Chapter 16

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I smiled a sickeningly sugar sweet smile as I hissed at Nate through my teeth, “What the hell are you doing here with our mothers and the skank?”

“Lizzie darling, it’s been too long! I haven’t heard a peep from you in eons. When I heard from my Nate that you were touring with some famous boy band, I’d never been more shocked in my life!”

My mom took over the conversation seamlessly with, “Imagine my disbelief when I heard it, not from my children, but from my best friend!” My mother pouted.

“We didn’t tell you?” I exclaimed in false surprise. “I’m certain that me and Gabe had mentioned it at least once to you. In fact I remember telling you that, the same day I told you I had met Chris here…” I paused to yank Chris to my side and away from the claws of the man stealer Mikaela, “at the Oceanside Talent Agency.”

My stopped to think this over before turning to my brother Gabe, “What have you to say about this young man? How come you didn’t think to tell you’re dear old mother?” I had figured she aim for Gabe next so I quickly retorted, “I told him I told you. Maybe he didn’t think to tell you again?”

My brother jumped my bandwagon faster than you could say, “Ambisol.”

“Yeah mom! I believe I mentioned it in passing, but I didn’t spend much time on the subject since Lizzie had already told you…”

Our mother narrowed her eyes at him trying to disconcert him into cracking, but this was a practice we’d perfected over the years and she was unsuccessful. I felt Chris make me loosen my grip on his sleeve as he eased my hand into his and squeezed it reassuringly. This did not go unnoticed by my mother and her eyes flashed with motherly pride. Before she could say something stupid, I politely redirected my question from earlier.

“So mom, what brings you to Phoenix? Certainly not the weather! If I stay here much longer, I may melt into a mass of ooze.”

“We’re here to see my babies perform, silly! Nate had already volunteered to take Linda to see you guys and extended the invitation to me when he found out I hadn’t seen you guys perform yet. Wasn’t that sweet of him?”

She looked at me expectantly and it took everything within me not to roll my eyes. I guess this was payback for bringing up embarrassing stories of Nate to his friends, not that I thought this was a fair trade. My fate was much worse, that evil ingenious bastard. Well two could play that game.

“So Nathaniel,” I began in my sweetest voice. “Who’s your lovely girlfriend?”

My eyes flickered in the direction of Mikaela and back to him. Nate narrowed his eyes at me unsure as to where I was going with this, but as I expected, Mrs. Lane took his silence as an opportunity to make introductions.

“Good Heavens Nate! Where are your manners? I can’t believe you haven’t introduced your best friend to your girlfriend! Lizzie dear, this is Mikaela. Mikaela, this is Elizabeth and at the table from left to right is Gabriel, her brother, Crystal, Cynthia, errr…” She paused trying to remember Powell’s first name, but was obviously drawing a blank. Honestly, I didn’t know it either. It’s just Powell so I spoke up and said as much.

“Powell,” she continued smiling gratefully at me, “Dama and last but not least this handsome man that you already seemed to know. What was your name honey?”

“Christopher O’Neill ma’am, but everyone just calls me Chris. Pleasure to make your acquaintance. Both of your acquaintances.”

He flashed his million dollar smile at both mine and Nate’s mothers and they smiled back hugely, more than loving his charm. Mrs. Lane blinked rapidly and part of me wanted to snicker at her, while the other part was just plain sympathetic. I knew what it felt like to be target of his charms, and so I could easily recognize her trying to inconspicuously shake it off. I could see a small smirk forming on Chris’ lips and instantly knew he was thinking the same thing. He glanced at me amusedly and for a moment, just a moment, it felt like nothing negative had passed between us. It was then I realized how much I missed this. A little over two weeks had gone by since I had last seen or spoken to Chris and I missed him like I hadn’t heard from him in two months.

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