"I'm so tired, I could fall asleep right now," I complain, supporting my head on a bent arm.
"The day is far from over so wake up," Sky replies and flicks my forehead.
"Hey," I say, rubbing my face, "That hurt."
"Good," he says, winking, and then asks, "Are you finished?"
I look down hesitantly at my plate of creamy pesto linguine, only a few pieces remaining, and back up at him.
"Almost," I reply, and Sky purses his lips, disapproving.
"If you're full, you're full," he says before adding, "Do you want a repeat of last time?"
I think back to when I went to another Italian place with Aunt Laine and ended up spending the evening in the bathroom after trying to finish every last morsel.
"Fine," I concede, sighing, "Wasting these last few bits is the price I must pay for not bursting."
Sky rolls his eyes and motions to the waiter, who brings over the bill. While Sky checks it over, I gather up my bag. This is our first traditional restaurant date which he insisted on doing, bringing me out to this lovely Italian place for lunch. I did agree to let him pay, technically, so I don't offer. I've already planned to ambush him next time, regardless.
"Don't worry, there'll be dessert later," Sky assures me, after he catches me eyeing the tiramisu at another table.
"I wasn't thinking about dessert," I lie and pick up my bag, "So where to next?"
"Somewhere really special," he replies secretively.
We stand up and head out of the restaurant, thanking the maître d as we leave. Outside, I am surprised to see that the previously sunny morning has transformed into an overcast afternoon with darker clouds looming ominously in the distance. I thought my maroon t-shirt dress was going to be too warm for the mid spring weather but now I realise that I was better off bringing a cardigan too.
"I hope the rest of your plan didn't involve being outside," I say and from Sky's expression, I realise it probably did. We slide into his car and he takes out his phone to check something.
He sighs and says, "I don't know whether to risk it."
"I mean, we could always just stay in the car," I suggest.
"And just talk?" he asks.
"I mean, it doesn't have to involve much talking," I reply cheekily.
"Michie!" he exclaims, surprised by my brazenness, but a hand glides over my thigh regardless.
"What?" I ask, innocently. The corner of his mouth tugs upwards into a sexy smile and he leans towards me for a kiss. Our lips barely brush against each other when Sky's phone buzzes loudly from between us.
Sky sighs again, louder this time, and complains, "What is it now?"
He holds his phone up to reveal a message from his mum asking him to pick up his siblings from school.
"Fuck," he groans, dragging out the 'u' sound, "This day was meant to be about us."
"It's okay," I reassure him and shyly intertwine our fingers, "We have plenty of time together over the next few months.'
Sky leans into me again and his lips tease my ear, "That's true… but hopefully we can have some time together later today."
That sends tingles all the way down my body and I exhale shakily.
"Better let your mum know we're picking Paige and Jamie up," is all I manage to say.
"Mhmm," he breathes, now against my mouth. I push him away since my brain is fogging up way too much to concentrate on anything else.
"Drive, Sky," I instruct, and he smirks but obliges.
Just as we are about to pull out of the carpark, a big, fat drop of water hits the windshield. Followed by another.
"Damn, maybe it's a good thing that we have to go pick Paige and Jamie up from school," Sky comments and turns onto the main road.
"Yeah true," I reply and watch the windscreen wipers start swiping fasting.
Soon we reach St Andrews, the fancy private school that the kids attend, and pull up out front. I scan the front of the school, which has hundreds of kids screaming and running around. Of course, all wearing the exact same pristine navy-blue uniform.
"How are we going to find them?" I ask Sky as we pull over.
"Paige knows to come straight to this spot," he replies and, sure enough, a minute later Paige jumps into the back seat with Jamie in tow.
"Sky!" Paige says excitedly and then notices me, her smile growing, "Michie!"
"Hi, you two!" I reply.
"Hi," Jamie says, smiling shyly.
"Buckle up," Sky grumbles and watches them put their seat belts on before driving off.
"Why are you picking us up today?" Paige asks and then quickly adds, "Of course I am super happy about it. I always love seeing Michie!"
I beam as Sky replies, "Mum asked me to, while Michie and I were on a date."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Paige says, her face falling slightly.
"Don't be! I'm really happy to be able to see you guys," I assure her and ask, "How was school?"
"It was good," she replies, "We had a special International Day assembly today where we got to see some performances and eat a lot of delicious food!"
"Ooh that sounds like so much fun," I say, "What did you like Jamie?"
"Tuna sushi," he says, "and the samosa."
"Yum! I'm so jealous," I reply.
"Yeah it was really good! We saw something called bhangra dancing which is from India- my friend Priya's older brother was part of the performance- and I loved all the colours," she gushed, "But it was really sad because Mr Nguyen was telling us how his family came here as refugees from Vietnam and we learnt a lot about that too."
"I wish they had something like that for us," I replied, "Would have loved to learn more about all those things."
"Yeah it was very interesting," Paige agrees and continues telling us about everything until we reach their house. Sky stops the car and we all notice a flashy midnight blue BMW in their driveway.
His demeanour changes immediately and he says abruptly, "Stay in the car."
"Oh okay but-" I start to say but he switches the car off, leaving the windows open enough for air flow, and exits before I can finish.
"What happened?" Paige asks and Jamie unbuckles his seatbelt and slides forward to see what is happening.
"I'm not sure," I reply honestly.
"Now that Sky's gone, can we play some music we like?" Paige says.
"Of course!" I reply and Paige starts blaring some Billie Eilish out of her iPhone.
My mind is still on Sky though. Even though he was acting grumpy about picking up his siblings, I could tell he was still relaxed and carefree. As soon as he saw that car, however… his shoulders tensed up, his mouth drew into a tight line and his eyebrows deepened.
Nervous energy pools into my stomach and I tap my foot anxiously, waiting to see any signs of movement coming from the house. Several minutes pass by and I get more and more stressed.
"Okay," I say, coming to a decision, "I'm going to go check on Sky, you two please stay here and just watch something on Paige's phone. Can you do that?"
"Uhh okay but what's happening?" she asks, more confused this time.
"I'm not sure, but I just want to make sure everything is alright," I say and look both the kids in the eyes, "I'll be back soon."
I jump out of the car and, after making sure it's locked, I walk towards the front door. It's eerily quiet and I can't help but feel ominous. I consciously try to lighten my steps as I strain my ears. Slowly, I push open the door and look inside.
That's when I hear voices. Angry voices. At that point, however, I am already inside and in view of the living room.
Sky notices me and says angrily, "I told you to stay in the car."
"Michie, is that you?" Jenny, Sky's mother, asks. She learns forward in her chair and I notice her eyes are red and puffy.
"I'm sorry, I'll go-" I begin to say, backing away, but then notice a third figure standing across from Sky.
A man. He's tall, salt and pepper hair, sharp features and familiar piercing blue eyes. Skylar's father.
"Well," he drawls, "Who do we have here?"
"Don't fucking look at her," Sky spits out.
His father cocks an eyebrow, "Is this your girlfriend? You don't just sleep around with random whores anymore?"
"Fuck you," Sky says, clenching his fists so hard his knuckles begin to turn white.
"Unless this is one of the whores," he continues, looking me up and down. Sky lunges at him and his father steps back, unbothered.
"Get out of our house before I call the police," Sky warns him.
"Jen," his father turns his attention to his ex-wife, "I'll be collecting what I requested next week and if you don't comply, you know I have the money to fight for custody of my daughter and other son."
Jenny looks at him angrily, tears rolling down her cheeks, but stays silent.
"You don't have the right to even see Paige and Jamie," Sky says, disgusted, and then picks up the phone, "I'll say it one last time- get the fuck out or else I'm calling the police."
"Such vulgar language," Sky's father responds and begins to move towards the door. I move away, towards the staircase, despite feeling frozen with anxiety.
"I expect what we discussed by next week, Jenny," he says again, and with one last icy glance, he exits.
"I told you to stay in the car," Sky repeats, when his father is gone.
"Paige and Jamie," I manage to say, and Sky realises they're still out there, in view of his father. He swiftly exits to go grab them and, unsure of what to do, I walk to the living room.
"I'm sorry you had to see that," Jenny says, sniffling.
"No! I'm sorry for intruding and… that you had to deal with that…" I trail off, wishing I wasn't so hopelessly awkward.
"I don't want the kids to see me like this," she says, and begins to cry softly. My heart breaks seeing Jenny so broken and I reach out and squeeze her hand.
"Let me know what you need. I can even take Jamie and Paige back to my place, if you want to call a friend to come over?" I suggest.
"Oh Michie, you're too kind," she replies, "I think that may be for the best if you're able to."
"Of course," I say and quickly run out to catch Sky before he brings his siblings in. Lucky thing too, because they are a few metres away from the front door.
"Hey, your mum actually was planning on having dinner with a friend and I was wondering if Paige and Jamie wanted to come over to my house for dinner?" I say. I can tell Sky is still reeling from the exchange before, but he masks his anger well and shrugs.
"Yeah okay, let's go," he replies.
"But… I want to see mummy," Jamie says and my heart melts.
"Come on kid, we'll have fun at Michie's then see her later," Sky says and asks me to take the kids back to the car while he checks on his mother.
"Alright let's get you guys back in and buckled up," I say, trying to feign cheerfulness.
Once Sky is back, Paige asks, "What's happening?"
"We're going to have dinner at Michie's house," Sky answers.
"I know something is wrong, we're not stupid," Paige prods further.
Sky sighs, "Okay mum is upset, and she wants to spend some time with a friend, and she'll explain what's wrong tomorrow."
"Is she okay?" she asks, worried.
"She will be."
Paige nods and stays silent. While Sky drives, I text Laine to tell her that Sky and his siblings are coming over for dinner, only to find out that she is out with Steven.
"Well, good news is we have a free house!" I say, "We can do something fun until dinner… which we can either order or make."
I turn to see both the kids looking pretty sad, and I wonder how else I can cheer them up.
"Is there anything else you want to do?" I ask.
"Play Switch," Jamie says.
"I'm sorry, I don't have one," I say, apologetically, and then look at Sky, "Jay does though, right?"
"Yeah, you can ask if he can bring it and some controllers," Sky suggests.
"How does that sound?" I ask Jamie and he smiles brightly in response.
"Can big Jamie come too?" Paige asks and I look to Sky.
"Yeah," he says, and the kids cheer.
I text Jamie and Jay to ask if they can come over now, and whether Jay can bring the Nintendo Switch with him. They quickly respond yes, and I'm grateful that especially Jay lives so close, because that means less waiting.
Sky pulls up into my driveway, and I quickly unlock the front door. Paige and Jamie wait patiently behind me.
"You can leave your shoes here," I say, pointing to the front shoe rack, "and let's go to the kitchen for an after-school snack."
"Okay," they say and oblige, removing their black, leather shoes. I move into the kitchen and look through the fridge and cupboards.
"Alright, so I can cut up some carrot sticks to eat with hummus," I suggest, "and some cheese and crackers?"
"What about that?" Jamie asks, pointing to the big bag of cheezels in the pantry.
"Uhhh..." I say, and look at Sky, "What would they eat usually?"
"I'll pay you back for these," he says, grabbing the cheezels and tossing it to Jamie.
"It's fine," I say, concerned that the chips are not nearly nutritious enough, "Would you guys like a drink too?"
This question ends with me pouring two glasses of lemonade, but I guess the kids' smiles as they sit in front of the TV are worth it.
Only a few minutes later, there is a knock on the door, and I jump up to answer it. Swinging the door open, I see Jamie and Jay standing there.
"Michie!" Jamie calls, throwing her arms around me.
"Hi," I laugh, "Hey Jay!"
"Hello, don't you look cute," he says, winking.
I roll my eyes as Jamie untangles herself from me and reply, "Thank you. Wish I could say the same about you."
He gasps and says, "Levi's and a flannel is never not in."
"Whatever you say," I reply and then ask, "Did you bring the goods?"
"I have the switch," he calls out, holding up the device and controllers for the kids to see and they cheer.
"I'm so excited," Jamie-the-girl says, "I've been sitting at home all day."
"Hey Sky," Jay says as we move to the living room and Sky hums a non-committal response. Jay looks confused but, realising his best friend probably isn't in the best mood right now, shrugs and chooses to ignore it.
"Alright, so which game do you want to play?" he asks Sky's siblings and they sift through the options. I sit next to Sky as they choose, and he doesn't react.
"You okay?" I ask softly.
"Mhm," he replies. Jamie sits next to us, not understanding that something happened, and flips her long, brown ponytail.
"So, guys, how was the date?" she asks, wriggling her eyebrows.
The date, I completely forgot that happened only this morning.
"Yeah it was really nice," I tell her.
"What did you do?"
"Well we went to eat at Pepe's- you know that cute place by the lake- and I had pesto linguine with scallops," I reply, "It was amazing."
"That sounds amazing! What about you, Sky?" she asks.
"Gnocchi," he says, not lifting his eyes from his phone.
"Ohhkay," she says, giving me a look, "Weren't you two supposed to spend the rest of the day together?"
"Yeah, but it started raining," I say, not really lying. Jamie is not really one to be ignored and she also does not have the best read on situations, so she leans over me.
"Whatchya doing, Sky?" she asks, "Seems interesting."
He looks at her with a piercing cold glare and she backs off.
"Okay well," I say awkwardly, "I actually wanted to give Sky back one of his books in my room, so we'll be back soon."
I pull Sky up lightly and I hear Jamie mutter under her breath, "He reads?"
Once we are upstairs, I invite Sky to sit down on my bed. The silence feels uncomfortable, and the tension is practically rolling off Sky now that we are away from his siblings.
"Do you want to talk about what happened?" I say.
"Not really," he replies, curtly.
We continue to sit there for a while, and I begin chewing my lip nervously. I hate not knowing what to do, or how to help someone when they're clearly upset.
"Do you want to yell at me for coming in when you said not to?" I ask, "Because I understand and I'm sorry, but I was so worried."
Sky sighs deeply, "I know Michie, but it was a situation I didn't want you involved in and you shouldn't have come in."
"I'm sorry," is all I can say. He falls back on the bed and stares at the ceiling, so I move behind him and cross my legs. I lightly trace around his face and he looks up at me with his big blue eyes.
"I was scared," he admits.
"Sky," I say, trying not to cry myself, "That's completely normal. And I am so proud of you for always being there for your family, and for the way you stood up to him."
"I'm not," he replies, swallowing thickly, and shuts his eyes.
"You should be," I affirm, "So brave and caring of everyone around you."
"I wish you didn't have to see that," he says, "My dad is fucked up."
"He is.. But I'm your girlfriend and I'm meant to see all those parts of your life," I say and then add, "And not judge or care about you any less for it."
"Thank you," he says.
"No need to thank me. Just try to relax now," I say. I comb through his soft brown hair with my fingers, then trace over his eyebrows and watch as they begin to unfurrow. I softly massage his temples and continue as Sky's breathing evens. Shyly, I lean down and kiss his eyebrows then nose. Sky moves so that he is lying down with his head propped on my pillow.
"Come lie with me?" he says.
"Of course," I reply and crawl beside him. He wraps his arms around me and props his chin up on my head. We lie like that for about half an hour and I start nodding off, enjoying being enveloped in his scent and warmth. Sky presses a lingering kiss against my forehead, which pushes me out of the sleep-like state.
"As much as I'd like to stay here with you, we better go check that they haven't somehow started a fire," Sky says, and then adds, "I was rude to Jamie."
"Yeah, a little," I admit, "But she'll understand if you apologise."
He sighs again, "Okay, I will."
"Sky," I say, "Something has been bothering me… what did your father want from Jenny?"
I see anger flash in Sky's eyes momentarily and I move my arms, so they are wrapped around his torso.
"He wants her to give him what he considers 'his antique ring'," he answers finally, "The dickhead has decided to get remarried and wants the wedding ring, as it was an heirloom, for his girlfriend."
"Oh my gosh," I breathe, "He really is messed up."
"Believe me, I know," Sky replies.
"He deserves to have an assault charge at least, after what he did to your mum when she was pregnant," I say, anger filling me.
"God, I wish I could do something to stop this and save the poor woman from him," Sky says.
"And any future children they have," I add.
"Fuck," he says, "I didn't even think of that."
"I'm sorry, let's try to handle this one step at a time. We'll figure something out," I say.
Sky pauses and scans my face.
"What?" I ask, self-consciously.
"I just like how you said 'we'," he replies.
"Of course," I say, "We're in this together."
He leans his forehead against mine and says, "Okay let's head back downstairs."
"Sounds good," I reply. We get up and I fix up my hair to make sure I look presentable.
"Maybe I should quickly call my mum to check up on her," Sky says.
"Good idea, I can go downstairs first to give you some privacy?" I say.
"Thanks, Michie," he says, and I smile softly.
I hear screeching before I even hit the bottom of the stairs and brace myself for what's ahead. Turning into the living area, I see Sky's siblings playing on the switch. They seem to be getting increasingly frustrated, however.
"You can't do that!" Jamie screeches at his sister.
"Yes, you're just too slow," Paige replies, indignantly.
"No fair!" he says, sticking his bottom lip out.
"Okay, okay," Jay says, "I think it's time for a time out."
"No!" they both yell in unison, and Jay and Jamie-the-girl exchange glances.
"Guys," I step in, "If you can't play nice, you'll have to stop playing for a bit."
"Michie, Jamie was just being a baby!" Paige tries to explain and that's when Jamie hits his sister angrily.
"Jamie!" I exclaim, "Okay that's it. We're doing something else now."
"Sorry guys," Jay says, taking away the device. Both the kids sink into the sofa, crossing their arms.
"I have an idea of what to do now," Jamie says, "If you want to play another game."
"Yeah?" Paige says, already forgetting about the switch.
"Okay, let's listen to Jamie," I say and then clarify, "Girl Jamie."
"I really think we're going to have to come up with different names for the two Jamie's," Jay says.
"It is confusing- it's not even like we can call one of you 'J' because, well, that's Jay's name," I reply.
Jamie-the-girl sighs and says, "Okay fine, you can call me by my middle name- Harper."
"Harper," Jay tests, "That works."
"Okay Harper," I say, and she scowls, "What's your idea for a game?"
"Well we're going to need Sky for this to work fairly," she says, and Sky appears in the doorway, "Speak of the Devil."
"At your service, Harper," he says, with a charming grin, and she rolls her eyes, but I can tell she is relieved he is in a better mood now.
"This is called Treasure Island," she says.
"Sounds promising," Jay says.
"Basically, we split into two teams- my suggestion is girls vs boys- and one teams tries to protect the loot," she explains, raising my stuffed unicorn toy, "and the other tries to steal it. After the timer for 15 minutes sounds, the team with the loot wins."
Jamie-Harper explains the rest of the rules, which are fairly simple for all of us to understand and follow. We decide that the boys should start off protecting the unicorn, while us girls need to steal it. We wait upstairs while Jay, Sky and Jamie find a good hiding place for it.
"So, what's the game plan?" I ask.
"What do you think?" Jamie-Harper asks Paige, and I smile. It means a lot that Sky's siblings can spend time with our friends, and the fact Jamie-Harper tries to include them warms my heart especially.
"Split up and look for the Peggy?" she suggests.
"Good idea!" Jamie-Harper exclaims at the same time I say, "Peggy?"
"Yeah I named the unicorn!"
"I love it," I say.
"Remember they'll probably also split up with each of them trying to distract each of us," Jamie-Harper warns us.
"This sounds so serious," I laugh but Jamie-Harper whips around.
"It is! We need to crush them!" she says, fiercely.
"Sorry, sorry," I apologise, widening my eyes, and hiding my smile.
"Ten, nine, eight…" Jamie-Harper calls out, startling me.
She reaches one then jumps up and says, "Let's go, team!"
"Aye aye Captain!" Paige says and we all run down the stairs, ready to find that unicorn.
Paige heads to the living room, Jamie-Harper to the kitchen and I run towards to the formal lounge area (where we pretty much never go). As expected, Jamie runs after Paige and Jay follows Jamie-Harper, leaving Sky tailing me.
"So… where are you hiding Peggy?" I ask Sky, hands on my hips.
"Paige named the unicorn."
Sky smirks and leans against the sofa, "That's for me to know and you to... Well you won't find out."
"Am I warm or cold?" I ask and Sky's smirk increases if that's possible.
"You're in the Arctic, sweetheart," he says.
I can't help the way my heart skips a beat with his term of endearment but appear unaffected as I reply, "You're bluffing."
"If that's what you want to think," he says, shrugging.
I methodically check under all the pillows, in each of the cabinets, under the fancy couches and all the places that look big enough to house a sparkly pink unicorn.
"Guess you're out of luck," Sky says, tapping his wrist, "There's only three minutes left."
"Paige! Harper! Any luck?" I call out, ignoring Sky.
"Not here!" Paige replies.
"Me neither," Jamie-Harper yells, clearly frustrated.
"Hmm," I say, and try to look under each couch cushion again. As I lean on the floor to check under the cabinet, I notice some subtle pink sparkles, and I follow the trail.
"Might as well give up now, Michie," Sky says, "Only forty-five seconds on the clock now."
"You're right," I say, getting up.
"Oh?" Sky says, cocking an eyebrow.
"Whatever, it's just a stupid game anyway," I say, sighing, and slip my arms around Sky's waist. I push him back so he's resting against the cabinet. Looking up into his eyes, I bite my lip suggestively and he drops his game face, leaning in towards me. As his lips press against mine, the timer sounds. The boys yell victory, running into the lounge room, while the girls follow suit.
"How do you girls feel being losers?" Jay asks, and I hear him high-5 Jamie. Sky and I pull away, his grin huge, but it falters when he sees my smirk.
"Wouldn't be so sure, boys," I say.
"No…" Sky says softly. Unlooping my arms from Sky's waist, I pull Peggy (who was squished into the cabinet vase) with me. Everyone stares for a moment before Paige and Jamie-Harper squeal with delight and run to me, throwing their arms around me.
"Yes Michie!" Jamie-Harper exclaims.
"We won!" Paige continues to squeal.
"What the heck, man," Jay says, mock angrily at Sky, who is in shock.
"Yeah what the heck," Jamie replies, glaring at his older brother.
"It's not my fault- she tricked me!" Sky exclaims and the boys' patter with him with fake punches, "How did you even find it?"
I shrug and wink, "That's for me to know and you to… Well you won't find out."
Sky looks both amused and surprised at my response.
"Oh Michie, I love you," Jamie-Harper says and leans her head against my shoulder happily.
"Love you too, Jamie," I say, grinning.
"Ugh, I'm ready to eat," Jay says, rolling his eyes, "What's for dinner?"
"Pizza?" Paige suggests and we all agree.
A few hours later, we are all sprawled around the living room. Content from consuming several slices of pizza each and watching both Frozen and Frozen II, we had all nodded off somehow. I wake up around a quarter to midnight and realise I should probably text Jenny.
Hi Jenny, are you doing okay? Also, I am so sorry! After pizza, we all knocked out in front of the TV. Is it okay if Sky drives everyone home tomorrow morning?
Thanks for letting me know, Michie. My friend Sandy is staying with me tonight, so I am ok. Have a good night.
Jenny's reply is surprisingly quick and makes me smile, especially all the smiley emoji's at the end.
I climb off the sofa slowly, careful not to wake anyone, and head to the bathroom. I give my teeth a quick brush and collect a pile of blankets. Draping them over each person, I make sure they all look comfortable and warm. When I am satisfied, I lie back down on the sofa.
"Michie?" Sky says, bleary-eyed. He reminds me of his little brother when he has just woken up from a nap.
"Shh, go back to sleep," I say, and he smiles sleepily. I lean over to turn the lamp off, letting the room become dark.
"Mmm okay," he says, and pulls me against him so he is spooning me. My heart fills with so much love seeing almost everyone I love together in one room, sleeping so peacefully after quite the eventful day. Sky's father may be terrible, but his kids sure are something special and I want to help preserve that in any way possible.
I smile with Sky's arm draped over me, as I drift off to sleep.
It's been a shocking FOUR years since I last updated this, but I thought that, since it was Opposites Attract's NINTH birthday last week, we should celebrate with a new chapter.
Thank you for anybody and everybody that stuck with this story (and my erratic posting schedule) during that time. Especially those who sent messages and wrote reviews to pressure me to update. I still plan to finish writing this and what better time to restart than during self-isolation?
One day I'd like to do a full overhaul and pretty much completely rewrite this story because I cannot stand rereading most of it as it currently is. I started writing OA when I was barely a teenager and now, I'm in my 20s and have actually experienced love, heartbreak and been through the stages of life Michie and Sky are still going through.
I'll be glad to get even a few reviews so please say hi, let me know what you think, and what you want to happen next!
Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy- love you all :)