Making It Work Ch. 02bycassandraharper©
So maybe I should have explained things in the first chapter, sorry about that. MIT is fashioned after a script (the first time I've ever done something like this). There won't be too many descriptions because I want the conversation and the emotions between the two characters to be the main focus of the story. Therefore, I leave clues in brackets to let you know what short-term actions have been done. If however the brackets continue to pose a problem, send me a message telling me whether or not you like them (with viable explanations) and according to what the majority has deemed, I shall either keep them or discontinue the idea and transform MIT from script to an actually novella.
Italics are thoughts and I'll start putting a dash before David's commentary if the two characters are communicating within said thoughts without actual dialogue. And as you know, dialogues are in quotes so no explanation needed. Now that you have a somewhat better idea of the story flow, I hope that you enjoy it. And please, don't send me any negative comments pertaining to my character or my writing abilities. I'm not in the mood to read idiotic messages.
Thank you for giving my story your time. J Cassandra
I did. I dreamt about what could have been and woke up in a cold sweat. It's been this way for the past two and a half weeks. My heart aches inside of my chest to the point where I scheduled a doctor's appointment. He diagnosed me with heartbreak syndrome. It actually exists and is called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It's when you experienced something very traumatic that triggers the brain into releasing chemicals that weaken the lining of the heart tissue. He prescribed me beta and calcium channel blockers for the next two months and wrote me a work slip which stated that I could work only half the day in a stress less environment until my next checkup. My boss did me one better and gave me a two months paid vacation. We're pretty close and she thinks of me as family. She told me to keep in touch and don't come back until I'm feeling better.
My parents insisted that I stayed with them instead of keeping myself shut in at home. I said why not in the beginning, now I'm preparing to make a break for it. I can't take it anymore. My parents are adorable, they won't allow me to lift a finger; my siblings are great, whenever they come over to visit they treat me with care; but I'm about to go crazy! I need to do something. My mother won't even allow me to knit. She keeps telling me to eat and take frequent naps and whenever my dad suggests that we go out for a light stroll, she eyes me as if I'll have a heart attack as soon as I step over the threshold.
At least back in my own place I can have a heart attack in peace without being reminded every three hours that I should take a thirty minute nap. I'm not a baby anymore!
"Ana, have you finished your nap?"
Do you see what I mean? [throws pillow over head] I shouldn't be this way. I know. My parents are only worried about me. I'm the only girl and I'm the youngest of six so no matter what I do, no matter where I go, no matter what I have accomplished in life, I'll forever be the baby of the family.
"Ananda?" [motherly caresses]
"How did you sleep? Are you feeling well?"
"Do you want to come downstairs? I made your favorite cookies."
I'm a selfish bitch. I admit it and I also admit that I'm wrong. "I'm sorry, Mom." I hug her close, resting my head on her chest as tears stream down my cheeks.
"I know that you're not happy being trapped here with me and your old man while your brothers enjoy their freedom, but if one of them were in your shoes, they would be going through the same thing. You know that, right?" [head nods again] "Mommy loves you, baby."
"I love you too." We make my bed together and I follow her down the stairs, the welcoming smell of banana chocolate chip cookies causing my stomach to growl. I'm actually hungry. I haven't had much of an appetite, but for some reason I want to eat.
Oh Lord, what is he doing here? I don't feel like seeing David. I'm not ready to see him. I'm afraid that he'll take one look at my face and know why I'm going through this hell right now. It's his fault. No, it's our fault.
[A quick wave] "What are you doing here?"
"I called your parents and told them that I was coming to see you. Your mom made cookies for us."
[Exchanged smiles] "Okay. Do you want milk with your cookies?" I follow behind my mother using her as an excuse to not really focus all of my attention upon him. I hate seeing the concern in his eyes and I feel awkward right now which I hope is not apparent by my choppy movement.
"Milk would be great."
He's standing a little too close behind me. I can feel his body heat and my hands start to shake. This is ridiculous.
"Why don't you two go out in the living room and watch some television? There should be something on the tv."
Sometimes I think that my mother looks at us and still sees us at the same age as when we were in middle school. We vacate the kitchen to sit on the couch in uncomfortable silence. [Clears throat simultaneously]
"So what's going on with you? Are you sick?"
"I don't know, David. Let's see, I went to the doctor, he prescribed me some meds, and now I'm off from work and staying with my parents for two months. What do you think?"
[Aggravated sigh] "You know what, forget that I even asked. I don't know why I wasted my time coming here to check on you when all you're going to do is show your ass." [Stands to leave]
"Wait! I'm sorry. I'm just cranky from my nap." Did I just say that?
-Yeah, you just did.
"So what's wrong with you?"
"Nothing!" That was a very quick rebuttal. I hope that he's not offended by it. I don't want to tell him why.
"David, I'm fine."
"Who wants cookies?" I wish you guys could see how cute my mom is. She has this pink and white checkered apron on with a large tray of cookies and milk that she's setting down before us. She gives David chocolate milk (his favorite) and me regular, then she pinches our cheeks and shuffles away after turning on the television for us. I use the interruption in our conversation to change the subject.
"My mom still makes the best cookies."
"You got that right. These are so delicious." [Groans of appreciation] "She should really consider opening up a bakery."
"Really?" My mom does like to bake.
"Yeah, it could be a family business. She could do the baking, your dad could keep everything in order since he's the big chief; your brother, Frederick could be in charge of the new hires because he's always bossing someone around and thinks that he knows everything; Eddie could help with the pastry designs being a chef and all; Derek, could be the manager; Cleveland could be the interior designer; Barrett could be the supplier because he runs his own produce warehouse; and you could be the accountant."
"You've got this all figured out, don't you?" I couldn't deny that it had a nice ring to it. My mom does spend an awful amount of time baking. She's the baker and my dad is the cook. Plus both of my parents don't have much to do since their retirement, not that they're old or anything. They have both worked hard enough to take care of six children, put us all through college, and make sure that we made something of ourselves. We, as their children, decided that they should never have to worry about anything for the rest of their lives. We kind of bullied them to retire and just relax. We pay their bills, if they need something, they don't even have to ask. That's what good children should do: take care of their parents.
David had planted a seed in my brain. And on the bright side, if my parents become occupied with the management of a family business, they won't have enough time to meddle in my love life. I'm liking this idea more and more.
"Are you going to tell me what's wrong with you or will you change the subject again?"
[Chokes on milk] "Thanks for the napkin." He's staring bullets into my face right now and the awkwardness has returned. "Okay, all right, just stop your glaring. You know that I hate that. It makes me uncomfortable."
[Impatient throat clearing]
"I was just experiencing a little bit of chest pain, but the doctor has given me medicine to take and he told me that everything should be copacetic after two months."
"Two months?" [Quick pacing] "What type of chest pain are we talking here? Heart attack? Stroke? Irregular heart beat?"
"David, calm down. This is one of the reasons that I didn't want to say anything to you. You're going overboard." My head is starting to hurt from him patrolling around the living room, but I will admit that he looks sexy doing it.
-I look sexy pacing around in concern? What is this woman thinking? Ananda is one of the healthiest people that I know. I have never even seen her get the flu in all the years that we've been friends. Does this mean that she's going to die? Is she dying?
Fool, I'm not dying!
"What type of chest pain? Was it on the right side or the left? Did you experience numbing and tingling? Did—"
"David, cut it out. You're starting to freak me out. Just sit down and finish your cookies before you make me toss mine."
-My stomach hurts. I'm not hungry anymore. How could I possibly eat knowing that something is ailing her? Look at her just sitting there and picking out the chocolate chips like she has no care in the world. This woman...
"Are you going to tell me?"
"Nope. If it was truly serious then I would have, but there's nothing to worry about. My parents are taking great care of me."
-My parents are taking great care of me....sure. Why didn't she tell me sooner? I know that I'm in the middle of constructing another gym over on Beltline, but she could have taken the time out to tell me. I would have been there for her.
-I don't know what to do with her. Why am I the only one seriously concerned?
I don't know, but all this unnecessary stress is not good for your heart.
-You think this is funny—
-She doesn't have to worry about that chest pain putting her in a body bag. I'll do it for her.
"No, David, I think that you're getting way too worked up. Are you going to finish those cookies? I'm really hungry."
"You're going to ruin your dinner."
"That's another five hours. I'll be well and ready by the time it comes around."
-Fine, she doesn't want to say anything so I won't force her. I'll just ask her parents.
"Do you want some more milk? I'm going to get some." I don't wait for her response; I get up and head straight for the kitchen. Mrs. Lewis is working on dinner rolls. They smell delicious. Mr. Lewis is cutting up chicken to be washed and seasoned. Eddie definitely learned a great deal about cooking from his old man.
"Wow, setting up for dinner already?"
"Only the preparations, nothing big. Would you like to stay? Barrett is bringing home his girlfriend, for the weekend, and I'm sure that Ananda would appreciate the company tonight. " [Large motherly smile] "I get to have my two babies with me. I can still remember dragging them out of each other's cribs." Ananda and Barrett are ten months apart. They are the closest out of all the others, enough so that we used to call them twins.
"Sure, Mrs. Lewis, I would love to stay for dinner."
"David, we've been over this several times. My name is Stacy and this..." [points to husband] "is Quentin. You're an adult now. You can address us as such."
"Okay, Stacy." That feels strange calling the man and woman whom I consider to be my second parents by their first names. That's like me calling my dad Seongbin. He'd probably backhand me even now for thinking about it.
"So how are the clients? I bet you stay busy."
"Clients? Oh no, Mr. Lew—Quentin, I don't have clients anymore. I focus mainly on the management of the gym facilities, acquiring sponsors for our fitness merchandise, and the hiring of personnel. You know, the boring stuff. My days as a personal trainer are over."
"I feel you. Ever since those kids of ours had us retire, Stacy and I have been twiddling our thumbs. It's a godsend that Ananda is back home for two months. We've really missed having children around the house." No wonder they were pressuring their kids to settle down. They were lonely. Not that they didn't have each other. After all these years of marriage even a fool could see that they were still deeply in love, but there's something that the happiness of a child brings that no one else can provide. I understand them perfectly.
"Speaking of Ananda, she refuses to tell me what's wrong with her." They stop their preparations and I hear a unanimous sigh.
"Her doctor said that she's suffering from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. She likes to call it heart break syndrome because it's more romantic, but in a nutshell, if Quentin and I understood his explanation correctly, Ananda has been through something traumatic that is causing her physical pain. When we asked the doctor what it was specifically, he told us that she's experiencing transient apical ballooning syndrome. It causes abnormal ventricular wall motion."
"He assured us that it's nothing serious that rest and medicine can't handle. He also said that it'll be helpful if she discussed whatever it is that's causing her pain, but you know how Ananda can be. I swear she's as stubborn as her father. The both of them are hard headed donkeys."
"Well, it's the truth. If I were you, I would go in there and demand that Ananda tells us what's wrong with her. Our baby is hurting!"
"Stacy, would you just calm down. You are being too emotional. As long as Ana is kicking and breathing she's fine. She knows that she can come to either of us if she ever wants to talk. The more that we pressure her is the more she'll clam up. You know this."
"Anyway, David, it's nothing too serious and we're just going to take it one day at a time. She's on sick leave from work and we have her here relaxing in a stress free environment. That's all that matters."
"Yeah." Something is hurting her? What could it possibly be? Could it be me or something that I've done? She would have told me.
"Let me get you some more milk."
I hand the empty glass over unaware that I was walking away until Stacy touches my shoulder to hand it back to me. I'm back in the living room with Ananda who, has eaten all of the cookies except one, is watching "Scary Movie 2." She's beautiful. So damn beautiful that it pains me to know that she's hurting yet refuses to open up about it.
"I saved you a cookie. I figured I should be nice instead of eating all of it."
I sit down staring blankly at the television screen. The motion picture is playing out however it passes by unnoticed as I continue to ponder Ana's situation.
"David, you're freaking me out. What's wrong?"
"Nothing. How are you feeling?"
[Eye roll] "Fine, I promise that if something is wrong I'll let you know. What are my parents up to?"
"I guess it's either keep themselves from fussing over you or fussing over you. Which one do you prefer?"
"The latter. Are you sure that you're all right?"
"Why because we're not arguing you think that something is amiss?" She sits back in the chair and bundles a pillow up on her lap.
"No, sorry, you just seem distracted. Is it work?"
"Are you going to tell me?"
"Nope, let's just watch the movie." I pull her close as we settle back into the couch and watch the ghost fool around with Tori Spelling. My curiosity is beyond piqued, but her parents are right. If I force Ana to open up, she'll only shut right down. Not even fifteen minutes have passed since I sat down and she's sleeping. I'll just let her rest.
"Would you look at that, aren't they adorable?"
"Barrett, let them sleep."
"I'm not sleeping, she is."
"No, I'm not." [several big yawns] "I was merely resting my eyes." My brother Barrett has arrived with his girlfriend. She's cute, but she seems to be shy. I sit up straight pretending not to see the big glob of drool on David's shirt. He has got to feel that.
"Resting my eyes my ass."
[Smile] "Sorry about that. Why did you let me fall asleep?"
"You were tired."
[Stretching] That was a great nap. I wonder how long I've been out. The clock reads seven-forty-five. It's practically dinner time. I slept the entire afternoon. From the redness of David's eyes so did he. "You still look exhausted."
He's greeting Barrett and his girlfriend while I continue to stretch like a cat. I always had trouble getting up after a good rest. Eventually I join them and learn that her name is Marie. She is very soft spoken and smiles a lot. She reminds me of an adorable china doll. Fragile and beautiful. Our parents announce that dinner is ready and I, being the fat kid that I am, waste no time in heading to the kitchen. My mom always asks me how I eat so much yet remain in such good shape. Well, being the only girl and the youngest, aside from my childhood years where I wasn't allowed to dress myself, I didn't wear my first dress until my Junior prom, which is code for: I dedicated my life to being a tomboy until I miraculously discovered boys. I was a late bloomer, but it was well worth it.
Not that being a tomboy didn't have its perks. I learned all the tricks from my older brothers so that I wouldn't be duped by older boys. They even taught me how to beat a guy at his own game. Their advice has come in handy many times for me, particularly when I was a freshman in college. The upperclassmen swore that we all had "fresh meat" written on our foreheads.
"So when did you get here?"
"Marie and I have been here for the past couple of hours. You two were snoring like there was no tomorrow."
"Well, next time you should awaken us in a more timely fashion."
[Snort] "Yes, your majesty!"
I pinch his cheeks until he calls out for Mom then pretend as if I hadn't touched him. I set the table, take my medicine before my mom felt the need to remind me (which would have been embarrassing in front of Marie), then sat down to join everyone for supper. Everything is mouthwatering. Mom had made dinner honey butter rolls and most likely the apple pie that I smell. Dad handled the rest. Pressure cooked chicken marinated in his famous secret sauce that he refuses to share with any of us, but I've practically pieced most of the ingredients together: pine apple juice, honey, a dash of cinnamon, cloves, a pinch of salt, and a drop of either teriyaki or soy sauce. I'm not too sure, but it's close. Every time I ask him if I'm right he just smiles and shrugs.
Then there's white rice in which he adds a little of rice vinegar and sugar (tastes delicious!) and green beans sautéed in garlic butter. My dad should have been a cook instead of a cop. "Daddy this looks great. And Mom, I can't wait to try your rolls. My stomach is already growling." [laughter]
"Marie, I should warn you that my sister is a bottomless pit. We used to have food eating competitions and she would beat me."
Barrett winks at me and I wink back. He's being way too modest. He's beat me a couple of times. We bless the food then commence dinner, there's about ten minutes of agreeable silence before my father breaks it.