December 2, 2023

πŸ’œ TALES
OF
The
HEART πŸ’œ

🌺 Chapter 15🌺

I take a deep breath, stepping out of the car carefully with a box in my hands.

Looking up at the huge two-story house in front of me, I admire the modern design that still accentuates warmth.

However, this sight before me reminds me again of just how impulsive I am.
I can’t believe that I’m doing this.

Yesterday when Max told me that he loved cookies, I’d made up my mind to send him this gift. Considering that today is a public holiday, I was thinking that it would be a good idea if I bring the gift myself to his house.
So, here I am.

I’ve baked cookies for him, as a thank you gift. This is the least I could do for him, after all that he has done for me.

The baking process was a bit…worrying. I’d baked cookies before, plenty of times. But for this one, I had to ask Mom, Dad and Aiden nonstop about how it tasted before finally making up my mind. That backfired on me, because Dad and Aiden started to doubt whether I was actually baking the cookies for one of my girlfriends.

Duh, like I have one — I just blurted out some random girl’s name.

Mom, however, scrutinized me with a suspicious smile, as if she knew that I was fussing over a gift for a boy.

I forgot to ask Max specifically about what kind of cookies he likes. Would vanilla cookies with chocolate chips be okay? I really, really hope so.

Max sounded pretty excited when I asked him last night about his address.

Oh, God, what if I let him down because the cookies aren’t as good as he thinks?The door opens, making me swallow the nervousness inside my stomach. A tall man with chestnut hair and amber eyes stands in front of me.

Mr. Cooper?

“You must be Luna,” he says, offering a handshake, which I gladly accept.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Cooper,” I say. “I’m here to see Max. Is he at home?”

Shoot . I’m trying so hard not to squeeze my eyes shut from realizing how stupid that must have sounded.

God, Luna. Of course, he is. Why do you have to be so stupid? Clumsy, silly Luna. Always blurting out stupid things when nervous.

Mr. Cooper lets out a laugh, and my face reddens from the embarrassment.

“Come inside. We’ve been waiting for you.” He lets me in and closes the door behind me. “And please call me Vaughn.”

As I step inside, I travel my eyes around the house, which feels so homey even though this is the first time for me to be here. It’s a contemporary styled home with a bit of coastal touch.

Vaughn leads me further to the living room, and that’s when I found a woman coming out from the kitchen. She’s blonde-haired and has a big smile spread across her lips the moment she sees me.

“Hi, Luna.” She approaches me for a hug, and I feel her kindness as she engulfs me in her embrace. “I’m Melanie. It’s so good to have you here.”

When we pull away, my gaze darts on her beautiful emerald green eyes. So, Max has his eyes from his Mom.

“I really adore your mother.” She beams with delight. “I love her songs so much. How is she?”

“She’s doing great.” I smile, feeling so grateful to be welcomed here with such warmth.

Movement from the stairs catches our attention, and I see Max walking down the stairs in a pair of grey joggers, his hair messy.

The fact that he has no shirt on shocks me.

I snap my head toward the other direction so hard that I wonder why I haven’t broken my neck. My cheeks heat up.
There’s no sound from Max, so I guess he didn’t expect that I would have arrived.

“Just woke up, buddy?” Vaughn greets his son. A soft chuckle leaves his lips as he walks casually toward the kitchen with his hands shoved into his P@Ε‹ts pocket.

“It’s early,” Max seems to have blurted that out of the blue, or maybe he’s still not recovered fully from the sleep, because it’s obviously not early anymore.
Melanie sighs. “It’s reaching lunchtime already, Max.”

Max’s voice is still husky when he groans, “I overslept.” And I still don’t dare to look over his shirtless body.

“Who wouldn’t oversleep if one couldn’t sleep the whole night?” Another voice fills the air as a girl emerges from the second story, stepping down the stairs behind Max, yawning. “Someone got too excited for a girl coming over.”

It’s when the girl finally notices me that her mouth drops into an O-shape.

“Oh, Luna’s here.” Her voice is small, like she just realized what she said about her brother in front of me. She slowly turns her head toward Max, but her expression is more amused than guilty. “Oops.”

Max shoots her a glare that can make any dogs or cats cower under it, but she only mutters, “For God’s sake, Max. Put your shirt on.”

That’s what she says before she rushes past him to greet me instead. “I’m Max’s sister, Sienna.”

A big grin creeps on her lips before she suffocates me in a tight hug, making both of us sway.When we pull away, I see the excitement in her hazel eyes. She’s so pretty, with those enchanting eyes and long wavy honey brown hair that almost reaches her waist. She looks a couple of years younger than me.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Luna.”
I return her smile even though my mind is still occupied with what she has just said.

Was max really not able to sleep the whole night because he was too excited that I was coming over?

Sienna’s eyes drop to the box in my hands, and I feel another heat on my face as I say, “Actually, I bring something. I’ve made these myself.”

I know that it’s supposed to be a gift for Max, but I made the cookies so that he can enjoy them with his family.

“Do not open that yet,” Max says with implacable authority while running upstairs to put his goddamn shirt on.

My jaw drops a little before Melanie’s voice snaps me out of my trance, “Come sit here with us, Luna.” She leads me to the couches in the living room, and I follow her before taking a seat next to her.

I hand her the box, and she puts it on the coffee table in front of us. A maid places a cup of tea on the same table for me, and I mouth to her a ‘ thank you’.

Both Melanie and Sienna stare in awe at the pretty brown box with a red ribbon wrapped on it, excitement skating on their faces. They seem to forget what Max said, because none of them say anything when Melanie slowly pulls the ribbon off and opens the box.

Just in time, Max arrives, P@Ε‹ting, already wearing a t-shirt in army green color. Is he The Flash or what? How come he came back here so quickly?

As the box is now fully opened, the three of them stare at what’s inside it.
My cookies.

“It smells so good,” Sienna mumbles, taking a closer look, but before she can do anything, Max grabs one cookie and takes a bite of it.

I watch as he swallows the food, my heart beating like a drum in my chest.

How is it? Is it good? Does he like it?
My attention is shifted to Melanie when she carefully asks, “May I?”

I nod, still feeling anxious and insecure about the cookies. I gulp as Melanie takes one and tries it. She then closes her eyes, MΓ΅@Ι²ing, “This tastes like heaven. I love it.”

Really?

I feel slightly relieved after hearing her comment. Melanie looks indeed satisfied, so I guess that she’s not lying. I watch as Sienna grabs one cookie and shoves it into her mouth.

Sienna’s expression is even more surprising. Her eyes widen as she exclaims, “Damn, this is really good.”

I stare at her in disbelief, while she keeps munching, savoring the taste. She licks her lips after she finishes eating.

“God, I really loved how the chocolate topping melted the moment it’s inside my mouth.”

And before I can say anything about that, she takes one more cookie.

“What’s with the excitement?” Vaughn emerges back in the living room, and his eyebrows shoot up when he sees the cookies. “Luna brought these?”

Vaughn then looks at me, as if asking for permission, and when I nod, he takes one.
I watch as he eats it quickly — he’s the fastest one among them to finish one cookie. He nods in approval.

“This is good. Really good.” With that said, he walks off toward the kitchen again, but before he can take more than three steps, he walks toward us again and grabs one more cookie before heading back to the kitchen.

As Vaughn has just taken his second cookie, only then do I realize that Sienna is finishing her third cookie. When I take a look at the box again, there are only a few cookies left.

Wow . They really devoured them.
I turn my head to look at Max again, but the sight makes me freeze. His nostrils flare, his eyes deadly, his jaw slightly dropping in irritation.

Oh, no. What happened? Does he not like the cookies? Does he hate the taste? I mean, considering the fact that he loves cookies, he must have tasted way better ones.

My heart sinks, my hands suddenly becoming sweaty as I play with them on my lap.

I jerk back as Max leans over the coffee table, grabs the lid of the box and closes it tightly. He shoots up to his feet with the box in his hands and growls, “That’s enough. I’m taking it. Luna and I are going upstairs to do our homework. We’ve got an assignment to finish.”

My jaw drops. Assignment? What assignment? We’ve finished our English report.

I have no time to respond, because Max grabs my hand to lead me to the stairs.

When I glance back at the living room, I see Sienna shrugging and Melanie laughing softly, throwing her head back.

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TBC…

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