We once again find ourselves outside of the Fischer residence. I feel as though our roles, however, have completely reversed as she is somehow serene and I am about to jump out of my own skin, I’m so nervous.
“How do you do it?”
“Do what?” she asks as she turns off the car and gathers her keys and phone to throw into her purse.
“How are you so calm about all of this?”
I watch her remove her engagement ring. She takes off her necklace and adds the ring to it and then tucks it inside her shirt. Now I’m even more confused.
Her eyes meet mine, she frowns. “Look, I just want to wait for the right time to break the news about the engagement. My mom and dad can be very observant and if they see the ring…”
“Isn’t it better that way? It would give us an automatic opening to talk about it, wouldn’t it? Instead of waiting around, wondering?”
“I just want to handle things one step at a time.”
“So what do you believe is our first step?”
“Getting into the house.”
She has the nerve to smirk at me.
“Ha-ha, very funny. You know what I mean.”
“I do and because of that I’m going to let you in on a little secret.” I don’t know if she is taking pity on me or if she has been holding out on me but she definitely has me curious.
“Oh, really? And that would be…?”
“Dillion has already talked with my mom. She knows you’re not gay and she’s quite happy that we are in a relationship together.”
This took me by complete surprise. “When did you find this out?”
“When she did her standard “When are you coming call?” this morning. She asked if you are coming. I told her you were. She said not to worry that Dillion told her everything and she couldn’t be more thrilled.”
“So, she knows about the engagement?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but I if what Cat was saying is true the battle is more than ½ over before we even step into the door.
“Well… no… not about the engagement, just about us … and you not being gay.”
My head hurt. I shook it in confusion. “Wait, didn’t you just say Dillion told her everything?”
“He did…well…everything that Dillion knows about.”
I pull back not certain what meaning to take of what she just revealed. “Are you saying that you told your brother that I’m not gay, that we are a couple but you …” I lean in towards her and am staring her down, “never told him about my asking you to marry me?”
Her eyes dart away for a moment. “Look it’s not what you think.”
I lean back and fold my arms over my chest. Oh, I’m going to love hearing what she thinks I’m thinking. “And what is that?”
“I didn’t leave the information out on purpose. I’m not trying to hide the fact that we are engaged from anyone. It’s just that the last time I had spoken to my brother about you was before we got engaged.”
“Have you told anyone… you know besides William?” I didn’t want to sound hurt but when I saw her flinch I knew I wasn’t very successful. I did hurt. I don’t know why exactly, maybe because if I had someone other than William to tell, I would be spreading the news everywhere to everyone, but I don’t. Yet I know she does and she hasn’t and I can’t help but wonder, why?
“Olivia knows,” she offers tentatively.
“Yeah, okay,” I say and unfasten my seatbelt to get out of the car, but she puts her hand on my arm and it causes me to pause. I look at her.
“I’m trying to handle things in small bites. Does that make sense? First friends who I know would be very supportive of the idea. Now family… who some may be happy but the jury is still out? It has nothing to do with how I feel about you.”
“Do you?” she challenges and I’m guessing she can read me like the open book I am.
My doubt must be clearly visible to her. I don’t want to feel this insecure about us, but we came together under some unusual circumstances, to say the least, and she was going through a lot, which everyone including her brother kept warning me about. Part of me, can’t help but wonder as her life settles if she won’t regret her decision and feel as though she settled for me.
She grabs my face in her palms. They feel so warm against my cheeks.
“Alex, I love you.” She stares into my eyes trying to reassure me with her words. “I thank God every day that He decided you should be a part of my life. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you but I’m so grateful for you, for your love, for your concern for me and Peanut.”
Her eyes shimmer with unshed tears. “Please don’t doubt me. Don’t doubt that I love you. I love you so much it hurts sometimes. I know that may seem like a strange thing to say…”
“No,” I interrupt her. “No, it’s not strange. It’s exactly how I feel about you.”
She smiles slightly and I reach out and pull her face towards mine and we kiss. I taste a tear that must have escaped her lashes when she closed her eyes. I swipe it away.
There’s a knock on the window. I pull away to see Dillion bent over his face looking into my window. He says, muffled, as the window can’t be lowered since Cat already took out the key, “You think you can stop manhandling my sister long enough to get your butts in the house? Mom is kind of going crazy waiting in there for you two.”