Mia's Heart


Page 12



Apparently, I’m rebellious.

So, I do what any rebellious girl would probably do.

I eat in sullen silence. I drink my soup from the spoon, I eat three croissants (because they really are my favorites) and I have a giant piece of pie.

My mother looks at me in disapproval.

“Mia, you’re not going to be seventeen forever. You might want to start watching what you eat. You don’t want to gain weight.”

I roll my eyes. I’ve got plenty of other things to worry about besides my weight. I’m skinny for now and that’s all that matters. I’ll worry about my weight when I’m thirty.

“How long is the construction on our house going to take?” I yell down to my mom. She cringes from the volume of my voice. I’m guessing that it isn’t seemly. But how else is she supposed to hear me? This table is five miles long.

And I’m seriously starting to hate the word seemly.

She shrugs. “They say it will take three months or so. And Kolettis Academy will be closed for the next two to four weeks for construction, as well. I just heard today. They will add that time onto the end of the year. So don’t worry. You’ll graduate on time.”

I nod. I’m happy about being out of school for a month. Hopefully that will give my memory time to come back. I’ll focus on that.

“My doctor said that I should do things that are familiar to me,” I remind her. “He said that it will help my memory. I think I’ll see if Gavin wants to go scuba diving tomorrow.”

My mother looks pained, but she nods. I’m betting that she would much rather have me spend time with Gavin, even if we’re doing something she hates, rather than spend time with Quinn. I don’t know why and I don’t really care. I guess that’s Old Mia’s spunk talking.

I’m sort of digging that chick now and I wish I could remember more about her.

“Also, Marionette told me that Dante and Reece are returning to Caberra for a while to help with clean-up from the earthquake,” my mother tells me. “The downtown area was particularly damaged. It might do you good to help, as well.”

“Dante and Reece are coming?” I ask, surprised. “When?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know. Marionette probably does, though. You can ask her.”

I’m excited by this. Dante and Reece used to be familiar to me. If I talk with them, it might help. This is a good thing.

I immediately pick up my dinner plate and head to the kitchen, ignoring my mother’s protests. She doesn’t follow. Too unseemly, I guess, to follow your daughter into a kitchen. I almost laugh, but don’t. My mother’s self-imposed rules are sort of funny. And sort of pathetic.

Marionette, Darius and Quinn look surprised to see me, but Quinn quickly jumps up and pulls a chair out for me. His polite behavior makes my pulse speed up. But I try to calm it down. He’s only exhibiting manners. Geez. I’m sure he’d do it for anyone.

I sit down and immediately turn to Marionette, asking her about Dante and Reece. Her face is genuinely happy when she answers.

“They’ll be here soon,” she tells me. “I think they’re arriving tomorrow. And they are very excited to see you.”

Quinn doesn’t look quite as happy, but I’m guessing that has something to do with the fact that he and Reece have a complicated relationship or so I’m told.

Apparently, they took turns having a crush on each other for the last ten years or so. But they never timed it right and so they never ended up together. Quinn dated Reece’s friend Becca for the last couple of years, although now they’re broken up. But now Reece is with Dante, so the timing still isn’t right. I wonder if Quinn is regretful of that?

He doesn’t seem to be, though, as he takes a bite of soup. I can’t help but notice how big his hands are. He’s absolutely gigantic.

“So, how much trouble did you get into for riding Titan?” he asks, grinning. He isn’t apologetic at all. I like it.

“Not much,” I answer. “Just a lecture. Apparently, I’m supposed to stay away from you, too. But you can see how well that lecture took.”

Marionette mutters under her breath and I can see that she doesn’t approve of my mother. That’s okay. I’m not sure that I do, either. Quinn’s eyes sparkle.

“Am I a bad influence?” he asks with interest. “I think I might like that. I’ve never been the bad boy before. It might be fun.”

“You’ve never been the bad boy?” I ask doubtfully. My eyebrows are raised. Quinn shakes his head.

“Nope. I’m a Midwesterner, remember? Oh, I guess you don’t. Well, I’m from the heartland of America where we’re polite and friendly and never know a stranger. Yes, m’am. No, m’am and all that. Although I am considering a tattoo. I’m guessing your mom wouldn’t approve of that, either.”

He’s smiling now, totally unrepentant and unconcerned. My pulse speeds up yet again. It seems to do that a lot around him.

“A tattoo? Gavin said that he’s going to get one that says, “Always ready.”

Quinn rolls his eyes good-naturedly. “He would. I haven’t decided yet what I want. Maybe you can help me.”

I raise my eyebrow again. “Me? I don’t know you well enough to know what you should get.”

Quinn winks. “Well, maybe that’s part of my diabolical plan. You’ll have to get to know me.”

“Devious,” I grin. “I like it. Well, it might backfire on you. Maybe I’ll get a matching tattoo and then you’ll be tied to me for life.”

“Needy,” he observes. “I like it.”

We laugh and Marionette and Darius laugh, too. I really like them. And I like this kitchen. And I have decided that I’m going to eat in here from now on. My mother can suck it. If she doesn’t want to join us, she can eat out there alone. She can keep up her seemly appearances all on her own.

When we’re finished eating, Quinn walks me out. We pass through the dining room and I see that my mother is gone. She left her dirty dishes, though. Obviously carrying them to the kitchen would be unseemly. I’m really starting to hate that word. I should make a list of the words I’m starting to hate.

Seemly.

Soon.

Apparently.

I can add more later. Right now, I’m preoccupied with Quinn. And his bulging biceps, long fingers and mischievous grin. I stare up at him and smile.

“Do you and Reece get along okay now?” I ask him as we turn onto the staircase leading to the bedrooms. He looks surprised.

“Of course. Why do you ask?”


“Gavin told me about you and Reece’s history. So I just wondered,” I shrug. I’m trying to act nonchalant. I hope it’s coming across that way. In an effort to enhance the act, I make a point of examining the portraits of Giliberti ancestors as we walk past them. Their eyes seem to stare into my back. It’s sort of creepy.

“Why are you so interested?” Quinn raises an eyebrow.

So, I fail.

Epically.

Apparently I wasn’t so nonchalant.

“I don’t know,” I shrug again. “Just curious. I guess I find everything interesting nowadays. Everything seems new.”

Quinn smiles, a real and sincere smile. It’s salt of the earth. Whatever that means.

“I guess that’s one benefit to amnesia,” he tells me, as he lightly guides my elbow around the landing. “You get to start over. If you want,” he adds.

I look at him. “Should I? Start over, I mean. Was the old me something I should re-do?”

He stops.

And cocks his head.

And he is oh-so-sexy.

“No,” he says firmly. “Old Mia was someone who hated the pressure of worrying about what everyone thought. So you hid who you really were. Maybe the new you won’t be so concerned with it.”

I stare at him.

“I thought you didn’t know me that well,” I point out uncertainly. He shrugs.

“It wasn’t difficult to see,” he answers as we resume the climb on the stairs. “Just worry about being who you really are. If you never remember who you were, that’s fine. You’re still you regardless.”

“That’s very profound,” I murmur.

And it is. I’ve been so preoccupied with trying to remember who I was, that I forgot that I’m still me either way. I’m just a me without memories. Interesting. It’s so simple that it’s genius.

We stop in front of my bedroom.

There is an awkward pause. But maybe it’s only awkward to me. Quinn always seems casual. Always relaxed.

He smiles at me now.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he tells me. “I was getting lonely here all by myself.”

“Well, Dante and Reece will be here tomorrow. So, you’ll have even more people to keep you company,” I remind him.

“True,” he acknowledges. “But I’m most happy about you.”

I startle and stare into his chocolate brown eyes. “Really?” I whisper.

He nods. “Really.”

“You don’t hide what you’re feeling much, do you?” I observe. Quinn’s eyes sparkle in response.

“I don’t see the point in it,” he admits. “I don’t like games. I don’t like playing them because I hate to lose.”

“So you’re a sore loser , then?” I ask with a laugh.

But he’s shaking his head. “Nope. I’m not a sore loser. Because I never lose in the first place.”

He dips his head like an old-fashioned cowboy, like something that belongs in a razor commercial or a cologne ad. And then he continues down the hall to his bedroom and I fight the urge to chase after him.

But I don’t and so I’m left standing in shock in the hallway alone.

He doesn’t lose.

What is he trying to win?

I have a feeling that I am going to be the one who loses—hours of sleep tonight—trying to ponder that question.

Chapter Eleven

“Mia!”

There is a squeal, unearthly loud and shrieky, before something lands on my bed. I open my eyes but squeeze them instantly closed again. The sun is too, too bright. And the voice is too, too loud.

And too, too unfamiliar.

But the unfamiliar thing is bouncing.

And ramming its bony elbow into my side.

So I open my eyes again and find the girl from my phone.

“Reece?”

The blonde girl squeals again and hugs me. “You remember me!!”

She’s exuberant and I don’t want to tell her that I don’t. But I kind of have to. She’d figure it out eventually anyway. So I shake my head.

“No. I’m sorry. I don’t remember yet. But your pictures are in my phone.”

The pretty blonde girl- Reece—is dismayed, but she quickly tries to hide it. She’s like a cheerful ray of sunshine and the clouds are covering up her smile. I feel guilty about that.

“I’m really sorry,” I tell her again.

“It’s okay,” she assures me. “You’ll remember soon. I’m just so happy to see you!”

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