His BBN - Big Beautiful Neighbour (Sweet Alpha Brother Neighbour Series

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Chapter 10

Joshua yawned widely as they hit the three-hour mark in their four-hour drive. Marlon had insisted on leaving by five am which meant getting up by four. Blissfully he agreed to do the driving as Joshua had much needed sleep to catch up on. He stretched as much as a moving vehicle would allow.

“Morning sleeping beauty. Rested well?”

“As well as I could with the rough ride I’m being given. I swear I could feel every bump in the road you went over, even in my deep sleep.”

“Sorry princess. I did tell you to come in early. It took you long enough to collect two little boxes.”

“Well, it took us a little while to find it.”

“Two little boxes?”

“Yes, two little boxes.”

“Okay. So, when are you going to make this drive with Anabelle?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know she’s going to have to meet the clan. I’m sure she and Nana will hit it off being that they both have a background in education.”

“Hold on. Wait a minute. Back up. I haven’t even asked her out on a date yet and you have her meeting the family?”

“But she’s the one, isn’t she?”

“Yes but…”

Marlon interjected, “Bro. did you hear what you just agreed to?”

Joshua fell silent, realizing that he had walked right into it. He took a deep breath.

“Yeah. She’s the one.”

“Good choice. You have my blessings. And maybe when you move things along with Anabelle that will give me an excuse to get to know her friend a little better. What’s her name again?”

Joshua slit his eyes. “You damn well know her name. So, you got a little thing for the Italians?”

He shrugged, “Maybe. Or maybe it’s the Italians who’s got a little thing for the chef. Either way, I find her interesting to say the least.”

“Interesting is an understatement. The little Anabelle has told me about her has me intrigued. Happy trails. That’s an intricate one. I hope you have your passport ready.”

“Passport?”

“To take a trip to Italy.”

“Italy?”

“That’s where you’re going to find her papa to ask for her hand when you get to that point of the journey.” Joshua leaned back and laughed as Marlon grew pale. He was deathly afraid of planes.

Anabelle felt as if she was crawling out of her skin. It seemed as if Joshua had been gone for six months when it was only five days. But it was five of the longest days of her life. This morning she had received a text that he was coming back today. He had kept her posted as the family visit went along. His mother and sister loved their gifts. His Nana had asked for more of Petra’s chocolate rum cake though she had diabetes and shouldn’t have been having any in the first place. They had gone to visit a senior citizen’s home as a part of their family tradition during the yuletide season. Another day they had served meals at the local soup kitchen. She was kept abreast. And now she was counting the hours until he got back.

He had already told her that Marlon had made plans to go downtown to ring in the new year and wanted to know what her plans were. She told him it would be spent on my balcony watching the night sky light up with fireworks from downtown. He had then informed her that he would be joining her. She could hardly wait. She felt like one of those army wives or girlfriends waiting for her man to come back from war. And she could hardly wait.

She felt as if she needed everything in her apartment to be perfect. She had vacuumed the rug at least three times and dusted at least twice. It was nearly six pm when she got the message that they had started the journey back. She had a shower and took a nap, setting her phone to wake her up by nine-thirty. She was up just a few seconds before the alarm went off. She checked and double-checked, and triple checked every detail. At approximately nine forty-five she heard footsteps in the hallway. She looked up as they stopped at the door. She was waiting behind the door and swung it open after the first knock. He pushed his head in and quickly pecked her on the cheek.

“Gonna have a quick shower after Marlon. Be right back.”

“Ok. Dinner will be waiting.” She popped the potatoes and ham back into the oven to warm up. The beer was chilling, and the cake was waiting.

She kept her ears peeled to the corridor and at about ten-fifteen, she heard footsteps stop at her door. She ran to the door and threw it open even before Joshua knocked. She had a massive grin on her face, one which was mirrored on his.

“Dinner is served.”

They sat down to eat, grinning across the table at each other like lovestruck teenagers. Quietly they finished their meal and then cleaned up together with the familiar tag team of him washing while she dried. As soon as the last pot was put away, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. She twined my arms around his neck and kissed him back just as fervently. Their breathing was ragged by the time they pulled away. She kept her hands lightly clasped at his neck.

“Welcome home.”

“It’s good to be home.”

“Fireworks await.”

He nodded in agreement. “Fireworks.”

He made sure Anabelle was comfortable before he snuggled under the blanket next to her. The night air was chilly but not unbearable, and if they got too cold there was always moving into the bedroom and admiring the sky from that sheltered doorway.

“When I mowed you down with that box in September did you ever think that we would be here like this in December?”

She furrowed her brow, “Nope. Not a chance in the world.”

“Yet here we are.” He used the back of his fingers to caress her cheek. “I was smitten from that first day. I went inside and told Marlon that I had just met the most beautiful girl in the world and that I was not going to stop until you were mine. I knew there was a lot of reluctance on your part, but I didn’t care. I was going to wear you down.”

Her hands fumbled underneath the blanket for his and he felt her fingers intertwine with his. They gripped and released spasmodically.

“Yes, I was scared as hell. But then a very good friend told me that I had to remember that not everyone was a Brian or Jimmy.”

“And who are these two fellows I need to pay attention to?”

“Brian was someone from high school, someone who I thought liked me for me, but when push came to shove, he hung me out to dry. Jimmy wasn’t a serious relationship. We were just friends with benefits, and it ended awkwardly. So, since then I’ve just been content going about the affairs of life. And then you popped up out of nowhere. And here we are.”

“Yes, here we are. And here I hope we will be for some time to come.”

She turned to look at him, her eyes searching his face as the enormity of his words sank in.

“What exactly are you saying?”

He turned to face her fully then.

“I’m saying I want there to be an “us”. I want there to be a relationship that is long term and not just about getting our kicks between the sheets. I want to be your significant other and for you to be mine. And so, I’m officially declaring to you, Anabelle Landers, that I am in like with you. Do you think you could be in like with me too?”

She smiled up at him as the first of the fireworks began, signaling the ringing in of the new year.

“She could be in like with you too,” she drew his head towards hers. “But I think she needs to seal it with a kiss to make sure she’s doing the right thing.”

He lowered his head to hers as the fireworks continued to pepper the sky. As other balcony watchers all around them greeted the year with songs and cheers, they rang it in with a blending of their hearts.

Epilogue

Anabelle looked around the small gathering of family and friends who had made the sacrifice to celebrate her turning a quarter of a century. There were at least twenty persons present. Petra had given her a section of the restaurant to host the celebration. She was willing to give up the revenue she could have earned on this day for lovers, just for her friend. She smiled over the candles at Joshua and he smiled back.

“Remember to make a wish when you blow them out darling.”

“There’s no need to make any wishes. They have already come true.”

“Are you sure?”

“I have life, health, friends, family and love. I’m happy with that.”

“Well I think you could be happier.” He raised his glass and his voice, and the gathering grew quiet.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to celebrate this occasion with Anabelle. Now Miss Anabelle here claims that she has all that she needs and therefore doesn’t need to make any wishes, but I say she’s wrong. I think that there is something else that she needs that will make this day even more perfect than it already is.” He walked around to join her on the other side of the table. “I met Anabelle quite by accident, literally. It’s true. I dropped a rather large box on her.”

“That must have been some helluva box!” Someone shouted and everyone, including Joshua and Anabelle, laughed.

“It was. But since that day I thank my lucky stars that I ran into her the way I did. I can honestly say my life has never been the same.” He took her hand in his and the audience began to buzz. Several curious looks were shot at them as many were still unaware that they were a little more than neighbors at this point. He pulled her closer to his side and the audience grew silent.

“I would like to make it publicly and officially known that Anabelle and I have been seeing each other exclusively since the new year and that we are now entering a courtship phase.”

“We are?”

Joshua looked down at Anabelle with serious eyes. “We are. That is if you’ll welcome my attention in that regard.”

A few seconds seemed like forever as there was absolute silence. You could hear a pin drop. Slowly Anabelle nodded.

“I welcome them.” A cheer went up then. Joshua pulled Anabelle into his arms and lowered his head to meet hers. They could have cared less that they had an audience. All they needed was each other.

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