Four Week Fiance(7)

By: J. S. Cooper & Helen Cooper

“Hello, Mila here,” I sang into the phone, assuming it was Sally. I looked at the thong bikini and threw it back onto the floor. I wasn’t sure why I’d even contemplated taking that. That was not appropriate for a family trip. If my dad saw me in that, I’d be on the first plane out of the country for sure.

“Mila?” The voice was deep and gruff, and tingles ran through my arm to my fingers.

“This is Mila,” I said, my voice sounding like a deep croak. “Mila,” I said again, almost singing my name, in my nervousness.

“It’s TJ.” His voice sounded amused. “Auditioning for The Voice or something?”

“No,” I laughed, excited to be talking to him. “I’m trying out for The X Factor, actually.”

“Oh.” He cleared his throat. “I would have thought you would go for The Voice!”

“Why is that?” I said, confused.

“Because they don’t see your face at first,” he said with a deadpanned voice, and it took a moment for his meaning to sink in.

“You’re an asshole.” I groaned at him, shaking my head at his diss. That is what I meant about him thinking he was my big brother. It was like he and Cody had sat down one day and discussed the responsibilities and tasks of being my older sibling. And teasing me was the number-one duty.

“You gotta love it.” He laughed as if he thought his joke was hilarious.

“Not really.”

“Aww, well, sorry to break your heart, but this isn’t The X Factor calling.”

“Uh huh.”

“I was calling because Cody can’t pick you up tomorrow. He’s stuck at work until early Saturday morning, so he asked if I can pick you and Sally up and drive you up to the lake house.”

“Oh, really?” I grinned into the phone, slightly excited that we’d be alone together, but then I remembered that Sally would be with us. “I guess that’s fine.” I tried to sound nonchalant.

“What time will you be ready?” He cleared his throat. “And an accurate time, please, not an ‘I’ll try to be ready, but I’ll keep you waiting for thirty minutes’ sort of thing.”

“TJ Walker, shut up.” I groaned into the phone. “That was only one time.”

“It was one time too many.”

“Whatever. I’m sure all your dates keep you waiting as well.”

“Yeah, but I know I’m getting something from them that makes it worth it.”

I gasped and he laughed into the phone. “So, what time, Milady Sadie?”

“Three o’clock, but I’ll check with Sally to make sure she can make that.” I ignored his use of the nickname he and Cody had coined for me when we were younger. They had created a rhyme for me that went, “Milady Sadie, went to bathy, and she got a stupid navy. A navy wavy goofy baby, that is our Milady Sadie.” It made absolutely no sense, but the nickname Milady Sadie had stuck. I knew better than to get annoyed when they used it anymore. It only fuelled their teasing.

“Okay, Milady Sadie. Call me back and let me know.”

“You’re a child, you know that, TJ?” I couldn’t stop myself. “Only a little boy would call me a nickname from when I was a little kid.”

“You’re still a kid, Mila.” His voice was dry.

“No, I’m not.” I growled into the phone.

“Oh, yeah. I forgot you’re a college graduate now.” He laughed. “You’re officially in the big girls’ club.”

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes, even though I knew he couldn’t see them.

“Oh, yeah. I may be bringing a friend with me. I spoke to Cody, and your parents don’t mind.”

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