Lorelai had invited Aaron to her Wednesday night dinner with her parents. Sarah and Mike were shocked when she called Monday afternoon to ask. When she was in high school and the first part of college, she brought guys home quite a bit. She was never shy about having potential boyfriends come around her family, neither was her sister; they loved their parents and were proud of their family. Their parents were cool and their friends liked hanging around their house. And with Mike being in law enforcement, the other parents knew the kids were safe.
Seeing some more of the old Lorelai coming out in the phone conversation, she immediately said yes, not wanting to break the upward tick in her behavior. Mike was equally pleased and got some steaks to cook, hoping that the weather cooperated so he could grill.
Aaron happily agreed to go with her when she asked him. He changed and was ready when she picked him up and they drove over to their house. They pulled up to a very nice, large home in an upscale neighborhood about 15 minutes away from his house. He wasn’t nervous at all, but could tell that Lorelai was.
“Are you ok, a ghrà?”
“Yes, it’s just been a while since I brought anyone home and we know how the last time went…”
“Hey, I’m not him and I won’t hurt you. Let’s enjoy dinner ok?”
She nodded and got out and took his hand to walk up to the door. He stopped her and pulled her back to him and kissed her gently, keeping both hands on her face.
“Relax Lorelai!” He breathed huskily.
She nodded and walked up to the door with Aaron beside her and opened the door yelling out, “Hey Mom! We’re here!”
Aaron saw a beautifully decorated home and a very nice looking woman with brown hair and sparkling eyes coming from a room he could see was the kitchen, “Lor! Hi Sweetie!”
The woman came and hugged her daughter, then looked at the man, “You must be Aaron. I’m Sarah Banks; it’s so nice to meet you!”
“Hello Sarah, It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Aaron replied, shaking the woman’s hand.
“Well, Lorelai, get Aaron something to drink. Your dad is on a call and will be out in just a second.”
Lorelai went to the fridge and got Aaron a bottle of water and sat them down at the island and started talking. They were laughing when they heard a warm voice say, “Hi Baby girl! How was your day?”
Aaron turned to see a nice looking taller man smile at his daughter. Aaron could see the resemblance between father and daughter right away as he walked to his daughter with purposeful strides and pulled her into a big hug. Aaron smiled at the interaction knowing that was how it was for his own sister and father. He was a mama’s boy and not afraid to admit it.
“Hello Mr. Banks, I’m Aaron O’Shay. It’s nice to meet you,” He said offering his hand.
Mike Banks liked this man already. He was confident, but not cocky, respectful and had a humble air about him; completely different than that other son of a bitch.
Mike shook his hand and smiled back, “Nice to meet you Aaron. Can I get you a beer?”
Aaron accepted as Mike sat next to him and they started talking. And very quickly the two men were laughing and Mike took Aaron out with him to get the grill ready. They grabbed their coats and went out to the back patio with their beers.
“So Aaron, first I would just like to thank you for getting my daughter to release her spark again. And you may not think you had anything to do with it, but since you have been around we have seen parts of her personality that she shut away. So thank you…” He took another pull from his beer before he continued, “And I know you know about what happened, probably more than I do and I just want you to know that if anything ever happens to my little girl again I will not hesitate to kill the son of a bitch and dismember him and hide the pieces!!”
Aaron heard the pain in his voice and saw the anger in his eyes, “Mike, I agree with that 100%. She has told me bits and pieces and that has been enough to make my blood boil! I just want you to know that I would NEVER hurt Lorelai, ever. I have told her that and I think she is starting to understand that, slowly.”
Mike nodded, “If you want some more info, Joel and Alex would be the best source. I don’t want to know anymore that I have to; it’s too god damn painful. Alex was the one who found her and called 911. Joel arrived when they were loading her in the ambulance and then called us. She was in surgery for 2 ½ hours to remove her spleen and put a pin in her wrist. He was arrested on the highway, trying to get back to hide at his parents’ house. He still had her blood on his clothes!” Mike stopped as his voice caught and took another drink of his beer. Aaron could feel his pain and felt tears prick his eyes.
“I never liked that son of a bitch from the day I met him. There was something about him and my other daughter calls it my ‘Spidey sense’ was going off big time. My wife told me to let it go and it was the biggest mistake of my life! He slowly sucked her in farther and farther until she was this timid and quiet, almost shallow version of herself…But you, you make her shine again. And for that you will always have a place at my table. Even if it doesn’t work between you two, you are always welcome here.”
Aaron was shocked and humbled by his words, “Thank you Mike…”
And then Mike changed subjects until they were laughing again Lorelai brought out a plate of steaks, “Daddy, Mom says you need to put your toys away and cook dinner. She would like to eat before midnight!”
Aaron snickered and tried to disguise it with a cough.
“You tell your mother that I don’t need her sass!” Mike said snorting and took the plate.
Lorelai laughed as she kissed his cheek, then kissed Aaron’s and went inside.
“So he is very good looking Sweetie! Like a 13 out of 10!” Sarah said as she was prepping the veggies she was going to steam.
“I know Mom! He’s way out of my-“
“STOP! Don’t say it! You know that’s not true and deserve him and anyone else you like!! So don’t start that shit!”
“MOM! You cussed! You never cuss!”
“Then don’t piss me off!”
Lorelai dissolved into giggles as she heard her mom muttering as she finished the cooking, ordering her daughter to set the table. The men brought the steaks in to rest while the baked potatoes and steamed veggies were finished and set on the table.
They all sat down at Sarah’s insistence and started getting their plates ready. They broke into easy conversation about Lorelai’s childhood and her love of history that started early.
“…She came with me to Virginia when I had some training when she was 16 and I dropped her off at the National Mall so she could go to the museums for the 50th time. Eight hours later I am outside wandering the mall looking for her, calling her phone repeatedly and she’s not answering. I’m starting to panic at this point. I found a cop and he’s calling over the radio for a possible missing person when a guard radio’s over that he has a teenager that is arguing with a history professor about the hair color of some of our founding fathers!” Mike finishes his story with everyone laughing.
“But Daddy, he was an idiot and you know! And Reggie, the guard, knew it too and agreed with me! I still email with Reggie!”
Aaron looked at her with her big smile and reached under the table and squeezed her leg to show her affection. She looked at him and told a story of her and sister when they were little, making everyone laugh. Lorelai and her dad were doing the dishes while Sarah had Aaron in the living room.
Aaron was looking at the pictures on the walls, “Lorelai’s hair was so long!”
Sarah smiled, “She always wanted her hair long. Braiding it was such a pain as thick as it is. It would take forever when she was little. Although it wasn’t much better when she was in high school! I was so sad when she cut it…”
“Why did she cut it?” Aaron asked, afraid to know the answer.
“She cut it the day she left the hospital. She made me take her to the nearest salon and they cut it. The lady felt so bad, but didn’t want to argue with her at the state she was in, bruised, in a cast and looking terrible. She had the hair donated to Locks of Love…”
“Do you know why she was so adamant about getting her hair cut?”
“Once we got her back here and in bed with some pain meds, Joel said it was because he would drag her around by it…He used it as a weapon against her…” Sarah said as she wiped a tear from her eye, “Aaron, please be patient with her. I can tell you are already kind to her…You are exactly what she needs, but she is as stubborn as her father and when she gets something in her head, it’s hard to get it out. And for some reason she doesn’t think she deserves to be loved anymore…”
Aaron nodded, “I have seen that and I would love nothing better than to prove her wrong, Sarah. I will tell you the same thing that I said to your husband, I will never hurt her.”
“I know you won’t. You are different, I saw that right away,” She said patting his cheek.