Three Ways to New York

Ellie Narbarough is getting old. Or so she thinks. She wants to settle down and have a family, so when she finds the amazing Zachary online, she gets in touch. This results in numerous chats, and the pair agree to meet up. But when Ellie gets to New York and sees another side to him, she wonders if Zachery is really that amazing. As she tries to work this out, the not-so-perfect-but-still-great Anthony enters her life, and tries to help her along the journey to happiness and true love, but doesn't realize he is only making it more complicated.

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2. Pecan Pies

I opened my eyes to a banging coming from my front room. One bang. Two bangs. No, not bangs, knocks. Blearily, I stumbled out of bed, through the front room, where the bang wasn't actually coming from, and after catching a hangnail on my big toe, I cursed as I threw open the door, startling a smiling Cadence. “Cade!” I launched myself into her arms, ducking my head into the crook of her neck. The hangnail was forgotten.

“Hey hey!” Cadence laughed as she steadied herself against the door frame, clutching at a brown paper bag from the bakery down town. Making way for my sister to squeeze her increasingly large stomach through the door, I smiled to myself as I admired her. Cadence was wearing a loose, ruby-red coat with a belt straining round her stomach, over a pair of faded, blue jeans and sparkly pink converses. As usual, her perfect auburn curls flowed over her shoulders like a copper waterfall, lighting up her dark green eyes as she spoke.

“Are you even listening to me? I said I want you to come to the next antenatal class with me.” I stared at her in surprise. Simon had been going to each class every week now religiously for 6 months, despite the fact that his sciatic nerve flared like mad whenever he sat on the floor.

“Sure. But why not Simon?” Cadence waved her hand dismissively as she arched her back to untangle herself from her coat.  

“Simon’s away on a work trip. He’s been called in by that snobby guy at his office, Martin I think he’s called, because the boss is off sick. He’s to fly into Sydney on Saturday for a meeting with some Australian conselor dude. I’ve met his wife. God, she is so pretty, it’s hard not to look at her and think, why has she got-” And Cadence was off in her own little land.

I peeled off the sugary label from the paper bag and peered inside. Cadence had gone to the trouble to have our names written on two pastry pecan pies in cream. Our dad used to do that every other Sunday after he and our mum split up. When times were tough, either Cadence or myself would go and collect the pecan pies to cheer the other one up.  I guess the pies were for last night, when I’d upset Cadence and she’d upset me. Spinning round to the kitchen, I pressed the precious pies to my chest carefully, smiling appreciatively at the rich aromas that wafted from the sticky, brown bag.

"Where are your plates hun?" Cadence padded through the flat like it was her own home, her purple, fluffy slipper socks making a distracting shuffling sound as she crossed the kitchen. I looked back to where her converses lay in a heap by the door and tutted. Cadence never had any respect for anything. She would just chuck a pair of shoes there, and her keys would fly onto the sofa, scratching the leather, and her phone would always end up underneath the sofa, when she would kick it around after dropping it on the floor. The amount of phones she got through had to break a record; she had a new mobile every time I saw her. It was another thing I shamefully admired her for; she was so carefree.

We sat cuddled up on the sofa with our legs crossed around eachother, plate and pie in hand, watching an old movie that was being played for the day. The sun shot its rays through the windows behind us, illuminating us in a golden light. Cadence licked her lips.

"So, tell me about Zach."  Suddenly, all of last nights events came flooding back. I had purposefully blocked out everything to do with Zach for as long as my sister stayed, not wanting to upset her further. I blinked at her uncertainly.

"I thought you were against my decision?" My statement came out as a question, I was so surprised. Cadence fiddled with a flake of pastry.

"I was. But then I realized that it was selfish of me to shoot your idea down so quickly. I was tired, I didn't think it through." Cadence took our plates and waddled into the kitchen. "But, you were right about what you said. I don't want you to get into this relationship... partly because... I was afraid that you wouldn't need me anymore."

In a quarter of second I was by her side, taking her hand and kissing it. "No Cade! How could I not need you?" Cadence bit her lip nervously and swivelled to look at me full on.

"You're not mad?"

"Of course I'm not mad! If I was, it would be a pot, kettle, black scenario. I felt like that when you got with Simon." Now it was my turn to blush. "Well, I was afraid that you wouldn't be around to see me. But I was wrong! And I'm glad I'm wrong! Because I can see that Simon makes you happy, so that makes me... happy! Don't you think that you could be wrong too?"

Suddenly Cadence stiffened. Her face turned up at the ceiling and she wore a grimace. Her hands clasped her stomach protectively and she gasped, turning to scrabble for my hand and press it against her stomach. I stared at her stomach intently, gasping myself when I felt a slight bump against my hand, then another one. Cadence was smiling proudly, even though her back was still arched from the pain of the kicks. I sat crouched on the linoleum, still holding my palm against her, when she relaxed and slumped into the chair again.  "He's stopped kicking. Gonna be a right little footballer!" Cadence laughed for a second, genuine laughing. I'd never seen her so happy. But as I watched her face, her expression turned from happy to amused. "You can take your icky, creamy hands off me now Ellie."

Blushing, I got up from the floor, picked up the plates from the table where they had been dumped, and placed them in the dishwasher. Cadence came from behind, wrapping her long arms around my waist and hugging me, but her bump was up my back and it just felt wrong. I giggled, flipping the kitchen tap on beside me and splashing over my shoulders. Just as I'd suspected, Cadence squealed and laughed, squeezing in beside me to get to the tap. And suddenly it was as if we were 5 and 10 years old again, splashing around in the sink and covering eachother in fairy liquid. I missed those days so much. Without warning, and in mid quirt, I crashed to the floor and started weeping. Alarmed, Cadence loosened my tight fist from around the washing liquid bottle, the plastic sighing in relief, and then sat back on her haunches beside me, wiping my eyes.

"You miss it don't you?" She whispered. I nodded, staring at the floor. "I miss it too." She smiled.

Suddenly, I was on my feet, having being pulled up from Cadence, who had got so much stronger since she had gotten pregnant. "Let's get you cleaned up and dressed, and then we'll talk about Zachary. Just because I'm on your side though, it doesn't mean I'm gonna let you fly out to see him. There's still your safety to consider. I was thinking, how about that video chat?"

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