“I was over at Genesis’s place,” she said. “Didn’t get home until midnight.”
“Nice,” Leigh said. “So I take it everything was okay with her, then?”
“Yeah,” Angela said. “I mean, no, her grandfather died. But I helped her through it and she’s doing better now.”
“Oh,” Leigh said. “I… guess I’m not so good at giving advice after all. Heh. Sorry.”
“It all worked out in the end,” she said. “We, uh, finally said ‘I love you’.”
“Wow,” Leigh said. “Well done.”
She nudged Angela in the elbow as they stepped into the food court. Angela glanced around for a free table.
“This way,” Leigh said.
She led Angela through the crowd to a table already set up with a chess board. A middle-aged woman with blond hair tied back in a ponytail sat in front of the board.
“Angela, this is my aunt, Judith,” Leigh said.
Angela took a deep breath and looked into Judith’s eyes. The memories came in fragments; a lifetime immersed in chess, from high school clubs to college tournaments to championships across Europe. Punctuating these events were images from Leigh’s childhood and adolescence.
“So you’re the chess prodigy Leigh’s been telling me about?” Judith said.
“Well, not exactly,” Angela said, glancing at Leigh. “I just have this ability….”
“Hey, now, don’t spoil the surprise,” Leigh said. “I’ve been looking forward to this for months.”
Angela rolled her eyes and took a seat opposite Judith. Leigh pulled up a chair between them. The chess board was stainless steel, the pieces shaped like medieval knights.
“I’m sorry about my niece,” Judith said. “She tends to get overly excited, especially when competition is involved.”
“I learned from the best,” Leigh replied.