Until November(5)

By: Aurora Rose Reynolds

“Wow, Dad, this is beautiful.”

“Thanks, baby. Your grandmother decorated it."

“Grandmother?” I ask.

"Yeah. She can't wait to meet you. I know we haven't talked about my family much but they all know about you and are excited to get to know you."

“Awesome,” I whisper, still in shock that my mom took me when I a baby. She never talked about my dad at all. I never even knew who he was until I turned eighteen and he tracked me down. Every time he has come to New York to visit, he never talked about his family and I never asked. I figured his story was the same as my mom’s. Her parents died before I could meet them and she didn't have any brothers or sisters. My mom has always been a loner, unless you have something she wants. Then, she will attach herself to you like a life-sucking parasite.

"Everyone will be here for breakfast. They wanted to come tonight but I thought you might get overwhelmed on your first night home. Also, we need to talk about you doing the books for the club. Your degree will help me get the office straightened out. I don’t have a lot of time to manage that part of the business. Lynn moved away with her husband and I haven’t had a chance to replace her.”

“When do I start?” I say, smiling.

“Well, tonight I want you to rest.” He squeezes my shoulder. “And for the rest of the week, I want you to recover. After you’re feeling up to it, I’ll take you down to the club and show you the office. Hopefully, you can set something up so you can work from home.”

“Sounds good to me.” Walking through the kitchen, there’s a set of stairs going down to the basement. “Wow, Dad, I thought you loved me and now you’re taking me to the dungeon.”

Laughing, he shakes his head. “No. There’s a basement apartment. Your grandma and everyone else came over and worked on it all day yesterday. They rushed over as soon as they found out you’d be staying with me. It also has its own entrance so you can have some privacy.” He flips on the light.

“It's perfect.” There’s a small living room and kitchen when you first walk in. He leads me down a short hall and opens a door. The bedroom is huge and there’s also an attached bathroom with a stand-up shower and a pedestal sink. I’m so overwhelmed that I start crying.

“It’s okay,” Dad says while dragging me into his body for a hug. “We just want you to be happy here.”

“This is so nice. I can’t even tell you how happy I’m,” I say into his shirt, giving him a squeeze. It’s the truth. I have never seen a more perfect space. It’s amazing that this is someplace to call my own.

“Well, I'm gonna go unpack your car while you get some sleep,” he says, kissing me on my forehead. He turns to leave then stops and looks at me over his shoulder. “I’m really happy you’re here, November. I can’t even tell you how happy you this makes me.” With that, he’s gone. Leaving me to think about how different my life could have been.

Waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee and the sound of voices above me, I climb out of bed. After I shower, I put on a pair of my favorite jeans. They are so dark, they’re almost black and look good with an off-the-shoulder lavender sweater and dark brown riding boots. I blow out my hair and tie it into a ponytail that hits the middle of my back. I put on some makeup to try and conceal the bruises that are now starting to turn green. With a little mascara, some bronzer, and blush, I make my way upstairs. Beast is sitting at the island next to a woman with the same hair as my dad. When she sees me, she jumps off the stool and runs to me, pulling me into a tight hug.

“Oh, sweet girl, you’re finally here,” she says while holding me away from her body and putting her hands to my face. “You look so much like your great grandma Ellie. She was a beauty and you have your daddy’s eyes and hair.” Pulling me back into her chest, I want to cry for the little girl who missed out on this.

“Thank you,” I say, trying to control the tears I feel coming.

“Oh, honey, you don’t have to thank me. That is a gift given by God and good genes. Lord, I'm just so happy that you’re here and I can see for myself how beautiful you are. Your daddy has showed us all pictures from his cell phone but that’s not the same. He is very proud of you.” That does it. I start to cry like a baby. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life. The whole situation is surreal. I feel both lucky and scared, wondering if I am going to disappoint them.

“Okay, okay,” Dad says, cutting in. “Enough of the sad stuff. Let’s introduce you to everyone, kiddo.”

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