Before I Met You

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Chapter Twenty Eight

“Wow.” Elena says as she admires my work of art. “Yours actually came out pretty good.”

We’ve been outside in the snow building snowmen for the past two hours while my mom is cooking Christmas dinner for everyone inside. This is Elena’s first time ever having a Christmas dinner, and when my mom found out that little bit of information she decided to go all out for her. I’ll have to thank her later for it.

“Thanks.” I grin proudly at my little snowman and then look over to hers. It’s completely lopsided, the carrot being stuck where the mouth should be. “Yours is...” I trail off, trying to find a way to compliment it.

“Shut up.” She bursts into laughter and picks up some snow, tossing it in my direction. “It’s not the best. It’s my first time ever handling snow!”

I dodge the snowball and race over to her, picking her up so that she’s over my shoulder. We both laugh even harder now as I stumble to the ground and gaze down at her. There’s little pieces of snow everywhere in her hair, her light brown eyes lit up with pure joy. How the hell did I ever end up scoring her?

“I love you.” I tell her. “I’m really glad we’ve stopped holding back from saying it.”

“I love you too.” She cheeses.

“Hey love birds!” Dion shouts out the window as he pulls his jeep into the driveway. He steps out with a dish covered in tinfoil, giving me a roll of the eyes. “My mom wanted me to bring these cookies. She said your mom was talking about them or something, I don’t know. I’m just the delivery boy.”

“Here, I’ll take them to her.” Elena grasps the dish from Dion. “I’m cold anyways.”

I watch her walk away before Dion starts to chuckle and raises his eyebrows up at me. “So... you and Elena?” He questions. “Is that a thing now?”

“Definitely a thing.” I smirk.

He clasps hands with me and brings me in for a hug, patting me on the back. “I’m happy for you, bro.” He says. “It’s about damn time!”

When we enter back inside the house, the smell of ham and potatoes seeps into my nose. There’s Christmas music blasting as my dad is finishing putting the presents around the tree, and my mom and Elena already have a cookie in their mouths. Elena has an apron around her waist, so I’m assuming she offered to help my mom cook dinner.

“Oh, Dion!” My mom gets a huge smile on her face and races over to embrace him in a hug. “It’s so good to see you, honey. Please tell your mom thank you for me whenever you see her. That was so thoughtful.”

“Will do Mrs. Quan. Merry Christmas.” He nods, glancing over towards Elena. “Congrats on making it official by the way.”

“Dion.” I mutter lowly, giving him a death stare. He pieces two and two together that not everyone knows we’re a couple. I haven’t told my parents yet. We’ve kept it from them for almost two weeks now.

Elena’s cheeks go bright red when my mom looks at her then looks back at me. “Well.” My mom says, giving Elena’s hand a squeeze. “Isn’t this just a day of celebrations?”

“I’m going to kill you.” I smack the back of Dion’s head playfully, and he starts to laugh, running over to the couch where my dad is, in fear that I’ll do it again.

I go to grab a drink when my mom comes over and gives me a long embrace. My cheeks instantly flame from embarrassment. “I’m so happy for you.” She pulls away and places her hands on my cheeks. “You deserve this honey.”

“Mom, can you not?” I roll my eyes but still send her a smile to let her know I’m grateful for what she said. Up until recently I never thought I deserved love again. It’s amazing how a single person can change your whole perspective.

“Well, dinner is in the oven.” My mom says proudly. “Elena, give me one second and I’ll be right back so we can start on the pie.”

She scurries off down the hallway, leaving Elena and I alone in the kitchen. Just from the look she’s giving me, I can tell immediately what she’s thinking. We haven’t been able to keep our hands off of each other. I know I said I’d never have sex at my parents house, but when it’s three in the morning and I’ve got a gorgeous, naked girl in my bed, I just can’t say no. Every single night we’ve been at it, and I don’t want it to ever stop.

“Stop looking at me like that.” I hide my smile with my hand and lean forward on the island. “You’re distracting.”

“Oh, am I?” She teases. “I’m sorry.”

I watch her lean forward, her breasts getting pushed up from the shirt she’s wearing. I don’t even bother to try and look away. I look directly at them, and then look back up to her. “Later you’re going to wish you didn’t do that.”

“Can’t wait.” She bites on her lip, letting her eyes continue to burn into me. Jesus, she’s hot.

When everyone has gone to bed, I finally am able to sneak into the guest room to see Elena. She’s changed into a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and an old high school t-shirt, her hair in a messy bun on top of her head. There’s a book in her hands that she’s reading, and when she notices me she immediately closes it.

“Reading?” I ask. “I didn’t think you were into that.”

“I do when I can’t sleep.” She shrugs.

I climb into bed beside her and pull her close. “So, how was your first Christmas?” I ask.

“Hm...” She places a finger to her chin and taps jokingly as if she’s debating before she lets out a laugh. “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good day. It’s just nice to see a family that has so much love. It’s kind of infectious. Plus, your mom can really throw down in the kitchen. That food was so good.”

“It really was.” I agree. “I’m glad you had a good Christmas, Elena. I wanted to make sure it was special for you.”

She runs her fingertips over my lips, then gently scrapes them down my jawline. “It was more than special.”

Reaching into the pocket of my sweatpants, I fish out a present that I got for her and put it on top of the covers. She eyes the little drawstring bag skeptically before she looks at me again. “What is this?”

“Open it.” I urge her.

Her fingertips un-do the drawstring and she flips the bag upside down before the necklace falls into her hands.

“It’s not real or anything.” I blurt out. “I found it at the gift shop when we were at Niagara Falls. It’s probably stupid, and you probably hate it, but I wanted you to get your first ever Christmas present from me.”

The heart necklace is dangling from her fingers as she looks at it, completely in awe. “Xav...” She starts to get choked up, and she never does that. I’ve only seen her cry a few times. “This is so pretty, and it’s so thoughtful... I didn’t even get you anything.”

“Trust me, I’ve gotten more gifts in my lifetime than I’ve needed. I wanted to get you this.”

“You don’t know how much it means.” She bites on her lip as a tear falls down onto her cheek. “Fuck.” She giggles and wipes it away. “I hate being such a sap, but you’re so freaking cute sometimes.”

“Let me put it on you.” I offer.

She sits up and turns around so that I can take the necklace and clasp it around her neck for her. When it’s securely in place she twirls the heart around in her hands and relaxes back down beside me on the bed.

“You deserve a real one.” I shrug. “I just don’t have the money for it. I used whatever money we had left that my dad gave us.”

“I don’t care if it’s not real, Xav. Are you kidding? I’m never taking it off.”

The necklace is still twirling around in her fingers when she nuzzles her head into my chest. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s Christmas, or if it’s because I’m lying next to her, but for the first time in forever I feel completely at peace. It’s dark in the room, but there’s little fairy lights hung around the wall, the sound of Christmas music being played from the little blow up figures my mom has outside on the lawn.

“I’m really glad we met.” Elena says out of nowhere. “I feel better than I have in an extremely long time.”

“Me too.” I reply honestly. “Before I met you, I thought I’d feel depressed forever. I thought I’d never be able to forgive myself for what I did, but then you changed all of that. You helped fix things with my dad, you pushed me to come back here and I can’t thank you enough for that. I can only hope that I can help you like you’ve helped me.”

She begins to run her fingers through my hair, and I close my eyes from how good it feels. “You have.” She whispers. “I mean, I still have a long way to go yet, but you’ve just shown me that not all men are assholes.”

“That’s ironic.” I smirk. “Thought I was a grade A asshole?”

“Shut up.” She laughs. “I’m being serious, though. I’ve been talking with my sponsor since I’ve been here and can’t go to group, and she seems to be happy for me too about all of this. I’m just excited because I thought I’d never find someone that I couldn’t see myself without.”

“Your sponsor is happy about you being with me?” I ask.

“She’s concerned that it’s too soon, but I know myself, and I know what I can and can’t handle.”

“Okay.” I pull her closer and kiss her forehead, kissing her lips once she tilts her head up. “I just don’t want you to ever think for a second that I would be upset if you feel like having sex gets to be too much for you. If you need to stop and take a break, please, let me know. I want the best for you, too.”

She kisses me again and smiles, her hands beginning to run down my chest. “Xavier Quan...” She rolls her eyes. “You are such a sap.”

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