Chapter 27- Safe House

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Quote of the day: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science".

-Manhattan, New York

-Avelyn Perez

-Chaud Café

"I have been waiting for this moment for my entire life", my mother said. The corners of her eyes crinkled and life was visible in the blue orbs.

I glanced over at the man who laid a hand on my thigh. His face showing concern and asked if I was okay. I gave him a small smile and returned my attention to my mother and sisters.

Miranda was spunky as ever and Caroline seemed silent in the best way possible.

"Avelyn, where are we staying?" Miranda asked.

"I bought a house for you all...you'd be staying there".

My sister glanced at Damian and I before she asked further. "And where are you staying?"

"I have an apartment", I provided. I saw the look that crossed Miranda's face and I knew she would want to be dramatic.

"Why aren't you staying with us?"

"The house doesn't have space and I have plans on getting my own home", I revealed watching her intently.

The raven arched eyebrows raised and I knew she didn't like what she heard. "Why buy a house for us and not be with us? Why do you need your own home? Why are you spending so much money?"

I inhaled and involuntarily scanned my family's face. "Mom, Car...I don't want you to misinterpret what I am about to say. I bought the house for you, mom...your name is on the legal documents and if anything happens to you, Car gets the house. Miranda is an adult and very capable of fending for herself", with that, I paused and looked pointedly at my eldest sister before continuing, "I am buying my own house as I need my privacy. I need my space and I am planning on opening my own business".

I felt Damian's eyes on me, penetrating into my skull, melting my brain. I didn't discuss this with him however, he will accept that I am leaving his company one day.

"Oh how lovely, my darling! Your very own business...oh, your dad would have been so proud of you", her voice shaky as the tears welled up in her eyes.

"When were you going to tell me about this?" He leaned in and whispered.

His breath was hot in my ear and I felt all bothered. "We will discuss this later, okay?" I looked over at him and he nodded rather reluctantly.

"Where are you getting all of that money?" Miranda questioned.

"I work for it, Miranda...where else would I get the money from?" I was on the verge of snapping. I had to remind myself that it was their first day back, no need to get angry...just yet.

---

-Safari Drive

Have you ever been in a situation where you questioned every possible thing that seemed to be positive? Where life seemed negative and not an action was meant to bring you joy. It had you asking God for help. Reconnecting spiritually and being in harmony with yourself as an individual.

I sat looking at my mother and sisters as they explored the house.

"My heart was aching seeing the joy, the contentment and relief of having their own safe haven. I felt successful. Deep down, a part of me yearned for my father's presence, however, I did what he always wanted to do for us all. Therefore, a part of him is with me and was with me in achieving such.

"Dove?"

I snapped out of my trance and adjusted my eyes on the handsome, young fellow standing before me. For a second or two, I was admiring such idyllic scene until the thought 'He's your boyfriend' came into my mind.

My heartbeat accelerated and I was on the verge of smiling deeply.

"Yes", I answered, finally.

"Are you ready to leave?" Damian asked and I sensed that he was holding onto a lot of thoughts regarding the home.

I stood up, gave him a reassuring look and made my way to the room where my family were comfortably admiring. "Mom, I'm leaving now...I've got to see to business matters before I go home".

"Oh...you're not staying with us?"

"No. I have my apartment closer to work...I'd keep in contact with you and the girls", I replied whilst walking up to her to bid her farewell.

After bidding my family farewell, I followed Damian to the car and left. Upon doing so, I left part of my grief.

---

-Perez Apartment

"Do you want anything to eat?" I asked Damian as I moved around in the kitchen. I had to prep breakfast for the morning. I heard him answer negatively and I continued organising the meal.

I could feel the tension present.

The idea of skipping lunch and having a meal for the morning session of work seemed to excite me. I took out the chicken breasts I had in the refrigerator and the ingredients needed for the marinade.

"Would you help me?" I asked and didn't look at him. A minute after, I smelled his cologne and his body heat could have baked the chicken breasts.

"What do I have to do?"

"Chop parsley and mint...a ratio of three to one respectively and when you are done, put in the ziplock bag. Then grate four cloves of garlic into the bag", I ordered before getting my vegetables sliced and packaged for the morning to be grilled for the quinoa salad.

I peeked at him at work and noticed how at ease he was with chopping the herbs. The way he held the knife, slicing through the leaves swiftly and precisely, there seems to be a hidden chef in Damian Arcote that I yet have to unleash.

"Here you go. Anything else?" His eyes pinned on my face.

"Y-yes. Can you zest the lemon and add its juice into the bag as well?" I seemed to have forgotten my confidence in speaking to him at that moment. Damian set to work and with his back towards me, I heard him speak carefree for the first time since we arrived home.

"What do you plan on making in the morning?"

"Uh...the chicken breasts are going to marinate in that concoction I let you put in the ziplock bag overnight. I am going to grill them in the morning along with some vegetables and make a quinoa salad. I'd skip lunch and have brunch instead".

Taking the zip lock bag from him, I seasoned the marinade with salt and black pepper and drizzled extra virgin olive oil into it before placing the chicken breasts. Closing the bag and allowing the marinade to coat the meat, I placed it in the refrigerator.

"Sounds delicious...I'd join you for brunch". I felt his arm around my waist before I was pulled into his embrace. "Now...wash those little hands of yours and let's order dinner and chat".

And for some reason...I felt safe and comfortable in opening up to him as my boyfriend...I felt...

Peace.

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