Chapter 6: Waylay

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A few days later...

"Caleb!" my aunt shouted from downstairs. "I need you to wake up!"

"Why?" I yelled back.

I heard her footsteps on the stairs and a moment later she peered around my doorway. "I'm babysitting a little girl today and I need your help. Your dad's off at work already."

"Uncle."

"Right, your uncle. Anyways, I need you to get up and make breakfast."

I pulled the covers over my head but she ripped them away. "I thought you were the one babysitting?" I said testily.

"Get up."

She stomped out of my room, but I knew she wasn't really mad. Sighing, I got up from the warm bed, cringing as the cold air hit my bare chest. It wasn't really "cold", but mornings were still chilly in early June, especially compared to my bed.

Ten minutes later, I was standing in the kitchen making scrambled eggs. My aunt sat at the table. Her actions were more worrisome than normal. She tapped nervously on the table and glanced towards the door every minute or two.

"What's this girl's name?" I asked, trying to make her less anxious.

"Ayva."

"Like aviator?"

"I mean..." She shrugged and cocked her head. "I guess it's sorta close."

"You ever met the family before?"

She shook her head.

"That why you're so worried?"

She didn't answer at first. I was about to say something when she spoke up. "I'm not worried," she mumbled.

I smiled. "Sure, you're not."

"Was that sarcasm?"

"Was it?"

At that moment, the doorbell rang. My aunt leapt up from her seat and dashed to the front door. She ripped it open with such force, I thought she was gonna tear it from the hinges.

"Hi!" she said, a little too enthusiastically. I was surprised the mom didn't take Ayva to a different babysitter right then. Or back home. Surely she was safer home alone than with my aunt.

"You're Mrs.-"

"You can call me Tracy!" my aunt enthused.

I shook my head and laughed quietly, cooking at the stove.

"This is Ayva," said the mom, who I couldn't see.

"This is Ayva!" my aunt exclaimed. "Well, she's so darn cute!"

I heard a nervous laugh. I guessed it was the mom. "So I'll be here to pick her up at 5... unless you want me to come sooner?"

"Oh, no! Take your time. Ayva will be just fine here. Maybe even happy!"

A few minutes later, my aunt returned to the kitchen, urging forward a little black girl I assumed was Ayva. She didn't look comfortable with my aunt at all.

"Hey there," I said, smiling at her.

Ayva's dark brown eyes lit up as she giggled and hid her face behind a hand, instantly seeming more at ease. She looked down at the floor, black braids running over her shoulder. My aunt led her over to the table where she sat down.

"Those almost ready?" my aunt asked.

"Yeah." I started to scoop the eggs onto a plate. "She's cute."

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