I walk through the kitchen and into the living room where the entire family including Cat’s father is seated. He smiles warmly at Cat and she smiles back. I’m amazed at how much has changed between them. His eyes meet mine. His smile disappears into a frown. I pull out a chair for Cat to sit down.
This is going to be a disaster.
Cat’s mom sets a grilled cheese sandwich in front of Cat. “I remembered you can’t have lunchmeat. Honestly, Cat with all the rules they have for pregnancy today I don’t know how you keep it all straight.”
I help myself to a turkey sandwich from the tray in the middle of the table.
“She does have Alex’s help,” Dillion offers. “So Tiger, when do we get to see the ring?”
The sandwich I took a bite of turned to sawdust in my throat and I start coughing.
“Ring? What ring? Did Liam finally come to his senses?” Her father asked and I tried to ignore his hopeful tone.
I take a sip of water to try and dislodge the sandwich. I spare a glance at Cat and I find her glaring at me. I’m in trouble. I, in turn, glare at Dillion.
“What? Oh! Wait, was this a secret?”
That's when I realized, I caused all this, I never told Dillion not to tell anyone that we are engaged.
“Cat?” Cat’s mom sits down, I’m guessing because she knows she’ll need to, in order to prepare for whatever may come next.
“Honey?” Her Dad looks at Cat, confusion, only one of the many emotions playing across his face. “What’s going on?”
Cat took in a deep breath. “Mom, Dad… I’m guessing Dillion already knows but I am… engaged.”
“We figured that much out, Cat from the mention of a ring. It’s, to whom, we are interested in,” her father says and I swear you could almost feel the barometer change to that of an impending storm.
“To me, Sir,” I pipe in but my voice was so shaky I almost sounded like an adolescent teen.
Her father starts to laugh, a roiling laugh that just won’t stop. Every time I think he’s stopped he looks at me and starts up all over again.
“Dad, he’s not joking,” Cat announces annoyed. “It really is him.”
“But he’s gay!” Her dad says pointing at me. “I understand that you may not like the idea of being a single mom but honey the kid won’t stay a kid forever. You’ll be able to date again and when you do you’ll find the right guy. There’s no need to settle for… for… this.”
Geez thanks, I thought.
“Dad, Alex is not gay,” Cat informs him and his smile disappears. He gives her a hard stare, then me, when he turns to his wife she just shakes her head no and so does Dillion.
“So the whole family knows about you two except for me!”
I was surprised to see the hurt on his face. “It was a mistake.” I started to say and he cuts me off immediately.
“Oh yeah, this is a mistake all right!”
“Tom, please! Alex didn’t mean to mislead anyone he didn’t know Cat thought he was gay.”
“YOU thought he was gay?!”
Cat looked embarrassed. “Well… I had a good reason.”
“Are you Bi? Did she see you kissing some guy?”
“No, no. It was nothing like that,” Cat jumped in.
“My Brother, my twin who died, was gay. Cat saw pictures of him in my apartment and not knowing I had an identical twin brother assumed he was me.”
Her father blinks slowly a few times trying to absorb the information that is being imparted. “Okay? When did you find out?”
“Over winter break,” Cat supplied.
“So you’ve been living together. You think he’s gay. While you’re here you find out he’s not gay and in the short time you had after that you thought… Hey, I got a good idea let's get hitched?”
“I love Alex, Dad.”
I take Cat’s hand in my own and give it a squeeze. She doesn’t look at me. This is not how I wanted this to go down but I’m not going to be mousey about it either.
I let go of her hand and stand up to face down her father.
“Look Mr. Fischer I get this is a lot to take in. I love your daughter. We’ve been living together for months now and it’s pretty easy to decipher the good, bad and the ugly about a person in that sort of situation, but the more I got to know Cat...” I look down at her and she looks up at me finally. “The more reasons I found to fall in love with her.” She smiles at me and I’m so grateful.
“Her strength, her intelligence, and I won't insult yours by not mentioning her beauty, enamored me from the beginning, but her compassion for others, for me, is what sent me over the top. It’s been a long time. No, actually, I never considered entering love into the equation of my life.”
“Why not?” Cat’s mom asked her face contorted with worry.
“After my brother’s murder. I just couldn’t. My parents and I are estranged and the only person I have in my life other than Cat and the baby is William, who used to date my brother.”
I look back at Mr. Fischer. “I swear to you, Sir. It was not my intention to mislead or deceive anyone. I love your daughter and I want nothing more than to make her happy.”