Killian set me down and stepped back to look me over. “Ye look healthy,” he said with a grin. “Has livin’ in the mountains been treatin’ ye well?”
“I guess,” I chuckled, “but it’s hardly been a week.” I didn’t know how weird it would be seeing Jean-Marc again, but since that could very well have been a dream, I wasn’t going to tell Killian about it.
“That old house is a family heirloom, I’ve heard say,” he replied. “I look forward tae seein’ it again, if yer still willin’ tae have me come for a visit.”
“You can come any time,” I assured him. “In fact, so can Stefan. There are plenty of rooms.”
Killian grinned. “He’ll take ye up on that offer in a heartbeat, lass.”
“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t mean it. So, are you ready to head out?”
“O’ course,” he nodded as he grabbed the case for his bassoon, which had been waiting near the wall.
I opened the trunk so he could put his instrument in, then we both piled into the car. We stopped by the Winco in Beaverton for snacks and a case of cider, and I grabbed a case of Shasta Mountain Rush, too. As he headed back to his apartment, we discussed ideas for dinner.
“I was hopin’ we could order in Chinese,” Killian said.
“Sounds good to me,” I agreed. “Good old Jade, right?”
He nodded, but seemed a little bit distracted. I let him focus on letting him help me navigate the parking lot at his apartment complex. Once I took a space and put the car into park, Killian laid his hand on mine.
“Leila…” he said, but his voice was shaking.
“What’s wrong, Killian?” HE wasn’t usually nervous like this.
He took in a long breath to steady himself. “Okay… I jes’ realized– er, remembered tha’ ye don’ like surprises to well… I’m sorry; I forgot.”
“Surprises?” I repeated. He was mostly right about that, but… “It’s not going to be loud and in my face, is it?”
He shook his head, eyes down.
“That’s good. So you have a surprise for me, huh?” I smirked and relaxed in my seat. I shut off the car and pulled out the key. “If it’s not loud, just judge for yourself whether you should go ahead and tell me now.”
He looked up at me, face scrunched up. Then he grinned. “Mebbe it’ll be alright. No surprise party, I promise.”
“Okay,” I laughed. I reached for the handle to open the door. “Can we head in now?”
Killian nodded and hopped out of the car. His expression brightened as I opened the trunk and we worked together to get our things so we could head upstairs without having to make another trip down. With the car emptied and locked, I followed him up to the third floor.
He paused outside the door to apartment 342, and I was worried that he would have to put everything down in order to open the door. Just as he was sighing and starting to bend down, I heard footsteps from inside, as though somebody were running across the floor. There was the sound of locks unlatching, and then the door flew open.
“Killian!” a cheerful voice called from inside. “You’re home!”
A pair of arms stuck out from the doorway, as though wanting a hug.
“Oh!” the voice said. It was a male voice, but soft. It also had a bit of an accent. “Wow, you really have your hands full. Want me to take something?”
“I’s alright, lad,” Killian replied. “If ye jes’ open the door a bit wider…”
“Oh!” the voice said again. Then the door opened all the way.
Killian smiled and stepped inside. He invited me to follow, and I wasn’t about to hesitate. I stepped into the apartment and set the groceries down where Killian gestured and brushed my hands off as I turned to see who had opened the door for us. He was a couple inches shorter than Killian, and had sandy blond hair and light blue eyes. With his rosy cheeks, he reminded me of a smaller, leaner version of the ever-so-famous Kristoff from a certain animated movie. He was smiling at me, looking incredibly happy and friendly.
“Surprise, lass,” Killian said. He wrapped as arm around my shoulders, also grinning. “I’d like ye tae me meet my boyfriend, Larsa.”
I blinked and looked up at Killian. I’d always known that he was interested in boys, but he’d spent the past few years single more often than not. “Your b-boyfriend?” Then I let a smile take over my face. “Wow, Killian, congrats on meeting someone!” Then I turned to Larsa and offered him my hand.
“Larsa, she’s finally here,” Killian told him. “This is my cousin Leila.”
Larsa’s smile widened and he took my hand in both of his. “It’s so great to meet you, Leila! Killian has told me so many things about you.”
I laughed as we shook hands. “You have all the advantages, then,” I replied. “He’s told me nothing about you.”
“Surprise!” Larsa said with a laugh. When he let my hand go, he moved to embrace Killian. “It was so nice of her to drive you home.”
“How did he know that?” I asked my cousin.
Killian rubbed the back of his head like a guilty anime character. “Ah… I was texting him what we’ve been up to while you were focused on driving… and shopping.”
I chuckled and shook my head. “You sneaky bugger. So… shall we put the drinks in the fridge and–”
“I will,” Killian said. “Go on and sit down. I’ll put things away, and you and Larsa can start getting to know one another.”
Another minuet for you to enjoy: