Runaway Mother chapter 18
Mary here! Just updating you on how things are going. Chad took me to the aquarium on Saturday. I’m sure the sea creatures were magnificent, but Chad was the only thing I was focused on in all honesty. Everything is just so wonderful and new! He caught me staring at him a couple of times, but in all fairness, I caught him too. He is just such a magnificent specimen of a human being. The feel of his touch and the way he kisses me softly…I just can’t get enough!
Yesterday we both met thirty minutes before our shift and went to one of the deli’s rivals when it comes to coffee in the town. The coffee’s weren’t as good as what Betsy makes, but I guess I can live with that! We sat on a bench, the deli in view, and sipped our beverages hand in hand!
As it happened, we had the same hour off for lunch also. I couldn’t tell whether that was a coincidence or whether it was manufactured, but either way it was lovely. Chad got us two BLT’s from the deli and we just went back to the same bench and ate them. There was a chill in the air and when I shivered, Chad opened his jacket and pulled me in close placing one half of it around me. We snuggled and talked…and almost forgot we had to get back to work.
I was planning on going to The Mint Leaf after work but I couldn’t do that to Zach! I know if the tables were turned, he would have, but I have morals and couldn’t ask him to have Ethan all day Saturday and Sunday! I wouldn’t feel right doing it! Besides, I missed the little mite and wanted to keep my promise that I would be home on the days I said I’d be home.
Zach came up with a new plan. He said that we each take alternate Saturday’s for ourselves. Besides, its good to show a four-year-old that it’s nice to go out and play with your friends. I completely appreciated the offer and jumped on the band wagon.
Chad is an amazing guy and I love spending time with him but he can’t be privy to the home situation! I refuse to talk to anyone but Connie and Zach about that! He knows that mom does overnight trips at least once a week with work, but that’s the extent of the detail I am willing to divulge.
We had the letter ‘K’ today and it’s like I’m torturing the poor boy. I’ve talked to Connie on the phone and she is more than willing to step into the role of ‘mom’ on Wednesday afternoon after school. I have no idea if the plan will work, but as they say…God loves a tryer. I honestly don’t know whether my mother has met Miss Megan before, so fingers and toes crossed she buys our story!
Anyway, I’m working again tomorrow and Chad has offered to walk me home. I’m betting it’s going to be the longest walk I have ever taken so I can drink in his company. I love the way he treats me like a princess! No one has ever done that before and its an amazing feeling! I can’t get over how much of a gentleman he is. He isn’t rushing me into a more physical relationship which I’m glad of. If I’m honest, I can’t think of one bad thing to say about him! He even wants to take Ethan to the zoo the next time my mother is ‘away on business’. He said he loves kids and commends me and Zach for looking after him. I don’t want to bring anyone into Ethans life just yet however, not until I know he’ll be around for a while at least.
I’m going to leave it there for tonight diary and I’m ecstatic that I’ll be seeing Chad in work tomorrow.
‘Beep, beep, beep, beep….’ I put my had out of my lovely cosy bedspread and thump the alarm clock, groaning because it interfered in a wonderful dream. I jump out of bed in search of a pen and paper to recount the dream but by the time I get my hands on them, it’s gone! ‘Shit!’ I say under my breath and wrap myself in my warm dressing gown ready to get one of the men in my life their breakfast.
‘Ethan buddy,’ I brush his cheek gently with the back of my hand, the side of his mouth curling upwards into a smile. I do it again and he begins to stir. ‘Time for school bud!’
He rolls onto his back and moans before he yawns and opens his eyes. When he looks at me, he smiles and pulls ducky close. ‘C’mon,’ I pull the covers off his bed and pretend to eat his toes. His laughter is so infectious that Zach appears in the room rubbing his eyes and joins in on the fun by blowing raspberries on Ethan’s stomach. Ethan tries to push us away and when I’m content that I’ve successfully gotten both my brothers ready for the day, I say, ‘c’mon and we get some breakfast!’
‘Ok!’ he sighs and I help him with his dressing gown and slippers.
I cup my hands around my mug and sit with Ethan and ducky as they eat their rice krispies, and I can’t help but think that Chad has me spoiled giving me latte’s from the deli. I compare the coffee I just made here to the one that Betsy makes and realise they are worlds apart. I almost don’t drink the beverage in front of me…almost! I really need the caffeine so I power through and force the sub-par drink down.
I can hear Zach coming down the stairs, making each step sound like thunder, just as Ethan and ducky are finished with their breakfast. He walks into the room and I do a double take as he is looking at flashcards for his trigonometry test that he’s taking later in the day.
I’m impressed that he’s taking heed of my suggestion of flashcards and pour him a mug of coffee.
‘Thanks Mare!’ he says sincerely.
As I was going to bed last night, he was on the floor of the living room working on theorem’s he had to learn before the big test. I was asleep when he retired so I don’t know how far he actually got with them. I tried to explain them to him but it was like Ethan and his ‘H’s’ all over again…he just couldn’t grasp what I was trying my best to explain as simply as possible.
‘Did you manage to get anywhere with them?’ I asked and knew by his face that he just wanted the day to be over even though for it had only just begun.
‘I tried to do a problem with each theorem like you suggested, but gave up at 3:30!’
I had never seen Zach study before and couldn’t help but the look of surprise wash over me.
‘What time is your test?’ I ask.
‘First class after lunch!’ he answers downing his coffee and going back for more.
‘Do you want to go over it one more time during lunch?’
‘You’d really give up your lunch break for me?’
‘Don’t look so surprised,’ I giggle, ‘of course I would!’
I can see the cogs in Zach’s mind turn, all be it slowly!
‘That would actually really help!’ he says and smiles at me, ‘but only if, you’re sure!’
‘Hell yea!’ I answer with gusto!
‘Mare you are the greatest!’ he says and kisses me on the cheek before downing his second coffee in one sup.
‘I’d better…’ I point in Ethans direction and Zach nods.
‘And I’d better…’ he points to his mug and I nod.
That’s the best part about having siblings, you don’t need to finish a sentence in order for the other to know what you mean!
As Zach picks Ethan up to put him on the saddle of his bike, I try again to convince him that the dinosaur should really stay home and look after ducky…but he’s having none of it. Eventually I concede and make a mental note to ensure the dinosaur comes home again.
‘C’mon Mare,’ Zach says looking at the innocence of the little man on the bike, ‘can’t you see that the dinosaur goes with his top?’
Ethan smiles up at him and Zach says, ‘you see buddy, girls just don’t understand the meaning of the word accessory!’
I can’t help but laugh and the boys are off, Zach winking at me as they exit the front door.
‘See you at lunch!’ I shout after him and close the door. I go to the dryer and retrieve one of my ‘Bob’s Deli’ emblazoned t-shirts and stuff it into my backpack alongside my lunch before heading off.
When the lunch bell rings, I go the long way to the library to meet Zach. I don’t want to pass the cafeteria in case I’m spotted by one of the girls. They were more likely going to corner me and grill me until I tell them everything there is to know about Chad. I’m not in the mood today to make small talk with people who are supposed to be friends. I hadn’t even spoken to any of them since Friday lunchtime. I’m seriously contemplating whether I could call what we have a friendship anymore or whether they are more like an acquaintance. I know Chelsea doesn’t like me but I always imagined being friends with Anna forever. ‘People change Mare!’ I tell myself.
As we’re the only ones in the library, Zach and I have the opportunity to talk instead of whisper. He takes out his flash cards and I’m impressed at the level of detail he put into every one. If he only could bring them into the test with him, he would ace it!
We spend the hour going through problems that are likely to come up, and after forty-five minutes, something seems to click in Zach’s brain. He’s actually able to talk me through the answer to one of the problems I put in front of him. Pride exudes from my pores and I can’t help but hug him.
‘If you write what you just talked me through word for word, I think you might just have a chance!’ I say to him.
‘Thank you so much Mare!’ he grins.
‘You did that on your own man!’ I try to boost his confidence.
The bell rings and he take in a deep breath, exhaling slowly, before he gets up and makes his way into the flames.
On my way to work, I’m both excited to see Chad and to hear how Zach’s test went. Just as I put my stuff in my locker, making sure to have my phone in my pocket, I feel two warm hands around my waist and a wave of calmness overcomes me. I turn around, uniform in hand, and kiss the man who I’ve been longing to see since Sunday. I realise it’s been two days ago, but it feels like a lifetime.
After a minute of heaven, I break away and tell Chad that I need to get into my uniform.
He nods his head in understanding. ‘I’ve to get ready too!’ he says.
As I exit the bathroom, I’m pleasantly surprised that Chad has taken an apron from the cupboard for me. I smile at him and he kisses me again.
‘I need to go out and talk to Betsy!’ I say.
Chad nods and pecks me on the cheek before I walk away to him shouting ‘go get um!’ after me.
I walk onto the deli floor and look at my watch, 3:30 exactly! ‘Good for coffee Jesus!’ I say before the orders start flying rapidly in my direction. I talk to Betsy, trying to keep her on my side with each coffee I produce. To my astonishment, the dynamic trio appear again.
‘We just couldn’t keep away!’ Taylor tells me.
‘Yea Mare, the coffee is so good here!’ Anna chimes in.
‘Where’s the hunk today?’ Chelsea scans the room.
‘I’m sorry ladies but I have to get back to work!’ I feign disappointment and Taylor puts a big tip in the tips jar and winks at me. ‘We’ll be over here if you get a break!’ she says eyeing up the same table in the corner they sat at the last time.
As the orders kept coming in fast and hot, I felt my phone vibrate in my jeans pocket. I ignored it, saying ‘we’re not going to allow a phone call stop us in our tracks, are we Betsy?’ When it rang for a second time, and then a third, I asked Jesus if I could take my break. He pointed his head in the direction of the queue which was out the door and said ‘only if you can get cover!’
Chad was over making sandwiches with two other people and I summoned him.
‘You ok Mary?’
‘My phone keeps ringing and I have to answer it! Can you please take over Betsy for ten minutes in case it has something to do with Ethan?’
‘Sure!’ he said, a look of concern mirroring mine.
I went into the break room and answered the fifth call Zach made.
‘You, ok?’ I asked somewhat concerned.
‘Miss Megan is here!’ Zach said with urgency!
‘What?’ I said a bit louder than I meant.
‘Yea, she’s already admired the crayon mural and is now insisting on talking to mom!’ he sounded like he was panicking!
‘Calm down,’ I offered firstly, ‘I spoke to Connie yesterday and she said she would love to play the role of mom tomorrow after school!’
‘Really?’ Zach sounded surprised.
‘Yea,’ I began, ‘so just tell Miss Megan that she can see her then ok!’
‘And Connie will definitely, do it?’
‘What do I say about the wall?’
‘Tell her we ran out of paper and wanted to improve his dexterity by drawing!’
‘Do I say anything about his homework?’ he asks.
‘Umm,’ I think for a minute, ‘no, lets just hear what she has to say to ‘mom’ tomorrow!’
‘What if it doesn’t work Mare? I mean the woman walked in and I haven’t done the dishes from last night so I have no clean cup to offer her a coffee!’
‘First of all, you need to calm down or she might see straight through you!’ I say and get Zach to do some deep breathing with me for a couple of minutes.
‘I never paid any heed to something as simple as breathing before,’ he said, ‘but this breathing shit really works!’
‘I know it does, that’s why I’m always doing it!’ I roll my eyes.
‘So our ‘mom’ will meet with Miss Megan after school then!’ Zach sounded much calmer now.
‘Yes!’ I tell him. ‘Just ask her what time suits ok?’
‘Ok!’ he sighs and takes in another few breaths before saying, ‘thanks Mare, you saved the day again!’
‘I’ll see you later!’
‘Thanks,’ he says and hangs up the phone.
‘Shit!’ I say under my breath. I feel as though I’m ready to break something! I look at my watch, its 6:15. I can feel my stomach grumble but the customers come first so I plaster a smile onto my face and to back to Betsy, thanking Chad for the cover.
‘Everything ok?’ he asks.
‘Yea,’ I lie. I’d give anything to be able to tell him the whole story, but I know in my heart and soul that I can’t!
The coffee orders keep coming and I feel a tap on my shoulder as I’m telling Betsy to keep up with that particular vortex, I needed for the latte I was making. I fill the order and turn around surprised to see Bob behind me. I look at my watch, 8:15.
‘I know you were supposed to finish at 7:30 and didn’t get a break all shift, but I was wondering if you could stay until we close at nine?’
Jesus shouts out, ‘three lattes’!’
I think to myself that its only fourth five minutes extra.
‘It would really help me out and I’ll make sure its reflected in your pay!’
I nod and say, ‘sure!’
‘Thank you, Mary, if only more of my workers were as hard working as you!’ I smile at him when Jesus shouts back, ‘dry cappuccino and an espresso!’
‘I can see you have your hands full here, so I’ll let you get back to work!’ Bob heads for his office. ‘Thank you again!’ he shouts back as I try to catch up on the orders that I have to fill.
As the deli closes at nine, Bob ends up having to turn people away in order to let his staff go home. With the last customer out the door he puts the front door on the latch and thanks all of his employees for a wonderful, but busy day. ‘Go home and put your feet up!’ he says and just as everyone heads to the breakroom, he adds, ‘I want everyone to take whatever they want from the deli before they go as a sort of bonus!’ Everyone claps and as they head out, Chad loads them up with sandwiches.
As I am one of the last to emerge, my coat on and my bag in hand, Chad hands me three BLT’s. ‘If you can wait ten minutes, I can bring you home!’ he offers.
‘I’d really like that!’ I reply.
Bob happens to overhear us and jumps in, ‘here!’ he hands the keys to the car to Chad. ‘You can bring Mary home and I’ll finish up here! Whenever you’re ready then you can come back for me!’
‘Thank you, sir…I mean Bob!’
Bob winks at me. ‘You did trojan work here today, Mary! Thank you!’
I smile and nod.
‘C’mon so…lets get you home!’ Chad takes my backpack and throws it over his shoulder.
I arrive in the door and Zach looks at me smiling and licks his lips obviously looking for his BLT. I open my bag and throw two at him.
‘How was your exam?’
‘Not half as stressful as Miss Megan showing up!’
‘Lets just see what she says tomorrow to Connie!’ I say and go up to bed exhausted.