The last few days really flew in a blur, as I have been busy taking care of sixty years old child, along with helping with the garage work.
“Avy!!!” Pops yells from the living room.
Throwing the plate in the warm dishwater, I quickly rinse my hands and walks in the living room towel drying my hands.
“What happened? Are you alright?” Worry lines form between my brows.
“I can’t reach the TV remote.” Pops stretches his hand towards the TV remote, which is just a few inches away from him, placed on the coffee table.
“Seriously?” I throw my hands up in disbelief, “Pops, this is the limit of being lazy.”
“I would have not called you, but I am having a headache and when I move it increases.” Pops holds his head in his hands while a feigning pain.
“Stop with your act.” I cross my arms and glare at him.
“I am not acting, I am really having a severe headache.” He points to the left side of his head.
“At least point to the correct side, your head injury is on the right side not on your left side.” I arch an eyebrow and shake my head.
I huff and walk over the coffee table and pick up the TV remote and hands it to him. Then picking up the blanket from the single-seat couch, I drape over his legs as he lies down on the couch.
I look at his face as he is lost in some thoughts. Something is really bothering him as he suddenly looks so quiet.
“Pops, what happened?” I sit on the floor, resting my back on the foot of the couch.
“Is anything bothering you?” I turn and place my hand on his.
“Nothing, sometimes you just remind me of so much Cecelia.” He sadly sighs, “She was also so caring and loving, like you. Tomorrow is her birthday, and I am missing her more than usual.” He runs a hand on his face, attempting to hide his pained look.
“Tomorrow is grandma’s birthday?” I excitedly ask, “Well, then instead of sitting here and being upset we are going to celebrate it.”
I never knew when was grandma’s birthday as all these years I was in boarding school. This is going to be the first time Pops and I going to celebrate it together.
“If grandma was anything like me, then she would not have liked you being sad.” I hold his hand, “So, tomorrow I am taking you out on a date, and you can’t say no.” I quickly shake my head when I feel he is going to deny.
“You are going to tell me everything about her, again, while we are enjoying her favorite food at her favorite place.” I smile and nod my head.
“Okay, kiddo.” He pats my head and gives a small smile.
“But before we go out, I will go to meet my Cece and spend some alone time with her.” He squeezes my hand.
“Okay, done.” I smile, “You are going to meet me directly at grandma’s favorite restaurant and don’t you dare ditch me.” I playfully narrow my eyes at him.
“I can’t even think to do that, as Cece will kick my butt rising from her grave for ditching her only grandchild.” He lightly pinches my cheek, while I laugh.
Pops loves grandma so much, that even after so many years of her death, he still talks about her like she is still with us. I have never seen her as she had passed away when dad was in high school. But I have heard so many stories about her from Pops, that I feel like she is also part of my life just like him.
Earlier in the afternoon, Pops went to meet grandma. He said he is going to pick her favorite flowers from the meadow, then he would make a bouquet for her by his hands. He told me grandma used to love it when Pops gave her hand-picked flower bouquet.
I utilized this time to buy a gift for Pops because I don’t want him to be upset on this day. I bought him a miniature music box which plays the Harry Potter theme music. We have spent so much time watching this series together and have some lovely memories associated with it. The gift is nothing fancy or expensive, but I am sure he will love it. Because these small things make him happy.
Dressing up in a light blue knee-length dress, I head to the restaurant a little earlier. I want to make sure everything is perfectly planned. I want to make this dinner memorable for him, it will be like a little gift from my side.
I take a cab to the hotel, as I will be returning back with Pops so there’s no need for me to take my car.
The Pines is one of the oldest and famous restaurants of the Northedge Town. Pops used to take grandma on dates here, so this place would be an ideal choice for celebrating her birthday.
“Hello, my name is Avery and I have made a reservation for two.” I smile and inform the girl at the reception.
“Let me check.” She greets me with a smile as she looks onto the computer screen beside her.
I impatiently drum my fingers on the logwood reception table.
The restaurant has a cabin-like feel to it. Logwood tables are surrounded by wooden chairs and yellow light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, painting the place with warm yellow light. The rustic charm with a touch of sophistication, add more to the appeal of this place.
“Yeah, sure, we do have your reservation. Let me call someone to take you to your table.” She smiles.
“Thank you.” I give her a small warm smile, she calls a waiter who guides me to our table.
Due to the weekend, this place is quite packed. Thankfully, I made reservations yesterday only, otherwise, it would have been so difficult to get a table tonight.
My phone buzzed in my hand and I check to find Pops message saying that he is going to be a little late. He says he is stuck in traffic, but I know he is stuck in his grief of losing the love of his life. He needs some time to compose himself so that I won’t notice his pain. We both are similar in many ways, hiding away our tears is one of them.
Keeping my elbow on the table, I rest my cheek on my hand. I look around and find myself surrounded by happy faces. This brings an involuntary smile on my face.
It is better to find joy in others’ happiness or else your own grief will drown you into the pit of agony.
A middle-aged couple on my left catches my attention. The manager is informing them that they have to wait for a table as there’s a lack of seating arrangement at the moment. The couple looks oddly familiar, but as far as I remember I have seen them for the first time.
The impeccable dressing tells that they come from money, however, they don’t seem snobbish. The woman meets my gaze and sends a small helpless smile on my way with a shrug.
“Excuse me?” I call and three of them turn to me.
“You guys can sit here with me until your table is being arranged,” I tell them, feeling bad as they will have to stand and wait for the table.
Relief passes over the manager’s face.
“No, it is fine, thank you.” The woman shakes her head and warmly smiles at me, “We don’t want to trouble you. We will just wait here.”
“It is not a trouble.” I stand from my chair and walk towards them, “Please, I insist. I will feel bad if you will stand here when I have seats available.” I smile.
“We are extremely sorry, sir. The private area is under renovation.” The manager apologetically looks at the man, who is having a stoic expression, “Otherwise, I would have given you, your regular table. It will just take fifteen to twenty minutes to arrange a table.”
“Honey, let’s go and sit there.” The woman places her hand on the man’s arm, “It is just matter of some time.” The man gives her wife a slight nod, his features softening when he looks at probably his wife, and follows me to my table.
“Thank you so much, sweetie.” She smiles at me as they both take their seats.
I can’t help but notice, the man’s gaze is calculating as he watches me. But there is nothing threatening about it. On the other hand, the woman carries a warm aura. Both seem like the opposite of each other, hot and cold.
Since I am not good at initiating any kind of small talk, so I choose to stay quiet.
“What did he say, when he is going to join us?” She asks the man.
“He said he is on the way,” The man checks his wristwatch, “Maybe till the time we will get the table, he will be here.”
Excusing myself, I walk in the corner to answer Pops call.
“We are going to have dinner at The Pines, right?” Pops asks, “I just wanted to confirm, as I thought maybe at last minute you decided to have a burger or pizza.”
“No, I haven’t changed my mind, so hurry up-” I pause, “No, please, do not hurry up. Drive safe and reach here in one piece. The hospital chairs are not a comfortable place to sleep and I am already suffering from backache from your previous hospital stay.” I lightly laugh.
“Okay, I will be there soon,” Pops replies and hangs up.
As soon as call hangs up, I feel someone hand on the bare skin of my leg.
Turning my head, I look at a guy sitting on the nearby table. He gives me a sleazy smile as he pulls back his hand.
“What’s the problem, dude?” I arch my eyebrow and ask.
“You are, too, hot.” He grins, “And your hotness is causing me a problem.”
“So, are you asking me to handle your problem?” I throw my sweetest smile in his direction.
“I would love if you will help me get rid of my problem.” He stands up and walks a little close for my liking and lightly drags his fingers on my arm.
My gaze shifts from his fingers on my arm then back to his face. Staring into his eyes, I hook my finger in the belt loop of his pants and lightly tug it towards me. He smiles showing his teeth at my actions.
But soon his smile wipes off his face, and his face reddens when I pour the soup inside his pants. The soup which was supposed to go inside him, from his mouth, but now something else of his got the taste of the soup.
“What the fuck, bitch.” He grits his teeth as his face scrunch up in pain.
I have to give it to him, he is holding up quite well. I thought he would scream like banishee, but no, he is just holding his ugly while quickly breathing through his mouth.
“You were having a problem, I just helped you in getting rid of that problem.“I shrug, “Now you will not have that problem for quite some time,” I say innocently.
“Next time, think twice before touching any girl, or for the matter of fact even any boy, without their consent.” I roughly pat his cheek.
When I turn around, the man with whom I am sharing my table is standing behind me. His icy glare fixed on the guy.
“Leave, before I change my mind and decide to make you pay for touching this girl,” he says in a leveled yet strong voice. That guy looks at him, clearly understanding he is the person not mess with and walks away funnily.
My eyes widen when Alec steps beside that man. Alec’s face carries an angry expression, but when he looks at me I notice along with anger there is slight wonderment in his eyes.