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Chapter 9

"ginger died" she said and hugged me close.

"who?" I was confused.

"ginger! Your cat, he died this morning. Your neighbor Mrs brown called to tell me. You phone was not working."

"ohh" I sighed. "the cat! It's OK mom."

"come on in."

I went to the familiar living room. Nothing ever changed. I like that. "where's dad?"

"they called from office, he had to go. He will be here in no time." I nodded and headed to my room. My room was also exactly the same as I left it. Light pink and yellow striped wall paper. Yellow comfortor and pink carpet. I remember doing some DIY with my mom for the decorations. I looked out of my window, the weather is cold, cloudy and rainy here unlike in Miami. I wanted to go back in time and live at the comfort and safety of my parents house. I dropped on the bed and found Josh's favorite stuffie. She is a Fluffy white lamb with pink nose and black eyes. I hold her close and started to cry. I remember telling Sam about Josh. How I trusted him with my life and how he let me down. I fell a sleep crying.

I woke up at the sound of a door knock. My dad was standing in the door way. "hey there kiddo"

"dad!" I got up and hugged him close. He scanned my face and said "You look good!how was your retreat?"

"it was okay!"

"just okay?" I nodded "alright then, let's go down stairs and get something to eat."

We sat quietly as we ate.

"how is work?" my dad asked.

"it's fine" they looked at each other shrugged.

"you okay honey?" my mom looked at me worried.

"I am fine mom, could we just eat first and you can ask me questions later." I was louder this time.

We ate in silence, I excused myself and head to the living room to watch TV. I wasn't concentrating on the show. My mind was elsewhere. My dad sat next to me and said" hey, talking about it might help sometimes. We are here for you, you know? " I nodded and stared at the TV. He sighed and went to the kitchen. I heard them whispering. I fell a sleep on the couch, the next morning I woke up. I was covered in blanket and the tv was turned off. I sat up with the blanket still around me and turned on the TV. My mom and dad must have already left for work. I lay there and watched 'my 600 ib life" and I cried while they struggle to lose weight and get back in shape. I suddenly felt hungry and walked to the kitchen. I opened the full packed fridge and saw a pack of ice cream. I took it to the couch and ate while watching TV. So this is the part where I really ate ice cream and watch TV. I nodded in agreement to myself.

I slept, ordered pizza, ate, and watched TV the whole day. And in no time my parents parked in the driveway. My mom walked in and said "we are home!" and looked at the living room in horror. "what happened here? Zoey?"

"I lost track of time, mom. I swear I was about to get up and clean before you guys came."

"that's what you should do now." my dad said and they both went upstairs to their bedroom. I got up slowly and start to collect the trashes and throw them in the garbage. I cleaned up the living room in less than 10 minutes. See I still have it!

My mom and dad walked in and kept quiet like nothing happened. They sat on the love seat and pretend to watch TV.

"your cousins and your aunt are staying with us for a couple of days. They will be here tomorrow." my mom announced.

"what? You didn't tell me they were coming when I told you that I'm coming home."

"they called today, I told them you were here so they want to spend a couple of days here with you. You adore those kids, why are you acting this way." I shook my head and said "fine."

I wanted to be alone the rest of the days. Being around children is 'too happy' for me. But I can't do thing about it now. The next morning I woke up early, checked the time and went back to sleep. I woke up again at the sound of giggling. I opened my eyes and my cousins were trying to draw on my face. They were sneaking up on me with magic marker on the hands. I pretend to be asleep and when they get closer I got up, extend my arms forward and slowly walk towards them like a zombie. They screamed and run down stairs. I smiled and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I wore a black oversized t - shirt, pijama pants and socks. Down stairs my aunt Barbara and my cousins were sitting watching 'sponge Bob Square pants' I put on my happy face and said "hey Ben, lizzy, aunt B?" they run to me and gave me a big hug knocking me almost off balance. I sat on the kitchen stool and ate pancakes in a shape of animals. I went to the living room and stare blankly at the TV. "zoey is turning in to a zombie" Ben announced and they start to run in circles. I had no energy to chase them so I just smiled and said "nooo I became a zombie only if you woke me up while I am sleeping. " "but you stare at the TV like a zombie?" that was lizzy. I sighed lay on the couch. I heard Dora singing in Spanish. I dozed off and woke up when the kids scream. I jumped up and said "aunt B, are they okay?"

"they are fine, they are fighting over a Lego." she waived her hand in dismissal.

I watched children's show the whole day. It was a nightmare. A song came along about wearing boots. And my cousins decided to replace the 'boots' with 'boobs'. My face fell to hear the word boobs, my mind dragged Sam to the image, kissing me and feeling me. "stop that Okay? it's not funny." I warned.

They jumped up and down and sang" I got boobs! And I love it! "

" stoop! "I shouted. They stopped and stared at me like am mad. Lizzy was about to broke down. Oh boy here comes the water works. I started begging her." lizzy I'm so sorry, here let me change the channel, you like Sofia the first?" she nodded.

" here you go" I said and changed the channel.

My mom and aunt B stood on the doorway and watched the whole thing. I passed between them and went up stairs to my bedroom. After several. Minutes my mom came "do you realize that you are acting like a hormonal teenager?"

I lay on my bed just looking at her. She sighed and sat on my bed. "I know something happened to you. Trust me, you will feel a lot better if you talk about it." I kept quiet. "is it about a guy?" I nodded. "I see.,do you love him?"

" mom, you don't just ask that! "

" okay then tell me?"

I started from the first day I saw Sam at the office, the ride home, the night he came to my apartment and the soup delivery too. I smiled while I told her about our conversation, how we teased eachother, and I cried telling her about how he lied to me.i even told her about Ed. My mom nodded in understanding the whole time and listened without inturrupting. When I was done talking, I sighed and I actually felt better.

"Zoey.. Honey you are in love! And I don't blame you he sounds wonderful. He took care of you and cared for you."

"but he lied to me, mom!"

"he lied to you because he cares about you. You will be surprised if you find out how many times your dad lied to me about stuff, just to protect me. We always lie to the ones we love. It's wrong but still."

"I don't lie to people I love."

"yes you do, you lied about ginger. I know you hated the cat but you pretend you like him not to hurt my feelings. You also lie to your father about fishing. We both know you hate fishing." she smiled and walked to the door. She stopped and added "you might be the first person to dump a guy because he didn't tell you his father is a billionaire."

"it's not because he's rich, mom. He wasn't honest with me."

"did you believe him when he said he loves you!"

"I don't know!" she nodded and left.

The next morning I woke up early feeling a lot better and my head clearer than the day before. I wore my white t shirt and yellow pjama pants with emojis. I run down stairs and found my mom and dad having breakfast in the kitchen. "mom, dad, I'm resigning from Nortons and I think I will call Ed and ask him out."

"who is Ed and why are you quitting your job?" asked my dad.

"I'm quitting because I'm not happy, dad."

"and why are you asking Ed out while your e clearly in love with Sam?" asked my mom

" because, it won't work with Sam, mom.that's my final decesion. "I said and ate my breakfast quietly and went back to my bedroom to watch' friends' on my laptop. It was raining outside and I thought I might fall back to sleep. After a while my mom called me from down stairs." zoey, come here for a second? "

" I'm busy mom!" I shouted back.

" Zoey.. I said now! "

I sighed and went downstairs and saw her standing just below the stair "what??" I said laudly.

She calmly said " someone is here to see you " and waived me to the living room. I walked in and my heart sank. Sam was seating at the one seater, my cousins standing and staring at him. He stood up and said" hey Zoey! "

I cleared my throat and said" hi" almost inaudible."what are you doing here?" he walked towards me, looked at my imoj pj pants and said "I needed to talk to you." by now my cousins are almost standing between us listening , aunt B muted the TV , my mom and dad sat quietly watching us. "can we talk in private? He asked. I turn on my heels and head to my bedroom. He followed. I sat on my bed while he stood looking around my bedroom." what is this? "he pointed to my pink aircouch." aircouch! " I answered. He nodded and sat down on my chair instead.. I waited for what he's going to say, my heart racing and feeling a little sick in my stomach.

" I need you to listen to me Zoey. I know I messed up. But hear me out. Yes I used to go out with lots of girls at office, they threw themselves at me just because I was the bosse's son. I got a free pass for most things and I took advantage of that, I was wrong. But I told you, that after my brother died, I changed for the better. I worked hard and everything I have is what I earn, like everyone else and I don't go out with random girls. When I first saw you, hiding behind that cubicle, I thought you are cute. I wanted to get to know you. You are just different. You should have seen your self, standing in the rain, soaked and a total mess. "he smiled and continued" I don't know how I knew I would fall for you. but you know when you know! I couldn't stop thinking about you. Your beautiful eyes, your wild brown hair and your smile. You are something else. "by now I'm wiping my tears away. He continued" when I saw you at the airport, relaxed and all dressed up, I just knew you are the one. And when that prick tried to do what he was about to do.. I would have killed him with my bare hands for hurting you like that. "his expression darkened and softened again." I wouldn't let you stay there even for a minute, but you were so stubborn,thats why I booked at the Gabriel's and told you the travel unit arranged it. You wouldn't accept if I told you I paid for it. You were so real and honest with me I wouldn't risk to lose that, so I kept quiet about being a Norton. I know you would treat me differently if you had known. The night we went out on a date and danced on the beach.. That was the best time I have ever had in my entire life. I want more of that with you. The little time I had with you outweighs everything I have in my life. You are my everything and I love you. Give me a chance to prove to you that I am worthy of your trust. "

I was a crying mess I wanted to speak but instead of words ragged sobs came out . I covered my face with my hands and let it all out. He waited patiently rubbing my back. I finally got a hold of myself and said" lena said you came on to her at the elevator! "

" no, it was her who came on to me, I told you about that already why can't you just trust me? " he said a bit loud and mad. He messed up and he is mad at me for asking a question? Now I am mad." any of this wouldn't happen if you have been honest with me from day one. " I shouted.

" yes you are right, nothing would have happened if you knew, you and I "he pointed to me and him

" would have never happened. " he said angrily

" I would have been better off with out you! " I shouted." look at me" I pointed at my pj and my messed up hair"look what you have done to me. You broke me to pieces and you just want me to forgive you like that"i snapped my finger.

"I just told you I love you. I told you you are my life and I ve had the best time of my life with you. Do you not hear any of this?" he said and clenched his jaw . He was beyond angry.. He was mad.

I sighed and said "I don't think I will be able to fight off all the women who threw themselves at you for the rest of my life. I'm tired already."

"no one asked you to fight for me, I'm already yours! Zoey I'm here because I believe we can get past this and move on. I can't promise you we won't fight or have issues but I will always be here for you. But if I walk out of that door, I'm never coming back. You have to decide now. "

" I... Im so sorry, but I know we won't be able to work things out. It's just too much for me. I'm used to living a simple life. This is just too complicated. " I said and bowed my head in deafeat.

He stood up walked towards me" well, this is good bye then." he planted a kiss on my forehead and said" I will never forget you Zoey Hatcher! " and walked quietly out of my room.

The moment he left, I literally felt raw pain in my heart. I thought I had an early stage of heart attack. I felt sick. People say life is full of choices, but what if my choices in life are wrong? What if I just lost the love of my life? I sat there for sometime frozen and numb. My mom walked in "honey.. You okay?" I wiped my tear and said"i let him go, mom. I thought I did the right thing but why do I feel so wrong?"

" Zoey, he didn't leave. "

" he didn't? "

" yes, he's in his car. He sat there frozen just like you. "

I stood up and run past her. I run down the stairs and went outside on the pouring rain. I run towards his car. He saw me, got out and walked towards me." Sam, I don't want you to leave! " I shouted through the pouring rain.

" I want to be with you Zoey. " he shouted back

I nodded and shouted " i love you and I miss you. I'm losing my mind. " he pulled me towards him and start to kiss me. A deep meaning full kiss. He closed the distance between us and pulled me up encouraging me to wrap my legs around him and I did. We kissed hungrily untill we were both out of breath . The rain makes it harder to catch our breath. We looked at each other gasping for air and laughing at the same time. To my surprise my whole family were out on the porch screaming at us. "get a room you two!" my cousins sticking their toinge out in disgust.

I looked down at Sam holding me and I said "did I tell you that my cat died."

"you never liked the cat." he smiled and added "let's get outta here" and carried me all the way to his car.

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