The Parkers’ Kitchen

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“Tim?” The question flew out of Alex’s mouth.
“Yes, my parents named me, Timothy, for some odd reason” Aunt Tim shrugged. They entered a spacious living room. Alex had little time to appreciate their interior. Aunt Tim quickly led her down the hall.
“Aunt Tim. I like it” Alex commented. She really did like it. It had a ring to it. Alex made sure not to lose sight of her. She did spot a mini bar along the way.
“I’m glad you do” Aunt Tim smiled to herself. A childhood with that name didn’t go well among her fellow females. She felt glad someone at that age—even if it’s a different generation—appreciated it.
They passed through a slightly narrow doorway.
Aunt Tim left her bags on the counter and headed for the fridge, “Now, here’s the kitchen. Do you need any help?”
“I’ll be okay. I haven’t burned anything yet” Alex humored her, walking around the island counter. She placed down her things next to Aunt Tim’s.
“Make yourself at home” Aunt Tim replied, setting down a glass of orange juice on the counter for Alex, “You must be exhausted. Please drink.”
“Thank you” Alex gladly took the offer and drank half of the juice, saving the rest for later. Aunt Tim put the pitcher back in the fridge after pouring herself a glass.
She grabbed her things in one hand, taking her orange juice with her.
“I’ll be in the living room if you need me. Don’t be shy to ask. Us, girls, have to stick together” she winked.
Alex chuckled, “Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind.”
With that, Aunt Tim left her alone.
Alex easily found her way around the kitchen. She spotted a few maids pass by and smiled politely. They would smile back before they resume their jobs. That simple exchange showed her something about Logan’s family. Their staff respected them. That meant the house maintained a good environment. Something she wondered after finding out Logan and Jae’s dispute.
Maybe she could ask them later…
On the other hand, Alex didn’t mean to startle Aunt Tim. Logan hadn’t mentioned his almost stepmom before. Remembering the time she found out his mother was gone, she could tell he really loved her a lot—missed her just as much, too.
Alex sighed, looking over where Aunt Tim disappeared. She really loved the twins. She may not be their mother but it was nice to have someone who loved them almost as much. It was a blessing.
Hopefully, things were going well.
The kitchen smelled like garlic as Alex began to cook. The vegetables were all chopped. The macaroni was done boiling and was set aside.
Everything else was opened and measured rightly
As Alex sprinkled the finishing touches, Aunt Tim walked into the kitchen, “It smells good in here. Can I have some?”
“Of course” Alex grabbed a bowl and served a scoop from the ladle. Aunt Tim already had a spoon in hand by the time she set it down in front of her.
Aunt Tim blew on the spoon a little and took a sip.
Alex suddenly felt nervous. It would be bad if she served unsavory soup to Logan. She was there to help, not make it worse.
“Mm, it’s delicious” Aunt Tim moaned, taking another sip. Relief washed down Alex’s fears, “You’ll make a great wife someday.”
“Thank you. I—wait, wife?” She didn’t hear that wrong, right? Her lips paled and her hand trembled, entering panic mode.
Aunt Tim stared at Alex, confused. When she spoke, her voice came out slow and steady, “Yes… you do plan on getting married someday, right? Because I want to be invited.”
“No, that’s not it” Alex shook her head, “What makes you think I’m a girl?”
Aunt Tim blinked in surprise, “You are, aren’t you? You can wear those loose pants, that oversize shirt and that baggy jacket but you’re still a girl to me.”
The tremors crawled on Alex’s skin until they covered every last inch. She just got out of trouble with Aunt Lilly. The universe had to be merciless. Did it want her to go back home? Was that it? All of these exposures couldn’t be coincidence, right?
“How—how—please don’t tell anyone, Aunt Tim. No one knows I’m a girl. They believe I’m a guy and I want to keep it that way. It’s a long story but please don’t tell anyone—especially not Jae.”
“Jae? But—”
“Tim? Are you home?” A new voice joined them.
If Alex had any blood left in her body, they had disappeared now. The voice sounded familiar, one she knew well who it belonged to.
She mentally cursed herself for agreeing to her mother’s bizzare request. She should have thought of the consequences better and used it in their discussion. What did she really expect? Find Logan alone in the house? That assumption sure did her some good.
Why was it the best argumentative statements appear after the talk was over?
“I’m in the kitchen, dear” Aunt Tim shouted over her shoulder, still eating the soup. She made herself comfortable on a stool and kept eating.
Alex could hear faint footsteps coming closer. She spun around and turned off the stove. She made sure her back kept facing the entryway.
“It smells good in here” Mr. Parker said as soon as he stepped in the kitchen, kissing Tim on the cheek.
“Alex is a great cook” Aunt Tim pointed the spoon at the statue standing by big pot of soup.
Mr. Parker snapped his eyes towards their visitor, eyebrows raised.
Alex’s back became rigid. She focused on her breathing. She needed to calm down. It wasn’t like it was against the law to visit her school principal’s house.
It did raise a lot of questions though. Good thing my parents knew that Logan was aware of her identity.
She could smooth this all out. No biggie.
“Alex?” Mr. Parker asked. The last time he saw her, she had been exchanging love vows with his son. An image he’d rather not think about.
What did her presence in his house mean? Was this a continuation of the presentation?
“Good afternoon, Mr. Parker ” Alex turned around. She smiled at him politely.
She did use their kitchen. It was the least she could do.
“Uh” he gulped, placing his briefcase down, “How are you?”
Tim snorted at the conversation. She received a glare from her fiance in return. She bowed her head and concentrated on the delicious soup.
The shredded chicken bits felt tender against her tongue. The thick soup itself had a creamy taste with a slight hint of butter. Alex also added vegetables and macaroni pasta, cooked till they were soft enough not to be soggy.
“I’ve been good,” Alex replied. She reached for another bowl to prepare the soup for Logan, “Please excuse me as I take this bowl to Logan. He hasn’t been feeling well.”
“Of course, of course” Steve Parker answered too quickly. Out of the corner of Alex’s eyes, she saw him eyeing Aunt Tim. He looked eager to talk to her, “Make yourself at home.”
“Thank you” Alex left the kitchen for three seconds before she went back to ask something, “Um, where’s Logan’s room?”
Aunt Tim answered for her, “It’s the second one on the left, dear.”
“Thank you again” Alex kept the smile on her face. Hopefully, neither of them could see something off, “I’ll clean up later.”
Aunt Tim shook her head at her while Mr. Parker went to the fridge, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.”
Aunt Tim’s expression became serious, “No buts. Now, go find Logan.”
“Yes, ma’am” Alex nodded and immediately searched for the stairs.
Being in this house, a thought dawned in Alex’s head. 
Although Mr. Parker knew of the arrangement, it felt like an unspoken rule existed about befriending his children.
It may be due to her father and their family’s lifestyle. Not everyone played fair in the upper class and it seemed understandable that Mr. Parker might not want his kids involved in anything that could endanger them.
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