An Awkward Dinner

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Poppy instantly screamed the second she saw him. I gasped, but mainly out of surprise. The last (and actually, only other) time I'd spoken to him was the night I slept with Jace.

Poppy ran up to hug him, but he stepped back, not expecting it. I put my arm around her and pulled her back. I didn't need any more embarrassment than I already had.

"Sorry about my sister. She's a big fan," I said. Chase chuckled, but didn't say anything else. "I don't know if you remember me. I'm Chrys—"

"Yeah, of course I do." His eyes went to my bump. "Oh...shit. Hang on for a sec." He turned around and yelled, "Jace! Get your ass down here!"

I heard sniffling behind me. When I looked, I saw Poppy crying in my mom's arms.

"I just can't believe it's really him," she said through her sobs. "I'm standing three feet away from Chase Hetcher! My friend Destiny will be so jealous!"

Mom was trying to shush her, but I knew there was no way Poppy would be able to compose herself. She got excited just looking at the guy's poster in our bedroom.

"I'm sorry about everything. I just found out about this like, an hour ago. Jace didn't tell us until we got off the plane. We just flew in from LA," Chase said.

"Chase dear, why are you standing at the door? We've got butlers for that!" a woman said. She came into view behind Chase, wearing an outfit probably worth more money than our car and townhouse combined. I'd seen her before. It was Mrs. Hetcher. "Oh, what's this about?"

"Jace's baby momma," Chase said before quickly running up the stairs.

Mom slipped away from Poppy and held out her hand. "Hello there. I'm Jennifer Everston, Chrys' mom. This is my other daughter, Poppy."

Mrs. Hetcher held out a white-gloved hand. "Katherine Theodora Hetcher," she said.

I watched as she shook my mom's hand, which was still covered in dirt from work. The fingerprints covered the white glove, and I watched as Katherine's face twisted up in disgust. She looked down at her messy glove and took it off, tossing it behind her.

"Henry, pick that up, and bring me a new glove, would you?" she said.

"My apologies, I work in a hardware store," Mom said, and I could tell she was trying her hardest to hold in her anger. I was too. "May we come in? I'd really like for all of us to discuss this." She pointed to my growing belly.

"We were just sitting down for dinner, but yes, let's clear the air. Come in," Katherine said.

We walked into the house as Henry bent down with his bad back to pick up the glove. Katherine led us into the massive dining room. At the head of the table was the man who hired me a while ago: Mr. Timothy Hetcher, the boys' dad.

"Tim, we have guests," Katherine said.

"Hmm?" Tim dabbed his mouth with a cloth napkin. His eyes went to my bump. "Oh wow. Alright. Please, have a seat. I'll call for Kyle to bring you plates."

We all sat down at the table for a few minutes. I'd cleaned this room a million times but never actually taken a seat at the table. It felt like eating at a royal castle. Poppy's neon-blue eyes gleamed at the big crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

Soon Kyle, the chef, came in with three dinner plates that were covered with fancy silver domes.

"Hey Chrys! Fancy seeing you here," he said, setting my plate down. "Lucky you. It's my famous Chicken Florentine."

"No way. Thank you so much!" I said.

When the smell hit my nose, I thought I could eat the whole plate in one bite. I always loved Kyle's cooking. If there was ever any extra at the end of the night, all the house staff would head to the kitchen and pretend we were "assisting" in the after-dinner cleanup. We would, but after splitting what was left of Kyle's creations.

As we started eating, Jace walked into the room. His shirt was untucked and his pants weren't zipped all the way. He looked like he just rolled out of bed. Katherine's eyes were wide with embarrassment.

"Got a girl upstairs. I was in the...middle of something," Jace said like he was out of breath.

Mom started choking on her food. I pushed my plate away. Nope. No more appetite, even for Kyle's food.

"How about you take a minute to clean yourself up, and then come back?" Mr. Hetcher asked. "We can get started without you."

Jace left the room. Across the table, Poppy was chowing down like she hadn't eaten in days. Mr. and Mrs. Hetcher were cutting up their chicken into tiny little pieces.

"So, what brings you here?" Tim asked.

"I'll answer that one," Mom said. "I don't know how much you two know about this whole situation, but Chrys had a paternity test done and your wonderful little son is denying that he's the father of my grandchildren."

Katherine looked like she was about to spit her wine all over the table. "Excuse me, but did you say...children?"

"Umm, yes," I said, my voice barely above a whisper. "I'm having twins."

"I see," Tim said. "I guess they weren't kidding when they say it's genetic. I was a twin too, and so was my father!"

"Tim?" Mrs. Hetcher asked.


"Stifle yourself. I'll do all the talking from now on."

I didn't know much about Tim and Katherine Hetcher, but I heard once that Katherine was Chase's agent and Tim was the one who handled all the finances. Now I understood why.

I had a feeling that talking to Katherine would be just like talking to Jace. Unless something crazy miracle happened, this was going to be a rough night.

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