“Bye, Eva. Take care.” Claire replied when I about to leave.
The work of her shop is going on smoothly and she often visits to check over it. And so I too have gotten used to seeing Dad pop out of nowhere with some excuses to meet Claire. The main excuse would be me of course. I was surprised at first as he would call me over the phone or text me asking where I was and if he comes to know that I’m at her shop with her then boom, he would appear at her door. He would say he came to check up on me or to bring me food but once he sees Claire he would chat up with her as if they haven’t talked in years when I know they have been constantly texting each other since the day they met which is almost two and half weeks ago.
“Eva.” Claire called me from behind just as I was about to leave.
“Uh..well if you don’t mind can you please give this to Arthur?” She asked shyly showing a small gift box in her hand.
“Why don’t you give him? I’m sure he would like that more.” I said smiling at her shyness. Her face was so red from blushing and she was not looking at my eyes.
“I don’t know.. you just give them for me. It’s nothing really. I went shopping yesterday and saw something good which I thought he might like and.. just forget I said anything.” She rambled our and turned to leave.
“Claire, wait. I will give it to him. But next time you will have to do it yourself instead of being shy. He would love whatever you gift him so don’t worry about that.” I said with a genuine smile.
“Thank you, Eva. Is it kind of weird? Me randomly giving a gift that too through someone who is like his own daughter and that too just few weeks after I met him? I don’t know why I did th-′
“Claire, breath. It’s not weird. You saw something nice and brought it for him as he is of your friend now. You don’t have to question yourself so much. Just do what you feel is right. Listen to your heart. And you don’t have to worry about what I feel. As long as both of you are happy I’m fine.” I said with complete honesty and was immediately engulfed in a hug.
“Thank you so much. My mind is kind of jumbled up these days. I feel strange things and it’s freaking me out to me honest. But thank you for helping me with your words.”
“There is nothing to thank me for, Claire. I kind of understand how you feel. You just sort it out with your mind on how you feel and what you want. Take things slow if that’s what you want. And as I said listen to your heart.”
“I will. Thank you again. You are great woman. I hope you find all the happiness that you deserve.”
“I hope the same for you, Claire.” I said and then left for home after saying goodbyes.
“Mamma, look what Daddy did.” Ace said as soon as I reached home and dragged me to the kitchen.
“Xavier, how many times have I told you to stay out of my kitchen? What have you done?” I yelled at him seeing the condition of my poor kitchen. There were ‘food’ if that’s what it’s even called, everywhere on the counter. Smoke filled the entire area and a kitchen cloth was currently on fire.
“Out of my kitchen please. Ace, you too please leave, the smoke is not good for you to inhale.” I ordered and for once my dear boyfriend decided to listen to me and went out carrying Ace.
What am I gonna do with you, Xavier?
I then started with the torturous work of cleaning the messy counter, stove and floor after opening the kitchen window to let the smoke out while coughing in between making Xavier appear again.
“You okay? Come out. You can clean one’s the smoke is all out.” He said sounding concerned.
“I’m fine. It’s almost gone anyways. You may leave before I kick you out.” I said glaring making him reluctantly go out.
I groaned in relief while jumping onto the couch after the hectic cleaning.
“Mamma, you okay?”
“Yes, Baby. Stop worrying okay?” I said poking his frown.
“I was just trying to make us some dinner.” Xavier mumbled eyeing me from far end of the room.
“It’s okay. Sorry for yelling at you.”
“Don’t be. I’m sorry for making you do that just after coming home tired from work.”
“It’s really fine. I know you meant good but no more cooking okay?” I said and he nodded in reply before coming closer to me and sitting on the floor beside the couch I was on.
“Daddy, you are grounded for a month.” Ace huffed making me laugh.
“Ace, you are my son not the other way around, remember?” Xavier said mockingly.
“So? There is no rule that fathers shouldn’t get grounded. You cause trouble so you should be grounded too.” Ace stated and I admired his way of thinking.
“But I’m an adult, Ace.”
“How does that matter? You did wrong, you pay for it. Adult or not.” Ace said with complete seriousness.
“What is he talking about?” Dad asked as he entered the living room after returning from meeting some of his friends.
“Grandpa, Daddy was being a bad boy and refuses to be grounded for it. He said so because I’m his son not father but you are his father so you please ground him. He caused Mamma so much trouble today and she is very tired now.” Ace complained making Xavier groan out.
“What did he do?” Dad asked looking at me.
“He tried to cook.”
“Say no more please.” Dad said understanding the situation.
“I’m out of here.” Xavier said standing up to leave.
“You are grounded. No using phones except for work and family purpose. No partying which you anyway doesn’t do. No fun things. And no taking my daughter out for dates for a week.” Dad said with a stern face and I was trying my best not to laugh out.
“What?! You can’t be serious.” Xavier yelled out.
“Oh yes, I am. I’m your father and I have the right.” Dad replied though I know he is kidding for Ace’s sake.
“No way in hell.” He said and stormed out. Trust me, these days he acts more like a kid than Ace.
“I’ll order dinner.” Dad said and left me and Ace to ourselves. As soon as that happened Xavier returned and picked me up from the couch.
“She is tired so I’m taking her to the bed so that she can take a nap before dinner.” Xavier said feeling my and Ace’s questioning gaze on him.
“It’s okay, Xavier. I’m honestly fine. I don’t need to take a nap now.” I said though feeling very thankful for his caring side. He said nothing and just carried me to our room and laid me down on the bed.
“Sleep.” He ordered making me roll my eyes.
“Xavier, cleaning a kitchen doesn’t make me weak. It’s a common chore. So stop fussing about it.”
“Shh. I know you are tired from work and the cleaning so don’t you try to lie about it. Now, sleep.”
“Xavier, I told you I don’t want t-′
“Fine. Don’t sleep. Just lay down for a while.”
“I know what you are trying to do.” I said but gave in and he just smiled in reply. He laid down beside me and began running his hand through my hair. We began to discuss our day with each other and made plans for our upcoming trip.
“Daddy?” Ace called appearing besides Xavier.
“Are you mad at me for getting you grounded?” He asked nervously.
“No, my boy. I’m not mad at you. You were right in your part. Daddy deserves to get grounded.” Xavier said picking Ace up and making him sit on his stomach.
“Thank you, Daddy. Mamma, not asleep yet?” He asked frowning.
“I’m not that tired, Baby.” I said pinching his cute cheek.
“Don’t worry, Mamma. So what if Daddy can’t take you out for date? We still can have Mamma-Son dates. I promise.” Ace said thinking that’s what troubling me making me double up in laughter while all Xavier did was gape at Ace as if he is an alien from another planet.
“Okay, my love.” I said bringing his face closer to lay a kiss on his forehead.
“For once I don’t know what to say.” Xavier mumbled still staring at Ace bewildered.
“When did he get so cheeky?” Xavier asked after few seconds of silence and Ace gave him an innocent smile.
“My little bug.” I cooed cupping his face.
“You take a nap now, Mamma. No more worrying okay?”
“Okay.” I agreed for his sake and just like that in a few minutes I was asleep.
“Mamma, wake up.” Ace said patting my cheeks.
“Grandpa called us to have dinner.” He said once I opened my eyes. I turned to my right to see Xavier sleeping peacefully and ran my fingers gently through his hair making him groan in his sleep.
“Help me wake him up, please?” I asked Ace while sitting up on the bed and removed my hand from Xavier’s hair which put a frown on his face.
“Okay, Mamma. Good wake up or bad wake up?” He asked mischievously.
“Good wake for this time.” I replied smiling at my naughty child.
“Fine.” He said and began waking Xavier up gently like he woke me up and I watched them like a creep.
“Let me sleep for some more time, Ace.” Xavier groaned out and wrapped his arm around my waist though I was sitting.
“Bad wake up?” Ace asked wickedly and I shrugged in reply. And that was all it took for Ace to jump onto Xavier’s back making him get up abruptly to breathe.
“Dinner’s ready, Daddy.” Ace said cheekily. Xavier grabbed Ace and threw him on the bed beside him and began tickling him as punishment.
“You have been a bad boy, Ace, and for that you are grounded. You now are prohibited from having Mamma-Son dates.” Xavier said with a smirk once he ended the tickling torture.
“No! Daddy, Mamma will be upset then. You cannot upset her. You can keep my toys away instead.”
“Mamma..” Ace called pouting.
“He is kidding, Little one.” I said glaring at Xavier.
“I’m not. It’s only fair then.”
“Kids, Don’t make me wait longer. I’m hungry.” Dad yelled out from downstairs.
“Mamma, don’t worry. We will sneak out without Daddy knowing and have our Mamma-Son time.” Ace whispered in my ear which Xavier heard.
What the heck? Sneak out?
“Ace, that’s not happening.” Xavier stated firmly.
“Ace, sneaking out is bad okay? We both can sneak out from Daddy at times but once you grow up you cannot do that alone or with your friends without informing anyone of us, okay?”
“Okay, Mamma, I would never try to upset you, I promise. I’ll only sneak out with you. No one else.” He said making me bite my lip to stop my smile.
He is so adorable!!
“Guys, I’m hungry!” Dad yelled again and we all hurried downstairs.
After dinner I went to collect the gift Claire had bought for Dad while scolding myself for not giving it earlier.
“Here is something for you from Claire.” I said handing it over and he stared at the box strangely.
“It’s a gift, Dad.”
“Yep. She brought it for you and asked me to give it to you.” I said and was rewarded with a huge smile.
“Yes, Dad. She was nervous about whether you will like it or not.”
“I will like it for sure as it’s given by her.”
“I told her that. She was still nervous and shy.”
“She was blushing, wasn’t she?” He asked chuckling.
“Is that even a question?”
“She is such a precious gem.”
“That she is. I know you like her. But do take things slow if that’s what she is comfortable with.”
“Is it that obvious that I like her?”
“Pretty much.” I said laughing.
“I was planning on asking her to have dinner with us before you guys leave to Florida. She is not really comfortable on going on a date yet so dinner with everyone would be fine with her especially since you and her are close.”
“That would be a great idea. I’ll cook for us if you want.”
“I will ask her tomorrow if possible. And we can both do the cooking and impress my lady. What do you say?”
“Okay. Tell me what she says tomorrow.”
“I will. Now go before your boyfriend and son comes attacking me for taking you away from them.” He said making me laugh.
“Goodnight, dear.” He said kissing my forehead and left for his room holding the gift box tightly.
“Mamma, bedtime story, please?” Ace asked as soon as I entered the room.
“How about Daddy tell you a story today?” I asked and saw Xavier’s eyes widen and he started shaking his head negatively.
“No. No. I don’t know stories.”
“At least try this one time.” I tried convincing.
“Yes, Daddy. You can tell me a story today.”
“Okay, fine.” He agreed after little more convincing.
“Yay.” Ace and I cheered.
“What story do you want me to tell?”
“Any would do, Daddy.”
“You can say any story, Daddy. It just have to be good.”
“Okay. So, once upon a time......there was a prince....and he...he met a princess and they married and they died after sometime.”
“The end.” Xavier said in ‘duh’ tone.
“That was a dumb story, Daddy.”
“Hey! It was not and you said any story would do.”
“I said any good story!”
“My story was good.” Xavier stated with a huff.
“It was. Now sleep.”
“Mamma, can you now please tell me real bed time story?” Ace said and I nodded in reply while Xavier fake pouted.
“Daddy, please take classes from Mamma.”
“How did you become so rude?” Xavier asked lightly pinching Ace’s ear and I slapped his hand away.
“I’m your son, Daddy.” He said as if that explains everything.