“Snacks for the beauties!”

Martha regaled, observing the girls sitting together, facing her son who looked too uncomfortable about the way things were. He fidgeted once in while, wiping the sofa of unseen dust or blowing off invisible mites off the throw pillows he slapped several times.

“Thank you, Ma’m,” Leyla took the glass of juice and chocolate cookies on a plate. Jane and Jean were focused on Joey’s uneasiness.

“I recalled a similar scene like this when I was young,” she said, not mentioning it was the reverse.

“Ma,” Joey interrupted her reminiscence with a touch on her arm. “I need to speak to them.”

“Ow! Right!” She excused herself, winking at them.

Joey had no idea where to start. No man has probably experienced the awkward situation he was faced with.

“I appreciate the attention. It is very heart warming and original.” The last word was a hint.

Leyla wished she could sit beside him, closer enough to convey her genuine feelings. On second thought, she decided otherwise: he might not be prepared for it.

“I do not want to approach you at school, in front of many people. That might look too forward of me,”

“So you thought this up instead.” Joey understood her fear: she knew how to comport in public.

“Yes,” she smiled, satisfied he did not say anything against it. “I hope you didn’t mind.”

Joey felt he needed more time to study her approach. She was coming too strong and he did not want her disappointed if he turned her down so quickly, especially in front of her friends.

“I have exams tomorrow so I need to cram. I am sorry if we could not talk longer. I hope you understand.”

“Oh! In that case, we should be going,” she said, gesturing to Jean and Jane to stand up. “Thank you for seeing us.”

“You are very convincing,” he jested. “I really liked the harmony.”

The girls giggled; the compliment divine.

After they left, Erika walked back to her brother’s room and inquired what was talked about.

“She’s nice, a perfect future sister-in-law.”

“She’s three years younger,” he remarked. “Besides, she must not repeat a similar stunt again.”

“That’s the problem with you boys,” she complained. “You always want to be doing the first move. Why can’t we girls do the same?”

Joey was stunned. To think that his younger sister was asking a valid question that society frowns upon was proof enough she sided with the girls.

“I don’t know.” he replied, a safe answer to prevent further discussion. “Ask father.”

“He won’t understand either,” she said. “Parents are old fashioned.”

“They should be,” he agreed. “Accept it. When you are a parent yourself, you might act the same way as they do now.”

– 0 –

“What do you think?” Leyla asked her friends while they negotiated the empty road toward home.

“We shocked him. That’s what.” Jean was vocal: she dissented at first to go ahead with the idea.

“You are not a stranger to him now. I believe that’s a plus.” Jane gave Leyla a soft high five.

“I am not playing games, girls. I want him to be my husband.”

(to be continued)



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