I cooked him Pan-seared filet mignon for dinner, in my best way possible despite the Xavierfly-distractions and I was pleased that Xavier ate a good amount of it. Maybe he was really hungry or something, but either way, it really made me happy to see him eat. The more, the better. Whether my cooking or in a diner.
“I’m not just saying this because I love you but you cook really well. I’m in love with your Mignon,” he said as we did the dishes.
“I’m glad you like it,” I smiled at him.
After the dishes were done, we went out in the backyard for a while to get fresh air, just walking around under the light of the half-moon and playing with Captain. During that time, I talked with dad. Dad had called Xavier before after I told him about his dad, so this time their conversation sounded light and easy.
When we started to feel cold, we went back inside the house and went up to his room after switching off all the lights downstairs. By now, even if it was just the two of us in a house, there was no tension between us. We’d spent enough time together to be comfortable while being alone with each other.
We brushed our teeth together and then cuddled up on a couch near the glass wall. Captain sat near us on the carpeted floor without a sound. He seemed to be dozing off. With the serenity and the glow of the half-moon evading the room, who wouldn’t. Even I was starting to feel a bit sleepy.
“He’s so quiet,” I said.
“Yeah. We usually sit like this every evening. I think he likes it too, the silence and all.”
“Mmhmm. I think he’s sleeping.”
“No. He isn’t. He’s just meditating.” Xavier chuckled causing me to laugh as well.
Xavier pulled me against him closer and kissed the top of my head. I hugged him tighter, placing a kiss on his chest and then resting my cheek on it.
The room was dark save for the moonlight that filled the room in an opalescent glow, streaming in through the glass wall. I’d never felt more calm as we savoured the tranquil silence of the night, his fingers gently stroking my back, gliding along the skin of my arm and tugging me closer and closer ever still.
Xavier seemed to cope fairly well on the outside but I wondered if he was really okay, because I’ve noticed that he usually would hold me harder if he was internally dealing with something hard for him. He would hold me like he could find something to hold onto for support in me.
With me, he was always honest with his emotions but I didn’t want to assume anything when it came to his feelings. I wanted him to open up to me if he was still in pain. I didn’t want him to deal with it alone. I didn’t want him to ever feel he was alone. Because I was there for him. I wanted him to know that too.
But since he returned, the only time he’d seemed vulnerable was when we first met. The way he kissed me and held me spoke for itself.
“Are you okay?”
He took one soft breath and answered, tightening his arms around me like I expected, “I kind of have a mixed feeling.”
I turned my face up to meet his eyes. He was looking out through the wall.
“I wish I’d given him a chance. I regret a lot, Alana. I blamed him too much. He was reaching out to me. I kept pushing him away. Now I miss him.”
“We all make mistakes, Xavier.” I said, hugging him back.
He nodded slightly. “But you know, it sucks to have fucked up so bad. It sucks to regret for something you can’t ever change.”
“I’m sorry.” I whispered and gave a light squeeze on his arm.
He adjusted our position on the couch, moving me on top of him and my face settled in the crook of his neck. He smelled so comely. He felt so homely.
“But in a way, it taught me a fucking good lesson - not to hold grudge against anyone for too long. We never know how long we have. I had to learn it the hard way. But that in turn made me able to make up with my mom. I met her.”
I turned my face up to him, surprised and in a muddle of emotions; happiness and concern. That was yet another situation to fret about.
“You did? After six years?” It was like hearing a news from NASA saying that an alien had landed on New York city.
How long has Xavier been waiting for it?
How did he react when he saw her?
Was he hurt again?
The last thing I wanted in this world now was nothing more than Xavier to be free of his past, his pain that had plagued his freedom and caged around him like prison bars. I wanted nothing more than for life to give him a break and let him just breathe freely. He’d gone through enough.
Enough is enough.
I swallowed nervously as I stared into his eyes, his mesmerizing brown eyes which now mirrored the silvery beams so beautifully.
“Yeah. After six years. But she’d hardly changed.” He smiled softly as he caressed my face and reassured my worry. “She’s still as beautiful as ever. I have her pictures. We went around Manhattan together for one day and I took some. I knew I’d miss her again.” He grinned as he reached out for his phone which was on the glass table.
I snuggled up to him and settled in more comfortably in his arms. Xavier held the phone and as I slid my index finger on the screen going through one picture to the other, I couldn’t really believe my eyes, how a woman who had two grown-up children could still look as young and as fabulous like a movie star, full packed with charm and grace.
“How old is she?”
“Umm . . . Forty-five, I guess. She was nineteen when she married dad. Quite young.”
“Wow. She’s so gorgeous,” I sighed as I took in her remarkable features; big, beautiful brown eyes, well-defined plump lips and long, narrow nose. She looked perfect in her classy, chick dress. Her gleaming chestnut hair flowed about her shoulders in perfect waves. “Wow. She’s perfect,” I breathed. “Just look at her. She even knows how to smile for the camera.”
“Well, she was a Ford model.” Xavier chuckled.
“For real?!” I grinned up at him.
My boyfriend’s mom was a Ford model?!
“Yeah. She was discovered around the age of fifteen. Then she married dad, had children and later on decided to stop modelling.”
“Oh.” I looked back at his phone again, going through more pictures. “She’s so gorgeous,” I sighed again wistfully - my eyes transfixed on his phone screen - knowing how I wouldn’t ever look that gorgeous when I reach that age.
Xavier chuckled and kissed my cheek. “You’re gorgeous too. You do know how crazy I am about you, right? More than you’re crazy ’bout my mom.”
A slow curve curled along my lips and I bashfully hid my face into his chest. He seemed to know every little feeling I feel.
“Alana,” he called. I could hear his extraordinary, wide grin in his voice.
I bit my lower lip and tried not to smile too wide. I was suddenly feeling so embarrassed in front of him at how I was sighing over his mom’s photographs and how he was alleviating my beauty-confidence with his Xavierfly-packed-sentences. Like . . . How do I deal with that?
“Don’t call me. I’m feelings so embarrassed right now,” I mumbled into his chest.
He chuckled more, enveloping me in a bone-crushing embrace, kissing my head and temple. “Will you please stop being so damn adorable? It’s literally killing me.”
I giggled a bit and then looked up at his phone again.
“She looks like you.”
“Mhmm? No wonder you’re so crazy ’bout her.” He laughed.
“Oh, get over it.” I laughed too. “What’s her name?”
“Lopez?” I kind of jumped in his arm in surprise and excitement, pushing myself up and facing him straight.
Isn’t that . . . Hispanic?!
He gave me one of his goofy grins with a flick of eyebrows. “What? Surprised to find out your boyfriend’s mixed race?”
If my smile could be converted into electrical energy, I could’ve lit up the whole room. I beamed at him. “I like that. I don’t know why but it’s kinda cool and exciting.”
“Uh huh?” He flicked his eyebrows again and threw his head back, rumbling in sheer amusement of a careless laughter.
He was too handsome to handle I settled back in his arms.
“I have a set of baseball kits for David and matching t-shirts and shoes for the three of us. I also bought something else for you. I’ve been wondering how to give it to you.”
I looked at him inquisitively.
He tugged at his lip. “I’ve stopped by Columbus Circle and . . . I didn’t really know what I should buy for you so I just . . .”
The way he was nervously stuttering, trying to explain something that needs no explanation, caused me to giggle. It was fun to watch him get nervous once in a while.
“I’ll just go get it,” he said and stood up.
Captain stood up too and hopped onto the other couch.
Xavier went over to his bedside table and opened the first drawer. I sat crossed-leg and watched him from the couch but since the room was dark, I couldn’t see what was in his hand as he came back to me. It seemed small enough to hide in his palm. He plopped down next to me with a sigh, holding a velvet, maroon box in between his fingers before me. My eyebrows went up.
Is it . . . No. It . . . God.
“No. Don’t freak out. I’m not proposing you to marry me yet. Not just yet, but yeah, you can expect that.” He gave me yet one of his signature smirk. “But this one’s just an item to add to your accessories.”
“Oh. Great.” I exhaled the involuntary breath I’d been holding back. “Because my dad would freak out if he finds out I’m engaged at sixteen.”
That made him smile instantly. “You would? Even if I ask you right now?”
I responded him with a smile. I know it sounds crazy and dumb but the saying ‘only fools fall in love’ didn’t come into existence just like that.
The light in his eyes gleamed in the most attractive way and I knew I was beholding the most remarkable smile in the world. The corners of his eyes crinkled gently, his lips curved more, slowly starting to show his teeth. He ended with a musical laugh and bit his lower lip as his eyes landed on my lips.
He cleared his throat and opened the velvet box. I sucked in a short breath and then looked at him and the box back and forth.
“Do you like it?” He asked.
“It’s beautiful, Xavier.” I answered with a gasp and swallowed breathlessly. “Actually it’s too beautiful. Don’t tell me you bought me a . . .”
“It’s just a fucking stone, Alana. Nothing compared to how much I love you. I just wanted to buy you something nice.”
That’s it. It’s a diamond.
“But you didn’t have to buy me something so much . . . I mean, not that I don’t appreciate it. I love it. It’s so beautiful. And thank you so much but you really didn’t have to . . .”
He grabbed my nape suddenly and smashed his lips into mine. My eyes went wide, startled, and I held back my breath. He then pulled back and cleared his throat again.
“That’s it. That shut you up. Now give me your hand or else this is going in the backyard. I have no one else to give it to,” he calmly spoke as he pulled out the sparkling ring and placed the box on the table in front of us.
Only then did I realized I had fisted my palms. I slowly opened them on my lap and Xavier reached out for my left hand.
Fondling my hand gently, he asked, “Which finger?”
“Oh, I don’t really know. Your pick,” I blurted nervously.
He smiled down on my hand and slipped the ring around my forth finger. As I felt the cold metal wrap my finger, an unknown gush of warmness flooded my chest. With a wild flutter in my heart, I looked at his face. Xavier lifted my hand to his lips and kissed my forth finger.
“Thank you so much. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had,” I said as I gazed at the slim silvery band, encrusted with tiny, transparent pieces of rocks, sparkling like fairy lights as it reflected the rays of the half-moon.
“It looks good on you. And like I said, don’t make a big deal of it. It’s just one fucking stone. You’re a thousand times more precious than this.” He said, fiddling with my fingers like he was counting them one by one. “Hell, you deserve a fucking diamond mine.” He muttered causing the both of us to laugh out.
“Mom helped me pick it out. I told her about us and showed her your pictures too. She’s already in love with you, not more than I am of course, but she really likes you. She’d been chirping like a sparrow that she wants to meet you too.” He grinned.
“Meet me? I think I’ll pass out in front of her. She’s just too beautiful to be true.”
“In that case, she can pass out too.”
“You flatter me a lot.” I smirked at him.
“That’s how I see you, Mongrel.” He kissed my cheek and nuzzled into the crook of my neck, breathing deeply. “I feel much better now. I feel like a truckload has been lifted off from my shoulders. I feel free. And to top it all, here you are, in this silence, alone with me. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
And I’d never felt more in love and more romantic. Ever.
I reached out for his neck and hoisted myself up on his lap. His hands landed on my hips, pulling me closer to him. I cupped his face and kissed him with all of me, with all my might, all my love, all my gentleness, passion and desire. I wanted to live and remember every dot of an instant of this moment.
Maybe it was the moonlight, maybe it was darkness, maybe it was the silence or maybe . . . it was the way he was looking into my eyes as his breathing started staggering, all I could think about was Now. Now felt right. Now felt good. It was now. Now.
“Xavier,” I exhaled in a whisper, pressing my forehead onto his.
The silence seemed to intensify. The atmosphere thickened, making me feel nothing else and everything else all at once. A thousand of thoughts and feelings fled as something more demanding seemingly roused like a giant wave.
“Alana,” he whispered back, clutching my hips tighter and sending a string of strange feelings all over my body.
I bit my lower lip to calm the ever demanding passion. Even the sound of his voice was spellbinding and I felt high on love.
“Now, Xavier.” My voice was barely above a shy whisper.
He looked straight into my eyes, knowing what I meant. I leaned in and kissed him again to gain more confidence and get over my embarrassment.
Then I said again, “Now. I’m ready.”
He exhaled loudly like he was caught in a mess of surprises and then he gulped nervously. “Are you sure?” He asked.
“Yeah. I don’t even want to waste time thinking twice about it.”
“I mean, we don’t have to do this to prove anything, if you’re not ready. I know you love me. It’s totally oka . . . ”
I interrupted him with a kiss and he slowly kissed back.
“Hmm. That shut you up.” I pulled back and smirked at him. “I know that you know I love you. Stop being so decent, Arquette. Please.”
He gave me one of his dashing, loop-sided grin and answered, tipping my nose with his, “You have no idea how much I want to make love to you, Miss Lancaster.”
Holding me firm to his body, he stood up from the couch and headed for his master-bed. Strings of giggles escaped from me as he teased me with tickling kisses on my neck.