The time went by too fast. After that evening with Oliver, my whole world flipped upside down and I found myself getting caught on a roller coaster ride.
Three weeks to be exact. Three weeks went by, allowing the snow to melt and with it gradually taking my memories of that night along.
For those three weeks, only Oliver and I knew that we were an item now.
It was his idea really. He reminded me of the challenge Xavier had given me and that I had enthusiastically accepted.
I’d actually entertained the idea that my best friend would be smart enough to know I was playing charades every time I faked being mad at Oliver!
It’s weird. All the things Oliver does that used to annoy me are gradually seeming cute and adorable.
Sometimes, when I’m alone, I start to get confused. I start to ask myself how I got to this point. I never dared to imagine Oliver and I would be a couple, let alone that I could get close to someone so quickly.
At first, I’ll admit it, for the few days I was just using him to feel better. He has a way about him that comforts me and puts my spirit at ease.
But then I started to look forward to seeing him, I started to actually find his jokes funny, and he seemed to get cuter every time I saw him.
Basically, I fell for him. This annoyingly adorable guy had managed to find the cracks in my shield.
And now, three weeks into our relationship, we’re standing in front of Oliver’s house, because mister wanted to prove to his little sisters that he wasn’t lying about having a girlfriend.
But I’m pretty sure that’s just an excuse to get me to meet his parents.
“Three little sisters huh…” I muttered.
“They’re really nice…on rare occasions.” Oliver said with a smirk.
“Must be annoying to have to share your house with three little girls.” I said.
“It’s not that bad.” Oliver said, leaning forwards and opening the door.
A bright green eyed little girl was waiting behind the door. From what Oliver had told me, this little blonde haired girl was Lia.
Lia eyed me up and down. “How much did he pay you?”
I raised my eyebrows in amusement.
“Hey! Not nice!” Oliver said, diving towards his little sister who ran and hid on the couch.
“Oh you think, hiding beside dad is going to protect you?” Oliver teased.
“Yes I do ugly!” Lia said, sticking out her tongue.
Oliver’s dad sighed loudly, and Oliver gave his little sister a mocking glare.
“I’ll get you next time.”
“No you won’t!” Lia said, making funny faces at her big brother before rolling off the couch. Oliver laughed as his sister picked herself up, grumbling along the way.
I managed to look away from the amusing sight when Oliver’s mother started conversing me.
“Welcome to our home Erin.” Oliver’s mom said. I was almost surprised by how much she looked exactly like the little girl she held in her arms. The toddler…I think her name was…yeah Fatima.
“Thanks for having me.” I replied, and she gave me a sweet smile. Even if they weren’t the same color, it really looked like Oliver had gotten his mom’s eyes.
“Come say hi to Erin bratist.” Oliver said, calling his last little sister after the nickname he’d given her: Brat + artist.
“No, don’t feel like it. Can’t you see? I’m drawing.” Rona replied without even a glance.
“TECHNICALLY, it’s painting!” Lia called from the sofa.
“Painting then.” Rona tiredly said, dipping her paintbrush in more paint.
“And really, your paintings are ugly. So it’s not even really art or painting it’s just scribbling.” Lia absently said, kicking her feet.
Rona frowned in anger before turning around and spraying paint at her sister. “Meanie!”
“Rona!” Oliver’s mom warned and Rona muttered a sorry before turning back to her painting.
“It’s not like I even care about paint on my clothes.” Lia muttered.
So far, I think Lia is my favorite.
The next ten minutes were spent with Oliver’s mom asking me a couple of standard meet-the-parents questions. I wasn’t really that into it, but I answered as best as I could, since this obviously meant something to Oliver.
No matter how nice Oliver’s mom seemed, there was something about her that deeply bothered me. It was the way she was looking at me. With a smile, but also with a sad little tilt of eyebrows. Like she was pitying me.
And boy, that really really bothered me.
“Did you tell your mom?” I eventually asked when Oliver and I were in his room.
“What?” Oliver asked with a chuckle.
“Did you tell your mom that I….that I’m…” That I’m a murderer? The words refused to come out.
“No! What makes you think that?”
“She was pitying me.” I replied, glancing at his bedroom door.
“No she wasn’t.”
“Yes she was, I think I can recognize a pity look. Do I look damaged? Do I seem like I-”
“Erin, it has absolutely nothing to do with you.” Oliver said cutting off my rambling.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean you don’t have to worry about it.” Oliver said, leaning forwards to kiss me, probably thinking that was the end of the conversation. I pushed him back.
“That’s not an acceptable answer.”
Oliver sighed and leaned back. “It’s not about you, it’s about me. Mom probably thinks I don’t deserve you after seeing how beautiful and wonderful you are.”
Oliver obviously didn’t want to tell me the real reason. Why? I have no idea, but I’ll let it pass. Oliver and I haven’t gotten a ‘real’ fight yet and I don’t want to be the one to initiate it. And I have a feeling pursuing the matter might lead to one.
I closed the gap and kissed him before switching subjects.
“I think we can tell Xav now.” I said.
“Yeah, pretty sure you’ve more than proven your point.” Oliver said, nodding his approval.
“That’s what I was thinking. I’ve been itching to rub it in his face. And anyway I’m pretty sure the others aren’t as clueless as Xavier.”
No, but really. How can Xavier be this dense?
“I can’t believe it! How did this even happen?” I exclaimed almost angrily.
“I’m really surprised you didn’t know about it.” Edmund smirked and I sighed loudly.
“Yeah that’s the worst part, everyone else knew.” I grumbled.
I forced myself to sit on the bench beside Edmund. I don’t even know why I’m so angry. I should be happy for Erin, I always thought she and Oliver would make a nice couple. Though now seeing it, I don’t actually feel happy for her. Something feels…I don’t know, off.
“How’d you figure it out?”
“The moment Erin stopped being so silent and started being ‘angry’ at Oliver. It was a pretty big change in attitude. And Oliver seemed to be a lot happier lately. How come you didn’t figure it out?” Ed asked.
Well I’d noticed that much. After all we lived together now. I noticed it instantly when her spirits seemed to lift up. She was a lot more active.
“I did notice that, but I didn’t think they were going out.” I replied. “I guess I thought Oliver had just made her mad or something and…well I was just happy my friend seemed better. I didn’t look into it any deeper.”
It was a relief to see Erin get out of her shell, but I’d still like to know how Oliver managed it. I’m her best friend and nothing I did seemed to help and she spends one evening with Oliver and suddenly she’s all better?
Oh. I guess that’s why I’m kind of angry.
“She really does seem to be doing better now that she’s with Oliver.” Edmund said. I inhaled and turned my back on him, leaning against the bench. It’s not really what I’d wanted to hear.
Edmund did the same, pressing his back into mine.
“But I think she should get some counseling. After living something like that who knows-” Edmund began.
“She’s not going to become a murderer if that’s what you’re implying.” I said a little harsher than I would’ve liked.
“I’m not. But face it Xav, she killed her parents. I think she needs to deal with that, and it doesn’t look like she has yet.”
“My mom had the same idea. But Erin doesn’t have the money, and we don’t either, to hire some therapist. And obviously Erin doesn’t want any of that.” I said.
“How is it?” Edmund asked after a few seconds of silence.
I frowned. “That’s a weird question. Why do you want to know?”
“I…” I could almost hear Edmund trying to figure out his phrase. “I was just wondering if it was easier to be adopted.”
My frown didn’t leave. I tried to figure out why Edmund would think about something like that. Edmund’s dad is a control freak, Erin’s parents were abusive and Teo’s parents are always absent. And me? My parents are pretty nice. But so are Xenia’s parents and probably Oliver’s parents as well.
“I don’t know.” I replied. “What do you mean by ‘easier’?”
“Being adopted…you don’t know your parents so you don’t know who you were supposed to be. That way you can choose.” Edmund said, half-talking to himself.
“I’d rather think I don’t need to depend on who my parents are to know who I am. Especially my real parents. They could’ve been anyone.” I said with a small smile, remembering all the crazy ideas I’d made of my parents with Erin.
“Lawyers, terrorists, police officers, artists, killers. The possibilities really are endless. I wonder what could’ve possibly motivated them to give you up.” Edmund said thinking out loud. “Ah geez, sorry if it’s a sensitive subject.”
“Nah it’s fine, I don’t really talk about it much, but sometimes it can be nice. It’s probably nothing extravagant. It’s probably your typical prostitute gets pregnant, but doesn’t want the baby so she gives it up. Or the parents really hate children so they give it up. Or maybe some teenage girl got pregnant, but gave the baby up since she’s too young.” I said.
“Do you think your parents are still alive?” Edmund asked.
There wasn’t any hesitation in my answer. “I hope not.”
“Really? How come?”
“Because there was always one situation I preferred over the others. One where the parents love their baby, but were involved in a tragic accident. They died and the baby was put in another home. I think that’s the only situation where I could love my biological parents. Any other, I’d probably hate them and see them as strangers.” I replied. It was a nice vision, to think I was loved by the ones who brought me into the world. When I was younger I’d even made up how I wanted my parents in that situation to look. My mom had bright eyes that always smiled and long silky hair. My dad had black hair like mine and he was more the silent type, but he had that look in his eyes that let you know he cared even though he didn’t say it often.
I shook my head to clear the image. I’m almost 18 now, I think I can stop imagining this type of stuff.
“Then it’s official then. Your parents died when you were born.” Edmund said, pulling me out of my thoughts. “Your dad was a firefighter and your mom was a nurse. A fire broke out at the hospital while you were being babysitted at home. Your mom did her best to make sure all the patients got out safely until the firefighters arrived. Your mom stayed inside to help a little girl who was stuck under some rubble and your dad rushed in to save the two. Unfortunately your parents were barricaded in, but at leadt the kid made it out.”
“It’s the only way I can imagine it. To have a kid like you, your biological parents must’ve at least been heroes.”
I silently laughed, a grin spreading on my face as I buried my face into my smiling boyfriend’s jacket.
Such a long wait for such a short chapter. Sorry guys XP (would’ve made it longer, but I didn’t want to split the next part)
P.s. I succumbed and made a tumblr, feel free to check it out if ya want!
Also, ironically enough, James decided to photobomb the moment Xav’s parents came up.