His breaths were erratic and heavy as we both waited at their door.
“Watch your breathing,” I said to him. He nodded with understanding and tried to regulate his breathing a bit. Seconds later, a woman with platinum blonde hair and deep blue eyes, matching Ryder’s opened the door. She wore a buttoned-up denim jean dress with a pink sweater over it, and black stellatos. She had a look of pure terror on her face when she saw him.
“I can't do this,” she raspily said and tried to close the door on us. She had a lovely Scottish accent.
“Mum, please,” Ryder begged, stopping the door with his foot. She turned back around and unexpectedly slapped him. She was on the brink of tears.
“Don't you ever scare us like that again, Ryder!” she yelled. She then yanked him inside by the arm and threw him down onto the red carpet. It seemed like something I’d do. This lady was strong. She kicked her heels off, their thumping on the walls called his father into the room. He was in utter shock at the sight.
“Ah'mno afraid to beat you like you're not my child in here today! Especially in front of your sweetheart there!” She pointed to me. His father sprung into action and ran to keep her from murdering Ryder.
“Calm down, Laire,” his father said to her. He had a British accent. “Don't hurt him.”
“You had your father and me worried sick about you! You leave us for two years and we don't hear a thing from you, you made us think you were DEAD!” she barked.
“Sweetie,” he said to her, “I think you need to sit down for a minute.” She went to go sit on the couch a few feet away from us, not taking her angry eyes off of Ryder for a minute. His dad and I helped Ryder back up. Ryder was speechless.
“Mum, Dad, I'm sorry,” he said. He spoke as if he were powerless. It hurt me to see him like that. He went to hug his father. Laire rose up off of the couch and jumped in between the two, pulling Ryder into her arms. She erupted with tears and buried her face into his chest. A small smile curled up onto my lips.
“You scared me so badly,” she sobbed, her voice muffled.
“I know, it was selfish. I'm sorry, there's no excuse for it,” he whispered to her.
“I thought I'd failed as a parent and lost my baby.”
“You're a wonderful mother, please never think that again. I love you, Mum.”
“You abandoned us, so I don't know if you're telling the truth, but I still love you too.”
“Mother, I'm so sorry.” Ryder’s father let them have their moment and turned to me.
“I'm D’Angelo,” he said, holding out a hand for me to shake. I happily shook it. “Thank you for taking care of our boy while he was away.”
“Actually, he was taking care of me. It's an honor to know him and to meet you. My name is Opal Drefan.”
“Aren't you a sweet girl? I'm sorry you had to see all our emotions flying all over the place this afternoon, dear.”
“It's not a problem,” I chuckled. “I've seen much worse, trust me.” He laughed,
“It's nice to see that our son has found himself such a beautiful girl.” I didn't want to ruin the moment for him and went with it, although his words made me want to vomit.
“He's such a gentleman, how could I reject him?”
Laire and Ryder parted their hug and joined us.
“Hello, lassie!” Laire happily shook my hand and hugged me. “I'm sorry about everything back there. Amur Laire.”
“It's nice to meet you. Opal Drefan.”
Laire made some amazing Fennel tea for Ryder and me. D’Angelo talked with us as she did that.
“So, what's it like being an agent, son?” his father asked. He smiled. “To be honest, I want to hear all the cool spy stories so I can know that my son’s a cool spy guy!” Ryder and I laughed.
You'll never be cool to me, you nerd, I humorously thought about Ryder.
“Well, a lot of the stuff I do is classified, but I've protected princesses,” my stomach did a few flips, “gone to outer space, put7 leaders out of commission, and more.”
“Wo-how!” D’Angelo exclaimed. “Look at him, Laire! Ryder’s a man now!”
“He'll always be my baby boy!” Laire said. Ryder blushed and turned his head.
“Calm down, I'm still a trainee,” he mumbled and chuckled. I giggled with him. Laire came back in the room with cups of tea and distributed them among us.
“You two are such an adorable couple,” she cooed over us as she took a seat next to her husband.
“Oh, stop it, Mum,” Ryder played along like me.
“How long have you known each other?”
“About a month now,” I said.
“Is Ryder a good kisser?”
“Mum!” I couldn't stop laughing.
“Sorry, I just wanted your reactions, loves.”
“You two haven't been doing naughty things have you?” She wagged a scolding finger at us. “You know that's a sin outside of marriage in the eyes of God.”
“Mother, no! We haven't been doing anything like that!” Ryder’s cheeks became redder and he hid his head in his hands. She laughed and patted him on the back.
“Oh boy, I really missed you, Ryder!”
Ryder and I rode through the fast paced city. He slammed on his brakes as a car flew past us at the stoplight.
“Watch it!” he yelled out the window.
“I want to learn how to drive,” I laughed.
“Not in this city, love,” he smirked. “It's like a war zone. And right now, I have to take you home so your father can yell at you.”
“Ugh.” I rolled my eyes. “I won't be listening to a word he says, but,” my voice lifted a bit, “I'm really proud of you, Ryder.”
“I enjoyed watching your wrestler of a mother manhandle you.”
“Haha, very funny.” His cheeks reddened once again. “She's always been a fighter.”
“I can see that,” I laughed.
I arrived home to be warmly greeted by Raymonde as usual, Ryder following behind me inside.
“Ryder, you can't come in!” Buddy abruptly made his way to the door to try and shut him out. “Opal’s about to get the punishment of a lifetime!” Ryder forced his way inside.
“Don't be so hard on her,” Ryder tried to reason with the furious man. “She wasn't doing anything wrong.”
“No! She stayed out without my permission!” Buddy pointed a strict finger in my face. “You know that you can't do that under these circumstances!” So much yelling. Chance. Only he used to yell so much. I felt myself shutting down as I usually did when Chance used to yell at me. I walked away from his yells and went to my room.
“You come back here right now, young lady!” He followed me. I sat on my bed, my head down.
I'm not so tough, am I? I thought to myself. I felt so stupid. I can't even hold my own when some stupid man’s yelling at me. I put on a front to act like I'm a force to be reckon with, but I'm just a weak princess.
“Buddy, calm down!” Ryder stepped in again. “She's learned her lesson! Look at her!” Buddy saw me and his expression softened. He sighed, shook his head in disapproval, and left the room. Ryder sat down next to me and started rubbing my back. Raymonde came and sat his head in my lap.
“‘You okay?” Ryder asked. I didn't respond. I didn't respond to anything for a while after Chance used to yell at me. I was completely shut down, disconnected from reality. “Hey, it's okay.” Raymonde licked my hands, waiting for a reaction. He didn't get one. Ryder noticed my blank stare and looked concerned. “Opal,” he gently lifted my head up with his finger, “you're a strong girl.”
“No, I'm not,” I mumbled. “It was all just a front. You saw that when I was crying in the bathroom.”
“I saw someone who just needs understanding.”
“Hmmmm…” I lied back on my bed. Raymonde lied on my legs. “Do you have any cigarettes?”
“You smoke?” He looked back at me like I was crazy.
“No, but I hear smoking is good for emotional support.”
“No, it's not. You'll kill yourself by smoking.”
“I just wanna see my family again.” His eyes wondered. He seemed unsure of himself. “What? What are you thinking about?” I sat up. “What's with that worried look on your face? Are they dead?!”
“No, I'm just thinking about something.”
“Tell me!” I grabbed him by the shoulders. “I want to see my family!”
“You could, but it would be super risky.”
“I don't care!” I pinned him down. Raymonde was very confused. “Take me to them! How can I get to them?!”
“I'd have to speak with my boss. We'd have to switch things up in our plans for you.”
“I told you I don't care! I wanna see them!”
“Okay, okay. I'll see what I can do, but don't get your hopes up.” I got off of him.
“Thank you, Ryder.”