(If you missed Chapter 1 read it here. Chapter 2,read it here)
For the next four hours or so, I forgot all about being broke or being a shrewd business woman and was initiated into the clan. That’s the only description I could come up with, The clan. The five of them had grown up together and had known each other right from kindergarten. Through the years, they’d stuck together even when they had all gone off to different universities and lived in different cities. Matt had gone off to McGill, Bella to Toronto and Raj all the way to Houston while Liam and Adele had stayed behind in Edmonton. After Uni, they had all found their way back to Edmonton and the clan had been re-united.
You couldn’t have found a more interesting group of people and watching them all evening was a pleasurable experience. I couldn’t find any two people in that group that were of similar characters yet each person seemed to compliment the others in just the right places. It was like having pieces of a very complicated puzzle with no two pieces similar, yet each one fitting nicely in place to create a well, very colourful picture! I liked each one of them instantly, from the very eccentric Bella, to cool, calm and collected Adele. Matt was the heart of the clan, witty, sweet and unflappable. Raj was the voice of reason, the grown-up who kept everyone in line. At least he tried to! He was such an English man, all prim and proper and polite. It was a shock to know he’d never been to England, he would have fit in so well!
After the show, we headed to Café Sorrentino and of course Raj held the door open for the ladies to go in first! He was so adorable it was hard to take him seriously sometimes and he reminded me so much of Timmy Patel! Inside we were lucky to snag a table just big enough to fit us all in and Matt brought an extra chair over from another table and squeezed it in.
“What’s everyone having?” Matt asked.
“Ladies?” of course Raj asked the ladies first!
“Can’t make up my mind yet.” Adele said. “I’ll come with you.”
“Bells?” Matt asked.
“The usual.” She said and made her way towards the rest rooms. “And a muffin!” She called out above the noise.
“Lemon and ginger tea please!” I said.
“Just a coffee for me.” Liam said looking at me across the tiny round table and I wanted to disappear from sight! “With milk please!”
“Come on! Give me a break!” I said immediately the others were out of ear-shot.
“What?!” He asked with fake innocence.
“They’ll think I’m a dolt! What a great first impression!”
“Of course not! They love you!”
“Pretty please! Don’t ever tell anyone about the Cheerios!”
“Come on, they’ll think it’s really cute!”
“Serious! Promise you’ll never bring it up!”
“Bring what up?” Bells asked taking the seat beside me.
“Nothing!” I said much too quickly, shooting Liam a warning look.
“Just something that…”
“You promised!” I snapped slapping his hand across the table.
“No I didn’t!”
“Hmmnnn, interesting!” Bells said, leaning in to get the gist. “What’s our Chezza been up to?!”
“So one day, Frankie invites me up for coffee.” Liam started and I covered my face in embarrassment. I’m going to kill him, Mark Petersburg or not!!!
Then Bells’ phone rang! Who would have thought, saved by the bell! Both puns intended!!!
“Hold that thought!” she said getting up. “Be right back.” With that she made her way towards the entrance to answer the call outside.
“Please don’t tell them! I feel so embarrassed already!”
“Hey, don’t be!” he said squeezing my hand. “We can invite them all over for breakfast, get through the Cheerios quickly and get rid of the evidence!” I couldn’t help it, I laughed out loud at that.
“Yeah right! We’ll feed them Cheerios without milk.” I said.
“Or sugar!” He added.
We both dissolved into laughter.
“Thank you.” I said when our laughter subsided.
He smiled warmly at me. “What for?” He asked.
It was my turn to squeeze his hand. “For everything. Sharing your wonderful friends with me, helping me fit in, for a great night…” I trailed off and smiled.
He smiled back at me, and then he leaned forward slightly and kissed me. When he pulled back from me, I just stared at him. I was speechless and even if my life had depended on it, I wouldn’t have been able to say a single word!
“I wasn’t sure you guys wanted crisps or not!” Adele said from behind me and I practically jumped out of my skin! I had totally forgotten all about the others!!
Oh God, what just happened?!
“You alright!” she asked and I tore my eyes away from him and forced a smile at her.
“Yes, I’m fine!!!” I only just kissed your Boyfriend! Everything’s peachy!!
“I am so stuffed, I’m sure I won’t get even one drop of my smoothie in!” She continued seemingly oblivious to the charged atmosphere at the table. Here we were, hands still clasped, both of us still leaning slightly towards each other, and she still went on chatting like the sky was blue and the birds were singing! Ha! She came around and dropped the tray she was carrying on the table and resumed her seat between us. He was forced to scuttle his seat back to make room for her and only then did he let go of my hand. Matt and Raj followed soon after and the conversation started up around the table.
“…it was the courteous thing to do!”
“I was carrying half a dozen drinks, it was physically impossible to hold the door for her!”
“Chezza, don’t you just love Raj!”
I laughed and to me it sounded loud and ridiculous, more like cackling. Babbity Rabbity and the Cackling Stump! Where on earth did that come from?!
“We totally should go bungee jumping next!”
“Where do you get your crazy ideas from?”
“Come on, don’t be such a kill joy!”
“Or a West-end Musical…”
For the rest of the night, I talked too much, laughed uproariously, told dumb jokes, I couldn’t seem to stop! Somewhere at the back of my mind, I wondered how I was managing that because underneath it all, my mind was totally and stupidly blank!
He was quiet through it all and I could feel his gaze on me like laser beams but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. Oh dear God, what just happened?!!!!
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