March 27, 2019. Wednesday.
I open my snoozy eyes to a crawly silence. The colossal ceiling — with all its affluence — bows down before me. Listen — listen a bit more — The tranquil beach house whispers on — A fear sheens by — And —
Full consciousness coals up! I leap off of the couch! DYLAN! Dylan is out of sight! Her pillows and blanket are neatly done — stacked on her corner! My heart THUMPS as if pouncing through hurdles in a long marathon!
“DYLAN!!!” I scream out — and scram around the house — upstairs, her bedroom, the recreation room, the movie theater — back downstairs — the dining area, the kitchen, the pool terrace — NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!!! I am about to pass out now — “DYLAN!!!” I wail — as loud as my fears can wring out! I stumble my way out into the firepit — And —
She shuns herself out of her usual chair, almost splashing away the cup of coffee — “What?” she yelps.
I smile. In the midst of my consuming fears. I want to seize her in my arms for a lasting kiss! “Don’t you ever — EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!!!” I lash at her.
“I’m sorry,” she mumbles. “I caught moms and dads early. They went for a beach walk. They wanted me to tag along, but — I didn’t wanna do it without you — so I fixed myself a cup of coffee instead. I’m sorry if you woke up without me.”
“You’ve just terrorized the hell out of my fears!” I exclaim.
“I’m sorry, alright?” she pouts.
“Oh, baby,” I giggle. “Don’t tease me with the pout now! Please!”
“I feel really bad now,” she sobs.
“It’s okay,” I reply. “Just don’t do it again. Or I’d kill myself — Hey, I gotta make us breakfast. C’mon.” We bustle inside the house — into the kitchen — “What do you feel like having?”
She sits at the counter, making sure we’re a meter apart. “Pancakes.”
“Okay. Do you know what time they’re coming back?”
“They didn’t say.”
“It might probably take quite a while,” I figure. “I’ll just make something for us then. Cold breakfast for moms and dads would be like — the kickstart of a trippy day. We don’t want that to happen.”
“Trippy day,” she giggles.
“They’d start ganging up on us about — our witches — Sarah and Alex –” I set myself up for a pancake pursuit as my one and only LUSH monitors my moves with her provocative eyes. And my lower abdomen is even more induced! ARGH!!! “Have you made pancakes before?”
“I tried,” she sighs. “But they were nasty.”
“It’s all about the batter,” I reply — as I slog on with the tasks. “Make sure it’s smoothened out. Then you test it with a spoon. It has to be thick — and yet it flights down slowly — like this –” I show it to her, and she displays a skittish smile — like the cutest doll I had had when I was five. I halt it off for a moment and admire her come-hither look. “Dylan Dawson — you have no idea — how much you’re gliding everything inside of me each time I look at you –”
“The oblong shape is about to crack,” she jabs. “Don’t start now.”
I labor on. “Around this time — on the same day — last week — a cutesy sexy charming woman attacked me with pouts and a lot of eye-rolling — in Toronto –”
“Oh, it was Wednesday, wasn’t it?” she laughs.
“And how our lives have changed so much since,” I muse over it.
“Don’t you find it scary, though?” she ponders.
“Nope,” I yelp. “Can’t fight back destiny. It’s the All of Lush true love wish coming true — given as the most wonderful present — by the universe. And we’ve clinched it. I’ve claimed it with a full heart — as I should. ‘Cause it already belonged to me. It will always be mine. I just hope that you feel the same way about it, too. ‘Cause it shouldn’t have been accompanied by D.F.S.I. to begin with.” Her face turns glum. I ignore it and finish up the pancake pursuit. “Now — all your doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities have exiled their fangs all over me. I’m sure you’d have a second thought about that, too, huh? Then call me a lunatic?”
“Ace,” she weeps, “can we please not talk about it now?”
“I’m sorry. D.F.S.I. has just been making me paranoid — If I had a magic wand, I’d just turn myself into somebody who deserves your clinch and claim pledge right off the bat. Then we wouldn’t have this problem.”
“Ace! PLEASE!!! You’re the one who’s having the trippy day here, for god’s sake!!! I’M WORKING MY WAY OUT OF IT, OKAY??? STOP PUSHING!!!”
“WHEN EXACTLY ARE YOU GONNA GIVE ME THE ANSWER, DYLAN??? BECAUSE I’M ALREADY GOING INSANE HERE!!! CAN’T YOU SEE THAT???”
“After we’ve survived the punishment! I’ll give you a pledge — once I’ve already made peace with myself.”
“A PLEDGE??? A PLEDGE???”
“Whatever it is, alright?”
“There is only ONE PLEDGE here, Dylan! ONE PLEDGE!!! AND THAT’S CLINCHED AND CLAIMED!!! NOTHING ELSE!!!”
“You’re breaking my heart now!”
“I’m breaking your heart??? I’M BREAKING YOUR HEART??? Why, what a selfish way to put it!!! How about YOU BREAKING MY HEART SINCE THE VERY FIRST MOMENT, HUH??? HOW ABOUT THAT???”
“I’m here, Ace! I’m here! And I’m sorry if I’m being stubborn! I just don’t like it when you’re hurrying me up while I’m still working through my personal intricacies here and figuring things out for you and me! On top of that, we’re still trapped inside the vicious witches’ evil revenge! I’ve already told you — give me a little more time –”
“There’s only ONE PLEDGE that I’m expecting from you,” I rack on. “And you already know what it is. So please — DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME!!!”
“I’ll be by the firepit,” she says and walks away.
Dear true love wish: You could have warned me — it would hurt this much — the most pivotal pledge would either break my heart forever or keep the sacred seven decades safe — and my entire life would swerve into a staggering turn — soon! Very soon!
Please! Keep our sacred seven decades safe! It is ours. It will always be ours. CLINCHED! CLAIMED!
After a whist meltdown, I deliver our breakfast to the firepit and set it up on the patio table. She stands back as she regards my gesture, with her red puffy eyes. “C’mon,” I say. “Let’s dig in.”
We take our seats — across from each other — after validating the one-meter measurement. “Thank you,” she moans.
“You’re welcome,” I reply. As we glut down our breakfast, she sits back and stares at me. Oh, god. Baby, I don’t want any more fights! “What is it?” I ask.
“You’ve gotta teach me how to make those pancakes,” she says.
A hopeful glow yields into my heart! “Absolutely!”
And she’s back to wolf down the rest — “Walnut, I’m really sorry that we’ve been fighting a lot lately.”
“Well, I suppose it’s part of it.”
“Not when it’s already been clinched and claimed.”
“Then what are you still waiting for?”
“I just want all this to be over first. I want to make sure everything is clear. So I can think — with a full heart. So I can figure out what to do for us. So I would know how to keep you happy — my own way.”
“All you have to do is be with me, Dylan. We’ll show our love for each other our own way. That’s all I want. That’s my happiness.”
“Let me wash it all out first, okay? Whatever my pledge would be, it would be for our own good. For the greatest good.”
“You already know the pledge that is meant for the greatest good. Our pledge. There’s nothing else out there anymore.”
“There should be.”
“What?” I exclaim.
“I love you very much is a pledge,” she mumbles.
“You are such a diva,” I giggle.
Moms and dads are now back from the beach walk. They spot us and tread in for an aimless intrusion. “Pancakes!” dad yelps.
“They look exquisite!” Mom checks out our plates.
“Fluffy, too!” Mrs. Dawson compliments.
“I’m craving now!” Mr. Dawson snaps. “Brrr!”
“Who made them?” dad asks.
“I did!” I reply — “She did!” Dylan chimes in — AT ONCE! Moms and dads exchange a surprising look — as Dylan and I seem zonked in.
“Honey,” mom says, “I didn’t know you could make pancakes like that.”
“I always struggle with the fluffs,” Mrs. Dawson says. “How did you do it?”
“It’s all about the batter,” Dylan and I reply. “Make sure it’s smoothened out.”
“Then you test it with a spoon,” I continue.
“It has to be thick,” Dylan rams in.
“And yet it flights down slowly,” Dylan and I finish it up in chorus.
It spooks out moms and dads. “I got it!” dad shakes. “I GOT IT! — Let’s get inside, and leave them alone.” And he marches away.
“Twitch Beau is still in the works,” mom says, then turns to Mrs. Dawson — “C’mon, Bev. Let’s make our own fluffy pancakes.” And moms waltz inside the house, arm in arm.
“I’m afraid to say a word,” Mr. Dawson groans, then dashes after them.
“What has just happened?” Dylan wonders.
“I don’t know,” I shrug. “We were just answering their questions.”
“Mom can never make pancakes this fluffy,” she says.
“Mom is only great at main courses,” I reply. “Never breakfast. My babysitter would make me breakfast. She taught me how to make fluffy pancakes.”
“At how old?” she giggles.
“I was probably around ten,” I boast on.
“And yet you still remembered all through this time,” she says, smiling.
“Of course,” I vaunt up. “And when I finally got it right, it made me feel like — I could take care of anybody.” And — right in an instant — it darkens her eyes with guilt, sinking me away into all the grim fears looming inside my chest — “Oh baby — I’m sorry — I didn’t mean –”
“It’s okay,” she mumbles. “I’ll work on it.”
“Dylan!” My heartaches are already jammed full! I spare out more drips, and she escapes away with more weeps. We both listen to each other’s pains — until — “The only way for you to take care of me,” I blubber on — “– is to just be there — WITH ME — FOR US! We’ll live a simple life together. You don’t have to worry about – THINGS!!! Please — believe me — THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANT FROM YOU!!! I’m in love with you! My heart — everything inside of me — everything about me — everything in my head — IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!!! And IT’S ALL YOURS!!! I’d never been so happy — and so nervous — and so brave — until I met you! I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do with my pathetic life — until I got you! I didn’t even realize for one second that a wish would find a way for it to come true — until I got to know you in our first few moments! And yet along with all that — fears broke in! My fear of losing you anytime and any day! And out of that one fear alone — has been fencing me into a lot — A WHOLE LOT OF THEM!!! So I don’t think it’s fair that we’re both disrespecting US!!! Or betraying our dreams and wishes! Or forsaking our drabbles and making OUR PLEDGE WAIT LONGER all because you believe you’re with me empty-handed! Well, you did not come with me empty-handed, Dylan! You came with me with a full heart! You’ve just been confusing it with your empty hands all along! This is why you’ve got all these doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities — when this whole time — YOU’VE ALREADY GOT WHAT I’VE WANTED FROM YOU — and YOU SHOULD NEVER DENY ME OF IT — and abandon the rest of what we have!”
“What if you’d get sick of me?” she replies. “What would happen to my full heart then?”
“Oh my god!” I soar out of the chair. “I do not believe this!”
“What if you’d suddenly fall in love with someone who deserves you more?” she provokes.
“YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO DESERVES ME, DYLAN!!!” I scream. “The only one!!! ‘Cause there’s nobody else out there who shares All of Lush with me, the drabbles, the sacred seven decades, the pledge — and EVERYTHING ELSE that we’ve already created together all through this short time period!!! And what does it say on our drabble envelopes? How did our hearts — our full hearts — clinch and claim each other early on? MY ONE AND ONLY LUSH!!! My one and only LUSH!!! There is a beautiful reason as to why it happened just like that!!! There is a beautiful reason as to why we instinctively called each other MY ONE AND ONLY LUSH!!! And that beautiful reason is – I will always be yours and you will always be mine! And my full heart – and all the lush that you make me feel – have known it — right from the very first glance! DON’T YOU GET IT??? WE’RE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER!!!”
“Walnut,” she mumbles, “your beautiful heart always manages to wound up my vultures.”
“And you’re wounding up my vultures each time you pout away with your D.F.S.I. drama!”
“And I will never afford a ring. That’s for sure.”
“Oh baby — it’s not important — I’d wear a ring that’s worth seven bucks — as long as it’s from you — I’d be proud and happy –”
“You would never wear something like that anywhere!”
“I would!” I smile. “And I’d wear it all the way through our sacred seven decades.”
“You’re just making me feel better,” she pouts.
“Don’t pout!” I laugh. “My vain cramps are woofing up!” I fall back into my chair.
“Sometimes — I don’t wanna look at you –” she says.
“Why is that?”
“‘Cause it makes me wanna go for the impulsive attack.”
I hee-haw! “Really! Despite you — being a baby lesbian?”
“I’ll — I’ll –” she stutters —
“Okay,” I giggle — “– tell me — what would you wanna do first?”
“I’ll just do it!” she yelps.
“And how is the — it — supposed to be done?”
“Ace! You’re embarrassing me! I know what to do, okay? Just shut up about it now!”
“Fine!” I laugh —
“Don’t laugh,” she groans. “It’s making me nervous.”
“How about –”
“There you are again with your sinister opening line.”
“I’ll go first.”
“Why would you wanna go first?”
“To satisfy my vain cramps!”
“You’ve never done it before. How would you justify that?”
“My vain cramps have already justified it for me — since our first meeting! Way before the walnut introduction!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Believe it, babe,” I grunt. “I’ve been mad and hungry.”
“I’ll go first,” she insists.
“Why would you wanna go first?”
“To gratify my vain cramps, too!”
“Baby — I’m going first — clinched?”
“Nope. Not claimed here. I’m going first.”
“Dylan!” I protest.
“I’m calling the shots here,” she growls. “I’m supposed to make the first move, and I’ve still got the D.F.S.I. torture to flee away from. Let me work through it myself — really good — from now on! Would you be kind enough to deal with that?”
“I think this one-meter rule is making it all worse.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I wanna kiss you right now.”
“Walnut, stop! The oblong shape is rolling around now.”
“Let it roll!” I giggle.
“I can’t,” she says. “Or I’d drag you away somewhere and –”
“Oh god!” I interrupt her, feeling my lower abdomen. “I can’t take it anymore. I CAN’T TAKE THIS ONE-METER RULE ANYMORE!!! My vain cramps are fighting their way out now!”
“Mine too,” she gasps.
“We’ve definitely got to do something here. Back to the sneaking program agenda.”
“I don’t wanna do that.”
“Dylan! Please! We have to do it some time soon! It’s been killing me! And we’ve been fighting a lot as a result! We’ve got to man up now!”
“I know. But I don’t wanna disobey them, Ace. We have to earn their trust.”
“Do we really have to be staunch about it?”
“Yes. Because they’re our parents. We know how much they love us. We love them just as much. So we’re supposed to be staunch about the whole thing.”
ARGH!!! “But I can’t stand the fights anymore, babe. I can’t. I’m sorry. It’s been depressing, and grating up the D.F.S.I. to its whacked torment big time. We’ve got to sneak away at some point here.”
“As much as I would love to,” she says, “I’m not with you on this one. I’m sorry. Not disobeying them no matter what. No matter what!”
“I can’t be staunch about it anymore.”
“We’re supposed to be. Don’t throw a tantrum now.”
“So you’re really staunch about it, huh?”
“We’re staunch about it.”
“Yeah, but I seriously wanna do things — on you — with you — right now!”
“We’re staunch about it. Say it!”
“I don’t want to!”
“Babe, my vain cramps are steaming up!”
“Walnut, say it — please –”
“Fine,” I own up. “We’re staunch about it.”
“I’m kissing you right now,” she teases.
I grin. “I’m kissing you back. In the wildest — and most passionate tongue moves –”
“Okay, stop!” she interjects, panicking.
“I’m giving you the tongue. That’s how we always kiss.”
“We’re not gonna get that body part involved right now.”
“It’s the most crucial body part.”
“I know! Just not right now!”
“Our tongues –” I tease on —
“Walnut!” she warns me.
“My tongue journeys its way down –”
“I’m running away!”
“Baby — just play along — please –”
“What?” I laugh.
“I’m protesting!” she replies. “ARGH!!!”
“Baby, that’s my constant internal expression!”
“Well, that’s my protest expression!”
“My tongue is in –”
“My tongue dips into –”
“I’m gonna kill you!”
I laugh! “I’ll definitely attack you first!”
“I’m calling the shots!” she yelps.
“Hurry it up already!”
“Stop rushing me!”
“C’mon,” I say. “Let’s get inside and take a shower.” We pick up our plates and cups of coffee, then — a raunchy idea drenches through – And she pauses to snag off my thought — the sexy fleshy thought! “So yeah –” I play dumb — clearing my throat —
“We are not taking a shower together!” she squeaks.
“Baby, relax. Moms and dads will never find out.”
“We’re not gonna disrespect your parents’ house, Ace!”
“My vain cramps are already getting right up into my head. I’m dying here!”
“NOT IN THIS HOUSE! I mean it! We’ll do it somewhere else! NOT HERE!”
“Let’s go, then. Where would you like?”
“We have to endure this punishment first!”
“I can’t wait that long anymore, Dylan!”
“I’m calling the shots, anyway!”
Moms and dads are brimmed around in the kitchen — Moms are in a meticulous pancake operation and dads are having coffee at the counter. Dylan and I encroach in to dump our dishes — one at a time — adhering to the one-meter rule — as they all observe us in a revered fashion.
“So how’s the one-meter rule doing so far?” dad asks.
“We’re staunch about it,” Dylan and I groan a reply. Instantly, moms and dads FREEZE — even more badgered now! Their blanched reaction causes us to pause — “What?” we roar at them.
“This is already too much for my Twitch Beau quest,” dad says.
“And after over three decades later –” mom grumbles.
“I’ll do some research on this,” dad interrupts her.
“How many more of — these things you two have?” Mrs. Dawson asks me and Dylan.
“What things?” Dylan and I reply in chorus. And — a breakout! Moms and dads go to pieces — facing us! “What’s going on?” my one and only LUSH and I boggle over the commotion.
“We have to do some investigation here,” Mr. Dawson snaps.
Dylan and I are about to respond, but — “Hold it!” dad interjects, flittering. “Talk — one at a time –”
“Is that supposed to be another rule?” Dylan and I pipe back.
“One at a time!” dad reechoes.
“This is an insult,” mom booms back.
“To what?” Dylan and I bat on.
“One at a time!” dad yells.
“Oh dear –” Mrs. Dawson croaks away.
“I’m not saying a word,” Mr. Dawson nudges.
“Girls –” dad gasps — “ — please talk — one at a time –”
“Why?” Dylan and I shriek.
Dad turns to Mr. Dawson. “Dave, you talk!”
“I can’t even feel my pulse anymore,” Mr. Dawson replies.
“I’ll talk,” mom presides and looks at us. “Honey — sweetheart — we already know that you two belong together — but please — don’t over do it in front of us –”
“Over do what?” Dylan and I exlaim — in an innocent bash.
“Like that!” dad snaps. “I’ve said — talk — one at a time –!”
“I’m scared to ask anything now,” Mrs. Dawson snorts.
“And my pulse is on a cardiac arrest,” Mr. Dawson yelps.
“You two –” Dad points at us — “– better get away from us for a while.”
Dylan and I walk away. “ARGH!!!”
“ONE AT A TIME!!!” dad shouts after us.
And we sojourn in the living room — “I don’t know why they’re making a fuss over it,” I say and dive into the couch. “We’re just responding with no intention whatsoever to spook them out.”
“I know!” Dylan falls into the sofa chair. “Just an initial impulse.”
“Babe –” I tease her — “– the shower –?”
“I’m not doing it,” she blurts out.
“We’ll be very careful.”
“Walnut, we’re not doing it in this house.”
“Okay then, pick a place. Right now.”
“I’m still calling the shots here.”
“Our vain cramps are calling the shots here, Dylan.”
“Our vain cramps can wait.”
“For how long? I can’t even last a minute anymore.”
“The second rule is even more brutal. Would you like to endure that instead?”
“Enduring the vain cramps is the most brutal.”
“Disrespecting moms and dads is the most brutal.”
“But I wanna kiss you now — and make love to you — It hurts!”
“Our first time is not happening in this house.”
“Hmmm –” I moan — “– my tongue is –”
“I’m running away!” She hoofs out — leading into the firepit.
I run after her, and she foils down into her usual chair. “Baby, please!” I instigate on.
“It’s your parents’ house, Ace,” she lectures me. “It’s your childhood home. Please respect that.”
“I’m sorry.” I blush, then take a seat.
“I want our first time to be lasting — and all that –” she says. “Why do you keep on rushing things, anyway?”
“I guess — it’s because — my doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities have already jacked up into paranoia — ‘Cause I just want to make sure — you will always be mine — all through the sacred seven decades — And that — you wouldn’t run away from me — ever — No matter what my world throws at us –”
“I love a simple life, Ace. I don’t have social activities. And my only friend is Rahul. He’s my mantra — I just go to work, come home, listen to Jazz, struggle to keep my thoughts together for a good story to write, listen to All of Lush for a reverie, then go to bed — to dream — to dream about a girl like you — About a girl with the most beautiful heart — I just didn’t realize that she would wham in — like this — In a perfect form — It’s overwhelming — It scares the hell out of my heart –”
“Baby, do you regret meeting me?”
“It’s not fair for you to ask me that!”
“Just be honest, Dylan! Do you regret meeting me?”
“How could you ask me such a cruel question?”
“Because you’ve been overly dramatic about us, our situation, my world since the first day — while I’ve been kneeling down for mercy this whole time! You regret meeting me, don’t you? Is that what it is?”
“If you could grasp my heart, Ace — what do you think it says?”
“I don’t know what it says!” I break down — “That’s why I’m asking you!”
“You should know what it says!” she presses. “‘Cause I’m still right here — trying really hard to smack myself out of my principles! The harsh principles that have been flaming along with pride! The pride of being a man — of taking care of you — of building a future with you — of holding the sacred seven decades in my hands — in my empty hands — THAT’S WHAT MY HEART SAYS!!!”
“Then I dare you to do the pledge right now!” I challenge her.
“See, this is the problem with you,” she argues. “You do not hear a word that I say, then you push me to do something while I’m still coming to my senses and deliberating with my conscience to make things right for both of us!”
“How to make things right for both of us? It’s easy, Dylan! Just do the pledge with me, so we can set ourselves free from all our doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities, then we can get on with our sacred seven decades together! It’s THAT easy! This is how our hearts and hands become full! Stop complicating things anymore!”
“It’s easy for you to tell me that because you’ve already got everything in the world! And you’re just expecting me to ride along! Like – oh, by the way — don’t worry about our rent, it’s already covered — don’t worry about our groceries, I’ve already grabbed them along the way — don’t worry about our next holiday, it’s already booked — don’t worry about our wedding rings, I’ve already got them — don’t worry about the wedding, I’ve already paid it all off — I’M SMASHED IN THIS RELATIONSHIP, ACE!!! And along with that, I can’t even cook for you! I may be good at domestic chores, but that’s just about it. How can I make you proud? How could I make Zea and Kai proud?”
“Baby –” Oh my heart! It has never been this crushed before! “– do you love me? Do you love us? Are you in love with our drabbles, our sacred seven decades together, our clinched and claimed, our sunrises, our beach walks, our childhood dreams and wishes, our dance, our All of Lush — having Zea and Kai?”
“Why do you always manage to do this to me?” she yaps.
“THIS! Making me feel better!”
“Oh my god, Ace Hansel! ARGH!!!”
“You cannot protest. Oh, I forgot one more thing.”
“The vain cramps.”
“Are you in love with our vain cramps?”
“The oblong shape is about to wreck its way out now.”
“Can we please not fight anymore?”
“I know. It’s killing me, too.”
“Stupid one-meter rule!”
“It’s our punishment! Let’s just — suck it up.”
I smile — the wily hunky smile — “The shower?”
“Walnut!” she snaps. “Stop it!”
“Let’s sneak away for our first beach walk then.”
“Ace, I’ve told you, we are not gonna disobey and disrespect them!”
“We can ask them. I’m pretty sure they’d trust us with the one-meter rule — regardless –”
“NO! My conscience would kill me if we’d violate the rule behind their backs! Not doing it! I’m sorry!”
“Why do we really have to be staunch about it, anyway? We’re grown women, you know?”
“Grown women who have put their parents up to shame! We deserve this!”
“It wasn’t our fault!”
“It doesn’t matter! We’re grown women who have admitted their mistakes, and are now serving their time. Let’s just be in our best behavior and get it over with.”
“When was the last time you had ever hurt your parents — before this?”
“When I moved to Toronto.”
“Why did you move?”
“Some — mystical — click — told me to.”
“Some mystical click?” I laugh.
“Something,” she shrugs. “I don’t know what it was. But I knew I just had to do it ‘cause it wouldn’t shut off anyhow — So then — one night — I just started packing up, browsed through for an apartment, my landlord got back to me the next day, booked a flight, shocked my parents, then flew out of Edmonton.”
“That was very brave of you,” I say in a dreamy gush. Oh baby! The mystical click was for us to meet! “I could say the same thing about my trip to Luster that day as well.” — She squeals, rolling in the aisles — “What’s funny?” I yelp. “I’ve already told you — the mystical click in that story — remember?”
“I know!” she laughs — “But really — What’s my deal? I’m a walnut! I’m a walnut! You see me otherwise, I know! But inside — I’m a walnut!”
Our joined hilarity reverberates along with the wind! “Oh god!” I holler on — “I’m sure you’re gonna keep on teasing me about it all the way through our sacred seven decades!”
“I’ll tell Zea and Kai about it, too!” she woofs.
“Don’t embarrass me that much!”
“Oh, they’re gonna love it!”
“They’re — gonna — love it?” I ask — for the pledge stamp.
“Walnut –” she warns me.
“You can’t fight it back anymore, babe. It’s already stuffed inside of you, and it’s not just full — It’s overflowing –”
“Exactly! It’s overflowing! That’s why it’s a problem! ‘Cause I have to figure out how to catch the spills and leave the space clean!”
“I’m not fighting anymore.”
“Babe, the beach walk. Please?”
“Not doing it!”
“I’ll ask them myself!”
“Walnut, would you mind waiting? We’ll make it a lasting moment. Not like this. It would terrorize me out of proportion. I don’t want that feeling kicking me around every second.”
“You’re such a staunch diva!”
The vain cramps. Justified — full-fledged — genuine — divine – HONORED!!!
My first time. Oh, how it tremors all over me. Like mouth-watery chocolates — or the illustrious beauty of a sunrise — or the immortal lyrics and melody of All of Lush — I cannot wait!
To savor all the love and romance. The sanctified touch. The pervading moans. The sublime skin. She is perfect!
With her — a heart becomes godlike — a smile becomes a lasting happiness – Ace Hansel matters more in the world!
ARGH!!! Baby, take me home now! Wherever it is — just take me home — Let’s run away together! Kiss moms and dads I love yous — and hasty goodbyes — for a day or two — Then plead — for their forgiveness! PLEASE!!!
The shower is splashing me into the sharpened steamiest thoughts that I would have never thought — in this lifetime — would enrapture me in a way that — that – ARGH!!!
Oh baby, read my thoughts. Please! We have to do something about the vain cramps now! The pledge! Get ready for our sacred seven decades together! Zea and Kai have been getting impatient to be born! What are we still waiting for? We cannot betray all this anymore! WE CAN’T!!! We just can’t!!!
But wait! My parents’ business proposal is still grappling around my fears! How am I supposed to lay it out on the table in front of my one and only LUSH a.k.a. staunch diva?
I blow dry my hair and get dressed, then run downstairs and scan my anxious eyes around. She is probably still up in her room, finishing up her shower. My heart squirms in agony whenever she is out of my sight.
Moms are cleaning up in the kitchen and dads are up in the recreation room. I can hear their larking prattles chirping around the house.
I sit in the living room to weigh it all in. The business would be an opportune chance: not only for the greatest good of our sacred seven decades, for the sweet darlings as well! And I still can’t bear the noxious thought of them being jobless in the midst of the vicious monster’s revenge! Argh!
But first — I have to convince my one and only LUSH! Oh, god. My nerves can’t stop zigzagging now. Please baby — say yes! Let’s not fight anymore! Just say yes!
Mom trudges in and sits beside me. “Have you talked to Dylan yet?”
“Oh mom,” I sap — “– I’m about to faint just by thinking about it.”
“Would you want us to sit down with her instead?”
“I’ll try to — convince her myself first. Thank you.”
She kisses me on my temple. “She’s perfect, honey. We’re proud — and envious of you.”
I clasp around her. “I know. I love you. I love you all. You have no idea.”
“We have an extended family now. All of a sudden, this house lights up. And it’s even more beautiful.” And she looks into my jaunty eyes — “Thank you — for all this!”
“Oh, mom!” I embrace her. “Thank you — for all this!”
She pulls away and kisses me on the forehead. “Moms and dads are going downtown to pick up some stuff. Do you and Dylan need anything?”
“We’re fine,” I reply. “Thanks.”
“All right — And just a little reminder, Miss Ace Hansel — no sneaking around and no beach walks!”
“You may count on it. Your other prisoner is a staunch diva, for crying out loud — with a doctrine that stretches beyond the conscience horizon.”
“We know,” she giggles, then rises. “I hope you can still breathe!”
“Barely,” I yelp.
And just as mom disappears into the kitchen, Dylan animates her way down the stairs and joins me on the couch — a meter away. Hmm. Oh, god. Her scent! Her silky long brown hair! Her stunning simplicity! Dressed in my old denim pants and white slim top — that she did not protest against — thank goodness! The vain cramps are balking in a violent way now! ARGH!!! It’s — all beauty — right here — packed in one staunch diva — my one and only LUSH! “Let’s grab some wine and sit by the firepit,” I say.
“Wine at brunch time?” she snaps. “What are you up to?”
“Babe,” I sigh, “please — just wait for me by the firepit — okay?”
She studies my emanating look. “Okay.” And she obeys.
I prance into the dining area and steal off a bottle of red wine from the cellar, then nab two glasses from the cupboard — and dad flashes before me — “Why are you two having wine around this time?” he asks.
“Dad,” I quaver, “I need my grits up. I’m just about to spill the beans to Dylan, and I’m choked up.”
“Your mom and I can talk to her,” he says, “no problem.”
“Dad –” I bellow — “– I don’t wanna lose her!”
“You don’t wanna lose each other! We all know that for sure!”
“You don’t understand how firm she is about her principles! It’s ridiculous! I’m already running out of defenses here!”
“Honey,” he says and looks at me — “we’ll talk to her. It’ll be fine.”
“She even refused to wear my pajamas ‘cause she said they were too swanky and expensive,” I convulse.
“We will sit down with her, and it’ll be okay. I promise.”
“I’m sorry for all the troubles that we’ve caused you — You — moms and dads — It’s disgraceful –”
“You’ve just reminded me of that — WITCH — again,” he thunders. “Ooohhh!!! That WITCH!!! GRRR!!! She’s so evil that she –!!!”
“Dad!” I snap, interrupting him. “Your hypertension.”
“What she’s done to us all is unforgivable! And inhumane!” he pauses to sigh — “Anyway, I’ve already got all my clients back. And it’s funny how some of your mom’s lucrative accounts are knocking back in, too — We should watch the news later. See what’s going on — around this witch riot — now.”
“Okay,” I reply and kiss him on the cheek. “Love you.”
“Moms and dads are going downtown,” he reminds me. “One meter! And no yoyo way!”
“I promise!” I yelp.
I join Dylan by the firepit and serve us our wine — conforming to the one-meter penance — as tizzy fusses around my chest, hands, and legs. We are seated in our usual chairs, sipping away in fidgety silence — until — “Is there something that you’d like to tell me about?” she asks.
“What’s made you say that?” I reply.
“I already know your moves, Ace. I already have an idea as to how you run — things.”
“As to how I run things? What’s that supposed to mean, Dylan?”
“How you want to run my principles — my life — my decisions –”
“Don’t you think it’s a little harsh for you to say that?”
“It is harsh. But I’m not sorry for it. ‘Cause I’m just thinking of ways as to how to make things right for us. If you’d just listen to my words.”
“Dylan, all I ever want is for us to keep our sacred seven decades safe. To keep our own happiness. To keep you — with me.”
She takes a sip of her wine and sits back. “I’ve already got all your answers.”
“Answers?” I gasp.
She clears her throat and looks at me. “Vancouver or Toronto? Coffee or tea? Pizza or pasta? Sweet or spicy? Morning or night? Fast or smooth? — It is not wherever you are, whatever you like, whichever you choose, whatever your taste bud craves, whenever you feel, and however you run –”
Guilt zips me into a scathing third degree! “Dylan!”
“It is Vancouver, coffee, pasta, spicy, morning, and smooth!” she sobs. “Am I right?”
“Dylan!” I wail, whiffing out of my chair.
“Please — tell me I’m wrong!”
“Dylan, not right now, please!”
She skitters away from the table. “Ace, please tell me I did NOT get the answers right!”
I gaze at her. “I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
“Just answer me, please,” she says and gulps down her wine. “Ace — did you lie to me?”
“No, I didn’t,” I weep. “I meant all the answers. I swear to god, Dylan. I MEANT THEM ALL!!!”
“Then tell me I didn’t get all the answers right! Tell me, Ace — Please — tell me –”
“Mom and dad –”
“I’m sorry?” she interjects.
“Mom and dad want us to stay here in Vancouver,” I confess — “– and they’re offering us a business that you and I can run, then –”
“I’m not hearing this,” she flutters. “Please, Ace — don’t shove it in my face! It’s too much for me to take on!”
“Dylan, please!” I beg — “Listen to me for a minute here — They were gonna offer it to me a long while back — but they waited for the right time to talk to me about it. Then THIS happened! So they’ve offered it to us instead — And I know that you and I can make it work together. We can also grab the sweet darlings to work with us. We will all do great! Please! Think about it! It’s for us! It’s for the sweet darlings! It’s for Zea and Kai! Please, baby — Please –”
“I just want to be alone right now!”
“Baby — they’re not hurting your principles — Nobody is hurting your principles — Your principles define your integrity, your heart — who you are — how much you love — how much you take pride in your work, your simple life — how staunch you are about moms and dads’ punishment, how you honor it despite the vain cramps — how you reprimand my tantrums about sneaking away ‘cause you don’t want us to disobey and disrespect them — how you condemn the idea of doing our first time in this house — my parents’ house, my childhood home — because of its dignified value — Don’t you see how you amaze all of us? How you amaze all our hearts? How you still amaze your parents’ hearts? How amazing your heart is? — This is why we’ve been given this opportunity — Because moms and dads already know — that we belong with each other — We deserve to be with each other –”
“Ace — business — That’s already a scary thought. I’m afraid I would disappoint them. You and the sweet darlings can run it. I want you to take it. For you. For them –”
“Dylan, what are you saying?”
“I don’t know anything about it!”
“You will learn! I’ll teach you –”
“Right! You’ll teach me. Of course.”
“Baby, please –”
“I can’t do it, Ace,” she attests. “I don’t want to disappoint your parents. I don’t want to disappoint you. I don’t want us to work together. I don’t want to be a part of it — because I know — I know what I’m capable of. And it’s NOT THIS ONE!”
“Then — what do you want, Dylan?” I go on bended knee.
“I want a simple life.”
“Your simple life? Or our simple life?”
“You can never have a simple life, Ace,” she hisses. “That would be unrealistic for you to even try it for once.”
“GODDAMMIT, DYLAN!!” I sweep out more tears! “You’re always underestimating me! I can make fluffy pancakes, for god’s sake! I can cook pasta! I can clean kitchens! I can’t wait for our beach walks! I’m excited to catch our sunrises! I can grab groceries! The only friends that I’ve got are the sweet darlings! I’d rather wear yoyo costumes than princess dresses! AND YOU’RE TELLING ME IT’S UNREALISTIC FOR ME TO LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE??? Have you ever heard me ache for anything grand? Have you seen how my parents work around the house? And have you ever heard them brag about their jobs or throwing parties or other people’s wealth or their money? You’ve been underestimating me and my parents since day one — and it hurts! So THAT’S MY WORLD, DYLAN! You wanna see my world? You’ve already seen all of it! Squished at once! There it is!”
A profound stillness whooshes in — She wheels back into the chair and refills her glass — then takes a sip and dwells on her thoughts — “I can’t do the business, Ace,” she says. “I can’t. I just can’t.”
I take my seat and contemplate, then look at her — “Baby — what do you want?”
“Just do the business with the sweet darlings. You all deserve it. It’s meant for you and them. Not meant for you and me.”
“Dylan, I’m asking you — what do you want?”
“I don’t know what I want now. I’m getting all confused.”
“Does our love confuse you?”
“Our love doesn’t confuse me, Ace. It’s what’s around it.”
“You’ve already seen it all. What else do I need to prove to you?”
“It’s not that. It’s who I am in this. It’s what I need to do to make it work for us. It’s pride and principles. It’s — too much.”
“Baby — no matter what you say — our drabbles will be hidden away for our sacred seven decades –”
“Just let me clear my head for now,” she raises her voice.
“You’re not thinking of running away, are you?” I panic.
She looks at me. “I wouldn’t do that to you — without a proper goodbye — would I?”
I crumple into all my fierce heartaches! “Baby — please — don’t do this to us – PLEASE!!!”
“STOP!!!” she blusters — “STOP THAT!!! Don’t cry like that, Ace Hansel!!! Not in front of me!!!”
“What do you want me to do, Dylan?” I eat my heart out! “TELL ME!!! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO???”
“I want you to stop crying now! That’s what I want you to do!”
“Then stop hurting me already!”
“I’m not hurting you, Ace! I’m sorting out my issues here! My goddamn issues that I need to get rid of so I would know what to do for us — in this relationship! That’s just what I’ve been doing!”
“All you gotta do is stay with me!”
“I already know that part! It’s how to keep you! That’s just what I’m worried about!”
“How to keep me? Look at me, Dylan! Look at me! This is me — begging — crying my heart out — This is me — being afraid — SO AFRAID THAT YOU’D LEAVE ME!!! WHO’S GOT THE ISSUES NOW???”
“I just wanna be able to take care of you, Ace! I don’t want you taking care of me ALL THE FREAKING TIME! I don’t want you to get sick of me and regret all this after a while! This is why I need to clear my head and figure things out as to how to do that!”
“It’s not that complicated, Dylan. It’s not even close to your doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities. We’ll live our life here in Vancouver, and if you don’t want the business, that’s fine. You may grab any job you like. That’s how simple it is.”
“I can’t believe how easy it is for you to say these things to me!”
“Because you’re complicating simple things!”
“Now what? You’re hauling me out of Toronto — just like that? I move here to be with you, and what would happen to me once you’d realize that — us — this — would never work after all?”
“Let me ask you — who had all the courage to make the first move? Who begged for happiness at the coffee shop that day? Who broke off an engagement with the vicious monster? Which discreet gay daughter would brag about a charming girl to her parents? Which discreet gay woman would show off her one and only LUSHto the sweet darlings and to the entire country? Who insisted for us to do the drabbles? Who presented the sacred seven decades? Who named Zea and Kai? Who cries to her parents because she’s scared to lose her All of Lush true love? Can you answer that?”
“I hate you,” she groans.
“Baby — please –” I take a sip of my wine — “– we already knew — even moms and dads have also known — that you and I –”
“Ace! I have to do something first, okay? Just let me do something!”
“What is it?”
“Just something — Whatever — I don’t know yet — I’ll have to think –”
“Something for what?”
“Please, Ace! Allow me to think and figure it out for myself, okay? Stop stirring my mind for now.”
“Is it something for us?”
“I don’t know how you manage to handle us!” she whines.
“Is that good or bad?” I ask.
“It’s both ways.”
“Why is that?”
“‘Cause you make me feel better about things, and I lose myself.”
“You lose yourself in what way?”
“Like — I can’t even think on my own anymore. ‘Cause everything that you blast out — it’s –”
“Everything that I blast out is for the greatest good.”
“Y-yeah,” she agrees. “And I hate you for it!”
I laugh! “Is this one of your screaming insecurities, too?”
“It’s not funny!”
“C’mon, babe. You gotta shut them all off now. They’ll never win. Once they’re all gone, my D.F.S.I. will dissipate, too.”
“For now — it’s not that easy –”
“How long do we have to wait for?”
“Once I’ve come up with something, and if it works — then — that’d be the end of D.F.S.I. tempest.”
“Let me help you with that something then.”
“Ace!!! This is exactly what I’ve been telling you about! You gotta stop pampering me around, okay? Once I’m figuring something out on my own, I don’t want you butting in — please! ‘Cause it’s not just for me! It’s for us! If I can’t handle it myself anymore, I’ll let you know!”
“‘Cause this D.F.S.I. thing is causing our catfights!”
“Oh my goodness, Ace Hansel,” she giggles.
“What?” I yelp. “Well, it’s true! It’s been smashing our heads non-stop!”
“It’s not only that. It’s the one-meter rule.”
“I’ve told you we’ve gotta sneak away.”
“Where are moms and dads, though?”
“They took off. Downtown.”
“Walnut!” she warns me.
“Would you please –” I plead — “– do it now?”
“I’ve told you, I’m still coming up with something here. If it works, then I’d do the pledge.”
“What is it, anyway?”
“Oh my god, walnut! Just let me do it myself, okay? Please! No butting in!”
“Fine. Would it make me cry — or smile for the rest of my life?”
“I’ve gotta learn how to make those fluffy pancakes,” she says.
“I’ll teach you,” I reply. “When would you like?”
“My vain cramps cannot survive overnight anymore!”
“The oblong shape is barely breathing now.”
“Then what on earth are we still waiting for?”
“We both know what we’re still waiting for!”
“Baby, I’ve told you, I’ve been mad and hungry! I’m becoming like a vicious monster, and I can’t stand it anymore!”
“We’ll get through it,” she says. “Trust me. We’ll survive like a big bang.”
“Really!” I protest. “You’re a staunch diva, for crying out loud! How are we gonna survive like a big bang?”
“I made love to you in my dream last night,” she confesses.
Awwwww! I palpitate! Oh baby! I can’t wait to attack you now! “I made love to you in the shower a while ago.”
“You did not do it!” she laughs.
“It hurt!” I snap. “I had to relieve myself! I was thinking of — doing it — on you!”
“Walnut!” she squirms.
“Oh geez, babe,” I sneer. “Don’t protest now. I’m about to –”
“Let’s not talk about it anymore, okay?”
“It’s all we can do while we’re serving our time here.”
“I know. But you’re making my vain cramps worse.”
“You’re making my vain cramps worse.”
“You’ve just told me about what you did in the shower, for god’s sake!”
“Well, I couldn’t help it anymore, all right? I’ve been dying to jump on you, and I don’t think it’s happening anytime soon — given your staunch diva-ish glory getting in the way!”
“My goodness, Ace Hansel!”
“Did you think about me while you were in the shower?”
“I think about you all the time,” she uttters in a dreamy tone.
AND — my heart is glammed up — with love and romance — and every beautiful thing found in the entire universe! “Baby –” — rosy teardrops moisten in my eyes — “– I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
“I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
“Is that clinched and claimed yet?”
“That one — is clinched and claimed! For sure!”
“What else is there to clinch and claim, anyway?”
“A LOT MORE!!!”
“Well — you gotta let me do — my thing first — and annihilate the D.F.S.I. all on my own — If it works, then it’s clinched and claimed — all the way through our sacred seven decades.”
“You’re making me nervous.”
“You should be.”
“Please — whatever it is — I hope it’s for our greatest good!”
“It should be.”
“Our greatest good — together.”
“We’ll see. If it works or not.”
“YOU’RE SCARING THE HELL OUT OF ME NOW!!!”
“You’re scaring the hell out of me. ‘Cause you pamper me around, and you don’t let me do things on my own. Even just this — me coming up with something to flee my way out of my internal issues — you feel the need to butt in and yank me out of them yourself. Like you always do. I just wanna be able to get my heart and mind to evaluate my bugs without you swooping in, flicking them out, and making me feel better. Would you be kind enough to deal with that?”
“I can’t breathe anymore.”
“Ace Hansel — we can’t have tantrums now.”
“You’re not running away, though — are you?”
“I already ran away!” she declares.
“WHAT?!” I exclaim, almost jumping off of my chair.
“With you!” she says, gazing at me. “I already ran away — with you.”
I smile. “Oh baby — I can’t wait to jump on you now!”
“Hey! You already did something in the shower! Not fair!”
“You may do it, too. Tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll do it tonight.”
“Oh, god. I’m thinking about it now. ARGH!!!”
“Baby carrot!” she giggles.
“Potato!” I yelp back.
“What’s my deal? I’m a walnut! I’m a walnut! You see me otherwise, I know. But inside, I’m a walnut!” Our hysterical kicks glee up to the skies! “Oh, walnut!” she says — “– I still can’t believe you did that!”
“I had to brave up and introduce my walnut cracks,” I laugh on, “just to catch your attention — and hopefully wipe out your pouts and eye-rolling! Or I’d murder myself!”
“And here we are now — all because of that –”
“With our drabbles, sacred seven decades, clinched and claimed, All of Lush true love dreams and wishes – Zea and Kai –”
“With vain cramps — and one-meter rule under parental punishment!”
“We’ve definitely got to do something about the vain cramps soon! I mean it, Dylan!”
“C’mon. I’ve gotta make us lunch. What do you feel like having?”
“Spicy prawn linguine pasta,” she moans.
I smile. “Clinched.”
ARGH!!! VAIN CRAMPS!!!
Hammering away in the kitchen for spicy prawn linguine pasta as my one and only LUSH’s absorbing presence plugs my happy heart into all the allurement of — our first time, our pledge, our sacred seven decades, our sunrises and beach walks, having Zea and Kai — I am clinched and claimed for life — though she is still calling the shots once she has already accomplished — that something — which churns my veins each time it crosses my mind now.
She is seated at the counter, still sipping her wine, watching me — a meter away — with her tantalizing oculus — escalating my vain cramps more. “If only we didn’t have this one-meter rule barricading between us now,” she says, “I’d help you.”
“Baby,” I reply, “from now on — if there is anything — anything at all that you’d like to do for us — I promise — I wouldn’t butt in anymore.”
“Claimed,” she smirks.
“Clinched,” I second.
“And that includes the first attack!”
“You’ve already clinched it up. There is nothing that you can do about it anymore.”
“You’ve just tricked me!”
“The first attack is mine.”
“I did something in the shower in honor of my first attack, for crying out loud!”
“Walnut, the oblong shape is busting its way out now!”
“My vain cramps have just sprouted around everywhere!”
“It’s clinched and claimed! That’s THAT!”
“Babe, the walnut will always win.”
“Not this time around. Nope.”
“I’ve told you, I’ve been mad and hungry.”
“Hey, you’ve gotta call the sweet darlings about the business,” she reminds me. “Surprise them all.”
“I will,” I reply. “And I can’t wait to work with them again.”
“You’re so kind, Ace.”
“It’s not about being kind, babe. It’s about how you cherish all the good hearts.”
“And your beautiful heart just keeps on bouncing around all over,” she moans.
“It makes us feel secure about ourselves.” — And a meshy reticence clings out of her smile — “What are you smiling about?” I ask.
“Ah, walnut. I will never know why I deserve you this much!”
“Baby, you’re intensifying my vain cramps here. Stop it.”
“The big bang. Soon.”
“I can’t wait much longer anymore! I mean it, Dylan! I MEAN IT!!!”
“You’re rushing me again.”
“I’m sorry. I just can’t help it, alright? And this one-meter rule SUCKS!!! ARGH!!!”
“It’ll be over soon.”
“That’s Friday night! I’m not up for more shower deeds here without you! Just the thought of it is already killing me!”
“Ace Hansel!” she laughs.
“What?” I snap. “I mean it!”
“I can’t believe your tantrums are worse than mine!”
“You’re dead when I bug you for it in the middle of your writing.”
“I already see it coming,” she says. “It’s scary.”
— back to the serious domestic matter — “Are you sure you don’t wanna do the business with me?”
“I can’t,” she replies. “I’m sorry. It’s not for me. You and the sweet darlings will do great at it. I’ll do something else instead.”
“You’ll do something else instead. With me. For us. Here in Vancouver.”
“Walnut,” she sighs, “I’ve gotta work on — that something — first — okay? If it works, then — it’s clinched and claimed — D.F.S.I. is vanished — all the way through our sacred seven decades.”
My legs start to wag again. “Okay.”
“Don’t be sad. I’m doing it for me. It’s a test. To know my place in this. How to cope with you. ‘Cause you’re too much. Everything about you — everything that you do for me, to me — it’s drowning all my principles — and I’m getting weak as a result. I don’t want you calling the signals all the time. How am I supposed to know how to take care of you and even surprise you with something — or give you little joys here and there — if you’d just keep on — influencing my thoughts, my heart — with your beautiful — EVERYTHING?! Do you understand?”
“I hope it wouldn’t make me cry, though.”
“Ace! Let’s not talk about it anymore, okay?”
“Don’t throw tantrums at me. You’ve already got my heart. My full heart. My overflowing heart. Just let me take care of the spills myself. Because it would help me clean off the D.F.S.I. — without your interventions.”
“I’m scared to lose you, Dylan. What if it wouldn’t work?”
“It wouldn’t work if you’d keep on butting in. So back off. Please. And I don’t mean that in a harsh way. I mean it — in a — walnut way –”
“You really mean it in a walnut way?”
“ACE!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! PLEASE!!!”
“ARGH!!!” she protests.
“Baby, I’m just scared, alright?” I whine.
“You should be scared if you’d keep on pushing yourself into this.”
“I’m not pushing myself into it. I just want to make sure we’re all set for the sacred seven decades.”
“Would you want me to read the drabbles now?”
“Not until I take my last breath!”
“Then stop pushing and rushing!”
“I’m just nervous!”
“You should be nervous if you wouldn’t shut up about it!”
“What is it, anyway?”
“Oh my god! I’m running away now!”
“DYLAN!!! I’M FREAKING OUT, OKAY??? I’m sorry!!! Just let me freak out about it! I have the right to freak out about it! Zea and Kai are at stake here, for crying out loud!”
“JUST LET ME HANDLE US, ACE!!! Let me handle US — MY OWN WAY!!!”
“And it sounds like a threat to our sacred seven decades!”
“It is not a threat if you’d just let me handle — you and I – myself!” she cries. “And it is for our sacred seven decades!”
My breaths are wielding off to an excruciating full stop! “Fine.”
“And I’ll brew a pot of coffee to go with the pasta.”
“I’ll get everything ready, babe. Don’t worry.”
We sit by the firepit to blimp out on lunch. She slicks through her bowl of spicy prawn linguine pasta and chases it with coffee — as I mitigate through the meal and sip the prime hot drink — in meek silence!
Moms and dads emerge, then pile their way towards us — all in a jolly mood! “What’s for lunch?” dad asks.
“Spicy prawn linguine pasta,” Dylan and I reply. As always, it makes their blood run cold over our initial impulse banging out of our heedless slams.
“There should be a name for this,” Mr. Dawson says, then turns to dad — “Mason, you gotta get them books to work soon.”
“Oh, I will!” dad yelps. “Since my hypertension is on the rise every time they pull off this trick. It’s driving me insane now.”
Mom notices our docile strain. “What’s causing the morose faces?”
“Sacred seven decades,” Dylan and I murmur in chorus. And — FLIP OUT!!! Moms and dads skid away all at once! It startles us — “What?” we snap at them!
“We should never ask them anything anymore!” Mrs. Dawson blasts.
“We shouldn’t even be around them a minute longer!” dad echoes. “Let’s watch some news, and leave them alone!” And they all head inside the house — smoldered up!
“I don’t understand why it’s a big deal,” I mumble.
“Tell me about it,” Dylan shrugs.
“Oh, they’re about to watch news. What’s next for the walnut? Another wicked whop? I don’t even wanna know anymore.”
“The vicious monster will be destroyed. I know it. I just know it deep down in my stirring guts.”
“Babe –” I smirk, “– you haven’t even convinced a bug yet.”
“I will!” she swaggers. “Pretty soon! You watch!”
“I’m telling you, the bug will be mushed out of my own hands!”
“Hmm — sexy!”
“Don’t rouse my vain cramps now!”
“Don’t rouse my vain cramps now either,” I say in a commanding tone – And she gives me an overindulgent look — that my lower abdomen bonks through with the most dangerous aphrodisiac ever invented in mankind history! “Baby, don’t do that,” I fidget. “Please!”
“I just wanna say –” she moans — “– thank you for — coffee, pasta, spicy, the morning in Vancouver — nestled by the sparkling beach — and your smooth sexy runs in the kitchen –”
I gaze at her — with the promising gush of our sacred seven decades — “Oh my god, Dylan Dawson. You have no idea how excited I am to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Me too,” she replies. “But — I gotta win the test first. No butting!”
“No more interrogations about it either!”
“Okay. God. You’re scaring me.”
“It must kick off right this minute.”
“Dylan, I’m really freaking out now! Seriously!”
“I gotta go.”
I caper out of my chair. “What? Where are you going?”
“Ace!” She frisks up to her feet. “We’ve already talked about this!”
“I’m just asking where you’re off to!”
“Dylan! I don’t want you out of my sight, okay? It scares the hell out of me!”
“I don’t want you out of my sight either! But I just need to do something! Something for me! Something for us! Something that would wake me up and tell me, ‘Dylan Dawson, you’re officially free from all your doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities! You can do this! You can handle her just fine! You will never disappoint her at all because she will always be happy with you no matter what’s in your hands! You’re free to go and sail away for your sacred seven decades with the most beautiful heart that you dreamed about all through these years! — It is time to dance!”
“Baby –” I weep — “– can I come with you?”
“I’m taking you with me once I’ve won the test,” she replies.
“Right now. I’d like to come with you — right now!”
“Walnut — you can’t. I’m sorry. I’ve gotta stay out of your sight — for a while — just for a while — and let me win this — on my own –”
“But where are you going, though?”
“Just around. Just away from you. For a bit.”
“Baby — you’re not gonna leave me — right?”
“Walnut — just let me do this first — Just let me win it — Please! I’m begging you — It’s really — REALLY — important to me!”
“Promise me first!”
“ACE!!! I CAN’T PROMISE ANYTHING FOR NOW, OKAY?! First, I have to know for sure — that I would never disappoint you — that I could handle you and take care of you my own way — that it would make us fall in love with each other everyday all the way through our sacred seven decades — that even our vain cramps would keep on pestering us every minute — So please — I’m asking you — to just leave me alone for a while — and let me work through it myself.”
“I’m terrified, Dylan.”
“Be terrified if I’d ask you to take me to the airport.”
My entire body goes numb! “Dylan! What are you saying? Are you thinking of flying back to Toronto anytime soon? Is that what it is?”
She succumbs to tears. “Ace — are you gonna let me win it or not?”
“You are NOT flying back to Toronto, Dylan! I swear to god!”
“ARE YOU GONNA LET ME WIN IT OR NOT?!”
“I AM NOT LETTING YOU GO!!!”
“JUST ANSWER MY QUESTION!!! ARE YOU GONNA LET ME WIN IT OR NOT?!”
“DYLAN!!!” I break down — “Please — don’t leave me –!”
“I wouldn’t,” she replies, “if you’d just let me win this test.”
“Dylan –you’re my one and only LUSH — you’re the only one — THE ONLY ONE!!! I am not letting you go!!! I swear to god!!!”
“Then let me win this!”
“MISS ACE HANSEL!!!” mom shatters out from the balcony, ENRAGED!!!
Dylan and I haste our heads to her. “Oh my god,” I pant. “What’s going on now?”
“DYLAN!” mom orders — “Stay where you are!” — back to me — “Movie theatre! NOW!!!”
I convoy mom all the way up into the movie theater as my chest drums through! Upon our entrance — dad uproars out of his seat – HYPERVENTILATING!!! Mom shuts the door behind us — and — “SIT!!!” she nettles.
I slump back down and look up at my chafed parents — I am running out of breath! “W-what’s going on?”
“You do it!” dad commands mom — “Or I’m gonna die in no time!”
“Who — is Stacey Peckinham?” mom interrogates.
Oh my god! What has the cassava done now? “Mom –” I stammer.
“WHO IS SHE??!!” mom lets off her steam.
“I — I –” I can’t move anymore! “– I dated her –”
“AND YOU DATED ANOTHER WITCH!!!” dad rails at me.
“What have you found out?” I falter.
“What have we found out?” mom crackles — “Just the most shameful, the most detestable, and the most ignoble thing that we would have never thought OUR DAUGHTER would have ever done!”
It rings me back to — OH MY GOD!!! NO NO NO NO NO!!! That’s what she threatened me about!!! My BOUDOIR PHOTOS that I had done for her a couple of years ago — FOR A GOOD CAUSE!!! — I smack away into a remorseful cry — “Mom — dad –”
“She flaunted off your skin on the NEWS!!!” mom scorches — “A SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT REPORT — if I may add!!! Apparently, she knew how to publicize THE STUFF!!! Here’s another ACE HANSEL SHAME floundering around the entire country, everybody!!! HERE!!! TAKE A GREAT LOOK AT IT!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT???”
“DID YOU SIGN A CONSENT FORM FOR IT??!!” dad asks.
“It was supposed to be for her fundraising campaign,” I burst out — “Free photography workshops and free cameras for lesbian seniors. But then I backed off after I’d seen the photos and asked her not to use them anymore. The sweet darlings even knew about it –” — Mom and dad exchange looks — “Please –” I plead — “– I wouldn’t have done it for nothing! Trust me, I wouldn’t! It was the most degrading decision, and I’m so ashamed of it! I’m so sorry for disappointing you this much — It’s unforgivable — I don’t know what to say — I’ve got no face to show to both of you — to anybody — anymore –” — Oh god — especially to my one and only LUSH — I WANT TO DIE NOW!!! “– And I will regret it for the rest of my life — I’M REALLY AWFULLY SORRY!!! MOM!!! DAD!!! PLEASE!!! BELIEVE ME!!! You can ask the sweet darlings about it – PLEASE!!!”
Dad launches a deep sigh. “Did you sign a consent form for it?” he asks again.
“Yes, I did,” I reply.
“Did you sign a contract withdrawal form?” he guns on.
“It was a verbal discussion,” I confess.
“Oh my god!” mom shirks away — in disbelief!
“Do you realize what has just happened here?” dad reproves. “Everything — every single one of those — repulsive photos — they’re all gonna be around FOREVER — abhorrently CONSUMED by PERVERTS ALL OVER THE WORLD!!! Did you not think of that vile consequence before you even thought of doing it?”
“Mom — dad –” I wail — “– I WAS STUPID, OKAY??? I WAS STUPID AND NAIVE AND VULNERABLE!!! I’M SO SORRY!!!”
“I don’t wanna see you right now,” dad fights back his tears, then rushes out of the movie theater.
“MOM!!!” I plead, almost kneeling down — “Please — I’m really sorry –!!!” Mom stands still on her spot for a moment to reflect on it, then sits beside me — “MOM — PLEASE –!!!” I deplore on — “I’M SO SORRY!!! I’M SO SORRY!!!”
She locks me inside her loving and forgiving arms — I hasp around her and squash out more WAILS!!! “No matter what –” she says, almost whispering — “– you will always have a beautiful heart — You were being selfish and disrespectful to yourself in exchange for something good — but honey — you must learn how to draw the line — Self-sacrifice can be harmful sometimes –”
“I know –” I weep on — “I’m so sorry! I’m really ashamed of it! I’m sorry for hurting you and dad again! I’m sorry!”
“Forgiven.” She kisses me on the temple. “Your dad will come out of in time. You know that.”
I panic out of my fulminating fears. “Mom — I’m scared to tell Dylan about it — She’d freak out and — and — she’d probably even dump me once she found out – MOM!!! I CAN’T LOSE HER!!! I DON’T WANNA LOSE HER!!! SHE’S MY ONE AND ONLY LUSH!!! I AM NOT GONNA LOSE HER!!!”
“Ssshhh — Honey — Honey, listen –”
“Mom — I CAN’T — I’M SCARED — I’M REALLY SCARED!!! I CAN’T LOSE DYLAN!!! I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T!!!”
“MOM!!! She’s pure and beautiful — and cannot — will NOT — stand these things!!! I’D KILL MYSELF ONCE SHE’D LEAVE ME!!!”
“HONEY!!!” mom snaps, holding my chin — “Look at me!” — I obey — “Listen to me –” she says in a lulling voice — “– it is already — meant to be — that you two belong with each other –”
“Mom –” I panic on — “ — you don’t understand — She’s staunch about her principles — everything — Even the one-meter rule! Now she’s up to something — to prove to herself that she — she would never disappoint me — that she would know how to keep me happy because she’s scared that she would never be enough for me — that she would know how to take care of me — her own way — Because she doesn’t like me pampering her around all the time and doing things for her — and making her do things out of what I do or say –”
“Honey –” she cinches — “– trust me when I say — that she will never leave you — because she’s also known all along — that she’s already found — the most beautiful heart — just as beautiful as hers –”
“But mom –!” I bolt on —
“I’ve already said it!” she braces up. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. Now go on. It’ll be fine. Go.”
I kiss her on the cheek. “Thanks, mom. I love you.”
“Love you, too,” she replies.
I spur my way downstairs and hear stifled voices droning in from the kitchen. In a flash, I catch Dylan’s distinct sound, yielding me to intrude. Pronto! Dylan, dad, and the delightful Dawson folks whish up in a composed hush. Oh, god. What was their meeting all about now? “Dylan –?” I say — almost pleading —
“I’ll meet you by the firepit,” she replies. “Would you like something to drink?”
Fears joggle me up! This scenario fuddles my walnut! “Y-yeah,” I utter. “Anything will do.”
“Give me a name,” she strikes back. “What would you like to drink?”
I flicker. “Red wine, please.”
“You’ve already had some red wine this morning,” she says. “A non-alcoholic beverage. Which one?”
“Iced tea,” I mumble.
“Okay,” she yelps. “Be right there.”
I scrutinize dad and the delightful Dawson folks’ condensed faces as Dylan bustles away to the fridge. “What’s going on?” I ask. Oh, god. I hope it has nothing to do with Stacey Peckinham’s hideous revenge!
“Firepit, please!” Dylan snaps.
“She says firepit,” dad reminds me in a fierce tone.
Mom joins us. “What have I missed?”
Dad and Mr. Dawson move their shoulders. Mrs. Dawson gives mom a meaningful look.
Dylan resurfaces with two cans of iced tea and turns to me — “C’mon,” she orders and marches out into the firepit — as I tail along — She rests one of the drinks on the patio table and flicks the other one open, then puts it down before me. “Drink it while it’s still cold,” she says and settles in her usual chair — I recline in my frequent spot and take a sip — with a conscious and fainthearted breath — She flips her can open and gulps down — “Your dad has told me about the news–” she opens fire —
“Baby –” I panic — “– please — hear me out –”
“I know why you did it,” she interjects, then scowls at me — “But WHY, Ace?”
“I swear — I would do anything to take it all back, but –”
“You can’t! It’s already out there! How could you embarrass yourself LIKE THAT??!!”
“I know! And I don’t even know how to get myself out of it! It’s disgraceful!”
“You should have thought of your parents’ faces first before you jumped into this dirty pool!”
“Dylan!” I pound out more wails — “I have been crying here non-stop! I can’t take any more heartaches — any more pains — any more shame — I think I’ve gotta steal off your suicidal pit now, and just get it all over with! Please — forgive me — I’m so sorry for all this — I didn’t mean –”
“You’re a lot wiser than this, Ace,” she says. “A lot wiser and a lot more conscientious than this!”
“I’m so sorry for disappointing you big time. I’m so sorry, baby — please –”
“Don’t cry now. There’s nothing that we can do about it anymore.”
“But baby — please — Will you forgive me? Please –?”
“Yeah. It’s done.”
“Is that clinched and claimed?”
“Well — your dad — came to the rescue — so –”
“What did he say?”
“That’s just between me and him.”
“Babe, please don’t be mad at me anymore.”
“I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at the wicked world. I’m mad at myself for being trapped in doubts, fears, and screaming insecurities. You, on the other hand, are just a victim. The victim of vicious monsters. Like — Alex — Stacey — and me –”
“Why would you swoop yourself into the vicious monster arena for?” I exclaim, disconcerted.
“Out of all the vicious monsters here,” she replies, “I’m the worst!”
“Baby, why on earth would you say that?”
“Because I’m breathlessly in love with you, walnut! I’m breathlessly in love with you that I’ve got a suicidal pit hanging around all corners! And because you love me sooo much that you’ve turned yourself into an aggressive puck! And we’ve already created some of the most beautiful things together, and yet — I’VE BEEN HURTING YOU ALL THIS TIME!!! That’s why I’m your WORST VICIOUS MONSTER in this arena!!!”
“Baby, please — don’t say that –”
“Walnut — just — let me be mad at myself, okay? I deserve it!”
“Well, I don’t want you to be mad at yourself.”
“There you are again.”
“You’re butting in!”
“If it’s something that makes you feel bad, I have the right to butt in. ‘Cause I don’t want you to feel bad about anything at all. I mean — except for those shameful things that I did — then you are entitled to be mad at me –”
“Oh my goodness, Ace Hansel! Please — stop damaging yourself too much just to make other people feel better.”
“You’re not other people. You’re my one and only LUSH. You own my full heart. And everything else inside of me — about me –”
“Even so. It’s still not right.”
“Baby — can we please — PLEASE — not fight anymore?”
“Which means — whatever it is that I need to do, we can’t throw a fit at each other – ANYMORE!!!”
“Okay, now you’re scaring me again,” I shrink away.
“And I want you to do one important thing for me,” she says.
“What is it?”
“I don’t want to see you cry anymore. Ever!”
“Dylan!” I panic.
“Ace, promise me!” she propels on. “PROMISE ME! NO MORE CRYING!”
“Dylan,” I break down —
“I’m begging you –” she pleads — “– tears — all gone!”
“You’re gonna do something, aren’t you?”
“Walnut — do you want me to win this?”
“Of course I do!”
“Then stop crying!”
“I want to kiss you right now!”
“Me too! The oblong shape just broke!”
I laugh! “What?”
“There!” she yelps. “I want you to laugh like that! I want us to share giggles — kisses — lasting moments –”
I gaze at her — feeling my chest — “I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
She emulates my gesture. “I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
“Babe — my vain cramps are already in a — VERY BAD SHAPE HERE! Oh, god! I can’t take it anymore! I can’t take this one-meter rule anymore! We have to talk to them now, and I mean – NOW!!! NOW!!!”
“There’s nothing that we can do for now. Just take it easy.”
“Take it easy? I’ve told you, I’ve been mad and hungry, and I’m going paranoid! I’m dead tomorrow if we’re still stuck in here! Let’s go talk to them! I mean it, Dylan!”
“I’m still calling the shots here.”
“Then call the shots now! We’ve gotta sneak away! NOW!!! Now, Dylan! NOW!!!”
“You’re always impatient and rushing things. Relax.”
“I can’t believe how staunch you are about this!” I whine. “I’m already going insane, goddammit!”
“Ace Hansel!” she giggles.
“What’s funny? This is NOT funny at all! I refuse to do the shower deeds again — without you! NO!!!”
“Walnut, the tantrum. It’s bad and ugly.”
“I DON’T CARE!!!”
“Oh my goodness.”
“Baby, I’m serious! I’m dying here! Please! Let’s go talk to them! Let’s sneak away! Let’s do something nasty! I’ve been aching to touch you and kiss you and jump on you and do all these wild things with you! Please please please!!! PLEASE!!!”
“Let’s just wait. It’ll be over. Soon.”
“FRIDAY NIGHT!!!” I explode — “AND IT’S ONLY WEDNESDAY!!! You’re already shoving me into a mental asylum tomorrow!!! ARGH!!!”
“ARGH!!!” — and she bursts out laughing!
“IT IS NOT FUNNY!!!”
“Walnut, relax. We’ll be fine.”
“The oblong shape just broke, for god’s sake!”
“I know. It’ll be fine.”
“How on earth could you just sit there, so poised in your chair, when your oblong shape just broke?”
“Because it’ll be fine.”
“I don’t believe this!” I scoff.
“You’ll be fine,” she assures me.
“I don’t like the way you say it! It’s like — you don’t even care about our vain cramps anymore!”
“Oh, you have no idea how much I care about them.”
“Then why are you still so staunch about the whole thing?”
“Because I know the vain cramps will be fine.”
“How? How? Tell me! In between this one-meter rule! In front of moms and dads! How? How, Dylan? Show it to me! How?”
“My goodness, walnut. Stop freaking out. We’ll be okay.”
“I’m angry! I’m so angry that I’m turning myself into the only crowned vicious monster in this arena, and I’m so smoked up!”
“Walnut, this is too much tantrum now.”
“You know what I wanna do? I wanna waltz in there and announce — moms, dads, I’m so sorry for disappointing you — but I have to kiss my one and only LUSH now!”
“You can’t do that.”
“Let’s go do it! C’mon! C’mon, baby — please — I’m begging you — I’m literally dying here!”
“Ace! Please — let’s wait — okay? Be patient. Let’s not talk about the vain cramps right now. They’ll survive.”
“Dylan,” I say, sensing the cold-shoulder treatment, “how come you’re not so — indulged — about our vain cramps anymore? Is there something going on?”
“I am indulged,” she yelps. “I’m just being patient, that’s all.”
“No, this doesn’t look — patient to me. It looks more like — you don’t even care — now. What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. Just working through with my issues here. Don’t worry about it. It’ll all be fine.”
“No, Dylan, it won’t be fine! You’re scaring the hell out of me again!”
“Ace, we’ve already clinched and claimed the greatest good stuff – instead of the fights — the crying — and all the other gripping emotions here. Please — don’t start now.”
“Is there something that I should know about?”
“Walnut, you have no idea how much I’d love to kiss you and make love to you and do all these wild things with you right now. But I just don’t like it when you’re throwing tantrums like this. It’s ridiculous. I want you to listen to me every time I say something — When I tell you, it’ll be fine, we’ll be fine — and it will all be fine — and we will be fine –”
“Okay,” I moan.
“That was not the response that I was expecting from you,” she objects.
“Baby — please tell me you wouldn’t do something that would terrify me –”
“Walnut — my baby carrot, my princess — my one and only LUSH — Would you please — be kind enough to be in your best behavior? Because I don’t wanna see you like this. It hurts me, and it makes me wanna stick a knife into my chest. I can’t bear the thought of giving you heartaches anymore. You’ve already gone through so much here. I don’t wanna add up to that. Not now. Not ever.”
“Do you really mean it?”
“Walnut, I will never know why I deserve you this much. You’re too — beautiful and vulnerable — sensible and kind — all the loveliest and the most wonderful things kicking out of a dictionary — around the entire universe — and I’ve — I’ve been hurting you all the way through — Despite all the undeserving things that I’ve made you feel, you’re still begging – Like the aggressive puck that you have always been — Since our first trip to the coffee shop — I’ve been selfish and disrespectful. I’ve insulted you too much. I haven’t been kind to your feelings. I’ve treated you in a way that should not even be in the love and romance books. You could have shunned me off early on, but you didn’t. Instead, you would keep on begging. Begging for love and happiness. The love and happiness that should not have been questioned — because it’s yours. All yours. But I’ve never been kind at all. Not one bit. And I’m really sorry for all that. For your heartaches. For however I’ve treated you all along. I don’t know when I’ll ever forgive myself, but I’ll try to whisk it all out — into thin air — every morning and every night. Because you — my walnut — my one and only LUSH — the only tear that you solely deserve — is a happy one. The happiest one — If another vicious monster out there would even try to hurt you, I’m going for a massive destruction.”
“Baby! Massive destruction! How many bugs are there now?”
“I’ll convince a bug later. There’s something I have to tell you.”
“Oh god!” I have no fight left. “Babe, please!”
“I’ve booked a flight just a while ago,” she confesses.
I twitch out of my chair — for a major MELTDOWN!!! “Oh my god! Oh my god! Dylan, don’t do this to me right now! Oh, god!”
“Ace,” she sighs, “sit down. We’ll take this calmly. Don’t cry. We’ve already pledged to it.”
I obey. “But you’re hurting me again!”
“I’m not gonna hurt you,” she replies. “Did you even listen to every word that I said?”
“That you’re sorry and all — for how you’ve treated me.”
“Dylan –” I beg, wailing — “please don’t leave me!”
“You do not deserve to beg, walnut,” she utters. “You don’t. Please – don’t cry in front of me anymore. This won’t hurt. I promise. What did I say a while ago? When I say — it’ll be fine, we’ll be fine — and it will all be fine and we will be fine –”
“I’ve already talked to moms and dads about this. Rahul’s wife gave birth last night. I need to fly back to Toronto and sort some things out. Now — I want you to drive us to the apartment — and –”
“Baby, what’s gonna happen to us after this?”
“It will all be fine and we will be fine.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Please, listen to every word that I say.”
“No, you’re not. ‘Cause you’re freaking out again. Let’s get inside.”
“I don’t wanna get inside until you promise me –”
“Ace! Let’s get inside!”
“You have to promise me first!”
“Walnut, please don’t cry anymore.”
“Baby, you’re not leaving me!”
“I’m still here, walnut.”
“PROMISE ME YOU’RE NOT LEAVING ME EVER, DYLAN!!!”
“Walnut, STOP CRYING, PLEASE!!! It’ll all be fine. We’ll be fine.”
“When are you coming back?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Is it just a one-way flight?”
“Ace, let’s get inside. Now.”
“I’ll explain all the details to you once I get it all sorted out.”
“Why can’t you explain everything to me now?”
“Because it’s not the right time yet.”
“When is the right time?”
“I’ll let you know.”
“I don’t want you out of my sight, Dylan! I can’t take it! I can’t! I can’t!”
“Are you gonna keep on crying and throwing tantrums — or drive us to the apartment? Moms and dads are waiting!”
“How come you did this behind my back?”
“You already knew why!”
“Walnut — please — enough of it — Stop crying now –”
“I’m scared! I’m scared that I wouldn’t see you again!”
“Then listen to every word that I say.”
“You’re still crying.”
“Because I’m scared!”
“It’s only for a while.”
“For how long?”
“I’ll let you know.”
“All set yet?” dad intrudes. Dylan and I purl our heads to the balcony — where moms and dads await — Mom is holding our purses up in her hands, granting them to us — We meander towards them and grab our belongings — then dad hands me the car keys.
“Aw, darling,” Mrs. Dawson comforts me, “don’t cry.”
“You two are still up for the one-meter rule, you hear?” dad reminds us.
“Yes, sir,” Dylan and I murmur a quenching reply — and instantly, moms and dads clatter around — even more outraged now!
“I haven’t gotten to the books yet,” dad flips.
“We have to figure out our Twitch Beau now!” mom says and clutches arms with Mrs. Dawson.
“My pulse is officially dead!” Mr. Dawson yelps.
“Go girls!” mom hollers.
In a haunting stroke — without a word — without shifting hugs and kisses for a hasty goodbye — Dylan and I laze away from the warm and loving troop — whose minds and hearts are still swarmed into the wonders of – All of Lush and Twitch Beau — and true love!
Dylan and I slip inside dad’s personal vehicle — as my hands and legs wriggle out of towering fears. She notices my tremor and gawks at me. I respond with more woeful splash, and — “ARGH!!!” she protests.
“Baby –” I plead —
“I can’t stand looking at you like this anymore! It’s hurting me so much!”
“You have to promise me first — please — baby – PLEASE!!!”
“Okay,” she gasps. “So I guess — this is the right time then — Do you really think I’ve booked a flight just for myself?”
“What?” I beam.
“It’s for us!” she confesses.
“Baby!” I cheer.
“We’re flying back to Toronto to grab my stuff and see Rahul’s baby!” she says. “And we’re going to be godmothers!”
“Oh my god!” I frolic. “Then why did you still have to make me cry for?”
“It’s part of my test! I wanted to know if you’d listen to my words! But you still didn’t!”
“Awwwww! Babe, c’mon now! How was I supposed to react?”
“Ace Hansel, I will never know why I deserve you this much!”
“Dylan Dawson, I will never know why I deserve you this much — despite all my vain cramp tantrums! And all the other tantrums! And –”
“You — being the aggressive puck,” she finishes my statement.
“Yes!” I laugh. “I am — the aggressive puck!”
“Oh my god. You sound like –”
“I’m about to mush some vicious monsters!” she creaks, rugged.
“Huh?” I yelp.
“Walnut, let’s go!” she orders.
“Babe, what are you up to?” I turn on the engines.
We drive away from the beach house and jaunt towards downtown. “When are we flying?” I ask.
“Saturday morning,” she replies.
I grin. “What did you tell moms and dads, anyway?”
“I just told them,” she says, “I missed you so much — and I gotta do something to keep you happy — and we couldn’t betray our beautiful things anymore — ”
And a happy cry saltates out of my immense sacred seven decades treasure of pride! “Awwww – baby!”
“But we still have to go back there tonight, though,” she brings it to mind — “– to complete the punishment and all!”
“What about the one-meter rule? Are we still up for that right now?”
“Not until we get back.”
“Baby! That’s how you’ve rescued our vain cramps?! Oh my god!”
“What did I tell you?”
“It will all be fine. We will be fine.”
“Can we pull over? I wanna kiss you right now!”
“Not until we set foot inside the apartment!”
“Baby — please — c’mon c’mon c’mon — I’m dying here!”
“Walnut, this is your dad’s car. Don’t forget that.”
“Oh, god. You’re such a staunch diva.”
“Now — it’s time for revenge!”
“Revenge?” I yelp.
“At first, Alex was the only target,” she powers up. “Now there’s two of them. I’ll do the cassava first. Take us to her photo exhibit. NOW!!!”
“Babe, what are you gonna do?”
“Oh, simple. I’ll walk up to her, introduce myself, and destroy her in any way I can.”
“Destroy her how?”
“Whatever impulse jolts out of me!”
“Baby, it’s not worth it.”
“Walnut! I’m sick of these people, alright? I’m so sick of what they’ve done to you! I’m sick of what they’ve done to moms and dads! I’m sick of it all! They deserve it! Trust me, they know they’re wrong! Everything about it is wrong! And I don’t care how powerful they are because I know — I know that — what I’m about to do — they’d regret all the evil things that they’ve done!”
“Please, babe — I don’t want anything to happen to you –”
“Nothing’s gonna happen to me! I’m just gonna snap them out of the vicious monster arena! That’s all I’m going to do!”
“Snap them out of the vicious monster arena?” I horn in.
“And turn them into HUMANS!!!” she proclaims.
“I love the sound of that!”
“The cassava first! Photo exhibit! Now!”
“We’re gracing in! HERE WE COME!”
“The woody shrub will be mushed!”
“You make woody shrub sound cute!”
Stacey Peckinham’s photo exhibit embellishes a sumptuous artsy spot of downtown — methodized up with snazzy crowd — languishing around, holding plush glasses of wine, simulated smile and word exchanges — as their mien flashes through the stupendous exterior glass walls.
Dylan and I spy on their hopper from the car — like chickened sleuths! Uh-oh. “Is there really a photo exhibit going on inside that — Hollywoodish room?” she pries.
“It’s a Stacey Peckinham venue,” I respond.
“Why would she hold her exhibits here? Are they only supposed to be exclusive for the chic and the moneyed kicks?”
“Something like that.”
“So she’s restricting her art?”
“Because only these people can afford it.”
“So what happened to her fundraising campaign after you backed off?” she asks.
“She pulled the plug altogether and just went on with her personal prestige hunt,” I reply.
She cross-examines my austere eyes. “Walnut –”
I clear my throat and collect myself. “Yeah –?”
“The free photography workshops and camera giveaways,” she analyzes, “was it all your idea? And — this was her kickback deal?”
I lower my head. “Yes.” — She dumps back and squeezes her eyes closed, then convulses into tears. I hold her hand – Oh, god! How I missed her skin — her velvety florid skin! “Baby — please –”
“Walnut! You’ve gotta stop doing it, okay? Sacrificing yourself all the time!” She looks at me as her tears stream down — uncontrollably — “Why do you just let these people abuse you? You get yourself into situations, not realizing how treacherous they are because the first thing that ticks in your heart is protecting the vulnerable ones or making the world happy without even taking into account that you’re just as vulnerable — even more vulnerable — and you deserve your own happiness just as much as those who you deem to be more deserving of it!”
“Baby — it’s done –” I assure her, “– it’s done –”
“I’m not letting you sacrifice yourself like this again!” she takes charge. “No! I’m calling the shots from now on when it comes to these things! When I say, no — you have to respect it! When I say, set your beautiful heart aside because it damages you — don’t beat yourself up around it anymore! When I say, you gotta be kind to Ace Hansel — do it without hesitation whatsoever! Have I made myself clear?”
I live in a heavenly paradise! “Clinched.”
“Claimed,” she utters, then caresses my cheek — with her daydreaming eyes maddening up my vain cramps — “Goddammit, Ace Hansel,” she moans — “I missed you so much!”
“Baby –” I lean in — “can we please — apologize to dad later — for — doing something — in his car?”
“Just this one time — Just –”
And — we grapple each other for a RAVENOUS KISS!!! The insatiable — lasting moment — just a sprinkle of our vain cramp stockpile – Oh, how much I missed my one and only LUSH — My girl crazy love sick breaths sweeten around her succulent tongue that I can never get enough of! I AM MAD AND HUNGRY!!!
Dylan and I grace the photo exhibit, and our subtle entrance turns all heads. It strikes the entire room — DUMB! Well — look at us — the babe-in-woods sapphic couple — flaunting off their hair down, blue denim pants, white tops, and sneakers — free from makeup and any other spurious body adornment — except for honor, pride, dignity, and truth!
Sure, they recognize us — They recognize Ace Hansel — their personal and subconscious conception of her — the ritzy reputation! And maybe even her enthusiastic heart — and her smile — her signature smile — The smile drawn out of her naivete — and perhaps — sincerity — though the latter is only enamored by kind faces.
The giant framed boudoir photos surround the haughty walls — with SOLD stickers boasting on them — catching my mortified eyes. Oh, god. I want to PUKE!!!
The sheepish attendees bestow us with hellos — keeping their respectful distance — regardless. Innocent smiles greet us along the way. Some even attempt to mosey towards me — but hold back — Perhaps, out of civility or principled double whammy. One thing is for sure —
— they understand something!
“What’s going on over there?” Stacey’s overwrought voice breaks out from the far-end corner of this — Hollywoodish room! And – Ace Hansel’s here whispers rise into air! “Whaaat?” She erupts through the taciturn crowd and weakens off to an alarming pause the moment her disturbed eyes claw through me and my cutesy sexy charming one and only LUSH!
Dylan and I smirk at each other, then accost her — in the middle of her SNAZZY PATRONS!!! — her nervous, enlightened, opulent fans!!! “So –” I launch the face-off, sniggering at the cassava — “– we’re here to grace your photo exhibit. Just like what you’ve wanted.”
Stacey pores over Dylan — from head to toe — then turns to me — “And how do you like it?”
“Well –” I sigh, “there’s only one way to put it, Stacey. This — all this –” — I address the crowd, “What do you think, guys? Are they — beautiful?” — the crowd grins and flies off with exuberant ‘Yeahs!’ into air — back to the cassava — “They all agree. They’re beautiful. BUT! Here’s how I see it — They’re only beautiful once all the grands that you get out of these — go to where they belong — where they belonged to begin with –”
“Free photography workshops and camera giveaways!!!” Dylan announces, and it pumps up the attendees — with a whole lot of earnest transport! “AND NOT ONE CENT SPARED!!!”
“This is outrageous, Ace,” Stacey grunts at me in a quiet blow.
“SHE SAYS IT’S OUTRAGEOUS!!!” Dylan trumpets it to the crowd — who initially responds with a startling WHAT?!”
And Stacey grimaces at my one and only LUSH. “You can go to hell.”
“SHE SAYS I CAN GO TO HELL!!!” Dylan reports, and protesting murmurs blast across the — Hollywoodish room!
“Everybody!” I proclaim — “This is Dylan Dawson!” — and the crowd’s genuine attention is shot at us — “My one and only LUSH! My true love wish! The cutesy sexy charming girl with the most beautiful heart — a staunch diva of moral conscience — who has dragged me in here — to –”
“To snap Stacey Peckinham out of the vicious monster arena!” she interrupts me — in a convulsing voice — “And convince a bug! All bugs! That — one — art belongs to all humans, and it is not supposed to be restricted — LIKE THIS! And such truth — snaps along with LOVE! Two — we have to be very kind to each other’s feelings — no matter what you see otherwise — because we’re all — WALNUTS — cracking our way out, looking for happiness! And three — anyone — anyone at all — who does a wrong thing, and betrays moral integrity — will never — EVER — have sacred seven decades with a beautiful heart that they have been dreaming about since their childhood dances with their imaginary true love — the prince or the princess who can only make them feel — All of Lush! So — if you have ever wished for an Ace Hansel — or any names that you may have met along the way — make sure you see the walnut hidden in them — Because we all deserve to be happy — and we should never deny ourselves — and them — of it! Because it’s ours. It is meant to be ours. It’s theirs, and it is meant to be theirs — So the girl displayed around these walls — no matter how much these photos have embarrassed her mom and dad — the dignified value that must come out of them — must be as priceless as that girl’s intention and beautiful heart! Because that girl – is and will always be — a princess! My princess! Her parents’ princess! Her sweet darlings’ princess! OUR PRINCESS!”
“Baby –” I wrap my arm around my one and only LUSH’s waist to express my pride and full gratitude — as Stacey’s guilty tears sluice down — while the crowd is enthralled!
“So why don’t we all do ourselves a favor here?” Dylan raves on — “For the greatest good! Just to make sure the money goes to where it belongs! And just to make sure — our princess would not be sad anymore — Grab your purchased photos, take them home with you, don’t give the money to Stacey Peckinham, and donate it to cherished hearts! CAN WE DO THAT?!”
“YEAH!!!” the crowd cheers at once and scrambles around for their photographs! While Stacey is left frozen in a helpless doom!
Dylan and I smile at each other. “Baby — you’ve won!” I exult.
“The walnut has won,” she replies, then presents her open palm before me.
I meet it with a high-five. “Clinched!”
“Claimed!” she yelps.
I capture my potato’s hand, then turn to the cassava. “TRUCE!!!” And we snake our way out of the — rhapsodic Hollywoodish room!
As we approach the car — the racket torpedoes behind us — We swirl around and watch them swaying into different directions — carrying their frames — in meticulous yet ecstatic reflexes!
“Another Ace Hansel mania to watch out for,” my one and only LUSH moans.
“No, babe,” I giggle. “It’s Dylan Dawson mania now.”
“Don’t scare me,” she grunts.
“Come here.” I wrap my arms around her waist, and we look into each other’s conquering eyes. “I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
She smiles. The provocative vain-cramp smile. “I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
And — we clasp for another — voracious kiss!!! “Can we not do Alex anymore?” I say.
“Uh-uh,” she protests. “That vicious monster must go down the drain before dark!”
“But babe,” I insist, “my vain cramps are completely amplified now, ready to explode all over Vancouver!”
She rewards my lips with a smack. “Your vain cramp tantrum scares me. Let’s go.”
Dear true love wish: How dare you introduce me to vain cramps and withhold their meteoric magnificence for a lacerating period of time!
This! Finally! It is happening! My mad and hungry medleys fused at once — as her spine glides up for more! It is all beauty — It is statuesque, transcendent, and venerable — in honor of love and romance! As my heart – oh, my joyous heart — sweeps away into our sacred seven decades together — when all the beach walks, sunrises, and All of Lush dances await — along with Zea and Kai!
And when it’s my one and only LUSH’s turn for her hallowed attack — all the euphoric moans raptured into our exorbitant room — thunder out of my love-drug tinges — the love-drug tinges that she keeps on building inside of me — the love-drug tinges that she can only slide out for gratifying releases — the love-drug tinges clinched and claimed in lasting moments — The lasting moments — clinched and claimed —
— by our sacred seven decades!
And so —
We lay back down in bed and listen to our adorable and satisfying wheezes!
“Baby –” I moan —
“What?” she gasps.
“You’re an aggressive puck,” I giggle.
“I hate you,” she laughs!
“Let’s order pizza!”
“I’ll do it!”
“I already know what you’re gonna order.”
“All right. Baby carrot, tell me.”
“Slammed veggie with sweet potato sauce.”
“There are times when I just want to hide my mind from you. It’s scary.”
I rest my arm over her bare stomach. Argh! I’m tempted for MORE!!! “Hey, I have an idea.”
“Oh my god, walnut,” she groans. “You scare the hell out of me every time you throw this opening line.”
“Why don’t –” I roll on top of her — “– why don’t we read our old drabbles and write new ones –”
She renders me with a riveting kiss. “No! Bad idea!”
“We’ll write our new drabbles first, hide them away into the wooden box, then read the old ones.”
“C’mon, babe! C’mon c’mon c’mon!”
“Then we should have something to say goodbye to first — before we do that.”
“I already know what we should say goodbye to!”
“Ace Hansel, reading each other’s minds is scary! Too scary!”
“D.F.S.I.!!!” we snap in chorus.
“Let’s order pizza first,” I say.
“And make tea!” she yelps, then grabs the landline phone and attempts to make a call, but —
I toss over to her side and succumb to an effusive snuggle. “Don’t move yet.”
She kisses me on the forehead. “Lasting moment.”
“Love you with all the beauty — my heart can give.”
“Love you — with all — my staunch diva heart — can give –”
“Baby!” I laugh. “Staunch diva heart?”
“We’ve just mushed Stacey Peckinham,” she replies. “And I’m mushing all the vicious monsters who would even attempt to crush my walnut!”
“Babe, all the bugs are convinced now. And they’re scared of you.”
“They should be! — Ah, walnut. My heart aches for you all the time. You gotta stop being — you – Ace Hansel — the most beautiful heart — once in a while — ‘cause it makes me lose my head. And I still can’t forgive myself for all the bad things that I’ve made you feel since our first meeting, and I’m coming to terms with that now. On my own. Because — the only moment that I would make you cry — would be when I trick you into a little surprise — like this. Rescuing our vain cramps –”
“And it’s the greatest surprise!”
“You deserve all the happiest cries in the world — And if someone out there gives you a nasty cry or even makes you feel bad about anything, I’m mushing them out. And it is claimed.”
“Clinched,” I moan — under a romantic breath intoxicating my proud and endowed walnut.
“I’ll order pizza and make us tea.” She kisses me on the lips and jumps out of the bed.
— Oh, god. My one and only LUSH. Her gauzy skin — her graceful moves — her nectarious scent — everything about her — my heart — the vigorous beats overflowing with all the praiseworthy desires hidden in all mystical clicks — Being with her — makes me feel —
— like —
I’M THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HUMAN IN THE WORLD!!!
After she has already ordered pizza, she takes over the kitchen to make us a pot of tea. Hmm. I surprise her with a teeming hug from behind, and she lets out a sexy gasp — another vain cramp attack!
She sways around for a hedonic kiss and looks into my eyes. “You know what makes me feel beautiful?”
Our minds REALLY DO SYNCHRONIZE!!! “Baby — please tell me — it’s not the same thing as I’ve just thought of a while ago –”
“Ace Hansel,” she yelps. “This is too scary now! Too scary!”
“Well — I’ve said to myself — what makes me feel like — I’m the most beautiful human in the world –?”
“My goodness! Please tell me — it’s something different –”
“What have you got in mind?”
“What have you got in mind?”
“I don’t wanna say it. Yet. You first.”
“No. You go first.”
“Baby, please — you go first!”
“I’m scared to say it. You first! Please!”
“You first! And if a happy cry blasts out of me — then it’s the same thing!”
“Now this is one happy cry that I don’t wanna see!”
“C’mon, babe!” I giggle. “Tell me. What makes you feel beautiful?” And — without warning — she dissolves into a happy cry — I touch her face — “So what makes you feel beautiful, Dylan Dawson?”
“Being with you!” she responds, and — I cave in around her — for the loudest happy cry breathing out — around our HOME!!! — “Being with Ace Hansel,” she continues.
“Being with you –” I utter — “– being with Dylan Dawson — is what makes Ace Hansel feel like — she’s the most beautiful human in the world!”
It is getting dark now — when we sit down in the dining area — digging into slammed veggie pizza with sweet potato sauce, and chasing it with hot tea — as the wooden box — primed on the table — awaits our new drabbles.
As usual — my one and only LUSH is immersed into the writing task — as if it’s up for a major defense in front of an academic committee — The engrossing silence gushes along — until — pencils are up!
We seal them up inside the envelopes, then dunk them into the wooden box and retrieve the old ones —
“Goodbye, D.F.S.I.,” I say.
“Goodbye, D.F.S.I.,” she echoes.
Now — for the heart-thumping anticipated moment — reading our old drabbles — And — pause — !
“Babe –” I tremble —
“Walnut –” she shudders —
“I know — it’s nerve-racking — Oh god –”
“I can’t believe we’re reading them now!”
“I can’t breathe anymore.”
“Do you still wanna do it?”
“How about –”
“Please don’t start with that opening line anymore.”
“We should do this every year!”
“Do we have to have something to say goodbye to each time?”
“What about something — to say hello to — for our greatest good — Clinched? ”
“Wait,” I catch a thought — “– our new drabbles — Do they count as a hello greatest good?”
“Sounds like — a hello greatest good — written in mine,” she says.
“Same here — Okay. I’ll go first. I’m gonna read it out loud.”
“Babe, you’re shaking all my nerves, too!”
“Then let’s just leave it!”
It rips out my chest — because I would have to agree — As guilt steers its glint out of my eyes — One hundred words about a beautiful moment that we wished to happen in the future — being with each other! I have just grasped my fleeting consciousness – Oh, god!
I have betrayed my one and only LUSH! This is where all the agitation swifts from! As I did not follow the rule! Did she follow the rule? The time rule! The future! Our future! Being with each other!
Because I wrote something about the PAST! Why did I do that? What moved me to do that? Which initial impulse was at fault?
My unwavering heart that sang along with the kind universe!
— here’s what I scribbled down — The words carved away from my childhood wish —
Dear All of Lush true love,
My name is Ace Hansel. I’m 12 years old. In my beautiful mind, I am dancing with you tonight. We are dancing together to our song. Our happiness song. Our forever heart song. All of Lush.
Also, in my beautiful mind, I have made you fluffy pancakes in the morning. We sit by the firepit and talk about our life together. Our future together. We tease each other, we laugh, and we also cry. We cry because we can’t hold each other yet.
I know someday, I will hold you and make you mine.
And a happy cry strews out of my full — sacred seven decades – HEART!!! All of Lush — fluffy pancakes — firepit — talks about our life and future together — teases — laughs — cries — the one-meter rule!
The drabble is only eight days old! And this was my wish when I was twelve!
I WANT TO MARRY MY ONE AND ONLY LUSH NOW!!!
“Baby –” I gush on — “– what did you write about?”
“Read it,” she replies.
“Did you follow the rule?”
“Just — read it.”
“Now I’m gonna say this to you — whatever it is that you wrote about — by the time we get back to the beach house — we’ll tell moms and dads that we’re getting married!”
“What did you write about?”
“Baby! By the time we get back to the beach house, we’ll tell moms and dads that we’re getting married!”
“Walnut — please read it first –”
— here’s my one and only LUSH’s drabble —
You are a sad princess. You are a princess with the most beautiful heart. People hurt you. But I will protect you, take care of you, and make sure you’re always happy. I can give you little surprises, too. Because I can read your thoughts. But right now, it’s only saved in my dreams. Because I am only nine years old and you’re very far away from me. You live in a marvelous castle where sunrises can peek in. If I could get to you someday, I would ask you for a dance. Would you like to dance with me?
“Baby!” I dash away and snatch her off the chair, then bestow her with a frantic kiss — “I will dance with you all the way through the sacred seven decades!”
“Walnut,” she moans, “what has just happened?”
“We both did the same thing! The future that we wrote about — it has already happened, and it’s happening! And that future — it came all the way from our childhood dreams and wishes — Baby, we’re all set for our sacred seven decades together — having Zea and Kai along the way –!”
She rustles the drabble out of the envelope and reads it — almost in haste — and a happy cry snivels through — in impetuous chokes — Then she gapes at me — “What did you say about the universe?”
“We don’t question it anymore,” I reply, smiling.
She grants me with a — clinched and claimed kiss! “It is ours. It will always be ours.”
“I’ve already known that all along! Baby — the thing that you wrote — would you like to dance with me? — Don’t you think — don’t you think –?”
“Sounds like it.”
“Then we’re telling moms and dads as soon as we get back to the beach house!”
“Let’s wolf down the pizza!”
We plunge back at the table and relish — tea, pizza, sweet, night, FAST!!! — and Vancouver!
“We’re very lucky and blessed — and so rich –” I say — “We’ve got drabbles, sacred seven decades, All of Lush dances, childhood dreams and wishes, the pledge, sunrises, beach walks –”
“Vancouver, coffee and tea, pasta and pizza, sweet and spicy, morning and night, fast and smooth –” she continues.
“And Zea and Kai! I wish — other hearts out there would have what we have, too –”
“They should. So — our anniversary date would be –?”
“When we found each other.”
“Clinched! — Babe, you remember what time we’re supposed to drive back?”
“Before nine o’clock. What time is it?”
We check the clock! It is 8.49 PM! And — “We’re dead!” we snap in chorus and bustle away!
10.38 PM. The beach house is all lit up. Moms and dads are still wide awake. Perhaps, waiting to raise another verdict — even worse than the one-meter rule! We are in deep trouble! ARGH!!!
We pull into the driveway and look at each other — in sweating bullets. “Can we kiss first?” I plead.
“I wish,” she replies.
We slide out of the car and freeze to an entertaining fete cavorting from the pool terrace. Dads are clanging to an acapella duet of a Dane Hunter hit. While moms’ chatting raillery slams along.
“Do you like the sound of that?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” she shrugs. “Do you think they’re up to something — atrocious?”
“I can’t say.”
We toddle inside the house and reveal our wussy faces before them. And — hush! Their stern eyes regard us, sticking more dread into the excruciating one-meter rule!
“Who’s gonna talk first?” dad asks the troop.
“Oh god,” I draw back.
“We’re very sorry that we’ve disappointed you all again,” Dylan apologizes.
— moms and dads exchange looks, then —
YIPPIES AND HURRAYS HAIL INTO THE NIGHT!!! As they all fly the coop towards us for hugs and kisses!!! Dylan and I are taken aback — “What’s going on?” we ask in chorus — And — moms and dads go numb — but — click out of their stupor as their grip hits in.
“THE WITCHES’ BROOMSTICKS HAVE BEEN BURNT TO ASHES!!!” dad cheers.
“What?” Dylan and I buck up.
“The sweet darlings came to your defense,” mom informs. “They appeared on the local evening news — bragging about you — all the most remarkable things that they could ever say about their — faithful friend — and former fellow employee — And how you’ve made them feel important — and beautiful all through this time.”
“And you –” dad addresses Dylan — “ — thank you for being so brave — standing up for our daughter — in front of –”
“– Hollywoodish people –” Mr. Dawson butts in.
“Awww darlings!” Mrs. Dawson clasps her hands together. “We’re so happy and relieved now.”
“Was that on the news, too?” Dylan mutters.
“Obviously, there were press at Stacey Peckinham’s event,” dad says.
“Oh my goodness.” Dylan feels her head.
“It’s okay, babe,” I hold my one and only LUSH’s hand, and dad catches a sight of our affection display, then signals the troop and points down to it with a sly nod. “Are we still up for the one-meter rule?” I ask in a restive tone.
Mom kisses me and Dylan on our foreheads. “It’s over now.”
Dylan and I regale with a hug! “Oh, we got it!” dad yelps, then turns to the troop — “All right, folks! Time to party!”
“Honey — sweetheart — could you please bring out some drinks?” mom orders, then dunks back into the gaiety.
Dylan and I panic in the kitchen as we nab beers, a bottle of wine, and glasses — all set on trays — “Why are we so nervous?” she panics.
“Because we’re about to ask them!” I gasp.
“I can’t believe we’re getting married soon after the walnut introduction.”
“We don’t question the universe anymore.”
She checks the trays. “Beer for dads. Wine for moms.” She pauses to sigh. “Okay. Let’s go.”
“Let’s do it,” I reply, then we deliver the drinks and rest them on the patio table — as we interrupt their repartee.
They examine our panicky maneuvers and gape at us. Dylan and I stand close to each other, swishing away sniffles. “What’s this?” dad asks.
“We’re getting married!” Dylan and I announce at once.
Moms and dads exchange looks — in awe! “We haven’t even established our Twitch Beau yet!” dad objects.
“After over three decades later –” mom grumbles.
“Tonight!” dad interjects, pointing at her. “We’ll do it tonight!”
“Have you come up with our romantic things yet?” Mr. Dawson asks his delightful wife.
“You’ve asked me about mineral oil this morning,” Mrs. Dawson responds.
“Well, is it good for face wash or not?” Mr. Dawson boffs back.
“I’ll look into it,” Mrs. Dawson stutters.
“It’s not!” Dylan and I answer in chorus.
“Girls!” dad warns us, panting — “Please talk — one at a time –”
“Let’s not add to that anymore,” mom busts in, then turns to us — “Our Twitch Beau is still in the works. You’ll have to wait.”
“That’s right!” dad yelps.
“But –” Dylan and I protest at once —
“Talk one at a time!” dad snaps at us, then sighs — “We have to do something about this –” — to the troop — “Questions! Who wants to go first?” — back to me and my one and only LUSH — “Let’s see if you two can still outfox us!” — to Mr. Dawson — “Dave, do the interrogation first!”
“When did you two meet?” Mr. Dawson fires up.
“March 20th!” Dylan and I answer.
“Anniversary date?” mom asks.
“March 20th!” Dylan and I yelp — without hesitation.
“Is that even conceivable?” dad whines.
“It’s clinched and claimed!” Dylan and I respond.
— moms and dads struggle to keep their composure — “Let’s not ask about dates anymore!” dad reminds the troop. “Throw in impossible questions! Who has one?” — and growls at us — “– Let’s end this heebie-jeebie now!”
“Name all your — things!” Mrs. Dawson challenges us.
“A-HA!!!” dad cheers at her — “Good call, Bev!”
“If they still can do this,” mom groans, then turns to dad — “– we can’t procrastinate over our Twitch Beau anymore! And I can’t believe we even waited for something like this — after over three decades later!”
“Tonight!” dad grunts at mom.
“Well –?” Mr. Dawson dares us —
“What are your other things hidden in there?” Mrs. Dawson repeats the question.
— Dylan and I look at each other — as moms and dads anticipate for our answer — then dad draws a winning grin across his flushed face — “We’re gonna win!” he gnashes.
Dylan and I gasp at once, then — “Drabbles, sacred seven decades, All of Lush dances, childhood dreams and wishes, the pledge, sunrises, beach walks –” — we pause for a bit and look at each other — as moms and dads are frozen in dead silence — back to them — “Vancouver, coffee and tea, pasta and pizza, sweet and spicy, morning and night –” — we suddenly suspend our thoughts — over fast and smooth — “– do we have to say it?” we ask each other — “No!” —
“One more thing,” I say.
“Zea and Kai!” we continue — AND!!!
“I want to swear so bad!!” dad rages.
“My pulse has just run away for good!” Mr. Dawson groans.
“My envy is about to kill me now!” mom mutters.
“I’m afraid to ask any more questions,” Mrs. Dawson reacts.
“So –” Dylan and I say in a casual tone —
“One at a time!” dad squeaks at us.
“Fine,” Dylan and I sigh — obliviously —
“Girls –” dad breathes — “– one at a time –”
Dylan and I look at each other. “You go first.”
“THAT’S IT!!!” dad gives up — “We’ll have to come up with a new rule here!”
“WHAT?!” Dylan and I snap at once.
“We don’t like this!” dad roars on. “What is this? What is this called? Do you two have a name for it?” — then realizes something and flicks at the troop — “That’s a difficult one! We’ve got no name for it! No name! I haven’t gotten to the books yet, but it’s something inconceivable! –” — back to us — with a weighty frown — “So what is it called?”
Dylan and I tilt down our heads. “Initial impulse.”
“I beg your pardon?” dad exclaims.
“Initial impulse,” Dylan and I enunciate.
— moms and dads bounce away – BUGGED UP!!! “You two –” dad prompts us — “– get away from us for a while!”
Dylan and I trek into the living room, then hurl down on the couch — for a snuggle — “They’re so unnerved about it,” I yelp.
“I know,” she replies.
I kiss her on the cheek. “It feels sooo great cuddling you in the house now!”
“Walnut –” she moans — “– show me the yoyo costume –”
“Let’s go!” I whoop, and we speed our way upstairs, into my old childhood bedroom –”
“Don’t lock the door,” she reminds me.
“Baby,” I smirk, “don’t worry. I respect your sentiment about it now.” I open the storage closet and yank out the dilapidated yoyo costume, then flash it to her — “Voila!”
She gushes! “It’s cute! It’s pink! And — smashed!” — she checks the strings — “What do you do with the strings?”
“I’d roll through them!”
“And you really did that?”
“Like a skipping rope,” I say. “But the bulky joined discs would make it so difficult, that’s why I had to come up with tricks to get through the strings.”
“Oh my goodness, walnut,” she giggles. “I can’t believe you thought of something like this — at seven years old! Ahh — that’s amazing –” Her dreamy face is making me mad and hungry — provoking the vain cramps! She looks at me, and — “No!”
“Not even a kiss?”
“It’s a vain cramp danger alert! No!”
I shove the yoyo costume back into the storage closet. “I can’t believe we can’t even kiss in here!”
“Not inside the house,” she lays out the rule. “Not ever.”
“Okay,” I groan. “God. Your staunch diva thing can’t even give me a little leeway. Let’s go to the firepit then.”
We rush down the stairs and take a startling pause — as moms and dads are huddled together in the living room — splintering us with an autocratic look! “We didn’t do it!” Dylan and I defend our — bedroom trip!
“Ace just showed me her yoyo costume!” Dylan fusses.
“And she’s a staunch diva about — things like — that!” I second. “I mean — around the house — so –”
— dads exchange signalling looks — moms impart each other with a shrewd smile — Dylan and I swan closer — in marvelled stillness – THEN!!!
— dads flick their fingers in rhythmic beats — and in a blending a capella melody — they serenade us with our song — our beautiful song — our happiness song — our forever heart song — singing and dancing all the way from our childhood dreams and wishes – All of Lush! —
— Dylan and I ooze into a happy cry — then face each other — She holds my hand and kisses it — “Ace Hansel, my baby carrot, my walnut, my princess –” she says, “– would you like to dance with me?”
“Yes!” I exclaim! “I’ve been waiting for this all along!”
— and our first All of Lush dance swings on — conjured by our warm and loving moms and dads —
Dear true love:
My name — will be Ace Dawson-Hansel soon. I’m 30 years old now. Tonight is the most beautiful night of my life as I am here dancing with you. We are dancing together to our song. Our happiness song. Our forever heart song. All of Lush.
My someday has finally come. Holding you and knowing that you are mine. Thank you for making my heart sooo happy. Thank you for making my entire world even more beautiful. Thank you for sharing your overflowing soul of love with me.
I will always be yours. You will always be mine.
And I will always dance with you until I take my last giggle. As the universe — our universe — will continue to listen to our greatest good whispers all the way through the end of our sacred seven decades —
Our sacred seven decades. Our happily ever after.
Baby, I love you — very much — way more than what this crazy world can offer us! And you will always be — my only priceless one — my only divine dazzling ring — my most wonderful holiday — and my most treasured home!
This. Us. You and I. Hold the truth! As there is nothing more powerful than —
Trusting the kind universe!
Our kind universe!
Where All of Lush is found —
You. My one and only.
I. Your one and only.
And so —
— we snuggle by the firepit after our clinched and claimed flight of fancy — with a gagged-up realization — “This place has witnessed all our fights and crying,” I giggle. “How embarrassing is that?”
“Well –” — she kisses me on the cheek — “– it has also caught some of your nasty teases –”
“Oh!” I laugh! “The tongue thing!”
“Naughty walnut!” she yelps.
“Excuse me, staunch diva! There was nothing nasty and naughty about it at all!”
“Don’t trigger another oblong shape now!”
“My vain cramps have turned into one gigantic missile here!”
“Walnut, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh god,” I shrink — “– baby — your opening line always scares the hell out of me –”
“It’s not that bad,” she sighs. “It’s just — nasty and naughty!”
“Would it make me cry or smile?”
“I don’t know.”
“What is it?”
“After you dropped off your clothes, I hugged all of them at once.”
“While wishing for you to come back sooner — But then I got sad — thinking — oh, you know, such an impossible wish, and I should just dump it — So I ran into the washroom and cried — because deep down inside — I struggled around my heart — because I could feel and see your beautiful heart at first glance — And at that exact moment — I knew you were the sad princess who danced with me when I was nine — and I wished for a chance to be closer to you so I could protect you and take care of you — And when you flashed back in, I got more terrified — I whispered to myself, ‘no no, that was still an impossible wish, and if I were to do something about it, I’d only end up — in a suicidal pit!’ — So then — I had to keep the diva thing together, and just shove it all back into my daydreams and dreams instead! But –”
“My grits harassed your diva-ish whimsy minutes after you dismissed my casual intrusion,” I laugh.
“Along with the walnut introduction!” she yelps.
“And then you asked me — where is this walnut introduction going, Miss Ace Hansel?”
“All the way through our sacred seven decades together. With Zea Dawson-Hansel. And Kai Dawson-Hansel.”
“I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
“I love you. Very much. Way more than what this crazy world can offer us.”
And — our endearing kiss — honors the beautiful night! “So what brand of shampoo do you use, anyway?” I ask.
“What’s my deal? I’m a walnut! I’m a walnut! You see me otherwise, I know! But inside, I’m a walnut!” she recalls.
And a hilarious burst echoes across the beach — reminding our first sunrise — to get ready!
Nope. Not over yet. The grand finale is slammed into the next episode.