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The Dusty Room (Part 4)
“Wow. Big kitchen. Big living room. Big house,” Josh said amazed at the quality and size of Heather’s house.
“Yeah, well, that’s what happens when your mother has money to spend…and she’s not afraid to spend every last dime.” Most people would probably think Heather was insane to not appreciate every lavish thing that was thrown upon her, but she was a very simple girl. She didn’t care about the marble countertops, or the solid oak cabinets that adorned the kitchen. The 65 inch flat screen television that hung on the wall in the huge, sunken in living room didn’t impress her.
Josh walked into the dining room that adjoined the kitchen, and sat down at the oak table that could seat 10, “So, what’s for dinner?”
“Uhm, I’m not quite sure yet,” Since Heather had someone else to cook for besides her mother, she had to consider a meal that would satisfy everyone. “Any requests?” Even though Heather had only known Josh for less than 24 hours, she felt extremely comfortable around Josh, like they had known each other for years.
“I’m down for a hamburger, or hot dog…I don’t really care. I’m a seventeen year old boy, I’ll eat just about anything.” Heather turned around to see a big, smirky grin slapped across his face, and she laughed. A lot. This one day, the day that she thought would be a miserable little slice out of her life, was ending up to be one of the better days out of her sixteen years.
“Cheeseburger with macaroni and cheese? The Kraft kind?” She questioned.
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“One second. I’ll be right back.” Before Heather ran up the stairs to her room, she turned on the little TV that sat on a side table by the dining room table, so Josh would be entertained while she was gone.
She tossed him a remote, and he smiled at her while responding, “’Kay.”
Around five minutes later, Heather walked slowly back down the stairs. She was strangely nervous because she had changed out of her school clothes, and into baggy black sweat pants and an extremely old, extremely faded, blue baseball t-shirt. Her hair was tied back in a hair tie, barrettes scattered throughout her hair making sure no hair would escape, so it stayed out of the food. Would he still find her pretty?
Heather never cooked in her school clothes. One reason being that she hated them, the second reason being, she didn’t want to get her other clothes dirty.
Instead of walking into the dining room like she wanted to, Heather went straight to the kitchen cabinet that held the pots and pans. She pulled out a skillet to fry the hamburgers, and then took out a pan to boil the macaroni in.
“Oh, hey you’re back,” Josh said from the dining room. He sounded a little surprised by the fact she had went straight to work cooking dinner, and had not come into the dining room to talk to him a bit more.
“Uh, yeah. Sorry, I can’t talk. I have to get this cooked before my mom comes home.”
“It’s okay. I’m just watching some TV anyway.”
The conversation died, and Heather spent the next 20 minutes cooking dinner for three, instead of two. For some reason, something inside Heather was warming, igniting a spark. She could feel it in her tummy, the excitement and anticipation of what was to come. This feeling always used to make her nervous, but now, she welcomed it. Every fiber of her being was pulling at her to walk into the next room, and kiss Josh. She knew she wanted to, but was terrified of rejection. For all she knew, he was only being THIS nice to her due to her father’s death. A sympathy kind of thing.
After she slapped slices of cheese on the hot burgers, she walked over to the china cabinet and pulled out three plates. They were plastic, and so did not belong in the place where hundreds of dollars of crystal lived. Secretly, she felt a little guilty because for the past few days she had only been using two of these plates, the extra one had belonged to her father. Forcing back the tears, she put a few spoonfuls of macaroni and cheese onto each plate. Then, after carefully placing the cheeseburgers on buns, setting them on the plate by the macaroni, she took two plates into the dining room. She sat one in front of Josh, and another right across from him, were she would be sitting.
Silently, she walked back into the kitchen and grabbed two plastic glasses that also did not belong in the china cabinet, but they still were stored there.
“Soda, water, tea, kool-aid, or milk?” Heather asked.
“Uhm, soda, please,”
“Regular or diet? Or Dr. Pepper?”
“Er, diet please.”
Josh watched as Heather walked into the room with two cups full of ice and soda, and he watched her even closer as she sat down wearily and slid him his cup. Something was wrong, he could just tell.
“Do you not want me here? Is something wrong?”
“No, no. I’m just…not used to eating dinner with people. I really don’t know what to talk about.”
“Oh,” Josh sounded relieved, as if he loved this problem because he knew he could fix it. “Well, then, how was your day at school?”
“Okay. Besides the fact I got tackled in the hallway by that football player.”
Josh gave a little chuckle, “Yeah, that was kind of funny. But I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Thanks,” Heather gave a weak smile, but didn’t look up.
Josh did look at Heather, and smiled back at her, but his heart fell a little when she didn’t see him. He could tell that she was a ‘darker’ soul, and it would take quite a bit of effort to reach her fully. Earlier today, he thought he was making progress, but in the amount of time it took her to cook dinner, something had totally changed.
“Are we still on for our date? Later this week…for your birthday?” Maybe this would be a way to get her to open up more…
“Yeah. Of course. Why? Do you not want to? Is my mac and cheese not good enough for you?” Unlike Josh, Heather hadn’t sensed any change in herself or him, and she laughed.
“Just making sure,”
For the second time that night, the conversation between them ceased to exist, and there was a tension between the two. Even her mother, as clueless as she was, would be able to see an intense attraction between the two, a connection.
It was undeniable.