I made the last turn on my run and headed back towards my house. I sped up to sprint the length of the street. As I neared my house I saw someone walk down off the doorstep. I didn’t see any cars and I strained my eyes to try to figure out who it was. The closer I got the more I could see, and I realized it was Sidney.
It had been a few days since the day at his house, and we hadn’t really talked. After realizing how I felt about him, I was trying to avoid him. Now was just not the time for feelings like this towards anyone. He smiled as I reached the house next door. I wanted to try to play it cool, like nothing had changed.
Just as I smiled back, I felt myself plunging forward. I put my hands out to break my fall as I hit the pavement. I yelled out in pain as I felt stinging in my hands and my right knee. I noticed the throbbing in my right ankle after the initial shock of the fall. Then I cursed myself for forgetting the pothole in the road next to my driveway.
“Are you okay?” Sidney asked, concern laced in his voice, as he rushed over to me.
“I think so,” I replied, forcing a smile to my face. He grabbed my hands and turned them over to look at my palms.
“You’re bleeding,” he stated. I just shrugged.
“It’s hardly the worst injury I’ve ever had,” I told him.
“Let me help you inside.”
He slid his arm around me and I couldn’t ignore the shiver that went through my body. He helped me up and I visibly winced as I put pressure on my ankle. Suddenly I felt myself being lifted up into the air. I let out a small noise in protest, but Sidney ignored it and carried me in a fireman lift to the front door, where he managed to open the door with me in his arms. Once inside he put me down on the couch and immediately lifted my leg up to inspect my ankle.
“It’s fine, it’s just a tear,” I told him. He looked at me in confusion before going back to inspect my ankle.
“It’s not swelling or bruising right away so that’s a good sign. It’s probably just a mild sprain.” I shook my head.
“Nope, it’s a tear,” I argued. Now he looked at me skeptically.
“How do you figure?” he asked.
“I’ve done it before. I have an extra bone in my ankle called an os trigonum. I didn’t know about it, and thought that I just sprained my ankle all the time playing sports. When I did actually break my ankle one time I found out about the bone. I have os trigonum syndrome. Basically it means that I crunch it between my ankle and heel bones and it stretches and tears the tissue connecting it to my foot. I just need to keep off of it,” I explained.
“But it’s not bruising or swelling.” I shrugged.
“My body doesn’t respond to injuries normally. I almost never bruise and I’ve probably noticed swelling on my body after getting hurt once in my life. Trust me. I’ll be fine. There’s nothing that can be done. It’ll just be sore for a while.”
“Are you sure?” he checked. I nodded.
He got up off the floor where he’d been kneeling and walked into my bathroom. He came out with disinfectant, bandages, and a towel. Then he walked into the kitchen and grabbed some ice to put in the towel before placing it on my ankle. He sat down next to me and I bandaged my hands and knee.
“So what are you doing here anyway?” I asked as I worked.
“I actually wanted to see if you wanted to come over for dinner tomorrow,” he told me.
I stopped what I was doing and looked over at him. I wanted to say yes, but I was worried about how I felt about him. I didn’t need to be encouraging that. He noticed my hesitation and spoke up again before I could give him an answer.
“I should probably warn you that it’s a yearly thing. My family comes over and cooks dinner at my place. Wesley, Caden, Walker, and Zara always come too. It’s just kind of a fun night for close friends and family,” he explained.
“I’d be meeting your parents?” I asked.
“Well, yeah, along with my sister. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just thought I’d invite you in case you wanted a nice home cooked meal made by my mom. Everyone loves her food.”
“What time should I be there?” I asked.
“The guys show up a little after 5,” he answered. I thought about it for a moment.
“So, you’re mom’s cooking, right?” He nodded. “She’s cooking for 9 people. Who’s helping her?” Sidney shrugged.
“No one. She does it by herself.”
“What time does she get there?”
“Usually around 4.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow at 4. Tell her I’ll take care of dessert if she doesn’t mind.”
Sidney laughed at me but said he’d tell her. He left not long after and I hobbled into the bathroom to take a shower. I winced in pain as the water ran over the cuts on my hands and knee and once again cursed myself for forgetting about the pothole in the road. It was all Sidney’s fault. Why did he have to show up unexpectedly and surprise me like that?
The next day I packed up the dessert I’d made and carried it out to the car, with Bauer in tow. We both hopped in and headed over to Sidney’s. I pulled up and saw a teenage girl chasing Sam around the yard outside. She stopped when she saw me pull in, and watched me curiously as I got out, allowing Bauer to hop out behind me.
Bauer started to run towards Sam, but froze when he saw the girl, who I could only assume was Sidney’s sister Taylor. He cautiously made his way towards her until he was only almost a foot away from her. From there he stretched out his body as far as he could to sniff at the hand she held out to him. To my amazement he licked her hand and wagged his tail. I don’t know what it was about the Crosby’s, but he seemed to like them. He let her pet him for a moment before he took off after Sam.
“Hi, you must be Taylor. I’m Misty,” I greeted her as I shut the door to my car and carried the pans towards the house. She smiled at me.
“It’s nice to finally meet you. Sidney talks about you all the time.” I felt my face flush, and hated that he had that effect on me.
“Well, don’t believe anything he’s told you,” I joked.
“Oh, so you’re a total bitch then,” she replied. I started to laugh at her comment.
“You’re quick. I like you.”
I followed her up to the house and thanked her as she held the door open for me. I heard voices coming from the kitchen and started to hobble my way in that direction. My ankle was still sore enough to cause me to limp. Sidney walked out with a beer in his hand, followed by a man that had to be his father.
“Hey, Misty, you’re here!” he called.
“I’m here!” I returned. He looked down at the pans in my hands.
“I’ll take those for you,” he offered as he took them out of my hands. He headed back towards the kitchen probably to put them down somewhere.
“They have to be sliced before they can be served, so it’d be blatantly obvious if you tried to sneak any before dinner!” I called after him. He stopped and looked back at me.
“Now why would you say such a thing?” he asked.
“I know your track record with sneaking my desserts before dinner, Crosby,” I replied. He laughed.
“Well, you’ve outsmarted me this time,” he joked. I grinned back at him.
“I always will.” He turned and walked back into the kitchen with the pans and I turned towards his father. “Hi, I’m Misty.”
“Troy. It’s nice to finally meet you,” he said shaking my hand. I felt like he was sizing me up, which made me slightly uncomfortable. Before either of us could say anything else, Sidney walked back into the room, followed by his mom.
“Misty, I want you to meet my mom, Trina. Mom, this is Misty,” he introduced.
I froze as I saw the woman standing in front of me. No way. I was looking right at the woman I’d talked to for a while at the crafts fair. She wore the same expression I was sure I was wearing. Suddenly we both burst into laughter. Both Sidney and his father looked between the two of us and then at each other in confusion.
“What’s funny?” Sidney asked.
“I should have known you were Sid’s mom!” I exclaimed. “You were talking about your son having the same kind of dog and saying that he took his job too seriously and needed to loosen up. That should have tipped me off!”
“And I should have known you were Misty when you said you’d just come here for the summer and didn’t know anyone. How blind we both were.” We both laughed again.
“You two have met?” Troy asked.
“I met Misty at the crafts fair not too long ago! Remember? I told you about the sweet girl I met that I thought would get along well with Sid. I guess I was right,” she told him.
“Moms always know best,” I joked. We both laughed again. “Can I help you with dinner? I heard it gets left to you and I felt bad. Please put me to work.”
“I think I can find something for you to do.”
I spent the next two hours helping Trina prepare dinner. Sidney kept popping in to check on how we were doing, but Trina and I were chatting like we were old friends. He eventually stopped coming in when he heard some of the childhood stories she was telling me. It was strange how comfortable I felt talking to her. We had some sort of weird connection and by the end of the night I almost felt like I had another mom.
Everyone else showed up and hung out outside with Sidney, Taylor, and Troy. When dinner was ready we all gathered around a table that was set up outside and ate. I sat next to Taylor while we were eating with Sidney across the table. We spent all of dinner talking about boys which creeped him out to no end.
Even by the end of the night I still felt a little strange around Troy. He hadn’t actually done anything to make me uncomfortable, but there was something. Despite me trying to make it obvious that I wasn’t gunning for his son, I still felt like he thought I was. I was going to have my work cut out for me there.
Sid’s family only stayed for a while after dinner before saying goodbye and heading home for the night. The rest of us stayed much later just hanging out and goofing off. Overall it had been a pretty great night.
“Did you have fun?” Sidney asked as he walked me out to my car.
“I did. I’m in love with your mom and sister,” I told him.
“Not my dad?”
“I feel like he thinks I’m going to get you in trouble.” Sidney laughed.
“You probably will,” he replied. I laughed too.
“Hey, you heard your mom. You take things too seriously and need to lighten up. I don’t take anything seriously.”
“Well, thanks for coming. I’ll talk to you later.” Sidney gave me a hug before Bauer and I got in the car and headed home.