The Next Morning
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno
Early in the morning — way before any of them should’ve been awake, Camilla attempted to sneak out of bed. With both her feet planted on the floor, she looked over her shoulder at Salim, who was fast asleep behind her, then carefully lifted herself up, sliding her body slowly off the mattress, hoping it would hold in its usual squeaking sounds, just this one time — just long enough for her to make it out of the room without him noticing and it did! She looked over her shoulder once more and was about to take her first step when she was snatched back into the bed, right back into his embrace.
“Where are you going?” he kissed her neck, fully aware of the answer to his question.
“Um …” she paused, carefully considering all the possible ways she could respond. “Downstairs.” she replied, going with the safest option.
“What’s downstairs? The kitchen?”
The kitchen? The little corner of the house where the refrigerator and the stove lived? The place where she would more than likely spend the entire day cooking and baking, trying to put together some unnecessarily elaborate presentation for his mom? The first thing on a long list of stress inducing activities, he made her promise not do today?
“Yes,” she smirked, “along with the living room and the bathroom and the laundry room …”
“Well there’s a bathroom up here,” he kissed her again, “and I know you’re not going to wash clothes, not this early, so the only thing I can think of is that you were on your way to the kitchen to start on all that stuff I told you not to worry about. Right?”
Right. But, it’s not like they were just having just anybody over today, this was his mom and she really wanted to make a good first impression — especially since she was so pro-him and Aahana getting back together. And Aahana — she would be there too, probably watching every little thing she did, using her actions as a way to judge whether or not the girls were in good hands with her, so in a way — she wanted to make a good impression on her too, not just as Salim’s girlfriend, they were past that already, but as their other caregiver who loved them just like they were her own.
“I … think … I should plead the fifth … to make good on this whole honesty thing.” she grinned before attempting to break free from his grip.
“Yeah, I bet.” he laughed, squeezing her tighter.
“But seriously,” she looked up at him, “I do have some stuff that I need to get done preferably before everybody gets here soooooo can I go please?”
“You can if you want,” he replied nonchalantly, loosening his grip, giving her ample space to leave, “but if you do … you’ll have to wait till everybody leaves to get your gift.”
A gift. One of the many little keys to her heart. One that was guaranteed to make her forget about all the things she was rushing downstairs to do so that she could enjoy this day — at least for a little while anyway.
“My gift?” she sat up quickly, “I don’t have to go downstairs right now— I mean it can wait a little while longer— or till later— what is it?”
“Yeah, I figured that would slow you down.” he laughed, “Close your eyes, okay?”
“Okay.” she closed her eyes with her hands out and a huge grin plastered on her face, anxiously awaiting this surprise he had for her.
He walked backwards to his dresser, taking one step at a time, keeping an eye on her, to make sure her eyes were really closed and that she couldn’t see where he was going or the place he stashed all her presents. Once he was sure they were, he turned around and quietly opened the top drawer and moved some things around, exposing a little black box in the back corner.
The thing it held inside — was something he had been waiting to give her for weeks, something he knew she would love. Something that he measured himself while she was sleeping, just to make sure it fit her perfectly. Something he couldn’t wait to see light up her face, especially once she heard what he had prepared to say with it. Something that would have to stay … in the back corner of his dresser for a little … or a lot … while longer because — she wasn’t ready for it yet — not for another big commitment so he grabbed the envelope sitting next to it and in there was something to help her make good on some of her own commitments.
He sat back on the bed, across from her, and placed the envelope in her hands who’s fingers were wiggling by now from excitement.
“You can open now.”
She opened her eyes to find a white envelope with the words For Camilla, written on the front. She shook it, trying to guess what was inside. The weight — it was too thick to be paper unless it was a bunch of paper? And the size — it was a standard mailing envelope, so it couldn’t have been a card?
She looked up slowly, a little confused about what she was holding. “What’s in here?”
“Open it.” he chuckled.
She turned it over and lifted the top flap, her eyes widening when she saw a 100 dollar bill followed by some 50’s then some more 50’s then a whole bunch of 20’s. She yanked them out, counting them quickly, gasping each time she passed a new hundred dollar mark.
“$500?” she asked when she was finally done counting, “What’s this for?”
“You … All your bills to get you caught up and then some more for the next payment.”
“No Salim—” she shook her head, “it’s too much. Here,” she handed the money back to him, “I’m going to figure it out— when I start getting paid— my first check, I’ll make a payment. I promise.”
He put it back in her hand and closed her fingers around it. “I’m not taking it back, Camilla. It’s yours. So stop.”
“Okay …” she leaned over to kiss him, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” he smiled.
He watched her get up, presumably to leave the room. Probably on her way to the kitchen. “Going downstairs now?”
“Nope.” she smirked, looking back at him, “I’m going to see what other secrets you keep in your top drawer.”
Before she could take another step, he hopped off the bed and tackled her, stopping her dead in her tracks. She screamed so loud, they thought for sure she had woken the girls. “I’m sorry Salim!” she shouted through uncontrollable giggles, “I won’t look, I promise!”
“I’m not taking no chances with you,” he laughed, tossing her on the bed, “I’m finding a new spot today.”
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