tagInterracial LoveYour Love Ch. 03

Your Love Ch. 03

bycnhemingway©

Ok people, this one gave me some trouble but I hope it's worth it. This one came with the help of an awesomely patient editor! FYI, just got a second job and class starts in a few days. So I ask for a little patience from you guys too! Thanks a million!

As always tell me what you think! I LOVE feedback!


*********************************

"What the hell were you thinking?!" Richard Earnest bellowed so loudly Christina was sure it could easily be heard over the football game in the next room. She was sure her brother and his friends could hear her getting yelled at. "The girls called you for hours! They were terrified! When they called us, we didn't know what to think either!"

"I just needed a minute Daddy." Christina responded softly as she hung her head in shame.

That response. Oh that response. Christina knew if she played her cards right this whole fiasco would just be swept under the rug. All she had to do was play the magic words; "I just needed a minute".

Her Father sighed audibly; it was working.

"Christina, you just can't go disappearing like that. The girls worked so hard on your party and you never showed up. We were so close to alerting the authorities. It was Carmen who suggested that you were on one of your "minute" runways." Sighed her Father in defeat.

She made a mental note to thank Carmen later, in a big way.

"I know Daddy, I should have said something." Christina started, "It's just this whole wedding has been so stressful and it has been one party after another. I wasn't sure if I could handle another."

Her Father's shoulders dropped and he saw the stress in his daughter's eyes. He had to agree. His wife had indeed gone above and beyond with these plans and parties from the moment Jackson had slipped that ring on Christina's finger. He himself would need quite a few "minutes" when the bills for these lavish celebrations came in. He never did understand why it took so many little parties to prepare for one big party but he never believed his little girl deserved anything less. He had caved in.

"Christina, I understand. Just the next time you decide you need a minute; just tell me. I'll send you somewhere myself. I just wanted to know you were safe." Richard gave his youngest daughter a small smile and she returned it.

She felt terrible for slightly bending the truth, especially to her daddy of all people.

But the truth would have broken his heart.

*********************************

**7 years earlier**

"I just need a minute!" Christina screamed down the hall. It was 3 AM in the morning and her mother was sure her daughter's shriek would wake the neighbors.

It had all been too much. Too soon.

I can't breathe. Christina thought to herself. What the hell is happening?!

It hadn't been 24 hours since they had buried her grandmother and now they were throwing this in her face?! They were completely changing her plans! They had agreed to her taking a year off and now they change everything on her!

She recalled her parent's words. "Start college in August or pay for it yourself."

She knew she was screwed. She had saved money but that was for her traveling expenses. They switched everything on her. She knew it was because they thought she'd spiral back down her hole of self-destruction if she didn't "properly focus herself".

But God! Shouldn't I know what's best for me?!

Christina knew exactly what to say to make her parents stop in their tracks and give her space to breathe. I need a minute. She'd been saying it since she was in elementary school. It was how she told the world she needed a break. From whatever was going on at the moment, from life.

She ran into her room and shoved some clothes in a bag and walked out the front door. Her mother wanted to chase after her but her father knew better.

"She'll be back Marion," He assured her, "and she will make the right decision."

Christina ran to the only place she knew she was welcome to this late at night.

Carmen's house. Her best friend of 13 years. Carmen lived about a mile down the road and it was a run Christina made often. She jumped the fence and walked over to the biggest tree in the huge backyard. Making sure her backpack was on secure she climbed the worn but sturdy rope ladder into their old tree house. Pulling off her backpack she looked around and found what she needed: a flashlight.

Christina peeked out the window of the tree house and pointed the light directly into a window at the back of the home, right where she knew the bed was. She flashed the light on and off for a minute until there was a light that shined back.

Christina smiled and turned her light off and sat back and waited. It wasn't long until she heard the back door slam and her friend climb the rope.

"Dude! What the fucking hell!" Carmen exclaimed in her thick southern accent, which always made her laugh considering she was Puerto Rican. "It's three fucking AM Chris!"

"My parent's canceled my ticket." Christine said without an apology for her abrupt drop-in.

"What?!" Carmen's eyes widened suddenly. "Why'd they do that?!"

"They changed their mind about our plan." Christina started, "They want me to go straight to school. No traveling. At least not until I have my law degree."

Carmen let out a frustrated sigh. "That's bullshit; we've been planning this for the past two years!"

There was silence. Christina wanted to cry, this had been her dream, the trip she'd promised her grandmother she would take. To discover the world and more importantly herself.

"Well I guess I'm not going then." Carmen said breaking the silence.

"What?" Carmen shrieked with annoyance, "Why?"

"Chris the only reason I even booked this flight was to do this with you! We were supposed to do this together!" She looked at her best friend expectantly, "What the hell do I look like traveling the world by myself?"

"No! You have to do it!" Christina fussed, "Especially now that I can't."

Carmen thought for a moment, "Well what are you going to do?"

"What can I do?" Christina said looking down at her lap. "I know I won't be able to afford school by myself. I don't have a choice."

Both girls got quiet. Their plans had changed but they had to remember what Christina's grandmother had always said to them. "Move forward. No matter what. Move forward." And that's what they would do. Carmen reached in the bin they kept in the tree house and pulled out blankets and pillows and they made a makeshift bed. They spoke no more and quietly drifted off to sleep.

*********************************

Christina thought back on that night. She knew they believed they were doing what was best for her. But she also knew they were doing it out of fear.

Christina was lying in her old bed in her parents' house.

This was where it happened. Her mother had walked in after swallowing too many Tylenols. The doctor said it hadn't been enough to do the job but the intent was clear. She'd left the hospital with a diagnosis for clinical depression and was told she had to see a psychiatrist or extend her stay in a psych ward.

Her grandmother's breast cancer diagnosis, her mother's infidelity, and the pressure of school had taken its toll and Christina had just stopped wanting to be alive. It was a very dark time for her.

But she had made it. Something in the world had pulled her through and she was glad for it.

But now she faced a new problem, if she could even call it that. How could a life be worth living if a person didn't follow their heart? Christina never believed her heart led her to Jackson but just where the hell did it lead? So far her choices in life had been to keep her parents happy. Christina had to ask. What would make her happy?

*********************************

"The pink peonies are out of season. So it'll cost at least $200 more per bouquet to have them shipped in but I told them it was fine."

Dear God had she been talking this whole time?

"What?" Stephen murmured.

Catherine's eyebrows furrowed in frustration.

"I was telling you what the resort planner had said to Mommy and I about the flowers." Catherine replied in a clipped tone. "Where is your head these days Stephen? You've been distracted ever since I got back from Hilton Head."

With that Catherine stood up and slammed down the bridal magazine she had been holding and walked off into the kitchen. The sound of her pink designer heels tapping hardly against the floor was giving him a headache.

It had been six whole days since his night with Christina and it was all that possessed his mind. He hadn't thought of anything else. He knew it was wrong especially with Catherine being back but he couldn't help it.

Ever since Catherine had returned all he had heard about was pink this and pink that. He had come to hate the color. He knew his wedding was going to look like a pink pepto bismol wonderland.

Catherine spoke again, "I'm going to take a nap in your star room. Hopefully when I wake up you will be a little more alert for when we have dinner with Mommy and Daddy."

With that she walked into the room and slammed the door behind her. The thought of her lying in the hammock irked him considering no one had laid there since Christina. He had wanted to preserve the memory but that was ruined now.

He looked down at the coffee table where she had laid out all of the information packets, brochures, and samples for him the look over. He picked up the brochure for the resort she had booked for their wedding. Their wedding would be in December, who the ever-living hell had a beach wedding in December? Honestly he hadn't cared enough at the time to argue the point when she stated what she wanted. Not that he really cared now. He had let Catherine take free reign of the plans since it really just wasn't his thing and he knew he'd just be in the way.

Stephen sighed. This isn't what he wanted. This isn't anything close to what he wanted. He didn't know how he let it get this far. It seemed the minute he'd popped the question Catherine turned psycho bridezilla. He had already been having his doubts about them but he thought it had been a sign that they needed to move on to the next stage in their relationship. He'd been stupid. Now it was becoming clearer than ever that he and Catherine just did not belong together. The problem was he didn't know how to end it. He had been the one to propose and he knew he'd be a complete asshole to ditch her at the altar. He was completely put out with himself.

Stephen grabbed the remote from under the pile of wedding papers on the coffee table and turned the TV on. He flipped through the channels until he'd found a football game. He stared aimlessly at the screen till he could feel his eyes begin to droop. Once he dozed off he began to dream of the only thing that brought him peace these past few days; her.

They were back on his balcony.

How did they get here? Whatever, it didn't matter. This is what he wanted. That night back.

She looked up at him from the telescope and smiled; he couldn't forget how beautiful she was.

She didn't say a word as she walked around the telescope and stood before him. He hadn't noticed but she was wearing a wedding dress. She looked incredible and all he could think was this is it. This is how it was supposed to be. He leaned in. He hadn't kissed her the other night but he would damned make sure would do it now. He closed his eyes and pressed his lips to hers.

It was...strange. Strangely familiar. He knew he'd never kissed her before but it felt like he knew these lips.

What the hell?!

Stephen shot his eyes open and was taken aback to find Catherine straddling his lap and pressing her face against his. She was suffocating him.

Oh, well that explains that.

He figured he'd let her finish, her being his fiancée and all.

Catherine finally came up for air and looked dizzy with happiness. He tried to mask his displeasure.

"Wake wakey lover." She said in a syrupy sweet voice that made his stomach turn.

"I forgot to mention to you earlier" Catherina started, "I reserved us two tickets to the bridal show tomorrow so cancel any plans you've made."

She'd done it again. She was never considerate of his time.

"Cat I'm supposed to be meeting up with Ben tomorrow." Stephen spoke patiently.

"Honey bunny," He hated these stupid terms of endearment, "We get married next month. I'm sure your friends will understand you being busy these days. Besides tomorrow is so we can pick out the honeymoon spot!"

She'd ended that last word on a high-pitched squeak that made him jump. There really was no point. It's not that Catherine had never been told "no" in her life, she just didn't really comprehend what it meant.

Stephen admitted defeat. Clearly there was no way for him to get out of this.

He checked his watch and saw that it was almost time to meet her parents for dinner. He should have showered but he just didn't have the energy. Conversations with Catherine had a way of leaving a man mentally and emotionally exhausted. He hopped up and tossed a navy blue sport coat over his white polo and called it a day. Catherine rushed out of the room still applying her lip gloss and slipping on her heels.

Her blonde hair was down perfectly curled at the ends. Her pink floral dress was perfectly starched and her bleach white teeth would have blinded Helen Keller if the sun hit them just right.

She reminded him of Elle Woods from that Legally Blonde movie she loved. After all she had made him watch that movie 4 times with her.

"All set?" She asked.

He wanted to scream NO. "Let's do this." He responded in his fake happy voice. Stephen prepared himself for an overly expensive meal and subpar business conversation with her dad.

Dear God he just wanted Groucho's and a beer.

*********************************

"How's you fish sweetie?" Jackson spoke up over their quiet dinner that had become a Thursday night tradition. One of them would always cook a rather lavish meal from a recipe they'd found during the week.

Christina looked up from her pecan crusted cod filet. "It's delicious." She smiled at him.

She'd like to think that it was her night with Stephen that had caused this silent rift between her and Jackson but the truth was this was perfectly normal. Hell as far as she knew Jackson thought this evening had been perfect but the actuality of it was Christina was bored out of her mind.

Could she really do it? Could she spend every Thursday night for the rest of her life looking across the table at this man over his bland and crunchy fish? Dear Lord didn't people know she used to be considered a suicide risk? This shit would inevitably push her over the edge. Her obituary would read, "Died from Husband Inflicted Boredom".

She smiled quietly at her joke.

"What so funny?" Jackson said smiling at her, interrupting her private thoughts.

"Oh," she stammered, trying not to give herself away. "Nothing, just thinking."

The silence continued.

"So what did you do that night?" Jackson spoke again, this time his question was a bit more forceful, like it had been on his mind for a while.

"Oh, umm." She thought quickly before deciding to go with the truth, sort of. "I just went to a bar, it was karaoke night so I sang a bit. Then I went and got sandwiches, a sandwich." She caught herself. "From Groucho's, and then I watched a meteor shower." She smiled to signify that was all to her story.

Jackson smiled back, clearly satisfied, "Sounds like you had a perfect night."

"Yea I kind of did." She felt that glow return, the glow that only Stephen had brought to her.

"Oh and don't forget." Jackson's deep voice returned. "Your mother reserved those tickets for us for that bridal show tomorrow."

*********************************

"To us son!" Baker Basin bellowed loudly raising a toast with his drink. "May we always be surrounded by the prettiest girls in the Carolinas!"

Baker laughed his famous deep and hearty laugh before thumping Stephen on the back. Had he not been holding onto the bar at the moment, Stephen probably would have flown forward into the other guests.

Catherine's father was a fairly nice guy. Stephen knew he could be a snake in the business arena but considering he was his future son-in-law, Stephen got the good side of him.

The two men raised their shot glasses and tossed them back. Ugh, bourbon. Stephen tried hard not to grimace. He'd always been more of beer guy. Hard liquor just wasn't his thing. Baker however treated liquor like water.

Stephen raised his head to look into the tables to see if the girls had been seated yet. He caught sight of a waiving hand in the air, Catherine. She and her mother had been were sitting at a table over by the window.

"I think the ladies are ready to order." Stephen said before Baker could ask for another round.

The two men walked around the large area of tables and chairs and found their table.

"Someone's started drinking early I see." Lillian said accusingly as she eyed her husband.

Baker spoke to his defense, "Can't a man bond with his future son-in-law?"

"Daddy I keep telling you Stephen doesn't drink liquor." Catherine scolded him and Baker huffed some stubborn response.

"So Stephen," Lillian began trying to change the subject, "How was work this week? Kitty Cat says you've been distracted since we got back."

"Oh," Stephen quickly tried to come up with something, "I've signed two new contracts that should take me well into next year so I've just been doing a lot of drafting."

"See Kitty!" Baker's voice boomed loudly, clearly already tipsy, "The man's working! He has to put in overtime if he's going to help me pay for this over the top wedding you two are planning!" Baker turned to wink at Stephen who gave an awkward smile in return.

"Daddy." Catherine said in disapproval of her Father's current condition.

Catherine was an only child and the apple of her parent's eye. They were involved in everything she did. Some days he felt as if he would be walking all three of them down the aisle instead of just their daughter.

"Aw come on son!" Baker was in his face now and the smell Jack Daniels was strong. "Us men gotta stick together. We're working men!"

Stephen would never say it out loud but he hated when Baker referred to him as son. Ever since her parents found out his Father had passed they'd taken it upon themselves to "adopt" him. An honor he didn't really ask for or even want.

Lillian spoke up, "Have you two thought about where'd you like to go on your honeymoon?"

Stephen waited to hear Catherine's answer. He figured she's have already put some thought into it without actually consulting him.

"Hawaii!" Catherine chimed in right on queue. "There's a gorgeous resort in Maui that Andrea and Jacob went for their honeymoon and she raved about it!"

It's not that money was a real concern to Stephen. He didn't mind shelling out big bucks for his wedding, at least he was sure he wouldn't if he had been more excited about his wedding. It just seemed the closer they got to the date the more he dreaded it.

The rest of the evening drug on mercilessly. The conversation volleyed between wedding details and business. When the conversation eventually landed on their side of the family's guest list he took the opportunity to motion to the waiter for the check. The three chatterboxes were so engrossed in conversation they hadn't noticed Stephen pay the check. Once he'd left the tip he politely stood up.

"Well this has been great you guys but I am on verge of passing out, long day ya know?"

"Oh!" Lillian checked her diamond encrusted watch, "We are so sorry Stephen we hadn't noticed the time fly."

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bycnhemingway© 6 comments/ 15747 views/ 29 favorites

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