Julian and Jeannette were invited to attend Allen Devine’s birthday/graduation party. Ciera spared no expense. She hired a caterer and invited everyone she knew to celebrate her son’s journey into his young adult years. They arrived early so Jeannette could spend some uninterrupted time with them before the house became crowded with guests.
“My Jenny,” Ciera said and pulled her into a tight hug. “I have missed you so much!”
“I’ve missed you too, mom!”
“And hello to you too, Julian,” Ciera said more like an accusation. “First you take my daughter away, and then she doesn’t come see me. I hope you’re taking good care of her over there!”
“Oh, yes ma’am,” he said. Really good care, he he.
“Look at you two,” Ciera gushed. “So in love! That’s so special…”
“Julian,” she continued, “when are you gonna marry her and give me some grandbabies?”
“What? I’m just making sure he knows what we all want!”
“He knows, mom,” she tried to whisper. “Stop pressuring him!”
Jeannette was afraid that he if he felt pressured he might delay the proposal even longer than he already had. But, Julian wasn’t pressured. He took it as a sign that it was time. He wasn’t quite sure what he was waiting for anyway.
The guests began trickling in, and the caterer arrived and got the kitchen smoking. Finally, the guest of honor came out to greet everyone.
“Heeey, it’s the birthday boy,” Julian shouted. “Happy birthday, Allen!”
Jeannette and her mother talked, and the other female guests spoke amongst themselves leaving the men to socialize together. Allen was telling them his favorite story about Julian.
“…and then she said, ‘I love this man,’ and Julian started crying!”
Julian of course was able to laugh about his mishap now. JoJo thought it was funny too, but he was too tired to laugh. He was still adjusting to being a parent.
The party rocked on, and soon it was time for Allen to blow out the candles. Everyone sang and made a great ruckus as Allen spun into the prime of his life. The cake was served, and the partygoers went back to socializing with each other.
After a while, Julian lost track of Jeannette and went looking for her. He found her in the back of the house outside her old bedroom.
“Are you ok,” he asked.
“I’m perfect. Thanks for coming here with me.”
“Of course I would come. I like hanging out with your family.”
“Do you? I mean, I know my mom can be–“
“Your mom doesn’t scare me. I’m fine,” he assured her.
She smiled. “Ok. Just checking. I think I’m ready to go. Have you had enough?”
“I’m ready if you’re ready.”
“I’ll tell my mom.”
Ciera was already on her way to find them, and they said their goodbyes in the back hallway.
When they arrived at home, Julian saw that Jeannette disappeared again and went to her room to check on her. He found her napping. He sat on the bed as lightly as he could so he wouldn’t wake her and watched her sleep for a few minutes. He thought she was so perfect, and he loved every facet of her. For a brief moment he beat himself up again for taking so long to acknowledge her true purpose in his life. But, he wasn’t one to wallow in self-pity long. He gathered himself and made a decision.
Oh yeah…it’s time!