Maggie had her first radiation treatment next morning. As she walked past her living room, she saw Austin still sleeping like a pig. He was so much cuter when he was younger, she thought.
"How are you feeling?" The nurse asked after her radiation session. She suggested, "Drop by the cafeteria to get some juice or milk, you'll need it."
Doing as she was told, she dropped by the cafeteria. As she reached for the last carton of skim milk, someone called her name from behind. Maggie turned around. A plump woman in her mid-fifties hugged her tightly and gave her a big kiss on her cheeks. Being held so tightly made her feel very dizzy. She would have fallen to the floor if her aunt had not caught her in time. Aunt Sophie asked, "Are you sick? Why are .. You're not pregnant right?" She whispered the last question.
"Haha. No, I just have the flu. It's no big deal, the flu medication makes me sleepy," Maggie lied as the cashier gave her changes back.
"Oh, poor baby! If you need anything, tell me." Yes, yes. Poor me. If she only knew what was really going on. If she only knew. Staring into her aunt's eyes, she was going to tell her the truth. But then, she thought of her parents. Aunt Sophie would surely tell them. She could not do this to them. So, she kept her mouth shut.
After coming up with an excuse to leave, she said her good-byes to her aunt, which were, as usual, followed by more hugs and kisses. Since, she took a day off work today, she went home. As she drove up to her old Victorian house, she saw Austin mowing the lawn. He waved, "You came home early from work."
"I had a day off," Maggie replied casually while inspecting her flower beds. They were freshly watered and the weeds were all pulled out. She commented, "I see that you have been busy today."
Austin beamed. He looked really proud of himself, "Now can I stay?"
"Only if you mow the lawn every week, do my laundries, dishes, cook for yourself, and water the plants twice a day. Also, make me breakfast every morning..." Maggie listed, expecting Austin to deny.
"Sure! Just teach me how to use the washers," Austin responded. Maggie shook her head.
Austin followed her into the house. Maggie's mouth opened in a big O. Everything was cleaned. Her ancient bookshelf made of maple wood shone like glass. The carpet was vacuumed and washed. It has turned from a previous-beige colour to bright white. The windows were free of dust. And one screen door that was ripped before had been fixed. She strolled to her kitchen. It was filled with scent of coconut cream pie- sweet, creamy and just...amazing.
"Did you do this?" Maggie was astonished.
"Of course," Austin stated simply. He continued, "I only did the kitchen and living room. I'll clean the rest later."
"You don't have to do this. I can do it." She protested half-heatedly.
He chuckled, "It's okay. Thanks for letting me stay here."
Maggie ate the entire pie in a matter of five minute. It was that good. Austin joked, "And you said I was the pig."