"You look fine," she said.
"To you," he spat and she laughed.
"You're being ridiculous. It's just some new clothes."
"Yeah, clothes I'll never have to wear again. Ever."
"Mm, probably not ever."
He narrowed his eyes slightly, regarding her as she worked his shirt collar buttons to keep his tie in place. He'd never realized how many different types of dress shirts there were until they went shopping for his clothes for today. Evidently, if he was ever going to wear a double-breasted suit (both Claire and the guy who'd helped them pick out what he was wearing today suggested that would be the suit type he should wear) he'd have to buy a new one because wearing a button down collar shirt with that type of suit was some sort of faux pas. As if he ever planned on owning a suit, but he stored the information away on the off-chance he'd ever need it.
"You know something I don't, Princess?"
"Well, no, but chances are you'll see my parents more than once. I mean, they're my parents, they're not going anywhere."
"Once is enough!"
"They're not going to eat you alive."
"Says you. You're their little girl. I am responsible for that," he said, pointing at her abdomen. "I'm not so sure they wouldn't."
"I'd stop them."
"Relax. It's lunch at my house, but you can't show up in jeans or shorts."
"But a tie? Really? God, I can feel my circulation beginning to slow already and I've had the thing on for five minutes."
"It's not cutting off your circulation," she said, sliding a couple of her fingers between his neck and the shirt. "See?"
"Claire, that's not helping."
"What are you worried about?"
"Everything. That I'll leave and they'll tell you that they wished you never told them who I was."
"Won't happen, because I think my mom has it in her head that I was raped or something."
"She what?" He closed his eyes and she could almost see him mentally counting to ten. "And you're just telling me this now? Today? An hour before I'm supposed to meet them?"
"I told her that wasn't what happened, but I'm sure she kind of wonders because I wouldn't say anything."
"Any other suspicions about me I should know about? They don't think I'm John Wayne Gacy's brother or something, do they?"
"It's not funny! Jesus, Claire, you left out the part about your mom thinking you'd been raped."
"It was just a question she asked me when I told her. Oddly, I think she knows me well enough to think I wouldn't have random sex with some guy I wasn't even dating."
"Hey, at least it's a story we can tell. It certainly tops most peoples 'how did you meet' stories."
"You mean there are people who could top our story?"
He chuckled. "I'm sure there are."
"Are you all right now?"
He sighed. "Yes."
"Okay. You'll be fine. Just do what you did a minute ago if you feel yourself getting frustrated."
"You closed your eyes and I could see you telling yourself not to say anything."
"Well, yeah, because what would've come out would've been…"
"Yeah," she said. "So, do that. Whatever you did. Count to ten, breathe deeply, think of Jody Davis hitting a home run or catching one of Sutcliffe's pitches, or whatever you need to do to not be a smart ass for an afternoon."
"I like Jody Davis."
"I know you do," she said.
"Can't we just stay here?"
"As tempting as that is, no. You need to meet my parents, John."
He sighed. "Fine."
She leaned up and kissed him. "Thank you."
"Yeah, yeah, let's go get this done with."
"And you look very nice, by the way."
"Don't think I'm wearing stuff like this every day."
"I won't, don't worry."
"Quit laughing at me."
"I'm not laughing."
"You were thinking about it."
"At least I didn't make you buy a suit!"
"There is that," he said gruffly. "I'm not sure khakis and an oxford shirt is much better, but I guess I won't have to be completely embarrassed if someone sees my closet."
"And who's going to see your closet?"
"Well, you know, when I have the parties here that I have."
"I see," she said.
"Yeah, a guy's got to do something when his nympho of a girlfriend lets him out of bed."
She blushed deeply at that. "And that's one of those things you should not say in front of my parents."
"Really? You're sure? Because I had this whole thing planned where I described to them just how not pristine-like you can be. Beginning with your mouth…"
He touched her chin with his fingertips. "Why do you get so embarrassed?"
"Why don't you?"
"Because it feels good what we do. What's to be embarrassed about? We're both over eighteen. It's not like we do anything real crazy. We just happen to both enjoy sex in all its variations. That's a good thing, Princess. Because if your appetites are not increased due to pregnancy and this is how you really are then it's a good thing we're compatible that way."
"Like you wouldn't do whatever I wanted?"
"Okay, yeah, you're right. I suppose it's not the guy saying no to trying things, but you aren't shy about saying what you want so I return the favor. I haven't heard you complain about any of my ideas."
"So, no talking about the stellar sex life. Any other rules I should know about?"
She laughed. "Drugs."
"No, really? This shocks me that these things are not polite dinner conversation."
"We're not eating dinner. We're having lunch."
"Yeah, same thing."
"They're going to ask you what you do. How we met."
"Beyond at school? I mean, they know we went to school together?"
"Well, sure, but I never brought you home."
"You did on the Fourth."
"I'm aware of that and I feel quite gipped, too, I'll have you know."
"You didn't even know about me to feel gipped."
He snorted. "Not know about you? That's not possible, Princess."
"You know what I mean."
"Oh, you mean the absolutely incredible things you can do with your lips and mouth? You're right, I never would have guessed. Ever."
"Stop," she said. "You shouldn't be thinking about things like that right now."
"So I can't even think about the things I'm not supposed to talk about? I'm not sure that won't leave my mind completely blank."
"That might not be such a bad thing today."
"Very nice, Princess. Grab your purse, let's go before I back out of this deal."
"I told you I'd make it up to you later."
"Yeah, we'll see just how steep of a debt that is in a few hours I guess."
"Honestly, John, I think they're just going to be happy to know you want to be involved. And Mom knows your parents can't know."
"He's never asked, but I assume Mom's told him what I told her."
"I guess that's why you made me buy a long sleeved shirt despite it being almost one hundred degrees outside."
"No, that had nothing to do with it. You think they're going to judge you because of some scars that you had no control over? They're not that shallow."
"I think they'd see them and wonder who you've gotten yourself involved with."
"People have scars, John. They may not have gotten them the way you did, but my parents aren't going to judge you based on your childhood. Now if you act like an ass I can't help you."
"Would we be done then?"
"If I did that, or something like it, to make the parents disapprove of me?"
"Once? No, but if you made a habit of it, probably."
"At least you're honest."
"John, you're not going to do it so the question isn't important. My parents are helping me. Us. Do you have any idea how expensive daycare is? I called a place after I found out just out of curiosity. It's over one hundred fifty dollars a week for a newborn."
"Yeah, really, you heard me right. I think if I looked into private care it may be a little cheaper, but I wouldn't know how to screen someone. So, you can see why it's kind of important that my mom babysit."
"I thought you said all they do is sleep, take bottles, and mess diapers. How does that warrant over one hundred fifty a week?"
"They have to have more caregivers per number of children for newborns, so it's more expensive because they have to employ more people."
"Oh," he said with a shake of his head. "Don't worry; I'm not going to mess up. I survived eighteen years of my parents; surely I can survive a couple of hours with yours."
"Thank you," she said, reaching up to kiss him one last time.
"You're going to muss up your lipstick."
"Yeah, I can put more on."
"Just don't get any on my collar. I have this girlfriend and she'd freak out if she thought someone else was kissing me."
"She would, huh?"
"Yes, she's very suspicious."
She chuckled softly, brushing her cheek against his chin mindful of his collar. "She sounds delightful."
"I'm not sure about delightful, but she's a handful anyway."
"Hmm, I don't think you'd know what to do with anything less."
"You're probably right."
"You've never called me that before."
"I have, too."
"I've never heard you say it."
"Maybe I haven't to you, but I say it all the time at work. It sounds better than other options when I talk about you. You've brought me lunch a couple of times, so the guys have seen you. They know we're doing something together that results in you leaving me hickeys. Chances are you'll be showing a bit more before you leave for school next month. Did I just say something wrong, Princess?"
"No, it just surprised me is all."
"You don't believe in it."
"I didn't believe in becoming a father either. What can I say? You've managed to change my mind about some things. Does that mean you don't consider me your boyfriend?"
"I guess I hadn't thought to put a label on it. I didn't want to scare you off."
"Well, I'm not seeing anyone else. I'm certainly not sleeping with anyone else."
"Oh, you mean sex with others is bad?"
"Don't even tease about that. You realize I could not be held accountable for my reaction at seeing someone else touch you, right? Seeing that guy at the carnival flirting with you was bad enough. But now that we're together like this," he shook his head. "I never thought I was the jealous type, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't share."
"No one else is touching me, John, at least for a few more months. Then you'll have to share."
"Yeah, well, that's different. Lucky kid, too. So, we're good? I didn't just put my foot in my mouth?"
"We're fine, I was just surprised."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com