We sat down at the dinner table, both our plates full with spaghetti a small salad and a piece of garlic bread along with a glass of wine.
“I see you threw the flowers away” he said before taking a bite of the spaghetti.
I twirled my fork capturing a good amount of noodles and sauce, “Yea, I was kind of a chicken though I practically ran with them to the garbage bin and tossed them in without looking” I shoved a fork full into my mouth.
“It’s a step in the right direction” he said.
Is it though? My feelings for him didn’t feel like they’d changed, were they supposed to? Was I supposed to love him less now?
“This is amazing, you’re right you make a mean spaghetti”
I practically beamed at the compliment, “why thank you, next time you’ll have to pay”
“How about every time I just bring a bottle of wine?” He laughed taking a sip of his.
I mirrored his action, “I accept”
“So tell me, why do you need a fake boyfriend? I mean you could have a real one” he ended pointing to himself.
I wish it were that easy.
“A few months ago my parents kept pestering me about having a boyfriend and settling down and so I told them I’d met someone. They were ok with that answer and now they want to meet him.” I said taking another sip. At this point I needed the whole bottle.
“Why all of a sudden did they want to meet him?” He questioned taking another bite.
” Because I opened my big mouth, I got competitive with my friend and told them we were recently engaged”
A choking noise had my head snapping up, looking up at him I stood up begging to panic. I made a move to come to his aide but he held up a hand forestalling me.
“I’m ok” he wheezed, he took a quick sip swallowing thickly, ” so now we’re fake engaged?”
Sighing I sat back down and picked at the beige table cloth, “Yea”
“Wow you sure work fast” he muttered, “not even twenty four hours and we’ve gone from fake boyfriend girlfriend to a fake engagement”
I narrowed my eyes at him leaning my arms on the table “how are you ok with all of this? I’ve thrown you into a giant web of drama and you don’t seem to care”
“This is the most excitement I’ve had in awhile ever since Peter died. The family has been caught up in grief and well... we just don’t do family stuff anymore including drama”
“I see, we’ll make yourself at home because I doubt this will be the end of it” I said truthfully.
The week slowly slithered by, I found work tedious, I couldn’t concentrate and because of it I’d managed to cut myself while trimming flowers multiple times, my left hand held various cuts and bandaids.
Brian stopped by a couple more times over the week, to watch movies, help cook dinner and to simply keep me company. He was growing on me, as a friend. I could never muster any other feelings for him.
Variously throughout the week I swore I’d seem Alec’s red sports car drive past the house a time or two but I know I’m being hopeful. It was exceedingly difficult to let go of him.
Brian had agreed to meet everyone tonight. Saturday night dinner night with the families. To say I was nervous was an understatement, I’d even thrown up a few times throughout the day because of it.
I’d managed to take a shower, curl my hair, apply a small amount of makeup and pull on my nude colored floral strappy knee length burnout dress paired with black heels.
I glanced at the clock again, the same thing I’d been doing for the past thirty minutes in between my vigorous pacing.
Five minutes. I could easily wait the other five minutes for him to show up.
The sound of the clock ticking was driving me mad, I swear the clock seemed to be going backwards not forwards. It was the longest most dragged out five minutes of my life.
My hands were clammy and my body heat had undoubtfully risen by the time the knock at the door came.
“Finally” I breathed as I swung the door open.
Brian laughed, “Am I late?”
“No” I said pushing past him walking towards his black sedan.
“You look flushed, are you ok?”
I nodded hopping into his car, my leg bounced up and down impatiently as he slowly got into the drivers seat.
“Come on grandpa we don’t have all day!”
He chuckled before purposely moving as slow as a sloth, his hand hovered in mid air for a few gradually inching the key to the ignition.
“Brian!” I whined,” please come on!”
He smirked, finally putting the key in the ignition and pulling out of the driveway.
Before the night was over I was either going to kill him or my nervousness was going to eat me alive.
All the cars were parked in the driveway, we ended up having to park on the side of the road in front of the brick house that was my parents.
I chuckled nervously as I watched my parents peeking out the screen door. Their eyes narrowed as they tried to see who was in the car.
As Brian stepped from the car and opened my door I slowed down a notch and took in the male model that was my date. He cleaned up really nice. His navy blue long sleeve over shirt was placed over a plain white t shirt, the sleeves were scrunched at the elbow, his faded dark jeans clung nicely to his legs and his black shoes looked clean. My parents were going to love him.
He took my hand in his and we walked to the front door.
We took one step in and we were bombarded by the families.
“Oh my goodness look at you two!”
“What a stunning couple!”
“Brian Holtz so lovely to have you here with us!”
“Darling what a wonderful choice he’s so handsome!” My mother gushed.
Brian did very well, he seemed to soaked up the compliments and gave a few of his own. He worked the room easily. I smiled settling down somewhat. I scanned the small walkway but didn’t see who I was looking for.
“They’re having a private moment in the backyard” Melanie said catching my wandering eye.
I nodded my thanks, a wam hand once again engulfed mine and the families escorted us to the dining room.
Brian took the seat that was usually empty next to me and smiled at me, I smiled back.
“So Brian how are you these days?” Georgina Swade asked.
“I’m good, even better with Cassandra by my side” he replied squeezing my hand beneath the table.
“That is so sweet” all the mothers replied.
“I’ll be right back, I’ve got to go check on the food” my mother rose from her seat and left the dining room.
The backdoor opened and in walked a furious Sarah and Alec. Sarah’s short black hair was braided at the side, her black pencil skirt went well with her light pink tucked in blouse. She sent me a small smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes, I gave her one in return. When her eyes landed on Brian she stopped and stood still, a look of fear evident in her eyes. Nobody else seemed to catch it but I did. Brian didn’t bat an eye at her.
My eyes instantly contacted with the gray ones I’d longed for this past week.
The emotionless orbs drifted from me to Brian and back again. The emotions that hadn’t been there before instantly flared to life, he looked beyond pissed off. I couldn’t understand why, he was the one to end it.