“What are you so tense for?” Ridian whispered in Carla’s ear. “It’s just your mom,“.
Carla gulped, her throat suddenly dry as the strange urge to laugh came over her at the irony in Ridian’s statement. She was sure he’d find it funny too if he knew the truth. At the moment her mother was standing a little ways down the hall staring coldly at her, her eyes flitting suspiciously between her and Ridian.
Before Carla could stop him Ridian moved out from behind her and took a step forward clearing his throat to speak while holding out his hand for her mother to shake. Carla’s mom immediately smoothed over her facial expression replacing the cool fury with one of content calm and fake warmth in her thin lipped smile.
She was wearing a cream pantsuit that clung to her petite frame and had a light brown cross shoulder satchel hanging lightly on her left side. Tall black heels covered her small feet and elevated her frame to one of a higher and more intimidating stature. Her dark brown hair hung in slight waves around her small heart shaped face accentuating a sharp jawline. She stared at Ridian’s approaching figure with eyes the same shade of green as Carla but held a cold hunger to them, similar to that of a predator watching its prey.
“My name is Ridian Simmons. I’m Carla’s boyfriend,“. He introduced himself, his voice was strong and unwavering but it faltered when Carla’s mother simply raised an appraising eyebrow and didn’t answer. Gulping he tried again.
“I apologize for only properly introducing myself now but it’s a pleasure to meet you. I promise to take excellent care of your daughter. I care for her very much,“. Carla’s mother continued to stare at him curiously a sly smirk on her face as she crossed her arms and walked closer till she stood in front of him.
“If I do remember correctly it was under your watchful eye,” She air quoted around watchful and paused in amusement before continuing. “That my daughter wound up in the hospital,“. Ridian gulped. “I wouldn’t really call that excellent care. Would you?” Carla’s mother asked smiling slightly at Ridian’s uncomfortable expression and his fidgeting hands.
Carla had been watching this whole encounter slack jawed and wide eyed. Her mother was acting surprisingly normal. I mean she never dared treat me how she usually does in public or in front of friends but this little boyfriend interrogation is too normal. Its fucking creepy, Carla thought.
“I’m sorry Ma’am,“. Ridian replied. Carla turned her shock gaze on him at the word ma’am. “I wasn’t careful enough but please don’t let that mistake cloud your judgement and give me another chance,“. He walked back to Carla cupping his hands around her shoulders and she twisted her neck around trying unsuccessfully to look at him. “I really love your daughter and I will work hard for her,“. At this declaration Carla’s face froze before slowly turning to see her mother’s reaction.
Internally, in her heart she was over joyed at his statement but in her mind she could only wait with dread at how her mother would take all this. She’d never had a boyfriend before, never dreamed it possible and never thought about how she’d handle introductions with her mother. This was all too sudden and too weird. For God sakes it was the middle of second period!
Carla’s mother smiled thoughtfully at Ridian. She tapped her finger against her chin and circled the nervous couple a few times looking them over like specimen in a cage. Judging their worth by looks. After what seemed like forever she stopped and looked down at Ridian.
“Very well,“. She said. He let out an audible sigh of relief and a smile graced his face lighting up his eyes as he squeezed Carla’s shoulders slightly. She was still tense and staring at her mother who returned her gaze with an innocent one of her own. A staff member exited one of the rooms in the hallway and called for her mother after giving the two kids a curious look, making her turn around and walk away from them.
Right before she entered the doorway she stopped and looked back at Carla. “Don’t be late for dinner dear,” she said smiling sadistically before stepping into the room and closing the door with a sharp thud. Carla’s chest unconstructed with the absence of her mother’s presence and she sighed turning around to bury her face in Ridian’s chest as he wrapped his arms around her in a comforting and warm embrace.
Suddenly the door sprang open again causing the couple to leap apart at the sight of her mother’s head peering around the door. Carla’s heart raced as she watched her mother’s lips form a familiar sadistic smile.
“And don’t forget to bring your boyfriend with you.” The door closed again this time for good and Carla allowed herself to relax as she turned back to Ridian. Her mother had managed to make the word boyfriend sound like an insult and Carla’s blood boiled slightly. What was her mother up to?
“What was she even doing here,” she muttered aloud, more to herself than to Ridian.
“I don’t know,” he replied before pulling her back into a hug while softly stroking her hair. “School business?” He asked. Carla scoffed after she buried her face in his shirt so it came out more like a muted cough.
“My moms never come to my school even once. She didn’t even come to pick me up when my father supposedly died so it must be a pretty damn good reason for her appearance now,“. Ridian had tensed slightly at the mention of her father but quickly relaxed when Carla seemed unaffected by mentioning it. She was too busy thinking about her mother to realize what she’d said.
“Well at least we’ve got one good thing out of her being here,” Ridian said. Carla lifted up her head to meet his eyes a slight frown on her face.
“What?” She asked confusedly.
“Her approval!“Ridian cried before picking her up and spinning her around in the empty hall. Carla laughed and squealed at him to put her down as her cheeks heated to a flaming red from embarrassment. After awhile he complied, chuckling at her reaction. She swatted playfully at him her mind temporarily forgetting her mother and her life as she re shouldered her bag and dragged him to the library to sit out the remaining twenty minutes of study hall with her.
“So about dinner..” Carla started. Ridian raised his hand.
“I can’t wait. I’m sure it will be lovely and I’ll have a chance to impress your mother.” Carla smiled halfheartedly at his earnestness. It was sincere but misplaced and she couldn’t help but worry about the events to come later that night.
“Do you think I should change my clothes?” Ridian wondered aloud. Carla looked at him, appraising his outfit.
“Yeah maybe.” Ridian nodded once before a slightly offended look appeared on his face.
“Is it that bad?” he muttered defensively. Carla snorted at him.
“Babe you’re wearing the outdoor equivalent of long johns, sneakers and a basketball tee. What did you expect?” Ridian looked down at his outfit almost as if he’d forgotten what it was before blushing.
“I was in a rush today because I wanted to get to school early and see you but I woke up slightly late.” Carla blushed slightly at his reasoning but it didn’t stop her from laughing at him.
The rest of the day flew by and Carla managed to apologize to Sam at lunch, explaining it away with the simple fight between her and Ridian and the lack of proper sleep due to soreness of muscles. When Sam started to fuss over her she felt slightly bad but it went away when Sam’s teasing began.
“So there was trouble in paradise huh?” Sam teased Carla making her blush in annoyance.
“Oh shut up. You know nothing,“. She stole one of Sam’s fries earning her a smack on the hand but she still ate it in jest.
“If I didn’t know the stupid shit he’d said to you at the hospital I wouldn’t be able to get how you two could fight when you were so lovey dovey at the party. It was damn near sickening,“. Sam curled her lips in disgust at the memory and Carla poked her sharply in the arm.
“We were NOT, that bad,“. Sam simply looked at her blankly and Carla sighed.
“Sorry,“. She muttered staring down at her plate of food in embarrassment once more. Sam laughed at her swallowing the last of her food with a swig of ginger ale.
“It’s okay suga, I understand.When you first saw him you were probably all like, Oh my god he’s so super cute, candy sugar in my eyeholes like the honorary mayor of hunky town!” Sam finished dramatically with a hand tossed to her forehead as she pretended to faint.
“Okay one: You did not just quote a Disney channel movie. Two: you did not just quote that line of all lines. And three: hell no!” Carla exclaimed in disgust as she stared at her friend that was cracking up in her seat.
“Oh please you know you were thinking, ‘what an angel face, muscle bound manboy!’ when you first saw him,“. Sam wiggled her eyebrows mischievously.
“Okay you seriously need to stop that. Our friendship ends when quoting disney channel movies begins,” Carla said nothing but seriousness in her tone. Sam simply sighed.
“Gosh you’re no fucking fun sometimes, you know that?” She was frowning now but Carla didn’t care. Quoting disney channel was abominable.
“Well that’s too fucking bad for you. You’ve had three years to leave this friendship or kill me so since you’ve done neither suck it up or die,“. Sam cut her a look at the book title reference but didn’t call her out on it, and instead chuckled and began stealing her food.
“So where’s Chris?” Carla asked. She knew Peter and Ridian were at a team meeting for semi finals but she hadn’t seen Chris at the hospital or all day and he wasn’t a captain with Peter and Ridian so he wouldn’t have to go to the meeting. Sam’s face turned stone at the mention of his name and she began viciously attacking Carla’s fries.
“Probably sucking dick somewhere.” Carla’s jaw dropped.
“Um excuse me?” she asked in confusion. Sam sighed.
“We broke up. He cheated on me with some guy at the Halloween Party. Turns out he was a closet gay and I unlocked the door.” Carla stared wide eyed at Sam who was glowering into the mushy pile of potato and ketchup that had been fries a minute ago. Then she sighed shaking her head and taking a sip of water.
“Well that explains why he’s such an asshole. You are what you eat.” Sam burst out laughing and Carla tried to feign innocence but was soon smirking as Sam clutched her stomach in laughter, tears streaming down her face.
“And this is why I love you,” Sam gasped out. Carla patted her back soothingly glad her friend was feeling better and their lunch continued on in giggles and petty gay jokes. The rest of the day flew by and before she knew it, her last period had ended.
After final bell Carla met Ridian by her car and followed him to his house. Sam was at Dance Practice, they were preparing for another competition so she didn’t need a ride from him. Carla parked in front of his house and waited in her car for him to go out in change. Half an hour later a refreshed looking Ridian came bounding out the front door.
She nodded her head in approval at his outfit change as he slid into the passenger seat. He’d clearly showered by the still damp hair and slight forest mint smell coming from him. He had on a maroon button down and some black slacks, black vans and a gray blazer the same color as his eyes.
“You like?” he asked too nervous to even joke about Carla checking him out.
“I love,” she said with a smile before pulling out and driving back the couple blocks to her house. She parked in the driveway and Ridian opened her door for her as she grabbed her backpack smiling at his courtesy before marching up her front steps, him following closely behind.
Pushing open the door Carla sighed as she thought about the awkward ordeal she and Ridian were about to face. Then she looked up and was met with an unbelievable sight. The house keys slipped from her hand to fall on the welcome mat emitting no sound but a muffled thud. Her bag slid off her shoulders to land in a pile at her feet as her arms hung limply at her sides and her jaw slackened.
Sitting on the couch in the parlor across from her cross legged and relaxed looking mother was none other than Danny. Straight backed and stiff he smiled nervously at Carla as she entered the house.
“Welcome home little sis,“.