Sunday, June 11, 2017. Daily Brit Wit.
*Hello! A quick disclaimer for any potential new readers: this is the first continuation mini-story. It picks up from Fortnight. Thanks!
"Anthony groans after reading the vague email from his mother. The sound repeats several times more after he calls her cell phone only for it to go straight to voicemail twice. He rubs the back of his neck in frustration and decides to ring home. If his mum is ignoring him, then perhaps his father will take pity on him.
'I'm sworn to secrecy,' his dad's gruff voice greets in lieu of salutations.
'Are you serious?' Anthony damn near growls, hangs head and clamps hand on neck securely. 'Will you let me talk to Zo, at the very least?'
'No can do, son.' His father apologizes.
'I thought I told Mum to quit her meddling,' he fumes under his breath.
'When's that ever stopped her?'
'Never, of course.'
His father's silence implies the "then why'd you ask?" question and Anthony feels a reluctant half-smile forming.
A knock at the door pulls him away, and Anthony makes his excuses and goodbyes, standing from the hotel desk as his father returns them. He hangs up and reaches for the doorknob, anticipating room service.
Instead he's knocked backward by his daughter slamming into his thighs.
Anthony is dazed, tears collecting at the corners of his eyes. He squeezes them shut and bends down to embrace his girl. Zoey burrows in. Deeply, he breathes her in and she smells of bubblegum, his mum's lavender garden, sunshine, and just Zoey. He kisses her crown. Repeatedly.
'I love you, Zoey.' He whispers in her ear before showering her face with kisses.
His girl giggles.
The sound of snuffling not coming from his arms causes Anthony to glance up and his mother smiles back sadly. He opens his mouth but the grey-and-white haired woman shakes it away, mouths "I know" and glances at her granddaughter.
Of course, the vague email is beginning to make a hell of a lot more sense, Anthony meditates, and his father's secrecy. Zoey gets a final squeeze before Anthony gently pulls her from his chest, held at arms length, and grins at her. Her eyes are bright with tears and happiness, and Anthony pets her blonde curls.
'Hi, beautiful.' He conveys his adoration.
'Hi Daddy!' She parrots his tone. She remembers the other family member and with a startled and hilarious expression, Zoey turns to her forgotten grandmother. 'Oh, Nana. Can we tell him now?! Please?'
Mother and son chuckles at Zoey's pleas before Nana nods solemnly, though wears a devilish smirk.
'Unpack your bags, Da, because we're staying in New Zealand for a sennight!' Zoey crows and clap her hands in glee.
Startled, Anthony turns his attention toward his mother. He's mute but his mother reads his silent questions easily.
'You both deserve a break,' she emphasizes by nodding at her son and granddaughter. She holds up a hand, engagement ring peaking out from the side. 'No. Stop, Anthony. You do. Don't argue with me. I've taken care of everything. Zoey has coursework, yes love, we talked about this,' she directs at a whining Zoey, who stops mid-pout, 'and you'll be staying here.'
Anthony takes several moments to absorb before he stands, Zoey back in his arms, and embraces his mother. With a buss to her cheek, she smiles and returns the tight hug."