"Her friend, Clara" These words kept ringing in my ears as the memories of the past conjured up several vivid moments with Erica, my BFF.
Alice's face went poker-faced and she gave a half shrug and excused herself to get another drink. I raked my fingers through my hair and leaned against the wall.
His Flashback :
10 days before Christmas: My Granny Priscilla Layton was busy in preparations. The lead cook of our mansion, Ms Martha was busy stocking up food items and also instructed the chefs to prepare more dishes than the usual.
I saw Mom (Grace Layton) and Dad (Carlos Layton) were busy discussing something and Dad asked our staff to arrange guest rooms. Mom started re-arranging my room as well; I was furious as I don't like anyone touching or moving my things.
I whined – "Mom, why are you shuffling all my stuff?" I could hear my sister Ziva giggling at me.
Grace replied – "Son, we are expecting guests, they will be arriving at any moment. Since there is a severe snowstorm prediction for the next 48 hours, they will be staying with us as it is not safe for them to travel. And my dear, we should make them feel comfortable in our home."
"Mom, who are they and why are they coming here all of a sudden?" – I asked her.
She answered – "They are Cooper's, they are a family of acclaimed doctors and our relationship with them goes long way back. You may not remember them, honey; but they were here when you were born and for all your birthdays too. Mrs Emily Cooper and I have grown up together, we were best friends and now even Mr Albert Cooper and your Dad are thick friends. "
Mom got down to my level and continued – "They were returning to their land 'Moonstone kingdom' when the snowstorm warning was enforced. Majority of the roads are closed and as they won't be able to reach their home soon; your dad asked them to come and stay here with us until its safe to travel."
"But what does it have to do with my room? It was perfect, mom." – I sulked.
Mom got up and smiled. She started resuming her work as she spoke – "You got company, Aron. The Coopers have 2 kids – Erica and Zachary; they will be staying in this room, along with you and Ziva. Our guest rooms are occupied and there are only a few more room available. So, all kids will be staying together."
"Mom"- I almost yelled on hearing this.
Mom glared at me – "Aron, this is final, no arguments! Behave yourself with them and look, you can play together, it will be fun. Well, you cant go out for the next 2 days. Be nice to them, they are your friends too; am I clear?"
Mom just gave me an ultimatum without leaving a choice for me – "Ooookkkk Mom"
"Change your clothes and come downstairs, they will be here at any moment." – saying this, Mom left. Ziva kept giggling thoroughly enjoying herself, and before I could hit her, she left the room after Mom.
I forced myself into my walking closet and chose a pair of black track pants and a sky blue sweatshirt. Leaving them on my bed, I went into the bathroom to freshen up and also taking a quick look at my bathtub which will be used by those jerks. I wasn't happy sharing my room with someone whom I didn't know.
Mom called out, asking me to come down as they had arrived.
I descended the spiral stairs and walked till the lobby where my entire family including Martha were already standing to welcome the Coopers. I stood behind, besides Martha. Martha urged me to go forward but I didn't move an inch, I was annoyed with the new intruders of my room.
Gran welcomed them inside the house and it seems she knows the elder lady, Ms Cecelia. My Dad hugged Mr Cooper who was a well-built, tall man and looked cool in those aviators. Next to him, Mrs Cooper spread her arms wide and hugged mom, both the ladies were delighted to see each other. I kinda liked Mrs Cooper, she was pretty and joyous with her sparkling eyes and shoulder-length black wavy hair. Mrs Cooper lifted Ziva and kissed her. Then she asked for me, I was amazed as she came forward, and hugged me. I smiled at her and genuinely didn't mind their stay at our home.
My mom went to their kids and hugged them both lovingly. I saw a shy girl standing beside her mother, holding a teddy bear in her hand. She was simply playing with her bear and didn't even greet me. Instead, her brother rushed towards me and introduced himself to me. He was smart, handsome and charming, I knew we would get along well. He shook hands with me and Ziva too, although he was younger to me.
My granny then asked Martha to show them their rooms and asked them to come for dinner after they freshen up. We all waited at the dinner table for them and I was in a grumpy mood, all I could think of was 'my room'.
Moments later, everyone arrived and took their seats at the dining table. Martha served everyone and I quietly ate my dinner as fast as possible. My mom gave me a know-it-all look and glared at me but I just finished and hurried to my room. Once I was inside, I just locked it and slumped on my bed. Minutes later, there was a hard knock on my door and I heard my Mom's voice. I shrugged and opened it, she was with Ziva, Zac and Erica. I could see Ziva was already friends with both of them.
I lowered my head and let all of them inside my room. Mom gave me a stern look and reprimanded me for my behaviour. Mom wished a good night to all of us and asked me to take care of them.
Zac came next to me and asked – "Hey, are you going to sleep now or would you mind joining us for a game or a movie?"
I was surprised and I nodded – "Movie sounds good to me."
Zac grinned – "Then, a movie it is!'
I smirked while I placed 'Monster House' DVD in the DVD player. We all sat down leaning against the bed with Ziva, Zac on to my left and leaving Erica on to my right; the girl who didn't even try to talk to me yet.
Surprisingly, she squealed as soon as the movie began and I facepalmed myself as my plan backfired me big time.
Suddenly, Erica turned towards me, giving a wide smile and said – 'Hey, that's a good choice, I love this movie but its Zac who is scared of this movie.'
I was shocked and saw that my sis and Zac were already blinking their eyes, holding the hands of each other tightly and scared to watch it.
"Thanks." – I hear her sweet voice.
"Umm, you are welcome." – I tried to be polite. I couldn't help myself but throughout the movie, I was pacifying my baby sis and Zac; and there she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
Alice snapped her fingers at me, bringing me back to the present day and said- "Aron, I have been calling you several times; everyone is waiting for you to join the dinner. Are you okay? You look pale and lossttt."
"Yeah, Alice, come on let's go." We exchanged a look and joined the rest for a sumptuous dinner.
Everyone enjoyed the food but my mind stuck at one name – Erica.
Hope you all are enjoying the story as much as I am.
Keep following me to know what happens next with Erica and Aron.
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