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Chapter 33

"Mariah, go and show Michael and Shayla to their room." Mom told Mariah. I'm surprised Mariah ran up to me and hugged me the way she did. That really warmed my heart.

"Thank you for everything, mom and dad." I hugged them both. "Dinner was so good, mom." I smiled.

"Come here, Michael," she whispered as she leaned toward my ear. "Is Shayla upholding her wifely duties and cooking for you?"

I didn't want to lie, "um, not right now. We've both been really busy."

She shook her head, "that's no excuse, Michael. I raised a wife in there and I can tell she's not upholding her wifely duties. Have you seen how skinny you are, baby?" She took my wrist in my hand. She was right this was the skinniest I've been in a while.

"It's not because of Shayla, mom." I laughed nervously. "Like, I said, a lot has been going on."

"It's okay, Michael, you want to stick up for your wife and I respect that. I'm glad she married you. But I'm going to speak to her for you. It's okay, baby. You all go on and go to bed." She kissed my cheek. Shayla's mom is a mess. I don't know if I should tell Shayla that her mom was talking bad about her to me or not. This is too funny.

"Come on, Shayla and Michael. I have to show you your room." Mariah huffed as she stood on the stairs.

"Coming!" Shayla called as she grabbed her luggage.

"Oh no, I got it, baby." I took it from her.

"You sure?" She asked.

"Go on. I'm right behind you." I carried our luggage and followed behind her. Whew, I'm going to tear into Shayla tonight. She's definitely going to be upholding her wifely duties tonight. She doesn't know what she's got coming for her.

"It's right here. I hope y'all like it." Mariah showed us our room.

"Riah... This is my old room. What'd y'all do? Try to turn it into a guest room or something?" Shayla asked.

"Pretty much. Everything looks the same though, right?

"It looks like I never left! Except for the fact that y'all changed the bed. I'm glad we're not sleeping on that twin bed I used to have." She laughed.

"How long are y'all staying?"

"Maybe a month or so. We haven't really decided yet. Why?"

"Just wondering."

"Mmhm. You're so used to being the only child here. You worried about me and Michael getting all the attention?" Shayla teased.

"No..." Mariah smiled. "Goodnight, Shayla, and Michael." She gave us hugs and made her way to her room.

"So, this is your room?" I asked as I looked around.

"Yep. This is where I wrote all those letters to you."

"Wow." I picked up a picture frame with a picture of a baby girl in a purple dress and white hair bows. "Is this you?" I showed her the photo.

"Yep. Circa nineteen sixty-one. I was one year old in this one."

"You're so cute! I can only imagine what our daughter would look like. She's going to look just like you."

"No. I want her to look like you. Actually, she can have your eyes, my nose, your smile, and my ears. It's the perfect combination. Especially with your smile and lips!"

"My smile isn't all that," I blushed. "I never really found my smile to be all that great, babe."

"Are you kidding me, Michael? You have a smile that will light a room. Literally. You have that hundred watt smile that people would kill to have. And your teeth?! Don't get me started!" She shook her head as she unzipped her suitcase. I did the same. As I got my clothes, I looked at the cream Dr. Klein gave me. I looked at my hands. I think it's definitely time to start using it now. I'm glad none of Shayla's family members asked me about my hands. Either Shayla told them about it or they didn't think to ask. Either way, I'm glad they're just treating me like a member of the family. "Are you going to join me in the shower?" Shayla winked.

"Shayla, your parents would kill us if they found out we were showering together."

"No," Shayla rolled her eyes. "My parents would kill us if we were running extra water when we could easily share a shower. Come on. My parents won't mind."

"If your parents try to kill us, I'm blaming you..." I sighed as I gathered my things and followed her to the bathroom.

Once we finished our shower, we made our way back to the room to get ready for bed. I got the cream out of my bag and checked the time: 11:30 pm. Okay, so I have to put this on at 11:30 every night and 11:30 every morning. I won't forget it. I started to put it all over my face and body.

"Ooo, baby. You look so good putting that lotion all over yourself like that." Shayla smiled.

I blushed, "calm down, girl. I'll get to you in a minute."

"Ooo, I didn't know I'd be getting some tonight."

"Oh, you are. You just got to keep quiet." I winked at her. I just needed to put this cream on my back. "Baby, reach in my suitcase and get you a pair of gloves," I told her.

"For what?"

"So, you can put this lotion on my back," I said as I sat down on the bed, cream in hand.

"Boy, I don't need no gloves to put some lotion on your back," she laughed as she reached for the cream.

I snatched it away and looked at her, "I'm serious. Go in my suitcase and get some gloves." She looked at me with a shocked expression but did as I told her. Once she came back with the gloves on her hands, I put the cream in her hands.

"What kind of lotion is this that I have to wear gloves to put it on you?" She asked.

"I'll tell you later. I promise." I felt bad for not telling her that this was the cream Dr. Klein gave me for my skin condition. I'll tell her soon. It's just that now is not the right time...

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