My stomach cheered at the sight of food, and I sank into my chair gratefully. I piled my plate high with roasted meats, honey roasted parsnips and of course, Yorkshire puddings. I drizzled gravy over it, licking my lips in anticipation. Nothing could beat a traditional Sunday roast, even on a Saturday. I didn't partake in the conversation overly as my mouth was filled with the delights of my plate, so instead I listened as Dalton spoke business with his family.
'Next week I'm in London meeting some new clients. It keeps it interesting I suppose.' His voice was captivating, and I tried not to look at him. My eyes disobeyed, running up his strong forearms and his chiseled jaw, drinking in his heavenly features. The last time I saw him he was a mere boy, but now he was a man. I felt a heat rise in my stomach as I reached for my glass, determined to behave appropriately.
'Any special ladies yet?' Asked his gran, with a twinkle in her eyes. He laughed softly, his eyes meeting hers as he shook his head sadly.
'No Gran. Sorry.'
It took everything I had to not fist pump the air in celebration, but instead settled for a secret smile.
'You need to be settling down son. Marriage, kids. It's what it's all about.' She declared, pointing her fork in his direction. He caught my eye and sent me a slight wink, and I felt a blush rising on my cheeks.
'When I meet the right lady Gran, you'll be the first to know.' He sent her a dazzling smile as she nodded.
'You're a good looking young man, successful too. In my day you'd have been snapped up. They'd have been fighting in the street for you.' She declared, stabbing her fork into her meat with gusto. Karen cleared her throat, and asked more questions about the city he lived in, and I shot her a grateful look. I couldn't bear to discuss marriage for a second longer.
After clearing the table up, Karen pulled me to one side, apologising for her mother.
"She's old and traditional. Don't take what she says seriously.'
'It's ok, honestly. It wasn't like she was directing it at me.' I shrugged as my eyes found Dalton again, sitting in the armchair now facing his grandmother as she quizzed him on his love life. Karen followed my eyes and sighed, looking lovingly at her son.
'Isn't he handsome. I suppose she is right, he could have it all if he wanted. He just doesn't seen interested. Do you think he could be gay?'
I snorted then and she frowned at me as I quickly recovered.
'No Kaz. I don't think he's gay.'
'Picky then.' She said as she studied him, before turning back to me.
'I've got an idea anyway. Why don't you try online dating?'
A wild laugh escaped my lips as the others turned to stare at us, puzzled expressions on their faces.
'Absolutely not.' I said darkly as Karen reddened slightly. I narrowed my eyes at her as she made a face at James who cleared his throat awkwardly.
'Just a suggestion Lyds.'
My mouth fell open as I looked at them in disbelief.
'You've been talking about it together?!' My voice was high pitched as Dalton frowned, looking at his mother then James. My cheeks flamed with embarrassment as Karen waved her hand dismissively.
'Dalton, didn't you say a friend of yours met the love of his life online?'
Realisation dawned on his face as his eyes met mine. I shook my head slowly, unable to believe I was about to have this conversation with him present. His gran winked her nose up in confusion s she looked at me.
'Aren't you married?'
You could have heard a pin drop as I sighed, glaring at Karen.
'No shes not.' Said Dalton as my eyes flickered to him in shock. 'So anyway gran, I was telling mum about my friend Alfie. He met his girlfriend online.'
'The internet?' She scoffed, her attention deflected away from me as I sank into the sofa beside Karen, who was avoiding looking at me. 'Whatever happened to just meeting someone? You could meet a bloody serial killer on there, it's dangerous.'
My phone buzzed in my pocket as I slid it out, Nates number causing me to groan inwardly. I declined the call, shoving it back into my pocket as James watched me with a sad smile.
Dalton was trying to calm his gran down, who had gone off on one about strangers preying on women online.
'Have you done it?' She screeched at him, her bird like features suddenly note prominent now she was angry. He held his hands up and laughed softly, his eyes once again meeting mine.
'No. I like to meet people the traditional way.'
This seemed to satisfy her as she turned to me once again.
'Aren't you a bit old to be single? What's wrong with you?' She said, peering at me suspiciously.
'I think it's time to take you home mum.' Said Karen, jumping up to her feet as she looked at James for help.
'Ah yes, Coronation Street is on soon.' He gabbled as she slowly rose to her feet as Dalton took her into his arms.
'Oh you're a lovely boy. Don't waste any more time being single Dalton, you need to me making me some great grandbabies.'
'I'll work on it Gran.' He promised as he kissed her head. Karen and James guided her out of the room as Dalton turned to me apologetically.
'She means well, but she's just too damn old for tact. Do you want a real drink?' His hand grazed mine as I jumped like I had been electrocuted.
'I'm driving.' I said meekly as he chewed on the inside of his mouth, watching me intently.
'That's a shame.'
He moved closer to me and I felt my heart rate speed up as he moved my hair out of my eyes, tucking it behind my ear.
'You need to relax.' He said as he moved away, leaving his scent in the air as I struggled to breathe normally.
'Your mother thinks you could be gay.' I blurted out, covering my mouth with horror as his blue eyes danced with amusement.
'Ha. I know. What do you think, Lydia? Do you think I could be gay?'
His voice was low as his eyes fell to my lips, causing him to rub his chin thoughtfully.
'It doesn't matter, it's twenty nineteen- people can be whatever they want to be. Years ago homosexuality was considered a crime, did you know people that were charged with such a crime still have a criminal record now even though the crime no longer exists?'
My words were spilling out of my mouth like verbal diarreah, and he stepped forward so his face was inches away from mine. I inhaled his scent, feeling dizzy at the close proximity.
'I'm not gay, Mrs Hardy.'
'It's Lydia.' I whispered as he tilted my head back to look at him.
'My apologies. I'm not gay, Lydia.'
He dropped his hand from my face as he sat back in the chair, a knowing smile on his face.
'James is driving her home. My god I need a drink, that woman is a goddamn nightmare.' Karen stride over to the drinks cabinet, oblivious of the tension in the room.
"Do you want a drink Lyds? You can stay in the spare room if you want, I know you've drove.' She hurriedly poured white wine into a glass as she drank it greedily.
'No I'm fine, I need to get going.'
Daltons eyes burned into me as I stood, pulling Karen into a hug.
'Thankyou for dinner, it was as beautiful as ever.'
'What are you doing? Going home to an empty house?' She pursed her lips as I resisted rolling my eyes.
'I'm tired and old. I'm hungover and I need my bed.'
Dalton stood, opening his arms out to me as I stared at him in horror. I couldn't hug that creature, but I was now aware it would look incredibly strange if I didn't.
'Lovely to see you again Lydia.' He smiled as he wrapped his arms around me, pinning me to his chest.
'You too.' I murmured as he released me, his fingers dragging down my arms as we parted.
I was in serious trouble.