Become a Book Nerd
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The rest of the semester was gone in the blink of an eye. We were ready to sleep in and go weeks without homework, but the knowledge that the eight of us would be separated for three whole months left us far from excited. We did not have much time to wallow in it though. We spent our final days packing up our rooms and working on our final performances and presentations. Parents and siblings infiltrated our campus on Friday. They made the entire atmosphere shift. We could no longer be ourselves. We had to be who they believed we were. At least that is what everyone else had to do. My parents were not in attendance.
My mother would not be caught dead at Sella Moora and my father was too busy running a country. They sent Wilmer in their place. As the palace’s top advisor, he was a prominent fixture in my life. He was more of an uncle to me than my actual uncle. I was anxious for him to meet Izzie. Everett and Audrey wanted to come, but could not do so without drawing too much attention to themselves. Her former nanny was able to come for her. She had spoken fondly of Bosworth from the very beginning. I was nervous about meeting him. I knew I needed to gain his stamp of approval. Her mother agreed to come as well. I did not know how I would respond to her. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, but it was hard to forget everything that she put her through both past and present.
After she finished getting ready in her room, Izzie stopped by mine so that we could go downstairs together. I was a little surprised when she walked in wearing a dress and heels. It was certainly her style of clothing, but it was more effort than she put into her wardrobe on a daily basis.
“Hey, Beautiful. You look nice.” I kissed her.
“I want to make a good first impression on Will.” She admitted.
“You have nothing to worry about.” I rolled up the sleeves of my button down shirt.
“That’s far from convincing.” She worked on my other sleeve for me.
“He is happy that I’m happy. He’s anxious to meet the person that I am able to be myself with. I repeat, you have nothing to worry about. Should I be worried about meeting Bosworth?”
“No. He’s only heard good things about you from both me and Audrey. He’s convinced I liked you from day one, but I beg to differ.”
“So I am wearing this shirt for nothing?” Though I was wearing a nicer shirt, I was still wearing a pair of jeans. I put in some effort, just not enough to feel uncomfortable.
“No, I think you look really good in it. Also, my mom is coming.” She slid her arms around my neck.
I put my hands on her waist and leaned down to kiss her.
We kissed until her phone started oinking. She pulled away from me and removed it from her pocket.
“Hello?” She answered.
“Yeah, I’m in his room. We’ll be down there soon. I can’t wait to see you too. Bye.” She hung up and placed it back into her pocket.
“It’s time to go.” She pecked me on the lips once more.
“Let’s do this.” I took her hand and the two of us left my room.
My roommates were already in the lobby of the main building. By the time we walked in, things were already in full swing. We saw Elle and her brothers and parents. Izzie walked right up and gave her a sneak attack hug. She jumped at first, but laughed when she figured out it was Iz. She introduced both of us to her family.
We laughed when we spotted Ryan. His mom corrected his outfit as she demanded to meet Elle. His sister laughed at his expense as his dad stepped away to take a phone call. Knowing his family well, I pointed his mom in the right direction and she gave me a hug before walking over there.
Finn draped his arm across Sami’s shoulders and introduced himself as “Samilla’s Boyfriend.” She nudged him with her elbow, before referring to him as “Finnegan Patrick”. Both of their families had plenty of questions, seeing as a romantic relationship was far from their style.
Morgan was hugging her parents. Nick timidly listened as his mom talked a mile a minute. It felt like we searched the whole room before I spotted Wilmer talking to a man holding a little girl. Izzie’s mom was impossible to miss. She was beautiful to say the least. It was surprising she aged so well after what she had put her body through. She had a perfect hourglass figure – large breasts, trim waist, and ample backside. Her form flattering dress accentuated all of it. Her long, dark hair curled just the way Izzie’s did. Her big brown eyes were shared with Izzie as well. She received plenty of attention from others in the room, but it appeared to be making her uncomfortable. She kept meddling with her hands and looking down, far different from the villainous powerhouse I imagined her to be.
“Sissy!” The little girl suddenly exclaimed when she caught sight of Izzie. She managed to squirm from the man’s arms. She sprinted in our direction and hugged Iz’s legs.
“Hey, Soph! I wasn’t expecting to see you. I’m very happy you’re here.” Izzie picked up her up and put her on her hip.
Her chestnut hair was pulled up in a bun. Her blue eyes sparked with excitement. Her pink tutu, polka-dotted shirt, rainboots, and blazer led me to believe she picked out her outfit by herself.
“Like my dress?”
“I love it. It’s beautiful. Did you pick it out all by yourself?”
She beamed and nodded. “Like a big girl.”
“You’re growing up too fast, Ladybug. I need you to slow down.”
“He your friend?” She looked at me.
“He’s also my boyfriend. His name is Milo.”
“Hi, Sophia.” I waved at her.
Her eyes went wide when she heard my voice. “You talk pretty!”
Izzie and I laughed. “Thank you.” I smiled at her.
“You love Izzie?”
“Yes, she is great. I get to dance with her too.”
This revelation made her face light up. “You wear the pretty dressies too?!”
Izzie laughed hysterically at this question, leaving me to answer.
“No, I wear pants.”
“Ask real nice and sissy let you wear hers. I want her dressies, but I too little.” She suggested happily. She frowned slightly at the thought of not being able to fit Izzie’s costumes.
Iz laughed even harder at Sophia’s suggestion. I chuckled lightly.
“Your dress is really nice. I am sure you have other pretty ones too. I will let Izzie keep wearing her costumes. She looks much better in them than I would.” I looked Iz with a flirtatious smirk.
She swatted me on the arm playfully.
“No hit him, Izzie! He my friend. Say sorry!” Soph cried in horror.
“Sorry, Izzie, sorry!” Soph reiterated.
I stifled back laughter as Iz turned to me.
“I’m sorry, Milo.” She gave a lackluster apology as she narrowed her eyes at me for finding it funny.
“All better, Soph?” She looked to her.
She shook her head.
“What do I need to do now?”
“Kiss him.” Sophia instructed from her hip.
“Why do I need to kiss him?”
“Princess kisses the prince. It makes happy ever after. Kiss him.” She urged.
Izzie turned to me. I leaned in and pecked her on the lips.
“Yay!” Sophia cheered.
“Down, Sissy. I needs to tell B you married.” She tried to squirm out of Izzie’s arms.
“What? Married? What are you talking about, Sweetie?” She placed her on the ground to keep her from falling.
“You kiss prince in pretty dress. Is married now!” She smiled up at her brightly.
“That’s not how it works, Soph. Milo’s just my boyfriend. He’ll stay that way, even if I kiss him in pretty dresses.” Iz tried to reason.
“Nu uh. You married. Tell B. He be happy.” She scurried off before we could stop her.
Izzie hugged her mom. She rubbed her back and placed her hands on her shoulders afterward to take a good look at her.
“What’s this about a marriage?” Wilmer questioned with a smirk.
“Iz tried to explain to Soph that kissing in a dress isn’t how you get married, but she insisted otherwise.” I explained.
“Izzie a princess now.” Sophia chimed in from within Bosworth’s arms.
“That’s not how anyone gets married, Ladybug. There are words, rings, and legal documents involved.” B explained to her gently.
She frowned and looked at Izzie.
“No princess now?” She asked me sadly.
“No, I am sorry. We are too little to get married.” I offered her a sympathetic smile.
“You’re good with her.” Bosworth complimented.
“Izzie or Sophia?”
“Both, actually. Your reputation precedes you.”
“The good one, right? There are two additions to that particular story.” I admitted.
“You’re a good kid, Milo. You’ve made a few mistakes. Who hasn’t?” Wilmer interjected.
“I’d be more alarmed if you did come off as perfect. Those are the people with the most to hide.” B agreed.
Will looked to him with a smile. “That’s certainly the case in my line of work.”
“You and me, both.”
I was pleased to see them hitting it off. It was always uncomfortable when two worlds collided and did not quite piece together.
“Milo, I would like to introduce you to my mom.” Izzie approached me with her mother in tow.
“It is very nice to meet you.” She offered me her hand.
I shook it politely. I was unsure of what to say in response to her. I knew she was trying to turn her life around, but I could only see the hurt she created within a person I loved.
“Is it alright if I talk to you alone?” Her eyes confidently held mine as she tucked her hair behind her ear.
“Yes, that is fine.” I followed her lead. We went to a relatively empty portion of the lobby beside the elevators.
” I carry the most power as her mother and I have rejected her for most of her life. I know I have hurt her more than anyone. I know I cannot mend all the wounds I have inflicted on her in the past, but I want to try to be here for her in any way that I can now.” She stated firmly.
“-No one will ever understand what I felt when I was told she was on the brink of death. I was in rough shape at the time I found out. I was drinking every night and had a boyfriend half my age, but while I was living in the destruction I called my life, I always thought that she was safe and so much happier without someone like me. I got that phone call and I just –“ She paused to swallow hard.
“I didn’t want to see her for the first time in eight years inside of a coffin. I didn’t want to attend her funeral and be the only person who couldn’t speak about her. I had no idea who she was. It hurt to know the good life I thought I was giving her was all a lie. I blame myself. I am actually happy you care enough about her to blame me too. She deserves so much better than her father and me. I wanted you to know that we are on the same side.” She subtly dried her eyes with her fingertips.
“Please don’t leave her again. She truly believes in you.”
She smiled. “I won’t. She’s my reason to keep going. Keep being this good to her.”
“I will. You have my word.” I smiled and placed my hands into my pockets.
She hugged me. “She really loves you. Don’t hurt her either.” She released me and returned to where Izzie was.
“Who is that?” Ryan walked up to me and watched Ms. Hales walk away.
“Mmm. Ultimate ****. It pains me to say that she beats your mom.”
“Do not make me get your mother.”
“Ugh, I love her to death, but she’s driving me crazy. She’s convinced I’m into Elle.”
“Go kiss up to Izzie’s family or something.” He sauntered off in the direction of the water fountain.
“Would you like a tour of our school?” Izzie was asking Sophia when I arrived.
She nodded eagerly and looked over at B. “Can we go with Sissy?”
“Of course.” He answered with a warm smile.
“Can I hold your hand while you walk like a big girl?” Iz requested.
“I want to hold his hand too.” She pointed to me.
“Is that okay?” B asked me.
He placed her on the floor. She skipped over to me and offered me her little hand. I took it and smiled down at her. “Ready to go?”
“Hold on.” She gave her other hand to Izzie. “Okay. I ready.”
Izzie and I showed Soph our school campus as B , Wilmer, and Ms. Hales trailed behind us and talked. I had a lot of fun being around Sophia. The questions she asked and her explanations of things were the epitome of cute and innocent. She announced she was hungry after we showed her the cafeteria. Will came up with the idea for us to go to a restaurant in town.
“I’ve been meaning to ask, B, how’d you get my dad and Genette to let you bring Soph?” Izzie asked after we put in our drink orders.
“They are separating. Things are getting rather messy. I insisted we keep her out of it.”
Sophia sat in her booster seat, coloring on the children’s menu she was given and humming a song to herself.
“I love your picture.” I complimented Soph.
“Really?!” Her face was lit up when she looked up at me.
I chuckled and nodded at her enthusiasm. “Yes, you are a very good artist.”
“Coloring’s fun. I love how pretty you talk.” She told me as she resumed coloring.
I smiled. “Really?”
She nodded. “I wish I could do it.”
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I decided to ask.
“A pizza girl.”
I smiled, but did not laugh. Her dream was valid. “Why?”
“I get to eat all the pizza. I love pizza.”
“I share with you.” She offered sweetly, looking up at me once more.
I smiled. “Thank you. I cannot wait.”
“B, I like him.” She looked over at him, who was sitting right beside her.
“That’s good, Sweetheart. It’s your job as Izzie’s sister to make sure her boyfriend is nice.”
“He’s real nice.” She told Iz.
I fought off a smile.
“I’m happy you think that, Soph. I really like him.” Izzie interlaced her fingers with mine beneath the table.
“Just like?” I joked with a smile.
“You talk pretty.” She replied with a cheeky grin.
I breathed a small laugh and placed a kiss on her cheek.
Even though I was on the right track, I was a little envious of Sophia’s state of innocence and bliss. She had what Izzie and I desperately wanted — complete freedom to be herself. She was too young to pretend or feel the harsh reality of the world around her. If only we all were that lucky…
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