Chapter Twenty - I Want To Believe
Brennan and I were still tangled up in one another. I looked at him, sleeping peacefully and I wanted to freeze time. His eyes flickered open and met mine.
“Morning. Last day before my parents arrive.” He said softly. “I’m thinking of taking the day off.”
I frowned, Brennan was already taking Friday off to collect his parents from the airport, and he’d missed Monday.
“Why, I would have thought you’d be gagging to be in the office after a short week?”
Brennan chuckled. “I don’t have much planned for this week. Once I knew my parents were coming this weekend, I cleared the week.”
“What do you plan to do with your freedom?”
Brennan’s arms pulled me closer and he kissed me. “The correct answer is ‘who do you plan to do.’” He corrected me.
“Is that right?” I murmured.
“Yea. it is.”
We moved to his room and spent the day in bed. For a few hours our quasi sex friend relationship felt like the real thing. We only stopped for air and food. It was nearing 10pm when exhaustion finally began to take over. I fell asleep in Brennan’s arms and woke to find him gone. There was a note on the pillow.
Gone to get Mom and Dad, didn’t want to wake you. Be back around 10am. Brennan.
I smiled and rolled over, I picked up my phone and looked at the time. It was 9am. I got out of bed and walked into Brennan’s closet. Instead of grabbing my own clothes I slipped a pair of his sweatpants and a t-shirt on. I walked out into the corridor and heard footsteps. My stomach dropped and I tiptoed out into the dining area.
There was a middle aged woman over by the washing machine and dryer. She turned and looked at me.
“Ah, you must be Grace. Mr Wolf said you’d probably wake while I was here. I’ve made the spare bed ready for Mr Wolf’s parents. I’m almost done now, It’s lovely to meet you.”
“Uh, thank you…”
“Thank you Jean.”
I turned and walked into the spare room. My suitcase and the shoebox were still in the room. I picked up the box and wrapped my fingers around the handle of my suitcase. I walked across to Brennan’s room and put the shoe box where I’d found it, before unpacking my case into the closet. I put the case at the back of the closet and grabbed a pair of the jeans I’d bought and a white blouse.
I showered and dressed and I heard the door just as I was walking out of the bathroom back into Brennan’s room. Brennan walked into his Bedroom and smiled at me and then wrapped his hand around mine.
“The folks are here.” He whispered.
“Suppose we’d better put on a good show.”
Brennan pulled on my hand until I was flush against him. His lips touched mine. I placed my hand on his chest and gently pushed back.
“Not that kind of a show.” I laughed.
Brennan smiled and then we walked out of the room and into the dining area where Brennan’s parents were standing, hand on their suitcases, looking around the room with wide eyes. I could tell they’d really thought Brennan was struggling. That his business wasn’t as successful as it was.
“You own this?” Brennan’s father asked.
“Yes Dad. I have for the last two years. I also own a house out in the country. I guess I missed the quiet living. I don’t get out there much.”
I tried not to show my surprise. I hadn’t been aware of Brennan’s house. Why would I, I wasn’t actually his fiance. Just his ex PA and current bed buddy.
“Let me show you to the guest room.” Brennan said.
Jaq walked up to me, and brought me into a hug. “It’s so nice to see you again.”
We walked into the guestroom and Brennan’s parents placed their suitcases in the closet.
“Well Brennan, show us the rest.” Sam exclaimed with a smile.
Brennan enveloped his hand around mind, taking me by surprise but not obviously so. We walked through the rest of the apartment, Brennan did most of the talking.
“I ordered lunch, it should be arriving soon.” Brennan said as we all walked back into the dining room. “Are you hungry Babe?”
The way babe rolled off his tongue did something funny to my insides. We hadn’t used terms of endearment before. I hated that I liked it so much. I nodded and then pulled my hand from Brennan’s.
“I’ll be right back, I uh, need to use the bathroom.”
I walked through the apartment, slipping into Brennan’s room and down to the bathroom. I closed the door and stood over the vanity. Pretending to be Brennan’s fiancee was easier when we hadn’t crossed the line. I splashed my face with water and then shook my head. I had to get it together. In a few days I’d be leaving and all of this craziness would be a thing of the past. I patted my face dry and then opened the door, Brennan was on the other side, I almost jumped back but he caught me.
“Are you okay?” he asked, his brown eyes focused on me, and it left me breathless. I just nodded in response, unable to say anything of value without completely butchering it.
“Lunch is here.” He whispered, pulling me close. He wrapped his arms around me. “Grace, if this is too much I can tell them you’re not feeling well and book them a hotel.”
The thought of Brennan kicking his family out for me was too much, my head shot up. “No.” I whispered.
“I don’t want you to be uncomfortable and I can tell you are,” he said softly.
“We did this once before, I can do it again.” I whispered.
“Okay.” Brennan said kissing me on the forehead. “Lets go.”
I followed Brennan out of his room and walked to the dining room table. Jaq had unpacked the Chinese food that Brennan had ordered and was dishing out food for Sam.
“Are you feeling alright?” She asked looking up at me.
“Yeah. Sorry I just felt a bit dizzy.” I smiled back, taking a seat.
Jaq looked at Sam with a knowing look she looked back at me and then at Brennan before biting her lip.
“When I was pregnant with Brennan I was dizzy everyday, without fail, since well before I even knew.”
I choked on my tongue and looked at Brennan with wide eyes. He chuckled and placed his hand on his mothers shoulders.
“Grace isn’t pregnant Mom.”
“We’ll see.” She replied. “Now, have we set a date?”
I wasn’t prepared to answer questions, even though I’d known we’d get them. I shook my head while looking at Brennan who was doing the same.
“Not yet Mom, there is a lot going on at work.” Brennan answered.
“Well, don’t leave it too long.” She grinned placing her hand over mine. “In any case, I have a tradition I’ve done for both Kate and Jade. I’d love it if you’d let me do the same for you.”
I smiled, but I wasn’t sure what the tradition was. Brennan picked up his coffee and took a sip before clearing his throat.
“There is plenty of time for that later Mom.” He said.
“For what?” I said, finally finding my voice.
“Well I buy the wedding dress dear, we go on a little shopping adventure and pick it together.”
I picked up my coffee and let the warm cup sit on my lips for a moment. If this had been real, if a wedding was really happening the fact Brennan’s mom wanted to keep up her traditions with me meant the world. I couldn’t let her down.
“Of course.” I replied. “That sounds wonderful.”
“That’s settled then, We’ll go in the morning.”
I nodded and began to place some of the chinese food on my plate even though my appetite was missing in action. I managed a few forkfuls and then helped Brennan clear up while his Mom and Dad went up to the roof and used the hot tub.
“You don’t have to go dress shopping with my Mother.” Brennan murmured. He put the plates in the dishwasher while I put the leftovers in the fridge.
“I know. I wanted to say yes. I’ll never get to do that with my Mom.” I stopped and closed the fridge door. Tears formed at the corners of my eyes and I pleaded with my entire being for them to stop. I couldn’t fall apart again. I couldn’t keep relying on Brennan to comfort me because this wasn’t real.
I didn’t need to say or do anything though, because before I could stop the tears from falling Brennan’s arms were around me. He turned me, and gently placed my head on his chest.
“I get it.” He murmured.
I pulled myself back and wiped my eyes. “I might go call my Dad.”
“Okay.” Brennan replied.
I walked away, down into Brennan’s bedroom. I pulled my phone from my pocket and called my Dad.
“Gracie!” He called down the line. “It’s nice to hear from you!”
“Sorry Dad, I’ve been busy. Sorting the apartment and planning what to do before I come back home.” I said softly. “I should be there next week. I’ll get my stuff sent after.”
There was a pause and I knew what was coming next.
“Gracie. You and I both know that all you’ve ever wanted was to live where you are.”
“It’s not that easy Dad. Besides it’s already sorted.”
“It’s never too late. I’m a plane ride away.” he said softly. “Just think about it. I’m sure you can find another apartment, or get your old one back.”
I laughed and shook my head. “This is New York Dad. It’s really not that easy. I’ll think about it okay.”
“I’m always here and you can always talk to me.”
“I know Dad.” I whispered. “I just miss her so much. I thought by coming home I’d feel closer to her.”
“I miss her too.” Dad replied, his voice breaking a little. “But Gracie, she is always with you, no matter where you are.”
I smiled and bit my lip. “You’re right, as always.”
“Shoot, Gracie I need to go. I’m heading out to the golf course with Joe. He’s just pulled in the drive.”
“Okay Dad. Have fun.”
“I will, Love you.
“Love you too Dad.”
I ended the call and put my phone on the bed.
When I went back out in the living room Brennan’s parents were with Brennan in the living room. I walked over to where Brennan sat, and sat down next to him.
“Mom and Dad are going to take a walk.” Brennan noted. “I told them the view isn’t quite as picturesque as the estate, but they are insisting.”
I smiled and shrugged. “I think there is a certain beauty in the streets of this city. There is a bar two blocks down, they sell the best coffee I’ve ever had. I know how it sounds, going to a bar for a coffee, but trust me.”
I smiled to myself, I only knew about the coffee shop because it had been the very place I’d run from the date Belle had made me go on.
Jaq and Sam looked at one another and then smiled. “Well, I’m not against good coffee.” Sam said standing up. “Shall we love?”
Jaq nodded and rose to her feet. Brennan walked them to the door and handed them his door key.
“Call if you get lost.” He grinned as they walked out the door. Brennan closed the door after them and then walked back into the living room.
“How’s your Dad?” He asked, sitting next to me again, he wrapped his arm around me and pulled me in. Suddenly the closeness between us felt smothering and I didn’t know why. I stiffened and sat forward.
“Grace?” Brennan’s voice was etched with worry, his hand ran up my back simultaneously giving me goosebumps and anxiety. I stood up and walked into the kitchen, shaking as I grabbed a glass from the cupboard. I walked to the tap and filled it, only for it to slip and smash in the sink.