Now everyone was seated in the main living room with surprised looks on their faces. Steven looking the least surprised out of all, since he was more inclined on how much 'blonder' his hair could get if he sat in the burning sun long enough. I rolled my eyes imaging that he'd burn before he could get more golden. Elan seemed to have reacted the most unexpectedly out of all of us. When she was coming up the stairs with Steven, she found us all gaping at each other. I don't know how humanly possible it was to just stand there and act like a statue for about three minutes because that's how long it took for us to snap back to normal. Well... Kind of.
Coming back to unexpected expressions of emotion, Elan didn't lash out like a mad cow the way I expected her to do when my mom said in disbelief, "Married? Dean, did you know we were getting married?" Her voice rose up in the most weirdest places-- something she and Christobelle do when they were blatantly confused. Anyways, Elan just blinked stupidly and shook her head a couple of times. She held onto Steven's arm as if she were going to faint but she was strong enough to walk over to her father and stare up at him in the most innocent way ever.
Dean just looked down and almost flinched when his daughter opened her mouth and said, "What colour dress can I wear?"
Obviously, when she said that, I was more confused than ever.
Danny nudged my shoulder. I blink and look around, clearly disturbed from my recollected memory of what happened five seconds ago. I widen my eyes at him as he returned me a wary look. He did not realize the whole situation here.
He leaned down and whispered, "Oh yes I do. You're going to be living with little Miss Congeniality here." His smirk faded when I gave him a look that could kill. He sat back and kept his gray eyes glued onto the ceiling.
"Dean...?" My mother was actually speaking again. She just finished cleaning up the mess she made. insisted that he would help clean it, but she declined. I could sense the blunt confusion my mother is experiencing. I guess happiness didn't sink in yet, but... My mom is like that. She doesn't get happy right away. She's not so sold over something until she can get the facts about them. I think that right now, she needs Dean to say something. Anything.
As my mom sat down beside him, Dean just stared at the wood floor, managing to look as young as Elan. No wonder Elan could pull off looking like such an angel-- reluctantly, reluctantly I say-- her father looks like some ageless movie star. He looks up just now and looks at my mom, "Fiona... Are you upset?"
My mom's hazel eyes seemed confused just then. Chrissy tightened my hand in anticipation. Oh. I know what she's thinking. She wants mom to say yes. Don't get me wrong, of course I want her to say yes... It's just...
"She isn't, she isn't!" Elan yelped as she stands up all of a sudden.
Everyone averts their attention towards her. She gets an indignant look on her pale face then it starts to redden. She grimaced slightly and sat back down beside Steven. Danny scoffed a bit and I suppressed a giggle. This still didn't distract me from the fact that I might end up living with the Wicked Witch of the West.
Dean touched my mom's knee slightly. She sat there with this distant look on her face, her lips were parted ever so slightly in shock? Confusion? Some kind of upset? I don't know. My eyebrows knit together as we all watch her exhale. Danny held my other hand and leaned on me a bit. Finally, my mom managed to choke out something, "No... I not angry... I mean, I'm not angry... I'm just so... Wow, I--" She held a hand to her cheek as it flushed.
Even if I had to share a roof with evil, seeing my mom like this made me want to get all fuzzy. My eyes even started to mist up. I rest my head on Danny's shoulder and watch the faint smile lighting up my mother's face.
"Tell me you're happy, are you?" Elan's father asks as he smoothed back his blond hair nervously. To think that I thought that this man so confident. Just the way that he drove around in his expensive Viper... He's reduced to a nervous wreck in a matter of seconds. Just for my mom. I grinned, it was really something to see.
My mom, being the emotional wreck she was, starts to burst into tears. She cupped her mouth and a few incoherent squeaks of words came out. Chrissy let out an 'Aw' and held a hand to her heart like some affected mother watching her daughter walk down the aisle. My mom shakes her head slowly, "I'm just really surprised! were you going to..."
"...No, I wasn't going to propose today... I was actually thinking about it but not today, " Dean said with a slight look of admiration in his eyes as he stared at my mom.
My eyes dart towards Elan, who was sitting off to the side. Her face surprised me. It was contorted and scrunched up like a Cabbage Patch Kid's face. Oh my God... She's crying?! I get taken aback by that and just keep on staring. Her face was pink and she was making a sad attempt at shielding it. I knew those were tears of joy, but why is she so happy.
"Because... She's pretty sure she has a proper mother figure, " Danny whispers in my ear just then. I look up at him to see the serious look on his face. He wasn't kidding. That scared me. It scared me more than the fact that Elan cared about things like that. I scratch at my arm and sink into the couch.
When I looked forward, my mother and Elan's father were standing up. I thought that Elan's dad was going to propose but he didn't. Obviously he just said that he wasn't going to propose anytime soon. My mom looked like some lady after a day at the spa. She looked all glowy and at peace and seemed like she would topple over anytime soon. Dean whispers something to her and she laughs heartily. Just then she glances at all of us.
Her cheeks flush a bit and she annouced, "Um... I kind of forgot you kids were here, I just--"
Chrissy was the first one to get up and tackle mom and Dean with a constraining group hug. She squealed and said, "Congratulations!"
Jakey, who was sitting beside her on the couch was rubbing his leg after my sister bruised it while using it for leverage to get up. He stuck his thumb up and smiled, "Best of luck for you and ."
"Yeah, what he said... Now I need to go outside... My phone just lost service, " Steven muttered as he got up. Elan kicked him behind the knee, making him stumble and almost fall over.
Danny shook his head at the sight. "Shame he wasn't born with a brain..."
I shrugged, watching Elan smile with contempt at Steven then telling him to shut-up and stay put. "It would be too dangerous to make a man be incredibly intelligent and good looking. Everyone has an Achilles heel, you know."
"Like I didn't, plus I don't fit in the everyone category... " Danny whispered and smirked. He got up and shook 's hand and gave my mom a hug. I did the same.
We sit back down and watch everyone freak out and keep congratulating. I nudge Danny, "How can you say that?"
"You know, 'I don't fit the category... Blah, blah, blah' You're very modest, eh?" I tilt my head at him in a mockingly spiteful way.
He lifted his red eyebrows in an innocent manner, "It's the truth, Desy, believe me. I am the perfect specimen."
"Only adds to my perfection. I am cool, geeky, mysterious, enigmatic... I'm everything, " he gives me a wide smile that made me feel all weightless. Danny leans close towards me and whispers, "That would obviously make dangerous, right?" He gets this serious look on his face and his gray eyes seemed to darken a bit. He smirked conspiratorially.
Rolling my eyes, I tap his forhead and push his head back, "Far from it. You're about as dangerous as a puppy."
Danny taps his chest a bit. "Gah, my heart. That was a hard hit, Des." He flopped back into his seat then asked, "Aren't you going to ask your mom and Dean more details about the wedding coming up? I could hear some pretty great plans on how the dresses will look like. Hm, Tiffany Blue. That would be a beautiful colour on you." He stroked his chin and contemplated that for a moment.
My face reddens, "Really--" He was getting me off track by making some diversion. Making me look on the bright side?
"Perhaps, " Danny gave a casual shrug and tapped his fingers on his knee.
He kept tapping until I grabbed his fingers. I grabbed them quite gently actually. I curled my small fingers around his giant hand. His hand wasn't exactly giant. You know, like all meaty and huge. His hands were just stretched out. Long. He had long dainty fingers. that made me laugh.
"What is it? You best not be laughing about my manly fingers, Desy, " he replied in a serious tone.
"Oh so manly, right, " I nod gravely. Then, more seriously, "I'm not ready for this really... I-- I just don't know, to be quite honest about this." My lips were moving but no sound came out. Luckily, Danny understood me perfectly fine.
He tapped his fingers on mine and nodded intently, "I think that right now you should try to be happy for your mom. It seems as if she hasn't been this happy in awhile."
He was right. I look at him and mouth, "How did you know?"
Danny shrugged, "I got a feeling about that. That's all."
"Oh, " I look at where everyone was now. They all went to the kitchen and were chatting. I could hear Elan arguing with Christobelle about what the flowers should look like. My head pounded slightly at that moment. Why are they planning already? I look at how Elan rolled her eyes and ran a hand through her long blond hair. Christobelle on the other hand was reasoning and had a hand placed on her waist, with Jake by her side. He was more inclined on what music would be played at the future reception though. Even Steven was thinking about the wedding. I'd doubt he'd make it as Elan's boyfriend around that time, but he's hoping there would be good food.
As for mom and Dean... I couldn't see them, they were not standing by the doorway of the kitchen. Although, I could hear what my mom's thinking about. She was thinking about how happy everyone will be and not having to move every couple of years anymore to establish some sort of life. She could actually stay. We're actually going to stay and live in Stapleton.
Danny put his arm around my shoulder, "Hey Desy, be happy." He rubbed my shoudler and gave me a tight squeeze.
I give him a faint smile and watch the scene happening in the other room. I should be there. Why aren't I there? I felt some sort of emptiness in my mind. I think that's what was missing. My sense of belonging. Why didn't I ever feel like I belonged anywhere?
Suddenly, Danny stands up and pulls me up with him. I stare up at him and he pulls me closer towards him. I push him away lightly, "Danny, we're not going to kiss around here... please, I'm not 'you know who'." I laugh and nudge him.
His face read something else though. He rolled his gray eyes and tugged on my arm. I stand there uncertain if I should leave while my mom and future stepfather are celebrating. Danny nodded towards the door, "Don't worry--"
"Come on, " Danny replies softly as he lead us out of the living room and into the open foyer. He opened the door without even putting his shoes back on. That made me also step outside in my bare feet. I had taken off the heels Chrissy gave me since they hurt so badly.
I stare at his black socks. They had little green frogs on them. I scoff, "Nice socks."
He actually managed to shrug off my comment. I was a bit stunned and followed him mutely. We walk onto the porch of my house. He let go of my hand and leaned on the wooden railing. It was dark outside and the stars were just starting to come out. Was that what he wanted me to see? Or did he just want me to feel how warm it was outside? I pull at my shirt, already I'm sweating. Great.
"Danny? Why the heck did you bring us out here?" I looked behind me and focused on the window of my house. They still didn't leave the kitchen. Just as if nothing had happened. I look back at Danny. He was leaning forward. I couldn't see his face. He didn't say anything. I crossed my arms, "Danny..."
He shushed me. I grumbled angrily and stood off to the side, waiting for Danny to stop admiring the evening sky. After a few seconds he turned around. Great timing for him because I was just about to give up on trying to communicate with him.
Danny waves his hand at me and leaned against the porch railings. "Over here, Desy."
I knew he was too stubborn for his own good so I wordlessly walk up. I stop beside him and lean against the rail. "Now Danny, what is it?"
He looks over at me. His face was almost kind of all glowy in the night because of the way the moon shone in the sky. "You know, " was what he only said.
Squinting my eyes at him in disbelief, I shake my head slowly, "No... No... I don't..."
My hand ran along the smooth splint-less wood, "Well..."
Danny's gaze kind of intimidated me, since when did he have to become so smart all of a sudden? I wrap my arms around myself even though it was hot outside. It was twenty-two degrees today after all. It was just so how easily he could know how I feel... It just sent a cold feeling over me all of a sudden. I rest my head on my palm and stare straight ahead. There was the park across from our string of houses.
"That's not bad..." Danny exlcaims. I turn to stare up at him. He was focusing on the same scenery that I was trying to stare at earlier. He shrugged, "It's not like you're being selfish or anything, or you're just plain bitter... No, of course not..."
"Shut-up, " I muttered. "You're killing me here." I run a hand through my brown hair and let out a sigh, "Am I bitter?"
My mouth almost drops. I cup it and turn away. My cheeks flush. How embarrassing was that? I turn back and look at Danny. The sarcastic smile on his face caught me off guard, he laughed and shook his head, "Just kidding."
"Danny, that wasn't funny..." I rolled my eyes. A bit too warily to be quite honest. He almost got me there.
His expression was serious again, "Like I said, it's okay to feel that way--"
"No kidding me?"
"I swear, I'm serious, " he put up his hand and crossed his heart. He settled back on the railing as he turned around. I stared at the side of his face, there was a little bit of a distant smile on his face. "All I have to say is though, just don't try to let people know that you're upset. Can't you see that everyone's happy? Look, have you seen Elan's face?"
Reluctantly, I filled in the two second gap that he left, "Yeah, I thought her face would crack when she actually grinned."
Danny gave a smile. He continued, "Like I said, she's just happy that she won't have another crappy stepmother. She feels as if she knows that your mom's a great mom--"
"--How do you... Know all of this?" I asked.
"She's always thinking about it. Among other things that have to do with you, " Danny replied.
Intrigued, I lift my eyebrows, "Like what?"
"She's jealous of you, " Danny casually said.
I start to laugh, "You're too funny. Okay, so little Barbie over there is jealous of me? Klutzy. Spastic. Absurd--"
"--Are you done yet?" Danny exclaims as he gave me a dubious look. He shook his head at me, "You are not klutzy."
"So I'm spastic and absurd?"
"Those are some great qualities, " he said. I gave him a glare. He rocked on the heel of his socked feet and let out a low whistle. "On to what we were saying... Elan's jealous of what you have."
"Hm, that seems more plausible... What? Still, that's kind of strange. She has everything, yet I'm just that average type of girl--"
"--You are not average."
"Fine, above-average. Happy?"
Danny smiled at me and shook his head, "Yeah." He starts to get a thoughtful look on his face. He turns back to lean on the railing again, "Are you going to let me speak now?"
"...If what you're saying makes sense, then sure, " I lean forward and wait.
He takes a little breath and gazes at me, "Well, what I practically picked up from Elan was this: She's had four stepmoms, all of which probably tried to be her best friend or found her as a threat to their relationship with Dean. Basically, they either paid too much attention to her for the wrong reasons or they just treated her like she wasn't there. The reason why she hates you is that she has to see you every single day living as if you're so happy--"
"--I'm not at all entirely happy. No one can be."
Danny just stared at me. I keep my mouth shut. He rest his head in his hands, "As I was saying, she just can't understand the crap that you went through. You know... Like your father passing away a few years back..."
"That's because I couldn't really remember when he died..." I slouch and look forward. That made me very upset. I remember how I used to walk in on Chrissy or my mother crying but not once did I ever cry. I have cried though but not for the same reasons. I cried because I was angry with myself. How could I be stupid enough not to remember? How can I just forget something like that?
"Don't think about it like that, " Danny whispered. He lifted my chin up gently and I avoided the sincere look on his face.
"But it's not fair, how can I not remember what happened to my father?" I bite down on my lip hard. I was concentrating on keeping my eyes as dry as ever. Even if... They weren't tears of sadness. They were tears of anger. Frustration.
He pushed back my hair and twirled a strand around absentmindedly, "Maybe some children decide to forget some harsh events in their life if they tried really hard..."
I rest my head on Danny's shoulder, "That makes me sound cold."
Danny put his arm around me. We said nothing more. Maybe he didn't want to keep arguing with me. He probably guessed right that I wouldn't change what I thought about myself. He held me tight. Or maybe he knew what I knew.
That I probably was just scared of change.
We stayed like that silently for I don't know how long. I was usually great at keeping track of time but right now I just closed my eyes and stared at the deserted park. Danny ran his hand through my hair and just tapped the railing with the other hand. I probably never felt so peaceful in such a while. After all these hectic events; some better than others I have to reluctantly say... Anyways, it just felt good to just sit back-- or stand in our case-- and just think back on some things.
I heard the front door creak. We turn around and there was Dean and my mom. My mom was looking happier than she's ever had in about a year. Dean had his arm around her as if she were fragile and might break at any moment. She leaned her head against his shoulder happily. I couldn't help but smile exasperatedly. They already look like the happy married couple.
My mom gave us a smile, "There you are. We're about to start dinner. Dean and I were trying to round everyone up. Even though everyone was in the kitchen though..." She laughed, "Then we realized we were two people short! I was like, 'Where's Desy and that young man?'"
Danny let out a sheepish laugh. I looked up at him, it was too dark outside now to see the hue of red he's just achieved.
"Anyways, come on now, " my mom waved us inside. "You two are probably starving." My mom points at me as we were walking, "Shame on you for practically starving your..." her face contorted a bit, and much lower, she added, "He is your boyfriend, right? I mean sweetheart, that you know, you're willing to refer to him using the 'B' word... Right?"
I start blushing, covering my face I say, "Please mom!"
"What is it?" Dean asked as we all closed the door.
My mom clasped my shoulder tightly and spun us around. She gave me a tight hug and rested her head on my shoulder. My mom is shorter than me so she managed to only reach my nose as she poked it. Yet, she was strong enough to propel me to face Dean and Danny, who shared the smae confusion on their faces. Danny's gray eyes glinted with amusement as the most discreet of his smirks crossed his pale face. Great. He definitely knew. He winked at me. I rolled my eyes.
I was being shaken by my mom as she squeaked, "Nothing, nothing... Just girl stuff! Right, honey?" She rubs my shoulders and grins, "You wouldn't want to know."
Dean opened his mouth to say something but he decided to keep his thought. He raised his eyebrows and then let out a sigh and shook his head while smiling at my mom, "Right Fiona."
"Good! Oh, I need to go get everything from the kitchen! Are you coming Desyhoney? I need a few hands to help!" My mom clacked away in her heels and disappeared into the kitchen. Chrissy was there standing at the island with Jake on the other side. He was busy making the salad while she babbled. He seemed quite happy to do all the work. Funny. He so did not fit. It seemed more plausible for him to be shredding some rifts on his guitar at a local concert him and his friends have during the summer. I have yet to listen to them play. People say that they'd melt your faces off. That's good, right? I shake my head and try not to get distracted.
Danny was already by my side, "Hey, do you want me to lend a hand?"
"With what?" Oops. Haha. I smacked my forehead and nod at him, "Right, sorry about that... Anyways, you can help if you want to. My mom's only going to make me carry the plates around-- She doesn't trust me around the food--"
"The klutz factor?" Danny blandly adds.
I nod, "Exactly."
We start to head for the kitchen but then Dean says something, "Danny?"
Danny and I turn around. Hm, that's weird that he asked for Danny. Danny snuck me a little glance, he was clearly confused too.
"Could I ask you something?" Elan's dad asked him. He had a bit of a confused look on his face too.
I look up at Danny. He scratched at his red hair. He straightened it today so it almost swept onto his eyes. A few strands did fall on the sloped ridge of his nose. He nodded at Dean, "Uh, sure, go ahead ..." Danny's lip curls to the side a bit as he waits for Dean to speak.
Elan's dad was about to say something but he stopped short. Then he sighed and crossed his arms, looking up at the ceiling. Next he looks at Danny and said, "How did you know?"
Oh no. We knew what he meant. I wring my sister's blouse and stare up at Danny. He managed to make his body language to seem utterly casual, but from under the cool studio light that my mom installed in the ceilings, his face seemed to get paler. His eyes widened for about a split second.
He decides to play dumb, "What do you mean, ?"
Dean waved his hand, "Sorry, I might have scared you two... What I wanted to ask was how did you know that... I was... Going to propose to Fiona... Desy's mother?" He furrowed his brows and steadied himself by the wall.
"Oh... That... Well, hm, I-- I..." Danny seemed to be tongue tied right now, so I decided to save him.
I start to laugh a bit, "Remember when you told Elan? Right?"
Dean's sandy blond eyebrows knit together. He then replied, "I don't think that I remembered that... Are you sure, Desdemona?"
Grabbing Danny's arm, I lead him off towards the kitchen. I shrugged at Elan's father, "Oh, sorry. I guess she didn't tell you. You know, she just kind of brought it up. Anyhow, look at how excited we all are, Dean!"
"Sure, sure..." Dean muttered slowly. He gave a bit of a skeptical look and then shrugged off my strange behaviour.
I grin and hook my arm in the crook of Danny's arm, "Anyways, Danny and I have to help!"
As we get into the kitchen, Danny leans towards my ear and whisper, "Quite smooth, weren't you..."
I tug on his arm hard, "Oh shut-up."