Brush With Fame

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Chapter 13

Ryan and I arrive on the set early the next morning. I sit with him while he is in makeup and gets dressed. I am itching to talk to Taylor and Sarah about Ryan’s proposal, but I want privacy. Finally, Ryan leaves to practice a fight scene with the choreographer and I take the opportunity to call. I am only able to get a hold of Taylor.

“Olivia! I miss you. How’s London?”

“London is wonderful. Ryan took me around a little bit already. It’s amazing. I should have come here a long time ago. I have tons of pictures to show you, other than what I already sent you. I was able to see quite a few things – Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye. We also went to an outstanding art gallery called the Tate. And tomorrow, Ryan’s brother’s girlfriends are going to take me shopping. It should be fun.”

“Ryan’s bother’s girlfriends?”

“Yes, I met them last night. We met up with them for dinner.”

“Oh boy. How was that?” she asks.

“It was just fine. We all got along really well…well, at least with one of them. The other one’s ok, but different.”

“Different how? You get along with everyone, Olivia.”

“I know. It kind of bothers me, but like I said, she’s ok. It just seems like maybe she putting on a false front. I’m not sure. I haven’t figured her out yet. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find something out.”

“Weird. Well, it sounds like you’re making a spot for yourself in Ryan’s life.”

“That’s what I need to talk to you about.” I turn away from watching Ryan so I can concentrate on what I am going to tell Taylor and listen to what her advice will be. “First, promise me you won’t say anything about what I’m going to tell you to anyone. Not the girls.”

“Not even Sarah?” Taylor questions, shocked.

“Well, you can tell Sarah. But only Sarah.”

“Whoa. OK. I promise.”

“Swear you won’t say one word about this.”

“I swear. Ohmygosh, Olivia, tell me what’s going on.”

“Ryan asked me to marry him.”

There is just silence on the other end of the phone.

“Taylor?”

Oh, crap. Did I lose connection with Taylor? I pull the phone away from my ear to look at it.

“Ohmigod!!”

Nope, I didn’t lose connections.

“I’m so happy for you! You told him yes, didn’t you?”

“Not exactly,” I inform her.

“What?! Why not!” she scolds.

“Well, I asked him if I could have some time to think about it. He understood once I told him why. So my reasons are: that we’ve been together a short amount of time. That I just got divorced, and had a horrible marriage with Craig. That I didn’t want to rush into anything and have the same thing happen to our marriage. Ryan understood my reasoning then said he didn’t want me to feel like he was pressuring me into marrying him.”

“Ok. You’re right. That’s good. Yes, you need to think. Wow,” she says exasperated.

“I know. Taylor, I need your good common sense right now, because I can’t think of any reasons to tell him no.”

She’s quiet for a little bit. I can tell she’s thinking because I hear her humming, like she’s thinking of something but not good enough to tell Ryan no.

“Sorry. I’m having a little trouble thinking right now. I don’t know, Olivia. I not coming up with much of anything to say ‘no’ either. Ryan isn’t Craig. I know he loves you. The only thing I can really think of is that it’s too soon. But when it’s right, time doesn’t matter.”

“You’re not helping me,” I groan. “God, my heart is beating so fast right now.”

I can hear the thumping in my ears. I have no clue why I am freaking out now. I turn back and watch Ryan again. I calm down a bit while gazing at him.

“Ok, ok. Let me think.” She pauses. “My only advice to you is to take your time; try to think everything through. Oh, you need to sit down and talk with Ryan. Don’t assume anything. Will you travel with him when he’s filming on location? Does he want kids? And when? Where are you going to live?” She is quiet again for a few seconds. “Wait, if you’re not going to be here in KC any more, you can’t marry him,” she teases.

I laugh. “But think of all the places you could come and visit me.”

“Ok, that is a little tempting. But seriously, sit down and talk through things with Ryan. It’ll probably do both of you some good to get everything out in the open. Kind of puts things in perspective.”

“I think you’re exactly right. We’ll sit down and talk. Now, I’ve got to let you go. Ryan’s about to start filming a fight scene and I want to see this. I’ll call you in a couple days to let you know what’s going on. And don’t tell anyone!”

“I won’t. Only Sarah, I swear.”

“Love you Taylor. Thanks for the advice. I’d be lost without you.”

As I watch Ryan, I think about the advice Taylor gave me. Talking everything out is great advice. I don’t want to get into another marriage and be disappointed by having the wrong expectations and have it end again.

“Are you having fun watching Ryan?” Leslie asks as she comes to sit by me.

“I actually am. Other than the fight scene, I thought it might be a little boring, repetitious, especially if a scene has to be done over and over again, but it’s really interesting. I had no idea so much went into filming.”

“It’s going so much smoother now that Ryan is being so cooperative. We’re getting a lot done, catching up.”

I grimace. “I’m really sorry about that.”

“No. Don’t you dare, Olivia. That was not your fault. Ryan has to learn to deal with situations or problems and not let them interfere with work. But thank you for coming. So, you two talked?”

I know what she was talking about. “Yes, we talked. He knows that he can’t behave the way he has. I’m hoping it’s just because we’re so new in our relationship. We talked a little. Trying to figure out where we’re heading.”

“Yes. And?” she urges.

“And what?” I have absolutely no clue what she is encouraging me to say.

“You’re really not going to tell me?” She looks around and leans closer to me. “That he asked you to marry him?”

My mouth drops open. “What? How did you… Ryan?”

“Yes. Ryan told me. He was bursting to tell someone. Don’t worry he also told me that I can’t tell anyone. I’m so happy for you guys.” She gives me a hug. “But he said that you needed time before you give him you’re answer and he explained why. I think that’s very smart. And that hesitation tells me that you are exactly perfect for Ryan. I can see anyone else just saying yes without thinking. But because you went through so much with your ex, I can’t blame you for being really cautious and taking your time. Yes, Ryan told me that too. Sorry.”

I am a little shocked. I hadn’t realized they are that close.

“No, no. It’s ok. I just didn’t realize that he told you that much.”

“I don’t think he really meant to, but he started talking one night and everything just came out. Since then I think he’s felt comfortable talking with me. He wanted another person’s perspective. To make sure he wasn’t pushing you too much after everything you went through with Craig. I haven’t said anything to anyone.”

“It doesn’t matter. It’s not a secret. You know Craig went public with his girlfriend when we were out in Las Vegas. Stupid ass. At least he didn’t give me any trouble with the divorce.”

“I am surprised he didn’t make a big deal about it.”

“Well, turns out his girlfriend got pregnant and I think he wanted the divorce final before the baby came so he didn’t put up a fight. Turns out the baby wasn’t meant to be. She lost it the same time I was in the hospital because of my stalker. And also, dad urged me to make Craig sign a pre-nup, so he wouldn’t get anything even if he did fight.”

“Yay for your dad. So no delay from your ex, and now you can move on with Ryan,” she says as we watch him walk over to us. I grin at him. I could watch him all day, every day.

Ryan puts his arms around me and kisses my cheek. “Are you talking Olivia into marrying me, Leslie?”

“Actually, I’ve been warning her about you. Telling her what a player you are and how you just use women. How you have them parading around each set all the time, a different one each day. I mean just look at the tabloids. They tell it all. Love ’em and leave ’em Paxton. I’ve told her to run while she had the chance, but she won’t budge,” Leslie replies.

I snort and laugh while she tells him this.

“That’s because she loves me and can’t live without me and wants to make me the happiest man in the world,” Ryan counters, squeezing me.

“No, I think I’m just a glutton for punishment,” I reply with a smirk on my face.

“Oh, really?” Ryan says and pretends to choke me.

Leslie laughs. “Ryan, I think you’ve found your match. I’ll let you two work this out. I’ll see you later.”

“Glutton for punishment, huh? Well, I’ll just have to punish you again later,” he says as he releases me and takes Leslie’s seat. He gives me another longer kiss, on my lips this time. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

“I am. I’m finding this all very interesting. I was telling Leslie that I didn’t realize so much went into filming a movie.”

“There is a lot more to it. And you’ve got a lot more to watch today.” His name is called. “Love you.”

“Love you, too.”

I watch them film all day. Breaks are taken. Lunch is catered; people grab food when they can. It seems like filming is going really well. The director is smiling and joking with Ryan a lot today. Ryan has a little break; he comes back to sit with me.

“We’re almost done for the day. Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?”

“Actually, I’d rather go back to the hotel. We can order room service. I want to talk to you about us.”

“My favorite subject.” He winks at me. “That sounds good to me. And I don’t have to share you with anyone else.” He nuzzles my ear. “What about us do you want to talk about?”

But before I can say anything, he is called again.

“Guess I’ll just find out later,” he says, gives me a kiss and jogs toward the crew.

We are there for another two hours. They are afraid to stop filming because it is going so well. Finally, they end for the night. We go back to the hotel. Ryan talks about the movie on the way back. He is so excited about how good filming is going. After Ryan showers, we order room service. After we have eaten, we get comfy on the couch.

“Alright. You wanted to talk about us. What do we need to discuss?” Ryan asks as he sits next to me on the couch.

“Ok.” I take a deep breath. I don’t know why I am so nervous to talk to him about this. I guess I am afraid Ryan and I won’t see eye to eye and we will find out that we are not so perfect together after all. “So, I don’t want to get into another relationship where I expect one thing and you expect something else. Basically, I don’t want our marriage to turn into the marriage Craig and I had.”

“Yes, I completely understand and agree. I think getting everything out in the open is a perfect way to understand what we both want. Make sure we are on the same page. So, what are your expectations?”

“Well, first is a statement. And please understand that this is not brought on by your actions, but I still have to put it out there in the open. If I marry you, our marriage is totally exclusive. No cheating. No adoring fans comforting you.”

“Olivia.”

I hold up my hand and rush on before he can say more. I know it is ridiculous.

“I know I don’t have to worry, but I have to say it. He hurt me so much and I can’t go through that again. I won’t go through that again. I deserve better than that.” I am fidgeting and looking at my hands instead of him.

Ryan puts his hand on my chin, turns my head to look up at him. “Love, don’t forget that I saw what Craig’s cheating did to you. I swear I will never cheat on you. I think I told you before that I was brought up to respect any relationship I’m in. I have never cheated on anyone I was dating. I definitely won’t cheat on my wife. I promise I will never cheat on you. You are everything to me. I will never hurt you like that.”

Tears well up in my eyes and threaten to run over. I feel stupid for saying it to him. I know he won’t cheat on me.

“I’m sorry, Ryan. I just had to say it. It makes me feel better to get it out there.”

Ryan pulls me onto his lap, hugs and kisses me.

“Don’t ever be sorry for telling me what’s on your mind. You have every right to be extremely cautious. I could kill Craig for putting all these doubts in your head. But don’t worry. I will enjoy showing you what a real man is like. What else do you want to discuss?”

I let out a huff. I feel much better after getting that out in the open.

“Hmm. Let’s see. If we get married, where do we live?”

“Wait, wait, wait. First of all, it’s not if we get married. It’s when we get married. I’ve thought about this. Here’s what I was thinking and you tell me what you think. I say we keep your house in Kansas City, so we have one when we’re there. We can get a flat here in London too if you want. Or we can just stay at a hotel when we are here. I already have the house in Malibu. I can live anywhere. I just have to travel for work.”

“Not bad. I like that. But am I supposed to quit my job to be with you or do I stay in Kansas City or Malibu and you go off all the time without me?”

“Well, I’m not sure about that one. I guess that’s more up to you. I’d like you with me, even when I have to go on location, mainly because I’m selfish and I don’t want you far away from me. But you probably want to work yet, right?”

“I don’t know. I might get bored sitting on the set day in and day out. Plus, we might eventually get tired of being together so much.” He makes a shocked face at me, but I snort and continue on. “But we’ll save that for later. What about kids? Do you even want kids?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! We will never get tired of being together. We are going to be one of those loving couples that everyone says makes them sick when in reality they are really jealous. Ok?”

“I hope so,” I mumble.

“No worries. I’ll just have to show you. Now. Yes, of course I want kids with you.”

“How soon do you want kids? Remember, I’m thirty already. I don’t want to be too old and having kids.”

“Yes, you’re just decrepit,” he teases. “I think I’d like to be a little selfish again and keep you all to myself for a while. I thought maybe in a year or so we’d try making a baby. However, if you were to get pregnant now, I’d still be extremely happy because it would be our child. A little girl or boy that looks like you - oh, that would make me so happy.”

I knew we were on the same page. I just needed to hear it.

“Am I worrying too much about everything?”

“No, of course not. With all the crap that idiot put you through, you need reassurance and I can’t blame you for needing everything out in the open. You have insecurities and in voicing them I hope it will help you move on.”

We are quiet for a while. Ryan huffs out a breath and smiles.

“You know, I have to say I’m ecstatic that we’re at this point already. I thought I’d have to wait a while to even talk to you about marriage. I wasn’t sure how I was going to wait.”

“I know. I’m actually shocked. I swore I would never give myself so completely after getting hurt so badly by Craig. But look at me. More lost in love with you than ever before. Everything about us seems so right, it just fits into place. I can’t ignore that and make us both miserable.”

“Thank God you didn’t ignore what was right. I am as happy and content as I never have been before.”

“What if your parents don’t like me?”

“Stop worrying. They will love you, and more than ever when they see how much in love I am with you. I’ve warned them that you are very special to me.”

“Ok. When are we going to see them?”

“Tomorrow night.”

“Oh,” I groan.

“Don’t worry. Come on, let’s go get some sleep. You have a big day of shopping with the girls ahead of you tomorrow.”

Ryan has to be on set early this morning. I kiss him goodbye and go back to bed until I need to get up and get ready for a day of shopping with Sophia and Drey. When it is time to meet them, I open the suite door and find flowers laying there. Very beautiful, deep red roses mixed with white lilies. Ryan must have had one of the staff bring them up and I didn’t hear the knock. I take the flowers back into the suite and call Ryan. His phone is off so I leave a message thanking him for them. I head out the door once more.

The three of us have fun. We go into every kind of store possible, clothing, kitchen, knick-knack, book. We go into a lingerie store; I buy a couple of really sexy outfits. Mid-afternoon we take a break to eat at a pub.

“That guy is really staring at you Olivia,” Sophia comments. “Do you know him?”

“What guy?” I ask as I look around.

“Oh dang, he turned away now. It’s that guy in the blue jacket and red baseball cap sitting over there in the corner.”

I look over there, but he doesn’t turn back around.

“I doubt I know anyone here. Maybe I look like someone he knows,” I say and turn my attention back to the menu.

“Or he recognizes you from TV because of the reports of you and Ryan,” Sophia says.

We place our orders with the waitress and start chatting, finding out about each other and finally the conversation turns to Ryan.

“Ryan’s really hooked on you, Olivia,” Sophia says.

“Yeah. You’re only the second girl he’s brought home since becoming a famous actor, or so Jake says,” Drey adds.

“Oh really? Who was the other girl?” I ask, my interest peeked.

“Lindsay or Lily someone. She’s the lead girl one of his movies,” Drey says.

“Oh, Leslie Day.”

“Yeah, that’s her. We liked her, too, but it didn’t work out.”

“He dated Leslie?” I ask, giving her a doubtful look.

“Yeah. For a while anyway,” Drey says. “but that was before I started dating Jake.”

Sophia has been looking at Drey with a confused look this whole time. “No Drey. Ryan never dated her. She was here for filming Surrender and Ryan just brought her to the house for a good meal. They’re just friends.” Sophia looks back to me. “In all the time I’ve know Ryan, he’s never looked at anyone like the way he looks at you. I can tell that you’re everything to him. If he lost you, he’d be devastated.”

“Hmm” I reply absently. I am torn. It is nice to hear that someone close to Ryan sees how much he loves me. But I am also confused. Why would Drey want me to think that Ryan dated Leslie? Is she trying to make me feel insecure? Is she trying to cause problems between me and Ryan? I am probably just being paranoid. She must just be confused.

We eat and go to a few more shops. When we finish shopping, we are only a couple blocks from the hotel. I tell Sophia and Drey that I will walk back from there. As I walk, I pass by a jewelry store and I stop to look at the window display. As I am drooling over all the dazzling jewelry, I notice a guy in the window’s reflection standing a little ways behind me. He is wearing a blue jacket with a red baseball cap, just like the guy at the pub. I get goose bumps all over. I quickly turn around to look for him. But just as I turn, a group of tourists walk by me. When they finally get past, the guy is nowhere to be found.

I am shaken to my core. I quickly half walk, half run back to the hotel, looking behind me every now and then, paranoid that I am being followed. Could that have really been the same guy from earlier? I didn’t see his face at the restaurant so I cannot say for sure. From the reflection I saw in the window, they guy is fairly good looking. No facial hair, kind of a thin face. I couldn’t quite tell with the ball cap on, but I thought he had light brown or dark blonde hair. By the time I get back to the suite, I am almost hyperventilating. I lock all of the locks I can. Then I check out every inch of the suite to make sure no one is there. Finally satisfied, I sit down and try to calm down.

My hands are trembling so badly that I can’t even still them enough to call Ryan. Ok. I have to think rationally. Maybe it isn’t anything. The guy could have been a tourist that just happened to be in the same areas. I had that feeling of déjà vu. A thought strikes me and calms me. Well, duh, Olivia. I bet he is a reporter. Why did I not think of that earlier? Oh, how stupid of me. Of course, he is a reporter. I’m here with Ryan, that’s going to be news. I feel much better realizing that. I also feel foolish for getting so worked up over the stupid reporter. I unlock the door so Ryan can get in when he comes back.

Ryan arrives while I am getting ready for dinner; he looks exhausted. Apparently, they had major trouble with a scene and had to do re-take after re-take. Not necessarily anyone’s fault, just not what the director envisioned for the scene. Finally, they decided they would just quit for the night and start over again on Monday. We have Sunday to ourselves, after we get through the evening.

Ryan grabs my hands to pull me into the bathroom so he can talk to me while he’s taking a shower.

“How was your shopping day with the girls?” he asks as he gets into the shower.

“It was fun. Boy, do they like to shop. I think we went into just about every store. I’ll show you what I bought later,” I reply.

“Ok. Are you still nervous about meeting mom and dad?”

“Yes. Of course, so please don’t make me any more worried.”

He sticks his hand out of the shower and splashes water on me.

“Hey!”

“Olivia, you have nothing to worry about. Trust me. They are going to love you.”

Ryan turns off the shower and gets ready. I go out to the sitting room to wait for him. I get lost in my thoughts, so when Ryan comes up behind me, I jump.

“Baby, are you ok? Don’t be nervous. They will love you.”

“Ok, if you say so,” I reply to him.

In the main living room, Ryan notices the flowers.

“Those are pretty. Get them while you were out today?” he asks.

“No. I thought you sent them. They were just outside the door this morning when I left to meet Sophia and Drey.”

“I didn’t send them. No card?”

“No. I wonder where they came from,” I mumbled. I’m no freaked out about the flowers and who sent them along with meeting Ryan’s parents. Ryan tells me not worry about it. How can I not? I mean, the last time I got flower from someone other than Ryan, it was from my stalker.

We leave to go to his parents. I am a jittery mess. My hands are clammy and my heart is racing. Ryan keeps squeezing my hand on the drive over, knowing that I am panicking. We pull up to the house, get out and walk up to the door. He reaches to open the door but stops. Ryan turns to me.

“You are going to be great.”

He gives me a melt-into-a-puddle kiss. Then Ryan opens the door and calls out our arrival as we walk in the house.

“Hello, Ryan,” his dad says coming to greet us with Ryan’s mom right behind him. They both give Ryan a hug.

Edward Paxton is exactly as I had pictured in my head. It is easy to see where they boys get their looks. Edward has the dark brown hair and blue eyes. Mary Paxton, on the other hand, is nothing like I had pictured. She is in her late fifties, has blonde hair that she keeps blonde. And she is just a bit on the chubby side, but not overweight. I don’t know why, but I had pictured her looking like a movie star and very intimidating. She isn’t intimidating, in fact she seems extremely friendly. I don’t know what Drey was talking about.

“Mom, Dad, this is my Olivia. Olivia, these are my parents, Mary and Edward Paxton.”

“Hi. It’s really nice to meet you,” I reply.

“Welcome Olivia,” Mary says as she grabs and squeezes both my hands.

“Nice to meet you,” Edward says, patting my shoulder. “Come in and make yourself comfortable. Would either of you like something to drink?”

“I’d really love some water,” I reply.

“I’ll get it,” Mary says. “Ryan, do you want anything?”

“No. Thanks, Mom,” Ryan replies.

Ryan leads me into the living room, which is quite comfortable. They have a matching brown leather couch and love seat. There is a huge entertainment center. A gorgeous grandfather clock sits against one wall; the tick, tick, tick of it is like music filling the room. Pictures of all three boys are everywhere.

Mary comes back with my water. Then the questions begin. It starts with the typical, What do you do? Where did you go to school? Where did you grow up? Then they become harder.

“So, Olivia, I had to find out about you by TV instead of my son telling me,” She says looking pointedly at Ryan. Ryan looks properly sheepish; I have to laugh at him.

“How many times must I say I’m sorry?” Ryan apologizes.

“Lots more times,” Mary looks pointedly at him. “So Olivia, how did you two meet? I know it was in Las Vegas but I never heard exactly how you met.”

Ryan just laughs and lets me tell the story.

“Oh, it’s so embarrassing. Well, I had stormed out of a store at the hotel where both of us were staying, not paying any attention to where I was going and ran right into Ryan, almost knocked him over. He was the perfect gentleman and made sure I was ok before he left.”

Mary smiles satisfactory at Ryan.

“Then the next morning, we were both on the elevator going down to the casino and then later that day, we literally ran into each other again out shopping. I figured three times of running into him meant something. Surprising myself, I asked Ryan to join me for lunch and to my astonishment he said yes.”

“Why wouldn’t I say yes?” Ryan asks, smiling and brings my hand up to his lips to kiss it.

I just look at him, smile and shake my head. I have explained this to him numerous times.

“And you were married before?” Edward asks.

“Dad,” Ryan objects.

“No, Ryan. It’s ok. Yes, I was married before. My ex and I were married for two years. During those two years, our relationship went downhill. I just wish I’d known how bad it was. I had thought our marriage started out good. And that something happened to make him change so much. He’d go out three or four nights a week, some of the time not coming home at all. You can imagine what went thru my mind. But I had no proof, just my suspicions.

“The week before and while I was out in Las Vegas, I finally had my proof that he was cheating on me. I came back from Vegas early and kicked Craig out. While packing up his things, I found evidence that he was just pretending throughout our whole marriage. When he got back from Vegas, Craig finally admitted to me that there were three women he’d been with since we got married, one of them just a month after we were married. And he had been married before but never told me that information.”

“What a bastard,” Edward mumbles.

“I’m very sorry, Olivia. That’s a horrible situation for anyone to go through,” Mary says. “It must be hard for you to trust men after all that.”

“Yes, it is very difficult,” I say quietly, knowing full well that we are talking about Ryan.

“I’m proving to her every day what a real man is like,” Ryan interjects.

“Thank you for telling us,” Mary says. ’Is the divorce final? Are you completely rid of him?”

“Yes, Craig didn’t contest the divorce so it went quickly. I’ve been divorced for a couple months now.”

Ryan puts his arm around me and squeezes me. I smile at him.

“Do you have any siblings?” Edward asks.

“I don’t. I’m an only child.”

“So I bet you had a treat meeting Steven and Jake the other night, huh? They all tease each other mercilessly,” Edward says.

“It was very interesting seeing the three of them interact. Although Ryan said that night was very tame compared to what they’re like normally.”

“You guys behaved yourselves?” Mary asks, surprised.

I burst out laughing.

“Yes, we did. I told them they had to behave or I’d kick their butts. I didn’t want Olivia to get scared and run away,” Ryan says, laughing.

“Boys,” Mary says shaking her head. “Olivia, for your sanity, I hope you don’t have three boys so close in age. It was a pain raising them.” She sighs. “But there were lot of good times, too.”

“They fought all the time, got into everything. We had to make lots of trips to the hospital,” Edward explains.

“Remember when we were goofing around and I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle?” Ryan says. He turns to me to tell me the story. “Dad took me to the hospital to get a cast and Mom stayed home with Steven and Jake. An hour after I was at the hospital, Mom comes in with both Steven and Jake to get stitches. They’d gotten into a huge fight over who broke my ankle – both wanted to claim it. Mom and Dad were so pissed off.”

“Ok. I’m glad I didn’t have any brothers,” I say.

“No, even though we fought, it was great having older brothers to stick up for me. This kid, Donny Albright, used to pick on me every day in the fourth grade. Steven and Jake took care of the problem for me.”

“Ok. Enough of the troubles you boys got into growing up. You’re scaring poor Olivia. She’s not going to want any kids.”

We all laugh.

“Is everyone hungry? Dinner is ready. Let’s go eat,” Mary suggests.

I enjoy dinner immensely and have no trouble finding things to talk about. Mary is a wonderful cook. I eat way too much, but I can’t help myself, it is so delicious. We all help clean up the dishes after dinner and then Ryan tells them we have to leave. Both Mary and Edward give me hugs as we are getting ready to leave and make me promise to see them again sometime before I go back to the States.

“Thank you,” Ryan says as soon as we get in the car. He leans across the seat to give me a kiss. “They liked you a lot.”

“Really?” I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

“Oh yes. When they both give you hugs and make you promise to come see them again before you leave, they like you.”

“Good. I was hoping they liked me because I really liked them.”

“And you scored major points for helping with the dishes. Drey has never helped.”

“Well, why shouldn’t I help clean up. Your mom went through all the trouble to make the wonderful dinner. She shouldn’t have to clean it up, too.”

“I expect a call telling me how much they like you.”

“Yay!” I reply. “Now, can we go back and spend the rest of the night in bed?”

“Absolutely.”

We are both quiet on the drive back to the hotel. Ryan looks over at me.

“Thank you for being so wonderful with my parents.”

“You’re welcome, but I was just being myself.”

“I know. That’s what I’m thankful for. I love you, Olivia.”

“I love you, too, Ryan.”

When we get back to our suite, I go to get ready for bed. I put on one of my new sexy outfits I had gotten earlier. Butterflies are flittering around in my stomach, excited to see his reaction, as I walk out of the bathroom.

Ryan is sitting in a chair by the window looking out. He has taken off his shirt but his jeans are still on. He looks over at me when he hears the door open and I don’t say anything. His eyes darken, I can see his chest contracting, but he doesn’t say anything.

“If you don’t like it, I can put on something else” I finally say and point back to the bathroom.

“Don’t even think about moving except to come over here to me,” he replies.

I saunter over to him taking my time.

“So you do like it. I didn’t know since you didn’t say anything.”

“You little tease.” He grabs me as soon as I am close enough to him. Pulling me to him, I have to straddle his lap. “I think I’d better examine this new outfit.”

He runs his hand up my back, over my shoulder and captures my breast.

“It seems to fit good,” he mumbles.

He kisses my chest just below my chin and slowly runs a trail of kisses down to one breast, back up to my neck and then down to the other one.

“I do like this sexy outfit, very much, but I’m sure it was expensive. I’d better make sure nothing happens to it.”

Ryan slides the strap off my right shoulder and lets it fall down my arm. He kisses my shoulder. He takes the left strap and brushes it off so it falls down my arm. Slowly the satin material slides down bearing my breasts to him. Ryan’s mouth captures my breast. Such a wonderful feeling his mouth is on me. I take a deep, shaky breath and slowly let it out. He moves over to my other breast to take it in his mouth. I can tell he is starting to get impatient. He picks me up and carries me to the bed. Setting me on the floor, the rest of my negligee falls to the floor. Ryan helps me onto the bed. He unbuttons his jeans and removes them. Then climbs on the bed and lays on top of me.

“You are so beautiful, Olivia. I am so lucky to have found you. You are exactly who I’ve been waiting for. Perfect for me.”

I am so moved that I can only shake my head.

“Yes, I am blessed. I love you so much,” he says as he enters me. He is so gentle and patience with me tonight. He stares into my eyes as we make love. I can’t look away from him. I am awed by him.

“Ryan, you amaze me. I love you.”

We take our time making love off and on most of the night.

The next morning, I wake before Ryan does. I roll over so I can look at him. I feel like I should be pinched to make sure I am not dreaming. Ryan Paxton wants me – wants to marry me and share his life with me. It is all surreal.

He starts to stir and finally opens his eyes. He grins and kisses my nose.

“What are you thinking about?” he asks.

“How lucky I am that Ryan Paxton loves me and wants to marry me. I was thinking that I needed to be pinched to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

He moves his arm as if to give me a hug but he pinches my rib instead.

“Ow.”

“Just so you know that you’re awake. This is real. I love you and you’re not ever getting away from me.”

We lay in bed and talk for a while. Then we go to have brunch there at the hotel. Afterwards, Ryan takes me to a beautiful botanical garden. My favorite is a big glass and iron greenhouse and the rose garden that sits just behind that greenhouse. I can spend days here.

What a wonderful day to spend with Ryan. If only I knew what trouble was lurking in the days ahead.

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