I got to Lia’s house almost 30 minutes early, anxious about the dinner. I couldn’t sleep the whole night, my nerves getting the better of me. I ring the doorbell and wait for Lia to open.
When she finally does, my eyes almost pop out of their sockets. She looks gorgeous. She’s wearing a dark maroon dress that reaches slightly above her knees, with a deep neckline, but not too deep to make it look immodest. Her face is bare, with only lightly tinted lip gloss. All in all she’s breathtaking.
“Come in, I just have to get some shoes and I’ll be ready. You’re early, by the way.” She says as she invites me inside.
“Don’t worry, we still have time. You look great.” I sit on the couch as I wait for her.
Few minutes later she comes out of what I’m assuming is her bedroom, in black 3” stilettos and a black clutch in her hand. Even in high heels, she’s still dwarfed by my 6’4” form.
“Wait a second, I just need to get one more thing.” She says as she goes to the kitchen, then comes out with a great smelling casserole in her hands.
“What’s that?” I laugh, before I can stop myself.
“What? This? It’s basic courtesy to bring something when you go to someone’s house for dinner. It’s bad manners to go empty-handed.” She explains as if I’m a child as we head outside.
I open the passenger door for her, then take the dish out of her hands so she can easily get in. Once she’s securely inside, I give her back the casserole and go to the driver’s side and drive off.
When we reach my house I’m close to having a mental breakdown. If this doesn’t work, I’m going to be sent to Montana!
Lia seems to read my mood and puts her hand on my arm.
“Everything will be fine. Don’t worry too much, you’ll make me nervous.” She says, a playful tone in her voice.
“Okay. Here it goes.”
I exit the car and again open the door for Lia, helping her get out. I balance the dish on my left hand, and take Lia’s hand in my right, intertwining our fingers as we go towards the house.
My mom opens the door before we even reach it, and greets us with a broad smile on her face. She takes in Lia’s appearance, then looks at me, then at the dish in my hand and again at Lia, her look confused and questioning now.
“Come in, come in. The dinner is almost ready. But I have to ask, what is that?” My mom asks as she lets us in.
“Oh, it’s just a dish I made. I couldn’t come empty-handed to your home.”
“Aww, aren’t you lovely. Oh my, where are my manners? I’m Samantha, Blake’s mother, you can call me Sam, darling.” She continues, not even giving Lia a chance to reply.
“Blake, why don’t you give this to me and take Lia on a tour? The dinner will be ready as soon as your father is here.” My mom says, hurriedly taking Lia’s casserole from me and basically skipping to the kitchen.
“Your mom sure is cheerful.” Lia tells me as we enter my room after showing her around the house.
“Yeah, it’s freaky. She’s never like this.” I plop down on my bed as she sits down on my desk chair, spinning around to face me.
“What do your parents know about me? Your mom didn’t exactly give me a chance to introduce myself.”
“Oh, don’t you worry, you’ll have your chance when my dad comes. But yeah, I told them your name. They wouldn’t let me live if I hadn’t.” I tell her truthfully. Those last few days they constantly asked me things about her, but apart from her name I haven’t told them anything else, using the excuse that they will get to know her at the dinner. I know I basically threw her under the bus for my parents’ interrogation, but what was I supposed to tell them when I myself knew nothing about her.
“Why are you so worried?” She asks, getting in front of me, probably having noticed my knee bouncing.
“It’s just… I told you about their plans when it comes to me, right? If this dinner doesn’t go well, they might just do what they planned. And I don’t fucking want that.” I say as I sit up to face her. I can’t lie to her. Everything depends on her now.
“It’ll be fine. You’re overreacting. They won’t send you away.” She tries to reassure me and pats my knee just as my mom peeks through the door, telling us the dinner is ready. But I notice her glancing at Lia’s hand on my knee, as we sit pretty close opposite to each other and slightly smirking at me as she leaves. Damn it.
“Let the torture begin.” I say dramatically, making Lia laugh, as I take her hand again and go to the dining room.
As soon as we reach there, my dad stands up and comes up to us.
“Welcome, I’m Blake’s father, Jared. It’s nice to finally meet you.” My dad greets, extending his hand for Lia to shake, which she does firmly, clearly surprising him.
“Lia Clarke. Pleased to meet you, sir.”
“Oh, none of that ‘sir’ stuff. Just call me Jared.” He smiles slightly.
“Thank you, Jared. I must say, you have a beautiful home.” My dad thanks her as he leads us further into the room, sitting at the head of the table with my mom on his left and me on his right, with Lia right beside me. She again notices my nervousness and squeezes my hand discreetly under the table. I dare a quick glance her way and as if she feels it, she looks my way and drops an inconspicuous wink my way before anyone can notice.
My mom is the first to break the silence once we’ve finished eating.
“Oh my, you are a great cook, Lia. That was amazing.” She gushes, making my head snap in her direction.
“Thank you, I could give you the recipe if you’d like. It’s easier to make than it looks.” Lia answers, her voice soft but steady. Is she not at all nervous? She’s so damn calm!
“I agree with my wife. It was delicious. No offence honey, but you should get that recipe.” My dad adds, turning from Lia to my mom as he speaks, earning a quick glare in response.
“Well I’m glad you liked it.” Lia smiles lightly.
The dinner continues peacefully, my parents have not started their interrogation yet, but I can tell they are going to fucking grill us. We go to the living room, or rather interrogation room, my dad sitting with my mom on one couch, me with Lia on the other one in front of them. I still keep my hold on Lia’s hand, as it’s now my anchor to reality. She squeezes my hand gently.
“So, Lia, how long have you two been together?” My dad starts. Here we go.
“Oh, I’m not sure to be honest. We started talking few months back when I was doing a school project with William, Blake’s friend. After some time we got closer and he asked me out. I was surprised, considering Blake’s reputation at school, but after getting to know him I can tell he’s a great person, actually.” Lia tells him, her voice gentle, as if she actually believes in what she’s saying.
“Aww, that’s so nice. But what exactly do you like about my son?” My mom asks, swiftly changing her tone from swooning to businesslike.
“Well, he’s good looking, smart, funny” – she trails off, but by now my parents look skeptical, getting me worried.
“Can I be honest with you?” Lia suddenly asks.
“Of course, that’s what we expect.” My dad answers, sounding stern.
“Well, to put it simply, he’s different. That’s what got to me. It’s intriguing to observe our differences and similarities. I’m not exactly the kind of girl that guys like Blake would find attractive, mainly because I’m not the popular type; I tend to keep to myself, while Blake is a guy that people want to get close to, to be friends with him, to get him to like them. It’s fascinating how much of polar opposites we are. I believe that’s what attracts me the most. Our relationship is basically the embodiment of the saying 'opposites attract'.” I almost swoon as I listen to her. She sounds so sincere.
“Oh my god, you’re so adorable.” My mom actually swoons. My dad leans back, looking impressed. Phew, that was nerve-wracking.
“You got yourself a good girl, son.” He tells me, the pride in his voice almost makes me cry. He’s never talked to me in that tone.
“Thanks, dad, I know.” I look at Lia and giving into my instincts I lean towards her, leaving a kiss on her temple.
My parents fire questions one after another and Lia answers each and every one skillfully, making my mom grin teasingly at the both of us and my dad open up to her, which is a good sign. He even starts joking around with her! The worst thing is that they chose me as the subject of their jokes.
I put my arm around Lia’s shoulders as they continue talking and having fun at my expense. It doesn’t bother me that much. At least they like her.
Seeing Lia interact with my family made me realize why Will’s parents like her so much. There is just something about her, she’s respectable, kind, funny. But I think what impresses my dad the most is the aura of maturity that surrounds her.
I made the right choice.