I woke up early to surprise Emmalee with breakfast in bed. Tonight was the premier of her ballet play, that they were rehearsing for months now, so I wanted to start her day right.
When I was finishing up, the bedroom door opened and my girlfriend walked out into the kitchen, rubbing her eye, wearing just a long t-shirt.
Gosh, I love her.
“What are you doing up this early?” She asked with a sleepy voice.
“You have a big day today, I wanted to surprise you. Get back in bed.”
“I can’t sleep.” She shook her head and sat down on a bar stool. “Do we have coffee?”
“Nervous?” I poured a freshly made coffee into a mug, put it in front of her and got a mug for myself.
“I guess. I haven’t danced in front of an audience in so long.”
“You will be great,” I smiled, “amazing…actually.”
“Thank you.” She returned the smile and took a sip of the hot coffee. “So… what’s for breakfast? It smells amazing.”
“Umm.” I looked around the messy kitchen. I definitely made more food than we can eat in a week. “Everything.”
“Good morning, hun.” I walked into the living room and saw Emmett on the couch, reading a book.
“Morning.” He looked up and smiled at me.
“What are you reading?” I nodded towards the book in his hands and sat down next to him.
“Parasitology.” He looked at the title as if he forgot what he was reading. “Nothing fun but I have to study.”
“Mmm. My big hot animal doctor.” I leaned closer to him and flirtatiously kissed his neck.
“You’re funny. I won’t be your big hot animal doctor if I don’t finish reading this before we go to Hillside tonight.”
“Yea..about that.” I started carefully. “I don’t think I’ll be coming.”
“Why not?” He finally put down the book and looked at me seriously.
“Because…you still haven’t told your family about us and I just don’t feel comfortable lying and pretending that we are just friends and roommates.”
“Again with this, Owen? I told you I will tell them when I’m ready. I am not ready.”
“I understand. I just need you to understand that I will not be joining you on these events until they know who I really am.”
“Fine. Whatever.” He stood up and walked away. “I’m gonna finish this in the bedroom.” He mumbled so I could hardly hear him and didn’t forget to slam the door behind him.
I didn’t expect this conversation to end any differently. I went to the kitchen to make some coffee and hoped he would realize that this is what I need from him for our relationship to work.
I know it’s hard to come out but it’s been nine months since we started dating and I was starting to worry that he will never tell them. Maybe I’m not worth it. Maybe he’s waiting until he meets someone who he really loves and he will want to show him off as his boyfriend. I don’t know what to think anymore…
I walked into the theater lobby and started searching for Dakota and Trevor since I had seats next to them. My parents are watching Elijah so I can enjoy my first night out since he was born. When I found them I went to say hello but as I got closer I noticed that with them, there is also Emmett, Caleb and…
Jimmy? Oh crap!
I slowed down and mindlessly tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.
I haven’t seen him since the summer after high school. I kept our get togethers in secret the entire time even though he wanted to tell everyone. Even Emmalee never knew we slept together for months since the night of her birthday party. When summer ended and we both went to a different college in a different city, we lost touch and never talked about our ‘relationship’. It just sort of…went away.
“Oh..hi.” He looked just as surprised to as I was.
“Hi, Jimmy.” I smiled. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Great. You?”
“I’m good. Good..yea.” I was blabbering.
“That’s good. You look…wow…amazing.” He looked me up and down and complimented my appearance as he always used to do. It didn’t matter if I was wearing sweatpants and a messy bun or a gown and had my hair done like tonight.
“Thanks, you too. You look great, too.” I said and then there was an awkward moment of silence.
I was insanely nervous which was weird. I always felt very comfortable around him. I can’t say I ever had strong feelings for him. He was more of a friend with benefits to me but I knew he felt differently back then. He wanted us to get more serious, I just didn’t feel the same. But things felt different now. Maybe because I wasn’t around him at school every day? Maybe because he looked so mature? He cut his hair and grew a beard which made him look more like a man than the boy I remembered.
He cut my thoughts with another question. “So..I heard you had a baby?”
“Yeah.. Elijah. He’s great.” I nodded.
“Great name. I’d love to meet him some day.” He smiled and I felt butterflies in my stomach.
“Cool. Yea…we can totally do that. He loves walks.”
He loves walks?! What am I saying? He’s a six month old baby. I was cursing myself for sounding so stupid.
“Well I’m here till Monday so…if you wanna do something, I’d be down.”
“Ok. I can make time.” I smiled nervously.
What is wrong with me? Why am I SO DAMN nervous?!
“Alright then, I’ll text you tomorrow. I’m gonna head in.” He pointed towards the door leading to the theater hall. “I guess I’ll see you there?”
“Yea, sure. I’m going to use the restroom first so…”
He smiled again and started walking away. Everyone from the lobby was already inside so I had a pretty clear view of him until he disappeared behind the double wing door.
I’m in trouble..
“Alright, ladies.” Our ballet master, Ted, walked into our dressing room. “We are officially sold out and the theater hall is filling up quickly. Don’t be nervous, you are all great, we rehearsed it a million times so don’t get into your heads and it’s going to be an amazing play that people will talk about for weeks.”
Me and the other girls exchanges nervous looks. He was right. We practiced every day for the past two months, but picturing the audience always made me week in my knees.
Fifteen minutes later, I was standing in front of my mirror, fixing my red lipstick when Ted walked in again and announced it was time to line up and give the performance of our lives.
We lined up behind the curtain and I could hear the people’s voices buzzing.
My partner and I were the first ones to enter the stage. Then the music started playing and I looked at Samuel.
“Break a leg.” He said and smiled.
I didn’t have time to wish him the same and danced off to the stage.
After the play we waited in the lobby for Emmalee to congratulate her on her amazing performance. They all were absolutely perfect and the standing ovation they received proves it.
“Can you believe our daughter is on a poster?” Trevor and I were staring at the huge picture of Emmalee in a ballet pose. These posters were all over town for everyone to see.
“There is the celebrity.” Trevor teased our daughter when she joined our small group.
“Stop it, dad.” She said humbly.
“Congratulations, sweetie.” I hugged her. “You’re a star.”
“Thanks, mom. I was so nervous I didn’t think I can do it.”
“It didn’t show, trust me. We are so proud of you.” I smiled.
“You all look amazing.” She changed the subject. “That calls for a photo.”
“Great idea!” I agreed. “Let’s take it in front of the big poster over here.”
“Alright, we are going to celebrate a little bit with the others so I’m gonna go. I’ll see you guys later, ok?” She told us and then turned to her boyfriend and gave him a peck on the lips. “I’ll see you at home, babe.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about Jimmy since I saw him last night. I was playing with Elijah but kept looking at the phone, hoping he would text me like he said he would. I’m normally trying to avoid being on the phone when I’m with my son, but I couldn’t help it today. I felt like a sixteen year old waiting to hear from her crush.
Eventually, the phone beeped.
JIMMY: HI CAR. DO YOU WANT TO HANG OUT?
CAROLINE: SURE THING. LET ME GET ELIJAH READY AND WE CAN MEET IN THE PARK?
JIMMY: SOUNDS GOOD. CAN’T WAIT TO MEET THE LITTLE DUDE 🙂 SEE YOU IN AN HOUR.
I picked up Elijah and brought him downstairs. “Mom can you watch him for a second, please? I’ll go change and take him out in the stroller for his nap. It’s a nice day.”
“Of course.” Mom took the baby from my arms and switched to her baby voice. “Are you going ‘bye bye’ with mommy?” She kissed him lovingly on his chubby cheek.
I quickly brushed my hair and put a little bit of lip gloss on my lips. Now I have to figure out what to wear. It can’t be too date like since this is obviously not a date. It’s pretty warm outside so casual dress should be ok. Not too long, not too short. No cleavage that’s for sure. He saw enough of that last night…
Ok, not bad. I thought, looking at myself in the mirror.
Before I made it to the park, Elijah was fast asleep.
“Hi there.” Jimmy waved at me from the distance when he saw me.
I waved back and put a finger over my lips to indicate that the baby is sleeping and we need to be somewhat quiet.
He came to us and leaned over the stroller to take a look at my son. “He is beautiful, Caroline.”
“He is, isn’t he?” I looked at him. “I never thought I could love someone this much.”
“I bet. It must be something.”
We found the nearest bench and sat down.
“So how is California?” I asked. “And college?”
“Cali is great, weather’s always nice. I miss home though..”
“So you think you’ll come back here when you graduate?”
“Oh, definitely.” He nodded.
“That’s awesome, your mom will be happy.”
“Yea, she will. She almost didn’t want me to come here today.” He laughed. “She wants me all for herself.”
“She must miss you so much. Caleb and Leah both moved out, she’s all alone in the house.”
“Are you trying to make me feel bad?” He joked.
“Is it working?” I let out a small laugh. “I wouldn’t mind having you back.” I stretched my legs out and tucked my hands between my thighs nervously. Then I looked him in the eyes. “We had fun, you and me. Didn’t we?”
“We did.” Jimmy nodded and looked away. “That’s all it was for you though.”
“Back then, I have to admit, I wasn’t ready to commit to anything. Knowing we’re going to college and stuff.”
“Yea I know…Well,” he sighed heavily, “it’s water under the bridge.”
“Right. Feels like ages ago. Look at me, I’m a mom now.”
We both looked at the stroller with sleeping Elijah.
“I know, it’s hard to believe. You look amazing by the way. I would never guess you gave birth six months ago.”
“Are you flirting with me, Mr. Williams?” I teased.
“I’m just saying..” He put his arms up in defense and chuckled.
It that moment, I don’t know what’s gotten into me, I instinctively leaned close to him and kissed him. He kissed me back…
..very briefly and then pulled away. “Car, I cant. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. I…I have a girlfriend.”
“Oh my…I’m so sorry.” I stood up quickly, totally embarrassed, “I…I have to go.”
“Caroline,” I heard him call my name but I was walking away with the stroller as fast as I could.
I’m so stupid…