#Bonus 9: A Call
It was well after the party, and everyone else had gone to sleep. ]
Lori and Jessica took over the guest- room after all due to the fact that Melania, using her magic, conjured up an amazing little hut outside. When we walked into the hut, we were all astonished to see that it was bigger on the inside, although I was more astonished to see the loving look in Luke’s eyes when the attractive witch performed her trick.
The hockey team took up residence on
the floor of the living room, and now Enzo and I were lying in our bed, too energized to sleep. We had a movie playing quietly on the television, but neither of us were watching it. We had … more important things to do in bed.
As the credits rolled on the screen,
Enzo and I lay comfortably entwined in the bed, a blanket draped lazily over our nude bodies.
The peaceful silence was broken only by the low hum of the movie soundtrack and our quiet breaths syncing in harmony. It was the calm serenity of shared solitude, a comforting quiet that came with the understanding that it was enough to just be in each other’s presence.
A slow smile was creeping across my face as I traced patterns on Enzo’s chest with my finger.
Suddenly, the shrill ring of my phone pierced the tranquility and caused my smile to fade.
I glanced at the screen, an unknown number flashing brightly. I furrowed my brows, expecting an annoying spam caller at this late hour. With a sigh, I picked up the call, ready to hang up at the first sign of a recorded message.
But the voice that greeted me was tar from mechanical. It was warm, familiar, and it brought a lump to my throat. “Nina?” The voice was shaky, hesitant.
“Taylor?” I asked, sitting up abruptly.” I can’t believe it’s you,” I whispered, the surprise and emotion clear in my voice. “Why haven’t you and mom been answering my calls?”
“I know it’s been a while,” Taylor replied. “We’ve been really busy, and mom’s phone hasn’t been working properly. I’m sorry that you haven’t heard from us, but we have received your voicemails and letters.”
Relief washed over me. “It’s alright,” I replied. Enzo sat up behind me. I felt him stand and watched as he walked over to the bathroom, tugging on his boxers as he went, “I’m just glad you’re alright, Taylor.”
I could hear the sounds of cars honkingand people talking in the background, but I knew fully well that Taylor didn’t own a cell phone. “Are you at a phone booth?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He chuckled. “They’re still a thing over here. It’s actually awesome. You know I always hated cell phones.”
I had to laugh. “Yeah,” I replied. “I remember.”
Once, when Taylor and I were teenagers, he got so frustrated with his cell phone ringing too often that he threw it in the street and watched with satisfaction as the school bus ran over it.
He was always a little more old- fashioned than I was. I always teased him and said that he should just start using telegrams to communicate with people, and he was open to the idea.
“So… What happened?” I asked,
wanting to know why he and my mom had been radio silent for almost a
Taylor let out a long, exasperated sigh. “We’ve just… been busy,” he replied. He almost sounded as though he had more that he wanted to say, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it.” Listen, Nina… I know you’re getting married soon. But I don’t think we can make it. I’m really sorry.”
The disappointment washed over me like a wave. I had been clinging to the hope of my family being there on my special day. But understanding and love for my brother quelled the rising storm of sadness within me. He was sick, after all. I swallowed hard, forcing a smile into my voice.
“I understand, Taylor,” I murmured. ” I’m just glad you and mom are okay. I’ll come to visit soon, okay?”
I could hear Taylor’s smile through the phone. “Good,” he replied quietly. “I promise we’ll see each other sooner than you realize.”
There was something almost cryptic about Taylor’s words, but I decided that I was just imagining things, and decided to change the subject.
Taylor said that he only had a few minutes left on the payphone and, not knowing when I would get a chance to talk to him next, I wanted to make the most of those few minutes.
Our conversation flowed, revisiting shared memories, love and longing stitched into every word. Our words, echoing with years of lost time and connection, painted a bittersweet picture. By the time we hung up, tears were already blurring my vision.
I fell back onto the bed, the phone call
leaving a hollow ache in my chest.
Enzo, who had laid back down and put on another movie, turned to me, his brows creased with concern at my tear- streaked face. I sank into his arms, seeking comfort in the familiar scent and warmth.
“What happened, Nina?” Enzo asked, his voice soft as a whisper, his hand running through my hair in soothing strokes.
“They’re okay, but they can’t come,” I replied, my voice trembling with the weight of unshed tears. “I don’t know why, exactly. I think they’re just too busy, and it’s too far. Taylor is sick, after all, but still…”
Enzo held me tighter, his silence giving me strength. He didn’t need to say anything. His presence, his arms wrapped around me, spoke volumes.
I let myself cry, the tears staining the sheets as he held me through my sorrow. It wasn’t a dramatic outburst,but a gentle release of pent-up
emotion, shared in the intimacy of our
Eventually, my sobs subsided and were
replaced by a comforting silence.
“It’ll be okay, Nina,” Enzo whispered,
kissing my forehead gently. “We’ll see
I nodded. “I know,” I replied quietly. I shook my head then. “I’m sorry for being dramatic. I shouldn’t be complaining when…”.
My voice faltered. We both knew what I was going to say; that Enzo had lost both parents. Neither his mother nor his father would be attending our wedding, and not because of extenuating circumstances.
He wouldn’t be able to see either of them, not ever. My biological mother was long dead, but I never knew her; my adoptive mother was my real mother, in that aspect. I could see both her and my biological father whenever I wanted to, and here I was, whining about my mom not being able to come to my wedding.
Enzo narrowed his eyes. “Nina-”
“I’m sorry,” I murmured. “I didn’t
mean to be rude.”
Surprisingly, Enzo shook his head and just pulled me closer. “You’re not being rude. I was only going to say that you’re allowed to be sad over this. Just because my parents are gone doesn’t mean that you have to push down your feelings about your mom.”
Enzo’s words were an odd source of comfort to me. Without saying anything else, I nuzzled down further into his arms.
I realized that this was what love meant -holding each other up during times of heartache, sharing in the other’s sorrow, providing a sanctuary in the midst of the storm.
As I drifted off to sleep in Enzo’s arms, lulled by his steady heartbeat and the soft movie in the background, I couldn’t help but feel grateful. Grateful for the love I had found in Enzo, for the conversation with Taylor, for the chance to move forward while cherishing the past.
Life was full of surprises and hurdles, but as long as I had Enzo by my side, I knew we could weather any storm.
The phone call was a reminder of that- a testament to the ties that bind, the love that heals, and the strength we find in each other.”