Suggestion 12

STAY POSITIVE


LEAH

This was a bad idea.

I knew it was a bad idea when Tyler asked me to come home with him for Thanksgiving after we’d known each other for such a short time. I knew it was an even worse idea after Heather warned me about their mom, but sitting in Tyler’s parents’ living room, I know this was the stupidest idea in the history of ideas.

His parents hate me. Okay, maybe his dad doesn’t hate me, but his mom for sure does. She’s been nice enough, but every time she gets a chance to bring up one of Tyler’s exes or a woman he once knew, she’s done it without pause. I know Tyler can tell I’m more than a little uncomfortable. He’s tried to comfort me; he hasn’t let go of my hand and is constantly giving me reassuring looks.

I’m not sure it will be okay. She hasn’t let up, even after he’s repeatedly told her to stop. The only silver lining is that we’re not staying with his parents while we’re in town. Lucky for me, Tyler rented a small cabin for us in the middle of the woods for the few days we’re here. I don’t think I could handle his mom for more than a few hours at a time. Actually, I know I couldn’t without a ton of alcohol and a few therapy sessions afterward.

“Nicole asked about you,” his mom says, sparing me a quick glance before continuing. “I told her you were coming for Thanksgiving, and she said she’d stop by.”

“What the fuck?” Tyler growls.

“Patty,” his father says in a warning tone even I recognize.

“You two were friends before you were a couple, and then even after you broke up. I don’t know what the big deal is,” Patty says, running her hands down the front of her dress slacks as she takes a seat on the couch next to Tyler. She’s really pretty, with an oval face, brown eyes that are striking against her light complexion, and shoulder-length brown hair that is tied back in a bun. Tyler’s father looks like an older version of him, from his hair to his eyes. He’s still handsome at his age.

“We’re leaving.” Tyler gets up, pulling me with him to stand. “I’ll see you both on Thanksgiving, but just a warning.” He glares at his mom and glances at his dad. “If anyone besides family is here when we arrive tomorrow, that’s the last you’ll see of me for a long fucking while.”

“Son.” His dad stands from his recliner, but Tyler ignores him while dragging me toward the door. He stops as we reach it and locks eyes with his mom, who looks somewhat worried now.

“FYI, Mom, I love this woman. I’m going to marry her one day and eventually have babies with her. It would really fucking suck if they lived their lives not knowing their grandmother because she can’t seem to grow the fuck up.”

“Tyler!” his dad barks.

“No, Dad, even you gotta know this shit is whacked.” He shakes his head, then pulls me out the front door, leaving it wide open as he drags me to his truck and places me inside. I buckle in while he gets behind the wheel. I don’t want to look, but my eyes lift, and I see his mom standing in the open front door with what look like tears in her eyes. I watch his dad wrap his arms around her and pull her inside, shutting the door.

“I’m sorry, baby.” Tyler scrubs his hands down his face. “Fuck, I thought . . . I thought she would lay off after she met you and saw how happy I am.”

“It’s okay,” I try to reassure him, and his angry eyes come to me.

“It’s not okay, Leah. None of that shit she said was okay.”

“You’re right, but then again, it could’ve been worse.”

“Worse?” He looks doubtful.

“Well . . .” I roll my lips together. “For starters, all of the women she mentioned could have been here to welcome you home.” His lips twitch slightly. “She probably didn’t invite them because there was no way all of them could fit in the living room.”

“Why, when I’m so fucking pissed that I’m seeing red, do I still wanna laugh?”

I ignore his comment and add quietly, “You’ve dated a lot.”

“Yeah,” he agrees. He reaches over and grabs my hand while wrapping his other hand around the back of my neck to pull me closer. “Not one of them had the power to hold me, baby. Not one of them made me look forward to my future the way you do.”

“You don’t have to convince me. I know I couldn’t feel what I do without you feeling the same in return,” I say softly, and he leans forward, brushing his lips against mine.

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