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I wonder where to sit the three of us for dinner when there are only two stools. It is evident by the furniture arrangement that Alex is not one for entertaining guests. He doesn't even have a full set of dishes. The pots and pans I require are not to be found but I get creative and manage to get it all done.
I decide to have us eat at the coffee table. The place settings are paper plates, plastic utensils and dinner napkins that I had recently purchased at the grocery store. The decaf coffee is brewing and I place a candle at the center of the table. There, everything is perfect.
Alex comes out of the bedroom. Having just taken a shower, his hair is still wet and his feet are bare, but thankfully the rest of him is fully clothed. He takes a deep breath and sighs. “It smells so good in here.”
I can't help but smile. He looks past me at the coffee table. “Are we having Indian food tonight?” he asks, noticing the pillows on the floor and the coffee table set.
I feel timid for some reason. I want him to be okay with all of this. “No, I just… I wasn’t sure where else we would all fit.”
“Good point. Note to self… buy a folding table and chairs.” He walks over and picks up the candle. He opens some drawer in the kitchen and pulls out a torch lighter and lights up the wick.
“Well, it’s now official,” he says, placing the candle back in the center of the table. “I am definitely living with a woman.”
“Are you saying that because there is now a candle on the table?” I say with my hands on my hips and a smirk on my lips.
“Men don’t buy candles,” Alex says, with a shrug.
“Not even gay men?” I counter.
He presses his lips together in deep thought, his eyes drift to the ceiling. “Okay,” he concedes, “perhaps a gay man would, but I personally have never found a need.”
“You have no romance in your soul,” I tell him and wander back into the kitchen to check on dinner.
“That’s a bit of leap,” he says and I look up at him in surprise at his slightly offended tone. “There are many ways to show someone you care, Cat.”
“I know… I was only teasing. I didn’t mean anything by it.” I don’t like the fact that he looks hurt and I wish I could take the stupid comment back.
“I don’t think you do know, but I have faith you’ll figure it out.”
I am about to ask him what he means by that when there is a knock on the door. Alex opens it up and William immediately gives him a hug.
“Hey there brother,” William says and hands him a bottle of what looks like wine.
“Smells good in here, Cat. You didn’t make…?” He rushes over to the oven to check. “You did!”
“Oh, man. Are you in for a good meal tonight, my friend!” he says, looking over at Alex who is still looking oddly at me. Alex puts the bottle on the counter.
“Her lasagna is to die for.”
I giggle nervously for some reason. “Thanks for the high praise, now I just have to live up to it."
William kisses my cheek. “Baby girl, you always exceed expectations. Thanks for asking me to dinner. It…means a lot to me.”
“Well, I promised we’d talk when I was ready. So… I’m ready.” A timer goes off that I quickly tap into silence. “And apparently, so is dinner. If you gentlemen will have a seat, I’ll bring it out to you.”
William looks around and spots the coffee table that’s set for dinner. He laughs. “Cozy,” he says, taking a seat on a pillow.
“Do you want any help?” Alex offers.
“I got it,” I tell him, wishing I could have had five more minutes to straighten out whatever it was that happened before William walked in the door. I bring over a small dinner salad for each of us and place them on the table.
“The lasagna needs some time to cool, so I thought we could start with this.”
“Sounds good to me,” William says as Alex takes the spot across from William, which leaves me the spot right next to William.
I go back for the bottle and 3 glasses, all of which are mismatched, but no one seems to mind when I place them on the table.
I open the bottle and begin to pour some in each glass, but as I go to pour some in mine, I nearly spill it, as I have to quickly stop. Alex’s hand is hovering over the glass.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Cat.”
“What isn’t?” I ask, confused.
William too gives Alex a strange look and then his eyes widen, “Cat, you … you haven’t been drinking, have you? I mean I know things may look bad but…”
“No, I haven’t been drinking! You know I don’t drink!” I reassure him.
“But that’s wine,” Alex says, obviously confused.
The connection slowly dawns on me. He thinks it is a bottle of wine … alcohol. He is trying to stop me from drinking it because of the baby. Well, this will be fun to explain.
I turn the bottle around. “William knows better than anyone that I don’t drink.” I show him the sparkling grape juice label. Alex suddenly looks like he wishes a hole would open up beneath him so he can quickly disappear.
William looks at Alex and then looks back at me. “Someone care to explain what the issue is here? I know Cat doesn’t drink alcohol; her older brother is a recovering alcoholic. Seeing as how it nearly destroyed his life, Cat swore never to touch the stuff. So, why do YOU think it’s bad?” he says, looking pointedly at Alex.