** You guys have my full permission to mentally murder me for not updating in so long. Trust me, I feel terrible for it. **

Chapter 18

Chase scurried everywhere in his kitchen like a maniac. He would repeatedly go from one end, where the recipe book was, to the other end, where his refrigerator, pantry, and spice cabinets were. His kitchen wasn't even that large, but the way he frantically ran from each end made it seem like it was more efficient than just walking.

I sat and patiently watched this from his kitchen table, idly tapping my feet on the floor. I didn't expect him to take this so seriously. Watching him freak out over which dish should hold my first ever serving of meat made me feel so laidback.

"I'm sure whatever you make will suffice," I said.

"No way," he said while speedily flipping through his recipe book. "It's your first time, so it has to be with something memorable."

I sighed and laid my head down against the table. I honestly didn't care much about what he made me. I was more focused on knowing what I had been missing out on all my life. As long as it had meat in it, I was fine with it. However, Chase insisted on ensuring that my first bite was to be perfect, so I had to wait for him to find the best dish to prepare.

Once he finally decided on something, I watched him pull ingredients out and start cooking. I offered to help cook, but he didn't want me anywhere near the food until it was time to eat it. So, I continued to watch him from the kitchen table and tried to guess what he was making. Because of my lack of knowledge of cooking, I wasn't very familiar with what ingredients are typically used for anything, so my own personal game ended as quickly as it started.

I put my head down and closed my eyes while I waited. Eventually, I began to hear a sizzling noise, and soon a delicious scent filled the house. I looked up and saw him making my plate. He sat the plate of food on the table, along with a glass of water, and sat in the chair in front of me. The plate was a leg of fried chicken and a small side of corn.

"It smells good," I said.

"Try it."

I stared at the chicken for a moment. "Do I…use my hands?"

"Oh, do you want a fork? Some people eat it with their hands, but you can use a fork too. I'll get you one."

"No, it's fine. I'll just eat it with my hands."

I picked up the chicken leg and held it in front of my face. I could feel the breadcrumb skin on my fingertips and could almost taste what chicken tasted like just from the smell. I looked up to Chase's eyes intently on me. You could tell he really cared about what I thought of his food, even before I started eating it.

I took a deep breath. "Here I go." I took a bite. The brown outer layer was crunchy and tasty. The meat of it was juicy and tender and tasted so good that I didn't understand why somebody would actually want a side of corn with their chicken. My mouth was watering and I suddenly realized that I was hungrier than I initially thought. I dug deeper into the leg.

It was too good to not be sinful.

"You must like it," Chase said, smiling.

"Mhm," I hummed with my mouth full. I was almost finished with that piece.

"I'll get you some more." He placed a breast and a wing on my plate and then grabbed a leg for himself.

"Wow, Chase," I said. "You're starting to make me hate my parents for not letting me eat this."

"I'm guessing your parents would hate me if they found out I fed you this stuff."


He laughed and took a bite out of his. "Do you sometimes miss your parents?"

"I feel bad for saying it, but I honestly don't. I worry more about what they're thinking now that I'm gone."

"They must be worried about you."

"Yeah," I said muttered. "I wish there was some way I could let them know that I'm okay without them knowing where I am." Talking about my parents was starting to make the chicken taste bad. "So, what about you? Do you miss your parents?"

"Oh, I don't have any parents."

"What do you mean? Everyone has parents."

He shook his head. "I'm an orphan."

I immediately felt bad for asking. "Sorry…I didn't know."

He smiled softly. "It's okay, I didn't know them. I was too little to remember anything, so it's not a big deal to me." He looked down at my plate when I stopped eating. "Are you done?" I nodded, and he took my plate to throw away the clean bones and put it in the sink.

I got up and glanced out one of his kitchen windows. The sun was setting behind the trees and the clouds in the sky were turning pink. I sighed. The day seemed to have gone by so quickly to me.

"It's getting late. I should probably be heading home now," I said, a bit sad that I had to leave.

Chase said he wouldn't feel right not walking me home, so he came along for the walk home. It wasn't until about halfway there that I felt something turn in my stomach. I grimaced at the unpleasant feeling, but I didn't say anything; it could have just been nothing. However, as we kept walking, I began to slow down and the sick feeling rapidly got worse.

"Molly, are you okay?" Chase asked worriedly. He gently put his hands on my arms and got me to stop walking.

"I feel a little nauseous," I said.

I took a few steps forward, away from him to keep going the way towards home. But then, I felt it kick. I knew it was coming, so I rushed off the dirt trails and onto the ground into a bush a few feet away. The taste was awful, and the smell was even worse. It made me want some more chicken to drown out the terrible taste in my mouth.

"I wouldn't have made the food if I knew you were just going to throw it all up," Chase said, but once he saw a guilty look on my face, he quickly spoke again. "Sorry, it was a joke!"

He helped me up and put one of his arms around my shoulders as we walked the rest of the way home. Once in my house, he sat me down on my bed.

"Just go to sleep. I'll go talk to Dr. Jin," he said.

I shook my head. "It tastes bad."

It took him a second to figure out what I meant. "Oh, yeah, right," he said with a scrunched up face. "Do you have mouthwash or anything?"

I pointed at the bathroom, and he came back with a big blue bottle and a cup from my kitchen. He poured a little in the white cap and handed it to me. I swished the blue stuff in my mouth, thanking the minty flavor. I spit it back out into the cup and gave it back to him.

He hesitantly took the cup back; he was obviously grossed out. He emptied the cup into the bathroom sink and set my stuff on the counter before coming back to me.

"Watch out. I think some of my DNA was in there," I teased.

"Make fun of me all you want, that was still gross."

"I guess you shouldn't have fed me then."

"I didn't plan on you seeing your meal a second time," he said with a laugh. "Just go to sleep. I'll be right back."

"Where are you going?"

"I told you. I'm going to talk to Dr. Jin really quick and maybe get him to come down here."

He left, and then I was alone in my house again. I honestly didn't think it was necessary to get Dr. Jin. After throwing up that one time, I felt, for the most part, better. I was just tired and had a stomachache. But I knew Chase wouldn't hear any of that. He'd get Dr. Jin anyway.

I did the only thing Chase asked of me and tried to fall asleep. It wasn't long before I started forget about my stomach and drifted into sleep.

I stood on the rotunda's marble floors with my hands over my eyes. My parents had told me to not peek, so they must have gotten me a great birthday present. They had already got me a beautiful, white cake with a giant, gold number five resting on the very top. One of the servants had to give me a stepladder because I wasn't tall enough to even see the top of the table it was on.

I heard footsteps, and when they stopped, Father asked me to get ready to hold something. Then, a ball of soft fur slipped into my arms. Not knowing what it was scary, but still so exciting.

"Open your eyes, Margaret," Mother said.

My eyes open to a small gray and white kitten with a blue ribbon on its neck. It must have been sleeping because it let out a yawn and wiggled around in my arms in attempt to stretch its legs. I held it closer to my face, enough to feel the fur on my cheeks. It was looked so sweet, and its eyes were a delicate, light blue. The kitten licked my cheek, making me giggle in delight.

"What would you like to name her?" Father asked me.

"It's a 'her'?"

Father chuckled. "Yes, it's a girl."

I named her Giselle, simply because I thought the name was very pretty. I put her down on the ground so that she could stretch. Instead of stretching though, Giselle decided she would rather chase around the longer ends of the blue ribbon she saw from the corner of her eye.

I spent my time spoiling Giselle and playing with her. She didn't like playing with the stuffed mice toys I already had for her, so I asked Mother if we could buy a ball of yarn for her to play with, like the cartoon cats. I would gently comb her fur, dress her up in even more ribbons and bows. I even convinced Mother to let me have her in my bed at night when I go to sleep. I would talk to Giselle about things, as if she were an actual human being that understood what I was saying. In my mind, she understood everything I was saying to her. It was nice to have a friend to play with that wasn't always Bryce.

But after only two days of fun, Giselle accidentally scratched me while I was holding her. My cheek bled a little, but I forgave little Giselle and continued playing in my room with her. However, by the end of day, my parents alarmingly saw my scratched cheek and said I couldn't have Giselle anymore. They were going to take away my new best friend.

I cried, saying that it wasn't fair and that Giselle didn't mean it.

"Don't cry, dear. We'll get you a new pet. A nice pet with no claws!" my mother said in attempt to cheer me up.

"No, I want Giselle!"

"Molly…" a voice said.

"No, she didn't mean it!"

"Molly, wake up!"

My body jerked as I awoke in my bed. Kathy was right beside my bed.

"Wow, I didn't think you would actually hear me in there," she said, slightly proud of herself.

I looked around. It was just the two of us and it was quiet in my house. "Why are you here? Where's Chase?"

"He's at work. He asked me to watch over you since he knew wouldn't get a break, being the only chef at the bar and all. He even brought Dr. Jin over here while you were still asleep. He said you're okay. I don't really remember all he said though. He explained it all, something about protein enzymes and digestion… All I know is that you got sick because your body wasn't used to eating all that chicken at one time. Slow down, girl."

"Did he say if he was coming back?"

Kathy sighed and leaned back in her chair. "You don't know how worried he was earlier. Of course he's coming back."

"I feel a little bad. He put a lot of effort into that meal."

"Nah, I wouldn't worry about that. It's not like you wanted to puke it all up," she said as she brought up a box of crackers she had by her chair. "Here, see if your stomach takes it," she offered with a smile.

"Thank you." I took the cracker and nibbled on the edges of it. My stomach didn't have any problems with it, so I ate the entire thing slowly.

"You know, Chase isn't a very welcoming and open person," she started. "But he seems to be comfortable around you."

I could tell she was hinting that he had crush on me. I could feel my face heat up. "Oh…he's very kind when you get to know him."

"Or he just really likes you." She smirked and watched me uncomfortably flush. When she saw that I had been embarrassed enough, she changed the subject. "So, how does it feel to not be a vegetarian anymore? Feel any different?"

I thought for a moment, but all I ended up doing was imagining my mother and father's faces. "It feels like I'm breaking the law."

Kathy and I talked a bit more until I convinced her that I was well enough for her not to not have to watch me. She was hesitant, but I reassured her that I was just going to go back to sleep and that I would be fine.

After she left, I looked over to check the time. It was almost midnight. I reached down for the box of crackers she had by her chair and ate a few. I guess my stomach was feeling completely better considering I didn't throw any crackers up. I kept the box on my bed and kept nibbling on them and staring at my ceiling mindlessly. I didn't even realize

I awoke later in the night and immediately checked the time. I had only been asleep for two hours, although it felt like two years. Even if I tried with all my might and brainpower, I wouldn't be able to remember what I dreamt about, only that I did certainly dream of something good.

I reached down on my bed, my hand searching for my box of crackers, but I found nothing. I sat up to look around, but somehow the box had ended up on the table across the room. I didn't remember putting that there before. I went over to the table and saw that a folded piece of paper was under the box. I opened it and read:

Didn't want to wake you.

Kathy told me you said you were feeling better, but I wanted to stop by to make sure.

I'm really sorry about getting you sick tonight. I'll make it up to you somehow…


- Chase

I put the note back and went to bed without my crackers. I cuddled up in my blankets and fell back to sleep with a smile.

** Along with the reviews asking me to update already, thank you to Hikaru Uzumaki-Inuzuka and YuuRam4eva417 for reminding me and asking me to update.
Seriously guys, if it gets to be too long, totally spam me. I encourage it. Spam the crap out of me until I do it!
It definitely will work. xD

I'll try not to take 17923583 years to update the next chapter! **