metropolis

Two weeks had passed and Bekah was up in arms, ready to get the moving over and done with. She kept glancing at the clock, biting her thumbnail before looking over her shoulder at Tamar who was busy wrapping books in newspaper. “When did you say they’ll be here with the truck?”

Tamar shrugged nonchalantly, content with her self-assigned duty. “Not sure. Maybe in a few minutes. He went with Tonio.”

Bekah rolled her eyes and snorted. “Few minutes to you means an hour tops for them.” She heaved a sigh, glancing around the blank dorm walls. “Can’t wait to get out of this hellhole.” Then she frowned and looked back at Tamar. “Did you manage to sneak out all your stuff?” For the last two weeks, they’d stealthily visited Tamar’s dorm to clean out her room without Neecy noticing. Tamar hated that they were sneaking around but Bekah didn’t want any unnecessary trouble.

“Yeah. Last trip when you were asleep.”

Bekah frowned at Tamar’s cryptic words. There was more than what Tamar was saying. The stiff way she replied clued her in that the last trip to the dormitory wasn’t without incidence. “What happened?”

“Nothing worth mentioning,” Tamar clenched her jaw, slapping another sheet of newspaper over the book. “The sooner we get out of here the better.”

“If your boyfriend would hurry up already,” Bekah mumbled, glancing again at the clock.

Tamar frowned, her fingers stilling over the paper. Boyfriend? Her cheeks warmed visibly and she peeked at Bekah through lowered lashes. Was that what she thought Dylan was to her?

Bekah turned to face Tamar and caught her curious expression. She smirked knowingly. “Isn’t he?”

Tamar snorted and glanced down, her freckles standing out under Bekah’s probing stare. “I don’t know about all that…” she mumbled under her breath.

“Yeah, of course,” Bekah chuckled good-naturedly.

“Yeah, of course,” Tonio echoed as he and Dylan entered the room. “What are we ‘of coursing’ to?” he added with a grin at Bekah.

Dylan just rolled his eyes as he crossed the room to Tamar, bending down to drop a kiss on her cheek. “I thought we agreed we wouldn’t let these two in the same room?”

She merely smiled up at him before glancing over to where Bekah playfully punched Tonio on his shoulder. “You’re the one that brought him inside…”

“What took you slowpokes so long?” Bekah whined, pouting as she walked around Tonio to grab one of the packed boxes. “We have less than an hour to move out.”

“He’s like a dog. I couldn’t get rid of him,” Dylan whispered loudly.

“This dog is perfectly willing to sit back and let you do all the moving,” Tonio warned laughing. “And you put that down.” He reached around Bekah and took the box from her hands. “We’ve got it. You just relax. Pretend to be the supervisor or something.”

Bekah smirked, her grumpiness easing off with Tonio’s teasing smile. “I like that sound of that.” She clapped her hands sharply. “Alright, gentlemen, let’s go.” She turned to Tamar and Dylan. “Save all that smoochin’ for after we finish moving in. C’mon Sinatra.”

Tamar laughed softly and nudged Dylan. “You better listen to her…” Lifting the stack of books already wrapped, she pushed them into his arms.

“Look what you started,” Dylan grumbled as he took the books thrust into his chest.

Tonio looked horrified before his lips curved into a smile. “That’s fine. The supervisor always has to pay the employees.”

Bekah’s smirk wavered. “Yo, now wait a minute… Who said anything about paying?” She jerked her head in Tamar’s direction. “What are they talking about? Isn’t your boyfriend’s service free?”

Tamar scowled, her cheeks warming visibly. “Stop with that, Rebekah.” She turned to Tonio and smiled gently. “We’ll discuss payment and all that after we move, deal?”

Tonio glanced over at Dylan. “I don’t know. I feel like your girlfriend’s trying to pull one over on me.”

“Yeah, you have to watch that one. She’s sneaky.”

Tonio rolled his eyes at the affectionate smile on his best friend’s face. “Hey, we’re about to get scammed here. Enough with the googly eyes.”

Bekah reached for another box and nudged Tonio in the back with it. “Stop your whining and get moving, Mister. We don’t have all day.” She winked at Tamar even as she pushed Tonio out the door, lugging the boxes with them.

Tamar shook her head in silent mirth and pulled another empty box onto the table. “You’re right. Those two together are dangerous.”

“I tried to warn you. Everything good? No problems getting everything together?” He adjusted the books in his arms and leaned his body against the table.

“No problems…” Tamar answered easily, gesturing to the box. “Put them here so it’ll be easy to carry down. How’s practice going?” she asked, wrapping yet another textbook. “I think I should’ve just sold these books instead of keeping them.” She blew at the tendrils hanging over her forehead.

He obediently dropped the books in the box. “Practice is good. I’m feeling better about the game after the last few. There’s still a way to go before we’re ready for Redsville but we’ll get there.”

Tamar nodded with a smile. “From what I’ve seen in your practices, you’ll be ready in no time… Just don’t get distracted.” She folded the top of the cardboard box and patted it. “This one’s ready.”

“I don’t get distracted,” he assured pecking her lips before swinging the box into his arms. “Gotta get downstairs before the slavemaster comes back and starts withholding wages.”

“I heard that,” Bekah called out from the other side of the door. Stepping inside, she squinted at Dylan. “Wages are being withheld with every second you’re not downstairs, Kissy-lips.”

Tamar sputtered in laughter. “Relax. We’re coming.”

Bekah lifted another box and placed it on top the box Dylan was holding. “I’m sure you can carry more than one box, Captain.” Her eyes glinted mischievously despite her grouchy tone. “Chop chop, let’s go.”

“Ma’am yes ma’am!” he barked sharply before ruining it by laughing and starting out the door, taking some good-natured ribbing from Tonio who was on his way back in.

Bekah smirked at Tamar’s wide smile. “I see you’re enjoying yourself over there, Princess. Those orders apply to you too.” She pointed to another box for Tonio, smiling as she did so.

“I know you’re enjoying this way too much,” Tamar said, lifting her own box to walk out the door. There was only a few more items before the entire dorm room would be completely empty.

“Absolutely,” Bekah said easily, jiggling the keys in her hand. “I’m just so glad to be out of here.” She draped an arm around Tamar’s shoulders. “Let’s get out of here.” With that, they headed down the stairs to meet Tonio and Dylan by the truck parked on the sidewalk. “Ready boys?”

“You know, Ramsey and I were talking and we think we’ve fulfilled our part of the deal. So let’s talk wages,” Tonio said placing the last box in the truck and leaning against it to smile at Bekah. “What do you say, Boss Lady?”

As Bekah opened her mouth to reply with a sharp retort, Tamar nudged her cousin aside and smiled sweetly at Tonio. “You’ve done well and we’re so grateful for the help. Sure we can discuss your wages… but wouldn’t it be a lot better to settle down comfortably with a couple of homemade sandwiches before we do that?”

“Yeah bro. Your girl is playin’ me.”

Dylan laughed and opened the door to the truck. “What can you do about it?”

Tamar blinked innocently at Tonio. “What do you mean? What did I say?”

Bekah smirked, watching the two men as they climbed into the truck. “Tamar makes a mean club sandwich! I’d say that’s payment enough, fellas.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Tonio grumbled playfully. “You just don’t wanna pay up.”

“I’ll pay up, promise,” Tamar protested softly, turning to Dylan. “Vouch for my word instead of smiling like that.” She turned back to Tonio. “You did us a favor, I’ll repay what we owe.”

Bekah frowned at Tamar’s words and nudged her cousin. “Let’s get going before they change their mind.” She tugged at Tamar’s hand, pulling her away from Tonio. “We’ll see you guys there!” she called over her shoulder, dragging Tamar toward the other car parked at the curb.

Dylan laughed as he eased the truck into the road. “Stop giving Tamar a hard time.”

“I’m not trying to. It’s more fun messin’ with Bekah.”

Dylan shook his head at that. “Don’t mess with my girl’s cousin.”

“Does she know you claim her like that?”

“She should. Who else do I walk around holding hands with and kissing?”

“Girls like for that whole thing to be official. You know, the question posed all special or whatever. Like a mini proposal.”

Dylan muttered under his breath but didn’t counter the words. Instead, he dwelled on them the rest of the way to Tamar and Bekah’s new apartment.

<<Chapter 20 || Chapter 22>>

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