Nathanael Sell was feeling flirty, and there was just one woman in the room–Tam.
Tam rolled a whim to try a bold pick-up line, and though there were still a few guests hanging around from Sugar’s non-birthday party, she seemed to only have eyes for Nathanael.
But there’s no rush, right? She ran on the treadmill with one of the other guests, their insane friend, who felt a little tense when Miracle’s ghost floated by.
No sparks between them, I noticed. She ranted to him about the idiotic commercial running on the tv at the moment, and when he took offense at her calling fast food joints “shortcuts to cardiovascular hell,” she apologized. Their friendship was mended, but could there be romantic potential with a guy who didn’t get riled up over the crimes of the fast food industry? She thought not.
She headed outside, where Nathanael was playing with a lump of clay.
She tried out the pick-up line.
Nathanael laughed. “There’s more to me than my physique, you know,” he said.
“I know,” Tam replied. “You’re creative. I like that.”
She woke up the next morning with a whim to ask him to be her boyfriend. She’s a quick one to make up her mind when she finds something she likes.
“How long have we known each other?” Nathanael asked.
“Oh, long time, right?” Tam answered. “Since we were kids and we met that day at the park–that was the first time I ever left the home lot. I’ve only been off twice, you know.”
“Huh. You don’t get around much, do you?”
It was the right whim, for sure. She knew it. Nathanael was amazing. She wouldn’t ask him right away, but her mind was made up. All they needed was a little more time together, build up their relationship a bit, and then she’d put events in motion to get this legacy-heir-thing well underway.
They kept feeling playful all day. It was hard to reel it in when the jokes were flying around like penguins on steroids.
The hardest part was getting anytime alone together. There were people everywhere! All those mailmen that had made friends with the family, and the guys who were rooming in the mansion across the street, and that male maid with the broad shoulders, who’s already aged up to elder, and then all the family members–they were all hanging out at Cradle Rock. And you know how it is with young love–everybody wants to be in the same room as the new couple because they’re just so much fun.
Finally, Tam asked Nathanael to give her a Swedish massage. She figured that was the one place where they could get a little one-on-one time.
The massage felt amazing. Sometimes, he curled his fingers and rubbed with the back of his nails. Sometimes, he karate-chopped. Sometimes, he stroked firmly with the palms of his hands. He seemed to be following the contours of every muscle, tracing their fibers and smoothing out any tension.
“Heaven!” said Tam, when she got up from the massage table.
And while the table was still warm, there was Salix with her lemon-scented organic cleaning mixture.
“Um, Mom?” Tam asked.
“Don’t mind me,” Salix replied. “You kids go right on with whatever it was you were doing.”
“Over here, Nathanael, ok?” Tam asked, and they walked just out of earshot.
“I’ve been wanting to do this all day,” Tam said. She could read in Nathanael’s eyes that he had been, too.
Their first kiss was all she’d heard a first kiss should be. Man, this romance stuff was easy!
She could just feel that the timing was right. She was still sure. The massage had been amazing, the kiss like syrup.
“Be my boyfriend?” she asked.
“Yoom!” he replied. “For sure!”
She’s got it all, that’s what she figures.She is set.
And what about Sugar? After her miraculous act of self-determination, she’s been proceeding as normal. Her new aspiration of writer has her full engagement. By the end of the second day, she’d written four books, and achieved level 6 of the writing skill.
She acts like it was no big deal that she turned back time to the beginning of adulthood. And maybe, for her, it is no big deal–maybe it’s just doing what she does best: taking charge of her life.
“You see?” Tam said to Nathanael the next morning, “You’re kind of weird. And I mean that in the best possible way. Look around. We’re pretty quirky, too. So what I guess I’m trying to say is, I think you’ll fit in just fine. Right, Mom?”
Salix answered with a genuine smile and an open palm. That’s this family’s way of loving. You open your palm and hold your hand just so, without holding tight to anything. For the secret is, that it’s into an open palm that all the riches fall.