When it came down to it, Callie was the only person in the house who could make Julian think about his life. She wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions, and she often used the powers of suggestion and persuasion to get what she wanted from him. After sitting quietly by and watching him learn how Jeannette felt about him, battle his thoughts of her, and experience the excitement of meeting someone new, she felt it was time to step out of the shadows and use her powers to attempt to talk sense into him once more.
“So…you’re walking away from your first love, huh,” Callie said.
“Your first love, dear brother! Why are you throwing her away?”
Julian conceded with a sigh.
“Ok…tell me, little Miss Dr. Pruett…what’s wrong with me,” he said sarcastically.
“You’re looking at the wrong things!”
“Wrong things? There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel fireworks when you’re with someone. Rose makes me feel excited and alive!”
“But does she make you feel loved,” Callie asked sincerely.
Julian opened his mouth to contest her, but he had nothing to say.
He hated when she was right. She always had a way to shut him down.
“You’re too focused on temporary things,” she continued. “In the long run, the fireworks you get when you’re around Rose won’t matter to you and will eventually fade away when you realize she has no substance.”
He began to yell, “Don’t talk about–“
“I mean,” she interrupted, “What do you really know about this Rose?”
“She has a healthy appreciation for the arts and the finer things in life!”
“Where does she work?”
“How does she make money?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s her favorite color?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does she want to get married and have kids?”
“Maybe? I don’t know!”
“Does she cloud gaze with you?”
“Because she doesn’t want to lay on the ground and get dirty,” he sighed.
“And she probably doesn’t eat the food in the park because it’s too fattening, or because she thinks there are flies around, or she thinks it’s flat out gross, right,” Callie joked.
He didn’t say anything, so she continued.
“What’s Jeannette’s favorite color?”
“Fuchsia,” he said matter-of-factly.
“She cloud gazes with you…”
Julian lowered his eyes and asked, “What are you doing, Callie? What are you getting at?”
“Julian…you are the heir of this family! The decisions you make will go down in history! Don’t you think you need to put a bit more thought into who choose to spend the rest of your life with?”
“It’s not like I’m getting married to Rose! We’re just having fun.”
“I understand. But, unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of playing around…unless you want to end up being old with young children like dad.”
He hadn’t really thought about that before. Getting married and having a family was something that he dreamed about. It didn’t occur to him that his time was growing short to make it a reality.
“Ok…so, again…what are you getting at?”
“I think you know!”
Julian was out of excuses, and Callie prevailed. He couldn’t fight her anymore.
“Ok,” he shouted. “I will admit that I care about Jeannette. She is my best friend, and that is a sacred relationship. I don’t want to lose that!”
“Why do you think you would lose it? You’re thinking about this all wrong, Julian! Making Jeannette your girlfriend–and eventually your wife–is an upgrade! Think of it…she’ll be your girl and your friend!”
“You’re so silly,” he laughed. “What do you know about any of this anyway? You’ve never dated anyone!”
“Well, dear brother, all it takes is a keen eye and a listening ear. Mother has told me a lot about what they were like before they were married. And, if you would just open your eyes and look at them, you can see for yourself! Daddy and mother were lovers who became friends. While they were lovers, they weren’t serious–at least daddy wasn’t. But, when they became friends, that’s when things started taking off for them. And look at them now! Still very much in love, but still the best of friends. They prefer each other’s company over anyone else they know. Their friendship isn’t a separate part of the marriage…it is the marriage!”
Callie made sense, and he knew she was right. But, he was still hesitant.
“Ok. Hypothetically speaking…” he began to contest.
That made him think of Jeannette and all of their hypotheticals. He never actually thought about the hypotheticals before because, for him, they were just that: hypothetical. A smile crept on his face, and he started to feel warm in his heart. It was the same warmth he felt every time he was around her. Perhaps it was that feeling that propelled him to constantly spend time with her. He hadn’t felt that in a long time, and he missed it.
Callie saw that smile and knew something was happening internally and decided to capitalize on this moment.
“Julian,” she said sweetly. “How do you feel about Jeannette? I mean…deep down inside…when no one else is around, how do you really feel about her?”
“She is the most amazing person I know. I hold her opinion higher than anyone else’s. She’s the first person I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last person when I go to sleep. I care about her. Like, I’m really concerned about her. I always want to know how she’s doing and what she’s feeling like. I want to be around her all the time because I have to know! When I don’t hear from her, I worry. I don’t know if she’s sick or sad or angry or in danger. It’s been TORTURE not being able to talk to her all this time! When I met Rose, she excited me, and I felt something similar to the feeling I get from Jeannette…but, it wasn’t the same. Even though I’ve been going out with Rose, I never stopped thinking about Jeannette. I keep thinking…if I could just get closer to Rose, I could stop thinking about Jeannette and fill this space in my heart where Jeannette is, but it’s not working.”
“You love her, Julian! You can’t fill that space with anyone else because Jeannette belongs there. You need to talk to her.”