“Where are we going again?” Olivia asked as Gray’s car zipped along a quiet tree lined road.
“To brunch,” he answered, gripping the steering wheel tighter.
Watching his knuckles turn white, Olivia followed the stress in his hands to his jaw line. “What’s up?” she asked. “You’ve been gripping that steering wheel like it’s a life or death situation.”
Gray took a deep breath and tried to smile. “I lied to you,” he admitted.
Confused, Olivia asked, “You what?”
“We’re not going to a client of mine for brunch,” he confessed. “I’m taking you to meet my family.”
Olivia gasped. “What?”
“I want them to meet you. I want you to meet them.”
Taking a deep breath, she slowly pushed a calming breath through her system and nodded. “What if they hate me?”
“They’re not going to hate you,” Gray answered, letting go of the steering wheel and reaching for her hand. “No one could hate you. You have this uncanny ability to make people fall at your feet and you don’t even know it.”
Olivia nodded, squeezing his hand. “Are you sure you want them to meet me?”
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life,” he answered.
“I think I’m going to hyperventilate. Crack the window.”
Gray pressed the button and let the window roll down. He glanced over at Olivia who leaned her head against the frame of the open window. “You’ll be fine.”
“Shh,” she said and closed her eyes.
Pulling the car over to the side of the road, Gray threw it in park and killed the ignition. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t know if I can do this right now,” she answered without looking at him.
Opening his car door and getting out, Gray walked to the passenger side and opened it. “Get out,” he said and held out his hand.
Olivia slid her hand into his and got out of the car.
Gray closed the door and looked at her. He took a deep breath, knowing how nervous she was feeling. “I’ve never done this before either.”
“Not reassuring me,” Olivia said as she squeezed his hand. “If you’re shaking and nervous, how are you suppose to stop me from shaking and being nervous.”
“By telling you I love you,” he answered, “and hoping that’s enough.”
“Wait, what do you mean when you say you’ve never done this before?”
“Brought someone home,” Gray answered.
“Never?” Olivia asked, slumping against the car.
“I don’t know,” Gray answered, leaning against the car next to her. “I guess I always thought it would have been a waste.”
“You didn’t bring girls home in high school or college?”
Gray shook his head. “No. I never thought it was important until now.”
Putting her head on his shoulder, Olivia took his hand into hers. “You could have told me,” she said. “I mean, I want to make a great first impression on your family, and here I am dressed in jeans.”
“It’s what they’ll be in as well.”
Olivia lifted her head and turned to him. “Are you really sure you want them to meet me?”
Gray nodded, putting his hands on her waist and pulling her closer to him. “Yes, and if Emma doesn’t meet you soon, she may stalk you and just show up at your door one day.”
“Why would she do that?”
“I’ve talked to her about you,” Gray said. “She’s dying to meet the woman who got under my skin.”
Olivia took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay. Let’s do it,” she said, hugging him. She knew at that very moment, her life was about to change forever.
“Don’t worry, they are going to love you.”
“As long as you love me, I’ll be fine.”
Olivia slipped her hand into Gray’s as they walked up the sidewalk to the front porch of the Victorian house. “This house is stunning,” she said as the climbed the porch steps together. “The wrap around porch and rocking chairs. I’m in love.”
“It is great,” Gray agreed. “I use to sit on the corner there and watch the sun go down.”
“I thought you said you moved here because of college?”
“I did. This house was my grandparents and Emma inherited it. She was going to sell it at first, but when she became pregnant with the twins, she decided to move here.” Gray looked away from the corner and at Olivia. “My dad was a northerner and when my mom married him, she moved up north with him. We’d spend our summers here with our grandparents, but when my dad died we spent less and less time here. It wasn’t until Em moved here and I went to college down here that I realized how much I loved this place.”
“And you stuck around.”
Gray nodded. “I couldn’t leave, and now I’m stalling.”
Taking a deep breath, Olivia smiled at him and opened the screen door. “Are you ready for this?”
Gray knocked on the door and said, “I’m ready.”
The door swung open and a beautiful blonde in dark jeans and a black sweater smiled at them. “You do exist,” she squealed and hugged Olivia. “Everyone, come meet Olivia.”
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is a rough draft and not the final version
Categories: The Dumbing Down of Love