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Chapter 11- #6 Be Appreciative

#6 Be Appreciative

Cecilia Scarlette Locke’s Point of View 

 

As we continue to eat, I couldn’t help but glance over at Austin every time he would hum or moan in pleasure. Not to mention when he would ask Kinsey for more. I mean, the food I am eating now is magnificent, but I eat them all the time. On the other hand, Kinsey’s cooking is simple and yet good in its own way. Technically, the food in that basket is the food Kinsey prepared for me. I should at least be able to take a bite or two. 

 

“Kinsey.” 

 

“Yes, Cecilia?” He asked almost instantly enough to make me choke on a chunk of my food out of nervousness. “I- take it easy. Here, drink some water.” He tried handing me a bottle, but I held my hand up as I tried to swallow it whole. After I did, I murmured a small thank you and drank as fast as I could.

 

“I always do that when mama serves me my favorite food.” Austin said happily. “Don’t eat too fast, Scarlette. Mama said it is bad for the tummy, though.”

 

“Y-yes. Thanks for your warning, Austin.” I replied as I wiped my lips a little with the side of my hand. 

 

“So what is it that you need?” Kinsey asked before chuckling. “That’s right. You should listen to what Austin said. It’s not like we could consume everything at once.” 

 

“I want to see the rest of the food that’s in the basket. I want to taste too.” I admitted shyly as I play with my fork. I’ve been picking on my food for a while now as I try to come up with the ideal statement to say this. I’m glad I didn’t stutter nor sound too demanding.

 

Kinsey’s face is always friendly and soft-featured that I’m not really sure if how his face seems to light up even more when he already looks welcoming at a glance. So enchanting, a stranger might say. “You want to try my food? Okay, okay.” He exclaimed as he took out everything one after the other.

 

I honestly almost had a sigh of relief when I saw that there’s still plenty of lemon bars and sausage rolls in his arsenal. 

 

“I also have deviled eggs, pita bread with various dips, and macaroni salad.” Kinsey enumerated lively. 

 

“What’s a deviled egg?” I asked.

 

“Hard-boiled egg with mixture from egg yolks and ingredients like mayonnaise or mustard.” Kinsey answered. “Try some?”

 

I smiled as everything was well presented in a plastic container. “Yes, please!” And so, I eat Kinsey’s cooking again and how marvelous it was. I am confused as to why he would look forward to my food when he has the skills to make such glorious dishes. 

 

Kinsey simply chuckled. “Easy there. We do not want you choking again.” He laughs. 

 

I make face a little before giggling in delight. “I am fine. I am fine. Please give me that pita bread too.” I said. 

 

And so, the three of us continued to eat to our heart’s content. But every wonderful moment has its end. While Austin and I continued eating the overly-delicious homemade lemon bars, Kinsey started packing the leftover food. I could say that Austin and I pretty hit it off by now. We formed a lemon bar brigade where he is the president and the founder, while Kinsey and I are the only members aboard. When was it found? Just three minutes ago. 

 

“You two really like those, huh?” Kinsey smiles. 

 

“It sits just right for my palette. I like it.” I chimed, which made him smile wider.

 

“I could see that. You like it so much that…” Kinsey trailed off as he moved and leaned against me. I had to back away a little until I physically couldn’t anymore.

 

“Uhm… What are you-”

 

“Shhh. Give me a minute.” He said as his hand went to brush over my cheek, instantly making me squeeze my eyes close. “You liked it so much that you have crumbs at the corner of your lips.” He chuckled softly, feeling his thumb swipe over from the top of my lip to the side. 

 

I immediately opened my eyes as my breath hitched at the sight before me. I could not even explain, but he was so close. I feel like hyperventilating as if he is taking all of my oxygen from me. What’s this warm feeling emerging against my chest? Is this heartburn? It must be because of eating too much lemon. 

 

I blinked back in reality when I felt the tip of our noses touch. Just how much closer does he need to be just to wipe up a stain on my face? Eh? Isn’t having someone wipe the stain off my face be the first problem here? How could I let that crumbs be there in the first place?

 

Wait, wait… My thoughts are rushing too much and too fast. I need to focus on this heartburn first. I need water and- 

 

“Kinsey.” I breathed out quickly. He immediately looked me in the eyes, our gaze locking for a second. As I gave his facial feature a closer scan, I spoke. “I need water. I think I’ve eaten too much citrus.” I whispered. 

 

Kinsey blinked back, and then he quickly withdrew himself from me before clearing his throat. Meanwhile, I sat up straight and made sure my hair is still out of my face as I look for my bottle of water. “Uhm… Thank you for that gesture.” I smile before drinking my liquid.

 

But should I get checked for my heartburn just in case? I have to call my personal doctor after this. 

 

“O-oh. Oh. Not a problem. I am glad you enjoyed the meal. Although, where does it hurt? Do we need to go to the nearest clinic? Are you tired? Should we uhm… Go home?”

 

“No. No. I am alright. Just give me a little bit of time to rest and digest my food.” I replied with a small smile. I refuse to be checked by people I am not acquainted even by paper. 

 

“Alright. Tell me if the pain felt more severe.” Kinsey stammers as he runs a hand through his hair. I could even see from where I am sitting how his ears turned fiery red. I think he should be worried about himself first before me. What happened to him? 

 

It must be the deviled eggs and the probability that he couldn’t handle his spicy well. 

 

“If you’re still not feeling well after ten minutes, we could go home and cancel our trail.” Kinsey announced. “We probably need to return Austin to his guardian as well. They might be getting worried where he might have run off.” 

 

His first statement emerged something from inside me. If I could have diamonds in my eyes, I’ve probably displayed that long ago already. “We are going hiking?” 

 

Kinsey raised his brow at me as if he didn’t expect such a reaction. Well, I’ve always wanted to hike but never got the time to do that. He might’ve not known, but he’d probably notice sooner or later.

 

“Yes… At least we are supposed to. Are you still up for it?” Kinsey asked hesitantly, which I nodded eagerly unto. 

 

“Well, we first have to return Austin safely to his guardian. Look, he had already fallen asleep in the middle of chewing.” Kinsey chuckled, making me immediately snap my gaze towards the younger boy who is most definitely dozed off by now. 

 

I gently started picking his small figure into my lap. “We can’t ask the families one after the other now. It’ll be causing too much time to be wasted.”

 

“Don’t worry. They have patrol police here. We could ask for assistance.”

 

That is why we ended up, packing our things back to the trunk before we went to the office nearby. There we met the officer in charge. 

 

“Hello, good afternoon. We would like to report that we found a kid outside. We’ve played with him for a while, hoping the guardian would come to pick him up, but now we have to go and we are not sure where to drop him off.” Kinsey explained the situation as he shifted Austin against his arm.

 

 I fixed Austin’s hair to the side and wiped the crumbs from his chubby cheek. “Could you help us? I found him crying near our spot just behind that huge tree from earlier.” 

 

The officer looked over at the sleeping boy and his eyes widened. “Austin!” He exclaimed, making Kinsey and I blink back in confusion. As if on cue, the little boy was woken up a little from the commotion. Upon seeing the officer, he started to lean over him.

 

“Papa” He called out. I glanced at Kinsey who also happens to glance in my direction. 

 

We watched the officer take the still sleepy Austin to his arms. “I apologize for whatever trouble my son has caused. Thank you so much. He had run off because I couldn’t play with him since I was on duty. ” He explained while bowing his head. 

 

“Ah. It’s okay. It’s not really a problem. I had fun playing ball with him.” I smile. I never thought that I’d actually say that, but it was true. He is also a part of my first memory of the park. I would’ve watched a random girl flirt with Kinsey if he didn’t show up. 

 

“Thank you again. I wish I could do something to return the favor. ” 

 

“Oh no. No. It’s fine. It’s our pleasure to help.” 

 

“A-ah. I see. Thank you again. Don’t hesitate to ask me if you’d be needing my service in the future.” 

 

“We will. Thank you. We’ll head out then.” Kinsey smiles, his hand already residing at the small of my back. 

 

“Will I get to play with Scarlette again?” We then heard Austin as we were just about to leave. 

 

I turn around and smile brightly. ” I’ll definitely come again so that I could beat you on our ball game next time.” 

 

“Promise?” 

 

“I surely do. I promise!” I replied even if I know well enough that’s not going to happen. All promises are meant to be broken after all.

 

 If he truly wanted to ensure that I’ll return then he should’ve whipped a contract for me to sign.

 

 

“You’ve bonded over that kid so much?” Kinsey commented after we left the office. 

 

“Hmmm?” I hummed in question.

 

“He seemed to get your good side is all. It felt like I was the black sheep of our mini group earlier.” He chuckled as he adjusted the pack that he is carrying. 

 

“What’s that even? I’m always in a good mood.” I defended myself as I made face. 

 

Kinsey scratched the back of his head. “You’re actually always serious, Cecilia. I didn’t even expect you to play with a random kid.” He said, making me crack a proud smile.

 

“Maybe I am taking after you already.” I replied. “I could be friendly if I want to. I have a lot of friends if you didn’t know.” I said, looking to the side as I twirl my ponytail a little. 

 

“Anyway, we better start the hike. Where do we register?” I shifted my foot and looked back at him as I changed the subject immediately. I smile. “We should go now. I trust everything we need is in here?” I asked as I pat the backpack he was carrying.

 

“Someone seems to be pretty eager. Yes, ma’am. I’ve prepared everything, and we are all ready to go.” 

 

“That’s good then. Off we go!” I exclaimed, grabbing Kinsey’s arm and tugging him in the direction where I think the registration will take place. I was so eager to get out of that place, hoping the conversation we had there would not be rekindled anymore ever. My social life is simply that sad. 

 

 

 

 

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