So now that things have been starting to get back to normal I should be able to post these chapters more frequently. Thanks for all of your kind words and support. And as always have a great day, or night depending on when you are reading this.
Stella and Ivy ate lunch together every day that week. And then everyday for the week after that. Every once in a while Brandon would join them, but he would always use Ivy as a buffer between him and Stella. As hard as Ivy tried, Brandon would say little to nothing to Stella. Aside from the occasional, “that’s cool”, or “okay” Brandon hardly spoke at all.
“I thought that he liked me.” Stella nervously worried to herself. “He seemed to be having fun at the Red Rendezvous with me. And he looked happy to see me the first time in the cafeteria. I wonder what changed?”
Stella’s insecurities never stopped her from hanging out with Ivy though. They hung out together almost every weekend. It was still warm outside, so Stella and Ivy would spend most of their free time at the beach trying to achieve the prefect tan.
“Bridgeport doesn’t have a beach?” Stella asked.
“Not one that you would want to go swimming in.” Ivy replied. “Unless you like pollution and litter.”
Ivy also spent a lot of time over at Stella’s house. April, May, and June were always welcoming towards their guest. May was happy to set an extra plate for Ivy, and June taught them how to use her Sim Fu training post. Which, Ivy picked up really quickly.
“Why don’t you come over to my house after school?” Ivy had suggested one day. “I can show you my room, and my fashion magazine collection. And our butler can make you anything you want to eat for dinner.”
“You have a butler?” Stella asked.
“Of course,” Ivy had a mocking tone in her voice. “Harold will make you anything you tell him to. Wait, or is his name Henry? Harry?”
Ivy’s home was a mansion, almost a palace. More than twice the size of Stella’s quaint little cottage that she grew up in. It was, by far, the biggest house in Twinbrook. As if on queue, Ivy’s mother was in the hall to greet them as soon as they came through the door.
“It is very nice to meet you Mrs. Crowe.” Stella remembered the manners that May taught her. “Thank you so much for inviting me over for dinner.”
“Please, call me Maleficent.” she reached out her hand for Stella to shake. Maleficent’s hand was bony and ice cold, but Stella smiled and shook it anyway. “Norman will have dinner ready in a few hours.”
“Norman, so that’s his name.” Ivy laughed. “I was way off.”
Ivy’s room was bigger than Stella’s kitchen and dining room put together. She had a library of fashion magazines. Ivy might not be able to remember the basic elements on the Periodic Table, but each and every magazine was organized and cataloged. Stella had a blast going through them all.
“I guess polka dots are making a comeback this season.” Stella commented.
“Vintage is really big this year too.” Ivy added.
The girls laughed and joked as they listened to music. Then, like clockwork, the dinner bell rang after exactly two hours.
Norman prepared baked salmon with a zucchini salad on the side. The meal looked as if it had come from a 5 Star Restaurant. But Ivy looked unimpressed, and Maleficent was irritated at her son.
“Where are your manners?” she reprimanded Brandon, “we have a guest here tonight, and you keep us waiting.” Maleficent tore into him like he had kept them all waiting for hours, but the truth was that he came down the stairs not five minutes behind Ivy and Stella. Norman hadn’t even finished serving the food yet.
“So, Stella,” Maleficent made dinner conversation, “tell us a little bit about yourself. Ivy tells me that you want to be a doctor or something like that.”
“I was planning on attending Twinbrook Teaching Hospital after high school,” Stella explained. She wanted to elaborate but she felt as if her words were falling on deaf ears.
Stella glanced around the table and noticed that Maleficent was busy picking at the zucchini while Ivy was busy yelling at Norman about the spot on her fork. At least Brandon seemed interested. It was the most interested he had been since the night at the Red Rendezvous. He was hanging on her every word. Which made Stella excited and nervous at the same time.
“And what about your parents?” Maleficent asked, “What do they do?”
“I don’t know,” Stella meekly replied. “I live with my three aunts.”
Stella’s parents were the white elephant in the room. Everyone in Twinbrook knows that Stella has been raised by April, May, and June. They know all about it, and what’s more is that they know not ask too many questions about it.
Stella had a strange feeling she tried very hard to ignore. She felt apprehensive, and anxious. And she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was in some kind of danger. Although what type of danger, Stella was not sure about. Stella tried to convince herself that she was being silly. What kind of danger could she be in at the home of her best friend while sitting across the table from the most prefect boy in school? Still, it didn’t help that Maleficent was now focused on Stella like a hawk about to catch it’s prey.
After dinner Stella thanked her host for a delicious meal, thanked Ivy for inviting her over, and went outside to wait for the taxi to take her home. She hadn’t even made it down the front steps before Brandon called after her. Stella’s immense need to depart vanished at the sound of Brandon calling her name. He could recite the alphabet and it would sound like angels singing.
“I’m sorry my mom has to be so nosey,” he apologized. “As you can imagine, we don’t have company over very often.”
“It’s okay,” Stella tried to act like she was fine.
“So, I was…ummm…wondering if, ya know…” Brandon’s nerves were getting better of him, which made him even more charming. “you might like to go on a date with me tomorrow. If you want.”
Stella found his shyness adorable and irresistible. “I would love to.”
Brandon looked up from the floor and locked his sapphire blue eyes on Stella. “Cool, I’ll pick you up at 6.”
Meanwhile, back inside the Crowe household, Maleficent was making a very important phone call. A call she had been wanting to make for a very long time.
“Yes, it’s me.” she told the voice on the other end. “We found her.”