“Hey, you two. Back again so soon?” Thank God for Anne. She worked most weekend mornings, so I should we would have her again. “Same as yesterday or we going for a bit of variety?” She was using a British accent today, probably practicing for the upcoming auditions next week.
“I’ll…actually a bagel and lox, please,” said Nova, handing Anne our menus and grinning happily.
“And for you, Mina?” Anne prompted me, her fake accent twisting her words. “The usual?” Her cinnamon eyes were cheery, but tired and distracted. The poor girl probably pulled an all-nighter again. She brushed her red hair out of her face as she added, “Coffee and French toast?”
“Yes, please. Thank you, Anne.” She took our menus away, mouthing words quietly to herself as she practiced a musical dance away from the table. I didn’t see why she was so nervous about this audition; Anne had been the lead in the school’s productions ever since she arrived on campus.
“So go on,” Nova prodded. “What’s wrong with him loving his family?”
“It’s…the degree he loves her. Ezra only has one sister and he wants me to meet her.”
“And?” Nova asked, rolling her eyes as she took a sip of hot chocolate.
“No, you don’t get it. Ezra only has a sister. No parents. I mean, he also lives with his sister’s best friend, who they took in, but that’s it. So if I meet them…”
“He asked you to meet his family,” Nova breathed. “On your first date. Oh, my God, he’s clingy! Mina, you have to drop him and you have to drop him hard. This is how people end up with stalkers.”
“Come on, Nova, be serious! He’s nice and…it just threw me a little, okay? Honestly, I’m not objecting. Maybe they’re really cool.”
Nova raised an eyebrow. “You honestly believe that, Mina? Honestly?”
“What are their names?”
I took a deep breath and sighed. “His sister’s name is Rhyannon, but he calls her Ko. It’s his nickname for her. Their parents came up with it and he’s made it stick so that she doesn’t get so lonely for them. And her best friend’s name is Zoey, so…”
“Okay, they’re pretty cool names. How old are they, like Molly’s age or our age?”
I took a sip of coffee and grimaced before beginning to pour in generous amounts of sugar. “Somewhere in between, but closer to us. He said that Rhyannon was seventeen, so I guess that Zoey’s close to that, but I’m not certain. And anyway, he didn’t just want me to meet his family for the heck of it. He honestly has plans to get married one day. That’s sweet…right?”
“I guess,” Nova conceded as she took a sip of her hot chocolate. The whipped cream that decorated the top left a white mustache above her upper lip and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. She leaned back into her chair and grinned. Everything that was happening this morning was so normal, so perfect, that I never wanted this time to end.
But everything has a shelf life. Even breakfast in diners.