Chapter 20: The Introduction
“I’m glad you decided to come home with me for Thanksgiving.” I say to Samantha as the car pulls up to my house.
“What have you told them about us? I don’t want our stories to mix up. I definitely do not want to out you before you are comfortable with it.”
“I told them you’re a good friend who doesn’t have family to spend the holidays with. They were very sympathetic and glad to have you join us. Are you ready?” I ask.
“I am if you are.”
We exit the car and before we reach the door, my mom runs out and envelops me in a huge embrace. “I’ve missed you so much dear! I hope college has been good to you. I worry so much about you.”
“Yeah, everything is good. Mom, this, is Samantha.” I say, breaking the embrace and gesturing.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here also.” My mom gives Samantha a quick hug. “It must be so lonely at holidays without family. You are welcome anytime. I’m so glad you’ve become such a good friend to our daughter.
“I get by, I’m usually too busy to notice.” She responds.
“That’s no way to live. I hope you enjoy yourself here.” She loops her elbows through Samantha’s and mine and walks us to the house.
“I have a surprise for you Ileana!” Mom says leading us inside.
“Surprise!” Everyone inside the house yells at us. I take a glance around Jack and his whole family are here along with my grandparents.
I smile bigger than I ever have and give everyone hugs as I introduce Samantha. It’s so great to see everyone.
Dinner flew by as we all made small talk. Before I know it, Jack and his family are headed home.
That leaves just Samantha and I with my parents.
Oh man. I hope they like her. I don’t really care if they don’t though because I do. Should I tell them we’re together? No that’s way too soon. I should see how tonight goes first.
“You’ve been awfully quiet, Samantha.” My dad says once everyone cleared out.
“Yes sir, I was enjoying watching the close relationships that you all share. I haven’t experienced anything like that before.” She says honestly.
“Well, dear, I hope you’ll join us often and be a part of it also. The more the merrier.” He cheerfully states.
“I think that would be nice.”
“I can’t help but notice your accent, where are you from?” My mother chimes in.
“Romania. I came here 12 years ago, just after I turned 18.” She responds dryly.
“Your family must have been devastated to have you move so far away. I know I could never go too long without Ileana. This distance has been hard enough. I’m so glad she’s home.” Mother smiles at me and starts to tear up.
Wow, mom is just hammering the hard subjects. She knew she didn’t have family to spend holidays with. I’m sure Samantha doesn’t want to talk about this stuff. Wait, she came here 12 years ago at 18. That makes her 30. And I’m only 22. Jeez...I’m sure they’ll flip if they knew we’re together now.
“You don’t have to answer Sam.” I speak softly. I would like to know more about her. Maybe having her here will allow me to learn a lot more. I harden my tone, “Mom, you shouldn’t pry that much.”
“It’s okay.” Samantha touches my arm. “I was an only child. When I was 14, my dad died of lung cancer; he couldn’t quit smoking. After that, my mom spent the next 3 years drinking herself to death. I made a vow to move away and make a better life. I sold everything from the small shop they owned to the stocked food in the pantry.” Samantha made it through her recap without getting emotional.
“I’m so sorry honey!” My mom has tears running down her cheeks. “You’re welcome here anytime. You’ve been such a good friend to our baby girl.”
“That’s a rough go that you’ve had there. I’m glad you have turned your life around.” My dad says.
“Can you believe it, an orphaned Romanian peasant made it to the big times in America. Most people dream of having my job. I enjoy it, but I’ve recently found that the company of someone may be more important.” Samantha explains.
I’m pretty sure I’m that someone. Oh my, she likes my company better than working! I can’t believe it. I’m more important than Sam’s work! I mean I think she’s more important than my school work. If I had a choice, I would definitely choose her. I love all of the time we spend together.
“I’ve always thought that human relationships are more important than jobs also. What is it you do?” My father asks.
“I’m an actress and a business owner. I have part ownership in over one-hundred businesses.”
“Maybe you’ll be able to help this old farmer out with his business sometime.” My dad jokes and lets out a well controlled laugh.
“I’m sure I would be able to share knowledge with you. It’s the least I could do for you opening your home to me. ” She responds.
“Oh, that’s nothing sweetie.” My mom says. “I almost forgot, it’s time to break the wishbone!” She hurries to the kitchen.
“It’s our family tradition. Dad and I break the turkey wishbone before bed.” I explain to Samantha. “We each grab a side, make a wish in our head and pull on the count of three. The wish comes true for the person with a bigger piece.”
“Have any of yours came true?” She asks.
“I guess so, going to college was mine two years ago. I guess they may take some time to work.” I say.
Mom returned with the dried wishbone. “I think our guest should break it with you.” Dad suggests.
“I don’t want to infringe on your family tradition.”
“Oh, nonsense. You must do it.” My dad pressures.
Samantha and I each grab an end of the bone. I close my eyes. I wish. What do I wish for? I wish to be with and please Sam for a very long time.
“One, two, three!” Mom counts and we break the bone.
We set our pieces next to each other to determine who won. The pieces look exactly the same length. How can that be? How does that work? Do neither of our wishes come true? Do they both come true? Do they become half true? Oh, why am I worrying about this so much. It’s not like this will make or break my wish.
“Well looky here, it seems we have a tie amongst us.” My dad says. “I suppose that means you both win and lose, or maybe it’s negated. Either way, I could have never guessed this result would occur.”
“Thanks for letting me do that.” Samantha says.
“I suppose I should clean up now.” Mom says and grabs the bone pieces first and puts them on a plate.
“Can I see the piece of bone again?” Samantha asks.
“Oh, of course.” Mom hands it over.
Samantha smiles at my mom and pockets the bone piece. It must mean something to her. Maybe it’s the first time she’s done a traditional thing before. Maybe it’s the wish she made. I wonder what she wished for. What could the woman who has everything desire? Why would she keep a bone fragment? I want mine also!
“I’ll help you mom.” I say grabbing the plate from her and pocketing my section of bone also.
I finish helping mom clear the table and we all retire to the living room. Dad sits in his recliner and I sit in the middle of the couch with my two favorite women next to me.
Dad switches the tv to football. It almost feels like nothing has changed since I left. But I have changed. You have no idea how much I have changed father. I wonder what you would think of me now. I’m no longer your sweet innocent girl. I am a woman. I am a woman who craves another woman. I’m sure you’ll freak out a little bit when I tell you.
“I hope the Eagles win.” Samantha says surprising me. She knows sports? She doesn’t even have a tv. There is so much I’m learning about Samantha. I should take her home more often. Or maybe talking with her about things as they pop up in my head would be quicker. I never even thought to ask her age before. And I knew family was a sore subject that we didn’t need to dive in right away. I figured she would mention it when she was ready. Maybe she’s blocked it out so much that she doesn’t even remember anything good with the bad. I’ll have to bring this up again.
“I would have to disagree. The Bears should win.” My dad states his opinion.
“I suppose we will see who wins.” She says coolly.
“I’ll wager you a beer.”
“Deal. I’ll buy you a case before we leave if you win.”
“Dear, would you be so kind?” Dad asks mom.
She leaves to get beers. Samantha takes this moment alone, well alone as we can be with dad’s attention drawn to the game, and holds my hand. I smile at her. Gosh, she is just so good to me. Even just this small thing. She didn’t have to hold my hand. Yet, she chose to when the opportunity presented itself.
Mom passes a beer to each of us and we all take a sip in unison as if it were planned.
“How’d you become good friends? It seems odd that an actress would befriend a farm girl.” Mom asks when a commercial break came on.
“I don’t usually talk to a lot of new people in general, let alone befriend them. However, when I was here filming in August, I went to the farmer’s market and met her there.” She started.
“She was the one who left the $100 bill.” I chimed in.
Oh my god. I just realized that dad sent me to the market to get hitched and that’s pretty much what happened.
“Yes, Ileana found me and wanted to return it. I have never seen such honesty and kindness before. I knew she would be a good influence in my life. We ended up hanging out a few times while I was here and continued talking since then.”
“Indeed, our daughter is one of a kind. I’m glad she has a good role model friend. It seems you have thrived and overcome many challenges in your life.” My dad states.
If he only knew what type of friend. I smile to myself.
“Do you live where Ileana is going to school now?” Mom asks.
“Yes I do. It’s nice having a good friend so nearby.” She drew out the word friend and only I noticed.
“It seems you have been a good influence on her as well then. We are so proud of her. She’s getting a higher education and I know she will pursue her dreams. Thank you for looking out for her. I just wish she was a little closer.” Mom starts tearing up again.
“Mom, it’s not like I never talk with you. And we’re here now. I’m sure we will stay a few days around Christmas. That is, if Sam is invited also.”
“Oh yes, of course. You must not celebrate alone Samantha. We would love to have you.”
“That sounds like another memorable occasion. Count me in.” Samantha responds.
“We’re so happy to hear that.” Mom cheers.
My parents must really like her. They seem to get along well. And they’re not fake happy like they act around some people.
Bzzz bzzz. My phone buzzes:
‘I’m so glad I got to see you! You seem so happy. I’m excited for you! If you have time, do you think we can chill tomorrow?’
“Jack wants to hang out with us tomorrow. I know we’re only here for part of the day, but would that be okay?”
“Oh yes, honey. I know he’s been away at college also. You two probably have so much catching up to do.” Dad says.
‘For sure! I am happy. Thanks Jack. I can’t wait to catch up!’ I hit send.
It’s so nice to be home. I have missed everyone. I wouldn’t change being away though. I’ve grown so much since leaving. I’ve gained so much also...Sam. She has been the best addition to my life.
I yawn. Man I am exhausted. I probably ate too much. Scratch that, I know I ate too much.
“I think I’m ready for bed.” I say to my parents.
“Ah, yes, it is getting late. I’m sorry we don’t have the guest room set up yet Samantha, it’s still being remodeled. I’m sure that Ileana can accommodate you in her room. There is an extra sofa up there, also we could bring a mattress to lay on the floor if it’s not comfortable.” Dad offers.
“We’ll be okay. I’ll take the sofa.” I say quickly.
“You are a good hostess, like your mom.”
“Goodnight.” I give each of them a kiss on the cheek and a hug.
“Goodnight, thanks for having me.” Samantha directs my parents. I lead Samantha upstairs before my parents have a chance to answer.
I can’t wait to be alone with Sam. It feels so weird acting around my parents. I just want to be us.
As soon as my bedroom door closes, Samantha tackles me on the bed.
“You watch too much football.” I giggle.
“I’ve never watched a full game in my life.” She retorts and pins me down underneath her.
This feels so good. Oh, how I have missed this. Crap my parents are still up downstairs.
“Shhh, we need to settle. They are right downstairs.” I whisper.
“Okay.” Samantha exaggerates a pout and gets off of me.
I grab her arm and pull her into a kiss. “I didn’t mean we can’t do nothing. I think the line should be drawn at kissing though. It would be kinda weird to do anything more.”
“I can live with that...for tonight at least.” Samantha says seductively.
“Good. Now, let’s get ready for bed.” I suggest stronger than I meant.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you gave the orders now. Being home must really give you confidence, My Pet.” Samantha teased.
“I just...I mean, I was suggesting. I didn’t mean for it to sound so bossy, My Queen.” I try to explain that I didn’t mean how I sounded.
“It’s quite alright. Just remember, you’ll always be My Pet.”
“I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to.”
That’s true. I don’t think I could ever forget being hers. I never want to forget it. She makes me so happy. I have desires and goals I never would have dreamed of because of Samantha.
“Good. Now let’s get ready for bed, My Pet.” Samantha orders.
We get ready and climb into bed. I love sleeping next to her. It’s becoming more of a regular occurrence. I feel so close when we’re like this.
Samantha stretches out her arm. I turn on my side and nuzzle into her shoulder with my arm draped across her stomach. I give her a squeeze and hold it. I never want to let you go.
“What’s up?” She questions.
“I just don’t want to lose you. You mean more to me than I could have ever imagined.” I say with a tear rolling down my cheek.
She brushes the tear away, “You won’t lose me. You mean that much to me also.” She comforts me.
I kiss her lips trying to convey all the meaning she has to me. I think I love you. That’s a crazy thought. You’ve completely changed my world and it’s only been about four months. It’s crazy to think love can develop that quickly.
I lay my head down and peacefully drift to sleep.
I stir from sleep at the sound of Samantha’s voice. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Yes, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“What’s happening?” I groggily ask.
“I have to get back. I know we were planning on leaving tonight, but there is a big client that needs to meet with me this afternoon in person. I can arrange for you to come back tonight still, if you want to stay?”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll leave with you.” I get up and get ready.
‘Sorry, I won’t be able to make it. We’re leaving for Las Vegas right now instead of tonight. I’ll make it up to you on Christmas break! I’ll give you the whole day of the 23rd.’ I sent it to Jack. I feel bad about leaving. But I really don’t want to travel alone.
I can smell the coffee brewing downstairs. “I’m going to run down and talk with my mom.” I let Samantha know I’m going down and she nods in response.
“Can you make me a cup mom?” I ask walking downstairs.
“I sure can honey. I’m going to miss you when you leave tonight. I don’t know if I can let you go again.” She says.
Guilt builds within me, “About that, we actually have to get going soon. Samantha has a work emergency. The car will be picking us up shortly.”
“I see,” my mom sounds heartbroken already, “we should wake your father so he can have a few moments with you before you leave.”
She retreats to her room and Samantha comes down with our bags.
“I’m glad I got to officially meet your parents. They are really nice and caring.” She says.
“I’m glad you met them too. I think they like you.”
“Of course they do, I’m hard not to like.” Samantha jokes with a goofy grin.
Mom and dad appear from their room. “I’m sad that you’re leaving already, sweetie. I’m sure going to miss you.” He says and gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“I’ll miss you too dad.” I respond.
“It was nice to meet you Samantha. If you don’t have plans, I’d like you to join us for Christmas.” He invites her again.
“It was nice to meet you also.” Samantha extends her hand for a handshake, “I’m sure I’ll be able to make Christmas.”
“None of that formal stuff here.” Dad swats Samantha’s hand away and gives her a hug.
“The car is here.” I say, breaking the moment.
“I’m going to miss you so much!” My mom says and squeezes me hard, “stay safe and remember I’m always here for you and I love you so much!”
“I love you too. I’ll see you on December 23rd.”
She gives Samantha a hug and opens the door for us.
We walk out and I open the car door for Samantha as Bev loads our bags in the trunk. I can’t wait to be back home. What is the home I can’t wait to return to? It’s Samantha’s home I want to return to the most. My dorm room is where I do work, my parents house I now have to hide who I am. At Samantha’s I can be myself. For the first time in my life the thought of home isn’t where I grew up, but where I feel happiest.