Time in Willow Creek: 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 6 days
Being so close to Jase for so long yet not being able to engage was like being early for a dinner party with all her favorites spread before her but being told not to partake until all the guests arrived. Needless to say, the guests were extremely late. The wonderful Jase was the main course. The sides were all the amazing ways he showed their daughter how much he loved her. And for dessert, those delicious, longing gazes in her direction. She drooled over the spread, waiting for a green light; she even tried to sneak tiny samples. Oh, the torture! Finally, Jase came to terms with whatever turmoil he went through and gave her the green light. At first, she behaved–kind of like what people do when they eat in front of strangers. She let him lead and only took what he offered. But, she waited so long and was so hungry! Jase had been carved and plated. She could have him. Why did he want to go at a snail’s pace? Who did he think she was? Juliana?? Dr. Still also encouraged her to go slow. Why did no one want her to enjoy her fictitious smorgasbord? Why prepare delicious food only to look at it and take pictures? Sure, eating too much too fast could make her sick, but everyone indulged a bit sometimes, right? Eating felt great, and she never wanted to feel hunger ever again. So what if the fictitious guests at her fictitious dinner party gave her judgemental looks. It was her party, and she would eat if she wanted to!
One night, a week after their first date, Hillary had a strong craving for some Jase a la mode. He lingered in her mind all day and night. When she arrived home from work, she hurried upstairs determined to snatch the reigns from Jase’s hands and turn up the heat. Abigail lay fast asleep in that weird position she had begun to sleep in. Jase sat in the rocking chair, nodding and trying to keep his eyes open. She didn’t care to gush over the cuteness in the crib or ask why Jase was so tired despite being a night owl. She wanted ice cream!
“Come here,” she said, beckoning to him with her finger. Her feet hurt, and she was also tired, but just like her brother used to say when mama would attempt to withhold dessert after his complaints of being full, “there’s always room for ice cream!”
She pulled him in even tighter and kissed him more passionately; she wouldn’t take any objections. He let out a low, desperate moan. Oh yes. The ice cream social would begin soon.
“What are we doing?” he asked in between smooches.
“What do you think?” Her grasp on him was firm, and she used all the means necessary to have what she wanted.
“…Hill…wait…mmmm…oh God…no, wait! Hillary, hold on…”
Breathless, and a bit annoyed, she said, “What, Jase?”
Even in the dark, she saw his flushed face and the longing in his dilated eyes…and other places.
“I should go.”
UGH! She hadn’t finished her ice cream yet! “Why?”
He smiled awkwardly. “Come on. Here?”
She looked around the room prepared to reject his objection, but she spied a dusty, old violin in one corner of the room and a sleeping 11-month-old in the other. They were in her bedroom: the room she lived in at her parents’ house. Daddy and Juliana were probably both asleep, but what if they weren’t? If they were, they’d certainly have a rude awakening. Though she felt embarrassed, she couldn’t help but laugh, and he joined her. She had to move in with him now. There was no way she could continue forgoing ice cream like that.
“We have to be responsible, Hill.”
Truth. A nine-month-long stomach ache was not easily forgotten. “I know,” she said with a sigh. Everyone was right, she hated to admit. She always led with her feelings, thinking only about how she felt and never about the consequences. Sometimes, even knowing the consequences, she still made bad choices simply to get high on the feeling. She had come a long way in the past year and a half, but she still had a long way to go. Jase had always been the level-headed, responsible one–except that one time. She needed him to question her flawed logic and check her when she was on the verge of being crazy. Even though he wouldn’t have ice cream with her, she appreciated his foresight. It was also an excellent reminder that she hadn’t prepared for those late night cravings. She made a mental note to call Dr. Garrison in the morning. It would be fun to bring lollipop with her although she didn’t usually bring her along on doctor visits. They would surely have a good time catching up, but most importantly, they needed to discuss preventative maintenance.