‘Behind every beautiful thing, there is some kind of pain.’
Asher stared at Rebecca’s retreating figure before turning to Astrid and shooting her a look.
“What the hell was all that about?”
“I have no clue,” she shrugged and started walking away. He quickly grabbed her wrist and pulled her back.
“Where are you going? You promised to see my mum today, remember?”
“Yeah. I am going to your house, actually.” She gave him a blank look.
“You are one weird creature,” he mumbled under his breath and started pulling her towards his sleek black car with was parked at the side of the road a few yards away.
Astrid quietly followed him, not in the mood to argue. He opened the passenger door and pushed her in, earning a glare from her. He simply chuckled at her before jogging to the driver’s side and got in the car. Both of them buckled their seatbelts and were off to his house.
The ride was pleasantly quiet for a while. Astrid, for the first time, broke the silence.
“I presume your sister gave you your clothes that you were kind enough to lend me.” The sentence turned heavily sarcastic at the end.
“A simple thank you would be enough, you know.”
“Thank you.” Her words were dripping with sarcasm.
“A little less sarcastic and more genuine.” He was enjoying this too much for his own good.
She rolled her eyes but tried again. Again, she sounded too sarcastic even to her own ears. She tried a few more times but gave up in the end. Asher was sniggering by the end of it.
“There are other ways in which you can return the favour, you know.” He glanced at her annoyed face and wriggled his eyebrows.
“Don’t push it.” She slowly raised her hand and fisted it. One look at it and he gulped nervously.
“Never mind,” he quickly stated as she held back her grin. Now that’s better.
In a few minutes, they reached his house. He pulled the car in the driveway and turned off the engine before turning to her. She looked at him and raised her eyebrow, her face passive. He opened his mouth to say something, but decided against it. Slightly shaking his head, he plastered a smile on his face and got out with her right behind him.
The familiar hallway greeted her as she took off her shoes and followed Asher. He shouted for his mother and a faint reply reached her ears indicating she was in the kitchen. And indeed, the tiny woman was bustling around the marble counters which were slightly messy with bits of flour and eggs. The delicious smell of freshly baked cookies wafted up to her nose as she greeted Kate.
“Astrid! How are you, dear?” Kate was delighted to see the girl. She noticed that she had healed up pretty well and felt slightly relieved.
“I’m good. How are you?” She sounded really polite for some reason. Even she could not place her finger on it. Asher gave her mocking amazed look.
“So you do know how to be polite! But please don’t do it again. It’s kind of scary.” That comment made her advance towards him but his mother beat her to it. She raised the spoon that she had in her hand and wicked her son at the back of his head, earning a yelp of pain from hin and a smirk from Astrid.
“Be nice to her,” she warned him, giving him a stern look before turning to Astrid with a huge smile.
“I’m pretty sure you all are famished. Wash your hands and I will fix you up some cookies,” she said.” Asher, go wash up.” Behind her, Asher was trying to steal some cookies without his mother noticing. But sadly for him, he was not quick enough. And that earned him another smack from the wooden spoon.
It was quite funny to see the six-foot-tall guy get beaten up by Kate who barely reached his chin. She watched as Asher rubbed the back of his head, fear for his mother evident in his eyes as his mother waved the spoon again in front of his face. He quickly moved across the counters and rushed up the stairs to his room. Kate laughed at her son’s antics.
Watching all this, Astrid felt a slight pinch in her heart. She could not help but feel jealous of their relationship. He was luckily in every possible way, having all the things that he could ever want. An amazing mother to care for him while her’s was.......
She shook the thought out of her head as quickly as it came. ′No matter what, never go there,′ she reprimanded herself before turning to Kate who directed her to the bathroom. The same one which she went to on her first time there. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and quietly stared at her girl in front of her for a few seconds.
She looked exhausted. Slight purple bags were evident under her eyes, probably due to the lack of sleep, her ocean eyes tired and her bangs sticking up. She ran her fingers through her hair pushing her bangs away from her face before opening the tap and splashing some cold water on her face. She kept doing it for a few times, relishing the cooling sensation on her face. She closed the tap and grabbed the towel which was neatly folded on the wooden rack near the sink and patted her face dry.
After fixing her hair, she walked up to the kitchen to find the son and mother seated at the counter. Asher was stuffing his face with the cookies as Kate gave him an exasperated look before swatting his hand away when he reached for the plate of cookies next to him which were obviously meant for her.
She took her seat next to him and thanked Kate for the cookies. The woman simply beamed at her and turned to Asher.
“You see that, son? That is called manners, something which I have sadly failed to teach you,” she said. Asher rolled his eyes at her comment.
“Don’t you think it is too soon to start playing favourites, mom?” he scowled playfully.
Astrid simply smiled at the woman before turning to Asher and giving him a mocking smile. Kate laughed out loud as Asher’s scowl deepened.
“Whatever,” he mumbled under his breath and resumed gobbling up the cookies on this plate and washing it down with some milk.
“So how is it?” Kate asked the girl as she watched her take a bite out of one of the cookies.
“It’s delicious,” Astrid stated and she meant it. The chocolate chip cookies were crispy on the outside but warm and fudgy on the inside. The exact way she liked them. The chocolate simply melted in her mouth. She proceeded to stuff herself with the cookies, not bothering about Asher and Kate who were looking at her with amused faces.
“And you call me a pig,” Asher commented, laughing at her.
She was tempted to flip him off like she would usually do but refrained herself from doing so by focusing on the cookies. She was on her fifth cookie when Kate asked her.
“So tell me more about yourself.” She did not sound nosy or anything but simply curious.
Astrid faltered for a second before slowing swallowing. More about herself meant more about her family. And she was not sure if she was ready for that yet. She quickly regained her composure.
“What do you want to know?” She made sure she did not sound anything else but polite.
“Well, where are you from? Why did you move here? What do your parents do?” Kate shooted question after question, oblivious to the slight panic on the girl’s face. The first two questions, she could manage somehow but the last one was impossible to answer. The same one that she had avoided for months. What could she say? If it was someone else she would have, for sure, snapped back at them but she knew she would never be able to do that to Kate. Even in the short time she had known the petite woman, she had been nothing but kind and warm.
That was the moment when she realised something.
She screwed up big time.
What do you think Astrid will do? The next chapter will be up soon.
Question for the chapter: Would you rather have arms for fingers or fingers for arms? (Weird question, I know)
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