“I'm still upset with you, mom.”
I rolled my eyes as I answered my phone. I was woken up from the vibrations on my night table. It was Thursday morning and I'd been meaning to call my parents. Despite my tone, I was glad my mom called me first.
“Honey, I'm just calling to warn you....” Her voice was quiet and calm on the other end.
“No” I didn't pay attention to what she was saying. “You need to understand that this is mine and Jonah's wedding. I don't care if Aunt Linda or cousin Bill is there or not!” I lowered my voice when my mother's words finally caught up to me. “Wait, warn me about what?”
“Speaking of your family...” It sounded like she was at work by the way she was shuffling papers around. “Your Aunt Betsy is in New York.”
My heart stopped beating as I rose like Frankenstein from my bed. “Okay...anddd...” I spoke slowly with a lump in my throat.
My Aunt Betsy is one of those people you desperately avoid getting stuck in a conversation with. She's full of inappropriate questions and unsolicited advice. Aunt Betsy was a teacher for most of her life, but after 'having an epiphany' decided to leave her career to travel the world. Now I have to hear her say 'croissant' in a horrible French accent every time she talks about how much she misses her morning walks to her favorite Parisian bakery.
So, when my mom said she was in New York, this is exactly what I was hoping NOT to hear:
“She wants to stop by and see her favorite little niece.” My mom sounded as if she were holding back a laugh.
“This isn't funny, mom.” I buried my face in my hands. “I have so much going on!”
“Honey, what was I suppose to tell her? She's your dad's oldest sister. As much as she eats at my brain she's still family.” She sighed when I didn't respond to her. “You don't have to make a big dinner or anything. Just have her over for tea and send her on her way.”
“We don't drink tea in the City, mom.”
“Well then some cappuccino frappuccino lattes, oh, whatever you kids are drinking these day.”
A good chunk of my morning was spent anxiously staring at my phone waiting for Aunt Betsy's call. Maybe if I stared at the phone long enough I could send her a telepathic message to leave me alone.
It didn't work.
Aunt Betsy called late in the afternoon wanting to stop by. I lied and told her I was busy planning for the wedding, but she insisted on stopping by. I finally gave in. It was better that she came while Jonah was still at work or else she'd never leave in hopes of telling him every bit of information she knew.
I scurried around the apartment trying to hid things that seemed like conversation starters and dumped them in the guest bedroom.
My eyes widened and my ears perked up like a cat when I heard a knock at the front door.
I held up my prayer hands and quickly whispered to myself. “God, I know you might be pissed that I'm considering converting to a different religion, but please just do me one last solid and make my Aunt Besty leave soon.”
I took a deep breath...and then another one because the first one wasn't enough. I opened the door with a fake smile which was instantly wiped away when I saw Jonah standing with two full paper grocery bags.
“Are you insane?!” I pulled his arm, dragging him into the apartment, before checking to make sure Aunt Betsy wasn't in the hallway.
“My hands were full, I couldn't pull my keys out my pocket...” Jonah stared at me concerned and confused by my anger.
I continued staring out in the hallway as I whispered loudly. “What are you doing here? You need to leave, like, right now!”
“Is everything okay?” Jonah asked as he put the bags of groceries down on the kitchen counter.
I held a fistful of Jonah's shirt in my hand as fear filled my eyes like a character from Game of Throne who knew that death was upon them. “Aunt Betsy is coming!”
Jonah slowly nodded his head and took a step back. “Okay.”
I'd been so busy cleaning and freaking out that I didn't have time to fill him in.
“She can't see you!” I pulled at Jonah's arms again and dragged him back to the front door. “I don't have time to explain! You need to leave!”
Jonah mumbled under his breath “First you complain that I'm never home then you kick me out when I'm here...”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah...” I shooed him away.
“Oh!'” We heard a shriek as Jonah walked out the front door and right into Aunt Betsy.
Cue to my body slowly melting on the floor.
“Aunt Betsy!” I greeted her through my teeth as I faked a smile.
“Lynn, darling, how are you?” She walked in and gave me a hug before she turned back towards Jonah. “And who is this tall drink of water?”
Jonah smiled as he introduced himself.
“Of course, I've heard so much about you!” Aunt Betsy turned back towards me as she took Jonah's arm and walked into the apartment. “Dear, do you mind grabbing my bag?”
“Oh, Aunt Betsy, I didn't know you were planning on staying.” I held my breath.
“No, no” she wiggled her fragile little hand around. “I'm going to New Jersey to stay with my friend Janice. She should be here in a couple of hours.”
A couple of hours?!
“You know I met Janice when I was in Belize. Was it last summer or the summer before?” She turned her attention back to Jonah. “Have you been?”
Jonah sat across from her in the living room. “Yeah I actu-” He wasn't even finished before she continued.
“It's such a beautiful country! Janice was doing some humanitarian work there. I wish I could say the same, but I was just sitting on the beach enjoying my drink.” She laughed to herself.
“So, Aunt Betsy what brings you to town?” Jonah asked. I slowly made my way over and sat next to him.
“I had a stop over here, so I thought I'd enjoy the city and the presence of my favorite little niece”
I gave her another cheesy fake smile.
“Stop over? Are you coming or going?” Jonah seemed interested.
He furrowed his brow as I nudged his knee and whispered. “Stop asking her questions.”
“I'm just on my way back from Spain. I was there for the last couple of months.”
“Wow, that sounds like fun.” Jonah smiled. I dropped my head in disappointment. I knew exactly what was coming.
“Honey, you have to believe me when I say it was the best vacation I've taken in my life. And I've been just about everywhere! But enough about me...”
I looked up at her puzzled. Those were words I'd never heard her say.
“How's everything coming along between you two?” She leaned forward as she spoke.
“Everything's great!” I quickly spoke, knowing she'd continue badgering us with question if I'd said anything else.
“You know, in my day, couples lived separately until marriage.” She raised an eyebrow questioningly
“Well” I shrugged my shoulders. “These times they are a-changin!”
“Nice Dylan reference” Jonah whispered.
“He must be good to you, huh?” Aunt Betsy winked. “Real good if he got you to move in.”
“Wow, Aunt Betsy, that's so inappropriate.” I stood up from my seat and went into the kitchen. I was trying to figure out what I could possibly feed her before I kicked her out.
Aunt Betsy followed after me. “I will say this is a nice place. How much did it cost?”
Jonah, answered as he joined us. “It cost us our first born child, but only if it's a boy” They both laughed.
I widened my eyes at him. I wasn't sure if my parents told her I was pregnant. Either way I didn't want to be the one to tell her or I'd never hear the end of it.
I started pulling the groceries that Jonah had brought out of the the bags.
“Let me help you dear.” Aunt Betsy insisted as she stuck her hands into the bag. “Oh” She cooed as she pulled out a plastic bag filled with croissants.
I tilted my head and sighed as I looked at Jonah. “Really?”
“What? They were making them fresh!” Jonah defended himself.
“How I miss my fresh baked croissants!”
Jonah's face quickly flinched as he was startled by her butchered French accent.
Over the next couple of hours she managed to tell Jonah all about her year in France, her sun-bathing days in Croatia, her safari rides in Africa, and countless other, frankly, boring adventures.
“You want to check in with Janice?” I finally asked. We'd already gone through three cups of tea and a box of cookies.
“Oh” She suddenly remembered as she checked the time. “You're right. I hope everything's okay with her.” She walked towards the dinner table for some privacy as she called her friend.
“I'm so sorry” Jonah sounded defeated. “I didn't realize someone could talk so much about nothing.”
“It's okay, babe, it's okay. I'll keep you safe.” I joked as I wrapped my arms around his.
“Is there a powder room here I can use?” Aunt Betsy asked as she put her phone away.
I pointed across the room. “Of course, it's just down the hall.”
Before I could finish she opened the door to the guest bedroom. “Here?” She asked as she looked inside.
“SHIT!” I whispered.
“Oh my goodness! Would you look at this!” She excitedly exclaimed as her eyes feasted on the room full off hidden conversation pieces..
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