It’d only taken a half an hour to speak to her boss about possibly holding her job for when she’d come back but it was to no avail. Her boss decided to hire someone else in her place. All that was left was to talk to the Dean to see what his stance was. She certainly didn’t want to leave on bad terms. Mr. Thomas assured her she was welcome to come back at anytime to finish her last two semesters, that he didn’t want so see such a talented young lady get left behind because of an unfortunate circumstance. They shook hands and she told him that hopefully she’d be back before the next semester began.
When arrived back to her apartment she noted Terri hadn’t back, so she sent her friend a text saying she was sorry that she had to leave on short notice, that she’d leave the next two months rent on the table, and she’d be back as soon as she could. As Rhian began to pack her things, there came this little voice in the back of her mind whispering “ you know you’re not coming back.”
“Shut up, will you?”
She noticed after she zipped the last bag that she’d packed up every stitch of clothing and shoes that she owned. Rhian stood looking heavenward and shook her head, she couldn’t believe that she’d listened to that voice in her head. For a moment she looked around at her place, everything seemed empty and way too quiet. It felt like she really was saying goodbye. It was too late to unpack, she had to get home to her mother.
Home was where the heart is, and her heart was left back in Amarillo. She wondered what it was going to feel like after six years away. Was everything as she remembered it? Were the same people still living there? Had Trevor moved away? There was no use in wondering, she had to get a move on. In total she had eight bags she stuffed in her old Chevy. Once situated, she inserted the key in the ignition, gave it a turn and felt the Chevy rumble to life. With that she hit the open road to find her way back home.
There was a knock at the front door that startled Melody. It was seven o’clock at night, and if it was another person who was sending their condolences she thought she was going to scream. Instead she peeked through the curtain and asked who it was.
“It’s me mom. Don’t you see the truck parked in front of the house?”
“Rhian!” her mother fumbled to unlock the front door. Once she got that open she kept missing the lock on the screen door in her excitement. “Come on and open up you stupid door! Are you laughing at me Rhian?!” she shouted through the screen.
“No ma’am.” she giggled. Once the door finally freed itself, Melody came out and hugged her daughter, and looked her over for anything suspicious. “Mom, what are you doing?”
“What’s it look like? I’m checking you over.”
“Why? You’re not my doctor.”
“I was your doctor when I brought you into this world, nothing has changed.”
“I beg to differ.”
“Oh really?” Melody swatted her daughter on the hind end and ushered her into the house. All the familiar smells hit Rhian at once. Everything was still in its place! From the cover on the sofa, to the old carpet on the floor, everything was as she remembered. Time had changed nothing in her childhood home. “Have you eaten? You look hungry. How much weight have you lost?”
“Mom.. seriously?” she laughed. “I’m not hungry and I’m at a normal weight.”
“Are you saying you don’t want my cooking anymore? New York must have converted you.”
“What! I’m not rejecting your cooking. You’re the best cook in the world! New York has nothing on you mom. And I’ve not converted. I’ve been looking for a reason to come home, I just didn’t think it would come in this form.”
Melody hugged her daughter and rubbed her back just like she always did when Rhian was sad or upset. “I know dear, I know.”
“What happened to pa?”
“How about you get cleaned up first and I’ll heat you up something to eat?”
“Where are you bags?” Her mother waved her off whenever she had a difficult time talking about something.
“I left them in the truck.”
“Give me the keys and I’ll bring them in.”
“I can get them later.”
“Give me the keys Rhian.” her mom gave her a stern look and Rhian quickly handed over the keys. “Go on up and get cleaned up. Your room is as you left it.”
“Yes ma’am.” Rhian started up the stairs and ran her hand over the wood banister that led upward, it was still smooth and shiny. She finally made her way to her room and saw the door was shut just as she left it. Turning the knob, she pushed the door open and peered inside. As she entered her room she saw her old table lamp had collected dust, and her bed was bare and her walk in closet had three empty hangers pushed to the right. She walked over to her bathroom and noticed she left her powder blue house shoes under the sink.
In that moment tears came streaming down her face. She tried everything she could to stop them but they kept on coming. Creaking came from down the hall as Melody entered the room with two of her duffel bags and they were quickly dropped to the floor once Melody saw her daughter in tears. “Rhian what’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” she sniffled, then wiped her eyes and face free of moisture. “I’m okay.”
Melody looked at her daughter with worry then wiped away any remaining tears. Suddenly she heard more footsteps coming down the hall, toward her room. The boy she never could forget entered her room with the rest of her bags. He was all grown up now, all man. Their eyes connected and time seemed to stand still, suddenly she turned from his view, she didn’t want him to see her all puffy eyed.
Trevor smiled and sat her things next to her bed, and said “Mrs. Robeson I’ll be waiting down stairs if you need anything else.”
“Okay dear. I’ll be down soon.”
“Is he gone yet?”
“You can turn around now.”
“Mom you could have warned me he was coming over!”
Her mom laughed, “You’re still the same old Rhian, getting flustered over the slightest thing.”
Meanwhile Trevor was in the kitchen reheating beef stew and cornbread. He was resting against the counter with his arms folded and head bowed. The moment he saw the old red Chevy parked out in front, he knew Rhian was back. It made him nervous to even think about seeing her again. There was no denying it, she had turned out to be a gem. He’d always found her cute but now that she was a full-grown woman, he found that familiar itch had come back, maybe it never quite left, just stayed dormant.
No woman had ever made his heart skip a beat the way she just did. When he was a boy he found it interesting that she’d follow him around, probably out of curiosity. It did something to his pride as a growing boy. Sure he had other girls his age chasing him around, but Rhian was pure. He smiled to himself at the thought of her as a girl. Then a slight frown formed over his face. If was unfortunate seeing her again under pressing circumstances. He liked Mr. Robeson a lot, he practically became a second father to him. For him to not be here rocked his world, he was the strongest person he’d ever met.
Trevor turned his attention back to the pot of stew and switched off the fire then stuck a few pieces of cornbread in the microwave to warm through. Both Melody and Rhian entered the kitchen as he was getting ready to fill their bowls with food. “Mom I thought you was going to fix the food?”
Rhian rushed over to take over the duty as she was Melody’s daughter. “I’ll do it.”
Trevor turned to her and said, “Sit down.” Rhian cocked her head to the side while looking at him. Did he just say speak to her? That couldn’t be, he’s never uttered a word to her, ever. Pointing at him in question, she meant to say something but words wouldn’t form. “Yes. I said it. Sit down.”
Rhian looked over at her mom and saw she had a slight grin on her face. “Looks like you better sit down. You never have a man to repeat himself.” her mom said as she pulled out a chair for herself. Rhian was so stunned that she stood there recounting what just happened. Trevor took her by the shoulders and pushed her down in the chair and pushed her up to the table. He served them first then himself last and they ate in silence. Once they filled themselves Trevor collected the dishes and began to wash them.
Trevor sent her a look that warned her to stay away, and that’s all it took to send her scurrying. She thought for a moment why in the world was she running away, this was her house. She rounded the corner to the kitchen again with a finger held up to say her peace. Trevor turned around and sent her a look that dared her to defy him, just then her mother caught her and suggested they go back upstairs. Melody tugged her daughter by her wrist as Rhian looked over her shoulder and stared at Trevor. She quietly let him know this wasn’t over, not by a long shot and disappeared from the kitchen.