What did you just say
The sound of her room door opening made Peach raise her head off the pillow and gazed at her mother, standing in the doorway, smiling at her. “Can I come in?” Miss Grace asked cheerfully, closing the door behind her and stepping inside the room.
Slowly, Peach sat up from the bed, hugging her knees as she rested her head on her kneecaps, feeling a sense of sadness welling up within her as she watched her mother approach her with a warm smile and sit down beside her on the edge of the mattress.
“James made chicken soup for dinner with rice and vegetables.” Miss Grace told her kindly.
Shaking her head slowly, Peach said with a sad smile, “I‘m too full already, Mama. You should go ahead and eat without me.”
“Peach, you have been in here all day and have barely put much in your stomach. That‘s not healthy!” Miss Grace chided her, gently squeezing Peach‘s hands. One look at her mother and Peach could see her concern clearly written across her wrinkled brows and pursed lips.
The sight made Peach‘s heart clench painfully in her chest, making her realize what her behavior was doing to her mother, so she smiled saintly and said, “Okay, let‘s go.”
The dining hall was quite peaceful when Miss Grace and Peach walked to the table, sitting between Rookie and Ryan.
Suddenly Matt entered the hall, and when James saw him alone, he frowned, mumbling,” Elijah is not joining us?”
Shaking his head slightly, Matt sighed and then said, “He won‘t even answer the door.”
The room fell silent after Matt‘s words and everyone stared at each other quietly for a moment, feeling a mixture of feelings stirring inside them. “Dish some food in a bowl, and I will take it to him,” Peach said, raising her gaze to meet James‘ concerned ones.
Silently, Miss Grace darted her eyes towards her daughter with a soft expression on her face.
Her motherly instincts told her that there was more going on with Peach‘s feelings towards Elijah than just friendship, and even though she was worried about her daughter and wanted to protect her, she understood that she needed to give them space for now.
“Are you sure, sweetie?” Her mother asked, a worried look appearing in her eyes. Giving her mother an encouraging nod, Peach stood up from the seat and picked up the tray that Elijah set before her, mumbling, “The worst that can happen is that he turns me away too.
After giving Miss Grace a faint smile, Peach drewla silent breath and walked away from the table with the tray tightly in her grips. Striving to stay optimistic, she strode confidently through the hallway until she finally reached Elijah‘s door, stopping in her track.
Her heart suddenly began racing, and she felt lightheaded, her breathing getting heavier. She knew it was ridiculous to act so scaredly, but the way he was so angry this morning at Melina‘s outburst… she couldn‘t help but be worried.
Breathing deeply to calm herself down, Peach knocked softly on the door and waited patiently before calling out, “Elijah,”
A moment passed, and when he didn‘t answer, Peach swallowed softly and said, “I got a tray of chicken soup with rice and veggies if you want it?”
Nervous, she pouted, looking at the food, and mumbled, “I would lie and say it‘s delicious if that would get you to eat, but I haven‘t tried it myself. But it was James who prepare it, so I guess it is.”
The sound of the door knob turning interrupted her and Peach looked up with widened eyes when the door opened.
With an exhausted sigh, Elijah rubbed his hand over his tired eyes while he gave a small smile and said, “Come in.” Pursing her lips, Peach walked inside the room, set the tray down on his desk, and turned around to face Elijah.
Then she gave him a shaky smile before walking away, but as she was about to step past him, Elijah grabbed onto her wrist and pulled her in front of him.
“You haven‘t eaten yet, and you are worried about me?” Elijah asked, arching his eyebrow as he studied her appearance. Peach shrugged, trying to look unaffected by his touch, but she knew she wasn‘t fooling him because his touch sent shivers down her spine.
Glancing down shyly, Peach replied, “James made you some food, so I thought…” A small smile touched Elijah‘s lips as he released her wrist and said, “Sit and help me finish this, would you?”
Widening her eyes, Peach immediately shook her head. But Elijah gently grabbed her by her shoulders and sat her down in the seat.
Then he took the other chair and pulled it closer until they were sitting face to face, looking at her fluttering lashes. Slowly, he brought his hand towards her forehead and Peach winced when his warm palm brushed against her skin, causing goosebumps to rise across her entire body. “Your mother said that you weren‘t feeling okay this morning,” Elijah commented softly as he examined her face closely, brushing a stray curl back behind her ear. “Are you not angry?” Peach whispered, unable to hold back her thoughts anymore. Her question caused Elijah to pause for a moment and drew his hand back as he rested against the chair and asked, “Angry? At who?” Shrugging her shoulders helplessly, Peach looked away from his intense gaze and muttered,” Well, this morning you… umm… what happened between Melina and you…” “Yeah, what happened was between Melina and me, not between you and I,” Elijah spoke
softly, and Peach‘s head snapped up at the unexpected answer, watching him curiously. At this point, she didn‘t know what she was expecting to hear. But this was not it, and Peach blinked owlislıly at him.
“Right,” She murmured slowly, biting down on her lower lip as she eyed him warily. “We should eat before the soup gets cold.” Elijah continued, breaking the tense silence that had fallen over them.
Watching as he picked up two spoons from the tray, Peach couldn‘t help but wonder if it was okay to push the topic of Melina and his relationship further. But she simply smiled when he handed her a spoon and said, “You should also try a bite of it.” Peach nodded her head and took a piece of chicken before bringing it to her mouth and swallowing it quickly. “Umm… If you were a meal, what meal would you be?” Peach blurted out, wanting to change the subject.
A puzzled expression appeared on Elijah‘s features, and then he chuckled, mumbling, “What?” “You know… it‘s like a question game people use to get to know each other.” Peach explained as she placed another piece of chicken into her mouth and watched him expectantly. For a few moments, Elijah just stared at her in bewilderment, realizing why it was so easy to talk to her. Then he broke eye contact with Peach and started eating his food.
“I don‘t know… Maybe a steak.” Elijah replied, shrugging his shoulders.
Peach nodded thoughtfully and then said, “Mmhm… I think I will be a dessert, maybe chocolate.”
Standing quietly at Elijah‘s room door, Miss Grace felt a sense of relief wash over her as she listened to the gentle laughter and playful banter filling the room from within.
‘I know you getting closer to Elijah is a risk because he seems like a man with so much hidden. But I pray that he will be good to you… that he won‘t do anything that might hurt you.’
Miss Grace thought, smiling when she heard her daughter chuckle.
At the Hayes mansion, all twenty–five chairs at the table were occupied by a member of the family, and Madam Jewel sat at the head of the table.
The enormous dining hall was filled with various types of aromas, and the servants carried the trays of food onto the table until the very last dish got served. Then Dean stood from his seat, clicking the glass with a bread knife to get everyone‘s attention.
“Mother gathered us all here because of something important she would like to share with us! “Dean announced.
Immediately, the room grew quiet and everybody fixed their eyes on Madam Jewel expectantly.
Looking at her children and grandchildren, Madam Jewel cleared her throat and said, “I think it‘s been too long since we allowed Grace and Peach to stay away from this family… It‘s time we bring them back into this home.”
Her remark woke chaos into the room, the members of the family looking at one another with shocked faces, and whispering grew louder with each passing second.
“Grandma, not to be offensive, but what you just said is weird and it doesn‘t make sense.” Rebecca, Tommy‘s first daughter, pointed out and crossed her arms across her chest, frowning at Madam Jewel.
“I agree with my sister… Peach never wanted to follow orders when she lived under this roof and I don‘t think she will ever accept your decision,”
Emma said, furrowing her eyebrows together.
Finally, getting over her shock, Melina stared in disbelief at her grandmother, feeling a sense of betrayal and anger well up inside of her as she mumbled, “Grandma, what are you saying
That question drew everyone‘s attention back to Madam Jewel and they watched as her jaw clenched, and she took deep breaths to calm herself before she spoke again, “The one who helped get rid of the reporters from Paz motel was Bryan Checks.”
The entire room immediately went dead silent at Madam Jewel‘s revelation, and everyone stared at her in wide–eyed disbelief.
“What did you just say?” Melina gasped, staring at her eyes.
ndmother with fear glazed over her