I had no idea where we were, but it sure as hell was a damn good neighborhood. All the houses weren’t even houses, they were mansions. After turning many corners and going down random streets, we finally pulled up to a familiar looking house. It was a light beige color and three story tall. There were iron gates and ivy crawling up and down the pillars, surrounding the front porch. It looked so old-fashioned and cool. Yeah, I use the word cool. Get over it. Nervousness suddenly hit me. I would be seeing my dad and Stella (my "mother") for the first time in years and stepping into my childhood home where I never felt welcomed.
"Hey, don’t be nervous. I’m with you every step of the way," John whispered in my ear. I gulped down my nervousness and took a deep breath. Pretending nothing happened, I plastered my trademark smirk on my face as I turned to face him.
"Please, dear brother. This is going to be a walk in the park compared to those ten years in Korea." He just gave me a wary look and sighed.
"Whatever you say Jaye, whatever you say." I didn’t like his voice when he said that, but I didn’t say anything. His two friends were just looking at me awkwardly and I’m guessing John had filled them in on what was going on sometime before. I glared at them, and they immediately looked away. Embarrassed being caught looking I suppose. Before I could open the door, it was suddenly open and Stella stood in my line of sight. She wore a tight smile on her face and you could so tell it was fake and for the benefit of John. I would be hearing her nasty words soon enough.
"Jaye, I’m so glad you finally made it home. I was getting worried when it took so long." Worry my ass. I bet she was hoping I had crashed in my plane. Harsh, but true.
"Hello Stella, sorry for making you worry. We just stopped for some food on the way. Airplane food is definitely not the best." I gave her a fake smile and walked in. Brushing past her shoulder, I could sense her tensing up. Her stiff posture indicated she was angry but would do nothing about it in front of her son and his friends, "Bro, where’s my room? And where’s dad?"
"Your father will be home shortly. He had some stuff to finish up at the office," Stella replied in a tight voice. "You should go freshen up and we can wait for your father to get home." She walked past me into an office and shut the door without another word, ignoring us and John’s friends. I let out a breath, I didn’t realize I was holding.
"Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it?" I groaned and glared at John, but that only made him laugh more. He lugged me up the stairs, not caring I was mad at him. We went up two flights of stairs and stopped in front of a black door. Ooh black, I love the color black. It was my life. I looked at John and he nodded toward the door. Slowly I pushed it open and my mouth dropped from what was inside. It was my old room, but now it was black, white, and red. My favorite colors. I squealed and jumped onto my red comforter and bounced up and down. There were two other doors and I rushed to them immediately. One was the bathroom, and it was a lot bigger than I remembered it being. Two sinks, a shower, a bathtub, two toilets, and another door which I knew connected to the closet next door. I opened that next and was happy all of my clothes were neatly folded and hung up in the walk-in closet and there were some new things that I don’t remember buying. I looked at the new clothes and glanced at John. They were all dresses and skirts and blouses. Things I wouldn’t normally wear unless there was a special occasion.
Glancing at John again, he just shrugged and grabbed my hand. He led me to a corner of the room I hadn’t inspected yet and there it was, a spiraling staircase going up into the attic. I remembered telling John, when I was a kid, how much I had wanted a staircase into the attic. I took the steps two at a time until I was finally in the attic, John and his friends following after me. What I saw before me was magical. The entire wall was covered in windows and there were couches, a mini fridge, desk, computer, and everything I could dream of. It was like my own personal office and hangout space. On top of my desk was my laptop and DSLR camera. I picked up the camera and turned it on. I checked the memory and immediately saw silly pictures of John and his friends. I grinned while holding it up and pointing it towards them.
"Smile!" Was all I said before they started acting like snooty models and started pouting and striking ridiculous poses. I laughed while taking the pictures, but something outside the window caught my eye. I saw a sleek, black car turn into the driveway and out stepped my father and another man around his age or a little older.
It was now or never. I had to face my father, but I was excited to see him. I missed him.