“You already said that, Frank, and you obviously scared the poor girl to death. So why don’t you let me take it from here?”
“Myla, honey, please come out.”
I look around the room for some kind of weapon, and the only thing I can find is one of the lamps from the bedside table. I pick it up, take off the shade, unplug it, and carry it to the door. If I needed to, I can try to at least save Kai’s mom. I slowly open the door, and my eyes lock on Leia’s.
“Ah, thank fuck,” Frank mutters, throwing his hands in the air and looking up at the celling.
“You will have to forgive my brother. He can be a little”—she pauses, searching for the right word—“excitable.”
I look at her then Frank and shake my head, thinking “a little excitable” is a giant understatement.
“Sorry, girl,” Frank says then smiles, throwing his arm around his sister’s shoulders. “She’s cute,” he tells her, and then his face goes serious. “Don’t tell Kai about this.”
“Ugh…sure.” I bite my lip to keep from laughing at the look on Leia’s face. I can’t believe that someone as elegant as she is is related to this guy.
“You’ll learn to love him,” she mutters, taking the lamp out of my hand and setting it inside the room. Then she takes my hand and leads me down the hall.
“Hold up,” Frank says, and we stop in our tracks.
He gets in front of us and begins walking down the hall, looking right and left like he is making sure the coast is clear. Kai’s mom wraps her arm around mine and leans into my side, and I feel her silent laughter as we watch her brother the whole way to the library.
I look at the picture that was just handed to me, and I can’t believe how absolutely stunning my mom was. She looked like she could have graced the cover of Vogue. Her hourglass figure, beautiful, porcelain skin, and long, thick, blond hair were all perfect in a way that people today pay loads of money for.
“You look just like her.”
I look up from the picture and into the smiling face of Kai’s mom and shake my head.
“You do. You have your dad’s nose, but everything else is all your mom.”
I look down at the picture again and notice that my lips are the same as hers, the bottom one full and the top one slightly thinner. Her cheekbones were pronounced, just like mine, and her eyes were almond-shaped, also like mine.
“See? Your nose is all your father’s.” She smiles, handing me another picture, this one of a handsome man wearing a suit that fit him well, showing off his toned physique.
I can tell, even through the photo, that he took care of himself. His hair was dark brown and styled in a way that said that he took his time to tame it, and his skin was naturally tan. I look at his face, my eyes zeroing in on his nose, and I can see we do have the same one.
“How old were they in these pictures?” I ask, still staring at the photos.
“This was right after they were married, so I would guess early twenties. Your mom was about a month pregnant with you when this picture was taken. She had griped that she looked terrible because she had been having horrible morning sickness. I told her she was crazy. I had never once seen your mother look anything but perfect,” she says with a giggle.
“She was really beautiful,” I whisper, taking another picture when it’s handed to me, this one of my mom and dad together, my mom with a large, round belly that looks like a perfectly shaped basketball under her form-fitting dress.
“She was beautiful.”
I look up from my position on the floor and see a sadness in her eyes that makes my heart hurt. “We don’t have to do this,” I whisper, not wanting to cause her any more pain.
“Oh, honey.” She shakes her head, her hand coming down, running over my hair. “Even though this hurts, it feels good. Your mom was my best friend. She was someone who could walk into a room and everyone would stop to take notice that she was there. It wasn’t her beauty that did that, either. Her spirit called to you, made you want to be around her. I’m sad that you will never know what it was like to be in her presence, to have her shine her light on you. So if this is the only part of her you will be able to experience, then I’m so happy to be the one to share it with you.”
Wow, I think, loving Leia just a little more than I already did.
“Thank you.” I clear my throat as tears begin to clog it.
She smiles then hands me another picture, this one of my mom sitting on a bed with my dad next to her, one arm holding her close, the other wrapped around a tiny baby.
“You see what I mean? Your mom had just given birth, yet she looked absolutely perfect,” she says, and she is not wrong.
My mom’s hair was on top of her head in a tight bun, and her makeup was still perfectly in place. She looked like she had just gotten through with a day at the spa, not just given birth.
“They look like the perfect couple,” I say wistfully.
She laughs and her face lights up. “They were crazy about each other. Your mom told me she was going to marry him the first night they met.”
“Really?” I ask, looking at the picture again.
“Oh, yeah. We were both in our freshmen year of college and had just passed our first semester exams, so we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate. The moment we walked into the restaurant, your mom stopped dead in her tracks, causing me to plow into her. I looked around to see why she was stopping, but then I noticed a tableful of men. All of them were handsome. I told her she was staring, and she whispered that she couldn’t help it—her future was sitting right in front of her. At this point, I swore she was crazy. Honestly, who sees a man and says something like that? But then your dad’s head turned our way and his eyes locked on your mom, and without another word to the men at the table, he came over to us, stopped in front of your mom, took her hand, and led her to the bar.”
“No way.” I smile. My dad had balls.
She laughs hard and her eyes go soft. “Yes way. I stood there for a few minutes, wondering if I was seeing things, but I wasn’t. A few minutes later, your dad brought your mother back to me, introduced himself, and then went back to his table.”
“What happened next?”
“It’s like you say—the rest is history. Your dad made plans with your mom for the next night, and from that moment on, they were inseparable.”
“That quickly?” I ask, running my finger over another picture of my parents, this one of them laughing while looking at each other.