“What?!” I hissed. I heard voices and someone unlocking the door from outside. Austin grabbed my hand and pulled me close to him.
“Hug me.” He whispered. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he wrapped his around my waist just as the door opened, and I could feel my cheeks just slightly blushing.
“Austin, who’s that you got there?” a deep voice said. We let go of each other and stood next to each other.
“John? When did you get here?” Austin asked.
“Just about an hour ago. The girl?” he pointed at me.
“Tara Jennings is that you?” his dad said. I slowly looked up from my interesting spot on the floor and smiled.
“Yeah.” I smiled weakly. “I haven’t seen you in year’s young lady.” His mom smiled.
“Nice to see you again Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” I said.
“So you’re this girl of Austin’s we’ve been hearing about. We knew this day would come. It was just so obvious.” Mr. Smith said.
“Yeah, everyone seemed to know but me.” I said.
“So what are you doing here?” his mom asked.
“She was just leaving.” Austin said pushing me closer to the door.
“Wait a minute Austin, let the girl stay for dinner. She is your girlfriend after all.” John grinned. He got that same look Austin did when he was up to something.
“That’s a great idea! I’ll go get started on dinner.” His mom smiled.
“I have some work to finish, so continue on.” His dad said, following his mom into the kitchen and into the office. I was left with Austin and this John guy.
“Introduce me man.” He smiled at me.
“Tara this is my brother John, John this is my uh… girlfriend Tara.” He said girlfriend in such an awkward way. I put a fake smile on my face.
“So uh, you don’t live here?” I asked trying to make small talk.
“Nope just got back from school.” He said.
“He’s a freshman in college.” Austin added.
“So how come I’ve never met you before?” I asked.
“I went to boarding school.” He replied.
“Oh, cool. Hey Austin, can I talk to you for a sec?” I asked turning to face him.
“Yeah.” He said.
“Just give us a sec.” I smiled at John. I grabbed Austin’s hand and pulled him over to the music area.
“Dinner!? You have got to be kidding me! It’s only noon!” I yell-whispered.
“My mom makes big fancy meals when we have guests, it’ll take a few hours.” He said.
“Well then why can’t I go home?” I whined.
“Listen, you agreed to help me so suck it up!” he whispered back.
“Well what are we supposed to do then?” I hissed.
He ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “Why don’t you just be the perfect little angel and help my mom with dinner?” he said.
“Oh, no no no hotshot. I am not gonna be the girl in this relationship who does all the work. If I help your mom, you help your mom. Are we understood?” I said getting in his face.
“Yes.” He sighed. A grin cracked on my face and I grabbed his hand and we walked back out into the living room. John was gone so we continued into the kitchen.
“Mrs. Smith, do you need any help with dinner?” I asked.
“Oh no sweetie, you and Austin just find something else to do.” She said washing a whole chicken in the sink.
“Oh no it’s cool; we couldn’t find anything better to do.” I said.
“Well alright then.” She said.
She went over to the fridge and pulled out carrots, celery and potatoes. “Tara dear, you can just slice the celery and carrots. Austin you peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.” She set the vegetables down in front of us and gave us each a cutting board and a knife.
“So Tara, you’re going to college aren’t you?” she asked going back to the sink.
“Yeah, UCLA.” I said. Then Austin looked over at me.
“I’ve heard that’s a great school. What are you planning on majoring in?” she asked. Austin and I were having a whole conversation just through our eyes.
“Uh...” I snapped back into focus and went back to cutting the vegetables.
“Journalism.” I replied.
“Really? That’s what Austin wants to major in.” his mom said.
“You never told me that.” I smiled poking his back. He glared at me and I just smiled back.
“What got you interested in that?” she asked.
“I had an internship at a magazine company.” I said.
“Was it for TeenDaily?” she asked.
“Yeah. How did you know?” I asked pushing the celery to the side of the board and grabbing a carrot.
“My niece reads that magazine. I heard they’re having a big party to celebrate the retiring of the CEO.” She said.
“It’s not something I’m really into. You have to dress all classy and everything.” I said. Mrs. Smith and I kept talking about the party for about another 10 minutes and Austin didn’t say a word. He would keep giving me a glance every so often obviously surprised I could keep the conversation going.
“So are you going dear?” she asked turning back to the two of us.
“I was going to but I’d be by myself and I don’t really own classy… anything.” I said. I wasn’t classy at all.
“Doesn’t your friend Olivia work there with you?”
“Yeah but she has a date. So I’d be alone.” I said. As soon as that came out of my mouth, I think we all realized how incredibly stupid that sounded.
“Austin, honey you aren’t taking her?” his mom looked at him. He didn’t say anything for a few seconds.
“I didn’t want him to take me. Of course he offered, but I know it isn’t his thing, so I told him he didn’t have to go.” I said quickly.
“Ah I see. Tara I’ve been married for a long time now, so let me shed some light onto you. When in a situation like this, if a man says he’ll take you and doesn’t say anything about not wanting to go, then you take him up on his offer.” She said.
“So did he say he didn’t want to go?” she asked.
“No.” I replied.
“Then you both are going!” His mom clapped her hands together. Austin groaned and dropped his head in his hands. Mrs. Smith pulled something out of her pocket and handed it to me.
“Austin go take her out and get her a dress.” She said. It was a debit card. This lady just gave me her debit card!
“But-.” we both started.
“No buts. You are going to get a dress, and Austin is going to help you. Now get out.” She smiled and pointed towards the door. Me and Austin exchanged a glance, and started towards the door.
“I’ll pay you back, I swear.” I said as we stepped outside.
“No payback needed.” She smiled then closed the door in my face.
I turned back around and faced Austin. “Did all of that really just happen?” I asked.
“Yeah, all thanks to you.” He said and started towards his car.
“Me? I didn’t do anything! Your mom asked me questions so I had to answer.” I said.
“Well you should’ve done a better job lying.” He said and opened his car door.
“What?! You could have at least said something.” I said. He rolled his eyes and was about to sit down.
“Austin.” I crossed my arms.
“What?” he snapped.
“My door is still closed.” I smiled. He shot me a warning look but I ignored it. He trudged over in front of me and opened the door.
“Thanks sweetie.” I smiled and poked his nose as I sat down.
“You are this close to dying, Jennings.” He glared. He got in the car and backed out.
“So where are we going?” he asked. I looked over at him surprised and then looked back out the window.
“Why so surprised?” he asked.
“I didn’t think you were actually gonna take me.” I said.
“I don’t have to.” He said slowing down.
“No! I mean, I want to get a dress. I haven’t had one in forever.” I said.
“Fine. Where are we going?” he asked.
“Let’s just go to the mall.” I said.