond of. So he-”

“Wait! Why wasn’t he ‘fond of her’?” I interrupted. Why did they both mutually hate a girl who was so kind and just beautiful inside as she was out when they didn’t even know her??

“That has nothing to do with you. Or Amaya, honestly.” She shrugged.

“Then who?”

“Your brother. He’d been sneaking around with that Cecilia Martins and your father found out and made him end it. He was afraid she was after his money and would ruin his and the company’s reputation.”

“Wait...hold on. To take a recap here. Will was with Cecilia Martins while she was married, your husband found out, and was afraid Cecilia was only after his money. He then made Will break things off with her in order to save face of his company?” I ticked things off on my hand.

“All correct.”

“So what’s this have to do with Mya?” I asked still half confused over everything. There was only so much new information my brain could hold.

“Your father—un-biological father had investigators watching you while you were at college and after he found out you were dating someone, he got her full file.” I gritted my teeth, silently seething that he had invaded her privacy. “All her records, her family and their records, literally every last detail. And when he noticed her family was going into debt he thought she was after the money as well.” She admitted.

“Why does he think everyone is after his damn money? Not everyone is all about money! Could he have ever thought that maybe these women were with us because they loved us? Or maybe even liked us? Not everything is about him...and wait. He was having me followed?!”

“Yeah. He’s not exactly a trusting man, you know this.” She was so nonchalant about this story, whereas my brain felt like it was going into overdrive and about to explode. “So he said since he had dealt with the last dilemma, Will and Cecilia, that I had to deal with this one, of you and Amaya. At first I declined. I wanted nothing to do with this. He said I had to break you up or else he’d go to my parents— your grandparents and the world all about my affair and he’d also divorce me.

I told him I didn’t care, and that I had been wanting a divorce for years anyways. I didn’t see any downside, to the situation. I’d finally be free.” She sadly smiled to herself.

“But then he said if I didn’t do it he would tell everyone of your true lineage. You would find out your true way of coming to exist by people on campus or by a damn gossip magazine.” She rolled her eyes. “So I gave in. If anyone was to tell you the truth it was going to be me. It had to be me, so I gave in and did everything he told me to.”

I sat back in my seat and brought my hands up to my hair and frustratedly tried to grasp the whole concept. I had a different father. Will had been with Cecilia?? My dad—Thompson dad had me stalked? My mom actually cared about my feelings? My dad technically broke me and Amaya up?

There were so many unanswered questions left swirling through my head. So many thoughts running through my mind. It felt like the car was closing in around us, suffocating me with all the lies about my life. How had all this happened right from under my nose. All this time, and I had never figured it out?

“I need some air.” I squandered for the door handle and finally when my fingers wrapped around it I shoved the door open and practically fell to the ground.

I took deep breaths as cars whizzed by me on the freeway. In this moment all I wished for was to have Amaya here right now to help me through this. I’m sure she’d know exactly what to say and how to say it. She always did, and she always knew how to calm me down.

Amaya! Shit she must be halfway to China by now. My whole life crisis had diverted my brain from focusing on her, the most important (and least lying) part of my life.

Where even were we right now? I needed to get back on the road, so I threw open the door again and quickly climbed into the driver’s side.

“Theo I don’t think you should be driving right—”

I interrupted my mother. “This whole life dilemma I am having with you right is being moved to the back burner of my mind. All I need is to get to Amaya. All I need from you is to give directions.” I told her.

By the way she immediately silenced I knew she got the idea.

For the next ten minutes, I went well over the speed limit as my mother read off the directions from the app. I had no time to think about how my whole life was a complete lie right now.

All I could focus on was getting to my princess because she was the last thing I could possibly afford to lose at a time like this. I needed her support, her company, her love, and most importantly just her. She was the perfect human and I’d admit it, I needed her.

Amaya Dawson was no longer a want, but a necessity. She was all I ever wanted and all I would ever need in a partner. And damn it, it was time for me to get her back.

So as soon as we arrived to the destination, a bus station, of all places, I barely had my car in park before running over to the new Range Rover.

It was so easy to spot amongst the sea of outdated, dirty and broken down vehicles. The expensive and sleek new car stood out like a sore thumb.

I immediately bolted to it, and searched it for Amaya, but she was no where to be seen. The bus station was only fifty feet away, so as fast as my legs would carry me to the front entrance, I sprinted.

My shoes barely skidded to a stop at the door and I reached out to fling open the door. As soon as I was inside the bright iridescent lights shone and nearly blinded my tired eyes.

It didn’t take long but my pupils eventually adapted to the new lighting and when they did I tirelessly searched for Mya.

The room was small, meaning no place to hide, but as my eyes scanned the room and confirmed there was no Amaya I noticed a 24-hour gift shop. She had to be in there!

I rushed over to the gift shop, which had just enough room to move around in and still there was no sign of my girlfriend.

I looked around frantically for her just as my eyes caught a restroom. I went to the front desk.

“Hello. How may I help you?” The clerk asked.

“Have you seen a girl here. She’s about 5 foot 5 inches, has bown hair, and a big red dress on?” I questioned, my breathing eradicate. “Is she in the bathroom?”

The woman looked like she was looking at a person who had surely lost their mind, and honestly I was beginning to.

“I’m not allowed to give away the whereabouts of our traveling customers. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” The woman said in a falsely cheery tone.

I immediately whipped out my wallet and began flicking through dollar bills. “What can you tell me for $50?”

I held the crisp new dollar between my fingers and the woman reached over to snatch it before hastily stuffing it down her bra.

“She’s not in the bathroom. She actually just left on a bus about 10 minutes ago.” She said warily.

My whole world stopped. I had missed her. I stood there in complete shock. I had no idea where to go from here. She was gone, and now the chances of getting her back were slim to none.

“Sir I’m sorry, but unless you buy a ticket you’re going to have to leave.”

I nodded, understanding and shuffled my way to the door. I had lost my one shot. With a slumped figure, I made my way back to the car, where my mother was patiently waiting in the passenger seat. She looked confused and looked behind me.

I climbed in the Audi and sat inside. I closed the door to keep the cold from getting in and started my car. I wasn’t in the mood to talk, especially to my mother since she was to blame for majority of all this mess.

“Where’s Amaya?” She questioned as she continued watching out the windshield, waiting for her to appear.

“Not coming.” I kept my answer short as I buckled my seatbelt.

“Why not? Did you say something stupid?” She questioned and unbuckled herself. “I’ll go talk to her. I’ll tell her everything.”

She opened the door and began to get out. “She’s gone,” She looked back to me, stunned. “So you going in there would be pointless. Get back in the car. Let’s just go home.”

I sighed. I was just ready to be back home and in bed. Hopefully I could just fall asleep and wake up tomorrow, forgetting everything that had happened in the last 24 hours.

“You’re just going to give up?” She questioned as if she was disappointed in me.

She had no right to be disappointed in me. She was no mother to me and she was the one who caused this whole mess. If she should be disappointed in anyone it should be herself.

“Yes. Isn’t this what you wanted? So just get in the car. It’s too cold out to be playing these games.” I told her, ready to be home already.

She looked like she was contemplating everything for a minute, but then she cleared her emotions from her facial expression and put a small but sympathetic smile on.

“Okay. Let’s go home, Theo. Anything to make you feel better.”

“Good. Get in.” I said with my hands already on the wheel, ready to get out of here.

“Why don’t you let me drive? You’ve been driving for hours. You must be exhausted.” She offered kindly, which was odd because, well, she was my mother and kind was the absolute last word to describe her. Maybe she was turning over a new leaf?

“Fine. Just get us home, and please no talking. I don’t want to talk anymore.” I rounded the front of the car until I was by the passenger side.

“You’ve got it. Just get in.” She said as she climbed into the driver’s seat.

She buckled herself in and waited for me to do the same. “Why don’t you rest, Theo? We’ve got awhile till we get home, and you look so tired.”

The offer was truly tempting, which is why I took it. Sleeping would get my mind off of all the shit that went down today, and that was exactly what I needed right now.

I just needed time away from my thoughts.

“Fine.” I shrugged before tilting the seat back as far as it would go and shutting my eyes.


Amaya

“30 minutes till we arrive at our destination in New Orleans!”

My eyes immediately fluttered open at the warning. I was so close to home, and I could already tell. With a click of the power button, my phone told me it was evening yet it the sun was still just barely hanging over the horizon. Surprisingly it was more sun than I’d seen up north in months.

Upon further investigation, I found out there was going to be a whopping 25 degree difference in Louisiana than New York. The two cities were complete opposites. New York had been cloudy and freezing, while all the Louisianan folk were enjoying their daily forecasts of clear skies and lots of sun.

My fingers rapidly typed to my mom that we’d be at the bus stop soon, and she confirmed she was on her way. Everything seemed to be falling into place, feeling a sense of normalcy.

A sense I hadn’t felt since before school started. Theo coming into my life had brought so much adventure and unpredictable events, but in the past 3 days I also realized that being with him also brought chaos and heartache.

I was ready to just stuff my face with sugar cookies and forget everything that had happened. The rest of my holiday was to just forget about my problems and enjoy the simpler side of life. Surely, everything difficult would be waiting for me back at the apartment come January.

As soon as the bus came to a stop in New Orleans, I was on my feet. It took all of two seconds for me to plop back down. My legs had turned to Jell-o from the long ride of just sitting and waiting.

I stood again, this time holding onto a nearby seat for balance as I gathered my things and slowly made my way to the front.

I made the descent down the stairs, trying not to drop anything. I hadn’t realized how much I had actually bought. I’d be sure to apologize to my mom for blowing so much money on needless things.

Speaking of the devil, I could already see my mom’s flip-flop clad feet sprinting as fast as they could to me. I chuckled to myself, seeing how she was dressed. She was in an old and distressed Guns ’N Roses tee along with some of her favorite sleep-time shorts. She looked comfortable and as if she had rolled directly out of bed to come get me.

Knowing her work schedule like the back of my hand, I guessed she had gotten a long night shift this morning, went to sleep as soon as she hit her pillow and woke up to come get me.

I smiled feeling even more grateful to have such a caring and dedicated mom. Tears began to spring to my eyes upon seeing her. It had been a long month without her. A long week without her.

So I ran to her and it didn’t take me long to reach her. Her arms immediately crushed me into a loving bear hug. She held me so tightly and I held her back. I didn’t want to let go.

The scent of her favorite coffee lingered with her and it lulled me into a feeling of home. Tears continued to trail down my cheeks and within a minute I was a sobbing mess. My arms stayed looped around my mother’s back as my head shifted to her shoulder. My mom’s hands soothingly ran over my hair and back.

My mother softly pulled me back to look into my eyes. It had been so long that I had begun to forget what hers even looked like, but as soon as her irises looked with mine I immediately felt safe.

Her brown eyes were swimming with tears as she looked down to me. It had always been like reflex for her to cry when I cry no matter where we were or what time it was.

I remembered when I was learning to ride my new bike and with the distraction of the ice cream man, I fell off and landed on my arm.

By the sound of my bone crunching I knew it wasn’t good and the pain was excruciating on my five-year old self. Tears had flown like there was no tomorrow.

To this day, I remember my mom rushing over to me with a look of worry and fear on her face. But as soon as she noticed fresh tears on my face her own began to sprout in her eyes.

“Why are you crying, mommy? Are you hurt too?” I remember asking fearfully.

“No. I’m okay, sweetie. It just makes me sad to see my baby hurt.” She smiled through her tears before picking me up and carrying me to the car, leaving my bike crashed on the sidewalk where I had left it.

I felt like the present was just like the past, except I both my arms were completely unbroken, but there was a new pain settling painfully in my heart.

My mom’s hands reached up to wipe the tears from my cheeks before digging into her cluttered purse and retrieving a folded tissue. She handed me the facial tissue and sadly smiled to me.

“Everything’s going to be okay. I’m here now.”


Theo

The blinding sun hit my corneas as soon as I opened my eyelids, resulting in me immediately shutting them again.

Of course my mom had left me out in the car all night. I wasn’t even remotely surprised, but even without a blanket to cover up with I surprisingly wasn’t cold.

I squinted my eyes open one more time and noticed the big, green highway signs flitting past my window. Before I turned to look at the driver’s seat.

Surely enough my mom had a gigantic cup of coffee pressed to her lips and was taking large gulps as she sung along to the radio. Her observant ways must’ve alerted her I was watching her since she immediately halted and turned to me.

“Oh, good you’re awake!” She exclaimed. “I thought you were dead there for a second.”

“Where are we?” I mumbled still tired as I could already feel a crick in my neck.

“Last time I checked we were at the border of Kentucky.” She admitted.

“Why exactly?” I rubbed my eyes trying to adjust them to the bright light outside.

“Because we are going to Louisiana tonight.” She smiled to herself.

I immediately sobered up and sat up. “What? Why?”

“Because Amaya’s there. Duh.” She stated immaturely, which was a lot different from her usual serious self.

Why were we going to see Amaya? Why the hell would she care? I mean she got Mya out of my life, so technically my dad’s threats are officially off.

“Why?” I asked as I let out a tired yawn.

“So you can win her back.?” She squinted her eyes after stating that, almost like the answer was obvious.

“Why do you care about me getting her back? You don’t even like her.”

She took another swig of her coffee and giving me a pointed look. “I wouldn’t say that. I never gave myself a chance to get to know her. She was automatically declared an enemy in my brain, thanks to your dad’s threats.”

“He’s not my father.” I gritted out with a roll of my eyes.

My mother looked over to me after my little outburst, almost like she had forgot she’d told me all her dirty little secrets last night. She cleared her throat before turning her focus back to the road.

The silence settled in again and I just sat back and played games on my phone as hours passed and so did three more state lines.

As I sat in the passenger seat I came up with about a hundred more questions about my father. Who was he? Did he know I existed or that I was his? And if he knew I was alive all this time, why didn’t he come for me?

“Why didn’t we just hop on a plane to Louisiana? It’s so much faster and that means less time with you.” I bit out in a snarky tone.

My mother ignored my terrible words and just kept the road as the center of her attention. “I figured a drive down would give us time to smooth things over, and give you time to think of what you’re going to say to Amaya when you see her. It’s going to have to be an outstanding argument in order for her to take you back. That girl’s smart.”

“Yeah, whatever. What do you even know about her?” I laid my chair back and slipped my Cartier sunglasses over my eyes to block the rays shining in through the windows, attempting to fall back asleep.

My mother stayed quiet for a few minutes, as if she was thinking up what to say. I silently thanked her for the newly settling silence. But it didn’t take her long to re-disturb me.

“I know that she loves you.” She said.

“You wouldn’t know if love hit you right in the face, so stop saying shit to try and get into my good graces all because you’re suddenly starting to feel guilty about what you’ve caused.” I snapped back to her.

“You’re right.”

“I know I am.” I sat back up and flung my sunglasses off before tossing them into the glove compartment. With my mom’s constant talking I definitely wouldn’t be going to sleep.

“About one thing. You’re right about me feeling guilty. Of course I’m guilty. I assisted in taking away someone who truly meant something to you. I put my needs above yours, and for that I am sorry, Theo. I truly am. But you are wrong about me not understanding love.

I was in love with your real father, but I had that taken away from me. I was with him when my parents informed me that I would have to marry into the Thompson family. I was forced away from him time and time again, and when I tried to go back to him everything always went wrong. So don’t say that, Theo.”

My mother opening up to me wasn’t normal, but she had done just that multiple times in the last 24 hours. Was it possible that there was more to my mother than I had thought?

“Okay I’m sorry.” I admitted. “But can we just go back home? Mya will never forgive me for what I did, so there’s no point.”

“It’s alright.” She sighed. “And no. We won’t be turning around because I’m not going to let you make the same mistake I did. Letting your parents break you up from someone you truly love is the worst mistake you could ever make. Especially when that someone who truly loves you back.”

I stayed silent, thinking about what she had said. My mother had been in love with someone when her parents forced her away from him. She was married to someone richer, someone who she would have a child with, but she would come to never love her husband as much as her first. She wasted 20 plus years of her life, being married to someone who would tirelessly cheat on her.

I could tell she still had a love for my biological father. A yearning for him to come back into her life. A want for him to love her again.

I had my mother’s life to look at as a sort of model which would help me decide my next big life decision. What would I do? Would I let my parents take over my love life like mom had? Or would I resist them and fight to keep my love in my life?

“Alright!” I said in a more upbeat tone. “Let’s go get Mya back!”

My mother grinned over to me. “That’s more like it!”

A smile was plastered on my face. I was getting Amaya back.


Amaya

It was officially Christmas, which was and always has been my favorite holiday of them all. Yet here I was pouty faced and sad.

My dad, who usually would be drinking egg nog alongside me as we unwrapped neatly packaged gifts at this very moment, was currently in the hospital. For the last few weeks I thought all would be well, even without my dad, because I’d have my boyfriend. But with my luck, I should’ve expected for him to dumped me right before Christmas.

So here I was sitting on the pristine white carpet in front of the Christmas tree in my favorite flannel pajamas. All the cute Santa-clad presents surrounding the tree couldn’t even bring a smile on my face.

My mom cast me a sympathetic smile as she shoved the cookie platter towards me once again. With a sigh in defeat I wrapped my fingers around what felt like my hundredth dessert.

I munched into the soft and perfectly made sugar cookie and rolled my eyes. With Theo still being on my mind, I couldn’t even enjoy a classic Christmas cookie. Irritated, I tossed it back onto the plate and got up from the floor.

“I’m sorry mom. Can we maybe do this later today? I’m just not feeling it right now.” I admitted as I dusted myself off.

My got up from the couch and walked up to me, placing her arms around my shoulders. “Of course. You just take your time. I’m going to call the hospital to check in on your dad, and then we can go down to visit him, okay?”

“Sounds good.” I sent her a smile before she placed a kiss on top of my head and let me go.

I walked up the stairs to my room and as soon as I was in I closed the door behind me. Everything I had brought home was sprawled all across my bed.

When I got home last night I had quite literally just tossed everything and wherever I dropped I passed out. Seeing it all again reminded me of the whole terror that the last week had been.

I stepped further into the room and looked over all the items. All the crap I had bought from the bus station still lay there along with a shiny pair of Range Rover keys.

I chuckled bitterly at how badly they stood out. Everything on the bed had been of low cost, whereas

I sighed as my mind wandered to Theo once again. He had been on my mind all day and I hated it. I hated how much I missed him and how much I wanted to see him again. I hated this whole situation.

Not wanting to even have a single reminder of the heartbreaker that was Theo Thompson, I plucked the keys off of my cerulean blue comforter and tossed them into my desk drawer. I slammed the compartment shut, mad at myself for caring so much.

I cleared everything off my bed, and curled up underneath the thick blankets. Another nap and everything would be okay. Another nap and I’d begin my journey to forgetting Theo Thompson.


Theo

When we finally pulled up in front of Amaya’s house I immediately felt butterflies flutter around in my stomach.

It was now dark out, but nearly all the lights were on inside the Dawson household. In the front room you could even see the glittering and sparkling decorated Christmas tree standing proudly.

I let out a deep and shaky breath, hoping it’d clear my nerves, but it had actually done the opposite and made me even more jittery.

What would Amaya do when she saw me? Would she slam the door in my face? Would she cry?

I hated seeing her cry. Just the thought of it tore my heart in two, yet I was to blame for this. I was to blame for the crappy way things had ended when she ran away.

I was ready to take responsibility for it all and I was ready for the consequences. All I wanted was to see my princess.

“You’re going to do great, Theo.” Mom said encouragingly beside me.

I smiled over to her. Within the last 24 hours of being with my mom, the dynamic of our relationship had changed so drastically.

“Thanks, mom.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll be right there with you. You are going to say whatever you need to say, and then I’m going to explain everything.” She assured me.

I tried my best to control my erratic heartbeat but came up with no improvement. I had never been this nervous before in my life.

“Let’s do this.” I nodded before throwing open my door.

I kept my pace light and quick as we walked up the sidewalk to Mya’s house. I had to hurry myself in case I changed my mind halfway through and bolted back to the car.

But it wasn’t long before we were on the Dawson’s porch and my finger was hovering mere centimeters above the doorbell.

It was now or never.


Amaya

A loud and high-pitched scream is what woke me from my long slumber. I had been dead asleep, but I was certain that the screech could’ve woken someone from the dead.

The only other person in the house was my mother so without even thinking I humped from my bed and took two steps at a time down the stairs. I nearly twisted my ankle at the bottom but I finally made it to the kitchen where my mother had her phone clutched so tightly I thought she was going to break it.

She noticed me enter the room and quickly signaled for me to come to her. I looked around the room and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. No wild animals had gotten into the house. I didn’t see any robbers with guns. So what was she screeching about?

I rubbed my eyes tiredly as I made my way over to her. Her arm immediately wrapped around me and pulled me into a bone crushingly tight side embrace.

Who knew the woman had so much power in just one arm?

I stood next to her sleepy and confused, but I waited for her phone call to end to question her.

“Okay. Thank you so much!! Uh-huh. Buh-bye.” She clicked the end button and looked to me.

“You’ll never believe what just happened, Mya.” She was trying her hardest to contain her giddiness.

“What’s going on mom?” I asked as I picked up a cookie from the counter.

“Well apparently an anonymous donor just donated enough money to cover all of your hospital expenses and said they’d even cover future bills. The doctor said with the extra monetary help they could move your father to a better hospital, where he’d get all the attention he’d need!”

The whole thing immediately sounded suspicious to me. We were a small town family, and no one we knew had that kind of money to just throw towards my dad’s hospital bills. So who was this “anonymous donor” and why were they being so generous?

I had a good idea who was behind all this, and I honestly didn’t know how to feel about it. But for my mother’s sake, I just played along.

“Mom! That’s amazing! I wonder who donated.”

“I have no idea, but it’s a Christmas miracle!” She smiled more than I’d seen her do in the last year.

“It sure is.” I grinned back to her. No matter who the donor was I was ecstatic that my father getting better medical care.

“Want to get ready to go to the hospital with me?” She asked.

“Yeah. I’ll go get ready in a few minutes.” I said looking outside. It was dark out now, I hadn’t even thought to check the time. I was guessing it was nearly ten and I just wanted to crawl back in my bed and sleep my life away.

“You don’t have to go, Amaya. Your father would understand.”

“No. I want to see him.” I sent her a smile to reassure her.

I did want to see my dad. I hadn’t seen him since Thanksgiving and I felt guilty about that. It was time to see him, and I wasn’t going to act all gloomy around him. I’d put that aside because as soon as I walked into his hospital room my sole attention was going to be on him.

“Okay. I’ll go get ready, but can you find my car keys? I’ve seemed to misplace them again.” She shook her head at herself.

“Yeah. I’ll find them.” I chuckled. I had always been able to find her keys whenever she couldn’t. They were always in one of about five places.

“Thank you, sweetheart.” She grinned before kissing my cheek and excitedly running up the stairs to get ready.

I smiled as I watched her. She was so excited about all the possibilities that were now available for my dad. I hoped he would make his recovery soon.

My mom’s life has been so difficult since my dad wound up in the hospital, so just the slightest possibility of her getting him back was enough to keep her happy for months. They loved each other so much. You could tell just by the way they looked at each other that they were soulmates. There was constantly a spark between them, and I hoped one day I’d get that kind of spark with someone.

I walked over to the junk drawer that we kept in the kitchen. Everything from rubber bands to old fortune cookies lay inside. It was the number one spot where my mom would leave her keys. Which is why I was unsurprised when they turned up in that exact location.

Triumphantly I twirled the keys around my finger as I made my way towards the staircase. “Hey, mom!”

“Yeah?” She questioned from her room.

“I found them!”

“Oh good! Hey, I’m almost ready. Come get your coat and I’ll meet you down stairs in a minute.” She yelled back to me.

“Okay!” I shouted as I walked up the stairs to my room and began the search for my lighter winter coat. I had been wearing my puffy, better-heated jacket back in New York, but with Louisiana’s big difference in temperature I had wanted something that wasn’t going to roast me like a marshmallow over a fire pit.

It took me about five minutes and some heavy digging to finally find the coat I’d been looking for. I stood up with my coat in hand and looked in the mirror.

I heard the doorbell ring and I could hear my mom pulling open the door to answer. I tried to hurry so we could make it to the hospital on time.

My hair was a wreck and my eyes were still puffy from crying for days. I was clad in my oversized Christmas pajamas from this morning.

I surely looked like a steaming pile of crap, but I was positive my dad, in a coma or not, would care how I was dressed. I smiled just thinking about him. I was so excited to finally see him. It had been far too long.

I pulled my coat tightly over my clothes and made my way downstairs. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed some cookies for the trip.

“Hey, mom do you think we should take A Christmas Story with us?” I was about to enter the living room. “It’s dad’s favorite and I’m sure the hospital has a dvd player somewh—”

All words dried in my mouth when I saw the who was sitting on my couch. My mother’s nervous and slightly uncomfortable face looked to me apologetically.

Sitting beside her were none other than Theo Thompson and his lovely mother, the truest nightmares of Christmas.


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