I got out of the car, and Tom ushered me to the front door. He reached over and rang the doorbell, and my stomach did flips as I realized what I had gotten myself into. I was about to meet the family of my best friend, who I had conveniently just realized I was in love with, and spend the next 3 weeks with them.
My thoughts were interrupted by a woman's voice from through the door. "Coming, just a moment," she said. I felt a slight pressure in my hand, and upon looking down realized that Tom's hand was in mine again, and he had just given it a reassuring squeeze. How long had my hand been held in his? A blush would have reddened my face, had I not been so sickeningly nervous.
The door was opened by a small woman wearing a plain navy dress and a pink floral apron. "Thomas!" she exclaimed, and she enveloped him in a hug. His hand left mine as his arms locked around her.
"Mother," he said into her shoulder. They hugged for what seemed like forever, before pulling away. It was then that she noticed me.
"Oh," Tom's mother said, obviously embarrassed at not having greeted me before, "who's this?"
Tom shifted so that he stood slightly behind me and said, "This is Gabi. The one I've been telling you about?"
"Hello," I added awkwardly.
"Hello darling," she responded, and then she hugged me. I was surprised, but returned the gesture. The embrace was so motherly that it sent an ache through my heart; I hadn't seen my mom in almost 5 months, and I missed getting hugs from her.
"Sorry," she amended after stepping back, "Here, we hug."
"It's perfectly alright," I laughed, "My family does the same."
Tom's mother brought us into the foyer. The small house was nice. It was tasteful and homey. There were pictures all over; some of Tom alone, some of Tom with 2 girls, some of other people. I smiled. It reminded me of my house back in the states.
"Well, I didn't know you'd be bringing a guest Tom," said Tom's mother, "We only have one room left."
"I'll sleep on the couch," I volunteered.
"You'll do no such thing," they both interjected at the same time. "I'll take the couch," said Tom.
"No way I'm forcing you onto the couch Tom. It's really no big deal."
"If it's no big deal, then take my bed. You're the guest after all," he argued.
I sighed. This wasn't going to get anywhere.
"The bed's not too small," said Tom's mother, "You could always share it and stop bickering."
I didn't answer, unsure of what to say. Tom and I looked at each other questioningly, "It doesn't matter to me," he said after a pause. He glanced at me, trying to gauge my reaction.
"Me neither." The words flew out of my mouth before I could stop them. What are you doing? I asked myself. You cannot share a bed with Tom, the car ride was bad enough!
"It's settled then," Mrs. Hiddleston said.
"I'll go get the bags from the car," Tom mumbled. He must have been just as embarrassed as I was.
"I'll help you," I whispered.
"No you won't," said Tom's mother, "Thomas can get the bags by himself, you just make yourself at home. In fact, I've got some cooking to do before dinner, would you care to help me?"
"Sure," I sighed. I hated being told to just relax while other people did things for me. Even if I was the guest, I wanted to do things for myself.
Tom left to bring in our luggage, while I followed his mom into the kitchen. "You have a lovely home Mrs. Hiddleston," I commented as we passed through yet another cozy little room.
"Please dear, call me Diana," she responded with a wave of her hand, "or mum, just not Mrs. Hiddleston, it makes me feel like a grandmother." I laughed lightly at this.
There was no way in hell I was calling Tom's mother 'Diana', "Mum it is," I said. She seemed to like that.
After we got into the kitchen, she started to give me directions on what to do to prepare the meal. We fell into the work easily, and I actually had a pretty good time. I heard Tom come in, go upstairs, deposit some bags, and go out again multiple times before he joined us in the kitchen.
"Hello ladies," he said as he strolled in and sat at the kitchen table, "What's for dinner?"
"Shepherd's pie, love," replied Tom's mother, "How are those potatoes coming Gabi?"
"I just finished. Do you need anything else?" I replied.
She came over to inspect my work and seemed to approve, "No darling, you can go relax for a while. Everything's just about done."
I was hoping she would say that. I needed a shower after the long drive, and I could use some time to clear my head. I asked Tom to show me which room we would be in, and he hopped up and led me upstairs. We walked all the way to the end of the hall before ending up in a spacious room filled to the brim with posters and awards of all sorts; The Joker was on the wall next to an Othello print, and rugby trophies sat on the dresser. I laughed, "This is certainly your room Tom." He just smiled, a bit embarrassed and showed me my bags.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather I slept on the couch?" Tom asked suddenly.
"Of course. This is your room, and I wouldn't dream of making you sleep on the couch. Besides," I added, "if you had to sleep out there, I would never be able to sleep. I'd stay up all night feeling guilty that I had forced you out." Tom smiled, relieved. "Now get out," I told him, "I've got to take a shower."
He left with a soft chuckle and I grabbed my clothes. Fortunately, his room was attached to a rather nice bathroom with a large shower. I undressed quickly, needing the calming effect of the warm water on my skin. Once in the shower, I let out a sigh. Why did this have to happen to me? What had I done wrong to deserve this torture? Not only could I not get Tom off my mind, but I would be sleeping in the same bed with him for the next three weeks. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of him. Get over it, my mind screamed at me for the thousandth time in the last several hours. The tears spilled over and mixed with the water streaming down my face as I realized that I couldn't. I was hopelessly in love with my best friend, and there was nothing I could do about it.