That night, after everyone was asleep in their separate bedrooms, I pulled out my laptop and started searching for housing facilities for homeless kids. I found a few, but they seemed cruel and cold. After multiple hours of searching, I decided to get some sleep and work on it more tomorrow.
The next morning I woke up to a delicious smell wafting through the open door of my bedroom. I got up out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen to find Asa making waffles while Ellie and Lizzie made strawberry puree.
“Mmm, it smells good,” I said, walking up next to Asa.
“Thanks,” he said, focusing on pouring batter into the waffle iron.
“What are you girls making?” I asked Ellie and Lizzie, walking over to them.
“Strawberry sauce,” they chorused. I smiled at them.
“I bet it will be delicious,” I said, tapping them both on their noses. They recoiled and smiled at me. While the breakfast was cooking I went upstairs and changed out of my pajamas. When I came back down breakfast was ready and there were four place settings on the table. Ellie, Lizzie, and Asa were all sitting down, waiting for me to join them. As soon as I sat down, the twins started devouring their food. I smiled at them, then looked at Asa who was watching them with an unreadable expression on his face. I extended my toe under the table and tapped his shin, getting his attention.
“You okay?” I mouthed to him. He nodded.
We were about halfway through our meal when I heard the garage door opening.
“Crap. My parents are home. Stay here,” I said, running to the garage door where I intercepted them before they could enter the house.
“What’s that smell?” Linda askes, sniffing the air.
“I made waffles,” I said, leaning up against the door frame. “So, Linda, Richard,” I said, addressing them, “Just so you know I have some friends over right now, so don’t be alarmed.” Linda just nodded and shooed me out of the doorway.
“We figured you would have someone over, we don’t care, as long as we can meet them,” She said, sticking her nose up in the air and strutting through the doorway and into our mudroom. I led her to the dining room, stopping her before entering so that I could prepare Asa and the twins. I hurried into the dining room, saying,
“Have super good manners. My step-parents want to meet you. You’ll be fine, don’t be rude, and act normal.” I sat down to finish my breakfast before Linda and Richard walked in, surveying the people who were at the table.
“Morgan, who are these people? We’ve never met before,” Linda said.
“Linda, Richard, this is Asa and his sisters, Lizzie and Ellie,” I introduced. We all waited for a moment with bated breath to see what her reaction would be.
“Aw, you’re so adorable!” Linda said, walking up to the twins and pinching their cheeks. “Morgan, how did you meet these people?”
“Um, I met Asa at school -” technically not a lie, “and then he invited me to meet his sisters,” I explained.
“Fair enough.” They were the first words Richard had spoken. I looked at him in surprise, for him, those were high words of praise.
“That’s good,” I mouthed to Asa, and he nodded, relieved.
“Morgan, did you happen to find your soulmate when we were gone?” Linda asked. It was the one aspect of my life that she had any interest in.
“Actually…” I trailed off, looking at Asa.
“You did! Oh, sweetheart, I’m so happy for you!” Linda said, coming around and hugging me. My eyes went wide with surprise, and I saw Asa stifle a laugh. It wasn’t my fault I looked overly surprised, Linda had never hugged me, let alone called me sweetheart. “Asa is welcome here anytime, along with his sisters,” Linda said.
“Um, about that…” I said.
“Yes, sweetheart?” It was the second time in my life. I was floored.
“So they need a place to stay, you see they’ve been living on the streets, can they stay here until we find somewhere else?” I saw Linda’s face sour, but I knew she wouldn’t want to turn away my soulmate.
“Of-of course,” Linda said. “They are absolutely welcome here.”
“Thanks, Linda!” I said, wrapping my arms around her. It was her turn to be surprised, but I have to say, it did feel kinda nice.
“You’re welcome,” she said. There was no ‘sweetheart’ tacked onto the end, but I knew I had already gotten more than she was comfortable with. “Now, who is this cleaner you told me about?” she asked. I swallowed nervously before saying,
“It’s Asa. He’s cleaned for people all over the city and he has tons of experience.” I looked at him, hoping he would go along with the lie.
“Your rate is so high for someone living on the streets,” Linda said skeptically.
“He said that I could choose what to pay him and that I couldn’t go back on it after I chose. So I chose ten dollars an hour if only to help them out,” I said quickly, before Linda could reduce what she paid him.
“Right, well, we need a cleaner so I guess you’ll do. I’ll make sure to leave you a list every day for what to do,” Linda said, her cold facade coming back into play. Asa nodded.
“I already told him such, Linda. He expected it,” I said.
“Well, good girl,” she said, patting my head. I glared at her hand. “Now, I’m going to get some sleep. This jet lag is killing me. Richard, come along.” she and Richard stalked out of the room, clomping noisily. When they left the room, we all visibly relaxed.
“You got us out of a tight one, there, Morgan,” Asa said.
“Yeah. Linda can be very cold sometimes,” I said with a nervous chuckle. The other three nodded along with me. “Now, I’ve thought of something that you can do while I’m at school.”
“What should we do?” Lizzie asked.
“You should look for places to stay,” I said. “Maybe find a cheap apartment?”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Asa said. “But when will we see you?” the look on his face was sad, after all, he would be working when I was home from school.
“We can go out for lunch every day, I’m allowed off campus for an hour. And I can help you clean when you’re here to work,” I said.
“I can’t let you take us out to lunch every day,” Asa said.
“You can and you will. At least until you have enough extra money to take me out,” I said. “And once you have a place to live, you can put the girls into school. And I can tutor you on the weekends,” I suggested. “And I won’t take no for an answer.” I heard Asa sigh, but I knew he was agreeing.
That night I got out my computer, this time to search for cheap apartments that weren’t too far away. I found multiple that were cheap, and large enough to accommodate Asa and the girls. I printed out a list, and the next morning, Monday, I handed it to Asa.
“I found some super cheap apartments that you can check out this week. Of course you won’t be able to move in yet, but you can look around.”
“Thanks, Morgan. I’ll see you later,” Asa said, seeming to hesitate before he dropped a kiss to my cheek. I smiled and waved at him as he and the girls walked away towards the bus stop. I stood in the same spot for a good twenty minutes before realizing that I should head to school. I sighed and started walking, thoughts swirling in my head. I was too preoccupied to notice the car until it was too late.