reunions, nervous wrecks and shining eyes
The drive to Anaya’s apartment was short, or maybe it felt short because I was practically drooling the whole way. New York, as I expected, is amazing. No wonder all the spidey movies were shot here.
“Oh my God I missed you so much” I say still hugging Ana. Growing up, I was glued to her, anything she did, I did too. “I missed you too” she mumbles into my neck. We pull apart and I wipe the tears off my face. That’s the thing about family reunions, there will be tears.
“We’ve got so much to catch on” she giggles and like two toddlers we run into the building, laughing. “Which floor are you on?” I ask leaning against the wall while waiting for the lift. “14” she grins and my eyes widen. Well that’s high man, real high.
The elevator door opens and we make our way in. As childish as it sounds, I love pressing the floor numbers on elevators. I press 14 and lean against the cool wall, still holding hands with her.
Time is such a wonderful thing. If someone would’ve told me that I’ll be spending almost two whole months in New York because my sister would be engaged to an American, I’d have laughed on their face. I know Anaya, or knew I guess. She was the most awkward girl growing up while on the other hand I was and still am the loud/social one. But now I look at her, I look at a woman. A beautiful, strong, independent, and confident woman. And who knew I could actually think like a mature person?
The elevator door dings and she smiles, “Come on”. We make our way to her apartment and loud laughs can be heard from the hallway. “There are my girls” my dad cheers from the couch in the living room. “Hey dad” Anaya hugs him and then my mom.
“Come on show us the ring” mom smiles and gasps when she shows her the ring on her finger. I smirk knowing I was the first one to see, I’m the best sister after all. A lot of ‘oh my god’, ‘I love you so much’, ‘I can’t believe you’re growing up’ and ‘Mila, stay the way you are’ (even I don’t know what they’re talking about but I am going to pretend I do), later we are all lounging in the living room. We are completely exhausted but ya know, we ladies love a good gossip.
“-And then he popped the question and I said yes″ Anaya dreamily narrates the whole proposal. Aaron seems like a decent guy with the screws in the right places. “That’s wonderful, I can’t wait to meet him tomorrow” mom smiles proudly that her future son-in-law at least sounds decent. “You girls continue” she says before kissing our foreheads and disappearing into one of the rooms.
“So...” Ana begins.“So...?” I muse with her. She rolls her eyes playfully.“So how have you been?” she finally asks taking the couch pillow on her lap. We kept the lighting dark and like we preferred, old 90s rock playing softly in the background. It was our tradition, ‘the sisters way’ as we called it.
“Awesome, amazing, perfect” I list before adding the final piece, “But you weren’t there. I missed you, so much”. A New York effect or else I never speak like this. She smiles, “Same, I missed you”. Just as if on cue, our favorite ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ started playing and we burst out laughing. “Oh this is meant-to-be” I say before falling into the world of sleep.
“Remind me again, why do I have to do this?” I ask fixing my hair in the mirror. Today we are supposed to meet Aaron at his restaurant. Yes, he owns a restaurant and my dad was exceptionally thrilled when he heard it. Food and dad, lock them together, and voila we have the perfect team, people.
“Because Aaron is freaking out?” she says sounding confused. I smirk, maybe I am evil.
“And?” I press crossing my arms, come on admit it. “And you are the best at calming down someone” she admits almost in an inaudible voice and I grin in victory. Nope, I am still not done.
“And why is that?” I walk away from the mirror and search my bag for a dress to wear for the ‘lunch/let’s embarrass Ana and Caleb’. I pick a white sundress and hold it up in front of me, praying that it still fits. Placing the dress neatly on our now shared bed, I raise one eyebrow her, clearly indicating her to continue.
“Because you are the best little sister in the whole wide world. Gosh how do you even do the eyebrow thing?” she refers to my raised eyebrow and I smile smugly at her.
“Oh Ana, I can also do this” I raise both my eyebrows up and down simultaneously making her groan and throw a pillow at me.
“Oh it’s on” I lunge on the bed and collect as many pillows (given there were only four) and return the act.
“Alright, remember the plan-” I cut her off. “Calm him down while you take the long way to reach the restaurant with mom and dad”, I say quietly glancing over my shoulder to see mom and dad walking slowly hand in hand. I smile at them; mom and dad’s marriage life screams ‘goals’.
Anaya nods and hugs me, “Thank you”. I rub her back because I know she’s nervous, although she has nothing to be nervous about. Mom already loves Aaron and dad might try to pull the ‘dad card’ on him, but he is a sweet marshmallow on the inside.
“See ya,” I say turning around and walk as fast as possible towards ‘Tequila Ham’, Aaron’s restaurant. When I first heard the name, back in India, I laughed for about twenty minutes straight. Then Anaya explained that once Aaron had a dream that he named his restaurant ‘Tequila Ham’, so he was determined to name his restaurant the same.
I have to admit, Tequila Ham is quite the restaurant. It has large glass windows, allowing passers-by to have a good look inside. The name ‘Tequila Ham’ is carved beautifully above the entrance. I smile in appreciation and push open the door which jingles in response, and step into an empty Tequila Ham. The inside is as pretty as outside. Tables laden with beautiful vases stand along the glass window. A bar is visible on the darker corner of the restaurant, giving it the perfect mysterious look, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and-
“Hi” I jump out of my skin. I turn around, spot the culprit, and narrow my eyes at Caleb, “You scared me”. He laughs and then I take in his appearance. He is wearing a white tee-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, his messy brown hair covering most of his forehead. He looks... cute. Whoa Mila, you just met him.
“Sorry about that. What are you doing here? Damn that sounded wrong. Okay, let me rephrase-” I laugh at his embarrassed expression. “It’s okay. They are on their way, Ana sent me to-”
“To calm down my nervous wreck of a brother? Thank lords, come on, follow me” he says in that awesome brit accent of his, which is odd given he is American, and takes my hand, making me follow me. I blush a bit at the contact and sweet lord are his hands soft.
Bless human touch.
Shaking my head a bit, I spot Aaron sitting on the last bar stool. Sulking might I add. We surely don’t walk soundless, so he turns around on the stool he was sitting and sighs in relief when he sees its just us. His potential sister-in-law and his brother.
“Hey Mila” Aaron greets with a smile. “Hey sulky” I smirk at his pathetic slouchy position and Caleb snickers behind me. Well that’s me for you. “How are you feeling?” I ask, glancing at my wristwatch, we have ten minutes before they come. Let’s roll! (and I watch too much TV).
“I am nervous, I think I might puke and I dunno I have this horrible feeling that your dad’s gonna hate my guts and throw me off a cliff and you-” I cut off his ranting, “Hey I am not that bad”, I protest before continuing, “Listen, your fiancee sent me to calm you down and tell you everything will be fine. She is just as nervous as you, I swear I almost rip her head off-” he looks at me with an amused smile and Caleb laughs out loud; damn that laugh; “-but you’ll be fine. My mom already loves you. Dad might pull the ‘dad-card’ on you but he is a real softie” I finish.
Looks like it worked, Aaron looks more at ease now. “Thank you, Mila” he smiles and I wave him off. It’s no big deal, I like helping people in crisis. “Now you fix your tie and sweep them off their feet with your dashing charm, you have some charm don’t you?” I joke making both of them laugh. He stands up, fixes his suit, makes me self- conscious of my height, gives me one last smile, and strides over to the diner part.
Well done Mila. Well done.
“You did quite an impressive job there. He freaks out too soon” Caleb states making himself comfortable leaning against the bar. I nod in understanding, “And so is Anaya, they are so meant to be”. I almost hear him smile and turn to see he was, indeed, smiling.
“So you believe in it too?” he asks, looking straight.
“Believe in what?” I ask in return, spotting an aquarium.
“Meant-to-be?” he clarifies, and I understand. Well, as old- fashioned and fictional it might sound, I do. Blame it on the numerous chick flicks and novels out there, but this is the one thing that I’ve always believed in, besides the existence of mermaids.
“Yeah, I do,” I say and turn my attention from the magnificent aquarium to Caleb. “Do you?” I repeat his question and watch his lips turn up as he turns his attention caramel brown eyes shining in this dark corner.
“I always have” he states.