A.J. spoke with Jake for a while longer before Lilly came out of the shower and he decided to excuse himself so that the couple could rest together. He ventured downstairs into the kitchen where he found Sophia chopping vegetables up and an amazing smell coming from the stove. A.J. figured she must of took a shower herself and changed after she left him because she now wore a solid red romper and her long hair was up in a messy bun on top of her head. She didn't look up when he walked in.
"What you cooking there?" He asked as he came to stand across the counter from her.
"Caldo de Res with a salad and some fresh bread I picked up from the market this morning," Sophia answered not looking up from her task of cutting up tomatoes. She quickly glanced up at A.J. to see him looking very confused. "It's a Mexican soup. I thought that maybe you guys were hungry because you've been traveling for about a day and a half." She explained as she went back to making her salad.
"It smells amazing," A.J. told her honestly only receiving a nod from her. He sighed and rolled his eyes to himself, "Is it going to be like this the whole time?" He asked, almost dreading the answer that she would give him.
"Be like what?" She asked as she looked up at him confused.
"This tension. You acting as if I'm just some guy off the streets." A.J. clarified looking right at her as he spoke.
"I don't know A.J. you tell me." She put down her knife and leaned against the counter before looking at him, her amber eyes narrowed right at him. "What do you expect me to say? Me doing you this favor doesn't change what happened in the past." She told him firmly before going back to cutting up the cucumbers.A.J. groaned and hit his head against the counter letting it rest there for a couple of moments before looking back up at the annoyed Sophia.
"I thought that we could move on and try to be cordial with one another." He told her quietly.
"No you see that is where you're wrong A.J. You don't have a say in the matter. You have no choice but to be cordial to me for I did nothing wrong. Now I have a choice because you're a huge douche bag." She spat at him looking up from her chopping angrily.
"Sophia I-" A.J. began but he was interrupted when the door to the kitchen swung open revealing John and Gordon who were also out of their usual attire and in shorts and t-shirts.
"Hey guys." Sophia greeted turning her frown into a smile quickly as both men entered the kitchen.
"What smells so good?" John asked as he and Gordon took seats at the counter across from where Sophia was cooking and right next to where A.J. was still standing.
"Soup. It's called Caldo de Res. It's this really yummy Mexican recipe I picked up on a trip there 2 years ago. That with a salad and some fresh bread." Sophia answered smiling at John before tossing all the vegetables in a huge salad bowl and starting to mix it together.
"That sounds incredible. My stomach can't wait." John said with a laugh.
"This is a beautiful house you have here." Gordon said looking from the gardens outside to Sophia.
"Thank you. My parents bought it a few years back but we've only been to visit it once or twice. If A.J. wouldn't have called me at the last minute I would of let you guys stay at my parents place in Spain but this was all I could get at last minute," She told them with an apologetic smile.
"No, this is perfect. You didn't even have to do this for us but you did and for that we are so grateful." Gordon told her with a smile not wanting her to apologize. She had already gone out of her way as it was.
"Anything to help a friend," She told him with a smile before glancing over at A.J. who seemed to be silently sulking and John who was sitting there enjoying the warm breeze coming from the open doors and windows. "When was the last time you had those stitches cleaned?" She asked John noticing the stitches above his left eyebrow.
" Well its been a busy week for us so I haven't really had the time to stop and clean them. I haven't really even thought about them," John answered honestly with a laugh as he reached up and touched the forgotten stitches above his eye.
"And that's how you catch an infection," Sophia told him as she threw the napkin in her hand down and gestured for John to follow her to the small table that was sitting on the other side of the kitchen. "Sit down and Gordon sweetie could you be a doll and fetch me the first aid kit in the hall closet, please?" Sophia smiled over at Gordon sweetly just as John sat in the chair in front of her. Gordon smiled and nodded without argument before getting up to get what Sophia had asked for.
"What are you going to do?" John asked her a little unsure.
"Don't worry I took classes and I'm trained in this," Sophia reassured with a laugh just as Gordon walked back into the kitchen with the first aid kit and handed it to her. "Thank you," She smiled up at the older man and set the first aid kit on the table opening it up and grabbing some gauze pads and alcohol from inside. "Now sit still while I clean this up." She instructed as she poured a little alcohol on one of the pads and began gently cleaning John's stitches.
"How long have you been here?" Gordon asked taking his seat back at the counter and watching the young girl.
"In town?" She asked being met with a nod from Gordon. "Well let's see A.J. called me Thursday and I was on a flight Saturday night so I want to say since Sunday afternoon." Sophia answered focusing on her task of cleaning out John's stitches.
"With your boyfriend?" John asked causing Sophia to let out a laugh.
"What boyfriend?" She questioned shaking her head at him. Her eyes drifting over to an irritated A.J. quickly before looking back at what her hands were doing. "I've been single for over a year now. So it was just me, myself and I." She answered with a shrug.
"You shouldn't be alone secluded house like this. Anything can happen." Gordon told her.
"Don't worry Mr. Gordon I have a black belt in karate." Sophia said in a fake British accent causing both John and Gordon to laugh. "But seriously I can handle being alone. It's nothing new for me and it was just a couple of days. You guys are here now." She told them both quietly.
"Still unsafe." Gordon sang.
"All done." Sophia put down the gauze pad on the table and smiled down at John placing her hands on her hips. "Come to me tomorrow and I'll clean them again. They should be healed within a couple of days if you keep up with taking care of it." She told him as he stood up and nodded down at her in thanks.
"And how about you Gordon? Do you have any injuries I need to clean up?" She asked, looking over at him and raising an eyebrow.
"No but Jessie has a twisted ankle you should probably look at. God only knows how he got up those stairs." Gordon shook his head. "I only came out with a couple scratches." He brushed his shoulders off as if he were the man which caused Sophia to laugh.
"Oh gosh," She laughed before looking at A.J. "Go get Jessie so I could look at his ankle." She instructed him, the smile falling from her face.
"What?" A.J. asked not sure if he heard her right.
"Go upstairs to Jessie's room and tell him to come down here. Let him lean all his weight on you so he doesn't damage his ankle even worse." She repeated trying to keep her composure with him but she was slowly losing her patience.
"But my arm…" A.J. raised his injured arm as if to remind her that he was also hurt.
"It's nothing you can't handle, remember?" She reminded him of his earlier words challenging him with a small smirk on her face.
A.J. rolled his eyes and shook his head before heading toward the kitchen door that would lead him to upstairs. "Your wish is my command." He stated with a mock bow before disappearing out of the room. Sophia rolled her eyes and willed herself not to say anything before walking over to the kitchen and washing her hands so that she could finish the salad as she waited for Jessie to come.
"How long have you and A.J. known each other?" John asked, sitting in his seat next to Gordon once more.
"Since we were in diapers." Sophia answered going over to the stainless steel refrigerator and grabbing two beers handing one to each of the two men. "Our parents had penthouses in the same building and would bring us to each other's house for play dates even though we both were too young to play. And then we ended up attending the same preschool, middle school and high school." She explained to them as she turned down the heat on the soup and turned back to Gordon and John.
"That's a long time to know somebody," Gordon pointed out opening his beer.
"Time flies when you're having fun," Sophia laughed as she finished preparing the food and looked up at both Gordon and John.
"And your job?" Gordon asked.
"I'm here and there at the moment. Testing out the waters for different things to see how I like it. I graduated from Princeton with a degree in Economics and a minor in psychology." She answered them leaning against the counter.
"So wait you mean to tell me you and John attended the same college too?" John asked in surprise.
"A.J. and I were best friends. It was in our plan to attend the same college, live in the same city. The whole be friends forever shit you know?" Sophia said not really wanting to think back to all the promises she and A.J. had made each other over the years.
"What happened?" Gordon asked genuinely interested.
"You'll have to ask A.J. that question to get an honest answer because I honestly don't know. I guess he wasn't happy with how his life was going and decided to leave." She answered with a shrug.
"So you really have no reason to stay loyal to A.J.?" John questioned realizing that Sophia had the power to turn them over to the authorities anytime she wanted. If she even knew what was going on. A.J. hadn't told them if he confessed their crimes to Sophia.
"If I wanted to turn A.J. in for whatever it is you guys did then I would of done it already but I haven't. I don't have a reason to stay loyal to A.J. but I grew up learning loyalty is everything." Sophia sighed looking John straight in the eye. If anything she had learned a lot from her father who was mixed up in a lot of illegal activities. She knew anything was possible if you were a snitch. Besides, she really had no desire to get in whatever trouble they were in. "As far as anyone is concerned I haven't spoken to or seen A.J. in 4 years and I'm just on vacation." She assured them just as A.J. and Jessie entered the kitchen.
"Here we are." A.J. sang as he helped Jessie to where John had been previously sitting."What did I miss?" A.J. asked turning to the three other occupants of the kitchen.
"Just getting to know each other a little better." Sophia answered walking over to Jessie and pulled out another chair. "Rest your foot on this chair and let me take a look at that ankle." She instructed him as she pulled a fresh ace bandage from the first aid kit. Jessie did as he was told and Sophia was thankful he hadn't put any shoes on. She pulled the worn bandage off his left ankle and examined it before wrapping it tightly in the fresh bandage she had. "You really must stay off this foot as much as you can. The swelling will go down faster." She told him as she finished wrapping it and smiled at him.
"Will do." Jessie said nodding at her. "So like what is there to do on this island?" Jessie asked taking his foot off the chair and looking at Sophia who was still standing in front of him.
"Well if you guys don't mind for Friday I've scheduled water skiing cause I thought you guys might have fun with that and it's something I haven't done in awhile. But other than that I can rent a few cars for you to go into the city if you'd like. There's surfboards in the pool house, there's a dock only a mile down so if you ever want to go out on a boat all you have to is tell me and I can set that up for you to. You can go hiking if any of you like nature which I know A.J. doesn't. If you go into town there's little shops, a movie theatre, they just built this new skate place, there's a little carnival there also and you're free to anything in the house." Sophia explained knowing that she would have to have something set up for the guys because they got bored faster.
"Damn why haven't you introduced her to us before?" Jessie asked causing Sophia to let out a hearty laugh and A.J. roll his eyes.
"You didn't have to do all that." A.J. spoke up from his spot next to John.
"It was my pleasure. I know how boring it can get to just sit around and do nothing all day. Don't worry you guys are safe here. This is a private island." She turned to A.J. so that he knew she wasn't up to anything. She had a feeling that the guys didn't trust her and they had every reason not to but Sophia had made a promise to A.J. and she was determined to prove more loyal than him and keep it.
"So you said you can get us cars…like fast cars?" Jessie asked sounding like an excited child on Christmas.
"Anything you want just ask for it. It won't be any trouble." Sophia laughed turning her head slightly to look at Jessie. "Someone go call the other two though because dinner's almost done. We can eat in the dining room." She instructed going over to one of the cabinets and starting to collect plates and glasses.