“Yeah, I got done early with training today,” he said as he set his bag down and removed the hood of his sweater. “So you guys just feeding the kittens?”
“Yep,” I replied, giving Bones a pet on the head as he mewed at me.
“So Hunter,” my aunt chirped. “Lorrie’s told me a lot about you. It sounds like you two are good friends.”
He grinned. “Yeah, I’d say so. Wouldn’t you agree, Lorrie?”
I tried to hide my smile by rolling my eyes at Hunter. “I’d say decent friends. We get on each other’s nerves sometimes.”
“Maybe not enough,” he replied.
Aunt Caroline was too busy admiring Hunter’s appearance to pay close attention to our banter. “Hunter, you’re very tall and handsome. You even have tattoos I see.” She pointed at the collar of his sweater. “Has anyone told you that you look like Tom Hardy?”
Oh no, Aunt Caroline noticed his tattoos.
Hunter laughed. “Yeah, I get that a lot. Thank you for the compliments.”
I was expecting Aunt Caroline to promptly pull me back to the dorm or even back to Indiana and lock me inside my room, so what she said next came as a surprise. “Have you considered dating Lorrie?”
“A-Aunt Caroline!” I spluttered. “Why would you ask such a thing?”
Hunter smiled widely. A little too widely. “We’ve had a discussion or two about it but we’re just friends at the moment.”
“I see.” Aunt Caroline looked at me gauging my reaction. She must’ve noticed how red my face was. “So tell me more about those tattoos you have,” she said to Hunter, changing the subject.
Hunter pushed up his sleeve showing us his bulging biceps and the tattoos on his arm. “I don’t have anything too crazy. Just some simple designs.”
“That’s some cool ink! I really like that hammer!” Aunt Caroline then lifted up her sleeve and showed us a tattoo on her arm. “The reason I ask is because I got one recently myself.” I looked at her arm and saw an etched soccer ball with big letters in front of it that said ‘MOM’.
“Awesome!” Hunter said, smiling.
“Whoa, Aunt Caroline! I never knew you had a tattoo. How come you never showed me?”
“I just got it recently, Lorrie. Well, me and a few other moms on the team got tattoos. We wanted to show our support for our boys.”
I stared at her, dumbfounded. A bumper sticker was one thing, but a tattoo? When I thought about it further, I realized that Aunt Caroline did have a bit of a wild side so I shouldn’t be too surprised. She was probably the one who suggested it and got the other mothers on board.
The rest of the evening went by without anymore shocking surprises. Aunt Caroline and I stayed at Hunter’s a bit longer to play with the kittens and hang out with Hunter. Hunter was being uncharacteristically flattering and entertaining to Aunt Caroline and me, taking every opportunity to flash his tattoos and biceps.
It wasn’t until dinner time that we got back to my dorm.
“I’m happy that things are going well for you Lorrie. Hunter seems like a nice boy. Seems like he really cares about you.” She had a sly smile. “I know you’re reluctant to admit it, but I know you have feelings for him, Lorrie. I can tell. Maybe you should think about talking to him about those feelings sometime. A guy like him is probably not going to be available for long, you know.”
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. I was still a little annoyed by Aunt Caroline asking Hunter if he wanted to date me. “I’m actually surprised you’re pushing me to date. I thought you’d be wrangling me back to Indiana once you saw Hunter’s tats.”
“Oh Lorrie. I know I’m sometimes a little overprotective of you but I also want you to live your life. As long as you’re not drinking or doing drugs or sleeping around with guys left and right, I think it’s good for you to have some fun.”
I raised a brow skeptically. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I’m just saying, I know you’re still adjusting to school but I don’t want you to be afraid of taking chances. Worst comes to worst, it doesn’t work out. Have some fun.” She grinned. “You’ve always got me and Stewart and the boys behind you. You’ve got our home you can always come back to when things get tough. So feel free to spread your wings. I just don’t want you to regret not seizing the opportunity when it’s there, that’s all.”
I sighed. “Yeah, yeah. I know Hunter’s a nice guy. I just want to go at my own pace with things though.”
“Sure, sure, Lorrie.”
We spent the rest of the night hanging out. On Sunday, I showed her around campus and we had fun getting ice cream from Clyde’s. Then she went back home Sunday night. It was a bittersweet goodbye. Although she had embarrassed me in front of Hunter, I was really glad she visited. With her surprising approval of Hunter as a potential boyfriend, I began to think that maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea.
I dropped by Hunter’s apartment regularly the next couple days to feed the kittens. They were growing by the day but still so tiny. Even though feeding them by bottle was cute, I would be glad when they could finally eat solid food. Hunter and I had taken the kittens to the vet yesterday and they said it would still be a few more weeks of bottle-feeding.
The way Hunter and my Aunt Caroline had interacted still puzzled me. She had always been so overprotective, but Hunter and his tattoos seemed to impress her. I still couldn’t believe she’d gotten that soccer mom tattoo.
Thinking about all this made it hard to concentrate on psychology. Wednesday had come around and I had managed to drag myself to class with Daniela, but that didn’t mean I was really there. I was sketching Georgia’s adorable furry face in my notes when Daniela elbowed me.
“You should pay attention, this is interesting,” she whispered.
“Sorry, I’ve been distracted. What’s up?”
“Muller’s talking about how our emotions during an event affect our memory of it.”
“Oh, that does sound cool. Can I borrow your notes?”
“Sure. What’s bugging you, anyway?”
People were starting to give us dirty looks for chatting during lecture. I debated in my mind whether I should tell her I was developing feelings for Hunter. “I’ll tell you later,” I whispered.
She nodded. I spent the rest of class doing my best to pay attention, but it was hard to follow after missing the first part. Guess I’d have to copy Daniela’s notes again before the midterm. I went back to sketching Georgia. At least that was turning out well.