It was great seeing Orion. As we chatted throughout the evening, I realized just how much I missed him. And everyone else in my family (though maybe not Temp so much). We ordered out for dinner and started watching TV. At around nine, I got a phone call from work. I felt goosebumps all over my body and my stomach churned when I saw it was from ‘Tessa’.
I went to the other side of the room and answered the phone, hoping that Orion wouldn’t somehow be able to guess that I was talking to Jay Redding. I answered the phone and mumbled a hello. Her response was quick and sharp.
“You need to come in tomorrow morning from about nine to eleven. It is an emergency. Goodbye.”
I didn’t even get a chance to say no! I thought angrily, shoving my phone into my pocket. I bristled with annoyance as I returned to the couch with Rion. “I am sorry, I have to go into work tomorrow for a couple hours.”
He slung an arm around me and rubbed the top of my head. “It’s all right, I can kick my heels for–” He was cut off by my phone ringing.
This time it was Kellen, apologizing for being unable to come into lunch tomorrow but he was called in to work until late afternoon. I promised him it was okay and we made plans for him to come over in the evening.
“Uh,” Rion grunted when I told him. “Yeah, he’s not avoiding me?”
I narrowed my eyes and elbowed him. “Kellen is not avoiding you. He wanted to meet you.”
Orion hid a smirk behind his hand. “We’ll see how that holds up tomorrow.”
The next day I felt guilty as I got ready for work. Not for just leaving Orion but the fact I was working for the Reddings. I had to tell him. It was wrong of me not to. But how could I explain this to him or anyone else in my family? Dad was going to be so mad…
“Bye Rion,” I called, shrugging on my jacket and casting a glance at him. He already had the TV on and just gave me a small wave, not even looking my way. I shook my head, laughing a bit, and then left.
I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what had happened at Acinert, but everyone was pulled up and put into different jobs. The doctors were busy, so a bunch of us had to do some research for them and type up reports. I saw a glimpse of Kellen who was going into a room I had never been in before.
True to the promise Jay made me, I was released at around eleven-fifteen. I headed home feeling tired already but looking forward to spending time with Orion and Kellen.
“Hey Lune!” Milla said when I stepped into the house. She flashed me a smile and I raised my eyebrows, a bit surprised to see her there.
“Uh, hey,” I said. There was a moment of awkward silence and I wasn’t sure what to say. I gave Milla glance and she grinned back at me. I just rolled my eyes, and headed towards the stairs. “I’m gonna go change.”
I went up to my room with Milla hot on my heels. “I’m sorry, I was so curious about him–I had to stop by! I thought you’d be home, too. I was gonna just go but he invited me him.”
I frowned slightly, not sure why she was apologizing. “It’s okay.”
“You’re not mad?” she whispered.
I couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Why on earth would I be mad? Seriously. There is literally nothing here to even be annoyed at.” I adjusted my glasses, giving her an amused look. “You’re the one who seems upset.”
“Well I was just worried you’d be annoyed at me just showing up being all curious. Besides…” She trailed off and began intensely interested in her fingernails.
“Besides, what?” I asked, pulling off my work clothes to change. Milla mumbled something that I didn’t quite hear. “Hmmm?”
“You never told me he was so cute!” Milla hissed out.
I froze and stared at her. “Wh–what?” I stammered.
Milla blushed furiously and turned away. “He’s cute. All right? Like, super cute.”
I pulled my dress on and began shaking my head quickly. “No. Nononono! Oh no!” I couldn’t believe my ears. My best friend thought my brother was…. cute? “M-Mills, no. Please no! Come on, we–we’re too old for ‘cute’.”
“Oh come off it!” she snapped. “You think Kellen is cute.”
Now I began to blush. “That is different! Kellen… isn’t… my brother…”
“And Orion isn’t my brother!” she pointed out, rather triumphantly. “So I can think he’s cute if I want to. And I do. And funny. And smart. And… pretty muscular…” She drifted off slightly, sighing. “Oh my gosh, Lune, please let me hang out over here again before he leaves!”
“You’re drooling over my brother!” I exclaimed, unable to really believe my ears. “Do you know how gross that is? And you’re my best friend! And he’s my… brother!”
She folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. “It’s not as if anything is going to happen. After he leaves, I’ll probably never seen him again until your wedding.”
“MILLA!” I screeched, throwing a pillow at her as she began laughing. “Kellen and I–I mean, we–and–just don’t!” I felt my face going brilliantly red. “Okay fine, you can come over tomorrow.”
She punched the air. “Victory!”
I smiled at her happiness but really… I mean… my best friend? And my brother?? That was just too weird for words.
Orion and I went out for lunch, even without Kellen being there. I felt strangely compelled to ask him what he thought about Milla but I didn’t dare bring that subject up. It’s not as if I disapproved or anything. It was just… weird. But, as it turned out, I didn’t even need to open my mouth.
“So how long have ya known Milla?” he asked just before shoving his sandwich into his mouth.
I stared at him for a moment before picking up my glass of water. “Since I moved here. She–she works at the Soil and Water facility so we met there and became friends.” I sipped at the water, knowing this was a good chance to mention my new job. But before I could say anything, Rion spoke again.
“She seems nice.” He met my gaze and grinned sheepishly at the look on my face. “Well. She does.”
“She is nice,” I said a bit tartly. “I wouldn’t consider her my best friend if she acted like a jerk.” I grabbed my sandwich and frowned. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without her friendship.”
“So, is she single?” he asked and I dropped my sandwich.
“Rion!” I yelped. “Wh–what? Why would you–what?” I sputtered, unable to speak properly.
“Is she single?” he asked again.
I put my hands on the table and glowered. “You only talked to her for… what, an hour? A couple hours? How can you even be thinking something like that?”
He shrugged. “Just because I asked a question like that, doesn’t mean I have any interest in pursuing her. I just have a mild curiosity about my sister’s best friend. Hmm?”
“And what does my best friend being single have anything to do with anything?” I asked coolly.
Orion sighed and sat back. “All right, all right. So has Kellen put the moves on you yet?”
I slammed my hands down, going bright red. “No!”
Orion half-closed his eyes, grinning at his sandwich. “So he’s the lame type who is too pathetic to try anything.”
“He–he is not lame! And we’ve… kissed. Besides, you’d lose your temper if he put the moves on me,” I snarled out.
“Yeah, I’d think he’s a perverted jerk,” Orion laughed. “And in this case, I think he’s pathetically lame. I mean, if he’s that attracted to you–why should he hold himself back?”
“He–he–” Then Orion shot me a very smirking look and I scowled, realizing what he was doing. He was just going to continue saying annoying things until he got what he wanted. “Yes, Milla is single, you brat.” I angrily bit down into my sandwich. Stupid Orion…
Orion mumbled and then winked at me. “Thank you. And I was only teasing, I don’t think he’s lame for holding back. In fact, I’m glad he is. Now then–why don’t we talk about something other than your possibly-stalker boyfriend and your lovely best friend.”
I grumbled into my food, rather looking forward to him leaving Monday morning.
When Kellen arrived that night, Orion was in the bathroom so I was able to have a moment alone with him and give him a big hug and a kiss.
“How was work?” I asked as he nuzzled my neck. I began giggling, pretending to push him away. Then, remembering Orion, actually did push him away.
“Wild,” he sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “Did you know what happened? Apparently a toddler in Ancora ate a plant and it reacted in a way it should not have. The toddler got sick–don’t worry, he’s okay–but of course Doctor Dearg needed to investigate everything. With the doctors and botanists busy, everyone had to be rearranged to pick up the slack.”
“At least you didn’t have to work all weekend,” I said, touching his cheek and then quickly pulling away–rather guiltily–as Orion came out.
I could tell Kellen was nervous but after a second or two he wiped the nervous look off his face and offered a hand. “Hello!” he said cheerfully. “You must be Orion. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Orion took his hand, squeezing probably harder than need be and shaking it rougher than need be. “You must be Kellen. I haven’t heard much about you.”
Kellen glanced at me and I shook my head. “Well, it’s nice to meet you,” Kellen said.
Orion smiled. “Yep, great to meet you too. Your name is Wright, right?”
“Kellen Wright,” he said a bit hesitantly.
“And… what is it exactly you do?” Orion inquired.
“I work at a local science facility,” he said. “My family owns and runs the local library so I help out there when I can.”
“You work at the same place as Luna?” Orion asked and I began to feel nervous. I need to tell him.
“Yep,” Kellen replied, and I breathed a slight sigh of relief. Okay. I was going to tell Rion soon. Just not right this instant.
Orion rubbed his chin and nodded. “Let’s just dive right into this. What are your intentions towards my little sister?”
“Whoa, um, well, ah,” Kellen stammered, holding up his hands and looking even more nervous than he had earlier. “My… intentions are to treat her, um, with the utmost respect she deserves, to, um, be there when she needs me and, uh, you know, help take care of her and, erm, yeah… treat her like the amazing woman she is.”
Orion rubbed his chin even more and peered closely at Kellen’s face. Kellen gulped but didn’t look away. “I know you’ve kissed her.”
Kellen shuffled a bit then smiled. “A kiss an ancient times was often perceived as showing respect and reverence, such as a person kissing a statue of a god or goddess. She is a goddess, at least in my opinion. And, you know, in recent studies it’s shown that in a relationship that kissing helps reduce stress. So I am doing my duty in helping take care of her, by helping reduce any stress she might have.”
I covered my mouth, trying not to laugh. Kellen folded his arms and looked quite proud of himself. Orion obviously had no clue what to say to that for several seconds until finally he laughed and clapped Kellen rather hard on the back. Kellen stumbled a bit.
“You’re something else, Kellen–you know that?” he said, clapping his back again. “Certainly didn’t expect an answer–not like that one!”
Kellen smiled, still nervous. “Heh. Uh, thanks.”
The conversation relaxed a little bit, though Rion kept peppering Kellen with all sorts of questions. Kellen answered all of them and asked Orion a few things back. He got Rion talking about being a cop which of course turned the subject into Rion ‘joking’ that he should go get a lie detector. Both boys chuckled at that and I did as well, though I wasn’t sure whether my brother had been joking.
Orion kept trying to intimidate Kellen and when Kellen didn’t seem too phased by it, Rion would frown but move on.
I was very proud of Kellen and when he left, I gave him a tight hug and whispered in his ear how happy I was this evening went nicely. Kellen kissed my cheek and then shook Orion’s hand, telling him what an honor it was meeting him.
My brother and I stayed up a bit late that night but Orion refused to tell me what he thought of Kellen. When I went upstairs to get ready for bed, I heard his voice floating up the stairs. He was on the phone, talking to Dad.
“Yeah, I met him tonight,” I heard Orion say. There was a pause as, I assumed, Dad talked. “Well, I dunno. I talked with him a lot. Cracked my knuckles, threw my weight around but he didn’t freak out.” I held my breath, hoping Orion would say what he really thought. There was a moment as Dad probably talked and then Orion said, “The verdict? Dad, I’m a cop, not a jury.” Then Orion laughed again. “But you know, this Kellen guy… pretty intelligent, obviously has feelings for Lune. Didn’t lie, as far as I can tell.”
Come on, I thought. Just say what you think!
“Yeah well, you’ll probably get to meet him sometime,” Orion said. “But I like him, he’s a good kid. I guess he’s okay.”
I pulled the blanket up to my chin, smiling happily and realizing just how much I wanted this to work out. Milla’s words from earlier floated into my head. A wedding? Maybe one day. I still wanted to take things slow. But this was definitely a step in the right direction.
I giggled sleepily at that thought. A step in the Wright direction. Hehehe…