Josh arrived at my house earlier than he was suppose to. Luckily, I answered the door instead of my mom, because he would've got chewed out. When I opened the door, I was welcomed with a stuffed bear holding a bright-pink tulip.
"Happy first day of spring!" Josh said beaming.
I smiled and took the bear from him. "Thank you, Josh." I walked back into the living and sat the bear on the couch. When I turned back to Josh, he had his eyebrows arched and staring at me quizzically.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked.
Josh came closer to me with that look still on his face. "What's with your attitude. You're not acting your usual self..."
Obviously, Josh could read me like a book. "You caught me. I'm bummed about this trip."
He smiled at the fact that he could tell I was upset. "Why are you bummed? It's going to be fun!"
"Maybe for you. You know how awkward this is going to be? Mom and her 'boyfriend'!" I starting making my way to the kitchen with Josh following behind.
I felt his arms come around my shoulders and he hugged me tight. "You can do this, Button! I know you. You handle situations-awkward or not-very well."
I turned around so I was facing him and fell into his hug. We were standing like that, when my mom came in the room wearing her new hiking outfit.
"Oh! I'm sorry if I'm interrupting something. Nicole, are you packed?"
Josh broke away from me and I slowly nodded.
"Great! Luke should be here any minute."
A few minutes later, we heard the honking of a horn and a car door opening. Soon after, Luke was knocking on the door. Mom rushed over to the door and greeted him with a very disgusting kiss.
Luke was acting very giddy and exclaimed, "Well! Are we all ready?" Mom and Josh nodded excitedly, while I just stood there.
He obviously noticed my dismay and his smile faded. "Nicole, will you help me make some room in my SUV, please?"
I definitely didn't want to help him, but I knew my mom would be pissed if I didn't. Josh spoke up and asked, "Would you like my help, too?"
Luke smiled and was going to say yes, however my mom jumped in and said, "actually, Josh, I was hoping you could help me prepare our picnic baskets. Would you care?"
I could see the hesitation in his eyes, but Josh nodded and said, "Not at all, April."
He looked over at me and winked. I loved how respectful he was being towards my mom, so I mouthed to him "Thank you" and walked out.
Outside at Luke's car, he started taking out all his gear and equipment while I just stood there. He finally turned towards me and said, "Nicole, will you come here and hold this for me?"
I sighed and walked over to him. What he held out was in a black-velvet cloth and was quite light. "Thank you," Luke said quickly then went back to his work.
Curious, I slowly started unwrapping the velvet. Something metal shimmered in the sunlight and when I had it completely out, I realized it was a camera.
"You got quite the curiousity, don't you?"
I jumped when Luke spoke up. I almost dropped the camera, but Luke caught it. I stammered, "I..I'm sorry..."
Luke was smiling, though. He wasn't angry with me. "It's perfectly fine, Nicole. I was hoping you would look at it. Pretty, isn't it?"
I nodded while I examined it more. "Do you take pictures?" I asked.
"Eh. Sometimes. I use to all the time, but I really don't have time now...do you?"
I handed it back to him and said, "no."
"Oh...the way you were carefully holding it, I thought maybe you did." Luke put the velvet wrapping back on the camera and placed it in a compartment of the car.
"I just know how to hold precious and fragile things... like children." I couldn't help but bring that up. Evidently, my dad wasn't good with precious and fragile things since he left me when I was a baby.
Luke crossed his arms and looked at me with compassion. "Nicole, I know we should've had this talk a long time ago, but your mother was afraid you would be upset. I have been talking to April for quite some time..and I've began falling for her."
"It's obvious..." I said.
He continued, "Nicole, I want to have a relationship with you, too. A different kind. Now, I don't want to replace your dad or anything...but I don't want you hating me or wishing your mother had never met me. I want to be your friend."
His comments were quite surprising and I could tell he was being sincere. I looked up from the ground and stared into Luke's eyes. He didn't break eye contact not once.
I finally said,"I don't hate you, Luke. It may not seem like it, but I'm happy for my mom...she needs a man in her life. I was upset because your existence was a secret."
"I completely understand why you would be angry." Luke put in.
I continued, "You're right. My dad might have been a coward and left me...but you will never replace him. Ever. But, I will like to have you as a friend, Luke...for the sake of my mom."
He nodded and said, "Thank you for giving me a chance, Nicole. I promise, I won't let you down." He held out his hand and we shook hands and continued placing his gear back in the trunk.
When we walked back into the house, my mom was nowhere to be seen. I looked over at Josh for answers, and was shocked to his face.
I could tell he was angry...and Luke could tell, too. "Josh, where did April go?" he asked carefully.
Josh placed his head in his hands and sighed, "Uh...I think she went back into her bedroom."
Luke thanked him and made his way down the hallway. With him gone, I walked over to Josh and placed my hand on his shoulder.
"Is everything ok?"
Josh shook his head and took my hand in his. He kissed it multiple times and held at his cheek.
I felt something wet on the front of my hand, and realized that it was a tear. I knelt down so I could look into his face and asked, "Josh...what happened?!"
He didn't speak for awhilebut then said, "She told methat I have to break-up with you."
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