Devan and Leliana walked back to the house in silence, hand in hand. He showed her in, seated her in the dining room, and warmed up two plates of food for them.
“Your home is beautiful,” Leliana said.
“It’s your home now too.”
“When I fell out of the sky, I landed in another neighborhood. I know you gave me your address before, but I couldn’t remember it. I was walking all around this town for hours trying to find you. Somehow, I ended up on this street, and this was the first house I saw! I thought to myself, ‘This house looks pretty awesome. I hope I can live in a place like this in this world.’ I was so tired and uncomfortable. I needed help, so I knocked on this door thinking I was going to ask someone where you lived, and you opened the door!”
“Are you for real?”
“We were meant to be together!”
“Devan,” Alayna said as she appeared from nowhere. “Where have you been all day and night? And who is your friend?”
“I am Leliana Frenlore, Wonder Queen of the Wonder Kingdom, and I love your son!”
Devan didn’t mind her telling Alayna that she loved him, but he wished she would have let him finish his sentence. He knew Alayna was about to flip.
“What? Who is this, Devan?? Is she on something???”
“My pen pal I told you about.”
Alayna couldn’t believe her hears. First of all, she thought Leliana was a very strange girl. Second, she halfway thought that person wasn’t even real, and now she was right there in her dining room professing love for her son. It was way too much information all at once and too late at night.
“Young lady,” she said in a calmer tone. “It’s awfully late. Why don’t you go back home and come back at a more appropriate time, ok?”
“This is my–”
“Leliana,” Devan interrupted. “I got this, ok? Mama…if it’s ok with you, Leliana needs to stay here for a while.”
“Stay here? Why? Where is she going to sleep? I know you don’t think she’s going to live with you in the basement!!”
“Mama! Please! She doesn’t have anywhere else to go! She can’t go back home.”
“Why not,” Alayna barked.
“It’s complicated,” Leliana said. “Please, Mrs. Holmes. I could be useful here! I possess maximum skill levels in violin, logic, handiness, gardening, and rocket science. I have built and upgraded a rocket and a wormhole generator. I am also good at piano, gaming, and painting. I’m still learning but am also decent with charisma, painting, piano, herbalism, and mixology. Your son is in very good hands with me!”
Although Alayna was not comfortable with the situation and didn’t appreciate this strange girl coming in her house and laying claim to her son, she had to admit to herself that she was a bit impressed with Leliana. She was very smart, confident and accomplished…someone she would want for Devan–not that she was giving them her blessing or anything like that.
“So…you’re a musician, huh?”
“Oh yes! I wrote a song for Devan, but I never got a chance to mail it to him. I’ve written a couple of songs, actually….But, I’m not nearly as accomplished as you, Mrs. Holmes.”
Leliana knew just how to swing the situation in her favor.
“Well, yes…I’ve licensed a few songs myself…,” Alayna bragged.
Alayna sat down, and she and Leliana began their own conversation about their music. Devan watched them in amazement and thought, Wow…she really did it! She handled mama!
Roland was still up making business calls in his office and decided to have some dinner before he went to bed. He joined them in the dining room, and when he saw the three of them at the table, he already knew what it was about.
“Is this you,” he asked Devan in reference to Leliana.
Devan smiled, and said, “Her name is Leliana.”
“Ok now, son! She sure is beautiful.
“It’s kinda late. This must be real serious. Y’all gettin’ married or something?”
Devan laughed and said, “No! She, ummmm, she doesn’t have anywhere to live right now…and I thought she could stay here.”
“Ohhhh, I see. Free ice!”
“You know that old saying…why buy the freezer bunny when you can get the ice cubes for free?”
“OH! You think–no, we’re not–I mean, she’s not my–well, we haven’t–”
“Son…I know you’re innocent, but you won’t always be. Just understand that it’s near impossible to see a plate of delicious cupcakes and not eat one.”
“That’s not why she’s here, dad! Geez! You and mama drink the same Kool-Aid now?”
“I want you to be happy and enjoy life however you want to, Devan. I really do. I just don’t want you to be delusional about her living here. You’re a man now. Men get hungry, and cupcakes are very delicious.”
“I understand, dad. I understand. I know what it must look like to you and mama, but I have very good intentions–we both do. Everything just happened so fast, I haven’t had time to think. All I know is that she was in trouble, and she came to me. I didn’t consider that we don’t have a guest bedroom or anything. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Make her go stay in some rat hole? I care about her, dad.”
“I know, son. I see the way you’ve been looking at her. I think you love her.”
“I…well, you could be right. I haven’t considered how I feel.”
“You love her. I know that look!”
“Roland,” Alayna said, “Do you think it would be ok for Ms. Frenlore to live here for a short while?”
“Sure, baby. I don’t have a problem with it. Devan definitely wants it.”
“Ok! It’s settled then. You can stay here, Leliana, but you will NOT be sleeping anywhere near my son! Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mrs. Holmes. Thank you!”
“Yes, mama,” he said flatly
“Good! You’ll have to sleep on the couch until we come up with another arrangement. I imagine you’ll be here until you can save enough money for your own place, right?”
Devan and Leliana looked at each other and smiled at some unspoken understanding.
“You are correct, Mrs. Holmes.”
“All right,” Alayna said. “Leliana, come with me and I’ll show you around. Good night, Devan.”
“Good night, mama.”
Leliana waved to Devan and followed Alayna up the stairs.
Roland waited until they were upstairs and said, “Devan…you’re a good man. I know you don’t live here because you need to. I know when it’s time for you to have a family, you’ll be perfectly capable of taking care of them. But…if you get her pregnant while she’s here? You’re on your own, bruh!”
He got up and laughed heartily as he gathered the plates and went to the kitchen saying, “Your mama is gonna kill you!”