Britchester Regional Airport
The plane seemed to fly slower than usual just to spite her, making her even more nervous and anxious. Touchdown was almost on time as scheduled just a few minutes before noon, but taxiing seemed to take hours, even though it was just the usual time. Then more time till the cabin door finally opened.
Annoyed and hurried, Aria-Grace grabbed her backpack and rushed down the galley way and off the plane, squeezing past other passengers. She knew nobody was going to be there to pick her up, she would just hail a cab back to campus as her nerves weren’t able to deal with a possibly chatty Uber-driver. She was super-anxious to get home, as it meant one step closer to finally seeing Rohan again. Checking her phone, she nearly jogged to the baggage carousel, dodging people left and right, only to having to wait again, for a felt eternity, until the belt finally start honking with the first bags dropping out, none of which hers. ARGH! Didn’t those baggage handlers know she was in a hurry?
Someone behind her offered her a cab ride in a thick accent.
“No thanks.” AG dismissed them without even looking at them, craning her neck for her bag.
“You sure, Ma’am? I drive veeeeery gooood. Good, low price too …”
AG whirled around to give the pesky cab guy a piece of her mind but halted when she was met by a familiar face, highly amused and winking at her.
“ROHAN!” she exclaimed, then just launched herself into his arms, which enveloped her, as she pressed herself against him so hard as if she wanted to fuse them.
When they finally parted, she stared into his eyes, beautiful, soft and dark, then just leaned into him, placed her head against his chest, inhaled his scent, a mix of aftershave, cologne and … him. She closed her eyes and felt his chest vibrate when he spoke.
“We’re off to a great start with the platonic thing. Wow, that took us but a few minutes to fail at it.” he chuckled.
“Oh, I don’t even care! Some hugs won’t kill us now. P.S. – that fake Indian accent was terrible.”
“I am sorry, which one has the Indian heritage out of the two of us again? My fake accent is spot on. And you should start caring, your bag’s up next. There it comes.”
She pulled away from him and sure enough, there came her bag rocking onto the baggage belt. The intimate familiarity with which he recognized it as hers, then gently slid her aside, stepped to the carousel and grabbed the bag off with grace, then smiled at her was everything to her. How could she have let him go, thinking she’d find something better? What could be better than this?
“Rohan, I love you.” she told him. The words just fell out of her mouth. ‘When the heart is full, the mouth overflows‘, was what her grandma often said. Evidently, she was right, as AG didn’t mean to say it. It just happened.
Smiling, he cocked his head.
“AG, you are making this so hard on me. We agreed to take it slow. You know it would be better if we did.”
“I agreed, but I don’t want to. It was hell without you. I need you, Rohan. Enough punishment already. We both got it now, we screwed up, we know it, if you want, I’ll get ‘moron’ tattooed to my forehead as a constant reminder for making the mistake of breaking up with you, but I need you and be able to touch you and kiss you.”
“We should move this talk to the car. We’re in the way here. Come. We’ll talk on the drive over to campus. Oh, and AG … I love you too.”
Her eyes glowed. There it was. The three magical words she had been dying to hear from him again. At this moment in time, AG’s world was A-OK.
“What are you even doing here, Rohan? I would have never expected you.”
“Good. Means the surprise worked. A good one, I hope. Plus, I owed you a memorable pick up, since I messed up last time. I think I nailed it.” he smiled, winking at her.
Hand in hand they strolled out to the car, AG felt like floating on air. You really didn’t know what you had until it’s gone. She had this before and threw it away. Lesson learned.
The car ride to campus was put to good use, they jumped right in and talked, frankly, soberly and uncensored, about expectations, limits, needs, everything.
University of Britchester Cameron On-Campus Home
Once at the college housing they found Bianca had her boyfriend Carson over, and the quartet decided to celebrate second chances with lots of sparkling wine, vodka, pizza and a movie marathon. Not only had Rohan and AG gotten back together but Bianca’s suspension had been lifted and she was re-enrolled effective immediately. They made it through about three movies before the alcohol and vast amounts of food took its toll and all four fell asleep piled up on the couch together.
It wasn’t until just before daybreak someone’s cell phone relentlessly kept ringing, waking everyone. It was Rohan’s phone, while he answered Bianca and Carson drowsily dragged themselves off to her bedroom for some more comfortable rest. After a quick, quiet conversation Rohan hung up and looked at AG with a serious face.
“Ready for our first relationship test already? That was Esmée. Aryelle is running a fever, nothing too concerning, but she kept her mom and Michael up all night being clingy and whiny and now she won’t stop crying for me. I need to go get her now. It would take at least two hours to get to Windenburg from here at this time of day with little to no traffic, so Ezzy agreed to meet me in the middle, in Newcrest. I have no choice, AG, even though I know we both hoped to spend some quality time together and indulge in our second chance. I really am sorry.”
“Don’t be, I get it. You’re right, it’s a test, making us prove what we learned. Let me quickly grab a few things and I’ll come with you to San Myshuno. I have till Monday mid-morning till I need to get back to class. That way, we can update Nick and Addy together on our decision and maybe spent most of Sunday together, I’ll just take an evening flight out back here and have Bianca pick me up.”
The car ride to Newcrest was pleasant, the sun rose on them when they parked next to Ezzy’s car, Aryelle was cranky and cried a lot as expected, but slept on the car ride to San Myshuno, Rohan had to wake her after he parked.
Senator Suites Penthouse
Her cranky mood lifted when she saw Addy, Rohan put her down and the little girl ran straight to her, who caught her and snuggled her, while Nick looked surprised, but grinned at Aria-Grace.
“Goodness, first I barely see you in months and then I can’t get rid of you anymore! You are lucky I am even mostly covered and that I am up, not just parts of me, AG.” he smiled at the unexpected visitor.
“Really Nick? I have seen you in your boxers before and can totally do without your sexual innuendos.” AG rolled her eyes at her older brother.
“Who said anything about boxers? I wasn’t expecting any of you here, except maybe Rohan, but I got nothing he hasn’t seen many times before on his patients, if not himself. Means clothing is optional.” Nick laughed, this time with was Rohan grimacing before he answered.
“Umm, yeah no, Nick. Just as a footnote here, I may be a doctor, but unless it’s for a medical reason, I really don’t want to see you naked, in no states of up or down, all of you or parts of you. On a more serious level though, as you two can probably guess, AG and I talked things out and …” Rohan was interrupted by Nick now.
“And you spent the night playing doctor with her – we got the picture, no details needed – or wanted! Congrats, Sharma. Still good on condoms?” Nick finished the sentence for his best friend, making Aria-Grace blush and protest.
“NICK! We didn’t do THAT! It wasn’t like that, give us a little credit here. Plus, Bianca and Carson were there, we all fell asleep together …” she told him frantically, which only made him grin wider.
“I don’t think I need to hear about your college orgies, threesomes, foursomes and-then-somes.” grinned Nick, purposely torturing his little sister to watch her blush and squirm.
“What? No! Nick we were all on the couch, watching videos and …” AG tried to explain.
“Getting worse, AG. Now there’s porn too, huh?” Nick kept teasing relentlessly.
AG looked totally discombobulated, so Rohan jumped in to save her from her brother’s ‘torture’.
“He’s messing with you, AG. She and I talked, Nick. A lot. I think we both figured out where we went wrong last time and what we really want, we know it will be rocky at times, but we also realized it’s worth the effort. I am going to say this just for my own sake, last night really was harmless – and unscheduled. I didn’t mean to stay over.”
“Oh, here comes the accidental nookie excuse now? So daytime talk show worthy!” Nick chuckled, this time Adrianna spoke up.
“Nick, be nice now. As much as I want to grab a bag of popcorn and just continue being entertained here, this baby needs to go to bed.” Addy said smiling, pointing at a repeatedly yawning Aryelle on the floor between them.
“I’ll do it!” offered AG, but Adrianna shook her head at her.
“Oh no, sweetie, I think your enthusiasm is great, but maybe smaller steps into childcare would be in order first. This angel here is at pro-level for parenting, cranky and probably needs some meds for the fever, right, Doctor Sharma? Aryelle does not like to take medicine, AG, it’s a battle most of the time.” Adrianna’s tone was soft, but also pressing enough to call him back to his fatherly duties.
“Right. I need to do this myself, thank you Addy you help so much already, I cannot thank you enough … But AG, how about you come with me and watch the drama unfold, so you know what we are up against in times like these? The darker side of parenting. And since you chose to date a man with a small child – for the second time now – might as well get your feet wet since Aryelle will be a part of my life forever – as hopefully you will too, considering you have been a big part of my life for over a decade.” Rohan suggested.
“Yes. I’d love that! I am tough enough for this. Especially if one day I may be her stepmom.”
AG picked up a surprisingly willing Aryelle and headed upstairs with Rohan.
“Your thoughts on this swirled bullshit now? Back together out of the blue after some random breakup and now my crazy-ass lil sister is talking future stepmom … oof.” Nick asked Addy.
“I get your concerns, Nick, your hesitation is warranted, but I think it’s great. They are both smart people, clearly in love with each other and I am rooting for them big time. I also think your message about not repeating your parents’ mistakes was well received by AG and she is actively trying to heed it. I bet they’ll be fine now, both learned what they needed to know to make this work, and we should support them.”
“Support them? Addy, if we support them any more then we do already, we might as well adopt Aryelle, and maybe Rohan and AG while we’re at it! If they need any more support than we already give, they can go buy themselves some bras!”
“Oh darling, I didn’t mean that, I meant their latest attempt at a relationship. That we both should wholeheartedly support full boar. No clever Nick-jabs, you hear? Let them try get there in their own time and just smile, while we keep our fingers crossed for them. They are such a sweet couple. I know I have a soft spot for Rohan anyway, so I am biased, but I like him a LOT better than Austin. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice boy – for someone else, not for AG.”
“Fine, wifey, I’ll be a good boy and smile politely and save my jabs for when you and I are alone, but then I will need to unload them all machine gun style so my head won’t explode. But – I get one for free: 10 bucks say they’ll be coming down with her wearing his ring again and with some sappy ‘saw the light’ and ‘erase and rewind’ story. I know my little sister. Just you watch.”
“Oh you! No way! This is Rohan, he’s not that kind of fool. If she wears his ring again, eventually, then after some grand romantic gesture. But fine, I’ll play, and raise you 20 bucks, saying no ring, but they come back down, both with disheveled clothes and hair after celebrating their second chance, adult style. That’s my guess. As adamant as both were about not having done it yet, I know they both must be itching to express their love for each other physically.” she giggled.
“They are not the only ones!”
Laughing, Nick picked her up and ran up the stairs with her.
A few hours later Nick left his and Addy’s bedroom to get them waters, but came back without any, grinning devilishly.
“Mission Rehydration was aborted on account of breaking news: Addy, I owe you ten bucks!” he smirked.
“Ten bucks … for what? Oh, no way – don’t tell me you walked in on them? I was right?! Not in our kitchen, right?”
“Nah, the deed was already done, I am gonna assume in AG’s room earlier. She was sporting the top of Rohan’s sleepwear, he was shirtless in the matching bottoms and both had that certain type of freshly laid glow. They definitely had sex.”
“Then you owe me twenty, not ten, Nick. That was my bet. Don’t you try to short-change me, hubby!”
“I am not, and you’re right, I owe you twenty, but I deducted MY ten already …”
Adrianna’s mouth fell open.
“No way! NO WAY! Don’t you tell me …”
“Oh yes way! I told ya, I know my little sister. If you don’t believe me, go to the kitchen and look for yourself.” Nick laughed.