Who would have thought I’d end up here? Nobody, least of all me.
It was surprisingly enjoyable to play homemaker, though I know I’d get bored of doing that for real. And I’d start feeling guilty for not having a job…if Clarissa taught me one good lesson, it’s that I should be financially self-sufficient. I wouldn’t give up the studio for this in a million years. But on Wednesday and weekend nights, when I have easier days, I can relax and pretend.
It’s been almost three months since Lachlan and I moved in together. Two years since we started dating. Nabila’s friend took over the rest of my lease, and now Lachlan and I are renting his original apartment.
It was scary at first. I thought he’d get tired of me if we were around each other so much. Then I found out he was thinking the same and we just had to laugh at ourselves. Laughing’s a good way to tell all of those horrible little insecurities to just fuck off.
Making sure to be quiet, I walked into our shared home office with a plate of fish and chips – adapted to be healthier by yours truly. “How’s it going?” Lachlan had a lot of paperwork due. I’d been bringing him meals in here all week.
“I’m actually almost finished.” he said. I went up behind him and rested my head on his shoulder, quickly kissing him on the cheek.
I immediately released him once I saw what was on one side of the monitor.
Rings. Loads and loads of rings, with the name of some jewellery shop in the browser bar.
Oh God…he can’t.
“I need to fix some schedules, I’ll be in the bedroom.” I said, rushing out of the room.
He didn’t seem to notice that I had noticed, or even register my shock. “OK, sunshine. I’ll come keep you company when I’m done.”
The schedules were a lie. I shouldn’t lie to him. What am I doing? Liar! He can’t marry you!
You will tell him the truth when he comes in to keep you company while you ‘work on your schedules’.
When I saw those rings, I itched to remind him of everything – my previous inability to form relationships, my sexual history, the often overwhelming sense that I’m a disappointing, bad person.
This man loves me despite all the shit I’ve done and how broken I was, and still am sometimes…
Something more dawned on me.
Lachlan’s had his struggles, but I love him no matter what. He’s not always perfect – though pretty damn close – but I still love him. To me, he’s amazing.
I guess to him I am to. Maybe our past struggles don’t make us any less loveable or marriageable – well, Lachlan’s definitely didn’t.
And to him, neither did yours.
He came into the bedroom just five minutes later; obviously having actually realised something was up. I should have clocked that on my way out of the office. The loving concern on his face made me fall for him all over again, for what felt like the millionth time.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“…I did all my schedules.” I admitted. “Sorry I ran away, and lied. I just…I saw…”
His face fell. “Dammit – but don’t feel pressured or scared, please, it’s just an idea. For now. To be honest, I can see it happening, Sarai…see myself marrying you. It’s something I truly want.”
“I just…I never thought I’d get married.” I told him, sighing. I’d never believed that anybody would stick around long enough to do so, let alone actively want to. Sometimes it was still hard to believe.
“Neither did I…but then I started dating you.”
I could have protested and brought up all the bullshit in my past. Honestly, I was tempted. However, looking into Lachlan’s eyes, the words died on my tongue. Images of a possible future flooded my brain, and I felt myself smiling.
I didn’t need to say anything. I think he could tell by the look on my face. But I made sure he knew it. “I love you. So much. And I think I know what my answer would be.”
“Hey, squirt.” I greeted Dianne’s son, Colton, who was determinedly mashing at his peas.
“Ra-ra!” he yelled, still unable to pronounce my name. A few flecks of mush hit me in the eye.
“You better eat those,” Dianne chastised gently, ruffling his hair. “Anyway. Michael’s coming up as well, if you don’t mind. He and Amy had a massive fight and he’s bummed as hell. I invited him out of pity.”
“Oh shit.” I winced. That might make my news go down a little less well…dammit, I refuse to feel guilty for this! I got engaged to the person who I’m 99.9% sure is the One. Michael can handle it.
Selfish…people get married all the time. Why do you wanna brag about it?
I wouldn’t sound too gleeful – it was just sharing news. It’s fine! I’m not bad for this.
“Hi, Michael.” It had been too long. “How is everything? You alright?” I asked.
He raised an eyebrow. “Did she tell you?” Turning to Dianne, he folded his arms and groaned, “Come on, Di! It’s not that bad, why’d you make it like…a thing?”
“Ok, little bro.” Dianne smirked. “Colt, come on!” she complained as he started throwing handfuls of squashed peas onto the table.
“Want nugge’s!” he yelled.
Dianne buried her face in her hand. “He said he didn’t want those when I started making lunch. I’m tired of this sh – stuff.” she hastily amended. “Never mind. Pretty sure you two can guess where I’m at, so how about you?”
Catching sight of the plate of chicken nuggets on the side of the counter, I wordlessly got up to heat them.
“I got passed up for a promotion – and yeah, I am in a pretty big fight with Amy.”
Dianne gave a sympathetic little hiss. “Damn, Mike. That’s really tough. But you work really hard, I’m sure you’ll get up there one day…and if Amy isn’t right for you, someone is.”
“I know…” Michael muttered. “It just sucks right now. I’m pushing through it, though.”
“That’s what you’ve gotta do.” I reflected. “Just remind yourself that things start looking up, and that feeling like shit doesn’t have to last forever.”
“Yeah…don’t hate me for saying this, but I’m amazed you came out of all of that shit when you were younger…like this.”
I smiled and shook my head. “I guess you’re right. Sometimes I can’t believe it myself. Speaking of that…” I stuck out my left hand. “So Lachlan proposed last night.”
Dianne gasped. “I knew he’d make an honest woman out of you! OK, we have to start planning immediately!”
“Congrats, cuz. I’m really happy for you.” And despite what was going on in Michael’s life, he truly looked it. How did I get so lucky to have such supportive people around me?
“Siny!” Colton shrieked, pointing at the ring. All three of us adults couldn’t help laughing a little at that. He was being a pain in the ass today, but still so cute!
“Don’t go catching baby fever, Sarai.” said Dianne. Then she stiffened and awkwardly recoiled. “I mean…sorry.”
“It’s fine…but I think you may be a little too late for that warning.”