Happy Birthday, Klutzface © 2014 by Foxglove Lee
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design © 2014 Foxglove Lee
Photo Credit antpkr
Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
First Edition April 2013 by Prizm Books
Second Edition May 2014 by Foxglove Lee
Happy Birthday, Klutzface
By Foxglove Lee
“I don’t know how you talked me into this,” Mila groaned. Grocery bags dug into her hands as she heaved them along. “And, hey, how come I’m lugging all the heavy stuff, and all you have to carry is a light little box?”
“I love you,” Laura said, “but you’re a notorious klutzface. No way I’m letting you carry a birthday cake.”
Mila’s cheeks blazed. Laura never used to say “I love you,” but lately she’d been saying it all the time. It was kind of embarrassing, especially when they were at school, with other people around. Luckily, she and Laura were the only two people walking down Mila’s aunt’s street at the moment.
“There, that’s Aunt Qeisha’s house.” Mila pointed to number seventy-two.
“Oh, it’s a bungalow?” Laura tilted her head and looked at the house as if it were some kind of weird sculpture. “It’s smaller than I thought. Didn’t you say your aunt was rich?”
“This is a super-expensive neighborhood, you know. Even the smaller places on this street are probably more expensive than your house.”
Laura rolled her eyes. “Doubt it.”
Mila’s teeth clenched, but she just set down the grocery bags and dug out her key. She wanted so badly for Laura to be impressed by something pertaining to her family. It’s not like the ratty two-bedroom apartment Mila lived in with her father was going to win any awards.
“Just wait until you see inside.” Mila stuck the key in the lock. “Aunt Qeisha’s an amazing decorator. Oh, and she’s very particular -- that’s what my mom used to call her -- so don’t move anything.”
“I know, I know!” Laura laughed. “You’ve only told me, like, a million times!”
Out of the corner of her eye, Mila spotted a big white SUV rolling down the street. Her breath hitched, and she shoved the door open. “Get inside. Fast!”
“Okay, I’m going. Sheesh!”
When the SUV rolled into the driveway next door, Laura was safe inside the house. Mila scooped up the bags of groceries. Aunt Qeisha had told her to go next door if she had any problems with the house, but she still felt like the neighbors would report back and get her in trouble if they witnessed any questionable activity.
The car door slammed shut, and Mr. Singh greeted her with a smile. Just as she’d crossed the threshold, thinking she was home free, she heard him holler, “Mila! Come quick!”
Dropping the groceries, she stuck her head out the door. He sounded panic-stricken, and she wondered if he’d hurt himself or something. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“Your aunt’s cat -- he darted right past you.” Mr. Singh pointed as Apricot leaped like an acrobat onto the roof of his car. “He’s not allowed outside, is he?”
“Crap,” Mila muttered, racing down the drive and scooping up the cat. “Every time I open the door he makes a run for it.”
“You should pay closer attention,” Mr. Singh said, in a gently scolding voice.
“Yeah, thanks.” She tried not to be rude, even though she wished he would mind his own business. Her aunt had definitely asked the neighbors to keep an eye out while she was house sitting.
“What was that about?” Laura asked from the kitchen.
Mila’s heart slipped. All week she’d looked forward to giving Laura the grand tour. Closing the door with her butt, she set Apricot down. “I guess you showed yourself around, huh?”
“Just the kitchen,” Laura said, as she peeked in every cupboard. “You were right -- this place is swanky! Look how the light shimmers off the granite countertops. And is this a gas stove? I’ve never used one before.”
“Uh-oh,” Mila teased. “If you can burn mac and cheese on an electric stove, God only knows what you’ll do with gas. Probably burn the house down!”
“It’s true -- you did burn the mac and cheese. Do you know how long it took me to scrub that pot? We don’t all have dishwashers, you know.”
Laura wrapped her arms around Mila’s waist. As they stood like that, all tangled up together in the middle of the kitchen, Mila closed her eyes and smiled. Laura smelled so yummy -- or maybe it was the cake. Something smelled like vanilla, and it was making Mila’s stomach growl.
“Want to show me around?” Laura asked.
“Sure,” Mila said, but she didn’t move.
Neither did Laura. “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks. I’ve been looking forward to this.”
“To my cooking?” Laura laughed.
Mila smiled hazily. “Well, to being together -- being domestic together. Cooking, cleaning, all that stuff.”
“But we cook all the time at your place, and we help with the dishes at mine.”
“I know, but this is special.” Mila unlocked her body from Laura’s. “I can’t explain it. Never mind. Let me give you the grand tour.”
Laura seemed impressed by the house. Mila was glad. She’d worried maybe Laura wouldn’t get the African influence in the patterns and sculptures, but Laura had only nice things to say.
“So, this is where we’re eating dinner?” Laura asked, pulling out one of the dining room chairs.
Mila laughed. “I don’t think we’ve ever not eaten in front of the TV.”
“A few times, we have. At my house.”
That was true. Laura still had family meals at her house, if everyone was home. Mila almost never ate dinner with her dad. He worked nights, so he wasn’t usually home for meals. She missed him a lot, sometimes. She missed her mom more, but there was nothing she could do about that.
“This is a great table,” Laura said, running her hand across the surface.
The wood was just about the same color as Mila’s skin, and when Laura touched it, she sort of felt like it was her being touched. Weird.
“You have to take really good care of it,” Mila said, as Laura wandered toward the kitchen. “We’ll use placemats, for sure. If we leave any rings or chips or burn marks on this table, my aunt will kill me.”
Laura laughed. “You’re paranoid.”
“You don’t know my aunt.”
“Okay, okay.” Laura started unloading groceries onto the counter. “I’m gonna get started on dinner.”
“I can help!”
“No, you don’t have to. It’s your birthday.”
Mila hopped into the kitchen and yanked open the refrigerator door. “I don’t mind. I want to help. Hey, you know what I was thinking? Once I had twice-baked potatoes, and they were the best things ever. They were baked potatoes, then you hollow out the potato part, mix it with a bunch of stuff, and cram it back in the skins.”
“I don’t know how to make that,” Laura said flatly.
“It won’t be hard.” Mila pulled a tub of mayonnaise from the fridge. “Aunt Qeisha’s got all the ingredients. There’s no real cheese, but I guess we could add this crumbly parmesan stuff.”
The parmesan must have piqued Laura’s interest, because when Mila grabbed it out of the fridge, she took it in hand. The plastic tub was see-through, and Laura gazed judgingly at the cheese. “Why are there clumps in it?”
“They’ll come apart if you—”
It happened like a slow-motion scene from a horror movie: as Laura started shaking the tub, the plastic lid popped off and flew into the fridge, followed by a snowfall of parmesan. Laura must not have noticed, not right away, because she kept on shaking the tub. Crumbly bits of cheese exploded all over, coating the condiments in the fridge door.
Parmesan everywhere! In the fridge, on the floor, and all over their socks…
Laura gaped when she saw what she’d done. Mila’s brain burned. Laura had no idea -- no idea! -- how irritated Aunt Qeisha would be if she came home to find her fridge full of parmesan. And her floor! There were bits of cheese between all the tiles. That would be hell to clean up. Mila wanted to scream.
But she didn’t scream. She could tell that Laura felt awful for making a mess. What good would it do to bite her head off? Mila didn’t want a little parmesan to ruin her birthday.
“Sorry,” Laura said. “Really. I mean it. I’ll clean everything up.”
“No, you don’t have to.” Mila didn’t feel much like smiling, but she smiled anyway. “You’ve got a birthday dinner to cook, remember? Chop chop!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Mila grabbed a dishcloth and ran it under the tap. “I’ll clean the fridge. It’s fine.”
Laura laughed. “Looks like your aunt’s cat will do the floor.”
Mila looked down to find sweet little Apricot licking parmesan off the tile. “I don’t think she’s supposed to eat cheese.”
“Why not?” Laura teased. “Is she lactose intolerant?”
“Aunt Qeisha’s just really particular about things. Apricot’s food is like forty dollars a bag from the vet. It’s holistic or something.”
“What’s that mean?”
Mila shrugged. “Beats me.”
“A little cheese won’t kill her.”
Laura started washing potatoes while Mila swept cheese out of the fridge and onto the floor. It was so crumbly that she had a hard time massing it up with her dishcloth. She tried really hard not to be mad at Laura for making this mess -- after all, Laura had offered to clean it up -- but she could feel her stomach clenching in annoyance.
“Oh wow, this gas stove is really cool!”
Mila turned around. “Yeah, I know. Makes me want to roast marshmallows.”
Laura turned on one of the burners, and a flame popped up, making her jump. “Ooh, that’s kind of exciting.”
“I guess so.” Mila tried not to laugh at her girlfriend, but Laura sure was cute. “The pots and pans are in that cupboard there.”
“Yeah, I saw, but I should probably get the meat started. It’ll take the longest to cook. Is there a roasting pan?”
“Umm…” Mila didn’t want to admit that she didn’t know what a roasting pan was. “I think… maybe?”
Laura opened the oven. “Here it is. Perfect!”
“Turn off the burner first!” Mila shrieked, reaching for the knob as Laura set the pan on the stovetop. “Sheesh, you’re gonna burn the place down!”
Mila turned back to her mess, tripping over Apricot, who was still eating cheese off the floor. Oh well. One less thing to worry about.
It took forever to clean the fridge. Mila had to bring out all the condiments and wipe them down, then clean out the basket that held them. It was like trying to scoop up little bits of styrofoam. Laura seemed to have a much easier task, placing the marinated pork they’d bought in the oven and setting water to boil for potatoes and veggies.
When Mila tossed the last of the spilled cheese into the sink, Laura looked up from the potato she was chopping. “I know we got off to kind of a rocky start, but I’m sure dinner’s going to be g—ahhh!”
“Oh my God!” Mila screamed when blood dripped on the cutting board. “What did you do?”
“My thumb! I cut it.” Laura dropped the knife and grabbed her thumb. “It hurts! It hurts!”
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” Mila didn’t know what to do. “Don’t panic!”
“I’m not panicking. You’re panicking.”
“You are too panicking.”
“No I’m not,” Laura howled. “I’m just screaming because it huuuuuuurts!”
“Here.” Mila turned on the tap. “Run it under some water.”
“That’s for burns, not for cuts.”
“It’s for cuts too, to get the germs out.” Mila grabbed Laura by the wrist and shoved her hand under the tap.
“Owwww!” Laura jerked her hand away, nearly throwing Mila across the kitchen. “You turned on the hot water, stupid!”
Mila gasped. “How dare you call me stupid? It’s my birthday!”
“Well, sorrrrrry! Blame it on the blood loss.”
Laura wrapped one of the pristine linen tea towels around her thumb before Mila could stop her. “What are you doing? You’re going to stain that!”
“I’m only dying here, and you’re worried about what your aunt will think?”
That was a way more loaded statement than Laura probably meant.
“Look, I’m sorry.” Mila hooked her arm around Laura’s and shuffled down the hall. “Come on, there must be gauze and bandages and stuff in here.”
The bathroom was snow white, and Mila worried that by the time they were done, it would be spotted red. Maybe Laura was right -- she was worried about all the wrong things.
“Can you unwrap the tea towel?” Mila asked. “I need to get a look.”
“It’s throbbing.” Laura seemed close to tears. “What if I need stitches? What if we have to go to the hospital? It’ll totally ruin your birthday.”
“No, it’s okay. I don’t care if we spend my birthday in the hospital, as long as we spend it together.”
Laura tilted her head and gave Mila a mushy look. “Awww, that’s so sweet. I love you so much!”
Being sweet sort of embarrassed Mila, and she held Laura by the wrist. “Here, I’m going to run this under some water and take off the towel.”
“Cold water this time!”
Laura cringed as Mila gently peeled back the tea towel. Her stomach tumbled like a washing machine because she was so sure Laura’s finger was going to start spraying blood all over the place, like in a horror movie.
But it didn’t.
Mila and Laura both leaned in for a closer look.
“Where is it?” Mila asked.
“It was definitely bleeding before. I mean, I felt it.”
“There’s blood on the tea towel,” Mila said, in agreement.
“Yeah, I know,” Laura snapped. “I’m sorry, okay? Where are the bandages?”
Mila pulled one out of the medicine cabinet, but she wasn’t sure where to stick it. Suddenly, a rich, hazy odor met her nostrils. “Wow, dinner smells good.”
Laura smirked, rinsing her thumb, then drying it on the linen towel. “Gimme that bandage.”
Mila followed the scent of meat into the hallway. “Hey, actually, I think it might be burning.”
“No way.” Laura wrapped the bandage around her thumb and admired her handiwork. “It’s only been in there a couple minutes.”
Mila crossed the hall. The closer she came to the kitchen, the more certain she grew. “Definitely smells like burning.”
“No, it can’t be.” Laura raced past Mila, yanking open the oven door.
Plumes of smoke kissed their cheeks, and Mila jerked away, coughing. “What did you do?”
“I don’t know! This shouldn’t have happened. It must be because it’s gas, and I’m used to electric.”
Fanning the smoke with Aunt Qeisha’s tea towel, Mila took a closer look. “Why’s it set to broil? Shouldn’t it be on bake?”
Laura’s eyes opened wide and blinked fast from the smoke. “I don’t know. Should it?”
Beep beep beep.“Fire!” Beep beep beep. “Fire!”Beep beep beep…
“Oh my God, what is that?” Laura covered her ears with both hands.
“The smoke detector. What do you think?”
Beep beep beep.“Fire!” Beep beep beep. “Fire!”Beep beep beep…
The deafening alarm shrieked through the house. Mila could feel it in her skull, ringing like a churchbell. The alarm itself was on the ceiling in the hallway, just outside the kitchen, and Mila flapped the tea towel at it, trying to make it think the air wasn’t quite as smoky as it really was.
“Shut up!” she screamed, barely able to hear her voice over the terrible wail. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”
It did shut up.
“What?” Laura asked from the kitchen.
“I was talking to the smoke detector.” Mila threw the tea towel over her shoulder, nearly tripping over Apricot as she made her way back into the kitchen. She still hadn’t swept the parmesan off the floor. She really was counting on the cat to eat it all. “So, what now?”
“The top of the pork loin was super-burnt, but I flipped it over and switched the oven to bake. Shouldn’t be long. I’ve got the potatoes boiling and the carrots in another pot.”
Mila’s heart went out to Laura. She was trying so hard to make this dinner special, and everything was going wrong.
“Smells good,” Mila said.
Laura grimaced. “Smells burnt.”
“That’s okay. I like a bit of burntness.”
Throwing an arm over Mila’s shoulder, Laura said, “I love you.”
“Is it hot in here? I’m sweating like a pig.”
Stupid. What a stupid thing to say.
Mila felt jittery, and she pulled open the oven to check on the meat.
Beep beep beep. “Fire!” Beep beep beep. “Fire!”Beep beep beep…
“No! Not again.” Mila ran away from Laura, fanning the smoke detector. It didn’t work this time.
Beep beep beep. “Fire!” Beep beep beep. “Fire!”Beep beep beep…
“Take the batteries out!” Laura called from the kitchen.
“It doesn’t have batteries. It’s hooked up to the electrical system or something.”
“Oh God, it’s going to call the fire department, isn’t it?”
“We better hope not. If my aunt finds out I had a friend over…”
Laura looked up from her steaming pot of potatoes. “Just a friend?”
“Now is not the time, Laura!”
Mila fanned the smoke detector so hard her arms started to hurt.
“Why don’t you try opening some windows?”
“Oh.” She’d been sure Laura was going to rant about how Mila had said friend instead of girlfriend. “Windows. Good idea.”
But Mila spotted the front door first and went there instead, opening and closing it swiftly to drive some fresh spring air into the house.
Beep beep beep. “Fire!” Beep beep beep. “Fire!”Beep beep beep…
“When will this end?” Mila cried, as she spotted Mr. Singh stepping out of the neighboring house. His eyes shot wide open. He could obviously hear the alarm.
“Is everything okay, Mila?”
He approached Aunt Qeisha’s front porch, and his daughter followed along with a book of piano music. They were obviously on their way to her lessons.
“Anything I can help you with?” he asked, trying to peek past her.
“No, no,” she shouted over the alarm. “Just cooking dinner. I’m not great at it, obviously.”
On cue, the smoke detector stopped wailing. Mila could still hear its piercing tone echoing inside her skull, but her muscles relaxed. “Night, Mr. Singh.” She didn’t know his daughter’s name, but she closed the door on them before they could even reply.
“Thank the lord!” Mila breathed a sigh of relief and moseyed into the kitchen. “Everything under control in here?”
“I think so.” Laura poked at the potatoes with a fork. “Almost there. Would you mind setting the table?”
Mila smiled because it was so domestic, wasn’t it? The pair of them preparing a meal, sitting down together…
But when Mila glanced over Laura’s shoulder, her heart seized. “The sliding glass door. You opened it!”
Laura looked to the kitchen door and nodded. “Yeah, to let in some fresh air.”
“But you didn’t close the screen!” Mila rushed to the door and slammed it shut. “Oh God, where’s Apricot?”
Mila raced into the dining room, looking under the table because Apricot liked to sleep on the cushioned chairs. But she wasn’t there now.
“What’s the problem?” Laura asked.
“Apricot!” Mila scoured the living room. “She’s not allowed outside.”
“Oh. Well, she’ll come back.”
“How?” Mila raced from the guest room to her aunt’s bedroom. “She’s not an outdoor cat. Who’s to say whether she’ll find her way home? Lauraaaa! My aunt’s going to kill me!”
“I didn’t see her leave. She’s probably still in the house.”
Mila raced to the front hall and crammed her feet into her shoes. “I can’t find her anywhere. I’m going out to look.”
“But dinner’s almost ready,” Laura whined. “Let’s eat first, then we’ll go out later. Together.”
“I’m going now.” Grabbing her hoodie off the hook, Mila threw open the door. She went out, circling the house, whispering, “Apricot? Apricot!”
She didn’t want to shout, because she didn’t want to attract the neighborhood’s attention. When she reached the backyard, she gazed through the glass door at Laura mashing potatoes like a maniac. Wow, either she was really serious about creamy potatoes or she was seriously mad at Mila for leaving the house.
Who is she to be mad? Laura didn’t understand responsibility. She had a mother and father to take care of her, to give her everything she needed, to cook and clean, supply her with cash. Laura had everything handed to her on a silver platter. Of course she didn’t know how to show respect for someone else’s house, or how to take care of a cat.
But she did know how to take care of Mila. Look at her in Aunt Qeisha’s kitchen, struggling to make me the perfect birthday dinner. It’s really sweet. All this for me. Mila hastened her steps, touring the yard, running around the block. Apricot could be anywhere. She was so little. She could be hiding somewhere Mila would never think to look.
Laura was probably right. The cat would come back on her own. Animals were smart that way. And, if Mila was smart, she’d sit her butt down at the dinner table and allow Laura to present her a special birthday meal.
When Mila came in from outside, the first scent that hit her was burnt meat. Still, her stomach rumbled. All that running around reminded her how hungry she was.
“Okay,” Laura said from the dining room. “Time to eat. It’s… it’s…”
Mila crossed the threshold, expecting something amazing: candles, roses, and a gourmet meal. What she got was Laura looking like she’d been hit by a truck and burnt meat stacked beside a heap of potatoes and cooked mini carrots.
“I’m sorry.” Laura’s lip started to quiver. “It didn’t turn out very well.”
“No, no, no.” Mila’s heart gushed, and she wrapped her arms around her girlfriend. “No, honey, it looks great. I’m sure it’s delicious. Let’s eat, okay?”
“Okay,” Laura whimpered, falling into her seat.
Mila smiled at her sweetheart and tried to hold that smile as she looked down at her food. Maybe the potatoes were okay? She scooped some onto her fork. “Hey, not bad!”
Laura’s eyes brightened. “Really?”
“Yeah. You sure know your way around a potato.”
“Thanks, I…” Laura made a face and cocked her head. “What’s that noise?”
Mila could hear it too. “Sounds like… no, not the heating vents. Maybe…” All at once, she knew what it was. “Oh my God.”
Scrambling from her chair, Mila stormed down the hall and into the guest room, where she slept. “Apricot!”
The cat hadn’t escaped. She was sitting in the middle of the plump white duvet, vomiting mountains of parmesan.
“Uh-oh,” Laura said, watching over Mila’s shoulder. “I guess cats shouldn’t eat cheese after all.”
“Aunt Qeisha’s going to kill me if it that stains!”
“Aren’t you concerned about the cat?” Laura slipped by, into the room, but when she got close to the bed she turned promptly around, looking like she was going to throw up. “Oh my God, Mila, that really stinks.”
“It’s just cat puke. It can’t be as bad as all that.” But when Mila got a whiff of Apricot’s vomit, she promptly changed her tune. “How can it smell like that? It smells like… like…”
“Like baby sick,” Laura said. “Like sour milk. Must be the dairy.”
“Christ Almighty!” Mila tried to shove her nose in her armpit while she reached for the zipper on the duvet cover. “Help me take this off, would you?”
“No, it stinks! Ugh, I’m gonna puke.”
“Just help! We’ll do it fast.”
“Nooo!” Laura cried as she grabbed one end of the cover and yanked it from the duvet. They tossed the cover on the floor like a biohazard, then looked at the duvet itself. “Is it stained?”
“I don’t think so,” Mila said, though she didn’t dare come too close. “We got it just in time.”
“Oh my god, Mila, I am seriously going to puke. That stuff stinks so bad it hurts.”
Mila couldn’t agree more, but she tried to stay strong. “Open the door to the basement, turn on the lights, and get the washing machine ready.” Scooping the balled-up cover with both hands, she cried, “Here I come!”
Laura ran ahead, smacking on the basement light and opening the front-load washer. “Get it in! Close it!”
With the puke-covered cover contained, they could breathe a little easier. Still, Laura opened a tub of laundry detergent and took a big whiff. “Oh, that’s better.”
“Let’s add some bleach, just to be safe.”
“You really know how to work this thing?” Laura asked, pouring liquid detergent into the cap. “How much do I put in?”
“That’s enough!” Mila yanked the cap away while Laura was still pouring. “Oops. Sorry.”
Laundry detergent ran down Laura’s hand, but her scowl quickly turned into a grin. “Thanks a lot, Klutzface.”
“Yeah right.” Mila fixed the settings on the machine, then turned it on. “Who’s the one that cut her finger, burned the meat, let the cat escape…”
“The cat didn’t actually escape,” Laura said, then giggled. “If she had, she would have puked outside, and I wouldn’t be feeling like I just ate a bad egg.”
Mila couldn’t help laughing. “I know what you mean.”
“Well, you said you wanted an evening of domesticity.” Laura shrugged, flashing a smile. “Careful what you wish for.”
Leaving the washing machine to its own devices, Mila followed Laura back upstairs. “You’re not going to believe this, but I’ve had fun tonight. Or… maybe fun’s not the right word…”
Laura laughed as they sat down in front of their cold meals, just staring at their plates.
After a while, Laura said, “I’m looking at those potatoes, and all I can see is…”
“Cat puke?” Mila asked.
Laura turned up her nose and nodded. “It’s soooo grossing me out!”
“Same here.” Mila felt terrible, after all the trouble Laura had gone to. But, hey, at least they could laugh about it. “Want to go straight to cake?”
Laura disappeared into the kitchen, taking their plates and returning with a cake. Candles blazed on top of the chocolate frosting. In blue letters, it said, “Happy Birthday Mila.” She stood to get a better look, and Laura hugged her waist.
“Better blow out your candles,” Laura warned. “Before the smoke detector goes off again…”
Mila laughed so hard she couldn’t even attempt to blow out the little dancing flames. Wiping tears from her eyes, she said, “You’ve given me a night to remember, that’s for sure.”
“It wasn’t too terrible?”
“No, it was terrible -- too terrible to ever forget.”
“Well, thank you very much,” Laura snorted.
“Sorry. I just mean… it’s one of those stories people tell their grandkids -- our first birthday together, when we burned the meat and lost the cat…”
“Oh, blow out your candles!” Laura said, chuckling.
She did. She blew them all out, all in one go. “Look! No boyfriends.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“When I was a little kid, every time you blew out candles on a cake, you’d have one boyfriend for every candle you missed. If you blew out all the candles, no boyfriends. That was the goal. Didn’t you do that with your friends?”
“Nope. It’s cute, though.” Laura turned her around and kissed her -- a sweet happy birthday kiss Mila hoped would never end.
But when it did end, four words slipped from Mila’s lips, out of the blue. “I love you, Laura.”
“I love you too.” Laura hugged her close.
“I’m sorry I was hiding you from the neighbors and everything. Only, my aunt specified no visitors while she was away, and especially no boys.”
“And you didn’t tell her, ‘I’m not interested in boys, Aunt Qeisha. I have a girlfriend, and I love her to pieces.’ You let her think exactly what your dad thinks -- that we’re just good friends.”
“It’s easier that way. My family’s had enough to worry about since mom died.” Tears welled in Mila’s eyes, and she set her head on Laura’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. I really am.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Laura said, with a smile in her voice. “Anyway, I’m one to talk, right? My family’s totally oblivious.”
“Do you think you’ll ever tell them about us?” Mila raised her head from Laura’s shoulder. Laura’s eyes shimmered. They were gorgeous, like jewels.
“Maybe one day.” Laura kissed Mila’s nose and smiled. “But we don’t have to worry about that now. We’ve got an entire chocolate cake to eat.”
Laughter bubbled up in Mila’s belly. “Come on, then. Let’s get started!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Foxglove’s fiction has been called SPECTACULAR by Rainbow Reviews and UNFORGETTABLE by USA Today.
Foxglove Lee is a former aspiring Broadway Baby who now writes LGBTQ fiction for young adults. She tries not to be too theatrical, but her characters often take over. Like Rebecca from her debut novel Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye, who is convinced an evil doll is trying to ruin the summer of 1986. Or Kenny from her Evernight Teen book Truth and Other Lies, who keeps secrets from everyone in his life when his first novel hits it big! Or Noah from OmniLit Bestseller “The Secret to a Perfect Latke,” who comes out live on national television. Or Mila and Laura, who celebrate Valentine’s Day in “I Hate Love” and destroy a family member’s kitchen in “Happy Birthday, Klutzface!”
Follow Foxglove on Twitter @foxglovelee or stay tuned to her blog http://foxglovelee.blogspot.com for new releases!
Also by Foxglove Lee
For Middle Grade Readers:
The Secret of Dreamland
Ghost Turkey and the Pioneer Graveyard
For Young Adult Readers:
Sylvie and the Christmas Ghost
Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye
For New Adult Readers:
Truth and Other Lies
Embarrassing Period Stories
Laura and Mila from “I Hate Love” are back in this birthday comedy by Foxglove Lee! Foxglove’s fiction has been called SPECTACULAR by Rainbow Reviews and UNFORGETTABLE by USA TODAY. It’s a comedy of errors when Laura prepares a romantic dinner for Mila’s birthday. Laura isn't the world's best cook to begin with, but everything goes wrong in the immaculate home Mila's housesitting for her aunt. The cat escapes, the parmesan explodes, the fire alarm blares, and the trouble's only just begun! Laura and Mila wanted to share an evening of domestic bliss. Will their glimpse at adult life drive them into each other's arms, or drive them apart completely? A funny story of 5,000 words.