Greece Ch. 01by2CHaNces©
Hey, new to this so cut me some slack. Suggestions always welcome.
"Call me as soon as you land." Sean hugged me so tight it was hard to breathe. "Go have fun, ok? But please, please, stay out of trouble. I can't help you if you're out of the country." I tried to break free of his embrace, no luck. "I love you lil sis." Sean kissed my forehead.
My big brother and I have been connected at the hip since we were kids. So the thought of going to Greece for five months without him brought tears to my eyes. "Love you too." I tried not to cry. I took my boarding pass out and made my way towards my gate.
"Bring me something back!" I heard Sean shout as I boarded the plane. Going to Greece wasn't my idea. It was a cousin of mine that I never met. He thinks being there will clear my head and help me focus on what I want to do with my life. I guess the family has been gossiping about me again, that's the only way he would know about the trouble I've gotten myself into. Just last year alone I was brought home by the police on 7 different occasions. They were they weren't serious crimes and I was a minor at the time, nothing on my permanent record. This trip is meant to straighten me out.
The plane ride was smooth, I slept the entire time. When we landed in Greece I had no idea where to go. The people getting off the plane walked like they were on a mission, as if they knew something I didn't. Maybe I shouldn't have slept on the plane. I took a seat on a near by bench and figured I should go ahead and call Sean.
"Hello?" A groggy voice answered.
"Hey, my plane just landed. Are you sleep?"
"Yeah sorry, it's midnight here."
"Oh my bad I forgot about the time zones. It's only 5pm here. Do you know where I'm supposed to go once I get here?" I could hear him yawning into the phone.
"Someone is supposed to meet you there to pick you up. Go outside and there should be a car with your name in the window. Call me later, when it's morning here."
"Thanks." I hung up the phone and headed for the door. Sure enough there was a black car outside with my name in the window. An older man, I'm guessing in his thirties stepped out. He was a big guy with a brown pony tail wearing kaki shorts and a white button down shirt.
"You must be Arian." I reached out and shook his hand.
"Call me Ari." He smiled at least I think I was a smile and took my bags to the trunk.
"Get in the car Ari, we have to go." I wanted to ask where, but from the look on his face, I could tell he wasn't going to answer me anyway.
We drove for two hours in silence until we reached a dock with a boat waiting.
"Get out." I obeyed, of course. He walked my bags on to the boat and motioned for me to follow. He spoke to the boat driver and started walking back to the car.
"Whoa, where are you going? Aren't you coming with me? Hey!" He wasn't listening to me. He just walked back to the car like it was nothing. I am not liking this. I feel like I'm being kidnapped! I turned to the driver, who as laughing at me.
"You think this is funny?" God this couldn't get any worst.
"Calm down sweetheart. You don't recognize me?" the driver was maybe forty, his black hair cut short with sprinkles of silver. His skin was olive colored, from the sun I'm assuming. He didn't look familiar.
"Excuse me? Should I know you?" I was scared of his answer.
"Well, I'm an uncle of yours. Distant uncle, but uncle nonetheless." He smiled a loving, fatherly, smile at me. This made me a little more comfortable. So I have Greek in me? My mother is Black, while my father is half Native American and half Venezuelan. Thus giving me light brown skin and curly black hair that I kept at shoulder length. Where the Greek comes in, I'll never know.
"Oh," not really knowing what to say next. "can you tell me where we're going?"
"My place, in Santorini. You will be staying with me and my niece for the next five months. You will help me with all the work that needs to be done." I really hope he doesn't mean hard labor.
"How old is your niece?" I asked him.
"Leora? She is 7. You will help me with her too. It is very difficult raising a little girl. Her mother died when she was four, so I am Leora's guardian now." I could see his emotion change to sadness. Something about him made me want to reach up and hug him. Which is so unlike me.
We approached the dock and he helped me out of the boat with my bags. "So what should I call you?" I asked my uncle.
"Galen. It means helper in Greek." We started walking up a hill, a very big hill! Santorini was beautiful. The houses were mostly white with blue doors and sometimes roofs, quite frankly, they were bright as hell. But they were gorgeous. We hiked for about 15mins with me wishing the entire time that I had packed less shit. Finally we reached his house. Walking inside it was small, but very open. I immediately felt welcomed when little Leora ran up and hugged me. She was a very beautiful little girl with long dark hair coming down to her waist, big brown eyes and a perfect olive complexion just like her uncle.
"Look Ari, I lost my tooth!" Sure enough she was missing a front tooth. She was speaking to me like we have known each other for years. Leora started telling me about school and her friends and a boy that she wants to kiss but he thinks she has cooties. Before I knew it we were all in the kitchen making potato and lamb moussaka and pita bread. Watching Galen and Leora, was like watching father and daughter. And in an odd way I felt like I belonged here. There was a knock at the door.
"That must be Basil."
"Basil? Who's that?" I asked Leora.
"It's BAH-SILL, he is our neighbor. He comes over for dinner every night and he helps uncle with work. He's here all the time, you will like him." With that said Leora ran to the door to greet him. Basil looked to be about 6ft tall with a nice tan. He had green eyes, curly black hair that hung in front of his eyes, and a five o'clock shadow. He was very handsome, his body was lean but I could see muscles under his shirt. He had the cutest set of dimples, as if he wasn't sexy enough. He looked over at me, I must have been staring pretty hard.
"Basil, this is Ari. She is my niece." Galen introduced us.
"Yas sas, Ari. It is very nice to meet you" He flashed a beautiful white smile and kissed me on both cheeks. That definitely caught me off guard. "I have heard so much about you." We all sat down at the table and started passing food around.
Eating dinner with them was quite the experience. There was loud talking and laughter , everyone was so happy.
"So Ari, tell us about life in America." Galen asked me. Suddenly the table was quiet, everyone was interested.
"Well, what do you want to know?" Could you be more specific?
"What's your family like? Are they like this?" Basil asked, motioning to everyone at the table.
"We sure don't have dinner like this. We don't sit down and eat like this, as a family."
"How do you eat?" Leora asked.
"Usually not together, like, I might make some food and take it upstairs to eat it. We just don't really do 'togetherness'. If you know what I mean." Galen, Leora, and Basil all looked with confusion on their faces.
"But that's the point of dinner. It's for families to bond." Galen sounded concerned, as if it was bad for my health.
"My family doesn't really bond." I felt embarrassed at the fact. Why couldn't my family be like them? They were perfectly happy.
"With us you will be doing a lot of that. In fact, Basil," Galen nudged Basil with his elbow "why don't you take Ari around town tomorrow? Show her how things work here. Besides we wouldn't want her to be lonely for the next five months." Basil looked embarrassed.
"You don't have to do that. I'm sure you have other things to tend to." I didn't want to sound like some poor lost kid that needed a friend. Even though I was secretly hoping he wanted to take me.
"Don't be silly. I would love to show you around. Actually if you don't mind I'd like to show you something right now." Basil stood up from the table and walked over to me. He looked over at Galen for approval. I guess he got it because he basically lifted me up out of the chair and to the door.
We jetted out the door and up a ladder on the side of the house. After walking on the platform for about a few minutes we climb up another ladder that must have been the roof. It had four soft, colorful mats laid out on it, and looking down from up there almost made me sick.
"Lay down" Basil instructed. I laid down on the purple mat and Basil plopped down right next to me. And when I say next to me, I mean on the same mat. He was extremely close, comfort level dropping. "Why haven't you looked up yet?" he laughed. I was so concerned with my personal space that I didn't realize what was above me. Looking up I saw more stars than I even thought possible. There were more stars than there was sky; that explained why it was so oddly bright at 11pm. "Have you ever seen anything like this?"
"No. This is amazing. It's so beautiful." I was pretty much at a loss for words.
"I thought you would like it. You can get lost in thought up there, you know. I came up here one time and stayed for five hours. I had completely forgotten where I was and what problems I had. They say our sky clears your mind. It acts as a healer." Basil was on his side facing me now. He looked me dead in the eye. "You looked like you needed some healing."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Did I really look like I had that much baggage? I mean things weren't the greatest at home, but they could be much worse. I was fairly happy.
"You just look a bit sad, hurt even. I thought this would help." I kept avoiding eye contact with him. Looking in his eyes make me want to spill my guts to him.
"We should head back inside." I said after about 10 minutes of looking at the sky. I stood up and went for the ladder. Basil was right on my heels following me down. I don't know why but I felt I couldn't really trust myself with him. I felt as if I would give away way more information about myself than needed. Being alone with him wasn't a good idea.
When we finally made the long journey back down to the house, Galen (should I be calling him Mr. Galen? Uncle Galen?) and Leora we cleaning up the kitchen. Galen instructed Leora to get her clothes out for school tomorrow to go take her bath.
"Ari, will you braid my hair after I wash it? And will you help me pick out clothes for tomorrow?" Leora looked at me with those big brown eyes.
"Oh course!" She was definitely seeing me as a big sister. I couldn't tell her no, but I didn't want her to get attached to me. She would just be loosing a friend when I left, I didn't want her to get hurt. She pulled me to her room and she headed straight for the closet. Her room was a typical girls room, with a greek touch of course. It was open with white walls and big windows. It consisted of a twin bed (pink sheets of course), a nightstand and a dresser. There were dolls thrown about and fake jewelry everywhere, but it was fairly clean for a child's room. Leora laid out a pink and brown stripped tank dress with 2 little pockets in the front, it was too cute.
"I really like this one. But there's a cute shirt that I want to wear too." She whirled around back to the closet and came back with the perfect white polo.
Remembering she had told me earlier that her class was going on a field trip the following day, I suggested she go with the dress. After all it would be the perfect temperature outside and she would be comfortable in the dress. Plus, she wouldn't want to get her white shirt dirty.
"So does Galen pick out your clothes for you at the store?" If so he had great taste.
"I have to go with him otherwise I'd be wearing long sleeve shirt and sweatpants all the time. I have to remind him that I'm only 7, no one's looking at me like that. I should be allowed to wear a dress." Leora was so grown up I had actually forgot she was only 7. I mean she looked like she was 7 but sometimes when she spoke she seemed much older. Leora and I chit chatted about other things for a while. She seemed to really like me.
"Uh, excuse me. Ari can I talk to you for a second?" Basil was standing in the doorway. I followed him back to the kitchen.
"I told Galen I would take you down to the market tomorrow morning. I could show you the beach and the old church as well. If that's ok with you. I mean if you would want to go with me. If you wouldn't mind me taking you." What?! Was he nervous? He bit his lip to stop himself from talking. With his head held down his eyes were staring straight at me. I was confused. Was he nervous around me all of a sudden or was he hinting that he didn't really want to take me?
"Do you really want me to go? Because if you have other plans or something that's completely fine. I won't take offense or anything, the last thing I want to do is disrupt pervious plans." I'm not going to make him do something he doesn't want to.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to sound like I didn't want to take you. I wasn't sure if you would want to." He sighed. "I just wanted to make it clear that you had a choice. I don't force girls to go on dates with me." As soon as he said that statement he closed his eyes and bit his lip. Whoops.
"Date?" I asked curiously. Not that I completely objected. I mean it was hard to be around him but damn he was so gorgeous. It's almost worth giving up a few bits of personal information.
"No. Yes. Kind of. We would be spending time together getting to know each other. So yes, that is a date." He seemed to be becoming more confident with his conclusion.
"Getting to know each other? I thought you were just going to show me around." I was kidding of course. But Basils' mouth dropped.
"I thought that... I mean... but..." He looked absolutely dumbfounded.
He was still rambling when I stopped him. "I am kidding. I wouldn't mind going on a date with you. I might actually enjoy it." At first I felt bad for joking with him but seeing that big smile he gave me made it all worth it.
"So it's settled then, I'll come by tomorrow morning. Is eight o'clock too early?" He was still smiling.
"Eight is just fine." He held my hand as if to shake it and kissed both of my cheeks. Basil looked down at the hand he was holding and decided he wanted to kiss that too. He was making me blush.
"I'll be here." He said his goodbyes to Leora and Galen, all the while sneaking glances at me. And was soon out the door.
"So you have a date with Basil? I hear girls talking about him all the time. Everyone wants to be Basils' girlfriend." I am not surprised by that fact. He was beautiful. Beautiful Basil. Wow, that was so corny. "His sister is in my class. She says even though all the girls want him, he never goes out with them." That's weird. Damn I really hope he's straight. "I don't know what you did but you did it right."