Gregor waited anxiously outside near the car for his sister to come out of the building. He had announced himself and excused himself to wait outside. He wanted leave his sister the time to say her goodbyes. He didn't have to wait very long as the door open to reveal Maxine carrying the bag she came with and followed by the same nun he had met a few days ago. Maxine hugged her brother briefly without saying a word and opened the door to the back seat to let Ann in.Ý
"Wait a minute! What is she doing?" Gregor looked back and force between his sister and the sister sitting in the back of his car.
"She's coming with us."
"Excuse me? Come one Sis, seriously."
"I'm dead serious little brother," she answered sarcastically using the endearing word.
"Maxine, you can't be serious. She is a nun." He quickly turned to Ann embarrassed. "Not that there is anything wrong with that sister, it's just..."
Ann laughed at Gregor's fumbling. The comic of the situation relieving some of the stress she had been subjected to since the rest of the convent found out she had chosen to follow Maxine. Some of the sisters had been very supportive, but some maybe out of spite or jealousy had not been the most pleasant during her last few days.
"Gregor, I asked her to come with me," smiled Maxine, also amused at the situation. "She is coming to help me. She is going to help me stay out of trouble."
Gregor sighted and shrugged his shoulders. "Jerry is not going to like it."
"Since when does Jerry like anything?" spat Maxine, closing Ann's door and taking the passenger seat.
Gregor started the car and maneuvered it through the courtyard and passed the gate. Maxine looked ahead of her, unwilling to take one last glimpse at the place that she was going to bitterly miss. Ann in the contrary of Maxine waved to the barely visible figures of her sisters hiding behind the opaque windows of the convent.
"Hey, we're almost there," said Maxine, nudging Ann awake.
Ann blinked a few times and rubbed her eyes. "I must have dozed off."
"I would say so. You've been asleep for the past 3 hours." Maxine smiled cheerfully. "We should be in Manhattan in about half an hour."
"Are you excited?"
" 'bout what?"
"I guess. I'm a little worried of what I'm going to find. I didn't really leave the place all tidy up and all."
"I had the door fixed and your apartment cleaned. I got ride of..." Gregor paused for a few seconds, he still wasn't sure of what would set his sister off or not. "I got ride of anything that could endanger your recovery," he finished, choosing to stay politically correct about it. He wanted to believe in Maxine, but he had gotten his hopes up so many times, that this time his guards were up.
"Thanks." Maxine squeezed her brother's shoulder with affection and went to back to staring at the road. The truth is that her mind was racing. She was worried about Jerry and his expectations, and she was scared of facing the people she used to hang out with. She caught a glimpse of Ann adjusting her robe and she smiled to herself. The presence of the young nun made her feel safe and reassured her. She didn't exactly know why Ann had such a smoothing effect on her, but she was glad she had found someone she could trust.
True to Maxine's words, half an hour later they pulled in front of Maxine's apartment. Ann stepped out of the car and was taken back by the traffic noise, and the speed at which people were walking, head down with only one mission to get from point A to Z. She looked at the high rise and wondered which floor Maxine's apartment was on. They stepped into a luxurious lobby, filled with velvet rugs and fancy chandeliers. Ann looked at everything in awe. The combination of the obvious luxury added to the fact that she had been living with the bare minimum for many years overwhelmed her. They hoped into the elevator and Gregor pushed number fifteen.
"You leave on the fifteenth floor," exclaimed Ann, speaking for the first time since they had stepped out of the car.
Maxine shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "I like the view."
Gregor pulled his key out and led them out of the elevator down the corridor to the third door on the right. Ann felt out of place, her family had always barely made end meets and was far from living in luxury, but what she saw when she entered the apartment put wonder in her eyes. A large black leather couch stood in the living room, a wide entertainment center lay against the far wall carrying the latest technology in television and Hifi, the walls were filled with expensive colorful paintings. Trophies illustrating Maxineís acting success stood by the dozen on the mantel near the fireplace, and entire shelves of built-in bookcases were filled with exotic ornaments and statues.
"Here you are." Jerry exclaimed as he stepped trough the front door. Maxine recognized him as one of the other person who had brought Maxine to the convent three moths ago.
"Gosh! Jerry, can you at least give me the time to reacquaint myself with my environment before bursting back into my life." She flopped herself on the couch and kicked her shoes off.
Jerry ignored her and kissed her gently on the forehead. "It's good to see you too."
Maxine smiled at him and nodded. Ann observed the dynamic between this tall curly black hair man and the actress and saw something she only occasionally saw in Maxine's face, respect and affection. "Jer, this is my friend Sister Ann. She is here to help me out."
Jerry nodded and extended his hand to Ann. Contrary to Maxine's brother, he didn't express disapproval or betray any negative feelings toward the situation. "Welcome to New York Sister."
"Thank you Mr...?"
"Call me Jerry. All right kids, I've got to get going. I just wanted to see if you all made it sound and safe. Max, I'll be by sometime in the next few days, but I'll call you tomorrow."
" 'kay." She watched him leave and turned to her brother. "Thanks for picking us up. It was a long drive."
Gregor taking the hint, smiled. "All right, I'll be on my way. I'll come by tomorrow morning."
"Great, but do me a favor."
"Not before 10 or I'll kick your ass, and oh, yeah...can you bring us some doughnuts?"
Gregor shook his head and smiled with affection. "After 10 with doughnuts. You got it." He gave a brief hug to his sister, nodded in Ann's direction and left.
Maxine sighed at looked at Ann, who was still standing in the middle of the room near the couch. "Come on, I'll show you to your room."
to chapter XVII
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