No, no, no, no, NO!
This cannot be happening!
"Gina! Have you seen my V-Comm. Book?" I called out to my roommate who was getting ready in her bedroom.
"Under the sink!" Huh?
"My book?" I asked again, looking away from the bottom of the couch to make sure I'd heard her right. I swear it wasn't because there was a dust bunny under there that I thought was going to eat me.
"Yes! You put it there to hide the bottles, remember?" Oh yeah! My parents had decided to surprise Gina and I with a visit on Tuesday night and the bottles in the trash wouldn't have given them a good impression.
"Thanks Gina! And don't forget about dinner at Etiquette!" I rushed out of our apartment and towards the elevators, not bothering to stop to say hi to our neighbors who had taken to sitting outside their door to hit on all the girls from school who lived on our floor.
"Melissa please tell me you have your book!" My cousin exclaimed as I approached her at the elevator. I grinned.
"I do indeed." No need to tell her I had just found it.
"Great! I can't find mine, I think its over at Shayna's from when we did that project, but I don't know. Oh, have you seen her brother lately? He just got home from serving and he's supposedly visiting her. I don't know if I believe her though because he was supposed to be home three times already and knowing the military I just don't think he's actually home." I stared in amazement at my long-winded cousin as we stepped onto the elevator.
"Slow down Brenna, you'll be so out of breath you won't be able to give your presentation today." She rolled her eyes at me but stopped talking none-the-less. "Oh, and to answer your question, yes I've seen him. Josh was with Tate when he brought over more boxes to pack."
"Pack?" Brenna asked, suddenly incredibly interested in the story.
"I already told you, I'm moving into Tate's place and Gina's going to rent her own studio in San Francisco. Don't you remember?" Of course I already knew she'd forget the moment I told her, but it didn't stop me from being annoyed.
"Oh, right. How are you and Tate anyway?" I stared at her. If we're moving in together wouldn't that tip her off that we're doing well? Really well in fact? Oh who am I kidding? Brenna only had good grades because she was one of those people who didn't have to study, and like most of those people, she lacked her common sense.
"We're great B." I sighed in relief when the elevator doors opened and we stepped out into the lobby of our busy downtown Los Angeles apartment.
"Tate, are you ready to go? We're supposed to be to the restaurant at eight." Peeking into his bathroom I failed to stifle a laugh as I saw him talking to himself in the mirror. He looked up and shot me a glare before turning around and leaning against the sink.
"Ever heard of knocking?" He asked, grinning as he crossed his arms across his chest. Again I failed to stifle a laugh.
"Knocking? What is this preposterous thing you speak of?" I approached him and he encased me in his arms. He smelled as always like his amazing cologne with a light touch of the ocean air; I couldn't help but smile in his arms.
"Its this amazing new invention where you let someone know you're coming in so you don't see things that might embarrass said person." He poked my side and I couldn't help but chuckle. Four years and he still made my heart skip a beat with every touch.
"Awe, I embarrassed you babe?" Laughing he hugged me to him before twirling me away and out the door.
"Yeah, yeah. Let me change my shirt and we'll head to the car." I nodded, more to myself than him since he'd shut the bathroom door once more to change his shirt, and went to put on my shoes. No need to wear them longer than I had to, right?
There are several perks to living in Southern California, but if you ask me, the best one is definitely Santa Monica and all the businesses that line the beach. Especially the restaurants that overlook the pier; particularly Etiquette, the most serene restaurant I've ever had the pleasure of dining at.
"Miss Hale, so nice to see you again!" I smiled at the hostess Marcy as we walked further into the entryway. I'd only been here a handful of times for my birthday and my sister's reception but I'd stopped by once to interview the owner for a business project and sort of became friends with the staff. I was friendly that way; or so I was told.
"We have you outside on the terrace, is that correct Mr. Andrews?" I looked to Tate and he nodded at Marcy who then took us outside. Shortly after we were seated Tate pointed out our parents who were walking up the stairs to join us. It had been several months since we'd seen our parents so naturally we both jumped up to hug them. Or at least I jumped up to hug them all, Tate hugged all of them except for my father; the two of them just awkwardly shook hands at the end of the exchange.
"Tom, stop being so hard on the poor boy. He's here to stay, treat him like family." My mother said, pushing the two boys into the awkward man hug that my generation had become so fond of.
"Um, thanks Mrs. Hale." Tate said, retreating from my father to stand beside me.
"Oh come on now, lets all sit down, we want to hear how the moving is coming along." I thanked Tate for pulling out my chair once more and kissed him briefly after he sat down. He didn't like kissing in front of my parents, but sometimes I just couldn't resist. I mean honestly, think Asthon Kutcher's adorable factor and Eminem's sexy factor. To me he's like perfection.
"So, Lissy, how is packing? Are you and Gina getting everything done?" I nodded at my mother and took a sip of my water before answering.
"Right now the only thing left is to take apart our bathroom and our beds. Everything else is just waiting to move."
"Did you do a change of address yet dear?" Mrs. Andrews asked.
"Yesterday actually. It was considerably simpler than I thought it'd be. I just had to fill out this card, mail it and I was finished."
"What about you son? How's clearing out the bachelor pad?" Jack is Tate's dad and up until a week ago, he had owned Tate's 'bachelor pad'. It was actually Tate who had the bright idea of us buying his dad out and me moving in.
"Its great actually. I've been going through all my shit and getting rid of everything I never use. Except the kitchen stuff, Liss made me keep that." He put his hand on my thigh under the table, not rubbing it as one would think, but poking it instead. You might find it weird, but I had recently got a tattoo in honor of
"Mrs. Andrews," I grabbed her attention away from my mother and grinned.
"Did you know that under your son's bed ther- oomph!" Mmm, strawberries, but I would not be side-tracked! I pulled away from his lips and looked back to his mom, holding him away at arm's length.
"Anyway, before I was so rudely interrupted, I was trying to tell you that your son is stashing some travel magazines under his bed." I grinned at Tate as he visibly relaxed, because you see, under our bed are the travel magazines, but under his bed at his parents' house are seven playboys hidden under the floorboard beneath his bedpost. Its what he got for poking my new tattoo the jerk.
"I was just wondering if you know where he wants to visit the most? He won't tell me and I get three weeks off in June while my boss goes on vacation." Her and my mother both grinned but I smirked in triumph at Tate as he was still recovering from his mild heart attack.
"Oh honey, he's wanted to go so many places at different times I'm sure he'll tell you sooner rather than later about where he wants to go. Am I right Tate?" Tate's eyes were round as saucers as he looked at his mom and I couldn't help but think something was up with him other than the playboys.
"Oh, uh, yeah mom… Hey look Liss, our friends are here." True enough several of our friends were walking through the glass doors and out onto the deck with us.
"Tate this is going to cost you big time. I just skipped out of my Design Theory exam." I looked pointedly between Roxy and Tate. Again Tate's eyes were like saucers.
"The food's great here Roxy, you'll love it." Gina chimed in as she walked in front of the others and up to hug me.
"Well, who are we still waiting on to order kids?" My mom asked as she began mulling over the menu. I looked at our friends as they sat down to see who was still missing. I saw Gabe, Ryan and Sean… and Leeza, Gina, and Roxy, so that left….
"Just Josh, Leanna, Tyler, and Brenna." I watched Josh's face as I told my mother who was still coming. "But they're all coming together so they should be here anytime."
"Did you hear that Tate? They'll be here soon." I looked towards Gina as she whispered loudly across the table to Tate. Well what the hell is going on?
Dinner of course had been delicious, and even though Tate was still a little off, I thoroughly enjoyed having everyone I love eating dinner together, and it was especially nice having my parents in California.
"Melissa… earth to Melissa…" I stopped thinking about the day and looked towards Tate who was standing me. When had we stopped walking?
"Sorry, I just had a great day and I zoned out a little bit thinking about it."
"Well its not over yet." He said, pulling my hand to make me start walking. We were heading for the Ferris Wheel on the pier, and there was no better time than night time to get on it. I was fairly excited since this was the one thing Tate and I had yet to do.
"Are you sure you want to do this Tate? I know you don't like heights." "Come on you. You know I'd never keep you from your cliché little dreams." I grinned as he pulled me to him behind our parents in line.
Have you ever had those moments in life where you'd kill to have a life camera? One that takes instant snap-shots looking down on your life? Lately I'd been having a million of those moments and this was one of them.
Several minutes later we'd made it to the front of the line and our parents pushed us forward saying they were having an important conversation. So Tate and I climbed through the mini double doors lit by twinkling lights and sat down.
"What the…." I stood up slightly and pulled several roses from under me. So this was what everyone was going cuckoo over. I felt my stomach roll and bit my lip to hide my excitement and then before I knew it Tate and I were stopped on the top of the Ferris Wheel over looking the entirety of the Santa Monica shoreline and a small part of the dark ocean.
"Tate?" I asked as I felt him shuffle next to me.
"Melissa, we've been together for four years now, right?" I nodded. "Okay well, do you remember the first week we started dating and that old couple asked when we were getting married? We told them were going to meet under the stars of Capri Island in June… We were just joking, but it amazed me how fast you came up with the story and I knew there had to be a dream of yours in there somewhere. So though this Ferris Wheel ride is the last on your boyfriend cliché list, I figured you could add one more. Will you, Melissa Hales, meet me under the stars on Capri Island in June?" I squealed and basically tackled him onto the seat with a hug.
"Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!" And I kissed him. It was the epitome of perfection. His lips moved expertly against mine and I felt him smile a few seconds later.
"You haven't put the ring on yet, does this mean I can take it back?" He asked and had the sky been lit up just a little bit more I'm sure my glare would have had a bigger effect. "I'll take that as a no," he said, and slipped the, what I hoped was a heavy ring, onto my finger. After all, I didn't really know how heavy engagement rings were supposed to be so I only assumed.
"Hey Tate…" I asked, speaking quietly as he flashed a light down to the maintenance people.
"I love you."
"I love you too baby." Those were last words spoken during the actual ride, instead, our lips were busy doing other things, like kissing. The kissing thing never got old.
It was nearing midnight when all of us began walking off the pier, ice cream cones in hand; while Tate's parents and mine silently planned the wedding as they ate their ice cream behind us. I didn't have the heart to tell them Tate and I had been silently putting together little details for the last year.
"So, Tate and Lissa, own up, whose going to be your best man and maid of honor?" I rolled my eyes at Tyler and continued eating my moose tracks ice cream.
"Sorry dude but my brother's got the bachelor party duties." I laughed at Tate's way of letting all his friends know they weren't going to be the best man.
"Alright, so Liss, speak up, whose it going to be?" Again I rolled my eyes. Unlike Tate I had more than one sister so I was going with my best friend as my maid of honor.
"Gina my love, would you do the honors?" I asked, looping my arm through hers as we continued walking.
"Only if the best man is as hot as Sam Page."
"Who?" Tate asked.
"He played in Desperate Housewives for a little bit in the sixth season, and he's in Castle." Tate still looked lost so to save him from the aggravation of Gina I threw him a bone.
"Men don't watch Desperate Housewives Gina, and Tate hasn't even heard of Castle." It was several minutes later when Gina finally stopped ranting about the shows and we made it to everyone's cars.
"Thanks for coming out everyone, we really appreciate it," Tate said as we stood in the parking lot. I nodded my agreement and looked to my parents who looked as if they were about to cry.
"Congratulations again sweetheart. He'll do you good this one," my mom said as she pulled us both into a hug. I couldn't help but feel like I really had gotten lucky. My friends loved him, my parents adored him, his parents were just as amazing as mine, and he was a good kisser so that sealed the deal. How did I ever get so lucky?
"Thanks momma, I love you," I said, hugging her tightly. I felt her smile some more at the southern term I'd used instead of mother, and secretly it made me smile too. I loved having a bit of southern belle in me.
"Are you ready to go Trish? We have to be up by six." My dad said and my mother hugged me one last time before pulling away. I'd miss them, but at least I'd see them sooner than planned what with getting married in June and all.
"Did you really fall asleep in your paints Liss?" Tate asked as he looked into the mirror from the doorway.
"It's not my fault! You're the one who kept me busy all last night I forgot my project was due this afternoon." I glared at him as I continued to scrub at my face.
You see, getting engaged kind of makes you forget the outside world, and instead of focusing on my painting last night I was focusing on the ring dangling on my left hand. Why'd it have to be so damn pretty? Wel that and his lips tasted pretty delicious kind of helped too.
"It's certainly not mine," he replied, sipping his coffee.
"The fact you kept kissing my neck and nibbling on my ear is too your fault, and the fact you did that until four in the morning makes it worse." He grinned.
Yes. I had finally begun my project at four in the morning only to have fallen asleep on my arm and my head later fall into the paints, sufficiently dying my skin, and that my friends, is how my nose turned green. Stupid hunk of man being so attractive and what not. Damn him.