Family Day

“Now, Mel, I don’t want you to make any trouble for Matt.”

“Why would I do that, Aunt Kira?”

“Gina is going to be there too so I don’t want you making any trouble.”

“Why does she have to be there too?”

“It’s Family Day and like it or not, she’s family too. And it would look bad if we invited Matt and not her.”

“So, the five of us are going to Nathan Phillips Square?”

“Six. Little Cameron is coming along too.”

“Oh. And after we’re done with Nathan Phillips Square, what do we do next?”

“Well, we’ll go somewhere and have something to eat.”

“Okay. Let’s go.”

“Now, Mel, I want you to promise me that you won’t cause any trouble for Matt and Gina.”

Mel sighed as she tucked one side of her black tee shirt in her jeans and then zipped up her two black jackets. “I promise.”

Kira followed her down the stairs and out of the back of the building to where Joel was parked. Melania removed her knapsack and got into the back of the car. “Hello, Uncle Joel,” she said leaning over to kiss him on the cheek.

He smiled. “Hello, Mel. I’m glad you’re coming with us.”

“You know how much I like hanging out with you, Aunt Kira, Matt and Cam.” She leaned back in her seat and put on her seatbelt.

He and Kira exchanged glances. “Gina’s going to be there too,” he said.

“Yes, I know. Aunt Kira warned me.”

“Remember you promised me that you won’t cause any trouble.”

“Don’t worry, Aunt Kira. I will be on my best behavior.”

“When you see Matt, please don’t hug him.”

“Aunt Kira, how come you get to hug him but I don’t.”

“I don’t have a crush on him.”

“It isn’t a crush.”

“All right. I’m not the one who’s infatuated with him.”

“Uncle Joel, do you hug Gina?”

“Yes, I do.”

“And does Uncle Matt get upset?”

“Why would he?”

“No reason. So, if you can hug Gina I don’t see why I can’t hug Matt.”

Kira looked around her seat at Mel. “Okay. If he makes a move to hug you, that’s fine but otherwise, you’re not to hug him.”

“All right,” Mel replied.

A half-hour later, they were at Nathan Philips Square. Matt, Gina and Cameron were already there. The two brothers hugged. Kira and Gina hugged although not as warmly as the two men. Gina and Melania exchanged frosty greetings.

Melania smiled at Cam who gazed shyly up at her. “Hey, little guy,” she said. “Can you give me a high five?” He did and she laughed.

Matt turned to face her. “Hello, Mel,”

“Hello, Matt.” He looked so good in the brown leather jacket with the fur trimmed collar and cuffs and the black turtleneck sweater and faded jeans.

He reached out and hugged her, making sure that their bodies didn’t touch. “I hope you brought your skates.”

“I did. They’re in my knapsack.”

He smiled. “I’ve never come here for Family Day. It’s nice to see so many families out and about.”

“Yes, it is. So, are you ready to hit the ice?”

“Sure. Let’s go over one of those benches and put our skates on.”

Gina watched them go. If she wasn’t pregnant she would have brought her skates too. She hated the idea of them skating together. She turned to Joel. “Are you going to skate too?”

He shook his head. “No. I want to hang out with my little nephew instead. Hey, Buddy, do you want to go for a walk?” Cameron nodded.

Kira said to Gina, “You can go with them if you like and I can stay here.”

Gina considered her suggestion. She was tempted to say yes but that would be admitting that she had a problem with Matt being alone with Melania. She couldn’t let them know that she was insecure. “No. The four of us can go for a walk. We’ll meet Matt and Melania here.”

“We can go over there and tell them,” Joel suggested.

Matt and Melania had just finished putting on their skates when the four of them approached them. Gina said to Matt, “the four of us are going for a walk.”

“We’ll meet you back here in about half-hour,” Joel said.

“All right,” Matt said, standing up. As she passed him, Gina gave him a reproving look. Grimacing, he turned to face Melania. “Ready?”

“Yes.” She stood up and off they went to skate. It was a very pleasant evening. It felt good to be outdoors, doing something they both enjoyed. She learned how to skate since she was five And he learned when he was four. Joel knew how to skate but he wasn’t too keen about it. He preferred jogging or cycling. He was more into summer sports than winter sports.

They skated over to the Toronto sign and he asked Mel, “Would you like me to take a picture of you?”

“Sure,” she said. She gave him her cell phone and then she stood in front of the sign. He took a couple photos and then handed her cell back to her.

“Would you like me to take your picture.”

He hesitated. Then, a man stopped and asked, “Would you like me to take a photo of the two of you?”

“Yes,” Melania said before Matt could say anything and she gave the man her cell. She beckoned Matt to stand next to her.

“Move in a little closer,” the man said.

Melania and Matt moved closer to each other so that they were touching. The man took the photo. “Thanks,” Melania said to him when he gave her back her cell.

“You’re welcome.” He skated away.

Melania showed Matt the photo. “It’s nice, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” He had been tempted to put his arm around her shoulders but had thought better of it.

Melania put her cell away. She had wanted to put her arm around his waist but she had made a promise to her aunt. No physical contact. “Let’s go for a couple more spins and then we’ll call it a night.”

“All right.”

Half-hour later, they were joined by Joel, Gina, Kira and Cameron. “Well, I’m sure we’re all ready to have something to eat,” Joel said. “We can go to one of the restaurant near here or we can go to the food court in Eaton Center.”

“I think we should go to Eaton’s where we can each buy the kind of food we want,” Kira suggested.

“That’s a good idea,” Matt said. “We can get something for Cam from McDonald’s.”

“And I can get something from Jimmy the Greek,” Gina said.

“And I’m in the mood for New York Fries,” Melania said.

Matt smiled. “Me too. I heard that they have a new type of fries.”

“Okay, let’s go to Eaton Center,” Joel said. “And when we get there, Matt will take Cam to get his happy meal while Gina, Kira and I go to Jimmy the Greek. Mel, you can go and get the fries for Matt and you from New York Fries. And then, we will find two adjoining tables in the food court where we can sit and eat.”

Everyone agreed with his plan and dispersed once they got to Eaton Center. They found a nice spot in the food court and sat down. Joel sat beside Matt and Gina sat beside Cam who was busy enjoying his chicken nuggets. Mel sat opposite to Matt and Kira sat opposite to Joel. The conversation flowed. Gina didn’t say much but kept an eye on Matt and Melania.

“How are your fries?” Kira asked Melania.

“They are so good.”

“They look good,” Joel remarked although he didn’t eat cheese. “What kind are they?”

“They’re Nacho fries. They’re hot, crispy and topped with cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream and green onions.”

“I’m glad I decided to have them too,” Matt said, looking at her.

Gina saw the exchange of glances and seethed. As soon as they were all finished eating, she said, “Well, it’s getting late and we all have to go to work tomorrow.” While everyone took up their trays, she put on Cam’s coat, hat and mittens. When they were all ready, they left the food court and returned to where they met earlier.

“Well, thanks for a fun evening,” Matt said to Joel after they hugged.

“Yes. We must do it again soon,” Joel said. He hugged Gina and Cam who looked drowsy. “‘Bye, little guy.”

Kira kissed Cam on his cheek and hugged Gina. “Goodnight, Gina.”

“Good night, Kira.”

Melania turned to Matt. “Well, it was nice hanging out with you again,” she said smiling up at him.

“Ditto. Have a good night and week.”

“Thanks, you too.” They hugged. He smelled so good. They parted when Gina and Cam joined them.

“Goodnight, Gina.”

“Goodnight, Melania,” was the clipped response.

Melania bent down and hugged Cam. “Goodnight, little buddy.” She stood up and waved at them before turning and walking briskly away.

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Matt watched her go, a tense expression on his face.

“Let’s go,” Gina said. “It’s way past Cameron’s bedtime.”

Matt turned to face her. “All right.” He reached down and picked Cam up. The little boy rested his head on his father’s shoulder and closed his eyes.

When they were inside the car and on their way home, Gina said, “I hope that for the next Family Day, it will be just be you, me, Cam, the baby, Kira and Joel and our parents.”

“What about Mel? She’s family too.”

“She isn’t my family and I don’t like having her around.”

“What do you have against her?”

“You really are blind, aren’t you? Can’t you see that she’s infatuated with you?”

“Mel? Infatuated with me?” He couldn’t believe it. “No. You’re mistaken.”

“I saw the way she was looking at you, Matt. I’m sure Joel and Kira noticed too. She isn’t very subtle. And you encourage her.”

“How do I do that?”

“You practically spent the whole evening with her.”

“We went skating for half-hour. How is that spending the whole evening together?”

“If Cam and I weren’t there, the two of you would have skated a lot longer. I think you enjoy being with her more than you do with me.”

Matt’s expression darkened. “Don’t play the jealous wife with me, Gina. If you really wanted to spend more time with me, you would have made the effort to do so. Now, I don’t want to fight with you. I had a very good time today. Let’s not spoil it.” He reached over and turned on the radio. Classical music filled the car.

Gina stared out of the window, fuming. For the rest of the drive home they didn’t say anything to each other.

Source: Toronto;

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