“I thought we talked about this?” Dillion says shifting in position so he can give me his full attention. It is only now that I realize I really don’t want it.
“Did you not hear a word I told you during Winter Break?”
“Come on, Dillion! That was months ago. Cat is over Liam and…”
“You really don’t get it, do you?” He’s looking at me like I haven’t a brain cell in my head.
“It’s not about you. It’s not about Liam. It’s about Cat. You come charging in on your white horse rescuing her from this INSANE situation she finds herself in how else is she supposed to feel towards you but in awe, grateful, safe, protected… which can easily translate itself into loved.”
“I do love her. I love that baby. I want us to be a family. How is that a bad thing?” I challenge. I stand up and start to pace. Dillion is supposed to be the easy one to convince that Cat and I getting married is a good idea. If he doesn’t approve what chance do I have of convincing her parents we belong together?”
“She’s not ready.”
Dillion’s words hit me in the face like a physical slap.
“Look, kid. I get that you love her. I don’t doubt she loves you too, but I specifically told you to go slow. You don’t want to become the rebound guy…”
“I AM definitely NOT…”
Dillion holds up his hand to stay my words. “Let me finish.”
It was difficult but I gestured for him to continue, literally biting my own tongue to keep from interrupting him.
“Cat needs time. She’s never been on her own. She’s never…” he pauses searching obviously for the right words, “she’s hasn’t figured out who she is as a person yet, not on her own. She’s always had someone looking out for her, from my Dad to Liam, to you. She’s always been looking out for someone else, my mom, William, this baby, even me. You should have given her time to figure herself out first.”
“I would never stand in her way,” I say lamely.
“I don’t doubt it but you should examine your own thoughts on why you are rushing things.”
“I’m not rushing things! We are engaged but I’m not pressing Cat for a date. I don’t care if we are engaged for 2-3 years before we get married. So long as I’m with her I’m happy.”
Dillion has a sad almost pitying expression on his face. “You got engaged to her to lock her in, to keep her by your side because you’re afraid, Alex. You’re afraid if you didn’t, there could be a chance that you’d lose her and that means you don’t just lose her, but the baby and therefore your chance of a real family.”
He hit me with the truth so dead on it felt like I’d been suckered. My breath whooshed out of my lungs and I felt a little light-headed. He stood up and led me back to the sofa and I was grateful to sit down for a moment.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to come out so…harsh.”
“No.You’re only telling me what I already know is true. I’m not just scared, Dillion. I’m terrified.”
Dillion puts his hand on my shoulder and smiles at me. “I get it. I’ve been there. Man have I walked in those shoes, but there are some things in this life you have to admit you can’t control. It’s like that Serenity Prayer they teach you in AA. I say it to myself every day, ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference’.
Cat told me how you lost your brother. You just said upstairs that you have no family. So I can only assume that either you’ve lost them too, or you’re estranged from them. That’s something else I can relate to, but this… isn’t the way to go about fixing that.”
“If you're asking me to walk away I won’t. I can’t.” I look down. I shake my head. My heart feels betrayed even thinking it let alone saying the words out loud.
“I’m just saying take care with Cat that the decision isn’t taken out of your hands.”
My head shoots up. “You think she’ll walk away from me?”
Dillion presses his lips together. “I can’t say. I don’t know. I just don’t want to see either of you getting hurt. I know first hand how feelings that strong can destroy a person.”
His look is so wretched I can tell the mere thought of what happened still had the power to hurt him, haunt him and I definitely knew a little something about that.
“I was young, stupid and madly in love. It turned out to be a deadly combination for me. The truth of what happened to me is only shared by a few people not even Cat knows the entire truth because it involved someone she knew.”
“I’m sorry you’re right I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, it’s alright, man. Its ancient history now.”
He settles in at the other end of the sofa and I could tell he was trying to decide what if anything to tell me. I knew he made a decision by the nearly imperceptible nod to his head.
“Cat was in her senior year when everything happened. She and I are 4 years apart in age. So when she was to graduate High School I was to graduate from college.”