When we came out, Thomas's parents were still sitting at the dining table. They were staring at the bedroom door. They quickly looked away like they hadn't been thinking about what was going on. Then, Carolyn sighed loudly and stood.
"Oh, whatever! Come here, sweetie," she said and opened her arms, gesturing for me to head in her direction. Thomas nudged me like I should go, so I did.
She wrapped her arms around me, tightly, and I found myself missing the embrace of my own mother.
"I know it's a bit belated, but welcome to the Hawthorne family," she said kindly. "Please put up with my son. I know he can be a little stuffy sometimes. He gets that from his father."
"Oh, please," they were the first slightly imprudent words I'd heard Jarred say.
"Thank you," I said earnestly and hugged Carolyn right back.
The rest of the evening went on without event. I traded phone numbers with Thomas's parents. Jarred had said that having an emergency contact was crucial. Carolyn said she might want to meet for lunch.
When they left, they hugged us both.
After Thomas shut the door, he turned to me and pulled me into his arms, kissing the top of my head.
"Your parents are incredibly nice," I said, my head pressed against his chest.
"Yeah, they're pretty great," he said. "How are you holding up?"
"I feel so guilty," I could feel tears start to well up.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked.
It wasn't a matter of want, but a matter of need. If Thomas and I were going to make this work, I needed him to know things about me. Even the painful things that made me feel shame, fear, and regret.
"Yeah," I breathed out. "But, it might be helpful if you cracked open a bottle of wine."
He smiled and kissed my cheek, then pulled away and headed to the kitchen.
"As you wish."