To say that I regret this decision on going to Dallas with Aidan is an understatement because apparently, I quite like it. We might be spending a week in Texas, enjoying our time as a family with his … family but we’ve been childhood friends.
Being friends for as long as twenty years is worth more. We used to spend so much time together when we were kids, teenagers and even in universities but unfortunately, after both of us had gone to our own paths in our careers, we lost the time to spend.
”There they are,” Aidan says before pointing at familiar people in a group, making me turn and follow his gaze.
Diana and Mia are standing with smiles on their faces as they both wave towards our direction; gesturing for us to take our steps towards them. Both Aidan and I pull onto our luggage, side to side and heading straight as I take glances down the road.
To my surprise, Diana pulls me in for a hug which causes my eyes to widen in surprise but slowly raise my hands and pat onto her back. It’s not a strange gesture but our relationship was quite different before … she was my best friend’s mother but now she’s also my mother-in-law.
If I ever compare my own mother-in-law and the ones in movies, I can’t say they don’t appear to be the same because she is by one … creeps me out, somehow. All of a sudden, I just have to make myself seem more perfect than I was before in order for her to like me; it’s a quick feeling that comes naturally.
”We’re so glad that you both made it,” She says as we both break the hug and I slowly smile up at Aidan, who seemed to be looking at us. ”We can spend more time as a family together and you two can even consider this as your honeymoon. It brings back old memories to me whenever I’m here … and I hope it can bring you memories in the future, too.”
”Right … where’s the rest?” Aidan asks, looking around.
”They’re all waiting for you at home,” Mia replies. ”Ava was mostly excited when she heard that her Uncle Gabby will be spending more time with her this week,” She adds.
”I can’t wait to pinch her chubby cheeks,” He replies with a soft chuckle as the four of us make our way towards a silver Mercedes-Benz. Just as I’m about to lift my own luggage and put it in the trunk, he has already lifted it up for me; instantly leaving me to eye his face, seeing that it was a natural gesture for him instead of giving me an actual meaning.
His brown eyes meet mine, ”What’s in there, anyway? It seems like you’re planning to stay here for the whole month instead of a week,” He says, closing the trunk.
After rolling my eyes, I instantly make my way towards the backseat but to only find Mia and Diana sitting at the back—talking about a few things on social media as Mia scrolls down on her phone, leaving me to sit at the front while Aidan’s the one who has to drive.
My eyes wander towards the amount of people walking towards the airport and away to the available cabs, not bothered by the sound of Aidan’s voice beside me—probably telling me something important.
All of a sudden, the smell of his cologne hits me as he leans towards me but to only realise that he’s currently putting my seat belt on; making me stare down at his brown locks. Then, he leans back, our faces are inches apart as he glances down at my lips. ”Safety first, love.” He grins, sparing a couple of seconds to glance back at a smiling Diana.
”I could’ve done it on my own,” I respond, quietly.
”You could’ve if you actually paid attention to what I said earlier instead of zoning out,” He says as he presses onto the gas pedal before driving down the road. ”What has been on your mind lately, Kenna? You’ve been in deep thoughts since morning,” He adds, slowly.
”Just about work. Nothing too serious,” I answer, uncomfortably shifting in my seat; knowing that his mother and sister are at the back probably eavesdropping to our conversation but then again, they’re too busy talking about some popular celebrity embarrassing herself in public. ”It’s just that … it feels different to be away from all the patients,”
”You mean from all the needles and smell of medicines? That has got to be refreshing.” He chuckles, lightly as I join him—actually agreeing to him, somehow.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t be here in Dallas with him if Ben didn’t decide to cover up my shifts for the week because out of the blue … he decided to do it which is pretty surprising. I’ve been covering his shifts for the past few months because apparently, he likes to take a few days off or probably even a week.
Ben is one of my colleagues. He’s a nice guy apart from someone who likes to take advantage of my workaholic trait—he knows how much I am married to my work, so he would always ask me to cover up for him; taking extra shifts, including night shifts even when I’m free to go home for the day.
So … when I told Aidan about going to Dallas with him, it was because Ben said he would cover my shifts. He literally pressured me to take the week off and spend some time with my family or husband because as a newly-wed, I shouldn’t be working my ass off. What confuses me most is that … why would Ben care if I even work my ass off? He has never cared.
”Why do you think that Ben wants to suddenly cover my shift for the whole week?” I ask, looking at him as he places one hand on his lap while the other on the steering wheel.
He glances at my direction for a few second, ”I don’t know. He maybe wants to return the favour,” He replies, avoiding any further eye contact; leaving me to stare at him, finding him a little bit weird.
”You’re probably right,” I mutter. ”But … knowing Ben, he wouldn’t just come to work and meet me in a rush to tell me that I should take the week off. He’s the kind of guy that would actually ask me to cover his shifts more often than to let me rest,” I think, deeply.
”Well … it’s a good thing he did,” He replies after a few seconds of silence which causes me to leave the conversation to an end instead of going further.
The whole ride continues to remain silent without anyone starting a new conversation. It seems to be awkward, sitting in the car and just listening to nothing but the sound of our own heartbeats. So, I praised the Lord when Aidan pulls to a stop near a familiar family home, to instantly see the sight of a beautiful one.
Memories of Aidan and I running around the yard when we were kids began to play in my head, letting me remember back the fun moment we used to have. We were just full of life, free of problems and very happy of everything we had but now, there’s just moments where I feel like I want to escape reality.
I wonder, why did I even bother growing up?
”Here we are,” Diana says at the back as she opens the door, ”Let’s head inside. Mia, help your brother and Kenna with their bags.” She adds, stepping out of the car to only walk straight inside the house, leaving the door slightly ajar.
”Just head inside, Mia. I’ll handle the bags,” Aidan replies as he looks up at the rear-view mirror, earning a nod from her as she walks away.
Within seconds, I feel Aidan turning to look at me without saying a single word while I take my time to recall all of the memories. There’s just something about being here and taking a deep breath as we look at every spot to find different, memorable memories—worthy enough to remember for a lifetime.
”I’m glad that you decided to come,” He says.
I turn to face him, ”There’s just something about this place. I can’t stop looking at it without remembering back the things we did,” I reply, looking straight into his brown eyes and see him doing the same; leaving us staring at one another.
”It feels strange, doesn’t it?”
”No … it oddly feels like home,” I respond with a slight smile appearing on my face, leaving me to turn and gaze back at the house—liking how Aidan and I have the purest friendship ever. We’ve seen our worst and our best … never once did we want to end whatever we have. There’s no other friendships out there than can defeat ours.
”So, we’re having a deep conversation in a rental car in front of my family home?” He raises an eyebrow, instantly causes me to chuckle in which he joins afterwards.
”Where else would we be having a deep conversation?” I ask.
”In my heart,” He replies as both of his eyes are piercing into mine without a single blink interrupting his stare which causes me to seek for any sign of lies yet I find none. Both of his brown eyes are confusing me with the words he said—leaving me to feel my heart beating faster than usual as I try to control my breath.
Then, he clears his throat. ”Because … a deep conversation comes from the heart. Where else would be talking deeply?” He chuckles, lightly before stepping out of the car.
Instantly pushing the thought away, I step out of the car to meet the sun shining brightly before turning to look at Aidan, running his fingers through his hair as he makes his way towards the back; pulling out our luggages.
Is it normal to feel my heart beating at an unusual pace? When it exploded as soon as he ran his fingers through his hair or his eyes meet mine without blinking … then, his lips curving up into a smile as soon as he sees me staring back at him. How can all of this happen at once even though all of the gestures was normal.
”Are you coming?” He asks, making me blink.
”Yeah. Coming,” I reply with a slight smile as he nods before walking inside, leaving me standing here all by myself; trying to clear my head from all the sudden chaos inside.
Just like that, I head inside to find another wave of memories, seeing a younger version of Aidan and I running around the hallways as we teased each other. Then, our laughters filled the living room as we played with dolls and figurines—instantly leaving me smiling at the fade memories of our past.
”Alain!” I turn to look at Harley, seeing her laughing as her daughter continues to run after her with Alain following behind. The three of them are smiling widely as they enjoy the moment, leaving me to eye them, closely. Within seconds, Alain runs past Harley before wrapping his arms around her waist and pull her close towards him; Ava clapping her hands.
My eyes wander down to their lips, reading his. The three words coming out from his mouth seems to have caused Harley to grin, making me stare.
”Invading someone’s privacy, huh?” Aidan’s voice seems to have caught me off guard as I yelp and turn to see him grinning widely, chuckling at my reaction. ”What are you doing standing in the middle of the door?” He asks, slightly taking a few steps towards me as he closes the door behind me, his right hand right next to my head.
”I wasn’t invading anyone’s privacy,” I clear my throat.
”Clearly … you were just standing there with a smile on your face. That makes a lot of sense,” He smirks.
Seconds before I can respond, Mia appears near the door with a small smile plastered on her face, ”Sorry to disturb you two, lovebirds but Aidan, father wants to see you in his library.” She says, causing Aidan to take a couple of steps away from me, letting me let out a breath of relief before tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.
”See you later,” He smiles down at me before patting his index finger on the tip of my nose.
My lips curve up into a sly smile as he walks away, leaving Mia with me. She crosses her arms before gesturing me to follow her up the stairs, ”Come on … I’ll show you to your room. Aidan might’ve picked up all the bags upstairs but he’s not going to give you the grand tour,” She says, ”Do you still remember the way around the house?” She asks.
”It has been sixteen years since I last came here,” I reply.
”That long, huh? Well … you’re lucky you got me,” She jokes as we both walk down the hall and straight to a room at the end of the hall, which I remember used to be Aidan’s room whenever he goes back to Dallas.
”This used to be Aidan’s room,” I mutter but loud enough for her to hear me due to the silence. My eyes wander around the room to find myself looking at a neat and cleaned room without a slight mess—and it even looks different from before, as if it has been decorated and refurnished.
”Yeah … now, it’s yours, too.” She smiles, walking towards the glass window. ”It’s funny to think back of when this used to be just Aidan’s room but now, he’s married and he has you. It’s okay though because now, I’m the centre of attention because apparently, I’m the only one left who is unmarried,” She adds.
I laugh, liking her expression.
”I’ll leave you to unpack. It’ll probably take a few hours for Aidan to come back because I just saw him leaving the house with Alain and father. So, you might as well rest. You must be exhausted,” She continues to speak.
”Thanks, Mia.” I reply with a smile.
Mia walks out of the room before closing the door, leaving me standing here in the middle, all by myself. Then, I head towards my luggage to take out a pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved shirt, wanting to take a warm bath before changing into them, comfortably.
As soon as I’m done, I walk straight towards the mirror and look back at my reflection. My eyes are somehow a brighter blue due to the sunlight as I turn around and head towards the bed, running my hand on the sheet; trying to make myself more comfortable.
I lay my body on the bed, closing my eyes as I let out a breath—liking the comfort. It feels extremely relaxing to have all of my makeup removed and hair washed because everything feels so much better without having to worry getting anything ruined. It doesn’t even take me long to fall asleep, slowly ignoring the birds chirping outside.
My eyes blink slowly as I see a familiar figure standing near the walk-in closet as he takes his shirt off, making me blink again, trying to get a clearer view instead of a blurry one. Then, I come to realise that it’s Aidan, all along. His back is currently facing me, leaving me to eye his broad shoulders and toned back as he drops his shirt onto the ground.
Just as he’s about to take his jeans off, I immediately sit up straight before clearing my throat, receiving his attention; seeing him looking a little bit surprised as he drops both of his hands to the side, turning around to look at me and showing off his perfectly toned abs.
”You’re awake,” He mutters.
I try my hard to only look at his eyes, ”When did you get home? Mia said you went out,” I reply, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear as I feel my cheeks heating up at the sight.
”I just got home. You were still sleeping and I didn’t want to wake you up,” He says, our eyes are looking at nowhere but at each other—knowing that this moment can’t get any awkward but it has and it’s disturbing.
Why does it feel awkward? I’ve seen him shirtless before, countless times. It shouldn’t feel any different than now but all of a sudden, every single detail about him is noticeable. Even by the way he stands or how his hair is in different directions, messily … the details I can’t simply look away and act unbothered.
”Right … I was just taking a nap,” I look down at my hands.
”Mmm, I was going to take a shower.” He replies, slowly as he rubs the back of his neck, leaving me to eye down at his abs.
I instantly chuckle before standing up, ”Don’t make me stop you. I’ll just head downstairs,” I continue to speak as I walk towards the door, not wanting to stay in the room and knowing he’s in the bathroom, taking a shower while I imagine the unnecessary details which is definitely something I would want to avoid.
”I’ll see you downstairs,” His lips curve up into a small smile as I quickly step out of the room, not wanting to keep on staring at his body.
To my surprise, I bump into Harley in the hallway, seeing her eyes widening at the sight of me. ”Wow … are you alright, Kenna? You seem a little bit flushed,” She says as she eyes my face and into my eyes, trying to see if there’s anything wrong.
”I’m perfect. Absolutely perfect,” I grin, immediately walking down the stairs and straight towards the front door—stepping out of the house and taking a deep breath, eyes instantly meeting the sunset.
My body starts to ease at the amount of oxygen I’m inhaling before pulling my hair towards the back with my hand; pushing them away from my face. This shouldn’t be the way I react when I see Aidan shirtless, there shouldn’t be any reaction, at all … like how it used to be but why does it feel as if my heart is going to thump out of my chest?
Maybe, I should start worrying about my health.