11 | Jason: The End

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"No, you're too kind." Jason laughed as my father apologized for his incessant talking. "I love the stories."

I had decided to invite my boyfriend of four months over to dinner in hopes of getting my parents to loosen up a bit. As far as I could tell, I had been successful--my father hadn't shut up with stories from my childhood, while my mother interjected with quick anecdotes about his tours and how talented her husband was. It was as if my parents were back to being their normal, loving selves again.

"Are we all ready for dessert?" My mother asked as I finished up my last bite of steak and potatoes. "I think that we're having chocolate lava cake."

"That sounds magnificent." Jason replied, grinning from ear to ear. "I think that you're just trying to fatten me up for the winter."

My parents laughed.

"Then we're two months too late." My father commented, pointing to the late February sky outside. "There's little left of our Texas winter."

Jason nodded, agreeing with him as my mother rang for the next course. I rubbed my stomach, unsure if I could fit anything else in there.

"Oh, please." Jason rolled his eyes as he saw my motioning, "You're the most fit person I know. There's no belly there to rub!"

He and my father laughed as I smacked his arm good-naturedly. I was glad that they were getting along, but I wasn't sure if there was anything that I was supposed to be doing differently to ensure that this went well; it seemed like it was going fine without my help.

I had been dating Jason for almost exactly four months now, after our whirlwind night at the busted Halloween party ended with us in the dark in my car. I had neglected that part of the story when telling my parents about Jason, saying that he was a friend of a friend who I had simply never talked to at school before.

They had been four truly spectacular months, filled with little gifts and presents from him and surprise dates to places I had never even heard of. He had been over to my house once before, when neither of my parents were home to make him feel uncomfortable, and he was someone who I had found myself able to trust with little to no hesitation. Something about him was just so right and easy-going.

Jess even liked him.

I had decided to invite him over for dinner after an offhanded suggestion from Farah, who had said that if we were going to get married he should probably have dinner with my parents first. Any and all of my friends made fun of me for the amount of time that Jason and I spent together; it was incessant and constant. But there was something about him that made me never want to leave his side.

I had no suspicions. I had long ago pushed the one nagging thought out of my brain:

"I'm Samantha Greene."

"Oh. I could have sworn someone told me your last name was Carter."

It was just curiosity and confusion, nothing sinister.

Dessert arrived in fashion, individual chocolate lava cakes topped with fresh strawberries and mint leaves.

"It's so beautiful, I hardly want to eat it." Jason commented as a cake was set down in front of him.

"If you don't eat it, I might have to, and we all know I don't need the extra weight." My father grinned, digging into his eagerly as my mother rolled her eyes.

"You're literally famous for being hot."

I almost spit my food out. I hadn't heard my mother's deadpan jokes in what felt like ages.

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