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“May I take your order?” A tiny, slender female asked me in a melodic voice. I looked up from my menu and examined the girl. She is blond with beautiful curls tucked neatly into a ponytail. Her eyes are the color of the sea and they seemed to glitter in the dim lighting.
“Ah, yeah. I would like your black coffee and your small coffee cake.” I replied to the waitress and gave her the menu.”
“Thank you. I’ll be right out with your food. I’m Melissa and if you need anything, just shout.” Melissa collected my menu and left me alone to my own thoughts.
I leaned back into the soft, electric blue cushioning of my booth and sighed loudly to myself. My red bangs flopped over my eyes and I swiftly moved them to the side. A headache is starting to form by my temples, making me slightly more annoyed than before.
The reason I’m at this restaurant to begin with is to escape my problems back at home. My Mom is getting married to I man I barely know in a week, and suddenly they want to go on vacation in the Bahamas, dragging me along with them. They said this vacation will allow us to get to know each other better. Shouldn’t normal families be all-knowing in the first place?
“So what’s wrong this time, baby?” A familiar voice chimed in. I smiled up at the woman who I call Aunt Becky. She is one of the very few people in my life who are close enough to my heart to be called a name so sentimentally. Aunt Becky is a short woman with tiny braids in her black hair which compliments her smooth, chocolate skin. Around her waist is a small white apron where straws, a notepad, a pen and napkins live. She is a proud owner of this very restaurant called Becky’s Best. I have known this woman for so long now that I trust her with my life-a very dangerous thing to do, I know.
Aunt Becky slid into the seat opposite me. “Mom and Steven decided that we’re all going on a family vacation after they get married.”
“You’re almost eighteen. Soon you won’t even be living with your parents anymore. Anyways, look on the bright side, baby. You’re going to have fun!” Somehow her southern accent always comforted me in times of need.
“I know. They just don’t look like a good couple to me.”
She raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Why should it matter? Your Mom found love, didn’t she? Be happy for her, Achima.”
“You’re right; I’m just acting like a child.” I grumbled.
Aunt Becky smiled at me, flashing her crooked, yellow-tipped teeth. “Where are you all planning on going for vacation?”
“They want to go to the Bahamas.” I answered.
Aunt Becky whistled. “That man has money.”
I shrugged. “I don’t care about that.”
“Honey, you should enjoy what you have and not take things for granted. Not everyone can live as lavishly as you.” She advised.
Lavishly? I live nothing like that. I said to myself.
The waitress from before appeared with a plate of brown, delicious coffee cake in one hand and a mug of steaming joe in the other. After leaving the two items on the table in front of me, she turned and left to the kitchen after telling me to enjoy my meal.
“Okay, honey. Well, I’m going to let you eat; I have to get back to work. Stop worrying about everything now, ya hear?”
I grinned, “Sure thing, Aunt Becky.”
“Okay, take care.” Aunt Becky retreated into the kitchen as I dug into my cake thoughtfully. Maybe she’s right; I just need to relax a bit more.
At least Steven doesn’t live with us. I think. For now.
Digging into my pocket, I fished out a ten dollar bill and tossed it on the table when I felt like I couldn’t eat anymore. Then I left the restaurant and climbed into my rusty red truck. When I was finally able to start the old vehicle, I drove in the dark streets of the early morning on my way to school.
School went by quickly and I’m only half grateful. It is two in the afternoon when I arrived at my house. A silver Buick parked in the driveway altered me that Steven was home probably planning the wedding or vacation. I also noted that my Mom is absent because her milky white mini-van is missing.
Grumbling inwardly, I gathered my belongings and trudged inside. The humbling scents of pineapples and flowers rushed to me and I breathed in greedily. I strode into the kitchen and snuck an apple from the fridge and unsuccessfully tried to sneak upstairs to my room without being noticed when Steven called out to me:
“Achima, there you are! Can you help me out with moving some boxes from my car upstairs, please?” Steven asked at the bottom of the steps.
I froze. Is he moving in so soon? Mom and Steven only got together about a month ago. I already think it’s an early relationship, so this is definitely moving too fast.
I turn around and plaster a smile on my lips, though it didn’t reach my eyes. “Sure thing. Where’s Mom?”
“She’s grabbing a few items at Target.” He answered.
“Oh, okay. Just, uh, let me go put my stuff down and I’ll be out in a sec.” I ended the conversation for now and clambered up the stairs to my bedroom. I threw my book bag on my shiny black desk and sat my polished red apple beside it.
Then, I jogged back downstairs and out the front door where Steven was already unloading two boxes from his car.
“There are more boxes in the passenger side.” Steven mentioned.
Moving towards the passenger side, I opened the car door and picked up two heavy boxes, slamming the door shut my left foot afterwards. Then I followed Steven inside the house where he led me to my Mom’s room.
“So, uh, what are the boxes for?” I stammered. I knew what the answer would be, but my mind didn’t want to accept the obvious facts.
Steven raised his eyebrows at me as I sat the boxes on the ground. “You mean Iris didn’t tell you?”
Iris is my mother. Ever since my dad died of cancer, she has felt disconnected to me. I was always a constant reminder of her love and if she couldn’t see him anymore, she didn’t want to see me either.
“She doesn’t tell me much of anything.” I replied bitterly.
“Well, I will gladly inform you that I am now moving in, although you may have guessed that by now.” He grinned.
“Wonderful.” I made my way out of my Mom’s-I mean their-room angrily.
I shouldn’t be worrying about Steven’s and my Mom’s relationship. It’s normal to be moving in with someone you’re engaged with. Besides, Aunt Becky did make a good point earlier about me moving out soon.
My cell phone started vibrating from inside my bag, so I pulled it out to find out that my best friend, Stephanie, is calling me. I flipped open my old, black phone and answered her in a hearty voice:
“Hey suga, I got some news for you.”
“Hey, babe! Is it good or bad news? Is it about that new hottie soccer player? Did you talk to him? Imma be so jealous if you did! You know, he has one rockin’ bod. If I could, I would rock his-”
“No! It’s not about him! God, you talk so much, Steph. I don’t even know what he looks like.” I sighed in frustration and collapsed backwards onto my bed. “It’s about Steven.”
“What’s up with him?” Stephanie quieted her voice and listened patiently when I interrupted her.
“He’s moving in as of today.” I groaned.
“That’s not so bad. I actually think it’s kind of romantic.” Stephanie said in her sing-song voice.
“But Steph, the thing is, is that my Mom didn’t even tell me. Wouldn’t that be something you would tell to your daughter?”
“True. Hey, you should come over. We can have a major sleepover,” Stephanie said. “With ice-cream and whipped cream.” She added.
“Stop bribing me with treats.” I giggled.
“Look out the window.” And with that, Stephanie hung up.
Throwing my phone on my bed, I pushed back the curtains and opened my window as ordered. Stephanie and I are neighbors and our houses are so close to each other that if we were to reach out, we can grab hands. Stephanie stood at her window and gave me the evil eye.
“What?” I asked her.
“You turned down my offer!”
“Technically I didn’t because I never said I would or wouldn’t come over.” A smirk formed on the corners of my lips.
“Well you can answer now.” She crossed her arms stubbornly, causing her black hair to cascade around her shoulders and arms.
“Let me deal with my Mom and Steven first. They’ll want to talk to me soon, no doubt about it. If things don’t go the way I want, I’ll definitely come over.”
“Good, because I have a tub of mint chocolate chip ice-cream with-”
The door to my room was flung open and it smacked loudly against the wall. The noise that followed made me flinch and interrupt Stephanie mid sentence.
My Mom strode into the room right on cue. “Achima, we need to talk. Say bye to Stephanie.”
“You could at least apologize for ruining my wall and interrupting our very important conversation.” I gesture towards Stephanie who stood awkwardly.
“Family comes before friends.” My Mom pushed me aside and slammed my window shut. Then she covered it with my purple curtains.
“Do you know how rude that was? And since when did that term apply to you?” I ask furiously. What did I even do to make her this angry? That’s right: nothing.
“Come downstairs, now.” She turned and marched out of my room expectantly. I followed obediently like a good child even though I had the urge to pull all of her hair out of her head. Maybe then she will see straight and act kindly.
I laughed at myself. How will pulling out all of her hair make her act kindly? She’d probably ground me for life after beating me to death.
In the living room, Steven was already sitting on a couch waiting for us. My Mom joined him, wrapping one arm around his neck and entwining her left leg with his right. She looked like a child craving attention. It was disgusting.
When I sat on the couch opposite them, Steven rested his hand on her thigh and I had to hold down my baby barf. I averted my eyes and propped my feet up on the glass table in front of me. My Mom glared at me, but I ignored her and waited for someone to start the conversation already.
“Steven told me about what happened today.” Mom managed to hold back her infuriation and finally spoke.
“Oh? And what happened?” I feigned curiosity.
“Don’t play smart, young lady. I was planning on telling you yesterday, but I forgot and now I feel like a bad Mom for not saying something sooner.”
I snorted, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m used to it now.”
“Iris and I have decided that if I’m going to live here, then there will be a few changes. First off, we have agreed that you need to modify your behavior and respect those older than you.”
“And I do, just in a different way than you would prefer.” I replied.
“We both think that it’ll do us all some good.” My Mom said.
“Why are you standing up for him? I hate to be the one to break it to you, Mom, but you don’t even know this guy!”
“Yes I do. If I didn’t know him he wouldn’t be moving in with us.” She argued.
“Really? Then what’s his middle name?” I asked her with folded arms and perked eyebrows.
It was silent and uncomfortable for a while. I knew she wouldn’t be able to answer such a simple question. Score one for Achima Matthias. Looks who’s ahead in reality now, Mom.
“My point exactly.” I turned to look at Steven. “What is your middle name?”
“I don’t have one, actually.” Steven answered in embarrassment.
“Now that I have proven my point, I think this conversation is over.” I rose from the couch but Steven stopped me.
“You don’t have the power to end an adult conversation.” He challenged.
“Oh yeah? Watch me. I hereby declare this little discussion has come to an end.” I did a small, sarcastic curtsy and abandoned the astonished couple to my bedroom.