PickMature

Caleb was acting strange at dinner that night. We were going to go out but I suggested eating in. He kept whispering to Luther and I narrowed my eyes.

"Irene, do you want to come to the studio with me?" Luther asked when we finished eating.

My mom and I looked at each other. I knew she was asking me so I just shrugged, letting her know it was up to her.

"Are you trying to hit on me, Mr. Banks?" my mom teased and he laughed.

"You're beautiful, but you're missing a part," he teased back.

We all laughed and she finished her water, obviously stalling. Suddenly, she jumped a little and cleared her throat.

"Sure," she said. "Let's go now."

"You two play nice," Luther said, picking up his keys. "No throwing punches unless I'm around with a camera."

"I wouldn't dream of beating him without you around," I said and he winked at me. "Have fun. "After they left, I turned to Caleb. "What's the deal?"

He smile and took my hand, pulling me to my bedroom. I was nervous but he just went to my laptop. He lifted the screen and had me sit on his lap. Confused, I typed in my login information. I leaned back into him while he navigated to my-

"Internet Explorer?" he laughed.

"Shut up," I said and slapped his chest. "What are you up to?"

"You'll see," he said, pulling me so I had my head right next to his.

I kissed his temple while he typed in the address to a hotel. I blinked, confused.

"Okay, here's the deal," he said seriously and I turned my head to look at him. His hazel eyes were half closed as he ran his finger along my jaw. "We're going on a vacation, just you and me."

"A vacation?" I repeated and he nodded. "Why?"

He kissed my cheek then turned back to the laptop screen. He put both arms around me and I waited. I could tell he wanted to talk so I let him think.

"Because we've both been stressed as hell with work," he said. "Then I'm stressed because of Tom and I know you're more upset about Jenny than you're letting on. So, pick a destination and we'll go for a week, excluding travel days."

I leaned away from him a little. "You're serious about this, aren't you?" I whispered.

"I've never been more serious," he said. He kissed my shoulder. "Come on; please." He smirked. "I'll pay you 400 and sign a contract."

I giggled. "Let me think for a second." I pursed my lips and giggled when he kissed me. "Can I be cliché?"

"You already are," he said. "Shit we are."

I laughed. "Just because we're cliché doesn't mean you have to be a dick," I said. He stuck his tongue out at me. "Let's go to Vegas."

"Vegas?" he asked and nodded. "I like that idea. Luther did a lot of traveling for his old photography job," he explained, going to the 'Log In' button and pulling a scrap of paper out of his pocket. "He built up a lot of points and is letting us use some."

"Points?"

"Yeah; kind of like miles when you use a credit card."

"Gotcha," I said and waited while he typed in Luther's information. "Marriott! Holy shit; that's the best hotel I've ever stayed in! I went once in high school for a competition."

"Well, you're going again," he said happily. "We're leaving on Sunday."

"It's Friday, Caleb!" I said indignantly.

"So start packing while I do the booking," he said obviously.

I stared at him then kissed him. He kissed me back and I stood up, giggling in excitement, as I dug out my suitcase. I was excited; I hadn't been to Vegas and it-

"Money," I groaned.

"Shut up and pack," he said as he dialed a number on his phone.

"Rude," I sniffed.

He winked at me and I dug through my underwear drawer, hiding it from him. I was always modest about my underwear; especially my bras. I paused when I saw the dress from the photoshoot with the Romanian ritual. Would I need it? Well, we were going to Vegas. Eh, what the hell?

When I was done packing, Caleb hung up. He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me. I smiled and closed my eyes, leaning into him. He put his chin on my shoulder and we stood in silence for a while. I liked it. Sometimes, you just didn't need to speak.

I turned around and smiled at him.

"Is that what you and Luther were whispering about?" I asked, brushing his bangs from his face.

"Yep," he said. "We've got the plane and hotel booked. Relax," he added when he saw the worry on my face about the price. "Luther's helping us out a lot. Now, I have to go pack. I will see you Sunday at 8 am." He hesitated as if he wanted to say something else but the front door opened. He sighed and kissed me. "Have a good day tomorrow."

"You, too," I whispered and he left.

After the front door closed again, my mother came in with a smile on her face.

"Where are you guys going?" she asked.

"Vegas," I said. "I'm confused. How the hell are we going to be able to pay for all of this?"

"Wait here," she said and went to her bedroom. She came back with the strongbox and set it down on my desk. "Take this with you."

"No," I said immediately. "That's for emergencies, Ma."

She smiled. "Take it, Mirela." I hesitated. "Come on. It's not like you have to use all of it. But I expect a fancy souvenir."

I laughed and hugged her tightly. "Did Luther tell you why we're doing this?"

She nodded. "I'm not allowed to tell you, though."

"Now that's just rude," I pouted. "Everyone gets to know but me."

She laughed. "Did you really see Jenny today?"

I scoffed. "She came up and slapped Caleb, blaming him for ruining the internship. She tried to say he was the one who started it."

"What did you do?"

I shrugged. "I just told her that if she touches him again, I'll beat her ass into the ground."

She laughed. "You remind me of your father more and more every day."

I smiled sadly. "Is it wrong that I'm not as... broken with each year?"

"No," she said immediately and we lay in my bed. I turned to face her. "You still love him; so do I. But you moving on is what he would want."

I toyed with my blanket. "What if I forget him?"

She smiled at me. "You won't, my dear," she said, pushing my hair behind my ear. "I promise you that you won't."

I sighed. "Will you sleep in with me tonight?"

She smiled and took her shoes off. "It's been a while since we've had a sleepover. Sure."

I giggled and snuggled up close to her.

The End

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