The next morning, I awaken to complete quietness. Not sure what time I passed out or even what time it was now, I just know that this quietness scares the hell out me. I jump up and ran to Liz room through the adjoining bathroom but she wasn’t there. I stop and look at the clock on the dresser. It was 11 am, I don’t ever remember sleeping this late. Why didn’t someone wake me? Once I showered, I ventured out of my room, only David was sitting at the nook reading the paper.
The princess awakens, he proclaims. Good morning to you too. Where is everyone, I asked. Steele had some business to tend to at the house in town and Liz is with her parents. So what’s on your schedule. Now that you are awake, you. Me what did I do? Nothing he said, Liz confronted me about my ultimatum and asked for me to give her a month. There something she needs to share with me but she can’t do it here and need some answers. OK, but where do I fit into this? Take your pad out counselor, I need to talk cause the manner in which she approach is so different then I have ever seen her.
It is as if I wounded her, as if she truly does care about me, about us. I will say this, she does. Before you say anything, did she ever tell you what Stacey said to her that week right before her very public open show of affection? Stacey spoke to her when, she never told me the snake said anything to her. As close as we are, apparently there are things we can hold close to our heart and not share with each other. What Stacey said is one of them. I know they have a history, because they completed residency together at the same hospital and Liz’s disdain started back then. But whatever she said to her, followed by that kiss made her tell me that she would never be enough for you. Never enough, how blind is this woman that has manage to totally tie up my whole life into knots. It is actually the other way around; I don’t know if I am enough to tame that wildness I love so dearly without it causing one heart attack after another. You know I love both of you, so I’ll say this, give her the month. I know for a fact that she loves you and yes the thought of you walking out of her life scared her and woke her butt up.
Considering you brought me home how is it that she stole my heart? Remember our first introduction to your parents? “Mommy, daddy I found him. I found my brother locked out of his house so I brought him home and put him in my bed to get warm because he was cold. Can you make him a cup of hot chocolate so I can give it to him?” I think until I asked for the hot chocolate they thought you were another stray animal I picked up. Thankfully I had the good sense not to be near your bed when they ran into the room. Well, they have been hearing about the brother they lost for over a month. Ever since I learned we shared the same last name, so beyond their disbelief that I actually brought you home they also now knew you weren’t a manifestation of my imagination anymore. But the look on their face that first meeting was enough to scare the remaining heat from my body. You were shaking like a leaf, then I thought you were just cold. Thankfully for me, you did become the big brother I never had. Just don’t know why you couldn’t be both our big brother.
What are you doing today? For the first time in a long time, I am going to rest and catch up with the world around me. We have a big week when we return to work on Tuesday. I know, can’t believe my two weeks is over, and I still haven’t cleaned my apartment. Considering you are hardly ever in that shoe box, don’t understand what you need to clean. Ha ha ha, I’m going to go indulge myself one last time before I take a hard long look at my bank account. Drive safe. Yes, papa bear.
Before I headed out I text Deric to if he could meet me at Sharon’s in forty minutes. Text my parents and Liz to let them know I’ll see them this evening and left a voice message for Steele since he wasn’t able to answer his phone. Then click mine off and headed out. The drive was uneventful, but by the time I reached Sharon it took me a moment to pull myself together. The entire ride, my mind was in a time warp. Either my mind reminded of how I felt eight years ago or it fast forward to last night to the Steele’s words, kiss and how I felt when he walked away. This was supposed to be the chance I needed to find myself, to recapture the part of me I lost eight years ago. Not have me practically having to make the same decision over again. Do I take a chance with Steele or do I walk away? Though walking way really isn’t an option, if the pain in my chest last night was any indication of how it would be without him in my life. If I just listen to my heart, I know the answer, actually I’ve known the answer for a while now. David was right I was running away from what was right in front of me.
Girl what time did you get to sleep, you look as if you been through a war, Deric said as I walked into the boutique. Sharon rushes to my side asking me if everything was OK. Apparently, in pulling myself together for the past 15 minutes before joining them, did nothing for my swollen eyes. I assured them I was OK, but I don’t think I convinced them much at all. OK, spill it, your voice was way stronger when you left me your voicemail an hour ago, what’s going on? Deric, I’m fine, it’s just that certain truth and realities hit home on my drive over here and I had a cleansing tear bath in route here, that’s all. I came to make a final purchase before I have to return to home and work and look at my financial picture. What is it that you want to get, Sharon asked. I have to say I love the new me on this vacation. I feel alive once I put one of your dresses and do a little something for myself. It also doesn’t hurt that your brother loves the new look as well. Charlie always had beautiful taste. So I want to be able to dress like this regularly. My bosses think I need a makeover in the wardrobe department since my new promotion and now I tend to agree. Well, you purchase the intimates that make us feel like a million whenever, so let’s look at some outfits.
Three hours later and a stuffed stomach we laughed our separate ways. I promised Deric I would be back and told Sharon that I would wait for to make arrangements to visit with Charles to see her next. The ride back to my parents wasn’t as taxing, I manage to keep my eyes from swelling, but they stayed watery as I thought of all the ways I could possibly get the man of Steele to deviate from his current sexual stance. However, his determination is generally as unbendable as his name. But I have to try.
This was the last night of our vacation, everyone was meeting back with my parents for a get-together. When I arrived Charles already had my parent’s backyard setup with tables under a tent. There was no way the threat of rain was going to dampen our plans. My mom and aunt were in the kitchen while the men were setting up the grill. Even Liz hands were at work. When she saw me she smiled and asked if the new me mind chipping in. I looked at her and said yes, ran to my room, change and came back as the old me in shorts and a t-shirt. Mom, hearing my first response commented on my return and now please make the potato salad. We all just laughed. It has been a long time since the four of us were all in the kitchen cooking and laughing. While we prepped and cooked, we finished hashing out the details for Renee’s birthday party that was two weeks away. Liz and I ensured them that everything was in place. After grilling us on the smallest of details, they rested their concern and moved to their next probing topic, our love lives.
With Liz’s love life so publicly known, she was first in the hot seat. Betty floored both of us with her first question. Did you know Thorn asked permission to marry you nearly 3 years ago on your birthday? We really thought by now we would have little ones to run behind us already. Both Liz and I stood frozen until Liz started to cry. Nothing like tears to bring the cooking to a stop! Now our moms were confused and asked what was going on? Everyone stop what they were doing and came and sat at the table.
Sometimes I know we hold in way more than we should when sharing would make the craziness in our head go away sooner. We manage to work out a game plan to assist Liz in getting the answer she needed for herself, but all agreed she wasn’t being fair to David by assuming he wouldn’t understand or reject her. Then Betty laid into about her never sharing any of these concerns with her. She was hurt because she thought they had a better relationship and understanding between then and it was her turn to cry. Liz didn’t want to see worry or concern on her parent face daily when she wasn’t even sure of the severity. Mom Liz said, I remember how you would break down each year when my brother’s birthday came around, or during Christmas time. You tried to shield your pain from me, but I saw and I knew. One year I went to comfort you and dad beat me. I overheard the conversation and vow I would never want to cause you grief like that if I could help it. I know what I am dealing with isn’t life-threatening, so I didn’t want to burden you and dad with worry over this. Betty threw a sucker punch then grab her in a hug. Don’t you ever keep another secret from me again because of that silly reasoning, you will never be a burden to me or your father. Barbara said just maybe to that man you’ve been driving crazy. We all laughed as if on clue dad and pops walked in.
What did I tell you, George, you put the woman together and you never know what you will walk into! Please tell me in the midst of all your laughing, the food managed to get prepared? Now when have we ever been late prepping food, unlike the actual workers on the grill, Betty answered. Why don’t you men go out of the kitchen and let us do what we do Barbara counted diffusing the madness. We all just laugh as the men grumbled on their way to the watch some television.
As we got back into the swing of things and laughing about different mishaps in the kitchen while we were growing up, Barbara wasn’t letting me off the hook as I was hoping. I know when you were growing up Di I worried that someone would take you astray. You were so damn loving and friendly even to the ants. You never saw evil in anyone. Now you are grown, and I was afraid you never bring anyone home. That I shielded you too much. Now after this last two weeks, I’m not sure I know just who lies in that body and I am waiting for my daughter to stand up. I told you, someone snatched the real Diane, the invasion of the body snatcher is real, said Liz. Well, I couldn’t throw anything at mom, but Liz got doused with my cup of cold water. Diane, everyone screamed at once. Barbara added, Diane you have to agree that you have changed, it’s none of my business, but are you and the man of Steele sleeping together? Before I could answer, David asked how when they are both workaholics. Now I really wish the floor would just open up and swallow me.
Thank you, David, for your unwanted input! I’m glad to know that you are keeping such close tabs. Hey little sis, to tell you the truth, I was wondering the same thing lately, it’s like someone else has taken over that body. Now you can truly give Liz some competition. “David”, we both screamed as our moms just laughed. To end this now, my love life is just that mine for everyone’s concern. Or lack David chimed in. Lack of what, Steele asked. Nothing, I screamed. She protests a little too much as she turns red. Didn’t know we could actually turn that shade chimed David. We all just laughed. Mom came to the rescue as she handed the container with the meat in it to the guys, I do believe if we want to eat tonight that this needs to be started now.
It official, this is definitely a vacation for the books. I’m not sure anything will ever be the same again.
Once the food was done and gone and the placed washed up, everyone was making plans for the next big event at the schoolhouse on July 4th. We all agreed a festive day would ensue and top by bedtime fireworks. Then as on clue, starlight shined brighter all around us.