"FABIA—who's this?" The tall, dark brown haired woman said.
Fabian smiled and I smiled nervously. He squeezed the hand he was currently holding and stepped toward them.
"This … is Nina. My girlfriend." His voice didn't falter … it didn't lower … and he didn't look away embarrassedly. He wasn't afraid to tell his parents.
My smile grew. "Hi."
The current confused expressions on his parents' faces turned to slight recognition after I spoke.
"Oh! You're the American! Oh yes! Now I know who you are!" His mother smiled. "Fabian always talks about you!" She laughed excitedly. "I'm so happy to hear he actually worked up the confidence to ask you out! From what I've heard, you're as sweet as candy."
His father spoke up. "Well we ought to go." He had jet black hair and Fabian's eyes.
Fabian looked at me and sighed. "Um …"
I smiled. "Bye." I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek and then hugged him tight. He wrapped his arms tightly around me and kissed the top of my head. I pulled away and gave him one last smile. I walked into the kitchen, in search of a snack to keep my mind off of this.
Instead of hearing the door close, I heard muffled voices. Almost … an argument.
Suddenly, I saw Fabian jog in. "Nina. Good news. You can come with us to spend Christmas." He smiled.
My jaw dropped. "What?"
He smiled wider. "You can come with us."
My face broke out in a smile and I ran over and threw my arms around him. I kissed him on the cheek. "You are just about the sweetest person I'd ever met."
He grinned and blushed but pecked me on the lips. He reached around his neck and unclasped my hands and took them in his. He let go of my left one and just held on to my right one. "Let's go."
I smiled, ran upstairs, grabbed my stuff and came back down excitedly.
"Thank you so much, Mr. and Mrs. Rutter!" I smiled politely.
"Oh, it's no trouble at all, Nina darling." Mrs. Rutter replied.
Mr. Rutter just glared at his wife.
I bit my lip, sensing the fact that I was unwanted. Nevertheless, Fabian grabbed my hand and carted me out the door, his parents on our heels.
We arrived at his house after the one-hour flight. Once we got in to the airport, Mrs. Rutter called for a cab and we rode it to his house. Fabian's house wasn't necessarily … a house. And this very fact stumped me.
Fabian smiled sheepishly as we walked into his apartment. "It's nothing special. I'm … the only way we could afford it is by applying for a scholarship. You're not the only scholarship student." He smiled.
I nodded. The inside of his apartment was beautiful, nonetheless. It was small, but beautiful. In their small section of a kitchen, there was a sandy-colored granite countertop and a big section of light brown cabinets with little, shiny silver knobs.
In the living area, there was a large flat screen TV and a brown leather couch that matched the light brown wood in the kitchen. The carpeting was a very light tan color. Almost … like very clean sand. The kitchen, however, was tiled. The tile was a grey-ish, light tan color. The grout in between the tiling was a tint darker than the grey in the tile.
Also in the living area was a long coffee table, light brown, of course, matching the cabinets. Back in the kitchen area were stainless steel appliances.
The other doors around the house were left slightly ajar, noises and quiet, hushed voices occasionally floating out of them.
Suddenly, the coffee maker beeped, the light on it flashing bright red.
"Oh! I'll get it, Ana!" A younger girl's voice called.
"No sweetie, I'll get it. It's my coffee." An older woman's voice replied.
Fabian gestured to the girl who walked into the kitchen (oblivious to the fact that we were there, by the way) and was fussing with the coffee maker, her back turned from us. "That's my older sister Ana."
Upon hearing her familiar brother's voice, Ana turned. "You're home!" She squealed and started toward him but stopped abruptly when she saw me. Her face softened and broke out into a huge smile. "Is this Nina?" She wiggled her eyebrows at Fabian.
Fabian blushed scarlet red. I copied the gesture.
"Um … yeah. She is Nina." He laughed nervously and scratched the back of his head.
Without taking her eyes off of Fabian and I, she shifted so she was slightly facing the other open doors. "Aryn, Ember! Mum, Dad and Fabian are home. And bring Blake." She smiled happily at us two.
Suddenly, loud pounding steps were heard echoing throughout the small apartment.
"Here's Blake!" An older girl smiled gracefully and stared at her older sister. She was carrying a young toddler, with a head full of long, beautiful, wavy dark brown hair.
"Hey, Aryn." Fabian smiled, tightening his grip on my hand.
Aryn stared at me. "Who's she?"
I was seriously taken aback by this girl. She looked Fabian's age and exactly like Fabian … except for the fact that she was a girl.
"This is Nina. Nina, this is Aryn." Fabian smiled, gesturing between us with our two hands that were still clasped tightly together.
A face of recognition washed over Aryn's face. "Oohh. Now I know who you are. He always talks about you." She laughed.
Fabian rolled his eyes, obviously fed up with everyone mentioning that.
A younger girl, about ten or eleven poked her head out from behind Aryn's back (she was hiding behind her). "I'm Ember." She smiled shyly. "Um … Fabian always talks about you."
Fabian glared at her. Ember giggled this adorable little girl giggle and smiled mischievously.
"Oh!" Ana's hand flew to her mouth. "I have totally forgotten to formally introduce myself! I am Ana." She smiled and held out her hand. I reached out and shook it.
"As you know … I'm Nina." I smiled.
She nodded. "And as you know, Nina, you are quite the celebrity around here. We've been waiting for so long for Fabian to bring you home."
I saw Fabian blush deeper. I did the same.
She added, "What with all of his yammering about you."
Fabian seethed. "OKAY! SHE GETS IT! I TALK ABOUT HER! NOW STOP MENTIONING IT BEFORE I SOUND LIKE A SERIOUS STALKER!" He exploded.
I flinched but shared a secret smile with Fabian's four sisters—even the toddler who knew all too well about this little conversation. I wondered how old she really was. Blake was her name.
But back on topic. Fabian never, ever spoke like that. Maybe it's easier to yell at your family because you grew up with them.
"Now that we're done with all of the happy introductions, I have business to attend to." Mr. Rutter said coldly.
After he left the room, tension grew in the air.
Ana broke the silence. "Well … I apologize, Nina, for that little … rude moment but—"
Mrs. Rutter cut her off. "No. I apologize." She smiled graciously at me and continued. "I'm sorry. He's just … a little … I'll just go check on him and … well—"
"See what his problem is?" Aryn finished, almost guessing the statement's truth as she shifted her little sister's weight on her other arm.
Mrs. Rutter nodded and hurried out of the room.
Fabian's hand let go of my embarrassingly sweaty one and he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and gave me a half-hug. "He's just … he's got a problem with my scholarship to that school. He's got a problem with everyone in that school. He treated Mick, Jerome and Alfie like this when they came over over spring break a few years back. He also acted this way when he met Patricia, Mara, Amber and Joy."
I nodded, speculating.
"Well …" Ana trailed. "I am Fabian's twenty-one year old sister, this is Aryn, Fabian's twin sister, that's Ember, Fabian's nine year old sister and that's Blake, Fabian's four year old sister." She smiled politely. "And I have coffee to finish making so … if you'll excuse me." She smiled and walked back over to the coffee maker.
Aryn reached out and shook my hand. She gave me a small half smile. "Well I'll see you two sometime." She gestured toward Ember and shifted Blake on her other arm. "Come, Em."
Ember gave us one more parting smile and followed Aryn and Blake into another room.
I turned to Fabian. "You never told me you had sisters."
He smiled. "You never asked."
My gaze softened. "You have a twin?"
He nodded. "She applied for the scholarship, too. She wasn't qualified for it, though. I don't see why. She is an exquisite writer. I guess they didn't want any writers. Just specific ones like you, Miss Play-write." He grinned.
I blushed and smiled.
"Let's get your things in the guest room, yeah?" He suggested.
I laughed. "Well that was quite random … but yeah." I grabbed my bags and was about to reach for my huge suitcase but Fabian grabbed it.
I looked at him.
"Hey, you're the guest; I am your designated pack mule." He joked.
I smiled and pecked him on the lips. "There's your payment."
He grinned. "What? No tip?"
I laughed and played along. "Eh … I'll get it to you later."
We both laughed as he led the way to my room. It was small … but really pretty. It had an absolutely breath-taking view of the ocean. You see, Fabian lives … ocean-side, I guess. On the coast of England.
He smiled at me as I stared speechlessly out the window. "It's really pretty, isn't it?" He asked.
I turned to him. "You have no idea."
He smiled softly and let go of the handle on my luggage. He stepped closer and reached over to caress my cheek sweetly. "It doesn't compare to you."
I smiled and kissed him. His confidence was growing, that I could tell. He's not as … shy or nervous around me anymore. He even called me 'beautiful' or made references toward my 'beauty' more often. He did that, despite the scarlet blush that would wash over his face.
Once we pulled back, both breathless from the previous make-out session, he whispered, "I love you." And kissed my cheek.
"I love you, too." I whispered back, my cheeks burning.
After a minute of silence, he broke it. "Want to go for a walk?"
I nodded. "Sure! I'd be happy to. Just give me a sec to grab my stuff."
He nodded and walked out to do the same. While he was gone, I went through my luggage and took out my winter jacket. I slid it on into a satisfyingly perfect fit. I slid on my tennis shoes and jogged out to where Fabian was waiting by the door. My heart sped up when I saw him. He just reminded me of how surreal this all was. He was too perfect—surely too perfect for me, right?
He clasped my hand in his … perfect fit. It was just the way our fingers intertwined that made me feel like we were made for each other. Our fingers fit perfectly together.
The second we walked out of his apartment and closed the door, we were attacked.
Well … not really.
"Oh my God, Fabian Rutter. Never thought I'd see the likes of you anywhere around here for a while. Looks like they don't keep you locked up tight during Christmas." A smug girl's voice said smugly. We both turned and saw her shaking her head. But then she stopped abruptly when she saw me.
"Who's this?" She asked.
Fabian blushed. "Oh … Fo … this is Nina. My girlfriend." His voice didn't falter. But something in his voice … it was just … off. It was … disconnected, maybe?
I stared at her. At 'Fo'. And the weirdest look crossed her face. It only flashed on there for a second and it wasn't long enough for me to tell what it was … but it was suspicious.
"Nina, this is Falisiah … or … as she likes to be called, Fo."
I nodded. "Hi Fo." I smiled politely.
She gave me a look. "It's Falisiah."
I chewed on the inside of my lip as Fabian whispered in my ear the next part. "She's … she's Brad's twin."
Now that I have had a look at her, I wasn't very surprised. When Fabian talked about her and Brad, I always imagined an extraordinarily handsome/beautiful sister-brother duo. And I was right. She was the pinnacle of beauty. She had long, curly, silvery blonde hair and shocking forest green eyes. Her complexion was near perfect—only a few freckles adorned her perfect face. She had pale skin and blood red lips that contrasted definitely in a way that nearly shocked me off my feet. She was perfect. And it wasn't near fair.
Fabian smiled politely. "Well … we're going for a walk so … goodbye Fo." His arm snaked around my waist, pulled me close, gave me a gentle squeeze and carted me off with him. I didn't look back.
A few minutes later, after we were out in the chilly, fresh nighttime air, I broke the silence.
"What's her problem?" I wondered aloud. "I mean, I don't want to be rude but … she just … seemed to instantly hate me without a second's thought."
He smiled and kissed my temple. "Don't worry about it Nina. She's just jealous. Aryn told me about her little crush on me and I think that's all she is. Jealous. But don't worry. She doesn't compare to you."
I pondered that. "Oh my gosh. You four must've been closely-knit friends when you were little. I mean, you were both a pair of twins. One boy, being a twin of another girl and then another pair like that." I smiled at him. "That must've been—"
"Annoying. Aryn and Falisiah always followed us around. And, being a twin, we'd always be constantly compared and contrasted. It's like we weren't even ourselves without the other around."
I looked at him sympathetically and it was my turn to peck him on the cheek. "I'm sorry. I guess … I never really … knew what it was like to … to be like that. I mean, being an only child is just … not fun. And being painfully shy as a little girl, it was so hard to make friends, you know? Siblings are a start at friends, if you look at it. They're the first friends you ever make. Being an only child, you don't have that and so … you don't really have a back-up plan to fall back on if you can't make friends." I finished softly.
He pulled me close to him and kissed the top of my head. "I guess it can go either way."
The silence hung in the air again. Boy, was that happening a lot today! But it did.
And then he broke it. "Did you know Amber lives only like a mile away?"
I perked up. "Really?"
He smiled and laughed at my reaction. "Yeah. But remember? She's at that ski lodge."
I nodded. "That's right."
I have no idea what it exactly was—whether it was luck, or just pure coincidence but … my phone rang. I picked it up and it was Amber.
"Hey Amber! How's vacation?" I asked.
Amber groaned. "I'm dying, Nina, seriously. My grandmother is so boring. She only wants to talk about that disgusting hip surgery she had two weeks ago. It's nauseating, Nina, it really is."
I laughed and put it on speaker after one confused look from Fabian.
"So how's America?" Amber asked, the disgusted tone still ringing in her voice.
I shrugged. "Who knows? I'm not there."
She gasped. "Then where are you? Did you stay at that creepy house with just Trudy to protect you from Victor? You didn't, did you?"
I laughed. "Actually … no."
"Hi Amber." Fabian said, smiling widely.
"Oh GOSH!" You could hear her slap her forehead from the other end of the line. "So your only protection is Trudy and Fabian? That's it. I think I'm going to have to say my goodbyes right now. You're good as dead." Amber said.
Fabian's smile wiped right off. "Gee thanks, Ambs. Feelin' the love."
I laughed. "No, Amber. I'm at Fabian's."
I could practically hear the girl wiggle her eyebrows as she squealed in delight. "OH MY GOOOOSH! THAT IS SOOO ROMANTIC!"
I laughed. "Calm down." I smiled despite the growing blush creeping up on my face. I saw one on Fabian's too. Thank goodness, I wasn't alone.
Amber sighed on the other line. "So cute …" her voice trailed. Suddenly, her voice perked up and she began talking rather loudly into the speaker. We both jumped at her excited tone. "Anyway! I invited all of the Anubis residents to the lodge because of my boredom! They're all coming. Except you two unless you convince Fabian's parents!" She laughed. "So get on it! ASAP!"
And the line went dead. I snapped my phone shut and stuffed it in my pocket.
Fabian shrugged. "Guess we've got some begging to do."
I smiled and kissed him one last time as we headed back to his apartment.
I own NOTHING! Though, I REALLY wish I did.
And I apologize, but if you want this posted at ALL, then I can't do any review replies today! I'll do the ones to this chap and the last chap when I post the next chap! I'll be in Florida on vacation so I won't be able to update for at LEAST a week :(. But PLEASE forgive me!
REVIEW AND I'LL DO THE REPLIES IN THE NEXT CHAP!