Book 2 Haruki Arima Duet
Chapter Nine: Max’s Incredible Sundae
It’s Sunday, and we’ve spent much of the day on a hunt for sugary treats. Max has taken us all over the city to find the perfect ingredients to make sundaes together.
Max runs ahead of us as we head into the house. I’m carrying a plain yellow cake with no frosting in a paper bag from the small bakery we just came from. Haru is holding bags from the grocery store. Max has two huge tubes of frozen custard in a white paper bag we got from the creamery down the street. Max places the ice cream cartons on the island counter.
“Okay, we’re almost ready for our ‘chill’ party.” Max gleams.
“You keep calling it that. What exactly are we doing, buddy?” Haru asks.
“We’re going to chill,” Max says proudly.
“I think you’re too young to chill.” Haru furrows his eyebrows.
“No, Dad. Hang out. Like you and Mom just put on some house clothes. Me too. We’ll have some pizza and watch movies, make my incredible sundaes.”
Haru smirks. “You have incredible sundaes?”
“Yeah, I was going to make it a surprise, but you ruined the surprise, Dad.”
“I think it’s going to be awesome.” I smile.
“It is! Okay. I’ll be right back.” Max darts up the stairs.
“This is your fault.” Haru places the plastic bags on the table, eyeing me.
I can’t help but smile.
“We could have been having crazy, nasty, naked sex, all weekend—need I remind you we didn’t have sex last night either—now we’re stuck making sugar-coma cups and watching kiddy movies.”
“Ah, whatever. You love it.”
“I would have loved to…”
“Okay. I’m ready!” Max jumps off the last few stairs.
I cover my mouth to shield my quiet laugh. Haru has turned bright red.
“You should watch your mouth. Imagine the conversation if Max heard what you were about to say,” I whisper to Haru.
Max dances around the kitchen heading over to the island. “Wait.” He stops, hands in the air, mid-move. “I forgot something.” He darts back up the stairs.
I put the ice cream cartons in the freezer. “He’s hyper today.”
“I’m going to be hyper too, all this energy.” Haru kisses me as I close the freezer. Our eyes lock, his sweet stare captivates me. “I’m sorry about being an ass last night.”
“That’s okay, you made up for it. We talked about a lot of stuff. Thanks for letting me in a little more.”
“So, what we talked about? The wedding…”
“Yes, Haru, I’m thinking about a date.”
“Any date is fine with me. Just choose it, and I’ll be there.”
“You’re not going to help me plan it?”
“What? No.” He scoffs. “They have people you pay to do that shit for you. When are we going to have time to try and do it? You’re in school, doing an internship, being a mom, and shit, then there’s all your wifely duties you have to perform for me. You’re not going have time for that shit. And I’m not doing it, so don’t even ask.” He chuckles.
“Fine, I’ll interview some wedding planners.”
“Now, that sounds like a great idea.”
“Pizza time!” Max shouts.
“Pizza sounds delicious. Mostly because I don’t have to cook,” I say.
Haru arches his neck. “I thought you liked cooking.”
“I do. I also like when I don’t have to.”
“Where are we getting it from?” I ask.
“The pizzeria. Can we get that big gigantic one on the window? I bet I can eat half of it,” Max exclaims.
“Or we’ll be eating pizza all next week.” I laugh.
“Huge window pizza it is!” Haru agrees.
I call the pizzeria to place the order for delivery. While I’m on the phone Max and Haru chat.
“Dad, can we watch movies on the floor in the den while we eat?”
“Yeah, we can do that.”
“Can we watch a scary movie later?”
“With the lights off?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m not scared anymore. I’m almost eight!”
“You’re going to be seven this year, buddy.” Haru chuckled.
“I know, and that’s almost eight.” Max grinned.
“Then, I guess so, but only if you’re not scared.”
“I’m not!” He jumps up and down. “Let me go get the pillows set up!” He speeds off down the hall.
“He’s super excited,” I say, end the call to the pizza place.
“Yeah, he was only at my parents’ one day. You’d think we left him there a month.”
“Well, he was there during that break, and he’s consistently been going every weekend since then. He’s probably just happy to have a weekend with us.”
“I think I’m going to go change too—put on something to lounge in and pretend I’m watching scary movies.”
“He’s going to be pretending too. I don’t know why he thinks it’s manly to watch scary movies.”
“I’m pretty sure he’s sleeping with us tonight.”
“Definitely. Which is tragic. I won’t even be able to get any quiet sex or morning sex. Maybe we should go to his room and have sex.”
“Not on his bed,” he says, in his own defense, as if that’s better.
“I can’t … with you.” I leave him in the kitchen and change clothes.
When I head into the den, the pizza has been delivered. Max has sat out the pillows around the coffee table. The pizza is placed in the middle of the table, and the disposable plates, forks, knives, and pizza condiments are next to it. Haru and Max are already sitting.
“Wow, this pizza really is huge!” I exclaim.
“Yeah, let’s try and eat as much as we can!” Max insists. “Oh, wait! We can’t! We have to make the sundaes. You know how I’m going to make it, Mom?”
“We can cut the cake and put it at the bottom, then we put the ice cream in the middle, sprinkle some cookies on top and the graham crackers, then pour a bunch of hot fudge or caramel, or both on top. It’ll be so awesome.”
“It sounds awesome, I can’t wait,” I enthuse with him.
“Let’s dig in,” Haru suggests, scooting forward.
We each get a slice of pizza and start munching on it. It’s the perfect temperature, just warm enough for the cheese to melt. We moan at the deliciousness.
“Wow, this is great.” Max says, as he tries to balance his sliding cheese on the rest of his slice of pizza.
Haru gobbles up six slices before I can even finish one. When he leans in for his seventh piece, I try to hold in my laugh as his eyes dart over to me and his cheeks turn red, but I can’t.
Haru still grabs the pizza and takes a big, cheesy bite, then kisses me with his greasy lips.
I squeeze my eyes tight with a bit smile. “Gross.” I balance my square slice of pizza as Haru pushes me back a little.
“Dad, I dare you to eat ten slices!” Max licks his greasy fingers. Before Haru can answer, Max reaches for another slice of pizza.
“Max! Go wash your hands! You just licked all over them.” I giggle.
“Oh, right.” He smiles, running to the bathroom.
“I’m going to win that bet.” Haru smirks, confidently. We hear the water running from the sink.
The sound quickly disappears. Haru takes another slice of pizza as Max runs back into the den and grabs the piece of pizza he wanted before and sits down on the floor.
“Dad? Did you hear me?”
“I already ate eight slices, Buddy. You sure you want to make that bet?”
“Okay. I bet you can’t eat twenty slices.”
“You’re on!” Haru stuffs the rest of his slice of pizza in his mouth and reaches for another.
“Haru, don’t make yourself sick!” I caution, closing the box before things get out of hand.
He scoffs and turns his lip up playfully, glancing at Max. “She’s such a mom.”
I bat my eyes.
“Aw, a shy smile,” he says, staring back at me.
“Okay, Mom. We’ll eat right.” Max grins and then takes a small bite and chews while trying to smile.
We all laugh and eat a regular amount of pizza. For me, it’s two slices. Max has four and Haru ended up having exactly ten.
After we clean up the den, we head to the kitchen. Max takes a stool out of the pantry and excitedly pulls a tub of ice cream out of the freezer.
“Okay, you guys, go back in the den. I’ll bring you your…” He steps back and dramatically says, “… incredible sundae!”
Haru smirks. “They must be amazing.”
“Nope. They’re incredible,” Max says proudly. “Max’s incredible sundaes.”
“And we can’t sit in on the magic?”
“No way, it’s a secret,” Max says.
“I don’t know about that.”
“Fine.” Haru gives in.
“C’mon, princess.” He gleams at me.
They are so cute; I can only smile and gush to myself about how happy I am.
“I’ll bring you your sundaes.”
“You sure, buddy? You got this? How are you going to cut the cake?” Haru’s facial expression changes. “Sorry, buddy.”
“Well, can you just cut the cake? I don’t need a knife for anything else. I promise I won’t touch them. Just cut the cake in some pieces—you don’t even have to do that. I don’t really need a knife.” Max runs toward the drawers by the fridge. He forcefully opens the silverware drawer and pulls out a spoon. Leaving the drawer open, he runs back to where he was and uses the spoon to scoop a piece of cake. He holds it up in the air. “See. It’s fine. Now go!”
Aw, look at Haru all paranoid and stuff.
“Okay, please be careful. It shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to make them.”
“I’ll be careful.”
“Don’t break anything.”
“Dad!” Max whines.
“Okay, we’re going,” Haru says as we finally leave the kitchen.
Haru glances back as we head to the den. “What do you think he’s doing where he doesn’t want us to see?”
“I don’t think it’s that, Haru.”
We sit next to each other on the couch.
“He just wants to do something on his own for us. Maybe be a mad scientist and create some delicious concoction that we’d never let him.”
He stares at me lovingly. “So, you do think he’s hiding something?”
“No.” I purse my lips awkwardly, trying not to smile too much.
Haru’s affectionate gaze consumes me. “You’re a really good mom.”
“Thanks,” I say, barely parting my lips, keeping my eyes away from Haru.
“Aw, you’re being shy. I must have caught you off guard.”
“You did. I wasn’t expecting that.”
“You are, though,” he says, and I finally look at him. “We’re so lucky to have you.”
His smile is a bit pained and loving. He gulps, and his lips part slowly. “I want to ask you a question before we get married, though.”
“What is it?”
“Would you… I mean, have you ever thought…”
“Haru, what is it? Say it.”
“Do you ever think about having another kid?” Haru asks with a bit of insecurity in his tone.
I can’t keep my eyes away from his anymore. They are too serious and vulnerable; they won’t let go of mine.
Is that a trick question? The air is becoming too thick. I, with a sigh that takes all my breath and puffs out my chest until I exhale, say, “I’ve never really thought about it.”
“I’ve been thinking about it. When I was over at my parents’ house, my mom mentioned it. My dad seemed interested too. He’s not interested in anything, except for cars and food. I think they’re hoping we have a baby.”
“Oh,” I say, lowering my head to stare at the floor. “It’s not like we’re doing anything to prevent us from having one.”
“Um…” Haru sighs, regretfully.
“After I found out about Max, I had a vasectomy.”
I gasp so hard I cough. “S—so, we can never have another baby?”
Haru purses his lips. “I’m going to go to the doctor. I think there’s a good chance it can be reversed.” He says, staring at me with conviction. He cracks his thumb knuckles, which is strange for him to do and turns his eyes away from me. He must be nervous or anxious. “You’ve changed everything. I want to make you happy. I don’t want to disappoint my parents anymore; I don’t want to disappoint Max. If we had a kid, I wouldn’t want to be a big disappointment to him or her either. And I definitely don’t want to disappoint you.”
“But, Haru, that’s not what I’m concerned about. You could never disappoint me and Max, and your parents have been through a lot with you. If we had kids, you’d be a great father to them also. The question is, do you want to have another child?”
Haru thoughtfully stares down at my lap. His answer takes a long while to surface. “If it’s with you, I wouldn’t mind it. I just don’t know if I can handle an infant or two kids.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t mind it either.”
He laughs with a vulnerable look in his eyes. “I never thought I’d consider a second child, but I never wanted a first. I do now, maybe.”
My smile bursts. “We’ll have a baby on purpose.”
The moment is so sweet and eternally romantic. I lean in to kiss him, and he follows suit.
“Okay, here’s your incredible sundaes!” Max shouts, happily holding a bowl in each hand. And the moment is over. We quickly glance his way, shock striking us as we view what’s in the bowl.
“Max? What happened to the cake on the bottom, ice cream in the middle, and the toppings?” Haru asks.
“Yeah, it didn’t work out like that, so I mixed it all together. Pretty cool, huh? It’s like a mountain or volcano with caramel lava flowing through it.”
I take a bowl from his hand. He hands me a spoon out of his pocket. I smile at him and then at Haru. “That was smart.” I take my first taste of the sundae. It looks like a horrible mess, but its is actually delicious. “Max, this is really good?”
“I know! I tasted some. It’s the best!” he says, handing Haru his and a spoon.
Haru digs in. “Yeah, buddy. This is like ice-cream-shop good.”
“Yes! So, we have to have these all the time. Like every Sunday before we go to bed, okay?”
“Okay, it’s a deal,” Haru says.
I nod as I spoon some of my mixture into my mouth.
“Awesome!” Max cheers with his hands in the air. He takes off back into the kitchen as we enjoy our Saturday night dessert.
“He did well.” Haru says, spooning some his ice cream in his mouth. “It looks like a mistake but tastes like heaven.”
“It totally tastes like heaven,” I agree excitedly.
Max returns with a bowl of ice cream similar to ours and sits on the sofa with us. He quickly gobbles up his dessert, almost as quickly as Haru.
“Let’s watch the movie now!” Max insists, putting his bowl on the table, the spoon inside.
“Sounds good.” Haru says, turning on a semi-scary movie.
We chat a bit, forgetting about the movie. Haru steals some of my ice cream and we feed each other messily; Max laughs, trying to get in on the fun. After we’re done with our sundaes, we discard the bowls onto the table and catch glimpses of the movie, but we’re laughing too hard and being too silly to be concerned about it. After a while, Max focuses on the movie, laying down on a pillow on the floor. Haru is still being playful and I can’t help but be giggly as he whispers sweet nothings, silly nothings and naughty somethings in my ear. We act like lovestruck teenagers for a long while until I cover a yawn with my hand, my eyes watering.
“Tired?” Haru asks.
I nod sleepily.
Haru glances down at Max, who is asleep on the floor with an ice cream mustache and sticky hands. He sighs. “No shower for him tonight; he’ll have to get up early and take one.” Haru stands, picking Max up off the floor. Max doesn’t even stir as Haru carries him.
“I’ll get the bowls,” I volunteer, taking our bowls off the table.
As we head toward the kitchen, me to put dishes in the sink and Haru to take Max upstairs, we stop, staring at the kitchen in real and true terror.
“What the hell did he do?” Haru glances down at Max, who is sound asleep.
The kitchen looks like a gingerbread house exploded or maybe a dessert bakery. There are cake crumbs on every surface, crumbled up cookies everywhere, small droplets of caramel in random places, even dripping down the cabinets. Puddles of melted ice cream, bowls and used spoons are everywhere. It’s a nightmare.
I can’t help but laugh.
“I knew we shouldn’t have—”
“I’ll clean it up.” I prepare to do so as I set our bowls on the counter.
“Eh,” Haru objects. “Let’s get it in the morning; you have school.”
“Not tomorrow, but I do have to go to the high school.”
“In the morning?”
“It doesn’t really matter, but mostly I try to do my four hours in the morning.”
“You can switch it around every now and then,” Haru tells me.
“Okay,” I say, not realizing what he’s hinting at.