The sight of Douglas on my doorstep made me exceedingly happy. We hugged tightly and then I pulled him inside, assuring him it would be fine. He confessed he was super nervous about meeting my parents. I was not gonna tell him I was nervous, too…
Things would have gone fine if my idiotic parents hadn’t decided to treat it like their daughter was bringing a beau over. For Watcher’s sake, I think my dad even asked Douglas what his intentions were! I tried not to feel too embarrassed. Though… I was relieved that when they invited him to stay until his furniture was set up, they said he could have my old room and I could stay in Vi’s old room.
I wasn’t ready to share a room with him. It was difficult enough sharing with Hal, a guy I liked. What would happen to me if I shared with a guy I liked who liked me back?
“That’s all right, Mrs. Danevbie,” Doug said with a charming smile. “I appreciate it but I already booked a hotel room tonight and tomorrow all my furniture should be ready.”
After dinner, he gave me a goodbye kiss in our front hall. He understood that I didn’t want to kiss outside for the neighbors to possibly see. When I apologized, he gave me another kiss. “Sweetie, stop it. Besides, I think it’s cute how shy you can be…”
I smiled and hugged him tight. “See you tomorrow!” I opened the door for him and watched him get into his car and drive off. As soon as I shut the door, Mom and Dad were at my side. I sighed and turned, waiting for them to say what was on their minds. They just looked at me for a moment then we went over to the couch to talk about everything.
“Doug seems like a sweet boy,” Mom said, though a bit hesitantly.
“But…?” I asked, wishing she’d tell me what was on her mind. It meant a lot to me what my parents thought about Doug, but I wanted the truth and not a polite lie.
Mom sighed and shrugged. “I guess I’m just nervous at the thought of you sharing a house with him, since we hardly even know him.”
“You weren’t upset when Hal lived with me and Vi!” I pointed out.
“I think what your mom means is…” Dad hesitated then smiled, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Since you two are a couple, it’s a bit different.”
I blinked a few times then frowned deeply. I couldn’t believe they were still lying to me. “You were fine with Zari and his first girlfriend moving in together, then when they broke up you weren’t worried about Julie moving in with him!” I pushed his hand away and stomped my foot. “So just tell me what’s really bothering you!”
“He’s charming,” Mom said and I shot her a look, about to point out how ridiculous that sounded. She stood up, holding up her hands as if to stop me from saying anything. I closed my mouth and she continued. “A little too charming. He seemed to know what to say to please us.”
Dad slid an arm around Mom’s waist. “I talked to him a bit man-to-man–“
“Yeah I know, and you asked him what his intentions were!” I wailed. “I’m not a girl! I may like guys but I am not a girl.”
Dad had the decency to look a bit ashamed. “Did you hear what he said in reply?” I shook my head so Dad told me. Apparently Doug had said that he cares very much for me and that ‘while I won’t lie about having hormonal urges’ he would continue to suppress those urges because he respected me too much to take advantage.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked, very confused at the concerned look on Dad’s face.
“It’s kinda too perfect an answer,” he said which caused me to frown again. “It’s exactly what a parent would want to hear!”
“Dad, I’m gonna be twenty-two soon,” I grumbled. “I like Douglas and–and you know, if you’re not gonna get all upset about Zari sleeping around then you’re just giving me a double standard when the farthest I’ve ever gone is kissing!”
He was silent, giving a sideways look at Mom who smiled. “He’s right, you know,” she chuckled softly. “He’s not Viola. And maybe Douglas was being genuine, albeit nervous.”
Dad ran his fingers through his hair, grumbling to himself. “Yeah you’re right. I’m sorry Seb. I just got focused on the fact your romantic relationships will be with guys and I don’t trust guys.”
“Dad, you are a guy.”
He grinned and wriggled his eyebrows at Mom. “Yeah, I know. Why do you think I distrust us? I know what goes on in our heads.”
Mom giggled and I groaned. “Ewwwww, I’m going to my room! Conversation over!” I threw up my hands and took off before they could be all gross. Why did I have to be stuck with parents that acted like hormonal teenagers half the time? I bet they didn’t have to deal with seeing their parents practically groping each other in front of the kids… EW!
Three days later and I was officially moved into Douglas’s house. He offered me the bigger room but I turned it down. I’d rather it be smaller. The bigger it was, the more worried I’d be about it being so empty. I was just glad to be out of my old room. It was so weird not sharing it with Zari…
The first night was kinda awkward. It almost felt like we were once again strangers. We were both incredibly polite to one another, our conversation seemed kinda stiff, and when we kissed goodnight we bumped noses a couple times before getting it right. In the morning I felt very strange getting a shower. I dried off in the bathroom and got dressed there so I wouldn’t have to walk the two feet to my bedroom in a towel.
It didn’t matter, since Doug was still asleep. I was up for quite some time before he finally emerged from his bedroom with a sleepy look on his face. “Guess I need to buy an alarm clock,” he mumbled as he fumbled in the cupboards for a box of cereal.
“You can borrow mine,” I offered, glancing up from the pancakes I had made. “I don’t really need it. Um, want me to make you some pancakes?”
Doug turned, his eyes barely open at all. “You’re an angel.”
I smiled as I got up. “It’s no big deal,” I said as I began mixing some more batter. “Vi taught me some things. She was tired of doing all the cooking and cold pizza for breakfast is appetizing for only so many days…”
My pancakes weren’t great but they were edible. Douglas ate them happily, waking up as he did and chattering away about plans for the next few days. He started work soon, as did I. In fact, I started that night. Writing epitaphs. How… exciting. At least it was work, though only part-time. I was hoping to find a full time job soon. I had no clue what I could do, though. Maybe… maybe a desk job somewhere.
The following day I went over to the house that everyone but me was sharing. Zari, Vi, Julie, and Hal. It felt like old times as we played board games; I kinda wished I was staying here, though there wouldn’t be enough bedrooms. So if I were here… it’d be either with Vi or Hal, and I knew Vi wouldn’t want me in her room.
I managed to get Zari alone just before I left for work. “When you and Lisa first moved in together–” I started and then folded my arms when he made a face. “C’mon, just listen. Was it kinda tense and awkward between you two? Or when you started living with Julie?”
“Walking on eggshells at your new little nest?” Zari asked, tossing his hair back and smirking at me. “Yeah, it was like that for me ‘n Lisa but with Julie it was easier.”
“Because you had already gone through the ordeal of living with someone you’re in a relationship with?” I inquired.
“No, because we were sleeping together before she moved in,” was his answer. “Don’t give me that judgmental look, dork!” He reached over and flicked my forehead. “You’re not gonna be innocent forever. Unlike Vi.”
Viola, apparently listening in from the other room, yelled back, “TOO LA–“
“UNLIKE VIOLA!” he yelled, cutting her off. There was a rather smug silence in return. Zari turned back to me, face red with anger.
“You know she’s pulling your leg,” I said, knowing perfectly well that Vi had gone about as far as me–kissing.
His face went redder. “Yeah, of course I do,” he grumbled but he looked slightly relieved. “What were we talking about…?”
“It’s perfectly normal for us to be feeling awkward?” I asked and he nodded.
“As normal as I can figure. When ya have feelings for someone and then are suddenly thrown in living quarters with them, it’s gonna take some adjustment. If you ever need a break, though, our couch is open.”
It took several weeks, but Zari was right. Douglas and I slowly got used to living together. I did a lot of the cooking, most of which was burnt for the first week, and he took care of the cleaning when he wasn’t at work. At first I had no clue what he did but after about a week, I brought the subject up and he said he was working as a sort of janitor at City Hall. He joked that he was the podium polisher.
In the mean time, I sent in applications and finally got hired at the local paper. A paper boy. Wasn’t that for little kids? But a job was a job, and I would make more money. Plus there was room for promotions. I didn’t want to get too many promotions, though, since eventually it meant interacting with people.