We spend the whole evening watching movies and talking about our lives. Technically, we fulfill the requirements set out by Match Made, because we talk about all the important marriage topics like goals, dreams, children, and finances.
Just after midnight, we finally finish discussing the required topics and reply to the Match Made notification before saying goodnight and heading to bed. I manage to change into pyjamas and take off my makeup before falling into bed.
The next morning, I go downstairs, wander into the kitchen, and find Christopher sitting at the table.
“How’d you sleep?”
“Not enough,” I laugh, “How about you? And how are you always up three hours before I am?”
He hands me a cup of coffee and sits down with his breakfast, “I usually wake up with the sun. One night like last night won’t throw me off my schedule, but I can assure you I’m as tired as you are.”
“How could you tell?” I ask, taking a sip of my coffee. It’s really still too hot to drink, but I crave the caffeine.
“I’m not walking into that trap,” he laughs. “But we should probably discuss this garden party my parents are throwing.”
I groan, “Oh, don’t remind me.”
“It’ll be fine,” he slides some toast across the table to me, “I’m sure they’ll love you.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of! What if they like me so much they never want to let me go!”
He laughs with me, but says nothing to assuage my fears. Probably because he knows it’s going to be a hard sell to get his parents to help us out at all.
“So,” I finally break our silence as we are cleaning up the dishes, “What do I wear to a garden party?”
He doesn’t look at me, but I can tell he is wondering why I don’t know how to put on an appropriate dress.
“I mean,” I take a deep breath, “I’ve been to a garden party before. I just don’t know what your parents want to see me in. I really don’t want to mess this up.”
He smiles at me kindly, “I don’t think you have to worry about that. Just throw on a dress.”
He doesn’t understand the struggles of women at all. I huff a little and make my way up the stairs. I have a feeling that figuring this out is going to take a lot of time and energy.
* * *
When we arrive at his parents’ house, I am still worried the yellow dress I put on might be too formal, or too casual, or too yellow. My heels bring me up to the same height as Christopher, but they are a summery wedge and I’m not sure that’s what his parents would think is appropriate.
Is this how everyone feels when meeting their husband’s parents?
The doorbell rings and I’m trying to keep my breath steady as I hear footsteps approaching the door.
“My hand,” Christopher says as the door is about to open, “We need to keep up appearances this afternoon.”
“Right,” I plaster a smile on my face as I take Christopher’s hand, “Thanks.”
The door swings open to reveal a young man who doesn’t seem much older than Christopher. I’m guessing that’s not his dad.
“Samuel!” Christopher gives his brother half a hug without letting go of my hand, “Please meet my wife, Aubrey.”
He looks at me and winks. I had noticed his purposeful omission of my last name, which was our little secret right now.
“So nice to meet you,” I smile and shake his hand, “I’ve heard a lot about all of you, but it hasn’t been very long, so forgive me for asking what your wife’s name is.”
His wife, it turns out, is right behind him. She steps around him to answer the question for herself, “I’m Soza,” she offers me her hand and I accept.
“Nice to meet you, Soza.”
She actually seems like the kind of person I could get along with. Maybe this won’t be all bad.
I struggle to keep up with all the names as I am introduced to various siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Christopher pulls me closer as we slip through a narrow door, heading outside to meet his parents.
“Don’t worry,” he whispers in my ear. “No matter what happens, we’ll figure it all out. They’re going to love you.”
I have to shove the nerves down where they can’t be seen because moments later we are met by the smiling faces of his parents.
He hugs his mother and father in turn before reaching out to hold my hand again.
“Mom and Dad,” he takes a deep breath. “May I introduce my wife, Aubrey?”
“Very nice to meet you,” I reach my hand out to shake his mother’s hand, but she pulls me into a hug instead.
“Oh, I’m so glad to finally meet you. Another daughter! I can’t wait to plan your wedding reception,” she is still talking as I look at Christopher, unsure of how to stop her.
He steps in to save me, “Mom, maybe we can let her actually unpack before we start talking about wedding receptions and glassware.”
“Of course, dear,” she smiles and puts her hand on his shoulder. She turns to me, “I’m sorry to overwhelm you, Aubrey, we’ve just not had a wedding around here in so long and I’m very excited.”
She didn’t seem at all how Christopher had described her, but I suppose sometimes we put on a face for the world that isn’t quite the same as what we feel on the inside.
I don’t get to speak to Christopher’s dad except to mention that the food smells delicious before Christopher is dragging me off to meet one of his friends, Josh.
“Hey, man!” Josh holds up his drink to toast to us, “Nice to meet your beautiful bride.”
After Josh greets Christopher, he turns to me, “So, it’s nice to meet you, Aubrey.”
That caught me a little off-guard, “How do you know my name?”
Josh turns to Christopher, his mouth agape. Christopher turns beet red and hides his face in his hands before running them through his hair.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell her, man!” Josh claps Christopher on the back, “Chris, here, has been talking about you non-stop since he met you. I’ve known him since we were six. This boy’s smitten. You got yourself a good one, Aubrey. I don’t know anyone better.”
I don’t even know what to think, so I just smile, “That makes sense. It’s nice to meet you, too.”