Greece Ch. 05by2CHaNces©
Sorry for the long wait but here is a short addition to the series.
After doing a little clean up around the café Andrew gave me the rest day off to "consider his proposition"... his words not mine. He was right about everything. I was definitely attracted to him which, if Andrew was correct, would only help the cause. I mean I want Basil more than I've ever wanted any man. At least that's what I think I want. Now that I think about it I wasn't really this crazed until he rejected me. I'm not used to rejection. Now all I can think about is what could possibly be wrong with me and how can I fix it? Ok this is starting to sound like a self esteem issue. It's not so much that my feelings were hurt it was more of a surprise that I wasn't what he would be looking for in a girlfriend. I make an excellent girlfriend! The only way to repair the damage done to my ego was to put Andrew's plan into action. I could make it so Basil would be begging to be with me. Whoa... I was giving myself a fatal attraction vibe.
When I got home I was so excited to see Leora. For some reason the kid just puts a big smile on everyone's face.
"How was school?" I took a seat next to her on the couch.
"I got in trouble." The sad look on her face was heartbreaking.
"What for?" Leo is the perfect child so her getting in trouble was unbelievable.
"This girl in my class..." She held her head down low. "She was saying mean things. So I hit her." She wouldn't look me in the eye.
"Well sweetie what did she say?" I put my arm around her trying to make her feel better.
"She called me a little orphan girl." I could see the hurt on her face but wasn't exactly sure how to handle the situation. What am I supposed to say to her?
"Leora. You have so many people that love you and would do anything for you. Don't let her words hurt you. She says things to make herself feel better about her own sad little life." That and her mother's a whore. Any kid that would purposely hurt Leo must have so serious issues to work out. Needless to say she's lucky I wasn't around when this happened because I guarantee I would have made that child regret her conception.
"She's right though. I am an orphan." I wiped a tear from her cheek. Technically she was an orphan, both her parents were dead.
"Leo don't even think about it like that. Your mother didn't want to leave you but there really was no choice in the matter. But she left you with your uncle who would do anything for you. Galen loves you and treats you like his daughter. Just the other day he called you his little princess. You have it better than any other child I've met. You have someone who would give up everything to make sure you're safe and happy." I don't know if I was saying the right thing but I figured if I kept emphasizing how great Galen was she would understand that her life was good.
"I love my uncle. But I still don't have a mommy." If Leora had been my age I would have told her not to get greedy because that's how life works. That sometimes things are taken away from you and if you're lucky you'll get something half as good in its place. Life isn't cupcakes and rainbows so we have to make our own happiness. But she was a little girl and truth be told, she needed her mother.
"No. But you have me. I mean I'm not all that great but if you give me a chance I can make an excellent big sister." Big sisters can sort of be mom replacements right? We can make it work.
"Does this mean you're gonna stay forever?" A big smile took over her face. Shit.
"No, but I'll be here whenever you need me. You can call me anytime and I will be on the next plane out. Does that work for you?" With that Leo gave me a small smile understanding that I did eventually want to go home. Since she was in a better mood we took it upon ourselves to make cupcakes. Cupcakes always make me feel better. Needless to say there was flour, batter, and icing covering just about every inch of the kitchen. Seriously... you would have thought some creepy little gremlin came in and destroyed the kitchen just for the hell of it. With all the ingredients on the floors, countertops, and table it's a wonder how we had enough left to actually make cupcakes. As soon as we finished making them, we ate them. Therefore destroying any possible proof that something productive and delicious had actually come from the mess.
As we cleaned and made dinner I mentally debated whether or not I should tell Leo about Andrew's idea. No doubt she could handle it but she was so sweet. What would she think of me if she knew I was purposely trying to mess with Basil's head? She'd call me childish and tell me to just discuss my issues with him, like an adult. Talking wouldn't do anything, he has to see what he's missing out on.
"Is Basil coming over for dinner tonight?" I questioned Leo.
"Yes. But I can tell him not to if you don't want to see him."
"No that's fine. But can I invite Andrew? He's been so nice to me at the café I feel like I owe him." Time to set this plan into action. Get them in the same room together, openly flirt with Andrew, measure Basil's reaction. If it's not affecting him I'll turn it up.
With Leora's approval I raced to the café to tell Andrew the plan. I walked in as he was closing up.
"So what do you think? Can you handle it?" Of course he can.
"Sounds great. A little flirting is good. Long gazes, silly smiles, subtle touches of the hand... I can pull this off easy." His big smile was comforting. The whole way over here I was thinking I was crazy for even considering this. I mean it was a bit extreme and I've seen enough movies to know that this would fail miserably.
"So should we both head over there now or should you just pop in later?" He was the expert.
"Let's go together." He escorted me out of the café and we made the journey home. "So what is it you like so much about Basil?"
"I don't know exactly. I just can't help but smile and feel all warm and fuzzy around him." Andrew snorted. "Seriously! I know it sounds cliché and lame but that's how it is."
It's not lame. You obviously can't help it." He shoved his hands in his pockets.
"Don't say it like that." Making me sound like a love sick puppy.
"You say it as if I'm hopeless, like it was decided the minute I got here."
"Well every woman seems to fall for him. It was probably decided before you got here."
"Whatever. Just please put on a good show." I was becoming slightly embarrassed about what I was doing. Quite frankly it was unnecessary. I mean no means no right? Why didn't I understand no?
"Don't worry I got this."
Galen, Leo and Basil were already sitting down at the table when we arrived.
"Andrew! Glad you could join us. Please have a seat." Galen was always so kind. I kind of envied that about him. Hell, why couldn't everyone be more like this man. He just had this presence about him, where you just wanted to be on your best behavior around him so you wouldn't disappoint him. He makes an amazing father for Leora.
"Thank you sir. Ari invited me I hope that's ok."
"Of course! You're always welcome here son." Galen pointed to a chair for Andrew. "So how are things going with you two at work?"
"Great just great. She's an excellent worker but I have to beat the men away from her with a stick." Andrew did a quick glance Basils way.
"She gets my good looks." Galen laughed. Love this guy. Everyone started eating and it didn't take long for things to get a bit awkward. I did my best to keep the conversation going with Galen but I think even he was starting to see that something was up. "I'm going to turn in for the night. You too Leo, tomorrow is a school day." We said our good nights and the two retreated to their rooms. Leaving Basil, Andrew and I to sit at the table... alone.
"Ari do you have anything planned tomorrow?" Andrew asked. Andrew was so casual about it, like an evil genius.
"There's this party, well more like a small get together some friends and family are having. You should come." Meeting family and friends? He's good.
"Yeah that sounds fun." I shrugged my shoulders pretending it wasn't a big deal.
"Basil you're welcome to come if you want."
"Pass." Ha! He was so mad. "I have plans."
"If anything changes the invitation is still on the table." He sounded so sincere
"Right. I have to go. Ari I'll see you later I guess?"
"Sure. Uh... let me walk you out." Once outside Basil nervously rocked side to side. Holy shit this might actually be working.
"Have fun tomorrow with Andrew."
"I will. You could always come to you know?"
"I'd rather not. But we could hang afterwards maybe. If it's not too late for you." He shrugged. No. No, no, no. He was silly for thinking that would even happen. He doesn't want it bad enough yet.
"Yeah, definitely. I'll call you." Not calling him. All a part of the plan. I waved him off and headed back in to Andrew. He didn't say anything to me when I sat down next to him. He just looked at me.
"You don't want to know what happened?"
"Sure." He moved his chair closer to me.
"He wants to hang after I'm done with you."
"And you said...?"
"I said yeah"
"Why?" Whoa getting kind of hostile are we? I thought he would be able to figure this one out.
"So I can forget to call him and have him waiting up for me."
"Oh... I'm starting to think you're better at this than me." He relaxed.
"You put on a good show. He really thinks we're hanging out tomorrow."
"I was serious."
"Unless you don't want to come." Andrew looked a bit hurt. How was I supposed to know he was really inviting me? We agreed to ACT like there was something going on between us.
"I do. Plus it'll give us time to talk, you know figure out the next step."
"I guess if that's how you want to spend your night, sure."
"I..." Words jumbled around in my brain. What do i say to that?
"I'll pick you up around 6." With those words Andrew slowly rose from his seat and left. I stood there feeling like a jerk. I never really considered his feelings in all of this. He liked me... that was obvious. But I didn't think it would affect this little arrangement that HE had suggested. He was doing this for me as a friend right? I couldn't help but feel like the villain. But it would all work out, I would get Basil to fall head over heels in love with me and Andrew... well I don't know what exactly is going to happen there.