I smirk. “I know, right?”
We’re setting up my new apartment in California, just a few blocks from campus. It’s cozy, smaller than I’m used to, but I love that about it. It feels like a real home, not a fairy tale tower that I’m trapped in.
Especially when Farrow walks into the kitchen, a stack of boxes in his arms, sweat staining the tight T-shirt he wore to help me move in. I wait until he sets the plates down before I pull him into a quick embrace, kissing his cheek. He, of course, takes advantage and kisses my neck, grabbing my ass in a quick squeeze. I break away from him, laughing, flushing, but Betsy has turned away from us to fiddle with the stove. I catch a glimpse of a smirk on her mouth though, and relax.
She insisted on flying out with us to help move me in, “and to make sure the poor girl doesn’t starve to death,” she added. I appreciate it, especially considering how few times I’ve cooked for myself. She promised to teach me this week though, so I should be good in the future.
There’s a knock at the door and my heart leaps again.
“Cece!” I cry out, racing for the front door.
My sister bursts through in a bundle of excitement, wrapping me up in a huge hug almost before she’s across the threshold.
Cece has been a lifesaver, talking to the university for me, explaining that I’d been unavoidably detained by a family emergency at home. I’ll be busy for the next month catching up on my classes, but my professors have promised to let me make up the time, which is all I can really ask for.
As for our father, he’s been in hiding ever since the video I made crossed the desk of every single one of his business partners. Farrow had spent the last few years making a detailed list of anyone remotely connected to Dad, and that more than paid off in letting us spread the word of his crooked dealings. Cece thinks that’s why I was detained. That I was busy finding out about Dad and dealing with his shady business.
Luckily, now that Farrow and I have erased every post from either of us on the auction site, Cece will never know the truth. She’ll never know what I went through, or what Dad was willing to do to her.
“How are you doing?” Cece asks, frowning at me.
I smooth her hair from her forehead, smiling at her. “Just great. Seriously. It’s a relief now that it’s all over.”
“I just can’t believe…” She stops dead, gaping at something over my shoulder.
I turn around to find Farrow leaning in the doorway, smirking at the two of us. I laugh and gesture him over. “Farrow, this is my sister. Cece, this is Farrow.”
“Farrow, huh?” She eyes him up and down with a widening grin. “Damn, not a bad job considering how impossible Dad made it for you to date, Pamona.”
I snort, and Farrow laughs too, and then all three of us are laughing. Farrow’s hugging Cece, asking her about her studies, about how she likes it here in California, and suddenly, my chest hurts.
I could burst with happiness right now.
Cece lingers long enough to help me unpack a little, all the while grilling Farrow and me. When she asks how we met, we just exchange a long look, both of us laughing, and then I tell Cece, “He was my savior in a bad situation,” and she narrows her eyes like she wants to ask more, but I’ll make up a better story for her in time.
In the meantime, Farrow and I can laugh at the joke privately, knowing how strange our story is, how unique. Nobody can say they went through exactly what we did to meet, that’s for sure.
Cece heads home late that evening, though only after questioning how often Farrow will be visiting me—“it had better be often, if you’re serious about my sister,” she added, and I couldn’t help laughing at her defensive attitude. Farrow assured her he’d be seeing me at least once a week—it’s not like the airfare bothers him. But privately, he’s already told me he’s hunting for a condo to buy in the area. He says he can’t stand to be away from me for very long.
After Cece leaves, and Betsy after her, I close the door behind them, sagging against it. It’s been a long day—a happy one, but a long one, with all the unpacking and organizing I had to do. Still, the apartment is starting to look like a real home now, and I couldn’t be happier.