Divia sat alone on the park bench gazing up into the sky. She couldn’t believe how much had changed in the last couple of months. She never thought her dad would be so accepting of her being gay. She looked up as Renee came to join her. The other woman sat down next to her nudging her arm. Looking over she smiled taking the rainbow-colored snow cone “thank you.”
Renee gave her an appraising look “is something the matter?” she taking a small bite from her own blue raspberry snow cone.
Shaking her head Divia gave her a small smile. “I was thinking about my dad. I never gave him enough credit when I was growing up. I just assumed he wouldn’t understand.”
“Yet we have him to owe for getting us together” Renee put an arm around her “your dad’s pretty great if you ask me except when he’s yelling.” She chuckled a little “he only wants what’s best for you.”
“I’m beginning to see that” Divia snuggled closer to Renee listening to the distant sounds of children playing, birds chirping in the nearby trees and a couple of dogs barking a block or two away. “I guess I’ve always known it” she rested her head on Renee’s shoulder “I had it backwards. I was the one who was trying to change him. I always wished I had a kinder more sensitive dad like Hannah’s dad Eddie. Someone who wasn’t loud and scary. I thought my dad wanted a different daughter. One who wasn’t scared of him.”
Renee’s laughter was soft and reassuring. “I think Liono likes you just the way you are. He told me how much he worried about you while you were away. He never wanted to send you away to that boarding school. He thought at the time you needed to find out who you were without your friends always around. Then you left for University and met that girl.” She paused a moment to press a gentle kiss on Divia’s forehead “your mom didn’t paint a very nice picture of her to your dad.”
“I never said anything negative about her” Divia lifted her head protesting.
“I think that’s what made Liono suspicious” Renee shook her head her shoulders rising in a shrug “everyone has faults and you seemed to be blind about hers.”
Nodding Divia stood up crossing he arms in front of her. “I know. I practically worshiped the ground Marzia walked on. Which left me feeling I wasn’t worthy to be in her presence.”
Coming up beside her Renee slipped her hands into the younger girls. “I think Marzia didn’t know what a treasure she had.” She gazed steadily into Divia’s eyes “I won’t make that mistake.”
“Really” Divia asked eyes trying to see the answer in the blue depths of the woman in front of her. “What makes you so confident that you won’t? Maybe I’m not worth it.”
“I don’t want to change you” she murmured placing a soft kiss on the girls cheek before tugging on her hand to get her to follow her. She walked towards the almost deserted beach. “I think you’re enough just the way you are.” She was silent until they reached the water’s edge “I started off wanting to be your friend. I never once wanted to make you idolize me or to be special like I deserved to be placed on a pedestal. We’re equals. We’re both human which means, I’ll make mistakes and so will you.”
Divia stared up at her in wonder. It was true Renee had never once tried to change her. She hadn’t insisted she wear a certain style of clothes or wear her hair a certain way. Didn’t promise to wait than pressure her for more. Didn’t always need her to make herself feel better. “For the first time I….” she hesitated uncertain exactly what she wanted to say.
“Yes” Renee asked lifting an eyebrow in need of waxing.
Giggling a little Divia smiled holding the young woman’s gaze. She took a step forward cupping her hands around Renee’s face. “I think for the first time I know what love is.”
Renee breathed in deeply of the salty air from the ocean, the sand, the faint Lilly scent from Divia’s shampoo. Turning slightly she kissed the girls palm of one of the hand’s framing her face. “Does that mean what I think it does?”
Divia smiled moving closer until their bodies molded together. Dropping her hands to around the girls waist holding her close. “I love you.”
“I thought that’s what you meant” Renee smirked leaning her forehead on Divia’s.
“Shush” Divia instructed as she took control of the moment and brought her lips to Renee’s in a tentative kiss. It felt like the first time, her stomach somersaulted inside her making her knees weak. It was the way she imagined feeling but never did until this moment.
Breaking the kiss Renee let a sigh escape, “it’s getting late.”
Nodding Divia took her hand to escort her back to the parking lot where they had left their car. “We’re going to be late and Vince hates when people are late.”
“Yeah” Renee giggled remembering the one time they told the uptight blonde they’d meet him at the movies and he was about to explode when they arrived five minutes before the movie started. “We won’t have time to change before we need to be at the restaurant.”
“What time is it?” Divia asked sliding into the passenger seat careful not to drag in half the beach with her.
“Six o’clock” Renee said backing out of their parking spot.
“What” she exclaimed “we’re supposed to be there now.”
“Relax” Renee laughed “it’s not the end of the world if we’re a few minutes late.”
Divia nodded as she began to rummage in her bag for her lip gloss and brush. “I wish I had a hair tie or something” she mumbled surveying her touch up job in the mirror.
“You look fine” Renee assured her.
“That’s not saying much” Divia complained “you’d say I looked fine even if I were wearing a burlap sack.”
“Well it’s true” Renee laughed at the murderous glare Divia shot at her from across the car. “I doubt the restaurant would let you in though.”
“Haha very funny” Divia grumbled.
A few minutes later they pulled into the restaurant parking lot. “Aren’t you going to comb your hair?” Divia asked before the girl got out of the car.
“Why?” Renee asked “my hair isn’t going to look any less messy if I comb it.” Silently she held her hand out for the brush Divia was holding out to her. She ran it through her long hair a few times. “Better?” she asked tossing the brush at Divia before getting out of the car.
“Not really” Divia shook her head when Renee gave her an I told you so look. Coming around the car Divia wound her arm through Renee’s. “Thanks for trying anyway. I appreciate the effort.”
Giving her a quick peck on the cheek Renee said “for you I’d do anything.” Divia immediately tried to hide behind her long blue hair. “Why do you do that?” Renee demanded stopping to tuck the long strands behind Divia’s ears.
“Do what?” Divia asked pretending she didn’t know what Renee was referring too.
“Hide” Renee said gently holding the girls face so she’d have to look at her “you always hide when I try to compliment you.”
“I don’t” she objected shaking her head in denial.
She raised an eyebrow “does it embarrass you to be told someone thinks the world of you?” She persisted knowing she was making Divia uncomfortable “did something happen to make you doubt yourself so much?”
“Well” Divia glanced towards the ground “I guess it all started when I was about thirteen. I was all legs and elbows. I was the awkward ugly duckling next to all my friends. Hannah and Teasha were so much prettier than me.”
Renee snorted at the picture that entered her head of Olive Oil. “I’m sorry” she covered her mouth with her hand “please continue.”
“Well we were at the beach and a bunch of boys from school came over to us. You know flirting and showing off. I felt left out. Invisible.”
“Oh honey I’m so sorry” Renee pulled her close “kids can be so cruel sometimes.”
Swiping at her eyes Divia nodded “whenever someone compliments me I feel like that awkward little girl again.”
“There’s nothing awkward about you now” Renee squeezed her tight in front of the glass restaurant door. Before releasing her she have the girl a soft kiss on the cheek “you’re beautiful to me.”
“Thank you” Divia murmured feeling her cheeks flush with heat as she walked through the open door Renee was holding for her.
Vincent had arrived early to take advantage of the time to check his emails and his social media sites. He hadn’t had the chance to check with all the baby prep his parents were having him help with. His dad was hopeless when it came to putting anything together. Vincent had taken it upon himself to dismantle and reassemble the crib that his dad had half assembled in his room one night when he couldn’t sleep. For the safety of his unborn sibling he had volunteered to assemble any other accessory his mother purchased that the baby absolutely needed.
Before he left for the restaurant that evening his dad had taken him aside saying “thanks son.”
“For what?” he asked confused to what his dad was referring to.
“You fixed the wobble in the crib” his cheeks were a deep crimson “you may have noticed I’m completely inept when it comes to assembling anything. When we were expecting you, Liono put everything together for me.”
“I’m glad I can help” Vincent smiled at his dad “it’s not a big deal. Are you and mom going to find out what it is?”
Milo shook his head “your mom and I want it to be a surprise. Boy or girl we’ll be happy with either.”
Sitting in his car Vincent wondered if his parents lack of curiosity of the baby’s gender was because he had been so sickly and they just wanted a healthy baby. In a way he could understand that. He had cost his parents dearly with all the medical expenses he put them through for his eyesight. At times he felt guilty for all the money they had put into him. If it weren’t for his medical expenses his parents would have been able to have the large family they had always wanted.
Restlessly he got out of the car. He walked aimlessly around the plaza knowing it was too early to get a table. He didn’t relish the idea of sitting at a table for three alone until Divia decided to show up. Turning his phone off he decided he didn’t want to read anymore messages. None of them were from the one person he wanted most to hear from. Following his parent’s advice he had sent Trinity a text telling her how much he liked her. He hadn’t received a reply. He had to accept she didn’t want the same things he did.
“Vincent….” a familiar voice called his name.
At the sound of her voice his heart jumped into his throat choking him. “Trinity” he whispered half afraid he had imagined her voice. “What are you doing here?”
“I…” she bit her bottom lip looking down and away appearing uncomfortable in his presence. “I got your message.” She clasped her hands behind her back. “I” she repeated breathing rapidly “there’s something I need to tell you.” She looked up a frightened expression on her normally confident exterior.
“Me?” he cried “what do you need to tell me that you haven’t already said? I know you’re not interested in relationships. I’ve accepted that.” Had she come all this way just to reiterate what she had already told him? He wanted nothing more than to sink into the ground and disappear right where he stood. He didn’t want to hear what she had to say. It hurt too much the first time.
“That’s what I thought too” she took a hesitant step forward putting a hand out touching his arm. “I thought I didn’t want commitments.” She stared at her hand on his harm before moving her gaze to his eyes “I think I’m ready to try…”
He blinked. Was something wrong with his ears? Did she just say what he thought she said? Did she really say she wanted to try? With him? Her hand suddenly felt hot and heavy sending shock waves through his entire body “What does…um….I mean….yes I’d like that” he stammered.
She smiled up at him. The corners of her eyes crinkling. “Good” she let a giddy laugh escape “I was afraid that you had um…” she took a deep breath “I was afraid you had given up on me.”
Shaking his head in denial he took her hand in his as he began to walk towards the restaurant. “I’ve liked you from the moment I saw you at that Halloween party last fall. I’ve done everything I could think of to purge you from my mind.”
Walking beside him her shoulders rubbing against his. “I spent most of my summer in Monte Vista hoping my mom would convince me that my old way of doing things was the best way. She’d go out on one date after another and I began to wonder if she were happy. She smiled but her eyes seemed dull and lifeless.” She looked up at him “I knew then I didn’t want to be like her. Going from one man to the next. I want something more. Something I’ve been afraid of since my Dad walked out on us. I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
“Afraid of what?” Vincent asked gently stroking her cheek.
“Commitment. Of having someone I love walk out of my life again.” She reached a hand up to his pressing it firmly to her face. “I never meant to hurt you. I know I did and I’m sorry.” A single tear rolled down the contours of her face “I’ll understand if you don’t want to give me another chance.”
“Of course I’d give you another chance” he gasped “I haven’t been able to get you off my mind. I owe you so much. Who knows what might have happened to me if you hadn’t helped me.”
“Did you ever get your wallet back?” she asked as they resumed walking.
“Nope” he shrugged “the girls have community service though. The cops found my credit cards in their dorm room. Thankfully they hadn’t used them yet. Just spent all my cash.”
“They’ll do it again” Trinity foretold “community service is just a slap on the wrist.”
“Maybe” Vincent said feeling more charitable now that he had what he wanted most. Glancing at his watch he said “I’m supposed to meet Divia and her girlfriend at this restaurant” he pointed towards the building they had been walking towards. “Want to join us?”
Trinity shook her head hanging back. She could see Vince looking at her “I don’t want to intrude….”
“Nonsense” he shrugged off her protests “you’ll be with me.” He smiled at her “if it makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to.”
She looked at him then at the restaurant. A thousand thoughts racing through her head at once. She had never been with anyone long enough to meet family or friends. There was a first time for everything she thought smiling up at him. “I’ll come if you promise not to flirt with any blondes.”
He chuckled a little “deal no blondes but red heads and brunettes are fair game.”
“Hey” she protested slapping his arm “I never said that.”
“Alright no flirting” he said holding the door for her “unless it’s you doing the flirting.”
She gave him a worried glance then smiled “I only want to flirt with you.”