Emma got out of the car and hobbled around it on her crutches when she arrived with the twins to pick me up. “You’re driving, man-slave. Just because I can doesn’t mean I want to all the time.” I still didn’t understand how the girl could drive at all with that cast of hers, but I didn’t argue, despite my continued angst at driving a pink car. “After I get my car restored, you better be ready for me to drive instead.” The typical unison of the twins was broken with Emma speaking at nearly the same time, but all of them seemed shocked that I bought a car and hadn’t told them yet. “With the surprise of father taking off work, I just didn’t get a chance in the ensuing chaos you girls caused.” The feigned indignation from all the girls brought on by me claiming they caused chaos was utterly hilarious, but I held in my laughter and attempted to change the subject. “You claim not to cause chaos, yet you never did answer my text from earlier. Is Aaliyah TheLittlePrincess?”
“James! No changing the subject. You haven’t told us about your car,” said Mai. “You should know better than trying to trick us like that,” continued Ai. Emma, who looked uncomfortable to me, quickly chimed in and added “Why did you say it needs restored? Did you buy a broken car?” I laughed and told them “See. More chaos. I bought a car that is in need of restoration because Jarod’s father found it for me. We’ll all be restoring it together. You three are the ones changing the subject though. Who is TheLittlePrincess?” The twins started to protest, but Emma interrupted them. “Sorry, James. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the identity of anyone that I play against due to a confidentiality agreement in my mother’s work contract,” said Emma. Glancing over at her again, she seemed far more serious than normal, but I still asked if she was joking. “I’m afraid not. If you want to know her identity, you’ll have to ask her yourself.” I really did want to press the issue, but I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere, not with these girls.
“If you’re not going to tell us about your car, would you mind telling us about the teammate who beat you in both of your races? He was incredibly fast.” The twins had asked this simultaneously. “Luke? He’s the best runner on the team and the star wide receiver of our football team. The guy probably has a pile of scholarships already. Other than that, there’s not much to tell.” Emma then asked “Are you saying that one of your school’s prized athletes isn’t involved in anything else?” I shrugged and told her “He does well in school from what I’ve heard, but I really don’t think he does too much outside of sports.” Mai then questioned if he had a girlfriend. “Are you saying that you’re interested? I could give him your number at practice tomorrow if you want.” Looking in the rearview mirror, I didn’t really feel like she seemed all that interested. She wasn’t smiling or blushing, and she didn’t seem nervous. Just inquisitive. “Do you hang out with him much?” I shrugged and then pulled into my family’s driveway. “Just at track. He usually doesn’t chat with me very much. I don’t think he really hangs out with Nathan, another sprinter, much either though, but Nathan usually gives him rides home after track.”
When we got inside, the girls wanted to look through my yearbooks and commented about all of my worst pictures with great enthusiasm. Luckily, mother showed up before they got through all three. “How did the meet go?” I smiled and told her “I came in second on both events with my best times to date!” She was obviously happy but said, “Being so quick, you should have time to get cleaned up instead of sitting around in your track clothes. Ai and Mai are cooking for all of us tonight, and your father should be home soon.” I opened my mouth to reply, but she was out the door before I said a word. Instead, I asked Ai and Mai, “How did you convince mother to let you cook?” Mai replied with a pout “You don’t like our cooking?” Then Ai said, “That’s so mean. You’ve hardly tried anything yet. We only were helping your mother with her own recipe before.” Before I got a word in, Mai continued “Now our food will surely turn out bitter with tears. Poor Ai. I’ll still enjoy what you make.” Mai hugged her sister, who then said, “Poor Mai. I’ll enjoy yours as well, even if James is being mean to us.”
Emma was on the verge of laughing again, so I asked her, “Well, Emma, would you like to join me for takeout and avoid the bitter food of these two?” She couldn’t hold in her laugh any longer, especially with the twins starting in on her for “joining me in cruelty.” I took the moment to grab some clothes and head for the door. “Going to shower. I hope to smell something wonderful starting before I get out.” As I walked out, I heard the twins say, “Maybe we shouldn’t let you eat any, since you’re mean to us!” I still had trouble believing the amount of my vacation which was spent with three girls hanging out around the house or that my parents seemed to enjoy it this much. I knew they enjoyed having Jarod over, but that wasn’t quite the same as these three, even when he was in a mood for trouble. Though I’d never tell the girls, they did have a way of making even the most mundane things more enjoyable, despite picking on me mercilessly. I couldn’t help wondering again why my parents never had more children, especially with how they both were taken with Aaliyah. Last time I had asked, they just told me that I was all they ever needed.
I didn’t smell any food yet when I walked back into my room, but the girls weren’t there. I found them in the kitchen preparing food, save for Emma who was sitting at the table and watching. “Emma, why are you letting your accomplice in cruelty encroach upon our preparations! Take him somewhere until food is ready!” Father entered the room for the last of the sentence and said, “James, are you causing trouble for the chefs? That’s a good way to find your food befouled if these charming ladies weren’t of such kind hearts.” The twins joyously called “Welcome home, Mr. Somerset!” to my smiling father as he walked toward his bedroom. I invited Emma to play video games while we waited and then loudly said, “Because these two apparently don’t want me around while they cook when I honestly just wanted company from my newest friends.” I was ready for the twins making a retort, but Emma beat them to it. “James! You don’t want my company too?” She was so beautiful, even when pouting, that I was caught off guard for a moment. The twins, however, told us to go ahead and stay, since they “obviously couldn’t trust me out of their sight.”
Ai and Mai told us what they were doing between more random chatter. They were making some sort of meatball dish called Koenigsberger Klopse, boiling potatoes, some type of green bean dish, a salad, and a dessert which they described to be something similar to a pudding. I felt lucky just to remember the German name for the meatball dish, but the others had one as well. The girls definitely looked like they knew what they were doing, but I had to ask how they knew where so many of the dishes were. “Your mother told us, of course,” said Ai. Then Mai added “She told us about the ones we didn’t know from last time at least.” Emma, smiling as normal, went on to explain “We stopped here before we went to your track meet, since we hadn’t asked where it was before. The twins also wanted to get their ingredients in the fridge.” These three never ceased finding new ways to cause trouble, which had me wondering what life would be like if the twins truly did move here. I had little doubt that they would after this week. The girls seemed to be enjoying themselves far too much, and I had a feeling that was a driving force in their decisions.
Another half hour had passed before the twins were finished with their preparations, but the food was absolutely delicious when it was finished. The meatballs were covered in some sort of white sauce, and the beans were in some type of cream with bacon and onions. When at last I found myself at the Quarkspeise, the dessert which they pronounced again for us, the twins put fresh blackberries on it as a finishing touch. I was not disappointed, though I didn’t know quite how to describe the semi-sweet dish. The girls stayed for a while after dinner, entertained by father and mother telling more stories of my childhood. After I had seen the girls to Emma’s car, I laid in bed thinking about the week for a while. I was glad the twins wanted to move here. High school hadn’t been a huge shift in my life. I saw the same people, spent time on extracurriculars, and played an abundance of video games in my free time. There were plenty of hours spent thinking about what else I could do, but now I was finally at a point where I was doing new things. Having more friends in my life who would continue challenging me in unexpected ways was exactly what I needed. I could only imagine that life would continue getting more interesting from here.