Micah returns to the house on Thursday. I realise that Courtney probably had some influence on his return and his acceptance for us, so I text her to thank her.
Sinn and I make a conscious effort to not touch each other or flirt too much in his presence. He seems to appreciate our efforts and things pretty much return to normal.
I notice the tension leave Sinn’s shoulders as things go back to being friendly between them. I know the animosity was bothering him more than he’d like to admit, and Sinn can barely hide his happiness when Micah suggests that the two of them go for some drinks together on Friday night before the ball.
He acts like nothing has changed between the two of us. I get my care-free, fun-loving brother back.
But his words come back to me.
‘Our parents will say everything for me.’
The ball is tomorrow.
I haven’t yet told Sinn that I love him, and I could lose him after he meets my parents. I can handle their harsh words, and maybe he can too, but the question is, does he think I’m worth it?
If he’s serious about me, he’ll have to put up with them for the rest of their lives. They’re my parents and I’m not about to cut them out completely, but I won’t stand by whilst they criticise my boyfriend.
What if he has one conversation with them and runs for the hills?
I consider calling my mother and giving her a warning about his appearance, but I don’t want her getting herself worked up or having time to come up with insults.
My plan is to go to the ball, introduce them and move on swiftly before shots can be fired.
The four of us spend Friday evening together, we order in and eat the 18 inch pizzas in front of the TV.
Courtney is definitely a good influence on my brother, having her here keeps him distracted and Sinn even feels comfortable enough to put his arm around my shoulders as we relax on the sofa.
Micah eyes it briefly but then forces a smile at me.
He’ll get used to it eventually.
On Saturday morning, I’m in town with Courtney, shopping for a clutch. She only realised this morning that she didn’t have one that matches her new dress and called me all stressed out at 8am. I did not appreciate the timing.
I’m stood on my phone in the dress shop as Courtney browses the accessory section. Every now and then she holds one up for my opinion, but always seems to find something wrong with it.
My phone buzzes with a text from Sinn and not even having read it yet, there’s a smile on my face. He’s now saved as Deliciously Sinnful on my phone.
I have a boyfriend.
The thought alone has me grinning like an idiot.
I eagerly open the message and my heart warms as I read it.
What colour is your dress? In town and want to buy a tie that matches it.
‘God, girl. What’s got you grinning like the Cheshire cat?’ Courtney teases and I turn my phone so that she can read the text.
‘Damn, that boy’s a keeper,’ she comments and then laughs. ‘Micah and I didn’t even think to do that. Oh, well, pink compliments grey nicely.’
I’m still grinning like a twat when I reply.
You are the cutest. It’s royal blue.
I put my phone in my pocket and manage to cool my megawatt smile down to something less crazy whilst Courtney finally chooses a clutch bag.
My phone vibrates and it’s out of my pocket in a flash, I’m not very good at playing it cool and not replying instantly.
I want everyone to know we’re together.
I grin at the text again, can he be any more perfect? The three dots appear and the another text comes through.
Not that it won’t be obvious already, can’t keep my hands off you.
Okay, he can be more perfect apparently.
Can’t wait to have those hands on me soon.
I reply and put my phone away before anyone starts worrying I’m on drugs or something.
At one o’clock, as promised, a black SUV pulls up outside my house. Courtney and I grab our things and get in.
My mother arranged a driver to pick us up and take us over to her manor house to get ready. I spoke to the boys and we all decided it would be easier if they got ready at home and met us at the ball. It would mean Sinn doesn’t have to spend as long with my parents, which Micah was grateful for too, and it also means they get to see Courtney and I all dolled up for the first time at the ball.
My mother is already in the doorway when we arrive, ushering us in and gushing over Courtney.
‘Darling, your hair is just beautiful, what were you thinking? An elegant updo? A chignon? So many possibilities!’
I roll my eyes at her incessant natter, but Courtney seems to appreciate the attention, having worried my mother wouldn’t like her.
We’re taken upstairs to my mother’s bedroom, with has been temporarily converted into a beauty salon. We’re both placed in chairs in front of mirrors and hired hairdressers get to work.
After I’ve been washed, brushed, tugged and straightened, I’m covered in a good layer of hairspray and spun around to assess the masterpiece.
My long, brown hair has been pulled back into a pretty chignon, with a few whispy strands curled and left hanging around my face. It’s lovely.
I’m hurriedly moved on to another chair in front of a mirror in the dressing room, and a make-up artist gets to work on my face.
To compliment my blue dress and its silver trim, the MUA gives me glittering silver eyeshadow that makes my brown eyes pop. Fluffy lashes are stuck to my own, making every blink look like a flirtatious eyelid-battering.
I rub my lips together as commanded, spreading the soft lipstick applied.
Thank God, I’m done.
Lastly, I step into my dress and my mother eagerly zips it up for me.
‘Sweetheart, you look so beautiful,’ she states, her eyes slightly shining with unshed tears.
‘Thank you Mum, you look stunning,’ I reply and she brushes me off, but leans back to double check her hair in the mirror.
‘There’s actually something I wanted to talk to you about before we leave,’ I say and she looks hesitantly at me.
‘Okay, but make it quick darling, the car is waiting for us downstairs.’
We’re alone in her walk-in wardrobe, Courtney is already downstairs with my father.
‘I have a boyfriend,’ I start and she quickly interrupts.
‘I know darling, Micah told me when he said you needed a plus one a few days ago,’ she comments distractedly, still tweaking herself as she studies her reflection.
I take a deep breath and brace myself.
‘I know you are not going to initially approve of him mother,’ I warn and that catches her attention.
Her gaze snaps over to me and she frowns.
‘Why won’t I?’
‘He’s a tattoo artist, and obviously that means he has an interest in them, so he is pretty heavily tattooed,’ I tell her and her face drops.
’You’re bringing a thug to the Hunt Ball?′ She sputters and I wince.
’Mother, he is not a thug. I’m just warning you that he has tattoos and piercings, but that does not mean he’s not a complete gentleman,′ I insist and she scoffs at my words.
’Oh please. You can’t be a gentleman with holes in your ears,′ she snaps and I frown at her words.
‘That doesn’t even make sense mother, we all have holes in our ears?’ I retort and she pins me with a hard look.
‘We’re not discussing this further here. Let’s get into the car and we can talk about this later when I’ve met your....date,’ she mutters.
I catch her wrist before she goes to leave.
‘He’s not just my date Mum,’ I hesitate, unsure whether to say the words I haven’t even said to him yet. ’I love him, it’s serious, so please, I beg of you, try to keep an open mind.′
She presses her lips into a grim line, but nods.
‘If you love the man Lilah, then I will give him a chance,’ she concedes reluctantly.
I mention Sinn to my father in the car, knowing that although his views on looks aren’t as strong as my mother’s, they’re similar. He merely nods, I didn’t expect much from them, but I wanted to warn them so they might not react as badly to him.
We pull up outside the country club and I start to feel butterflies in my stomach, I’m seeing my man soon.
Courtney takes my hand and we follow my parents inside. They’re stopped repeatedly on their way to the ballroom, we haven’t even entered the room yet and already they’re seeing people they know.
I politely greet some of them, but I use the opportunity for Courtney and I to slip ahead and find our guys.
We enter the lavish room, the ball is already in full swing. To one side are circular tables, adorned with candelabras and white table cloths. On the other side are crowds of people, with a large space for dancing.
The familiar triple time of a waltz fills my ears as Courtney and I scan the room.
‘Found them,’ she whispers excitedly and I follow her gaze.
Micah and Sinn are stood with their backs slightly to us, near the bar. Embarrassingly, we both hurry down the stairs and towards them, eager to see our boyfriends.
Courtney rushes forwards the final few steps and taps Micah on the back, he turns around and his face lights up as he sees her. I turn my attention to Sinn, he slowly spins around and my breath catches in my throat.
Oh dear Lord in heaven.
He looks utterly sinful in his tuxedo. Tall, dark and so very handsome.
His tattoos peek above the collar and disappear into his hair and I’m pleased to see he has not removed any of his piercings from his ears or face.
His eyes darken as they look me up and down.
‘Wow Myers, you scrub up well,’ he grins, his voice teasing.
I roll my eyes and lean up on my tiptoes to softly kiss his lips, ‘You look delicious, Taricone,’ I compliment.
His arms wrap around my waist when I try to step back, pulling me flush against him.
‘You look stunning baby,’ he whispers huskily into my ear and I’m unable to stop the shiver that runs through me.
Micah gets us all a glass of champagne, I remain firmly against Sinn, his arm wrapped possessively around my waist as we discuss the the room and its occupants.
I point out dresses I like to Sinn, and bless him, he pretends to be interested and nods along like a doting boyfriend.
‘I prefer yours,’ he comments, his hand slides a little lower than appropriate to graze over my ass.
‘Shows off all your curves,’ he mutters and I smile.
We finish our champagne and Sinn takes my glass, he places it on the side of the bar and then turns back to me.
‘Dance with me?’ He asks and I’m surprised he’s offering.
It’s early in the evening and the music is still very formal.
I place my hand in his and he leads me over to the twirling couples. He takes me by surprise again by placing his hands in the correct positions, I step towards him and place one hand in his and the other on his shoulder.
‘You’re full of surprises,’ I admit, amusement in my voice when he begins to lead us around the ballroom with graceful, fluid movements.
I’m not a very skilled dancer, but with a good lead I can dance well. Sinn is incredible.
‘Would you believe me if I said it was to do with boxing?’ He replies, his tone matching mine, a teasing look on his face.
‘Probably not.’ I smirk and he grins at me, momentarily dazzling me and I almost miss my step.
‘My trainer said it would be a good idea for me to take some dance lessons, including ballroom, he thought learning dances like the foxtrot would be good for keeping me quick on my feet, kind of like how they recommend skipping,’ he explains and oddly, it does make sense.
‘As if,’ I reply, surprised but impressed. ‘Who knew it would come in handy, eh?’
‘I never thought I’d be dating the kind of girl who goes to balls to be honest,’ Sinn confesses and I scrunch my nose up.
‘I can be lots of things Sinn, you shouldn’t categorise girls like that, it makes me sound uptight,’ I say, but keep my voice light so he doesn’t think I’m reprimanding him.
‘I know, you’re teaching me a lot of things it seems,’ he muses, but there’s a smile on his full lips.
We dance for a few more songs, I’m enjoying being in his arms and I’m reluctant to stop, but the dinner bell rings.
Everyone begins finding their seats on the circular tables, there’s about fifteen places per table. I know my parents put us all together, I’m just hoping that the other places are not for their snobby friends, some of them are normal.
I’m relieved to see that I’m sat next to my father with Sinn on my other side, Micah is next and then Courtney is next to him. My mother is on the other side of my father, and next to her are the Laughtons, old family friends, who are actually very pleasant.
I don’t know the rest of the people at the table, but I don’t mind.
We find our table and stand behind the chairs as my parents approach the table, I grab Sinn’s hand under the table and give it a squeeze.
My mother’s only reaction is to slightly falter in her step when her eyes land on Sinn, but luckily she forces a smile.
Here we go.