My alarm woke us up at four in the morning so we could pack and head to the airport. I held Mirela's hand tightly, not wanting to ever let her go. However, she was unusually silent and I frowned. Was she that tired from last night?
When we got on the plane, I turned to her.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Nothing," she said quickly.
"Liar. Tell me what's wrong," I whispered. "Are you regretting last night?"
"No," she said, shaking her head. "Are you?"
"Not at all. But something has you upset and I want to know what it is."
"I'm worried," she murmured, looking in her lap.
I knew that look. She was feeling vulnerable and I frowned.
"About what? We used protection."
"It's not like that." She sighed heavily and looked out the window. "I'm worried that, now that we've... you'll...."
I sighed and made her look at me. I kissed her lightly.
"No," I whispered. "I'm not going to leave you. I'd be a fool to."
She started to cry and I sighed again, hugging her. I should've known she'd feel like this. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me, trying to think of a way to assure her I wasn't going anywhere. I could propose but it felt way too early for that. Suggest having a kid? Shit no.
"Want me to prove it?" I asked and she looked at me, wiping her tears away. I kissed her. "Move in with me."
She blinked. "What?"
"Move in with me," I repeated, flicking her nose a little.
"What about Luther?"
"What about him?"
"Where's he going to sleep?"
I rolled my eyes. "In his bed, dummy. You'll be sharing my room."
"Oh!" She blushed. "God I'm an idiot," she laughed.
"What do you say?" I asked, feeling nervous.
She looked into my eyes for a long time. I couldn't tell what she was thinking. I waited anxiously.
"I'd love to," she whispered and I beamed, kissing her.
"So, how was Vegas?" Irene asked when we finally landed.
The four of us were in a steak restaurant but Mirela and I were yawning.
"Jet lag," she groaned and I laughed.
"It was amazing," I said, handing Mirela her drink. "We met a really nice couple that we had dinner with. They were on their 50th anniversary."
"And did everything go as planned?" Luther asked and I grinned, holding Mirela's hand.
She and I kissed.
"Yes it did," I said and he beamed. "In fact, should you two agree, I have asked Mirela to move in with me."
Irene giggled. "Oh, that's wonderful! Are you going to?" she asked Mierla excitedly and Mirela nodded. "Oh, Mirela!"
She started crying and we looked around. People were watching.
"Ma, chill," Mirela whispered and hugged her mother. "It's nothing to cry about."
"But it is," she sniffled. "You've found love and he's so handsome! Your father would be so happy!"
I rubbed the back of my neck. Luther patted me on the back with a smile and a nod. While Mirela tried to calm her mother down, I showed him the pictures we took.
"Holy shit," he cried. "You took over 300!"
"I couldn't resist! That place is fascinating, Lu!"
Mirela was still yawning and she went back home with her mom to talk about "women's stuff" as she claimed.
"In other words, she's going to tell her mother we had sex," I grumbled as I put my suitcase on my bed.
Luther laughed. "I figured you guys would. Was it after you told her you loved her?"
"No. She wanted to but I stopped her." He gaped at me. "I know, right?" I sat down and he sat beside me. "It's different with her, Lu. I wanted... I just wanted to hold her that night so that's what we did. Last night, though...."
He laughed again. "Don't tell me; I don't want to know. When is she moving in?"
"I don't know; we didn't really set a certain day. Probably in a month or so."
"Are you going to propose?" he asked, stretching.
"Maybe someday," I said, finishing unpacking. "Not for a little while, though. I don't even think she's thinking about marriage, honestly. The closest we got to anything like that was her saying how cute baby Tui was."
"Does she want kids?"
"Yes and no," I answered. "She says that she'd like a girl but they cry and poop and that turns her off."
We both laughed and I yawned.
"Jesus, she was right," I groaned. "I have jet lag like no other."
"Then sleep, stupid."
"Shut up," I mumbled but I got in bed and closed my eyes with a sigh. "I'm real happy, Lu," I whispered.
"I know," he whispered back. "And you have every right to be. Get some rest, buddy."
"My mother is freaking out," Mirela laughed.
"About you moving in?" I asked, fiddling around on the computer while I waited for our first appointment to come in.
We had decided in one month and I was already rearranging things in my room. I was excited.
"And that we had sex," she said matter-of-factly.
I groaned. "You told her!?"
She giggled. "She could tell. You forget: this is the woman that raised me."
"Good point. Mothers have, like, a sixth sense about that stuff. Speaking of, Mom wants to get together this weekend."
"Sounds good. Oh no," she groaned suddenly.
"It's Paul," she whispered in dread and I couldn't help but laugh. "Shut up. I guess I should actually work now."
I laughed. "Drink an extra latte for me."
"I love you.
"Te iubesc," she returned and I smiled, hanging up.
She had been saying it in Romanian now. It made my heart race. At first I was confused. Then, in a quiet conversation with her mother over dinner, she told me her father did it, too. When her father said it, it was his way of showing his wife how much he loved her.
I leaned back and stretched. Our appointment walked in and I tried not to laugh. It was Jenny and her family. She was looking incredibly red and awkward. I stayed in the booth to take the pictures.
"So why did Jenny quite?" her father asked Luther after their shoot.
I pressed the red button on the intercom and said, "Spurned affections."
Luther, who had his back facing them, smirked at me.
"Come on guys," Jenny mumbled, pushing her parents out the door.
I laughed and went through the specifics they asked for. During the day, Mirela was sending me funny selfies, including the latte I told her to drink. I returned with selfies of my own.
Stay there. I'm on my way and I want coffee.
"You want to come?" I asked Luther as we were locking up.
He laughed. "Actually, I have a date."
I stopped walking. "Who?"
"His name is Vince," he said with a shrug. "He came in last week."
I nudged him while we walked down the sidewalk. "Should I make myself scarce?" I asked.
It had been many, many years since Luther had a boyfriend.
"Shut up," he grumbled. "No. We're just going out for a dinner and a show."
"Sure you are," I teased. "Have fun," I said seriously when we got to the Starbucks. "See you later."
Mirela smiled and passed me another latte. I kissed her and sat next to her, putting my arm around her shoulders and looking at her screen while she worked.
"How was work?" she asked, navigating around the software she used for making websites. I told her about Jenny and she made a face. "Dumb. Where'd Luther go? He could've stayed!"
"He has a date," I said and she gasped, grinning.
I laughed. "All I got was a name. We'll have to wait."
She pouted. "Walk me home?"
"Duh," I said and held the door open for her.
She put her arm around my waist as we walked, leaning into me. It was very cold, almost the New Year. I kissed the top of her head and it began to snow. I grinned and held my hand out to catch some of the snowflakes. I had always loved the snow.
When we got to her door, I kissed her deeply. I nuzzled her nose and she smiled.
"Be careful walking home," she said.
"I will. I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you," I whispered. "I feel like I can't tell you that enough."
She grinned. "Good because I love hearing you say it." I laughed as she kissed my nose. "Good night. Te iubesc."
I smiled and waved as she went inside. As I walked back to my apartment, my smile grew. Life was going great. Our business was getting more buzz from the Christmas shoots, the rehab pictures, and the travel series. We were getting more money as a result. And, the cherry on top, was the love of a beautiful Romanian girl. I put my hands in my pockets and lifted my face to the snow.
Life was pretty awesome.