CHAPTER 2: ICY INTRODUCTIONS
"You must be Elizabeth.” A kind looking middle aged woman with a detectable southern accent welcomed me at the door of the enormous mansion with a huge smile that brightened up her beautiful face.
“Yes, my mother asked me to spend a night here. I hope it’s not a problem.”
“Oh no ma’am, it is a pleasure to have you here. We rarely have any guests around here. Mr. Parker has your mother over sometimes but the younger Parker rarely has any visitors. You are more than welcome.” Her face fell a little before she again beamed at me, jumping slightly with joy to move aside to make way for me.
I grinned back at her, taken away by her adorableness and moved some of my stray hair behind my ear. My eyes slowly scanned the beautiful mansion. Everything screamed rich and I was absolutely stunned and stood dazzled by a particular chandelier that was in the middle of the hall.
“Um... ” I started but realized that I did not know her name.
“Linda.” She introduced herself properly, politely folding her hands in front of her. I had never seen a maid dressed in uniform before since my mom and I weren’t that rich and I stood slightly confused looking at her.
“Okay, so Linda, where can I put my luggage?”
“Your room is upstairs, the second room on the right side is yours. I will help you with the luggage.”
I stopped her, “No problem, I will get it myself.” I grab the bags before she could reach for them, smiling in victory when I was able to do so.
She smiled at me, “Okay, I will make dinner for you then. Why don’t you go and freshen up?”
I nodded at her appreciatively, my rumbling stomach agreeing with her instantly, “That would be great. Thank you.”
“Are you allergic to anything?” She suddenly asked, I shook my head.
“No, nothing. I would avoid taking some meat if that’s alright.”
She smiled at me and nodded, turning on her heel to excitedly go to what I guessed was the kitchen.
I climbed up the stairs and reached the room Linda had guided me to. Opening the door, I heaved out a sigh of relief. The room was nicely prepared. A speck of dirt couldn’t be seen anywhere. In fact, it strangely had only a bed and a nightstand, no paintings, nothing. Walking into an expensive mansion, I expected it to have strange ornaments that were over the top.
Within minutes, I took a shower, loosening my sore and tired muscles and putting on an old pyjama set that had paint stains on it from the time I got into a paint fight in college with a couple of girls and I hadn’t bothered to replace my clothes since then.
I soon went downstairs to eat some delicious zucchini lasagna that tasted absolutely like heaven and made me almost curl my toes, “Linda, this fucking delicious! Oh my god, I can’t get enough of this.” I said after I had finished my meal or rather everyone’s meal and walked into the kitchen. It was probably the lasagna I had ever tasted and I finally understood what a foodgasm actually felt like.
“Oh miss, thank you.” She looked appreciated and happy to receive my approval as I kept my plate in the sink and rinsed it with some water despite her telling me not to.
Finding myself extremely tired, I went to bed and as soon as I closed my eyes, I was embraced into a peaceful sleep for once with my stomach full and my hunger satisfied.
“Elizabeth!” I woke up to find my mother standing next to my bed with her arms wide open, waiting for me to jump into them as soon as I registered what was going on.
“Mom. I missed you.” I wrapped my arms around her as soon as I recovered from my sleepy state.
“I missed you too, sweetheart. It’s been so long since I last saw you.” I nodded my head in agreement. It had been way too long.
Seeing the bright sunshine peeking from the edges of the curtains, I frowned and heard myself asking her what time it was.
“It’s almost noon.”
My eyes widened in shock. I had slept for more than twelve hours. I must have been really tired yesterday, I thought as I pushed my hand through my hair, yawning.
“Honey, why don’t you freshen up? Then you can meet Henry and his son. We both have to tell you something.” She smiled lovingly at me, kissing my cheek as she left the room, leaving me alone.
As soon as I entered the gigantic living room, my eyes fell on my mother and a man in a gray suit laughing together. The man was a good age but he was charming nonetheless with a pearly white smile. I felt slightly out of place in my jeans and flannel and I awkwardly cleared my throat to make them aware of my presence.
“Henry, this is my daughter Elizabeth. Lizzie, this is Henry Parker.” Henry extended his hand out to shake with mine.
“It is nice to finally meet you.” His eyes were brimming with happiness. I could see why my mother fell for him. I could only imagine how good he looked when he was younger.
“Likewise.” I said honestly. My mom had chattered on and on about how great he was the whole past three months.
“Why don’t you sit down, Lizzie? Reid must be on his way. We need to tell you both something.” She interlaced her fingers with Henry’s and looked at him lovingly.
I sat down a little uncomfortably, not knowing how to react to seeing my mother practically cuddle with a man who wasn’t my father I but soon became relaxed as I realized the love they had for each other and it was not my business to interfere.
A few minutes passed with me tapping away on my phone and engaging in an awkward conversation with Henry and suddenly, the huge doors were opened by a servant. A chiselled man in a black suit entered the room, his form powerful and authoritative.
He stood tall and suddenly my throat felt dry and I felt strangely intimidated in his presence as I saw his jaw clench as he looked at our parents. I suddenly felt naked when his sharp gaze landed on me but his eyes instantly averted from me, making me slightly disappointed. I quickly shook out of it as I saw him sit next to me at a safe distance, opposite to my mother and Henry.
“Reid, this is my daughter Elizabeth and Lizzie, this is Reid Parker, Henry’s son.” My mother made the (un) necessary introductions and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at how excited she was.
Reid had barely even glanced at me and I felt exposed. I couldn’t help but notice his piercing blue eyes and his luscious black hair that were still a mess despite his formal attire. He nodded at me and lifted his hand up for a handshake. My face suddenly seemed to turn crimson red. My hand met his and I felt self-conscious as I realized that my palms were sweaty. The handshake was precise and short and he released my hand almost instantly. He turned to look at Henry, “Father, you had something important to tell me.”
“Yes, Hazel and I have decided something.” He said with delight as he raised my mother’s hand to his lips and lightly kissed her knuckles. “We are getting married!”
My mouth fell open in slight surprise but I recovered quickly. I threw my hands around my mother, “I am so happy for you, mom.”
“Thank you, Lizzie. I am glad you respect my decision.” I smiled at her in response. I know she was referring to my father but in all honesty, I was over the fact that my mother could find happiness in some other man even though I may never recover from his death. If she was happy with this man, then she should definitely marry him, there was no question.
As soon as my excitement lessened, I noticed Reid’s reaction. He was expressionless. His face showed no emotion whatsoever. “I should be leaving now. I have a meeting to attend,” he muttered as he stood up.
“But Reid, you should spend sometime with us. Talk to your future sister and mothe-” Henry started off, trying to get him to sit down.
"Stepmother and stepsister.” Reid glanced at me as he almost hissed the word. He ticked his jaw and seemed to compose himself. I was offended. I had just met him and never had anyone behave like this with me in the first five minutes of our meeting itself.
“Father, I have a deal to close. Just inform me when the wedding is and I’ll be there but don’t force me to be involved in useless family matters.” He stormed out of the house, leaving all of us in silence with an air of tension surrounding us.