May 16, 2014

Part  23

    Upon waking in the morning, I discovered that our sleeping positions had changed during the course of the night.  Now we lay on our sides, spooned together, my body fitting perfectly into the nook that Liam’s body provided mine. His one arm was draped around me and his hand cupped my breast, my still corseted bottom was nestled against his rather firm maleness. Softly I ran my finger tip over his hand which grasped my breast.  It was so large so firm and yet always so gentle and loving with me, I could never imagine a time when he would ever raise it in anger to me.  This gentle giant of a man loved me, and he gave me so much more than I could ever begin to give him, each and every moment with him was a gift to be treasured.  Placing my hand over his I pressed against it.  It was a most wonderful thing to awaken in his arms and feel his love and strength surrounding me. His fingers moved slowly and intertwined themselves with mine. A sleep drenched voice, not fully awake, wished me a barely audible “Good morning, my little sugar magnolia.” And a kiss grazed my temple as he somehow managed to stretch and cuddle me closer all at the same time.

   I brushed my lips across his knuckles which clasped my hand in response to his greeting. “Good morning, my love.” I crooned back and him and wiggled around so I could face him and as he awoke fully.  It was times like this that I wished I possessed the talents of an artist and could sketch him and capture this moment in time exactly as I saw him.  To be able to capture the fine lines that crinkled around his still closed eyes, the way his lips were formed in a mysterious half smile,  His face bore such a look of peace and contentment as he traded one world for another, a world of dreams for one of reality.  His eyes open slowly and the smile on his lips deepened into what was now a grin of obvious delight, and he leaned over and kissed the tip of my nose.  He reached out and stroked my hair “You didn’t just fade away your still here dream girl of mine.” He said softly.  “No, and I’m never going to just fade away on you. I’ll be here forever and always.” I promised him as I drew closer to kiss those lips which were the bearers of those wonderful smiles of his.

    Snuggled together we revelled in the fact that we were able to share the start of yet another new day together, as well as the fact that stretched before we had a life time of special tender moments such as this to share.   Waking up took on a new meaning now that Liam was by my side. Eventually we resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d have to get out of bed and start our day. Liam and I had a final snuggle session that ended with one of those thrills you to the tip of your toes kind of kisses before we ultimately slipped out of bed. Liam took charge of making the bed and tidying up in there while I headed off to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast.  My four footed fur escort, Barclay who’d been also lounging with us at the foot of the bed, ensured that I didn’t forget the way to the kitchen or to his stash of kitty kibble.  As I left the bedroom, I somehow knew that Liam was watching me and enjoying the view as I departed, so I paused in the bedroom door and gave him a little shimmy of hips to let him know that I knew he was watching me, before disappearing through it.

        We scrambled through what was becoming our morning routine during our work week, breakfast, tidying up the kitchen, shared shower time and hurriedly dressing and heading off to work.  There was such a natural easy rhythm to it all, and even Barclay had his place in all of it. Our morning commute on the bus provided a source of speculation and a volley of comments once again amongst our fellow travellers, though to be completely fair Einstein and Librarian Lady were seated together this morning, causing a small buzz of their own.  Bless his heart Einstein was even making an effort to remain conscious and not dose off on her, just goes to show you the miraculous results a budding romance conjures up. My work day flew by and as it drew closer to the end of my shift I was eagerly anticipating Liam’s arrival to pick me up.  When I finally bounced through the door, at the end of my shift, there he was waiting.  My heart took wings and I wanted to fly into his arms and smother him with a multitude of kisses. 

   I didn’t of course as I felt I had to maintain some form of professionalism while I was there, but my enthusiasm at seeing him did not go unnoticed by the watchful eyes of the  Morelli’s who were in the front of the shop serving some customers.  I fairly danced over to him, and he gave me a quick chaste kiss on the cheek as though I were his sister.  The older couple beamed at us, nodded their approval and wished us both a lovely evening, as we left the shop. We linked arms and happily headed home together.  As we braved the madness, better known as the evening rush hour with our fellow commuters we only had eyes and ears for each other. Chattering animatedly about how our days had gone, and making plans for the evening, we were as happy as a pair of clams. After we finished our evening meal we were going to head back over to the apartment and pack up a few more boxes of things, and to break the news to Mrs. Silverton who I was pretty certain would be in that evening.  It wasn’t going to be easy as I genuinely was going to miss not seeing the gentle spirited woman that I had come to love like family over the years I had lived there.

     “This isn’t going to be easy for you is it?” I asked her softly as we pulled up in front of her apartment. “No, it’s not.  I’ve got a lot of fond memories of this place.  This is where I found Barclay and adopted him, for one thing.” Her voice trailed off as she sighed. We sat in silence for a few minutes as I wanted to give her a chance to come to terms with what she was about to do. “Okay I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be. Let’s get this show on the road.” She resolved.We took the empty boxes out of the trunk and carried them up to the front door.  Lorelei hesitated as she put the key in the front door, squared her shoulders and turned the lock and opened it.  Leaving the boxes in the front entry by the bottom of the stairs, we found ourselves standing in front of Mrs. Silverton’s door.  She rapped short, staccato knocks and we heard Mrs. Silverton call out that she was on her way.

   The door opened.  “Hello my dear I wondered where you’ve been and you brought your young man with you, how nice.” Mrs. Silverton greeted us. “Do come in. Come in the both of you.  Have a seat and I’ll put the kettle on.  I’ll be back in a jiff.  Just make yourselves comfortable.” She enthused before toddling off to the kitchen Lorelei and I took seats on the sofa together, and I quickly scanned the room.  It had a nice homey feel to it exactly like you’d expect a grandmotherly type to inhabit.  Lace doilies on tables with vases of fresh cut flowers on them, and crocheted afghans tossed over the back of the sofa. Along with framed pictures of various family members scattered about on tables.

    “I can see why you like it here. It’s like having your Gran about.  I’m sure she’ll understand though, take heart my love.” And I took her hand and clasped it in my mine. Mrs. Silverton came bustling back into the room with a tray laden with a tea pot,  china cups and saucers, a pot of sugar cubes and milk, dainty little sterling silver teaspoons, floral napkins and a plate of cookies that looked delightful.  I wondered if this was what having a proper tea with a grand dame back in the old country would have been like. I stood up as she entered the room.  “My, such a polite young man you have Lorelei, Now please sit and tell me to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit from you two?  Everything is well with you I trust?” she inquired pleasantly. “First of all everything is fine and I would like to properly introduce the two of you.  Mrs. Silverton may I present Liam Conlin.” Lorelei began “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Mrs. Silverton. Lorelei has told me so many nice things about you.” I said sincerely. “It’s nice to finally meet you as well Mr. Conlin” She responded “Please call me Liam”

   Lorelei continued “Mrs. Silverton I’m not really sure how to say this so I think it would be best if I just come right out with it. I’m here to tell you I need to give you my notice that I’ll be leaving.  I know it’s very short notice and I fully expect to continue to pay rent for the months of September and October to honour my tenancy agreement that I have with you.” “Would you care for milk and sugar in your tea Liam?” inquired Mrs. Silverton as she poured the tea from the pot. “Now will that be one lump or two?” I just assumed the poor old dear was in a mild form of shock after Lorelei’s announcement and didn’t want to deal with the fact her beloved tenant was leaving. “One is fine thank you and no milk please.”  I responded as I accepted the proffered cup of tea on its delicate saucer.  “Oh and do have some cookies to enjoy with it as well.  These jam and nut filled rugelach and the poppy seed cookies are favourites of Lorelei’s.” she urged me.

    I took a napkin off the tray and helped myself to the cookies as Mrs.  Silverton continued to play hostess and fussed over pouring the remaining cups of tea.  I sat silently nibbling my cookies, and sipping tea and wondering if somehow I had managed to slip down the rabbit hole and was now at a somewhat tame but still some rather bizarre version of the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. “Mrs. Silverton?” Lorelei ventured, evidently coming to the same conclusion that I had that the old dear was simply taken back but this sudden news bulletin she’d just been given. “Yes dear I heard you.  You’ll be leaving me shortly.” She said as she handed a cup of tea to Lorelei. Her voice was strong and clear though her hand trembled slightly as she handed over the cup, and it rattled on the saucer.

   “It was inevitable that you would one day my dear and I’m gathering this young man of yours has a great deal to do with your decision?” she inquired primly. “Yes Liam does.  We’re very much in love Mrs. Silverton and we’re planning on being married.  We both hope you’ll be able to attend when we do.” Lorelei said softly. “Oh I’d be tickled pink to attend dear, and I’m sure you’ll make a most beautiful bride.” She enthused.  “Now it’s really none of my affair but I am guessing you’ll be busy feathering your own little nest for the two of you until you do marry?”  She surmised. “Yes” Lorelei responded flushing slightly, a rosy hue appearing on her cheeks. “Well it is a rather newfangled notion to an old lady like me as a young woman of good breeding would never have even considered such a thing in my day.  Nowadays things are different though and I know you well enough to know that you are a good and decent sort of a girl.  This isn’t something you’d undertake in a willy nilly fashion, you have far too much common sense for that.” Mrs. Silverton stated in a matter of fact way.


I cleared my throat and began.  “Mrs. Silverton I want you to know I love Lorelei very dearly and I too know she’s an exemplary woman.  I respect her and would never dream of asking her to do anything that would compromise her reputation. I also know how much she loves it here and so I’m hoping you’ll permit us both to come back and visit you on occasion.  Perhaps you’d even like to come over to our home and enjoy an evening meal with us sometime in the future.” The elderly woman beamed.  “Well you certainly know how to put an old ladies mind to rest young man.  I mean Liam.” She corrected herself. “It would be delightful to have you both come to call and to come see you in your home as well.  I have a feeling you two will be extremely happy in your life together. Now do have another cookie or two.” She added as she offered Liam the plate of cookies. “Don’t mind if I do, thank you.” I said snagging a couple more cookies while balancing the tiny cup and saucer of tea on my knee.

   It was great for me to get to know Mrs.  Silverton and well as for her to get to know me. We chatted about a great many things, and it even struck me that I might know a couple of friends of mine that had recently gotten married were looking for a spacious apartment to rent.  They would make great new tenants for Mrs. Silverton and Lorelei would probably rest easier as well knowing that there was someone nearby to keep a watchful eye on her and be there if she needed a hand with anything. When it was time for us to leave and head upstairs to pack up some more boxes, Mrs. Silverton gave both of us warm hugs, and told us she was going to pick a bouquet of flowers from her garden for us to take home when we left, and that we’d find it on the hall table waiting for us when we were done with our packing.  I could see why Lorelei was so fond of her they were both kindred spirits. After we grabbed the boxes we headed upstairs to do some packing. I started to pack up her CD collection as well as a few shelves of books.  I also began to carefully wrap and back up the various pictures of family and art work that she had hanging on the walls and sitting on tables and what not around the apartment in various places. 

    She in turn busied herself by packing up the rest of her clothes in her bedroom as well as cleaning out cabinets in the kitchen.  We listened to music and bantered back and forth as we worked steadily until it was time to lug everything downstairs and load it in the car. Luckily for us we were both in pretty good shape or lugging everything downstairs probably would have just about done us in.  It was totally worth it though as it was getting us one step closer to feathering our nest as Mrs. Silverton had referred to it. It felt great to be merging out two worlds together like this and I was happy to do anything I could to make sure that it went as smoothly as possible.

    We found the bouquet as promised on the side table along with a stack of Lorelei’s mail.  The bouquet was gorgeous, filled with various blossoms, vibrant colours and had a wonderful scent to it.  They were in this lovely crystal vase and there was a small note propped up against it.  “I know you always admired this vase, and though it would make a lovely addition to your new home.” It was signed with much love and affection Mrs. Silverton. Lorelei’s eyes misted over after reading the note and I knew her well enough to know it was tugging at her heart strings.  “She really is a lovely, thoughtful woman.  I can see why you two are so fond of each other.” I said as I wrapped my arms around her and just held her as she had a wee emotional moment over the thoughtful gesture.

    She carefully held the vase containing the bouquet on her lap all the way home. It felt great when we got back to the house to hear her say “I’m so glad to be home.”  That may have sounded like a really small and simple statement but to me it meant so much.  I knew her heart was here with me and no matter where we ended up as long as we were together than that would be our home.  She marched the vase and its contents into the house and put them in a place of honour on the mantel in the living room, as well as displaying the card next to it.  She then gave Barclay a firm warning about not finding a way up there and knocking over the vase or eating the flowers.  Then we began unpacking the rest of the items we’d brought back with us.

    Boxes containing clothing we took into the bedroom, kitchen supplies, utensils, pots and the like we left in the kitchen and the books and CD’s we dragged into the living room and left them in a corner for the time being.  We’d sort through those together find out what we had duplicates of, and figure out where exactly they’d end up. Perhaps in the basement when we finished it off in party sort of area, or perhaps they’d be bequeathed to others or to local charity shops or the library.  We’d figure things out as we went along.  The portraits and art work we’d decide where they’d go later as well. We started to put things away in the kitchen and I was thrilled with the acquisition of such things as a set of professional quality knives.  It was a bit like Christmas for all of us as we unboxed things and found homes for them. I was discovering gadgets and some rather useful things that I knew would be put to good use.

      Why she had a wood rasp in the one box confused me briefly until she assured me it was wonderful for grating chocolate onto cakes as a garnish.  I was definitely going to learn some tricks of the trade. I also had visions of some of my tools vanishing mysteriously from the basement for one of her culinary projects.  “Then again, perhaps not.” as I pulled a blowtorch from her arsenal contained in the boxes.  I held it up mutely my question apparently obvious to her.  “Oh that’s great for browning baked Alaska’s and for the quick caramelizing of the sugar on top of crème brulee. No worries I`m not a pyro maniac or anything like that.” And we both laughed heartily at her joke.

  Barclay was having a whale of a time as he leapt in and out of the boxes we emptied and abandoned until we’d take them back out to the car when we were through.  It was a rather charming little domestic scene, our little family working together as a unit to get the job done, and the wee one playing underfoot.  Barclay wasn’t all that helpful but he was entertaining and gave us both several good chuckles as we worked and chatted. When we were finally done we, carted the empty boxes and stowed them in the car until tomorrow.  Then we treated ourselves by pouring a  couple glasses of wine, which I carried  out to the deck where we could just spend some time chilling out and relaxing after all of our efforts.

   “So” I said snuggling into him.  “We’re making some great progress setting up house together and getting things in order. Next thing on the agenda will be dealing with parents and family and telling them the big news.  I’ll have to ring my Mom and let her know what time we’ll be arriving on Saturday and if we’re planning on spending the night or not.” The words no sooner out of my mouth than my mobile, which I had slipped into the back pocket of my jeans while we’d been packing up over at the apartment began to ring. “Speak of the devil.  It’s my Mom.” I grimaced. As fished it out of my pocket and hit answer.

Liam got up to leave to give me some privacy and I shot him “A don’t you dare abandon ship now.” Look.  He slipped his hand into mine in understanding and gave it a little squeeze of support. “Hi. Mom.” And before the words were out of my mouth my Mother was off and running. “Lorelei just where have you been the last couple of days, young lady?  You know I worry about you living all alone in that den of iniquity you insist on calling home.” “Den of iniquity?” mouthed Liam and shook his head in disbelief. “You haven’t answered any of my calls and I’ve left several messages on your answering machine at the apartment.” “Oh crumb” I thought “Why didn’t I think to check the messages when Liam and I were there the last few times?”

   My Mother continued to prattle on about the evils of city living then she followed up with another favourite topic of hers. “You haven’t just toddled off on one of your adventures again have you?  I mean you are still in the country aren’t you?  It drives me insane that you have to be so independent and not tell your father and I when you plan on gallivanting to the other side of the world.  It wouldn’t be so bad if you had a husband to look after you when you pulled stunts like that but a young woman shouldn’t do things like that on her own. But know you have to be little Miss Independence and if you get it in your head to do something or explore you just do it.”  My mother was on quite the roll tonight. I put her on speaker phone so Liam could hear the conversation as well though with the decibels my Mom’s voice was reaching it really wasn’t all that necessary.

    “You aren’t in Australia again to go surfing are you?” she finally ended her rant with. “Nope not this time, not yet anyways.” I grinned at Liam, and he shook with silent laughter.  “But I do apologize for not calling you and Daddy sooner, but there’s been a lot going on here.” “So much that you can’t even share the details with your own Mother?” she queried.  “Honestly getting information out of you is like pulling teeth with a pair of pliers it’s just painful.” My Mother said in exasperation. “Does this have anything to do with that boy you’ve started seeing?” she demanded. “He’s not a boy Mom, he’s a man and his name is Liam.  Liam Conlin to be precise and I love him Mom.” I stated firmly. “Are you two planning on running off and eloping or have you already?” she asked fearfully. “No Mom we haven’t, nor would we. If you’d kindly hold your tongue I’ll tell you about what’s going on and our plans.  Then you can decide if you still want to see the two of us this weekend or not.” I said quite bluntly. This wasn’t the way Liam and I had planned on telling my parents about the two of us but I’d learned long ago that it’s always better to be forthcoming about things then to try and hide them.

    So I forged ahead, and Liam wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close while I did.  “Mom he’s a great person and when you meet him you’ll see all the great things that I see in him.  I know it’s sudden, but we’ve both known since our first date that we were right for each other.  I’ve  already met his parents, siblings their spouses and his niece and nephews.  In fact on Sunday Liam gave me what I guess you’d call a pre engagement ring of sorts and we went to his parents on Monday to tell them the news.  We wanted to tell you and Dad together this weekend but your sort of forcing my hand so I’m going to do this over the phone for now.  Liam and I moved in together on the weekend.  His parent’s aren’t thrilled about it, but they do understand our need to be together and the fact that we are committed and plan on being married, and I don’t mean in several years’ time either.” My Mother made some strangled little noise in her throat and was dead silent.  I think it was a first for her actually.

     When she regained the power of speech she said very softly “My little girls going to get married.” “Yes Mom. I am very certain he’s the right man for me.  I couldn’t be more certain of the fact.  He’s here with me now.  We decided we’d move into his place.  He’s got a lovely home and he’s very handy with things, he’s brilliant with Barclay and most importantly of all I know he loves me.” I smiled fondly at Liam as I delivered the last words. “I’m in a bit of a daze here dear.  I never thought I’d see the day you’d settle down, nor decide to do it so quickly.  Are you sure this won’t be a case of marrying in haste and repenting in leisure?”  She asked and I could hear the genuine concern in her voice for me.“Yes Mom. It’s Liam all the way for me, now and forever.  I have no doubts whatsoever about it.” I reassured her. “Here Mom, say hello to your future son in law.” And I passed the mobile over to Liam. 

     Liam cleared his throat and said, “Good evening Mrs. Gallagher.  I know this must come as surprise to you but if it’s any consolation to you it took Lorelei and I by surprise as well, not to mention my family. I just want you to know you have a wonderful daughter, and I love her with all my heart and soul, and that I respect her which is why I want to marry her.  I promise you I will always take care of her.  Even when she’s being stubborn and willful and doesn’t want me to I’ll be there by her side.”  Which I knew would win him points with my Mother and earned him a small poke in the ribs from me.At this rate Liam would have my Mom wrapped around his little finger and she would adore him completely.

    Liam and my Mom continued to chat and I just knew he was charming her with his openly honest and sincere way that he had about him.  Though I scowled at him in mock indignation when he and my Mom shared a laugh over the fact that he had already discovered I was a handful at times.  Honestly I’m a complete delight, I thought indignantly. After agreeing on an arrival time with my Mom and saying his good byes, Liam hit the disconnect button on the phone and set it down on the little table where our wine glasses lay untouched as of yet. He picked up one of the glasses and handed it to me then took the other one for himself.  “A toast, in honour of our having notified both of our parents and having lived to tell the tale.” He said as I raised my glass and lightly tapped it against his.  “Here, here” I said “Well done my good man.”

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