Package Deal: Michael Clifford (Part 3)
Word Count: 1207
“Mommy.. Nana and I called you and you didn’t talk,” Grayson whined with a look of disappointment in his eyes. His arms were crossed tightly over his chest, his bottom lip pouted out.
Reaching down to embrace him into a hug you apologized, “Gray, I’m sorry, Mommy must not have heard her phone. You know I would’ve loved to talk to you today.."
Grayson shrugged you off, not giving you the slightest bit of sympathy or accepting any of yours. He was stubborn and would reject your apology until he was satisfied. You sighed at his gestures, only being forced to accept that your day was continuing down it’s rough path.
After your coffee date, the day went on a steep slope downhill. You’d returned back to work faced with the daunting task of preparing for a meeting with a CEO whom was particularly hard to please. Your coworkers, of course would leave such a task to the newbie, knowing how arduous it proved to be. When you had began the copying for the presentation with this pesky CEO, the printer had jammed. In your failed attempt to fix it you’d covered yourself in ink.
It seemed nothing could get worse, especially with the constant guilt of running out on Michael, subconsciously brewing in your mind. On the car ride home you were stuck in the rush hour traffic which furthered the damper on your already broken spirit. Now as you arrived home, you were faced by a five year old who was currently giving you the cold shoulder.
Leaving Grayson to simmer down a bit, you went to your room and slipped out of your undesirable work attire and clad yourself into a lightweight, zip-up hoodie and joggers. A quick glance at your fading makeup resulted in its removal along with your hairs’ placement into a messy top knot.
Easing your way towards Grayson, you debated your strategy to win back his crooked little smile. "Gray, Mommy is really sorry, Babe. Why don’t you tell me what you were going to on the phone, while I make us dinner?” You spoke sweetly only to get a shrug in response. For a young boy he has sure mastered the silent treatment, though you still hadn’t mastered a way to endure it.
You couldn’t help but to smile at he determination to withhold his resistance, “I’ll make us Ninja Turtle Mac and cheese,” an offer you knew he couldn’t turn down. “With little hot dogs,” he bargained, giving you the evil eye, knowing it was the key to your submission. “Yes Gray, Ninja Turtle Mac and Cheese with little hot dogs in it.."
He quickly ran over, wrapping his arms around your legs, "I forgive you Mommy!” Attempting to hide your laughter, you coughed awkwardly at his reaction. Grayson was a typical boy, you could always win him over with food. Sitting Grayson on the adjacent counter directly next to the sink, you began the search for the box containing his four favorite turtles and powdered cheese. Though Gray wouldn’t refused to eat that cheese because it was yellow, but you couldn’t blame him for this preference. In lieu of the the using the powdered cheese, you grabbed another pot from the cupboard in which you created your own cheese concoction.
“Can I do the noodles?” Grayson begged rather impatiently, scrunching his little nose. “When it’s time Buddy. But what did you call me about today?” He giggled before he spoke, “Nana said you went to a play date.. And I wanted to know if you had fun.” Blush rose to your cheeks and a smile spread on your lips, “Yes, Mommy had a lot of fun on her play date."
"Who did you play with?” He was extremely inquisitive, seeming to express a sort of concern for you through his little gestures. Though it may not have been intended, you appreciated his mild interrogation more than he would ever know. “I had coffee with a very nice boy named Michael,” you spoke, your reluctance quickly fading.
Grayson’s eyes immediately lit up, “Like Michaelangelo?"
"Not quite, Gray.” You chuckled before handing him the box of noodles, “Wanna help?"
Scooping him off the counter, he clung to your side. Your hand guided his over the pot, slowly dropping the noodles into the shallow water. His attention was undivided as he named every turtle that fell in. A ring from the doorbell broke the two of you from discussing how the last Donatello was missing an eye.
"Mommy’s gonna go see who it is, you stay at the table,” you instructed as you placed Grayson onto the floor, beside his usual chair. Pulling your crinkled hoodie down over you exposed hip, you turned the lock of the door and slowly opened it, shocked at who you revealed. “Before you say anything, I’m not a stalker, I promise,” he spoke holding up his hands, “But you left this today.” Michael smiled placing your phone into your palm.
“Oh my God, thank you so much.. Wo-would you like to come in?” You awkwardly stepped aside allowing him into your apartment.
“Thanks,” Mikey chuckled, shutting the door behind him. “So, how did you find my apartment?” He shrugged, “Today you mentioned you worked at an office in town and there is only one,” his beautiful laugh left his chapped lips. “That didn’t dawn on me until an hour ago but when I got there, they said you’d left. Ten minutes later I had somehow convinced the receptionist to give me your address.. It took some work, but I explained everything and she spilled.”
“That makes me feel safe,” you joked. Little footsteps soon approached the two of you, “It’s bubbling really high,” Grayson spoke rapidly, his eyes were wide.
“I’ll be right back,” you dashed toward the kitchen, shutting off the water and draining the noodles. You also took the opportunity to turn off the mixture of cheese and ‘little hotdogs’ that Grayson requested and mixed it with the noodles.
After rushing the process, you returned to the boys only to see them content in deep conversation. “Do you like Ninja Turtles?” Grayson asked, his eyes glimmering.
Mike smiled, “I love them!” He had a childlike spirit in his tone as he kneeled down next to Gray, “Who’s your favorite one?” Grayson pressed his thumb and index finger to his chin deep in thought, before finally concluding, “Michaelangelo."
Mike smirked, "He’s my favorite too. His name is a lot like mine."
Still observing their conversation from a safe distance you could see Grayson furrow his little eyebrows, "Are you Michael?"
Mike simply nodded in response. "You should eat dinner with us,” Grayson grinned, forcing you to quickly interject.
“Gray, can you go out to the kitchen so I can talk to Mikey?” He quickly nodded and ran off. Michael stood back up before he spoke, “He’s cute.. I didn’t know you had a little brother."
Your heart dropped, "This is what I wanted to tell you at lunch. Promise me you won’t overreact.."
"What do you mean, your little brother is no big d-” Mike began. Taking a deep breath, you cut him off, “No Mikey, he’s not my brother.. He’s my son.”