This is the scene my sisters and I walked in on. That’s our brother Hibiscus and his boyfriend, Nautilus.
Hibi and Naut have this amazing, almost fairy tale-esque romance and it’s clear to anyone around them that they are truly and deeply in love. Calla Lily thinks PDAs are gross and constantly complains about finding Hibi and Nauti kissing. Soph-short for Sophornitella-thinks they’re really cute together and says Calla is immature. And me? Well I think it’s beautiful and romantic. When I look at them together I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever find someone like that, someone who loves me the way they love each other.
I’m Lehua Blossom Bali.
I think a lot of people assume that kids just get lost in the shuffle in such a big family but that couldn’t be further from the truth with us. Mom and Dad are always there for us and we’re there for each other. Sure, we have our disagreements but we’re really close. And when I get sick of hanging around with my brothers and sisters, I can just go hang with the Spectrums, The Seastriders or even Grandpa Spencer because they all live in the same Bridgeport Suburb that we do. This was just one of the rare days that everyone else was busy and it was just Calla, Soph and I left to our own devices. At 13, when everyone else was busy that left us with limited options which was how we ended up in the family room, hoping to play some Princess of Simlandia.
Soph, ever oblivious to concepts such as ‘personal space’ just plopped down in the bean bag chair and picked up the controller to start the game, completely ignoring the fact that Hibi and Nauti were clearly looking for some alone time. Well, at least it would seem that way judging by the way they were kissing like no one else in the world existed. Call me a sap but I think it’s so romantic. Feeling awkward, I hesitated and glanced apologetically at Hibi as he and Nauti stopped kissing and he winked at me. I smiled and plopped down next to Calla who was already playing. That’s just one of the things I love about my big brother. I know he’d love to be alone with Nautilus but he never makes us feel unwanted. We hadn’t been there long before they left anyhow, saying they needed to talk to Dad.
The three of us wiled away the rest of the day playing video games and later a couple board games with Mom and Dad. Mom said it helped Dad keep his mind off of the fact that Hibi and Nauti were out alone. Poor Dad-he lost badly because he was so distracted. Mom says he’s just having trouble coming to terms with his oldest baby being in such a serious relationship. I knew he was still up when Hibi and Nauti pulled in the drive at midnight because I was still up, too, curled up on the couch upstairs, reading. A few minutes later, Hibi came up the steps followed closely by Dad. I knew Nauti was settling in downstairs, in the office Mom and Dad had converted to a bedroom for him when he came here.
It was impossible to miss the wide smile on Hibi’s face and he winked at me again as Dad kissed me goodnight.
“Don’t stay up too late, Princess.”
“I won’t, Dad.”
Dad turned towards Hibi, who was still grinning from ear to ear. “Night Hibi. Sleep well, son.” Dad gave Hib a hug and kissed the top of his head. Hib gave Dad a squeeze before beaming up at him. “Thanks, Dad. Love you.” I knew he wasn’t just thanking Dad for the goodnight wishes and Dad knew it too. He turned to go, not making eye contact with either of us. “I love you too, Hibiscus. Night kids.”
Once Dad was in his room, Hibi came over, moving my feet so he could sit down. I smiled at how obviously happy he was and settled in with my feet tucked under his leg.
“What’re you doing up so late?”
I shrugged. “Just couldn’t sleep. How was your date?”
The grin was back the instant I asked the question and his whole face lit up. “It was really good.”
“Hibi, are you in love?”
“Yeah. I am.”
“What’s it like?”
He looked at me, slightly amused. “That’s a hard question to answer, Hua.”
“Don’t call me Hua. And I really want to know.”
“Well…I’m not sure how to put it in words…it’s just this…amazing sense that this person is meant to be with you and you with them, that you’d do anything in the world for them and they’d do the same for you. No matter how good things were before him, it’s nothing compared to how things are with him. ”
“Wow. That’s so romantic.”
He laughed. “I guess it is, isn’t it? Being in love is good, Blossom. I can tell you that much.”
“I wish I knew what it felt like.”
“Aw, c’mon. You’re only thirteen. You have plenty of time to get to that.”
I nodded. “I know but…I hope…I hope someday I have what you two have.”
Hibi smiled and reached for my hand, giving it a squeeze. “I hope you do, too, Sis. I’m sure you will. I just hope I don’t have to kick too many guys’ butts before you find the right one.”
I giggled and squeezed his hand back as we fell quiet for a moment. Hibi let his head fall back on the couch and closed his eyes, smiling, no doubt thinking of Nautilus. “Hibi?”
“What was it like for you, when you met Nauti? How did you fall in love?”
“Kind of a long story.”
“What you have somewhere to be?”
He laughed again. “I guess not.”
“Will you tell me?”
HIbi hesitated for a moment before he looked up and smiled at me. “Sure.”