It was kind of surreal to watch as the moving company came and packed up my entire apartment, it only took them a couple hours too since I didn’t really have that much stuff. Conrad had a huge smile on his face the entire time they were there, his joy palpable that I had agreed to the whole thing. It’s a big decision, but I think I made the right one, in fact I know I did. This move means that Conrad is definitely one hundred percent on board and I have nothing to worry about when it comes to him. Any lingering fear I had about him leaving me again went out the door the second he told me that he wants to move in together.
It’s also nice to not have to worry about anything while I’m away, not about rent, maintenance, Dane. I wish I knew what he planned on doing next. I really thought Dane had worked out his issues when it came to this behavior, but it seems to me that it has possibly escalated, into something much more sinister telling by the threat written on that note. It scares me to think that Dane could hurt Conrad. I know Conrad isn’t worried, as far as he lets on anyway, but neither of us know what Dane is really capable of. Dane is smart, very smart, and he’s also physically strong, I could see that when he fought Conrad in my living room, it was a pretty even fight. I just have to trust that Conrad will be safe once we’re gone and he has the added security surrounding him.
Conrad rented a car so that we could follow the movers out to Mayfair and make sure everything arrived safely, and so that I could visit my parents before we take off. After filling my new storage space, we head to my parents house and arrive just before six.
“My parents haven’t seen you since…” I murmur as we park on the driveway.
“Since before we broke up, I know,” Conrad nods, “what kind of reception do you think I’ll get from your dad?”
I smile at Conrad and the nervousness written on his face.
“Don’t worry, you should be safe. To be honest, my parents don’t really know the details of the aftermath of our break up. The only person who really knew what I went through is Desiree. I just told my parents our breakup was due to long distance because I didn’t want to spoil how they viewed you,” I admit.
Conrad shakes his head and takes my hand in his.
“That was more than I deserved. Why would you do that?”
“In case you came back,” I tell him, “which you did.”
“And I’m here to stay.”
“I know. So let’s go get you reacquainted.”
Conrad and I make our way up to the front door and before I can open it, my mother swings it wide open and envelopes me in her arms for a hug.
“Hi mom,” I say.
“Hello my girl,” she says before she turns to look at Conrad. She looks him up and down for a moment and clears her throat, “Conrad.”
“Hello Mrs. Chase, it’s nice to see you again,” he replies, his voice wavering just slightly.
“You know, it’s nice to see you too,” she finally says before smiling kindly at him. I watch as Conrad breathes a sigh of relief, “Okay get in here guys, I have dinner ready for us.”
We follow her into the kitchen, where my dad is coming in from the back porch with a big empty plate.
“Hey guys,” he says, smiling at us, “I just threw the chicken on the grill.”
My dad puts the plate down and comes over to us and gives me a hug and a kiss on the forehead before he turns his attention to Conrad. He holds his hand out and shakes Conrad’s hand.
“Good to see you again Conrad, it’s been a long time.”
“Good to see you too, sir.”
Again, I see the relief on Conrad’s face. Even though I told him that my parents didn’t hate him, he seemed so nervous.
When I had called my mom the other day to tell her about the storage space and what was going on, she was a little confused. One minute she thought I was dating Dane, and the next, Conrad was back and I was going on the road with him. She was shocked, but she understood, she knows my feelings for Conrad run deeper than anything I could ever explain, and she is just happy that I am happy. She told me that she would let my dad know what was going on, and when I called her this morning to let her know we would be coming over today, she told me that my dad seemed pleased that Conrad was back and that Dane was out of the picture. Apparently my dad didn’t quite trust Dane after what he had learned about him after the incident with him back in high school. If only I had held on to that mistrust, instead of letting Dane back into my life.
“So I have your room all set up for you,” my mom tells me as I help her prepare a salad and Conrad accompanies my dad outside to check the grill, “and Hailey’s room is all ready for Conrad.”
I stop what I’m doing and look at my mom with a sour expression on my face.
“I know, I know,” she laughs, “I’m under no impression that you two don’t sleep together, but your father would feel more comfortable with this arrangement for the night.”
“Okay fine, it’s just for the night anyway,” I relent easily, their house, their rules.
“Thank you, I thought you were going to argue with me on that one.”
“No, it’s fine,” I sigh and glance out the window to where Conrad and my dad are hovering in front of the grill talking about who knows what.
“So, how did Dane take it when you broke it off with him?”
“Not well. It was actually pretty ugly, he and Conrad even got into a fist fight in my apartment.”
“What?” My moms eyes go wide, but I can tell she loves the gossip.
“Yeah, well that was before we officially broke up, but yeah it was brutal.”
“Who started it?”
“Dane, but Conrad finished it. The fight was pretty even though. I thought they were going to destroy my apartment. It was weird to see Conrad lose his cool and get in a fight, but he still hates Dane from before, I think he liked being able to finally hit him since he couldn’t do it when Dane was his student.”
“How strange to think that Conrad used to be your teacher, it feels like that was a lifetime ago. Now he’s a famous rockstar, in our home, about to sweep our daughter away with him.”
“Yes, I know we didn’t have a very traditional start to say the least, but nothing about our relationship has been traditional.”
“Do you want it to be?”
“I hope someday it will settle down and we can live like a normal couple, I think that’s what Conrad wants as well.”
“Mayfair is a nice place to live…” My mom hints with a smile.
“Well actually, Conrad has asked me to move in with him once he’s done with the band stuff. He said we’re going to find my dream house.”
“Then I guess this mother is going to have to start searching through Mayfair real estate.”
I laugh at her enthusiasm. It’s a good reaction.
“Relax mom, I think it’s going to be a couple years before we buy a house, but I’ll let you know when we need the help.”
“You see, Conrad, you don’t want to flip the meat too much or it loses it juiciness and becomes dry,” Troy explains to me, I think mostly to fill the silence.
I’ve been so nervous about seeing Sydney’s parents again after all this time and wondering what they thought of me now, especially because I have something really important to talk to them about.
“That’s good to know sir, thanks for the tip,” I say, clearing my throat.
“I suppose someone like yourself has people to do the cooking for you, am I right?” Troy quips with a chuckle as he jabs me with his elbow.
“Not people per se, just a lot of eating out in restaurants and room service. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I had some home cooking,” I tell him.
“There’s nothing like a good home cooked meal. I guess Sydney is going to need to get used to restaurants and hotels isn’t she?” Troy peers sideways at me.
“For now, yes,” I nod, “she’s an angel for agreeing to come with me.”
Troy shuts the lid on the grill and turns to face me, a serious expression on his face. His sharp green eyes lock with mine.
“I was surprised to hear that she was doing this, but if it makes her happy, then I’m glad she’s following her heart and doing what she wants. I have to say, Conrad, that I was glad to hear you were back. I know I never approved of you two being together at the beginning, but I could see the way you were with her and how happy she was with you, and I’ve never seen her smile the way she does when she looks at you.”
“Thank you sir. I know we had an unconventional, or maybe you could call it inappropriate start, but by the time I found out she was my student, she already had me.”
“Sydney said the same thing. But, here we are now and you two are still fighting for each other. I’m happy that Dane is no longer in the picture, I never trusted that kid after what he pulled when they were in high school.”
“I never did either, not from the moment I laid eyes on him, and he’s back at it again,” I reveal.
“What has he done now?” He asks and I pull the note that Dane wrote out of my pocket and hand it to him. Troy unfolds the paper and reads it, his frown deepening.
“I’m not sure Sydney would like it that I pulled you into this situation, but I want you and Dana to know what Dane is really like,” I explain, “I think he’s a threat to Sydney and to myself.”
Troy folds the paper and hands it back to me. He gazes through the patio windows towards Sydney, who is busy helping her mom in the kitchen and paying us no attention.
“I knew he was bad news, but I didn’t think it was to this level. The things that I do know about that kid makes more sense now,” Troy says, “thank you for showing me this. I don’t think Sydney would have shared this information, if only to spare us the worry, but we’re her parents, it’s our job to worry about her.”
“I’ll do everything in my power to protect her sir,” I say, “It’s the reason I had her get rid of her apartment because I don’t want him to have access to her in any way, and while she’s with me, we’ll have extra security. There will be no expense when it comes to keeping her safe.”
“That’s good to hear Conrad, and please call me Troy.”
Come on Conrad, get on with it, you can do this. I watch as Troy opens the grill again and checks the meat.
“There’s something else rather important I’d like to talk to you about.”
Troy closes the lid again and faces me. My hands are in my hair as I fidget nervously, shifting from foot to foot. Troy cocks an eyebrow at me, and and an amused smirk crosses his lips.
“What is it Conrad? You seem a little anxious.”
I swallow hard and take a deep breath.
Troy laughs and places a hand on my shoulder, and it helps steady my nerves.
“Breath son, just spit it out,” he encourages, almost like he knows what I’m about to ask. I should take that as a sign. I straighten my posture and gather my courage.
“Mr. Chase. I love your daughter with every ounce of my being, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever met, inside and out. She’s bright, she’s funny, she’s brave, she’s kind…I could go on and on.”
Troy smiles at me and nods his agreement, but doesn’t interrupt. I keep going.
“When we split up, it was the worst mistake I ever made, and now that I have her back, I know that I never want to be apart from her ever again. I want to be with her for the rest of our lives, I want to spend my life making her happy and give her everything she could ever want and deserves. So, what I want to know is, it would mean a lot to me if I could have your blessing to ask her to marry me?”
Troy’s smile grows even bigger before he surprises me and holds his hand out to me. I take his hand and he gives it a firm shake before pulling me towards him and hugging me.
“Welcome to the family son. I can’t think of anyone else who could make my little girl happier, and I’m impressed that you had the courtesy to ask for my blessing, which you definitely have.”
Troy releases me and I feel my throat tighten with emotion. I look at the ground as I try and swallow it down, not wanting to look like a total sap.
“It’s okay Conrad,” Troy murmurs. I look at him and notice that he too appears a little glassy eyed. We both start laughing, “A real man isn’t scared to be a little sappy from time to time, am I right?”
“Please, call me Dad,” he chuckles.
“Okay…but maybe I’ll wait until after I ask her otherwise she’ll get suspicious.”
“Yes, of course we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.”
Troy nods and opens the grill yet again.
“Oh shit! I think I burnt them a little bit, but at least it was for a good reason.”
During dinner, I can’t help but smile to myself like an idiot, and Troy keeps gazing lovingly at Sydney. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Seriously you two, I know my cooking isn’t that good,” Dana laughs, “what’s going on?”
“I’m just happy that Sydney and Conrad are here visiting,” Troy tells her.
“Thank you daddy, I’m glad we got to come visit too before we left. I’m not sure when we’ll have time to visit again though.”
“We’ll make sure to come back in a couple months,” I tell her, reaching for her hand.
“I hope so,” Dana nods.
I look at Troy and he looks at me. My heart rate goes up a few notches and my palms grow sweaty.
“Would anyone like some apple pie?” Dana asks as she starts to push away from the table.
I look at Sydney, who is smiling at her mom. I hadn’t really planned on doing this tonight. I was going to wait until I could get my mother’s ring out of my safety deposit box, but here, with her parents present, seems like something Sydney would appreciate. Knowing her, she’d want it to be something traditional like that.
“I’d love some,” she answers.
“Sydney?” I say, my voice coming out a little high pitched. I clear my throat and her dad chuckles.
I stand up from the table and offer her my hand. She looks up at me in question but takes my preferred hand and stands up.
“What’s wrong?” she asks me, her brows pinching together.
“Absolutely nothing,” I say as I get down on one knee in front of her.
An audible gasp sounds from both Sydney and her mother at the same time.
“Oh my god, Conrad, what are you doing?” Sydney giggles nervously.
I look up at her and smile, I see tears already forming in her eyes.
“Sydney Chase. I love you more than I ever thought was possible, and I want to spend the rest of our lives showing you just that. I want to spend the rest of my days making you happy. I never want to be apart from you ever again. You are the one, my Muse, my sexy little bookworm, you are the love of my life and I can’t believe I’ve been so lucky to have found you and I want to make sure that nothing ever can come between us ever again by making this official. Will you make me the happiest man in the world and do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
“Oh!” I hear Dana squeak. I peak over at her for a second and she’s bawling. Troy is grinning from ear to ear.
I return my gaze to Sydney, who is smiling down at me with tears also streaming down her cheeks.
“Yes,” she sniffs and starts nodding, “of course I will.”
Yes! I’m on my feet in a second and wrap my arms around her tightly before kissing her with enthusiasm. She wraps her arms around my neck and twists her fingers in my hair as she holds my face to hers. She said yes!
“Congratulations you two!” Troy says loudly, I assume to remind us that they are still standing there as we make out.
I let go of Sydney and we turn towards her parents who rush over to hug us. This is my family now.