Chp 35:

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Nicolai:

I stand in my kitchen, a bottle of beer in my right hand and my other hand stuffed into my pants pocket. My mind was swarming with ideas as to who could have broken our news to her family so early. Tessa stands in-between her mother and her aunt, awkwardly as she sips on her glass of champagne.

Did she tell anybody? Was she lying to me? Who told them? I motion for Tessa to follow me. "Um, could you excuse us? We will be right back." She says to her family, they look confused and then notice me waiting for her-nodding. "What is it?", "Follow me."

We walk down the hall and away from the kitchen, I slide open a door and step inside the room-her brow creases and she follows me in. "Why have I never seen this room before?" She asks looking around the dining room. I roll my eyes. "I only use it on special occasions."

She looks at me and sets her champagne down on the Italian glass table. "What's going on?", she asks. "Who did you tell?" I say. Her eyes widen and her head tilts. "Are you accusing me of something?" She says getting defensive, I cross my arms, my eyes narrowing.

"No, I'm simply asking a question. Who did you tell?" She looks at the ground and knots her fingers together. It was a nervous habit of hers that I had come to notice. "Naomi..." Fuck.

"You told Naomi? Why?" I say. She looks away. "Nick, she's my best friend and let's be honest...it wasn't all that easy to hide it from her." She raises her hand and points to the ring. "But she isn't the only one who knows..." Her voice trails off. What the hell!

"Who else knows Tessa?" I ask sternly. "All of my employees..." Her voice becomes higher when she says that last word and she drags it on.

"Great! Now we have no idea who told them." I throw my hands in the air and then place them on my hips, hanging my head low. "Nick, please don't be mad." She tries to touch my arm. "Tess...this was supposed to be something that we were going to do together-we were going to share this news together."

She bites on her bottom lip and pulls on the ends of her hair. "Stop that." I take her hands and put them at her sides. I sigh. "Look, they know now...it can't be taken back." She says throwing her hands out to the side and I tilt my head. I was getting frustrated.

Frowning, she sighs and takes a seat in one of the sleek dining chairs. "I'm sorry." Her voice is soft. "I know that you didn't do it purposely.", "Come on. Their probably wondering where we went." She picks up her glass and we head out of the dining room and back down the hall towards the kitchen.

"Oh! There you two are, we were beginning to wonder if you had ditched us." Says her mother, Tessa flashes her family a half attempt at a smile and shakes her head as we continue to speak. I get asked a million questions about my job. While Tessa stands uncomfortable in the corner as her sister, aunt, mother and grandmother talk and laugh.

"So, Tessa how does it feel to work for your own fiancé?" I hear her aunt ask. Tessa's face flushes. "It's fine.", "Isn't it hard...I mean he's your boss and...", "We don't even work in the same building. I'm the boss of my own section.", "So, it's not weird?", "What are you trying to say Jen?" Asks Tessa.

"Nothing, I'm just curious how your guys relationship works in and outside of the office.", "It works out just fine." Tessa's tone is ice cold as she storms off and up the steps, every eye is on her as she leaves. "What did I do? Did I say something?"

Jen asks as confused as the rest of her family. "I'll be right back...again." I apologize and go up the winding silver staircase...walking down the hall, I enter our bedroom. She sits crisscrossed on our bed in the dark.

"Tess." I softly ask as I climb onto the bed with her. "What?", "What was that about?" She sighs and runs her hands through her hair. "I'm just frustrated with this situation...I didn't mean to snap at her." I clutch her hand. "It's like you said, they know...and that's all that matters. It can't be taken back."

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