ADOPTED – Episode 14
© Happy William
When I got home that evening, I dragged my tired self up the stairs to my bedroom and dumped my briefcase on the bed. Then I ran a hot shower and took a very refreshing bath, and dressed in pyjamas. I was feeling a little hungry, so I decided to take a quiet trip to the kitchen. Probably Prudence might have left something by the microwave.
There was a soft glow of light coming from the partly opened door, and I wondered who was in here this night, and doing what?
I pushed the door open with a soft creak, and even I was sure that if I had made a lot of noise she wouldn’t hear.
Anne was standing at the counter, stirring something in a pan, and nodding to music from her earphones. Occasionally, she would tap her feet on the ground, or do a crazy jump dance, that was all the more cute for it’s craziness.
I leaned at the door to watch her for a while.
She was wearing a blue knicker that stopped at her knees, and a cotton oversized tee-shirt that hung low on one shoulder, revealing the black strap of a bra. And she was barefooted.
I found myself smiling, though I don’t know why.
I might stand here for an hour, and she wouldn’t notice. She seemed to have a thing for music or earphones.
Maybe it was the hunger speaking, because I was so damned hungry, or maybe I just wanted to gauge her reaction.
I strode over to her and wrapped my arms around her waist, and felt how slim her waist was… how ñíçê her hair smelt…and I felt her stiffen in my grip. I smiled and removed one piece from her ear and whispered,
“What are you up to?”
She swung around immediately.
“Emilio!” she said with a mixture of relief and surprise.
Relief for… ?
“I…I didn’t hear you come in,” she said, her eyes looking everywhere but me as she skillfully stepped out of my field to another part of the kitchen.
I suppressed a chuckle.
“That would be because you had your head full of music.”
She smiled a little and ducked. “It’s John Legend’s PREACH. I like the song,” she replied.
I nodded. “So what are you doing in here this late?”
She rolled her eyes and resumed whipping pieces of veggies and minced ham onto an open burger. “No offence Emilio, but the lunch over here sucks. I mean, turkey soaked in wine? Ugh?” she shook her head.
“So you haven’t had dinner?”
“Nope. I kinda dozed off this evening. I was out all day, the vineyards. I didn’t see you there. Care for a sandwich?” she asked motioning to the tray she was setting.
“Yeah, I’m famished,” I replied, and she smiled and made another one. “So, you didn’t see me there. Were you looking for me?”
“Yeah, I was — no, no, I wasn’t,” she cut herself off and carried the tray to the breakfast bar. “I was just… no.”
I laughed and joined her on the table. “Don’t be shy, cara. You’ll soon be my wife. It’s perfectly legal if you missed me.”
I took a sip of the tea, and turned to see that she fell quiet, and thoughtful.
As soon as I laid on my bed, I dozed off because of the countless hours spent under the sun that was totally different from ours at New York.
When I awoke, I felt hungry, but Prudence told me that it was past dinner time, and that there was food for me somewhere in the kitchen.
But the sight of pieces of chicken floating about in a bowl of wine just made my appetite vanish with the speed of light, and I made an excuse to Prudence.
Immediately all was clear, I went back in to have tea and something light.
Then I felt arms around my waist, and I stiffened.
First off, I wasn’t used to all these ‘touching-touching’ stuff, and it came as a surprise.
Second off, I thought it was Sergio, because honestly, the way the guy keeps staring at me even though I’m aware gives me the creeps.
Then I felt his soft breath behind my ears, and a tingle where his finger brushed my skin to take out the earphone. I knew already it was Emilio even if he didn’t speak.
Don’t know where that synch came from. Somehow I was happy to see him, with his long hair brushing his face now that it was wet.
I’m really noticing how he looks… maybe because I’m bored and don’t have anything doing.
I froze midway to taking a bite out of my burger when I heard his remark about ‘wife’. OK, so I kinda missed him when he wasn’t home, or left two years back, but that was all. I had always dreamed of maybe creating my own family, making it happy and secure, and giving my kids the love that I couldn’t receive.
But that was when I was younger, and that was going to be with someone that I loved; my Prince Charming who was going to rescue me from the clutches of my foster parents.
I was rescued, just not by a Prince Charming. And the older I got, the stupider the idea became, until it faded all together. Prince Charmings didn’t exist.
Not for me anyway.
I lifted my gaze slowly to meet his steady one as he tried to decipher the reason for my change in expression.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
I shook my head and put on a bright smile. “No, nothing,” I said and picked up my mug.
He gently took it out of my hand and kept it on the table, then took both my hand in his.
“Look, Anne. I know this is difficult for you—-it is for me too. But I don’t want you to feel that you’re forced to do this.”
I looked at him, unsure.
What the hell is wrong with me!?
I don’t know when those words came tumbling out of my mouth, but I had to take them back before it was too late. I didn’t want Anne having the mindset of a fancy happily ever after, because that was something I couldn’t give.
I patted her hands for a bit a let it go.
“OK, I’m kind of tied up in work tomorrow, but I’ll reschedule. Why don’t we go on a tour around Vernice? It’ll be fun.”
She rubbed the back of her neck. “Um, OK?”
“Great. After breakfast.”
I took a sip of the tea, and a bite of the burger, and another sip.
Then I got up. “Thanks for supper. See you tomorrow.”
Instinctively, I placed a light kiss on her cheek and walked to my room, not before I saw her reach a hand up to caress the spot.
And not any girl.
With a slight smile, I threw myself on the bed, and fell asleep immediately.
I was done Washing the cups and leaving them on the drainer.
Then, as I laid on my bed, I couldn’t help thinking.
Emilio… I didn’t even know much about him. But I always get mixed feelings when I’m near him. Must be because of his on and off attitude.
No matter what, I knew he could never see, or feel anything for me.
The reason was right under my tee-shirt.
With a sigh, I let my eyes flutter close into a sad sleep.
To be continued