May 2, 2014

Part 21

    The room remained eerily silent and no one uttered a word.  I knew my parents needed time to process all of this, as it must have come as quite the shock to them.  I’d had romantic relationships before of course but never to the depths of this one.  I’m sure they both thought I’d taken complete leave of my senses. I wanted to give them time to digest this, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy for them especially for my Mum.  I also knew that whatever they did say, I wouldn’t tolerate them insulting Lorelei or having any talk of her being some sort of Jezebel that had led me astray and was only going to lead me down the road to ruin.

     The silence in the room was almost deafening.  I couldn’t even hear the beating of my heart which I could feel racing like it wanted to leap out of my throat.  I couldn’t take it anymore. “Mum, Dad, would you say something, anything.” I implored them. My Dad finally spoke “So you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her.”  It was more of a statement than a question. “Yes, Sir, I do. I love her with all my heart.  She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.  If you give her a chance you’ll see that as well.” “I have seen it in her already lad.  I know you think me a stodgy old codger at times and that I don’t always pay attention to what’s going on around me but I assure you I do.  First impressions speak volumes with me, and she made a good one when you brought her over to meet us the other day.” He said.  I was totally floored.

   “Don’t look so utterly daft boy, for at the moment you resemble some sort of Welsh halfwit that looks like he should be twanging on a harp whilst standing underneath a bridge.”  “Lorelei here had the courage and the decency to come and meet all of us, and even though that’s a daunting experience she did it with grace.  She was polite and respectful of your Mum and me, engaged your brother and sister and their spouses in conversation and was attentive to them.  She clearly adores the kids and wasn’t afraid to show it.  I also know how deep her love for you runs.  You can see it plain as day in her face the way it lights up each time she lays eyes on you and it’s in the depth of her eyes, for her eyes mirror what’s in that girls soul.” My Father seemed to be on a roll with his little talk, so I just tightened my arm around Lorelei and drew her closer as he continued.

       “She’s a fine, spirited little filly, and she’ll be sure to give you a couple of fine children that I’ll be able to dandle upon my knee.”  Lorelei flushed crimson at that blunt pronouncement.  “You’ve done well for yourself choosing your bride to be lad.  I can’t speak for your Mum but I for one will welcome the girl to the clan with open arms.”   “What say you Roisin?” my Dad inquired of my Mum. I fully expected my Mum to go ballistic on the two of us, as she’d been sitting there with her lips firmly pursed together the entire time, since this conversation had taken place.  I shifted my weight, as I waited for her to unleash her wrath, and fully prepared myself to listen to the lecture of my life.

   “Liam Padriag Conlin you know I didn’t raise you to live with a woman without the benefit of marriage.” She intoned sternly. This only served to reinforce my thoughts that this was going to turn into one barn burner of a conversation.  “We also taught you to be truthful, and you are being that now, even though you know my thoughts on this matter all too well.  You were willing to sit here and risk my anger, for the sake of the woman that sits at your side, and for that I can’t fault you.”  The features on her face were softening as she spoke and it gave me hope that maybe things were going to go far better than I could have anticipated.

    “Mum” I began but she quickly cut me off.  “You’ve said your piece, and your Father has spoken his now it’s my turn, so you’ll kindly sit there and you’ll listen to me now, young man.” She informed me pointedly. “Now this situation isn’t entirely ideal in my eyes, but I know she’s a good woman with a good heart.  I also can see she’s very much in love with you, or she wouldn’t be here with you now, with the knowledge that I’m very apt to totally fly off the handle with you both.  She’ll be the one that will be by your side no matter what happens in your lives, even if it means facing a fiery old dragon like your Mother.”

    “I’ve known you better than anyone all these years Liam, you were once a part of me and shared my body with me.  A mother doesn’t forget a thing like that.  I always knew when you were hurting inside or were scared about something, and I’ve shared your joys and triumphs over the years as well.  You were my first born and will always be my pride and joy, no matter what you do.  I will accept the fact you’re a man that makes his own decisions in his life and I’ll respect you for that.  I will also accept Lorelei as my daughter and a member of this family.”  I could feel the relieve sweeping over me in waves and I knew it must be the same for Lorelei.  She’d been nervously twisting the ring on her finger as my Mum had her say about things.

     “Now how about that drink?” my Dad asked again.  “Just a wee dram that will whet the whistle and it will also serve as a toast the future bride and groom.  What say you?”   “It’s a grand idea indeed Seamus.  I’ll get the wine glasses and you open a nice bottle.” My Mum added. “Would you like any help?” Lorelei and I chimed in unison. “No, no, we’ll leave you two lovebirds alone for a few minutes.” Said my Father and he gave us both a wink as he ushered my Mother out of the room with his hand on the small of her back guiding her out of the living room. “Wow” I breathed deeply. “That went better than I ever thought it would.  How are you doing with all this?” I asked Lorelei as I gazed into her eyes and gently kissed her temple.

     “I’m relieved and it gives me hope that my parents will be as understanding and as accepting as yours were.” She snuggled in closer under my arm and gave turned her face upwards towards mine.  I knew my parents were right about her she was indeed a fine spirited little filly as my Father predicted, and she would also be the one person that would remain by my side no matter what as my Mother had said.  In that instant I loved her even more and let her know it by the depth of the emotions in the kiss I exchanged with her, one that I would cherish fondly in my memory in the years to come. 
    “That’s my boy!!” I heard my Dad’s voice ring out followed by a hearty warm laugh. Both Lorelei and I began to blush at being caught kissing by my parents as though we were a pair of teenagers, who’d been left unsupervised and had taken advantage of the situation.   “Oh hush Seamus you mustn’t tease them, they’ve been through enough this evening.” My Mum chided him. “Hells bells woman, he’s no son of mine if he’s embarrassed to show the woman he loves some affection no matter who’s about.” And with that my Dad gave my Mum a kiss that left her rather pink cheeked.  She gave him a reproving look but you could also see the woman in her still appreciated the attentions of her husband.  It made me look at my parents in a whole new light.

     Mum busied herself pouring the wine that Dad had uncorked and passing around the glasses for the toast. We raised our glasses as my Dad solemnly intoned a blessing I’d hear many times over the years “May you both be blessed with the strength of heaven, The light of the sun and the radiance of the moon, The splendor of fire, The speed of lightening, The swiftness of wind, The depth of the sea, The stability of earth, and the firmness of rock.  Here’s to my son Liam and his lovely future bride Lorelei, my new daughter.”  “Our new daughter” my Mother corrected him as we raised our glasses in a toast and each took a drink.  “Thank you so much.  This means the world to me.” I said to my parents.  “It means the world to both of us.” Lorelei corrected me gently and before I knew it hugs were being exchanged amongst all of us.

   We sat sipping wine and chatting more about our future plans with my parents. My Mum of course offered to take a very active part in any wedding planning activities. Which to her credit, Lorelei was very gracious about, even though we all knew my Mum would try to get the upper hand and do things her way.  The rest of our visit with my parents passed pleasantly enough, but soon we were begging off, as there were things we still needed to do this evening.  “Oh but you just got here, do stay for a while longer.”   Mum was obviously warming to the idea of me being settled down with a wife more and more as the evening went on. “No Mum, we really do have to be going we’ve got things out in the car that need to unpack and put away at the house.  We’ll be back soon, and we promise to keep you in the loop about our plans.” I said rising to go and Lorelei stood up as well.

   My parents walked us to the door and gave us each a hug. I could still see the wheels spinning in my Mums head about wedding plans and how soon she could get the two of us to the alter without people thinking we had to get married because parenthood was an eminent danger to the two of us.  Mother had always been one to be overly concerned with social standing and what others might perceive as scandalous.  Bless her heart though she was doing her very best to accept the current situation and genuinely accept Lorelei into the family, and I loved her for it.

It was a fairly quiet ride home for the two of us, as I think we both needed to process all that had just happened.  We’d talk it over of course, but right now we needed a bit of time to just put everything into perspective and I’m sure it was also weighing heavily on Lorelei’s mind how the same conversation would go when we had it with her parents.  My parents had at least had the advantage of meeting her and spending a bit of time getting to know her, whereas her parents didn’t know me from Adam.  We’d get through it though, come hell or high water. Lorelei reached out at this point in my thoughts and placed her hand on my knee and gave it a little pat as if to say exactly the same thing, we’d see it through together.

    We arrived home and quickly unloaded the car and carried the boxes and other items that we’d packed up at the apartment.  Liam was in the process of returning the empty boxes to the trunk of the car so we could use them again on another trip and I was watering plants and arranging my pots of herbs on the window sill of the kitchen when I heard the repetitive chiming of the doorbell. I called out to Liam that I’d answer it, and headed for the door.  I was barely able to open it when Molly bounced in with Meagan in tow.  “I couldn’t wait to congratulate you two!!” She bubbled and gave me a warm hug. Molly was still chattering away animatedly as Liam came up behind me and wrapped his arm around my waist.
    “I see news travels faster than the speed of light in this family.” He grinned at his kid sister, who just gave him a fast and furious bear hug.  “I so can’t believe it.  My big brother is finally ready to take the plunge.  Have you too set a date yet?  Did Mum pitch a complete fit when you told her the news?  I mean it’s really sudden but when you know you’ve found the one you know it.  Details I need details.” “Molly you are your Mother’s child, you’re so like her.” Liam teased her. “I AM NOT!!” retorted Molly defensively.  “Okay maybe just a little” and she giggled which set us all off in a gale of laughter. “Oh look Mommie, Uncle Liam has a kitty!!” exclaimed Megan excitedly. At this point Barclay has chosen to stroll in and check out what all the fuss was about.  “Here, kitty, kitty.” She called to him.  “What’s his name? Can I play with him?” she asked excitedly.

    “His names Barclay and of course you can play with him.  Why don’t you and Uncle Liam go take him into the living room and get some of his toys, and I’ll go get us some refreshments to enjoy while we have a visit, okay?” “Sure” Molly grinned.  “Come on Kitty, I mean Barclay, lets’ go play.  You too Uncle Liam come on.” She said grabbing his hand and dragging him out towards the living room.  Barclay little ham that he was pranced along, tail held high after his new little playmate. “I’ll just give Lorelei a hand” chirped Molly after them, as she followed me out to the kitchen. “I’m sorry about the mess in here.  We were just in the middle of putting things away when you two arrived.” I apologized.

   “Are you kidding me?” Molly fired back at me.  “This kitchen is still neater then the state it’s normally in.  Why don’t you finish up what you were doing and tell me what I can do to help with the snacks.”  She added. “That would be great thanks so much.  I’d appreciate it.” I said to her gratefully.  “There’s cookies in the cookie jar on the counter and then just take whatever you want for drinks out of the fridge, there’s milk, juice, iced tea, your choice help yourself to anything.  I’m sure you know where the glasses and a plate for the cookies are.” I said as I busied myself putting things away in the fridge and cupboards.  “There are actually cookies in the cookie jar!”  Molly said sounding astounded by the fact, as she took some out and placed them on the plate she’d taken from the nearby cupboard. “Actually I understand that statement.” I laughed.  “When I went to fill it up after I baked the other day before we went to your folks place,  I found among other things a partial roll of duct tape, a Swiss Army knife, several fishing lures, 9 dollars in loonies, a bunch of crumpled Canadian Tire money, twist ties, and a hockey puck.”

    “That sounds more like what I’m used to.  He’s very MacGyver at times.” And we both burst into laughter. “Everything okay out there?  Do you ladies need some help?”   We heard Liam calling to us from the living room. “No, No, we’re fine thanks” I called back to him between bursts of giggles.  I got a tray out and Molly loaded it with the plate of cookies along with the drinks she’d poured for us.  She carried that out to the living room while I followed her with a couple of potted plants I planned on adding to the living room.  I placed the philodendron on the top shelf of one of the bookcases for now and quickly arranged the hanging vines on it, the other potted plant resided on an end table until I discovered the best place for it.

     Liam was on the floor with Megan and they were tossing toys back and forth between them as Barclay went into hunter mode and would chase them madly, tackle them and the proudly strut to one of them and drop his prey before  them seeking adoration for his offerings. “What was so funny out in the kitchen?” he asked with a quizzical look on his face. “Nothing at all big brother of mine. I was just having a little girl talk with my new soon to be sister. Right Lor?” and she gave a conspiratorial wink, which I returned. “Well Dad would say ‘Laughing girls and cackling hens never come to any good ends.” Liam teased us. “That’s whistling girls, silly” returned Molly.  I loved to see how close he was to his sister and the good natured heckling and teasing that went on between them.  You could tell they had a genuine connection and affection for each other.

    Liam shrugged “Close enough for me.  I can see I’m going to be left out of the loop on this one so I’ll just accept it.  Come on munchkin” he said to Meagan” let’s have a cookie and some juice.”  He untangled himself from where he’d been sitting on the floor and moved over to the couch and took a seat. Meagan helped herself to a cookie and deposited herself on her Uncle’s lap.  She nibbled happily on her cookie and sipped her glass of juice while the rest of us talked a bit. Molly of course was full of questions.  Especially about how things had gone when we dropped our little bomb shell on the family. “Better you than me.” Was how she summed it up the situation, “I would have would have been quaking in my boots about their reaction.  I mean you guys have only been dating a couple of weeks not even, I mean I just about had a kitten on the spot when Colin and I went to tell Mum and Dad we’d gotten engaged I thought they’d totally freak even though we’d dated for nearly two years when we did.”
    “Little pitchers have big ears.” I said as a  reminder that perhaps some things might be better left to discuss at a later date. Liam gave Molly and me a knowing look over Meagan’s head. “Uncle Liam?” said Meagan softly.  “What is it princess?” Liam asked her.  “Are you still going to love me when you get married?” she asked solemnly. “Forever and always, and now you’ll have someone else that loves you too.  I promise.” He said and gave her a cuddle. “Meagan, you’ll always be special to your Uncle Liam and to me as well.  In fact we couldn’t think of having a wedding without you.” I told her. “Really?” she said brightening.  “Yes, really, we’ll need a flower girl and you’d be perfect that’s if you want to.”  “I dunno. What do they do?”  She asked. “Well you get to wear a very pretty outfit and carry a basket with flower petals and you sprinkle handfuls of the petals as you walk.  Then you’ll have to stand up front with Uncle Liam and I and some other people and make sure everything goes just right.  Would you like to do that?” I asked her. “I can do that easy peasy!” she said excitedly.  “Good then that’s settled.  That’s going to be such a big help to us both.  Thank you Meagan.” I added and she positively beamed with delight.

    I knew that it was important to make sure Meagan understood that she wasn’t going to get lost in the shuffle of things,  to reassure her that that there was still a place for her in her Uncle Liam’s life.  I also knew how close Liam was to his niece and nephews and I wanted to make sure that it stayed that way for all their sakes. Liam knew exactly what I was up to and I could tell from the look on his face that he more than approved.  Molly also seemed pleased with the way I’d handled things, being sensitive to her little ones feelings and needs. “Oh gosh, I didn’t realize what time it was.  I’ve got to scoot.  I know I shouldn’t have come over unannounced like this but I just couldn’t wait to congratulate you both.  Come on Meagan time to say our good nights and be on our way.”

    “Okay Mom.”  She gave her uncle a hug and at the same time whispered something confidentially in his ear.  I was the next recipient and even Barclay got a hug good bye which caused him  do his cuteness times two routine, which meant purring like a motorboat and rubbing his head affectionately against Meagan’s cheek as she cuddled him.   We saw them to the door and waved good bye as they drove away before returning to the living room and curling up together on the sofa. “So think we’ll have any more visitors tonight?” I asked Liam as I snuggled into him. “Nope, we should be good sweetie, but rest assured Sean has been informed and is now currently thinking of ways to avoid having to wear a monkey suit complete with a bow tie.”  Liam grinned as the thought of his brother and his obvious distress over the dress code he’d just cited.

    I raised a quizzical eyebrow at him.” Funny I don’t recall us discussing the dress code, bridal party or anything else, other than Meagan playing a part in it.” You’d be quite correct, but you have met my Mum and trust me she’s already plotting, I mean planning.” He corrected himself. “I think you got it right the first time with plotting.” And we both started giggling.  “Oh she is going to be a force to be reckoned with, isn’t she?” I asked him.  “I’m afraid she is, but we’ll get it al sorted and we’ll have the wedding we want I promise.”  He reassured me, and gave me kiss on the cheek. 

     “We’ve had another big day together haven’t we? I asked her as I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. `That we did.  I can admit it to you now but I was pretty much terrified when we first told your folks.  I honestly figured they were going to read us the riot act, tell us we were crazy and being totally irresponsible and I don`t know what all else.  I also pretty much figured they`d call me every name in the book and none of them very flattering, and I`m so thankful they didn`t.  Guess I just went in there prepared for the worst case scenario.  Thankfully it turned out far better than I ever imagined it would.” Lorelei said the relief that it was now behind us evident in her voice.

    “I was pretty sure it was going turn out to be a living nightmare myself.  Overall I think it went pretty smoothly.  Mum still isn’t keen on the concept of us living together and if anything comes up like a family trip before we are married, we’ll be expected to take separate bedrooms we’ll also probably have chaperones at the door to ensure no fraternizing.” I chuckled at the thought “It’s going to be exactly the same way at my Mom and Dad’s place next weekend. I totally understand.  I think it was pretty terrific of her to put her feelings aside though and still welcome me into the fold the way she did.  Fingers crossed things will go as well with my folks and the drama will be kept to a minimum.” She sighed.

     “Hang in there champ it’s going to be fine and no matter what I’ll be right there beside you.  Got it?” he said tilting my chin up and looking me in the eyes. “Got it.” And I knew she really did get it that I would be the one constant in her life that she’d be able to count on. “So in an effort to get your mind of next weekend how about giving a fashion show for your favourite guy in the world?”  I asked mischievously, my eyes twinkling brightly. “I’ve been enjoying your little shows when you nick some of my clothes and wear them, now how about trying it with some of your own.” “You’re thinking about some of the things in my lingerie drawer that you packed up earlier tonight aren’t you? She asked and her own eyes were sparkling with their own devilish little spark in them at the thought.

     “Well seeing as how you brought the subject up………..”my voice trailed off in a husky tone, as I trailed my finger down the contour of her throat and stroked it lightly over the crescent of her breast. “I brought the subject up?” she said trying to sound peeved but failing, so I got a little poke in the ribs with her elbow, so she could make her point. “Was there anything in particular you had in mind?” her voice very sultry and enticing. “It’s all good to me sweetheart.” And I leaned down and kissed those delicate lips of hers that I knew oh so well.  It was going to be another magical night in paradise for the two of us, I could feel it already in my heart.

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