Maya and Ranveer had been together for a glorious two weeks and felt the need to celebrate their happiness with friends. What better way to do that than to throw an epic costume party! Maya was stoked. She had never been to a masquerade before but always wanted to. After spending a few days scouring the Internet for the perfect costume, she found what she was looking for and died many times in anticipation of its arrival. The party would be at Ranveer’s house. It was quite small, but he didn’t have an attention-seeking baby brother or parents who would want to party with them. She loved them all, of course, but this was not the event for them. Besides, they hadn’t met Ranveer yet. She wasn’t necessarily waiting for the right moment, she just wasn’t ready to share her time with him.
Oddly enough, Maya had not been to Ranveer’s house yet and was super excited to see where he grew up. His parents moved back to India after his young adult birthday and left him the house. He was born and raised in Newcrest, but they never met in school. He was a little bit younger than her–in between her and Aubrey’s age–but not young enough to not have classes together. Surely she wasn’t that deep into Anthony to miss Ranveer.
Ranveer’s house was cute. The outside was typical of the neighborhood, but inside was an explosion of color and culture. All around the house, colorful paintings brightened the walls, reminding everyone who crossed the threshold they were not natives. In a way, the house reminded her of Ranveer. He was a Newcrest native, but he had tiny ways of silently telling everyone his roots ran elsewhere from the cute little slippers he wore to the way he did his hair. That’s how the house was.
“I like your house!”
He smiled. “I love your costume. Will you come sprinkle dust on my pillow so I can have good fortune?”
He always made her laugh, and she enjoyed being around him so much. It seemed impossible to be upset in his presence. “Doesn’t dust make you fly?”
“Even better! So, do you want the §5 tour now or later?”
“Later. I’m quite sure Aubrey is going to be early.”
“Ok. In that case, I’m gonna pump up the jams!”
No sooner than he left her to turn the music on, Aubrey marched up the stairs.
“See? What’d I tell ya?” She let her sister in and gave her a quick hug. “Welcome!”
Aubrey grinned. “You running the place already?” She winked. “You have a very cozy home, Ranveer.”
He bowed slightly before her. “Why thank you, Aubrey. Please, make yourself at home.”
Maya gasped at the sight of the next guest. “Yaaaaaaas, Nick!! YAS! You did it! You look amazing!”
He chuckled. His voice sounded muffled and sinister from under the mask. “Thanks. You look great too!”
“NO WAY! It has a voice changer?! That is epic!!”
He laughed some more, and she loved it. Not all her friends told her who they were coming as. Nickolas just didn’t want to wear the same thing as Ranveer, and she appreciated that. Mark came through the door next, but he didn’t look happy to be there.
“Hey, cuz. Are you feeling all right?”
“You know costume parties aren’t my thing. They’re just a ploy the government uses to attempt to make us forget about what they’re doing behind their backs!”
She sighed. Between her active social life and his wife and 2.5 children, they didn’t spend as much time together. She almost forgot how he constantly ranted about government conspiracies and common things they use allegedly to control them. “Mark…the government isn’t making us do anything. We’re just celebrating our happiness.”
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“And I appreciate it.”
Guests poured in the door like lemmings going off a cliff. She was so excited so many people came. Most of them were her friends and favorite family members, but he had a good number of friends in attendance as well. The thought of getting to know them and merging the friendships excited her even more.
Even though Mark’s wife, Sarah, probably should have been at home storing her energy, it warmed Maya’s heart to see her smiling and strutting her stuff like she wasn’t in her third trimester. She didn’t come around the family much. Maybe this was the start of something new. It was the same with Juliana’s husband. She was happy he came with her. He was the ninja, and she really did miss his entrance. Juliana, however, had been quietly hanging out in the back of the room. She looked bothered.
Maya walked over to her. “Hey! Frowning is not allowed!”
“Hey. Sorry.” She sounded so tired. Looked it too. “I’ve been fighting with Carlee all day.”
Maya resisted the urge to snort. As cute as Carlee was, she was a little terror, and Juliana let her get away with murder. It was a bit late for her to try and pull in the reigns. “What’s she doing now?”
“She’s still hitting…and biting. And now she’s so picky about what she eats! I just…I need a break!”
“Ha! And you want to have another one? You’re insane.”
She shrugged. “It was lonely growing up as an only child, Maya. I don’t want Carlee to feel like that.”
“How could you feel lonely? You had me and Mark! And Carlee has Oliver.”
“It’s not the same. You have siblings. You wouldn’t understand.”
Though she felt for her cousin, the conversation was getting a bit too deep. And whenever they talked about Carlee, she thought of Akira. Everyone else was dancing and living it up, and she wanted to join them.
As she watched everyone shake their groove things and laugh together, Logan finally arrived. Immediately, Maya looked over at Penny and watched the drama unfold. She was NOT happy about her also wearing a Star Wars costume! Gosh. What was it with those two? She got that it may have been weird for the three of them to still hang out together, but geez! High school was over. Why couldn’t Penny be an adult about it? If anyone should be upset, it was Logan seeing as how she liked and met Sven first.
Penny looked amazing, and Maya couldn’t believe she went all out with the body paint. Heh, her and Sven must have had loads of fun applying it.
Tobi had been trying to get her attention all night, but just like her costume, she flitted around the room talking to everyone and making sure people had fun. She wasn’t actively trying to avoid him, but she would be lying if she said she wasn’t concerned about inviting him.
“Hey, Tobi! I’m so sorry I’m just now talking to you.”
He chuckled nervously. “Nah, you’re all right. You’re the host.”
It was the most awkward conversation she’d had in a long time. She half-way hoped Ranveer would come and snatch her away to dance.
He shifted a bit and stepped within whispering distance. “Would you mind if…can we talk?”
Though she wasn’t sure what the subject would be, she had a few guesses. She had a party to host and a hot man to dance with. Talking to an oldish flame wasn’t the way she wanted to spend her evening. “Yeah. Sure.” Stepping into Ranveer’s bedroom or any other room would look suspicious, so she opted to go outside. “What’s up?” She hoped she didn’t sound guilty.
He glanced at the ground for a few moments, probably trying to weigh his words. She was so nervous. Finally, his shoulders sunk as he let out a sigh.
“What happened, My?”
He was the only one who ever called her that. It would always and forever be their thing…if he allowed a forever. She wanted to play dumb and ask what he meant, but she knew. She always knew, but he never said anything. That was the whole problem. He made it easy to walk away. As much as she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, he deserved a straight answer. But how could she explain it without accusing him of something?
“Did I do something wrong?”
Gah! How was she supposed to answer that? “You didn’t do anything wrong, but…” No. That was not the way to begin. “When I like someone, I tend to jump in head first without knowing what I’m jumping into.” She paused to feel him out a bit.
“I got burned every single time.”
“I was tired of making the same mistake over and over again. So, when you came along, I was scared to mess up. I didn’t want to make the first move. I was waiting for you.” She paused again to see if he followed her. He seemed to be thinking about what she said. “I needed to know for sure if you liked me because I didn’t want to be with another flirt. I was tired of playing games. But…you never did anything.”
He looked confused. “You didn’t know I liked you?”
“I knew. But, I didn’t trust my own judgment. I wanted you to tell me so I could be sure, but you didn’t.”
He closed his eyes and nodded. “I see. I should have been bolder.”
“Don’t apologize. I guess we both could have done things differently.”
“I’m glad you’re happy with him.”
She managed a tiny grin. “Thank you.”
“Well…you should get back to your party.”
Her bottom lip quivered. “You’re not coming?”
“Nah. I think I’m gonna go. You know…lick my wounds, heh.”
“No apologizing, remember? I’ll see ya around.”
She watched him go before returning to the house. The conversation was needed, but she felt terrible about it.
The party rocked on well into the wee hours of the morning. Good thing she didn’t work on the weekends or getting up in the morning would have been torture. After the last guest left, she breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn’t partied that hard in a long time, and her feet hurt. The six-inch heels were cute but definitely the wrong choice to be on her feet all night.
“Your old boyfriend ok?”
She wasn’t shocked that he noticed, but she didn’t expect him to bring it up. “He wasn’t my boyfriend.”
“Ah. Wannabe boyfriend then.”
She rolled her eyes. “Basically.”
“Are you ok? You were bummed for a minute.”
She grinned. He was the best boyfriend ever. “I’m fine. It was just an awkward conversation. Was I wrong to invite him?”
“Of course not. I mean, yeah…it was a bit weird, but I wouldn’t say you were wrong.”
She nodded. “It was weird for me too. At least we talked and I don’t have to feel weird about not inviting him anymore.”
“Do what you feel is best.” He closed the gap between them and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I’m having a special on house tours.”
She closed her eyes and suppressed the laughter.
“For a limited time only, the admission is discounted for fairies.”
“Is that so? What must I render, sir?”
He grinned. “Just a kiss. Not real hot, but with a little tongue. Yeah…that should do.”
She laughed before paying the fare and embarking on the tour. His humor was so refreshing. Did her mom feel that way about her dad?
Ranveer began the tour in the back of the house with the second bedroom–his childhood bedroom.
“Before you ask, no, I didn’t spend my teenage years with it like this.”
She giggled at the decor.
It was a very sweet room, and she liked it very much. Any children who had the pleasure of living in it should feel very comfortable.
“Before they left, my mom put the room back to the way it was when I was little.” He cleared his throat. “She said she hoped it encouraged the arrival of grandchildren.”
“HA! Tell us how you really feel, mom! She needs to chill on that.”
He ushered her out of the bedroom and into the next room which was an office/leisure room. Again, she loved the cultural accents sprinkled throughout the room. The more time she spent in his house, the more she wanted to learn about the culture that shaped him.
Finally, they ended up in the master bedroom. It was beautiful!
Was it weird for him to sleep in the same bed as his parents? If her parents left her their house, would she move to their room?
Ranveer slipped in front of her and grabbed her hand. “Happy two-week-aversary.”
She grinned. They were so corny together, and she didn’t know why but loved it. “You too!”
“I’m so glad we met…in real life.”
She laughed. It was sometimes hard to believe he became interested in her from her Simstagram feed.
“Here’s to two more weeks.” He planted his lips on her cheek. “And two more after that.” He kissed her yet again. “And a bunch more after that.”
There was not another woman in the world luckier than her, that was for certain.