Dinner with m mom's family went surprisingly well. The Spanish heritage wasn't too much for Art to handle, and for the mot part my siblings kept their remarks to themselves. My mom went on to tell stories of trips and such, leaving out the embarrassing moments of my life which I was grateful for. Though I knew she'd bring them up again later on. And My abuela went off to praise the Lord I wouldn't die a spinster (in Spanish of course)
Art didn't seemed to mind and adjusted fairly well. My sisters and sisters-in-law absolutely adored him. My brother being the eldest felt he had to ask all the questions about his intentions. When I reminded him he'd missed the mark on the date he set up, he went to the kitchen to complain to my mother. What a Momma's boy. My brother-in-laws bonded with him, and Art received the approval of my step-father. They allowed Art to court me and for once I actually enjoyed dinner at my mom's because the attention paid to me was positive this time. I was happy and though in the back of my mind there was slight guilt, of not telling Art about James, I pushed it aside, the time hadn't come for that yet.
Over the next year Art and I became inseparable. We'd gone traveling together, and he'd taken me to his work a couple times, and we spent several weekends in Dallas. The movie he'd helped produced had finally hit theaters and we'd gone to Los Angeles together to view the first official screening. Kevin and Scarlette, had a daughter around spring and the named her Anastasia Lynn Sanders, traditionally the christening was done three months after the birth of the child, but Scarlette wasn't traditional. She put her foot down and said they would wait until she was three so she could at least somewhat realize what was going on.
"I want her to know why they're pouring water on her. Imagine being three months and a weird substance used only for bath time is being poured on you; while you're dressed in a white frilly thing!" she exclaimed on evening. I was smart not to argue, so my role of godmother was postponed for the time being.
On my birthday Art set up an event the Dallas aquarium to swim in the pool with dolphins! For his birthday which was actually a month after mine, we'd gone to visit his parents in Oregon and had a huge party. Back home, we'd taken a cooking course with Shannon and Kevin, and every Friday, Art would pop by my new office and bring me flowers. Yes office, I was promoted to creative writer and had my own office on the first floor. I didn't take the one on the second floor because it was in the same place as the journalist department, making it painfully close to Felicia Futon. Anyways, I was still answering the Ask Andy column which Art helped out with, and he'd leave little notes in my mailbox and would "surprise" me for lunch every Tuesday. Sunday's we'd go to brunch with my families and it was nice to not be the single tuna in the mist of sharks.
Other than his birthday, we would fly to Oregon to see his friends and family, any time we both had vacation. Nick and Laurie Carrol were that couple who married young but their loved lasted a life time. Art's brother Michale, who like to be called Mike, was a funny guy and was really passionate about the out doors and was a total bird nerd. He filled the role of supplying several embarrassing stories about Art which we all laughed about. Art was far better at laughing at himself than I was. They all were full of hospitality and charm, they lived a pretty lavish life considering their past, and once his parents taken us to a fancy restaurant that I couldn't pronounce anything on the menu. Art could tell I was uncomfortable even though I didn't want to say anything to offend his parents. But Miss Laurie took one look at her caviar and declared she's rather eat roadkill then his fancy garbage. After paying for the uneaten appetizer, we went to the best seafood shack in Oregon and munched on prawns and crab legs. This was much better and felt more at ease, as did the Carrol's. His family and friends had blessed our courtship and by the time Fall came around again we'd been courting a whole year.
In October we'd taken my nieces and nephew to go trick or treating, and afterwards my friends had joined us to go to the Halloween carnival. Thanksgiving was celebrated at his family's house that year and we spent Christmas Eve at my mom's and Christmas Day at my dad's. New Year's we went to Dallas with some friends and had a blast. It was the first New Year's that I wasn't alone and I had someone in my life. Art was everything I could ask for in a boyfriend. I knew how I felt about him, and he felt the same about me, but that small bugger feeling still sat in my heart, and I knew I had to tell Art about James.