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.It’s great, and all.But it feels like we’re in debt to them now, like we have to go along with everything they say.and I don’t know.I’ve always done things for myself, my way, and now I’m just.here.”“What does Steve think?”“Steve thinks that his parents are amazing and that we’re the luckiest two people on the planet and he thinks I feel the same way.It’s just not really me,” she motions to the gleaming white walls, the sleek furniture.She’s definitely got a point.Back home her room seemed to pulse with color.Every surface had something on it; every inch of wall was covered with paintings, pictures, drawings.“I guess I always kind of pictured myself living in some old loft in Brooklyn, or maybe a brownstone.But this.well you get the picture.”“You’re going to marry Steve, you should probably tell him the truth.”“What good would it do? We have somewhere to live, we don’t have to pay a mortgage or rent.There are people starving in this world and I’m upset because I didn’t get to pick out my marital home.”“And why don’t you want me to tell Mom and Dad?”“Oh come on.Mom spent ages picking out that silver tray she gave us for our engagement gift.If she found out what Kim and Saul gave us…I just don’t want to make her feel bad.”“Oh.” I get it.It’s not like we’re poor or anything, Dad owns his own restaurant, Mom’s the busiest realtor in town.But with six kids in need of college tuition and what not, it’s not like they’ll be buying us houses anytime soon.And they’re the kind of people who would love to do such an amazing thing for their children.Alyssa goes back to assembling brunch, a rag tag assembly of bacon, eggs, oven fries, and garden salad.While we eat she entertains me with stories about crazy models and crazier celebrities.I nearly spit out a mouth full of orange juice when she tells me about shooting pop singer Summer Stone and a peacock in Central Park.“She ran around the pen screaming, thinking the thing was trying to eat her shoes.”***Over the next two days, Alyssa indulges my every tourist whim.Even though I’m sure she’d rather do anything but, we circle the Statue of Liberty on a ferry, take the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building, stand in the middle of Time Square during rush hour, and eat hot dogs in Central Park.By Sunday evening we’re both exhausted and my suitcase is already bulging with pointless souvenirs.“So what’s the schedule for tomorrow?” Steve lopes into the room wearing a pair of ratty sweatpants and a t-shirt.He’s been working all weekend and finally finished just as we got home.“I was thinking maybe The American Museum of Natural History?” I say hopefully.“Awe hun, I’m sorry,” Alyssa frowns.“I’ve got work tomorrow.By the time I’m off the museum will be closed.But it’s pretty close to here, why don’t you go over during the day? Then we can grab dinner or something? I should be home by six.”“Oh, yeah of course,” I say, not sure why I’m surprised.I knew Alyssa had work, but I guess I just figured we’d be spending the entire week together.That she’d play hooky special for me.“Hey I’ll come if you want company,” Steve offers.“I’m off for the next couple days.”“Oh definitely take Steve,” Alyssa nods enthusiastically.“He’s clocked more hours in that place than probably anyone who works there.”***The next day Steve and I awkwardly venture out on our trip to the museum.I say awkward but what I really mean is dreadfully uncomfortable.The fact is that I’ve never been left alone with Steve, ever.There’s always been someone there – Alyssa, my parents, one or all of my other sisters.It’s easy to carry on a conversation when several others are floating you along, but when the weight of the conversational burden falls on just two – things can get difficult.As we walk, both of us mine our brains for something interesting or useful to say, but somehow fall flat every time.Steve starts talking about work, but when he meanders on to the topic of a story he’s currently writing on STIs and teenagers, we both turn bright red and can’t speak for five or so minutes.I’ve only ever had one boyfriend, back in junior high.It wasn’t exactly earth moving.We kissed twice and spent the rest of our three week tenure together holding hands and barely speaking.Suffice to say, I’ve never been on a date and by the way things are going here, maybe I should never go on one.What does it say about me if I can’t even talk to a platonic male, soon-to-be relative?When we get to the museum we climb up the big grey steps and glide into the lobby.The sight of the giant T-Rex bones, recognizable from any number of movies and television shows, sends a jolt of excitement down my spine and I forget to be nervous or weird.I instantly poke Steve excitedly and demand we get moving ASAP so I can see everything.Steve has a season pass, so he waits dutifully by the T-Rex while I sift through a ten minute line and finally purchase my admission from an overly cheerful man with horn-rimmed glasses.The rest of the afternoon passes by in a blur as we take in every exhibit.I’m a geek, fully admitted.I love museums, I love history, I love soaking in facts and knowledge.I’ll never be as smart as Arianna, academically at least, but Dad has always said the difference between me and her is that she loves being smart, and I love learning, and those are two very different things.When we finish it’s just past five.We head up to the apartment and I start getting ready for dinner with Alyssa.All weekend she was telling me about these fabulous places she wants to take me to, I wonder which one she’ll pick.Just after six the front door bursts open and Alyssa frantically rushes in, Topher on her heels.She looks at me, waiting on the couch and she frowns apologetically.“I have a work thing, I completely forgot.I can’t get out of it.I’m so sorry Syd.” She says breathlessly.She shoves her purse and keys at Topher and then runs to her room to change.A few minutes later she emerges her hair pulled back into a soft knot and wearing a pink silk dress and towering heels.Four minutes and she goes from frazzled to fabulous.Mom taught her well.“Bye guys,” Alyssa waves to us and rushes out.Topher chases behind her, not even bothering to wave on his way out.“So.” Steve rocks back on his heels, “want to go see a movie?”Chapter FourOver the next four days, Alyssa’s schedule continues on its same tornado-like path, wiping out any and all plans she tries to make with me.Steve takes it upon himself to become my guide, somehow getting out of work for the next few days [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]