The smell of citrus and wood hits my nose. It must be his cologne or body wash. 

“Hey, Ms. Rose,“ Ryan state, entering the kitchen. “Simone.” 

His voice is so stoic whenever he says my name. My eyes briefly move toward the ceiling. 

I glance at Ryan as he grabs an apple and a bottle of Fuji water before heading out the door toward the pool. Ryan throws his shirt on the lounge chair. 



He is no longer that ten-year-old boy.


He is a man with a heavenly, sexy body. He has abs—a six pack, to be exact—and a v-line going down into his swim trunks. 

His body is stuff I read about. He’s wunderland. I like the German way of to wonderland ever since I read it in a fantasy novel last year. I am definitely adding him to my wunderland list. 

Absentmindedly, I wipe water off my hand.  

Wait, how did that get there? Oh, crap … Water slides down my cheek onto my hand. 

I scan the kitchen, ensuring that my mom didn’t see the way I was reacting to the gloriousness of Ryan’s body. 

Trying hard to refocus on the task at hand, I begin admiring the crown moldings white cabinets, the gold knobs, and pulls. Three single jar pendants perfectly hang in the center of the massive, white, marble island, with strategically placed espresso bar stools. I have always admired how immaculately the Mulligans’ house is designed. Each piece of furniture, paintings, and fixtures have a purpose. 

The rumbling coming from my stomach caused by the aroma of the sweet potato pies reminds me that I hadn’t eaten lunch. The tempting pies lay on the counter waiting to be devoured. 

“Rose, my love, is one of those pies for me?”

Smiling from ear to ear, my mom replies, “One slice, Ryan, one.”

“Thanks,” he replies with a kiss on her cheek. 

He halts as he exits the kitchen with a grin the size of Texas. “Hey, Simone.”

I shudder. “Hhhhiiii … hey.” I am bemused at his greeting. He doesn’t seem as distant to me. 

Laughing, he continues on his way.

Mom gives me a scowl. She stares at me as if she’s able to read all my not-so-good thoughts going through my head about Ryan. I become uncomfortable under her gaze. Thinking of a way to distract her, I offer her a helping hand and prepare the pie for him. 

“Can you take the pie up to Ryan, sweetie? I forgot about something I need to have done before Mrs. Mulligan gets back.” 

After asking, she hesitates as if she isn’t sure she should ask this of me. 

Excitement and trepidation hit me all at once.  It’s been years since I was allowed to enter Ryan’s room. 

“I can do that.” My hand shakes as I pick up the pie. 

The wood creaks as I hold onto the banister. Mom would be pissed if the plate broke; I would be mortified. 

Five more steps to Ryan’s door. I hold on to the plate with both hands as they begin to tremble. Inhale. Exhale. The sound of a beating drum grows louder and louder the closer I got to his door. Get it together, Simone. You’re just delivering pie

Listening to the rock music blasting from his room, I hesitate to knock. 


%d bloggers like this: