I Wanna Text You Up (Page 28)
“I’m only doing this to get a decent meal!” my dad insists, and I believe every word.
For some reason, my grandmother will only eat dinner at a local diner…and the food is horrendous. I can’t fault him for leaving early.
“Well, hell, I guess you’re meeting my new boyfriend via FaceTime.” I move until Caleb’s in the picture. “Mom, Dad, this is Caleb, my boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend?” my mom asks, surprised. “You told me he was just your roommate. When did this happen?”
Caleb and I exchange a glance.
“On the way here,” I tell her. “We just decided.”
She purses her lips. “Zohanna Marie, are you playing some sort of trick on me?”
“No, Mama. No trick. We’re dating.”
“Oh!” Her face lights up. “Well in that case, well done—he’s a looker!” She sends Caleb a wink. “Hi Caleb, I’m Sofia. Sorry we can’t be there to greet you, but we’ll be back before the end of your stay. You’ll have to give me lots of hugs then.”
“Mama, I am standing right here. Stop flirting.”
“And I’m sitting right here. Leave the poor boy alone,” my dad tells her.
“Oh hush, Rafe. You know you’re my number one this week.”
The screen blurs and you can tell the phone’s gone flying through the air, and then it’s dark.
“Ah hell! Hang on, kids. I dropped the dang phone.”
“Don’t take your seatbelt off. I’m driving!”
“I will be just fine for two seconds. Take a chill pill, bro.”
My mouth drops open. “Mama, did you just call Dad ‘bro’?”
Her face comes back into view, this time with my dad in the background. “Well if he wasn’t such a douchebag sometimes—”
“She’s been calling me that a lot lately, read some novel about these ‘douchebag’ wrestlers—”
“Hands on the wheel!”
“—and now she won’t stop,” he continues. “Also, hi Caleb. I’m Rafe, the better half of this duo.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Better Half Rafe.”
My dad grins. “I feel like I should ask you something normal, like what’s your major? Isn’t that what dads are supposed to ask boyfriends, Sofia?”
“I’m majoring in sports nutrition, sir. I’m vying for a position with the team at the university and am hoping to get on board with them then eventually work my way up to a head coaching position.”
“I’d say you’re doing well with sports nutrition.”
“Sofia! Leave the kid alone!” my dad admonishes.
“I’m just saying, looks like he’s in great shape.”
I stand there with my jaw slack, completely mortified by my mother’s behavior.
“Thank you, Sofia,” Caleb says with a smirk.
“PEACHES!” my dad shouts.
And the call goes black.
I stare at the screen, confused as hell.
“Peaches?” Caleb enquires.
“Yeah, not sure what that’s about. Let’s try to find the key though. There was a break-in up the road not too long ago and they’ve changed the locks since I was here last.”
We look under the mat, inside the potted plant sitting next to the door, in the ones hanging on the porch…nothing.
“What about a barbeque pit?” Caleb suggests.
“Good thinking. Let’s go around back.”
I lead Caleb around the back of the house and hear him whistle when it comes into view.
“Holy hell. This is nice, Zoe.”
“Isn’t it? My dad takes a lot of pride in it. He’s a contractor, designed and built this whole thing himself.”
There’s an extravagant circle deck coming off the back of the house with a built-in fire pit in the center and a fancy schmancy patio couch and chair surrounding it. A large stainless steel barbeque pit sits off to the side with a stone wall encasing it.
Just then my phone rings—another FaceTime call from Mom.
“Oh my gosh, your father is a mess!” she says once her face fills the screen. “He about ran us off the road trying to get to the roadside peach stand.”
She holds the phone out and there’s Dad, holding up a big bag of peaches with a cheeky grin on his face. “It’s official—I’m movin’ to the country. Got me some peaches to eat!”
“Is your entire family into 90s music?” Caleb says, knowing my dad is referring to the ever-popular Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America.
“Guilty as charged, dear,” my mom answers. “Is she still listening to that rap music?”
“She is, ma’am.”
My mom shakes her head. “We tried to stick to the alternative and grunge, but she just couldn’t give it up.”
“I like a good beat,” I say matter-of-factly.
“Whatever you say, dear. We’re going to get off here. Just wanted to tell you we love you and sorry we couldn’t be there to greet you. We’ll be back before you leave though.”
“It was great meeting you, Rafe and Sofia.”
“See ya later, Caleb!”
My mom holds up her hand and gives us a peace sign. “Mama outtie!”
“Wait! Wait! Where’s the new key?” I manage through a giggle. My mother has obviously gone insane.
“We slid one inside the fire pit out back.”
“He’s locked in our bedroom, so be sure to let him out soon. He probably has to potty by now.”
“I’ll make sure to let him out ASAP,” I assure her.
“And, Zoe, for the love of all things holy, please stay away from the kitchen. I do not want to get a phone call from the fire department again.” Caleb falls into a fit of laughter. “See, I can tell he knows just what I’m talking about.”
“Oh, I do,” he tells her.
I swat at him. “Both of you stop! Go enjoy your night away. Love you guys!”
“Love you too. Great meeting you, Caleb! Enjoy the beach.”
I disconnect the call and peek over at Caleb. “Well, those are my parents.”
“They seem fun.”
“Oh, they’re something.” I grab my bag that’s been lying by my feet and haul it up onto my shoulder.
I walk over to the fire pit and laugh when I see the key sitting in plain sight, not at all hidden from potential burglars.
“They could have at least thrown a few logs in there or something,” I comment.
I push the key into the lock and twist. I’m met by the sound of Magnus going crazy inside my parents’ bedroom.
“Want me to go grab him?” Caleb asks.
“Sure. It’s just straight down the hallway. I’ll hold on to Mittens for safety.”
Caleb hands over his cage and I let him out, wrapping him tightly in my arms as Caleb navigates his way to the bedroom.
About ten seconds later, my parents’ sixty-pound boxer comes barreling out of the bedroom, jumping and licking at me. Mittens lets out a loud hiss and tries to scurry up my body farther, hoping to escape him.
“His leash is hanging right there.” I point to the wall beside the back door. “Just run him out while I get Wolverine over here settled down.”
Caleb manages to get the leash on Magnus and out the door they go. I grab the cat bed and hustle Mittens back to the bedroom we’ll be sharing, only letting him loose when the door is closed. He immediately curls into himself, staring at the door with wide eyes and perked-up ears.
“Just watch, you two will be best buds by the time this is over.”
I leave the door cracked and walk back into the living room, where Caleb’s just taking the leash off Magnus. The moment he’s free, he darts down the hallway, and I can hear him and Mittens getting acquainted with one another.
“That’s going to be fun,” Caleb says as he hangs the leash back up.
“Oh loads. I was hoping my parents would be here to at least introduce them, but that’s up to us now. He’s better behaved when they’re around.”
I take a seat on the luxurious couch my mom bought last year and glance around the room.
The walls are a different color, specifically the accent wall behind the television stand. It used to be a pale blue but is now a darker gray, which fits nicely with the gray flooring they put in a few years ago. My mom has also swapped out her usual blue accent pieces for pale yellow ones, making the whole room brighter.
Caleb takes a seat next to me. “This is a beautiful home.”
“Isn’t it? It’s perfect for the two of them too. I love coming to visit. They make it feel so homey.”
“I’m sure anywhere your parents are feels homey.”
“Is that the case for you too?”
“No. No it’s not.
His focus is anywhere but on me, but I hear the sadness laced in his words.
I don’t know if I want to kiss him, hug him, or cry.
“My parents like you, you know. My mom texted me earlier with the stamp of approval.”
Caleb lets out a relieved sigh. “Good. I was worried they’d hate me for moving in with their daughter and then, you know, not keeping things very roommate-like.”