(A/N): It's definitely been a long time since I've updated. I'm going to try to finish up this story soon, though there's still a while to go! Thank you to everyone who has been sticking with this story.
Chapter 24: Jealousy
One Month Later
"…And…there," I whispered, dabbing my finished painting with my paintbrush. I scooted back and scrutinized it once more. "Not quite…"
"Naomi!" Spencer called, his voice muffled by the walls of my art studio. "Naomi!"
I studied the painting and dabbed a bit more paint onto the canvas.
"Naomi!" Spencer knocked quickly on the door and opened it. "Hey!"
"Yes?" I replied pleasantly, still staring at the work in front of me.
"What are you—" he started, suddenly noticing what I was staring at. "You're still painting that apple?"
I shrugged. "I…I don't know…for some reason, it just doesn't look quite right…"
Spencer sighed. "It's perfect. You don't have to do anything more. Trust me, it'll be the perfect thing to complete your portfolio. Now come down and eat dinner."
My head turned sharply. "Wait a second…I was supposed to make dinner tonight!"
"You took too long," Spencer said simply. "Anyways, you needed a break. You've been working on that portfolio non-stop, day and night. And…I though maybe we could go do something to celebrate your finished portfolio. That is…if you're finished…" He smiled expectantly at me, and I could see hints of worry in his eyes.
"Yes, I'm finished, if you say so," I replied, my voice raising and my tone annoyed and bratty. Annoyance suddenly filled me, overcoming all of my thoughts. Why is he always like this? I'm perfectly able of judging when I need to take a break! And why is he always pushing me? I put down my paintbrush with a frown. "Just let me clean up, okay? You don't have to be so concerned about me. Really. Just stop. I'm tired of you caring. I'm fine!" I got up from my stool and began aggressively putting my paints away.
Spencer watched me for a second, then walked out of the door without another word.
I breathed in deeply and exhaled, squeezing my eyes shut and shaking my head. Look, now you made him annoyed, too. Great job, Naomi. Just great. He cooked dinner for you, and now you're acting like an unappreciative little kid. Where the heck did that rant just come from, anyways? You need to calm down, Naomi. Calm down.
After I cleaned up the room and set my painting in the corner to dry, I quickly took a shower, changed into a light, cream-colored dress, put on some make-up, and headed downstairs. I wanted to look nice to show Spencer how much I appreciated the gesture. Anyways, he said we were going out to celebrate, so…might as well.
"Um…hey…" I said softly as I walked toward the dinner table. Two plates and sets of utensils were already laid out on the table. There was salad and chicken ready on the table also. Spencer was sitting quietly in his seat, staring out the window, his jaw clenched. He didn't look up.
I sat down slowly and exhaled. "The, uh, chicken looks really good."
"Thank you. Cindy prepared it for us, actually." Cindy, our maid, had always been incredibly helpful, even more so lately while I worked day and night on my art. She probably noticed how busy I had been today and decided to make dinner for us. So, actually, Spencer hadn't made dinner…and I had just yelled at him for it.
I glanced at Spencer. His eyes were still trained on the garden in our backyard. He checked his watch.
"It's 6:30. We should get going."
"Wait…going where? What?" I asked, watching as Spencer sat up and packed away the food into plastic containers. "But…what?" He put all of the containers into a paper bag and walked over to the front door, where another bag, full of what seemed to be blankets, lay. I followed him dumbly, not sure of what was going on.
Spencer opened the door and carried both bags outside, where his sleek black car was waiting in the driveway. After stuffing the bags into the trunk, he opened the passenger door for me silently, while I scooted myself into the car. I sighed as he entered the car on the driver's side and started the engine.
The car ride was awkward, to say the least. I would swallow and open my mouth to say sorry, then close it again once I lost the resolve to. Just do it.
"I'm sorry," I blurted suddenly, glancing at Spencer. There was no reaction.
"I'm sorry that I got mad…I really have no idea what happened. Maybe I was stressed out or something, but that really is no excuse for me half-screaming at you for caring about me. I mean…I'm so lucky to have someone like you, and I just…I…"
"It's fine, Naomi," Spencer said smoothly. He shrugged. "I shouldn't have interrupted you like that while you were working. I know you've been stressed out, and I shouldn't have provoked you."
"No matter what, it was still my fault. I'm sorry."
Spencer glanced at me and smiled, taking my hand in his. "I'm sorry, too."
We had gotten so much closer over the past month, learning more about each other, having fun, getting into petty arguments—and everything we did together really just made me love him so much more.
But he didn't know. And I wasn't sure when I was ever going to tell him. Because as much as he liked me, love was something else completely.
"Now…where are we going?"
Spencer smiled. "You'll find out."
I closed my eyes and rested for a while.
When I woke up about ten minutes later, the car was parked in a very crowded area, with people everywhere, couples laughing and holding hands. I quickly got out of the car, realizing that my husband was nowhere to be seen. "Spencer?" I whispered softly, confused and slightly disoriented from my short nap. I walked away from the grass and onto the green lawn. The sun was setting, and I could see random shadows everywhere, from the trees, from the cars, from the people, from the…
My eyes widened. A hand touched my shoulder, and I stiffened. Spencer's arm was immediately around me. "It's just me…" he said, chuckling slightly. I laughed in embarrassment.
"Come on, I set up our stuff already," he said, leading me toward the large mass of people, seated in front of the wall of a large white building. I glanced around everywhere, confused as to why everyone was here.
"That's a mausoleum," I said, confused. "And gravestones…"
"Yes, we're in a cemetery," Spencer explained with a smirk. I shivered.
"You're not cold, are you?"
"Just a little…" I murmured, realizing that I had forgotten to bring a jacket.
Spencer stopped suddenly, and I looked down to see two lawn chairs set up, with a large blanket strewn over them. We sat down and settled ourselves into the chairs, Spencer wrapping the blanket around our legs.
"It's a movie screening," he explained, handing me the Tupperware containing our food. "They're going to show the movie as soon as it gets a bit darker. So for now, we eat."
"A bit scary, isn't it? Watching a movie in the cemetery…among the dead…"
"You're not scared, are you?"
I glanced at Spencer, who was watching me, a grin on his face. I frowned and crossed my arms.
"No, of course not!" I exclaimed, a bit too loudly. Spencer's grin grew wider.
"Of course not," he echoed, rummaging into a bag and handing me a fork.
"Hmph," I grumbled. I immediately snatched the fork out of his hand and began to distract myself by eating.
Truthfully, yes, I was a bit scared. The graveyard, the gravestones, the mausoleum…they reminded me of horror movies, and horror movies scared me to death. Gravestones always reminded me of that last scene in Carrie, with the dead hand shooting out of the ground...
As I shuddered once more and quickly gulped down some chicken, the wall of the mausoleum began to glow with light from the movie nudged me.
"Feeling alright?" he whispered. I could still hear the teasing lilt in his voice. With food still in my mouth, I made a face at him. He laughed silently and made his own face back. I glared and turned back to the watch as the movie began.
The movie they were showing was an old one from the 70's, something I didn't know the name of. To me, the entire movie was pretty amusing. I laughed throughout the whole thing, even during some scenes that were supposed to be more dramatic than funny. Spencer laughed along right with me, and sometimes it was just the two of us laughing, trying to stifle our sounds with our hands.
Toward the end of the film, Spencer's hand linked together with my own. I glanced at him in surprise, but he ignored me and stared straight ahead, his eyes transfixed on the movie screen. I sighed and looked back at the movie, my heart thumping slightly faster.
As soon as I looked away, Spencer's thumb began stroking the back of my hand gently, and I turned to look at him. This time, instead of looking away, he made eye contact with me, and with a smile, he kissed my hand gently. My eyes widened as he kissed it again, his eyes staying locked on mine. I barely noticed the ending scene playing in front of us; I was entranced by his eyes and lips. When the credits began to roll and people began to clap, Spencer leaned in and kissed the side of my mouth, his breath lightly brushing my cheek. I closed my eyes and leaned back slowly, shrieking suddenly as my chair toppled over and dumped me onto the grass.
Horrified, I covered my mouth and quickly righted myself, standing up and patting myself off. Others that had already gotten up from their seats were staring at my curiously. My face reddened in mortification, and Spencer began to laugh, looking away and shaking his head.
"Shut up," I whispered, without much force behind my words. Spencer raised an eyebrow at me. Suddenly, I found myself laughing also, giggling uncontrollably.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just did that," I gasped, ignoring the looks from people passing around us.
"Me either," Spencer replied, still laughing. "I didn't know I was that good at kissing. To make you fall over…"
I slapped Spencer's arm lightly. "Stop it! Stop it!" I half-said, half-giggled, doubling over from my laughter. I sat down on the grass, unable to stop laughing.
"I…don't even…know…why…I'm…laughing so much…" I said between gasps of breath. Spencer sat down next to me and patted my back.
"Me either," he said, looking at me and laughing once more.
We laughed and wheezed for a few more minutes as the cemetery cleared out. Spencer took my hand in his, and suddenly, I was sobered.
"Here, let's clean up," he said, standing up and pulling me up with him. I stumbled and fell into Spencer's arms as he caught me, my head against his shoulder, my arms around his torso.
I inhaled slowly and closed my eyes as Spencer's scent enveloped me. I sighed contentedly.
"Come on, Naomi, stop sniffing me and help me clean up," Spencer said, his tone light and joking. I frowned and hugged him even tighter, refusing to move.
"Naaoomii," Spencer said softly, stretching out the vowel sounds. "As much as I like hugging, we have to go. Let go of me? Please?"
I sighed and let go of him, bending down to collect our food and drinks. Spencer sighed also and began to fold up the chairs.
On the way back to the car, I walked extra slowly, not wanting our night to be over. Spencer put his arm around my shoulder and smiled at me. "Are you up for dessert?"
"Where?" I asked, my eyes lighting up.
"You know…that Japanese crepe shop, the one you heard about from Amanda…"
"Yes!" I exclaimed quickly, walking faster immediately. Spencer laughed and muttered under his breath, "So predictable."
"I've always liked you, you know," Spencer said as we walked down a street full of quaint little shops.
It was a pleasant 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning. After watching the movie, laughing uncontrollably, and stuffing ourselves with nutella-filled crepes, Spencer and I had gone home and knocked out almost immediately. Now we were taking a morning stroll near our home.
"Really?" I replied, surprised. "What do you define as 'always'?"
"Before you thought I did, at least."
"You mean…before today?" I joked.
He chuckled. "No. I meant even back when we first got married, when you thought I hated you."
My eyes widened. "I never…You…How did you know what I was thinking?"
Spencer smirked. "I could tell what you were thinking. And truthfully, I hated myself for making you feel that way. I just…didn't know how to deal yet."
"You mean you liked me all this time? Wait…no. You said you're falling for me…which implies something more recent…"
"Okay, okay. Let me clarify. I never hated you. I liked you…more in a friendly way back when we got married. I might have been a little…tough to crack, but now you've really been growing on me."
"Growing on you," I repeated.
Spencer shrugged. "You know…once I got to know you better, I found out how you actually brighten me up rather than the opposite."
"Brighten you up."
He smiled. "Something like that."
"Mhmm. Something like that."
We walked around leisurely, silently, our hands linked, each of us immersed in our own thoughts. I looked around at the beautiful streets, pondering at how different I felt now compared to how I had felt less than six months ago. Before, I had felt so repressed, almost hopeless. Now, though, I felt loved and full of hope. "I start school soon," Spencer said with a sigh, interrupting my thoughts. "Summer's almost over."
I thought about the time that had passed. We got married at the end of May, and it was now the beginning of August. I couldn't believe that just a few months ago, Spencer and I hadn't even had a conversation before. How foreign he was to me. So much had changed…
"I sent in my portfolio," I commented.
"Ah," he replied.
I bit my lip. "I should have turned it in earlier. And I didn't spend as much time on it as I would have liked to." I laughed to myself and hit Spencer lightly. "It's all your fault! You're taking me to all of these places, and I just can't seem to stay home!"
Spencer rubbed his arm, pretending to be appalled. "Ow, that hurt! And how can you blame me? I'm just doing my job."
"Your job?" I inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes. My job," he replied with a smirk, pulling me close. My breath hitched.
"And that is?" I said faintly as his lips descended onto my cheek.
"You know…" Spencer murmured softly, his face hovering closely above mine, his gray eyes intense. "Making sure you enjoy yourself."
I closed my eyes as he briefly brushed his lips against mine, then backed away. My eyes flashed open. Spencer was slowly walking away, leaving me, with my flushed face, looking like a moron. I gulped in a few deep-breaths and ran over to catch up with him.
"Hey! What was that for?" I demanded. Spencer smirked.
"I don't like public displays of affection," he replied simply.
"But you started it!" I whined, feeling highly indignant.
"Stop whining. Here, let's go into this shop," Spencer replied, chuckling to himself and pulling me into a small boutique.
"I'm not…" I protested loudly, stopping when I realized all of the well-groomed ladies in the store were staring at me. I clamped my mouth shut in embarrassment.
"Why are we here?" I whispered out of the corner of my mouth.
"To get my...our mother something," Spencer replied calmly.
"You don't believe me?"
"Uh…" Before I could reply, a saleswoman approached us, a wide smile on her face.
"Hello, may I help you with anything?" she asked. Rather than being directed at me, the question was directed toward Spencer, who nodded and asked to look at the jewelry they had to offer. The woman smiled and led him toward the jewelry section of the store, while I stood there, blinking and feeling completely ignored.
What the… I thought to myself, shaking my head. Following them, I looked around the store, marveling at how big the store felt, despite its small size. It just feels…elegant and rich.
The lady began to present Spencer with different necklaces. Spencer waved me over, while the woman glanced over me indifferently.
"Here we have a selection of 10-carat gold necklaces. All of them are of the finest quality, I assure you," she introduced, picking up a thin necklace with a teardrop-shaped gold pendant. "See here, this one is made of pink gold and handcrafted by one of our professionals. One-of-a-kind. What do you think?" She smiled and stepped closer to Spencer, holding up the necklace for him to see.
Spencer shook his head. "Not a teardrop. How about something…like a heart?" He glanced at me and smiled.
I don't want any jewelry! I have enough! I signaled to him with my eyes.
He shrugged back, as if to say, It's not for you, stop worrying. I nodded.
The woman cleared her throat, and both of us glanced back at her. This time, she was holding a necklace with a thicker chain. At the end of the chain was a gold heart with a pearl set inside of the heart. It was lovely.
Spencer reached his hand out to hold the necklace. The woman gave it to him gently, her fingers lingering over his for a second. He examined the necklace and smiled.
"Is it for a lover, perhaps?" the woman said, her voice smooth and velvety. Spencer glanced up at her, and she ran her fingers over her own neck, leaning in closer to point out some intricate details on the necklace. That's when I finally understood. She was flirting with him. Very blatantly. In front of me. Even if it wasn't obvious that we were married (apparently the marriage bands on our fingers weren't obvious enough), I was pretty sure that it was at least clear that we were together. That Spencer was off-limits. And how dare she talk about "lovers" in front of me?
Maybe I just need to make the fact that he's my husband more obvious, I thought to myself wickedly.
The lady was now putting the necklace on a mannequin to show Spencer how it would look like. "The length of the chain can be adjusted to fit the wearer," she explained, leaning way to close to Spencer for my taste. I growled silently.
Quickly, I put my arm around Spencer's and put my hand on his shoulder. He looked at me and smiled. "Darling, I think we need to go soon. Your mother is waiting," I said sweetly.
Spencer's eyes searched mine, confused. I glanced at the woman, who was pursing her lips. Spencer glanced at her too.
"You could let him finish deciding on his purchase while you go out and accompany his mother," the woman suggested with a falsely-sweet tone. "I'll be happy to help him."
I'm sure you will, I snarled in my head.
"Oh, but we should go now," I said, looking at Spencer. "I'm sure we can come back some other day. Or we could always go someplace…better, if you know what I mean." And just for good measure, I gave Spencer a nice kiss on the lips Spencer looked dazed and confused.
"Let's go now. So nice meeting you!" I said, pulling Spencer out of the store. The woman glared menacingly at me as I smiled and waved back.
Once we rounded the corner, Spencer pulled me back. "What was that?" he asked, laughing. I exhaled loudly, still steaming from what had just happened.
"I…just…can't believe it! Seriously! She was flirting with you right in front of me! Arrgh!" I almost-yelled, shaking my head.
Spencer was watching me amusedly. "You were jealous?" he asked with a smirk. I raised my eyebrows at him.
"Huh. That's all you're going to say? 'You were jealous?' Seriously? I can't believe you! She was…"
Spencer cut me off by pulling me to him and patting my back. "Shh, shh. It's fine…it's fine. Calm down," he murmured soothingly. I sighed.
"Okay," I said simply. "But we're never going back in there again. I seriously couldn't stand that woman."
Spencer laughed. "Definitely not. But I can't say I didn't like your reaction. You're adorable when you're jealous." He smiled and poked my nose. I scowled. "And that kiss..." he added. Gently, he smoothed my hair with his fingers and leaned in, his lips meeting mine. I sighed and melted into his touch, my arms wrapping around his torso as he deepened the kiss.
When he finally let go of me, my eyes searched his. "I thought you didn't like public displays of affection," I murmured with a smile. Spencer chuckled.
"Well, I guess you changed my mind."
"Hello, welcome to Things Remembered. How may I help you today?"
This salesperson was a respectable lady in her fifties. Much better.
"Uh…I'm looking for a locket. And you do personal engravings?" replied Spencer.
"Ah, yes. Come this way."
The woman led us to a display case with numerous different kinds of lockets—silver, gold, big, small, oval-shaped, circle-shaped, etc. Spencer asked to see a gold heart-shaped one while I sat to the side, waiting patiently and wondering what—and who—all of this was for. After thirty minutes of perusing and examining, Spencer finally placed his order.
"So this locket will be ready for pick-up in about one week," the woman said. Spencer smiled and thanked her, and we left the store.
All through lunch, through more laughs and teasing from Spencer, I wondered who the locket was for. Not me…I'm sure Spencer would not have done all of the shopping with me by his side if it had been for me. For his mother? That's what he had said…but something in me knew that he had not been telling the whole truth.
After lunch, I drove us home, as Spencer claimed to be "too tired." "Who was the locket for?" I speculated out loud. Spencer didn't stir, his eyes closed.
"Fine, pretend you don't hear me," I grumbled. Spencer still didn't reply, but I saw his lips curve up slightly in a smile. "So frustrating," I huffed under my breath. Spencer's smile grew wider.
"Next time I just won't tell you what's on my mind," I said with an air of finality, feeling quite childish. Ha!
Spencer's eyes opened slowly as he yawned. "Go ahead," he replied. "Just let me sleep in peace."
Glaring and grumbling, I continued to drive all the way home, ignoring Spencer and running today's events through my head over and over.
Why do I feel like there are always so many secrets in this family?
(A/N): So what do you think? How do you think the romance between Spencer and Naomi is progressing?
Review and make my day! :)