Tiffin, Ohio near the Sandusky River. It’s a beautiful city all lit up at night and even in the daytime. However driving through Eastern Ohio with your passenger, a very beautiful girl, is pretty boring. And not that beautiful. It’s a lot of grass. There were buildings, but those went away at the same time that the passenger fell asleep, taking away both potential forms of entertainment for Hector. He was happy to be driving back home for the first time in a while. A long while. It was even better since he was going home with the girl that he loved. Well, cared deeply for as far as she knew.
She needed to get away from her job and Hector wanted to go back home. It just so happened that Lily showed interest in going with him. It had been too long since he had seen his mom and he missed her. Hector looked over at her and smiled a little bit before laughing to himself. He looked to the side of the road and saw the rumble strips. He looked over at her and saw that she was still sleeping, so he carefully drove a little closer to the side until he was driving on the bumps, causing the whole car to vibrate, jolting Lily awake.
“You’re an ass…” She mumbled, sighing as she wakes up.
“Oh, sorry. I just started to fall asleep.” He said, faking a yawn. “If only someone had been awake to make sure I didn’t kill us both.”
“Well, you could have said, ‘hey, wake up. I’m driving.’” She rubbed her eyes and sat up, looking around a little bit as she fixed her hair. “Your car smells like hair.”
“Does hair have a smell?” He asked, after a moment.
“I don’t know. I didn’t think so, but it’s the only thing I can think of when I smell your car.” She says with a sigh.
“You could have told me that.”
“I gave you stuff to clean it. And a package of air fresheners.”
“I used them!” He said with a nod. “I just use it and then purposefully get a bunch of hair and rub it all over my car.” There was a long pause.
“No! I didn’t use them.”
“You’re an ass.”
“We assessed that briefly. A minute or two ago.” He said with a yawn.
“You okay? You need to stop?” She asked, placing a hand on his leg. He smiled at her and she smiled back.
“No, no. We’re almost there anyway.” He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “Thank you though.”
The rest of the drive came quickly. They had been driving for days and he was glad that he was close to being settled somewhere. Now it was when he started to realize that he was about to introduce his mom to his girlfriend. From where they were they were only 5 minutes away from Tiffin and he couldn’t wait to see her reaction. He hoped she liked it. It was quiet as they drove through the town, the streetlights just turning on as they drove. Lily didn’t say anything until they were crossing the small bridge over the Sandusky River.
“You were born here?” She asked quietly as she looked out the window. Hector nodded.
“Born and raised.” He looked around, feeling sentimental. “Crashed my bike into that house once.” She giggled and looked over at him.
“Is that how you—“
“Got that scar on my forehead? Yes. It is.” He smiled at her and then turned into his neighborhood. It was a nice little suburb. It was nothing too fancy and it wasn’t the house that he had grown up in. That house was torn down after he and his mom had been evicted. Once he had found some money, he gave it to his mom and little by little she saved up enough to buy a new house. A nicer one, at that. The houses weren’t big, but they were solid and newly built little homes. Hector finally pulled into the driveway for a nice two floor house. It was painted a dark earthen orange color with a white trim. It had a large porch with a swing on it and a short fence going all the way around it. Hector parked and then shut off the car, looking over at Lily.
“This is it.” She said with a smile. Hector nodded and then got out of the car. Slipping his keys in his pocket, he walked toward the back of his station wagon and opened the back, taking his and Lily’s bags. He took them in his hand then wrapped his fingers into hers before the two of them walked up the couple stairs to the porch. Immediately the door swung open. A thin woman with salt and pepper hair, leaning slightly on the salt side, moved forward, hugging Hector around the neck.
“Hello! Hello! Hello!” She said excitedly. Hector smiled and carefully hugged her back, the bags still in his hands.
“Mom. Okay. Mom. You’re gonna push me off the porch.” He said, taking a step back to steady himself.
“Of course. I’m sorry.” She said, pulling away from him. She looked over at Lily and quickly brushed her hair behind her ears. “Hi, you must be Lily. Hector has told me very little about you considering the fact that he never calls me anymore.” Lily looked at Hector in shock.
“You don’t call your own mother?!” She said, swatting his arm. “I can’t believe him. I’m sorry, Ms. Staigus.”
“Oh, you and I are going to get along great.” She replied. “I’m Helena, but you can call me Lena.” The two ladies shook hands and Hector looked between the two of them then cleared his throat.
“Well, now that introductions are out of the way, let’s get settled in and then we can sit and visit.” Hector said, taking the bags inside. The house was a little chilly inside which was typical of Hector’s mother. They walked into a foyer area, with a set of stairs leading up to a small walkway with a door on either side and one in the middle. To the left was a sitting room and to the right was the dining room. Straight through were the kitchen and a clear view out into the backyard. The whole house was warmly decorated and most of all, it looked like a home. Despite the difficulty that Hector and his mom had faced, he never felt like he didn’t have a home. She kept things that always managed to make him feel steady and grounded.
“Your room is the same.” Lena said with a smile. “Except those horrible Batman sheets. I got rid of those.” Hector opened his mouth to protest then looked at Lily and cleared his throat.
“Thanks, mom.” He said before nudging Lily in the butt with her bag. She jumped and blushed a little before swatting his arm again.
“You keep that to yourself.” She said with a giggle. Hector nudged her again toward the stairs.
“Up and to the right.” He said, looking at his door which still has the same decorations he left it with: one sign saying ‘Hector’s Room’ in big letters and the other that reads ‘Danger!’ and has a picture of Mr. T saying, ‘I pity the fool who ignores this warning.’ Hector sighed a little to himself, shaking his head then following Lily up the stairs. Lily stopped in front of the door then looked back at Hector with a smile.
“You’re such a dork.” She said with a giggle.
“I WAS such a dork.” He corrected, walking into his room.
“No, you’re still kind of a dork, sweetheart.” She said, stopping him and kissing him lightly on the lips. She laughed again then walked into his room, turning on the light. It was a large room, but looked smaller due to the dark blue paint on the walls and the queen size bed up against the wall. There was a desk in the corner with a TV on it and in the other corner was a bookshelf that was only half full, but had a stereo on the top. Opposite the bed was a closet with two posters of cars on it and on the left of the bed was a bathroom. The rest of the walls and doors were scarce of decoration, but it was nice either way.
“So, this is the room of the famous Hector Staigus.” Lily said, standing next to the bed. “It needs some personality!” She hopped onto the bed and jumped a few times, laughing at him as he set the bags down. “It needs posters or holes in the walls or pictures or something.” She said with a smile. Hector laughed and stood at the foot of the bed, looking up at her, though the height difference wasn’t that big now that she was up on the bed. She walked to the foot and looked down at him placing her hands on his shoulders.
“I’m glad you’re here.” He said, smiling up at her and placing his hands on her hips. “I think my mom really likes you.”
“Well, why shouldn’t she? I’m really likeable.” She answered before leaning down and kissing him sweetly on the lips. Hector kissed back and ran his fingers up down her legs.
“Alright. Unless you have something to hang up, let’s go downstairs.” He said, kissing her again then lifting her up and setting her on the ground.
“I kind of liked being taller than you.”
“Welcome back to reality, loser.” He said, nudging her hip with his. She punched him in the arm and then hooked her arm around his as they headed back downstairs.