You’ll be happy to know that Yours, Truly has almost reached its end, which means probably by the end of next week, I would’ve completed my ninth novel in a row! 🙂
To celebrate the fact, here’s a bit of the third last chapter. I hope you like it, and please do correct me if anything is not right. You know I’m always up for reactions 😀
I left soon after that, and when I got home, I learnt from Mrs. Parker that the boys hadn’t come back until now. I went up to my room, dumped the shopping bags in one corner, changed into my t-shirt and shorts and lay flat on the bed on my stomach.
I might have fallen asleep, because I woke up when Terrie, the maid, came to call me for dinner. ‘Miss Hastings? Dinner is ready, ma’am.’ She spoke so softly that it took her several attempts to awaken me. Terrie is part Chinese, and she always speaks quite low for a normal person in her weird-but-adorable accent.
When I got up, I saw her eyeing the shopping bags—that I’d thrown in one corner of the room—startlingly.
‘You want some of ‘em?’ I asked her while pulling a skirt over the shorts—I was too lazy to change—and she shied away. I thought she wasn’t going to speak, so you can understand why I jumped out of my skin when she suddenly spoke, very close to my ear.
‘You bought all this, madam?’ she talked loudly this time, scaring me.
‘Jeez, Terrie! Warn me before you do something like that!’ I said, and she shook her head in an apologetic gesture. ‘And yes, I did buy all of them. Why do you ask?’ I wanted to know why she was so surprised at the amount of shopping I’d done.
‘Nothing important, madam. It is just that Mr. Parker—your friend—always tells me you are more interested in books than in clothes.’ She said, and I grinned at her answer. I walked over to where the bags were, and emptied all of them but two on the bed. Terrie exclaimed, ‘Oh my!’ when she saw what the bags had.
‘So many books, madam?’ she looked more stunned than before.
Yes, you read that right: All except two of the shopping bags contained books, ranging from ancient mythology to modern-day romance. I had bought every possible book that interested me in the least. I’d bought books that would last me the rest of my life in one single day. Hey, I had money to spend, all right? My bank account was stashed with money from the past sixteen years, and I’d never taken a dime out of it, hoping that someday I would buy myself a nice car. But when you have a hand-me-down ’67 Impala, what more could you possibly ask for?
‘Will you read all of this, madam?’ Terrie questioned again, and I nodded a ‘yes’. Her eyes widened even more at that. Then she turned to the two bags that were still on the floor. ‘What’s in them?’ she asked.
‘Clothes for Liam, Jason and my sister. And I bought myself a dress.’ I told her, and she looked at me kindly.
‘You’re very thoughtful, madam.’ She praised me, and it felt nice, especially because it came from a person who spent day in and day out working for others.
‘You can call me Scarlet, Terrie. I like my name. No ‘madam’ for me, OK?’ I said, and she nodded sharply before leading me down to where everyone was waiting for me to begin dinner. I was hoping it to be only me and my two partners in crime, but there was everyone—Jason’s entire family—sitting at the table.
‘Ah, here she is. Come on, Scarlet, we’ve been waiting for you.’ Jason’s father greeted me with a warm smile. I smiled back at him. Liam and Jason were back from their trip to the bowling alley, and both of them had showered and changed into fresh clothes.
‘For how long have I been out?’ I whispered in Jason’s ear as I took my place beside him.
‘We came home at six-thirty, and right now, it is eight o’clock.’ He informed me, and I gaped at him. I’d been out cold for three hours. It was a first for me, because as a rule, I never sleep in the middle of the day, come what may.
It turned out that before I walked in, they had been discussing the family’s vacation plans. Mr. and Mrs. Parker were going to L.A. with Eric the next day, and they really wanted us to accompany them—which we couldn’t do, at any rate.
‘I told you, Dad, we have the dance to worry about.’ Jason reasoned with his father, who seemed to believe his son’s excuses. Jason, unlike me, happens to be a great actor. You can very well say that he’s everything I’m not—a good person, a great actor, and of course, a Greek-god.
‘But it’s L.A., Jason!’ Eric jumped up and down in his place. Evidently, he was jazzed about the vacation. I admit I envied him, and how effortlessly he could afford to fly out to another state to have a good time, while I on the other hand, had to take care of a deranged killer.
‘I know that, Eric. So, why don’t you go and have fun?’ Jason shot him a dark look, and he didn’t say anything after that.
Liam, I noticed, was quiet at the table. He looked like he was thinking about something important, and I made it a point to ask him what’s wrong as soon as dinner got over.
After half an hour, we said our good nights and went up to our rooms—well, my room, technically, because that’s where we meet and talk before going to sleep. Liam walked in first, and just as Terrie had, he yelled on seeing the pile of books on the bed. ‘Hastings! Are you crazy?’ he asked me, wide-eyed with surprise and disbelief. Liam detests books, or any other sort of printed material, apart from his spy novels. He likes reading spy novels, because I’ve seen many of them in his Ferrari, and some in his locker, too.
‘What? They’re just books.’ Jason said when he found out what Liam had been screaming bloody murder over. Jason wasn’t surprised, of course. He knows how unbelievable I can get when it comes to books. So instead of tossing and turning through the books like Liam, he went and picked up the bag that contained the clothes I’d bought for them.
‘Leave the books alone, would you, McCall? Come see what she’s got for us.’ Jason threw the fabric at Liam, who caught it just in time before it hit the floor.
‘Is this for me, Hastings?’ he asked me, and when I said yes, he beamed at me as the little kids do when you give them candy on Halloween.
I’d bought both white button down shirts to go with their tuxedos, because I’d seen neither of them wearing a white shirt with their tuxedo. They usually went for the darker colors, which I think is sheer injustice to the dress code of any dance. Personally, I have a thing for guys wearing tuxedos, and Jason knows it.
‘Thanks, querida.’ Jason thanked me, and hugged me loosely, only because Liam was standing right next to us, busy trying on his own shirt.
‘This is awesome, Cinderella, thank you.’ He said, spinning around so that I could see how it fit him. He looked breathtaking, as usual.
‘You’re welcome. By the way, do you have something on your mind?’ I asked him finally, and he stopped spinning around. The surprise and excitement vanished away, and remorse took its place. ‘Let me change, and then we’ll talk.’ He said, and pushed his way inside the bathroom.
I looked at Jason, who definitely looked like he knew something, and went, ‘Is it bad?’
He smiled weakly and pushed some of my hair from my eyes. ‘You’ll see.’
I cannot believe it is almost done. I’ve never felt happier. Let me know what you think, ‘kay?