“What’s wrong?” Ace asks.
“I’m just not used to cars anymore. They make my head dizzy. All the things outside go by really fast.” I keep my head down and breathe slowly. I try to get my head off of the building sliding by as if they were on a really fast treadmill moving sideways. “Isn’t it cool how we went from horses and wagons to cars?” nevermind, that doesn’t get my head off of anything going on. I guess he can tell because he doesn’t say anything back, knowing it won’t help teh situation.
He puts his arms around me and keeps me close until the car stops about an hour later right next to a gas station. I take a pee break and try not to throw up because I definitely became car sick.
Several hours later, we stopped right next to a very fancy house. I look at everything the house has. Tons of windows, the side of a pool in the backyard, trees of different shapes and colors surrounding the house. It’s a cream white with a dark blue roof and three stories high up with little jasmine flowers at the bottom and a grass lawn at the front. In one of the windows, I see a room with a queen size bed, a huge dresser, a flat screen TV, and what looks like a very expensive painting.
The neighborhood seems like this is where very rich people, like celebrities live. All of the houses look like the one in front of me. Some are even more fancy and I’m pretty sure that some can be a place where a princess lives. Like the one to the right of me. It was a castle and a damn nice one too. It looked like it has been here ever since the eighteen hundreds or something. A few lions line the corners of the balcony and I feel myself smiling. The air is fresh like it was when Jack and I went to the park. There were enough trees here to fill up the rest of the world.
“Ace, why are we here?” I ask, getting nervous and feeling the same tickle I get in my stomach when something’s dangerous.
“Well, this is where we are going to eat. The kitchen is huge in this house. Wait till you see.”
We get out and Ace pulls me toward the house slowly, letting me take all of it in. I’m still not sure I should go into this house. There might be people in it. Are we even allowed? What if we get arrested for trespassing?
“Ace, we can’t go in there. Come on, let’s go back home.” I walk back to the car, but it’s gone. So I start the long journey home. Ace comes after me laughing and drags me back in the direction of the house.
“Stella, it’s okay. I promise.” He shakes his head as if all this was amusing him. I didn’t like the way he was treating me. It felt like I was just a little annoying joke that he wanted to feed to fulfill a promise and get it over with so that he could go home and back to his life. I felt like nothing. I’m sure I was overreacting like I tended to always do, but that didn’t stop the smile I had turning into a frown and my whole face dropping.
Ace seemed to realize it and he had the type of face that said “don’t ruin this fun adventure we are having together because you want to be spoiled.” I jerked my hand back form his grip and liked the surprise on his sorry face.
“My dad’s going to be so mad if he sees that I’m gone. We should run back before it’s too late.”
“Stella. It’s okay. The people who live here said it’s okay for us to use it tonight. Then we’ll go back home. It’s only for one night.” He sees my skeptical face. “Please?” He looks genuinely sorry for being an asshole and makes puppy eyes which always makes me give in.
I sigh. “Okay.”
We walk in and Ace goes straight into the kitchen. My favorite colors are all over the walls and there are lots of candles lit giving off a sweet fragrance. We walk past macaroni and cheese, pizza, fried chicken, peas, mashed potatoes, rolls of bread, and olive garden salad. All my favorite. My mouth is already watering. I stop to grab a role, but Ace puts it back and takes msides and pictures of men with expensive suits hung on the walls. Ace pulls out a chair and I sit.
“Stay here and I’ll bring the food, okay?”
I nod and Ace leaves to get everything set up. He puts down fancy ceramic plates that look old and very expensive and then he leaves again, coming back with a handful of forks, spoons, and knives. I watch as he puts them all in order. The forks on the left and the two spoons and knife on the right. He gives me a big smile before working on his placemat and straightening his tie. He looks at me shyly before he can’t help the smile on his face widening and I look at his perfect straight white teeth and wonder how they could be so perfect without him ever having braces. Of course they aren’t perfect, perfect, because his lateral incisors next to the two front teeth are slightly turned out, but not enough to really make a difference when you look at him unless you look really hard.
“Why are you staring at my mouth?” he asks, yanking me out of my trance and my eyes immediately stare at anywhere but him.
“What do you mean?” I ask, carefully making sure that my face is neutral, showing nothing.
“Well, I felt like you were staring at me. Everything alright? Do you like it?”
“Oh goodness, I love it. This is the best thing anyone has ever done for me my entire life.”
He beams down at me and laughs. Then he turns serious all of a sudden and stares at the table. “Wait, you were serious weren’t you? Nobody has ever done anything like this, even your parents? Your mom?” He realizes what he said and his whole posture fails. His face looks so sad and he tries to lift my chin up to look at him but I slap his hand away.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that, it slipped out.”
I abruptly stand up causing the chair to squeal against the marble floor and I run to the bathroom feeling his eyes on my back. I felt so vulnerable and the thought of my mom made my stomach feel weird. The hole inside my chest got bigger and bigger until I became nauseous and miraculously, there was a bathroom a few feet ahead of me. I stumbled inside and as soon as my high heels clicked on the ground, I threw up all over the ground, trying to hold my hair back. I hear the bathroom door open and I walk forward two steps before more puke comes out of my mouth. I watch the extra strands of my hair that didn’t make it into my hand being pulled back and I stand up, breathing hard. I try to walk, but I hear Ace’s voice tell me to stay put. My eyes were still dizzy and my stomach still felt weird. The hole was still there and it hurt so badly, mentally, that I started screaming and crying. Ace waited patiently as I let everything out. Then I wiped my mouth and looked down at the front of my dress, which somehow survived. I sigh and dizzily walk around the throw up and out into the hall where it’s more open. Ace grabs my cheeks with both hands and kisses me.