~ Chapter Ten ~
I clutched my phone tightly in my hand, afraid of what might happen once the door in front of me opens. Luke can sense that I’m nervous about meeting his family, and he laces his fingers in mine, giving my hand a tight squeeze.
“Don’t be nervous Faith, it’s just my family.” I smile in response to him, but my mind is telling me a thousand different things. What if they don’t like me? What if I say something stupid? What if I don’t look good enough and they think Luke could do better? What if they tell him he can’t be with me? What if-
“Luke!!!” The front door of the house swings open and a boy who looks about in his twenties is behind it.
“Jack!” Luke shouts excitedly and runs up to him, engulfing him in a hug. I stay back in the doorway, unsure of what to do or say.
“Oh my God I didn’t know you were coming home!” Jack says, pushing Luke away from him and examining him. “You’ve gotten taller.” They both laugh at the comment.
“We didn’t tell anyone we were coming back, but the band and I are playing a show tomorrow night.” Luke’s smile is larger than I’ve seen in a while, and it brings a small one to my face too.
“Jack, who’s at the door?” I hear a woman’s voice come from somewhere in the house.
“Mom come here!” Jack yells, turning back into the house. “Bring Ben and Dad with you!” I hear footsteps throughout the hallways, and suddenly three more people are joining Jack at the door.
“Luke?!” The woman who must be his mom exclaims upon seeing him, and she pulls him into a huge bear hug. “When did you get here?”
“Just a few minutes ago.” He smiles. He open’s his mouth to talk again, but is cut off by his dad.
“You think you could get away without giving your dad a hug?” He asks, and pulls Luke into a fatherly hug, which his other brother joins in on. I want to be happy and smile at the situation, but it hurts my heart so bad. I wish I had people like this in my life. I have no siblings, no mother, and now… Now my rock, my best friend, my dad, is gone too.
“What brings you back to Australia?” His dad asks, and Luke relays the information about the concert which he recently told Jack. I try to focus on the conversation in front of me and take my mind off of my non existent family, but it’s hard.
“I can’t believe you’re here!” His mother cries, and the five of them all revel in the fact that Luke’s back after being gone for so long. I can’t help but feel guilty that I’m the reason he's been gone from them.
“Who’s the girl Luke?” Luke’s other brother, who I haven’t gotten the name of yet, pipes up.
My heart skips a beat at the mention of my presence, but I do my best to plaster a smile on my face. I don’t want to make a bad first impression on what could be my future family.
“Oh right!” Luke’s already large smile grows as he turns back to me and grabs my hand again. “Guys this is Faith, my girlfriend.”
“Oh yes!” His mom proclaims. “We’ve heard many good things about you dear.” She smiles and sticks out her hand for me to shake, which I do. His dad and Jack do the same.
“I’m Ben,” the other brother says as I reach for his hand. “Luke’s eldest and smartest brother.”
“Hey!” Luke and Jack exclaim at the same time, before the whole family starts laughing. And despite the awkward feeling of not knowing anyone except for Luke, I join in too.
“So how long have you two been dating again?” Jack asks Luke and I, as the family invites us inside and we make our way to the kitchen.
“About 3 years now.” He smiles his perfect smile at me, and his mom sets water glasses down in front of us. I take a small sip and let out a small sigh.
“Wow.” His mom’s eyes are glossed over in admiration, which I take to be a good sign. “It’s so nice to finally meet you Faith.” I blush slightly, and acknowledge her back. It is a good feeling to finally meet the relatives of my favorite boy.
“So, Faith.” His dad begins to inquire. “Is there a chance we’ll be able to meet your family sometime in the near future? I mean, now that we’re finally getting to see you.” His words cause a horrible lurch in my stomach, and I think I’m going to puke. I look up to Luke, worry painted into my eyes like a portrait, and his face immediately twists with concern. He gulps discretely, before giving my hand a hard, long squeeze. I can feel a burning sensation in my nose, and I know the tears are so close to coming. I can’t cry in front of Luke’s family, I can’t, I won’t.
“Um…” The word slips out of my mouth, and I look to the ground at my feet dangling of the high stool.
“Um, mom… Dad?” Luke’s voice is a little shaky as he addresses his parents. “Faith’s… Her…” He shakes his head, unsure of how to continue.
“My mom passed away a few years ago.” I say, trying to stay strong. I’ve accepted the fact that my mother’s gone, since it’s been a while now, but dad, it’s… It’s so much harder. “And my dad…” I trail off again, I can’t put the horrible reality into words. I hate hearing it out loud.
“He died in a plane crash y-” Luke's voice catches at the realization of how short it’s been since we got the news. “Yesterday.” He mutters the word quietly and sadly, pulling me into a tight hug that I never want to leave.
“Oh…” His brother Jack squeaks out, his voice bland. Every one of his families faces shows shock and an “I’m so sorry.” expression. Which his mom puts into words.
“It’s… It’s okay.” I reply softly, not breaking from Luke’s embrace.
“This trip was supposed to keep your mind off of him.” Luke whispers only loud enough for me to hear.
“I know, I just…” I don’t finish my sentence though, because I don’t know how. How can I keep my mind off of my dad? Especially when I’m seeing him and his families relationship so clearly and perfectly. It’s everything I wish I could have.
“So um, why don’t you show Faith around the house?” Luke’s dad suggest, and he quickly nods, taking my hand and leading me towards a staircase leading down a level. I sigh in relief at how quickly I escaped such an awkward situation, and follow Luke down the stairs.
“I’m so, so sorry Fay.” He mumbles against my shoulder once we are in the basement. He brings me to a room in the far corner, and walks in, not bothering to turn on the light. The room is a bedroom, I’m guessing his from how deserted it looks, and Luke sits down on the bed. He motions for me to join him, and I do, resting my head on his shoulder.
“It’s alright.” I sigh, knowing he doesn’t believe me. But I don’t blame him, I don’t believe me either. “They’d have to find out sooner or later.”
“I just feel bad.” He picks up my right hand, and begins tracing my veins with his fingers. “I wish there was something I could do, something that could make everything better, at least for a moment. And I know nothing, nothing, could fix the hole in your heart. But there’s just that part of me that wants to make everything alright again. A part that hates seeing you in pain, and would put myself in it to take yours away. I just… I just love you so much Faith and, and I wish there were more people left in your life to show that love.” I see a slow, silent tear slip from his eyes, and know that Luke genuinely means every word he said. He’s so concerned and worried for me, that he doesn’t even have to think about telling me stuff like this. He just says it, because it’s his true feelings.
“Luke.” I put my hand under his chin, forcing his eyes to look at me. “You’re doing enough, just by being you, to fix everything you can.” Before he can have a chance to respond, or maybe even process my words, I press my lips onto his and melt into his touch. There’s nothing I would give for the moments of joy Luke brings me, and even though so much of my life has left me, I still have him. That’s what’s important now.
When our lips separate, I peer into his eyes and ask; “weren’t you supposed to be giving me a house tour?” His sad expression perks up a little, and he smiles.
“I think I found higher priorities.” I smile back at him, and wipe away the lone tears on both of our faces. There’s nothing that could stop me from letting him kiss me like this, and I just want to forget the rest of the world. His soft lips and cold lip ring leave me wanting more and more.
“Babe.” I whisper against his lips.
“Hmm.” He moans out, not wanting to stop.
“As much as I want to stay in this moment,” I separate our lips, “there is a concert to get prepared for.” He smiles at me and shakes his head, slipping one more peck on my lips.
“I mean, I guess my parents would get a little suspicious if we didn’t come back upstairs.” A mischievous grin is spread across his face, and I smack his arm hard in response.
“Ow!” He shouts, but it comes out more of a laugh than anything. We walk the short distance back to the stairway, and Luke stops me just before reaching to first step.
“You’re doing okay, right?” He asks, taking me a little by surprise. “I mean, you can go back up there and talk to them without getting too worked up?” He grabs my hands in his own, and peers into my eyes with his wonderful love and concern.
“Yeah, yeah.” I nod assuringly. After the little speech Luke gave me earlier, I feel like I can push through my hurting… For him. He nods in response after searching my eyes for a moment, making sure I mean what I say. We then walk back up the stairs, and sit back down with the Hemmings’.
After talking and learning more about Luke’s family for a few hours, I excuse myself to use the bathroom. As I walk away, I review a few of the important things I now know about the Hemmings’. Ben and Jack are in college, with both with undecided majors but jam packed class schedules. And his parents, I found, name’s are Liz and Andrew.
Breaking me from my thoughts, I suddenly hear my name being mentioned from somewhere on the other side of the bathroom door. It sounds like Liz, and since the bathroom is so close to the kitchen, I could be overhearing their conversation.
“… think Faith’s very lucky to have you in her life Luke. I think your relationship really keeps her intact, especially since she lost her parents.” I gulp quietly at her words, but push away the bad thoughts as quickly as I can. “I’m so proud of how much you’ve helped her through her tough situations. It shows a great amount of strength and grown up values to do that.” I can almost hear her smile, and her comment brings a new realization to my head. I’ve never really put into perspective how hard Luke works to make sure my life isn’t completely failing. He puts so much concern into me, and I’ve never really thanked him for it. He’s my, my everything, and I never even acknowledge it.
I quickly walk out of the bathroom and back into the kitchen, sliding into the chair next to Luke. I slip my hand onto his knee and lean into his ear.
“Thank you.” I whisper.
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~ “I love you so much Faith and I wish there were more people left in your life to show that love.” ~