When I got home, Dad was in the kitchen. "What took you so long," he asked in a grumble. I walked over to where he stood at the stove, setting the timer.
"He lives on the north side of town," I said. He mumbled something else, but I couldn't quite catch his words.
"What are you cooking," I asked to diffuse the tension. It worked because a smile appeared on his face. "Lasagna," he exclaimed. I raised an eyebrow. I haven't had lasagna in years, but I wasn't complaining. I loved it.
"What's the occasion?"
He wiped his wet hands on a hand towel after washing them. "The occasion is that we'll be having guests tonight. Isabel is coming soon, so I need you to go make yourself look more presentable," he explained. For the first time, I noticed his white, short sleeved button up and jeans. I smiled at him and saluted before I went upstairs.
I rummaged through my closet, trying to find something decent to wear and my eyes landed on a white and baby blue floral sundress. I stripped out of my damp clothes and slipped it on over my head. I twirled around in the mirror, watching in satisfaction as the skirt spun out. Then I slipped on a pair of strappy gladiator sandals and then fixed my hair.
My makeup had been scrubbed off in the shower, but I quickly fixed it back the way it was, making myself look presentable. I brushed my hair out and let it fall down my shoulders, loose and wavy.
I wouldn't have put in this much effort if I weren't so happy. Honestly, I liked Isabel. She seemed like she could be the mother I never had and she made my dad happy. That was all that mattered to me.
I went downstairs and helped Dad set the table. He seemed excited but nervous at the same time and I realized that it was even worse than last time. He kept fidgety and fixing the same time over and over again. Finally, I laid my hand on his forearm.
"Dad are you okay?"
He looked at me and not his lip. He was holding something back from me. I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Dad, just tell me." He smiled widely and looked down at his hands.
"I'm going to propose to Isabel tonight," he said. My mind went blank. I was happy for him, I really was, but I was kind of upset because he wasn't even going to tell me about it beforehand.
"That's great Dad," I said with enthusiasm. I wrapped him in a hug and squeezed. He squeezed me back and kissed the top of my head then the doorbell rang. "Okay," Dad said.
He went and opened the door, but I stayed in the kitchen, waiting for Isabel to walk in. That's when I noticed the extra place setting. Before I could question it, Dad walked in, holding Isabel's hand.
When the next person walked in after them, I stopped in my tracks and my face was on fire. Cooper stood there, looking uneasy. He also seemed to be upset, but I didn't question it. I already knew. Instead, to ease the tension, I put on a bright smile.
"Hey Cooper. Strange seeing you here, huh," I teased. This made him smile and he came over and hugged me, picking me up and twirling me around. He set me down on my feet and I laughed.
"Oh…" Isabel began, surprise registering on her face. "So you two know each other? That's wonderful," she said with a smile. Cooper's face fell a little as he looked back at his mother and his hazel eyes grew cold. I wondered what was wrong with him. Dad gave us an easy smile and he led us all to the table.
Cooper and I sat beside each other on one side of the table while Isabel and my dad sat on the opposite side of us. Dad served our food onto our plates and poured our drinks. We all ate while Isabel and Dad made conversation, completely absorbed in each other.
At some point, Cooper knocked his knee against mine and I looked over at him. "Come here often," he asked softly. I smiled and raised an eyebrow. "Do you," I threw back at him.
"Not yet, but I'm planning on it," he whispered. He reached over and laced our fingers together and squeezed. He glanced up at our parents and his smile fell.
"What's wrong," I asked quietly. His gaze shifted back to me before he answered.
"It's nothing… if our parents are together then we can't go any further than this," he said softly. I saw the sadness in his eyes and my heart tightened, though I wasn't really sure if I wanted more for us. He had hurt me and there was a part of me that would always remember that and forgiving him doesn't make that part go away.
"It's okay though," he whispered. "I'll probably get to see you more often anyways. You look beautiful in that dress by the way. It suits you." I felt my cheeks heat as I looked at him, a smile creeping on both of our faces.
I glanced over to see that our parents had stopped their conversation and were watching us, which only made my cheeks turn even darker as I looked down at the table. I realized that we had all finished eating and I stood up and took all of our plates to the sink, but Cooper insisted on helping me.
I washed while he dried and we quickly finished the dishes. We walked back into the room where my dad and Isabel sat. Dad asked us to have a seat and we did. I knew what was coming next.
Dad stood up, locked eyes with Isabel, and bent down on one knee.
"Isabel, we've been together for a while now and I never thought that I would be able to love another woman again, the way that I love you. So would you mind doing me the pleasure of becoming my wife?"
She clutched her chest with her hand and I could see her eyes glistening with unshed tears. She smiled widely and nodded eagerly. "Yes! Yes! A million times yes!" Dad smiled and slipped the ring on her slender finger right before she flung herself at him and they licked lips.
I looked over at Cooper who was glaring at the ground then I reached over and squeezed his hand. He looked over at me with a sad smile. I felt kind of bad. He told me that he liked me, that he wanted more with me, but I don't think that would have been able to happen anyways.
This was good though. He couldn't move forward with me and now I have a valid reason to turn him down without hurting him. I liked Cooper, but not like that. I could only see him as a friend, but no one has the same vision.
Once Isabel and Dad pulled out of their embrace, I smiled at Isabel when she looked over at me. She walked over and hugged me and I squeezed back. She felt warm and smelt like coconuts. It was soothing and I was glad that she was the one who caught my father's eye, because she certainly deserved it, but now that we would be family, my secrets would come out, if they haven't already.
That's when a thought occurred to me. Maybe they already knew my secrets. At least, Isabel might, since they've been together for a while. I glanced over Isabel's shoulder to look at Cooper. He doesn't know, does he?
Cooper and I spent the rest of the night watching movies in my room. We were huddled under the covers next to each other with a giant bowl of cheddar popcorn between us. Deadpool 2 isn't exactly the most appropriate movie to watch, but it is extremely funny. Ryan Reynolds is one of my favorite actors.
Isabel and Dad had gone out to celebrate so it was just Cooper and I, alone in the house. I heard the doorbell ring through the house and I quickly got up to open it. I pounded down the stairs as it monotonously rang.
I swung the door open and glared up at him. "What do you want," I asked Shane. He looked down at me with an expressionless face, giving nothing away, only taking in everything. He had his thumbs hooked through his belt loop as he stared at me, watching my movements closely, scrutinizing them. I shifted from one foot to the other, uncomfortable with his searching gaze.
"We still have a project to finish together. Is your dad home," he said coolly. I shook my head.
"No, and I don't care about the project either. I can take an F, because I haven't even started on it and I don't plan to," I told him honestly. He looked into my eyes for a few seconds, his eyes narrowing.
"How have you been," he asked quietly.
I looked up at him in disbelief and planted my hand on my hip. "How have I been? Really Shane? If I wanted to make small talk with you then I would. I already told you that I don't care about the stupid project, so why can't you just leave," I said loudly. I was losing my temper, which didn't happen often.
He grabbed my wrist with his hand and I froze. It wasn't forceful and it didn't hurt. It was gentle and caressing as he turned my tiny hand over in his palm. I pulled away but that only led to him grabbing it again.
"Bambi," he said softly. My heart clenched at the nickname he had given me, but I pushed away the sentimental feeling and locked my jaw. "I'm sorry for hurting you," he whispered. He pulled me closer, and though I resisted, he was stronger than I was.
He held both of my wrists in his hand and the other held my face, his thumb gently brushing back and forth across my cheekbone. He moved his face closer and I jerked, not wanting to smell the familiar minty breath.
The slight stubble on his jaw scratched against my face and I squeezed my eyes closed. "Shane," I whispered hoarsely when I felt his lips press to my neck softly. "Please let me go," I said a little louder. He instantly released me and took a small step backwards.
Then there was a noise on the stairs. "Princess, are you gonna come finish watching the movie in your room? It's cold without you," Cooper called out. He froze when he came to the bottom of the stairs and saw Shane standing there. I glanced back at Shane. His fists were clenched, his jaw was locked, and his formerly warm eyes were murderous.
"Um, yeah Coop. I'm coming," I said softly. I looked back at Shane. "Please leave now," I said quietly. Without taking his eyes off of Cooper, he silently turned away and left.
I woke up laying on Cooper. I slowly opened my eyes to find that my whole body was curled up on Cooper and he had his arms wrapped securely around my waist. I hesitated before I got up and studied his sleeping features.
He looked more childish and peaceful, like he had nothing to worry about in the world. He looked innocent and unbroken, like he had never done any wrong or received any wrong in his life.
I tried to scramble out out of his hold without waking him, but my easy going efforts were in vain. As soon as I moved, his hazel eyes opened to look at me and a faint smile spread across his lips.
"Sorry," I mumbled. "You can go back to sleep. I just need to use the bathroom." He nodded and slowly let go of me.
I stepped lightly to the bathroom and shut the door behind me. I did my business, brushed my teeth, and ran the brush through my hair. I walked back out to see that Cooper's eyes were closed again and he was snoring softly.
I walked lightly down stairs, trying not to wake Cooper up. When I got to the kitchen, Dad was already there. I wasn't aware that they had come back home. Isabel was sitting at the table, a steaming coffee mug was up to her lips as she took small sips. She gave me a warm smile once she set the mug down and I hadn't noticed until then that the smell of bacon was in the air.
I looked over at Dad again and my eyes widened in surprise. He was cooking some bacon and eggs at the stove, which was unusual. He has never cooked breakfast before. Ever. I opened the fridge and poured a glass of orange juice into my cup. I turned back and looked at both of them.
"Isabel and Cooper are moving in soon. Cooper can have the guest room that's across the hall from yours. I'm going over to help them with the packing this afternoon, if you want to come," he offered. I just shrugged and trudged back upstairs. I was not a morning person.
Cooper was still sound asleep when I arrived back into the room and I grabbed some clothes from my drawer and closet then quietly went to the bathroom and took a quick, warm shower. I felt the goosebumps rise all over my skin as I stepped away from the warm haven.
I patted my body dry with my big fluffy towel and then put on my clothes. A pair of jeans, with a few shirt and a hoodie. I towel dried my hair, then walked out.
I grabbed the brush from my vanity dresser and ran it quickly through my damp hair, then I went into the bathroom and got my toothbrush to begin scrubbing, leaving the door open. I turned back around and Cooper was sitting, propped up on his elbow with his face in his hand, watching me.
"Good morning," he said low and huskily. I smiled at him after spitting out the toothpaste. "Good morning, sleepy head. Have nice dreams?" He smiled and nodded, then he stretched and got out of the bed with a massive yawn. I shook my head slightly and went back to brushing my teeth.
My phone rang on the nightstand. I looked at Cooper. "Can you get dat for me pweash," I said, toothpaste still in my mouth. He smiled and picked up my phone.
"Hello, this is Cooper speaking," he said quietly. His voice was still thick with sleep, making it obvious that he just woke up. "Yeah, she's right here," he said with a yawn. I patted my face dry after finishing and held my hand out for the phone.
"Hello," I said into the phone, stepping aside so Cooper could go into the bathroom.
"Where the he'll are you," Shane asked in a cold voice.
"In my room. Why?"
"Where is Cooper," he asked.
"In my bathroom. Why are you asking," I tried again.
"Why do you have a fucking rapist in your house Jasmine? What the fuck is wrong with you?" His yelling was not helping me at all. If anything, it made me more aggravated.
"I don't think that's any of your business. Now what do you want," I ask coldly.
Several beats passed before he answered. "I was just checking on you," he said. I rolled my eyes, even though he couldn't see it.
"I don't need you worrying about me. I want absolutely nothing to do with you, so please take the hint and leave me alone," I said. Before he could speak, I ended the call, absentmindedly listening to the beep of the ended call.
I was so lost in thought, I didn't notice that Cooper had come out of the bathroom, a towel around his waist and he just looked at me, a concerned expression taking over his features. I glanced down and saw the defined v dip into the towel, but I quickly tore my eyes away to look at the phone in my hands.