Chapter 28: The Christmas Dinner

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"My babies are home!" The petite woman squealed, clapping her hands enthusiastically.

She ran over to Darian and gave him a big hug. "Oh, I missed you boys so much!"

Their mother pinched his cheeks and then quickly made her way to Nathan.

He broke free from my hold and gave her a big hug. "I missed you too, mom."

She let go of Nathan and looked at me with a huge grin.

When I finally got a good look of her, I tried my best not to gasp. She was absolutely stunning and you could see the striking resemblance between her and her boys.

Like Darian, she had piercing blue eyes, with hair much like Nathan's - silky and a dark sandy colour - and much to my dismay, she had Nathan's signature smirk.

Snapping out of my daze, I outstretched my hand. "H-hi Mrs. West, I'm A-"

"Audrey," she finished for me. She gave me a big smile and ignored my outstretched hand. Instead, she pulled me in for a hug. "Nathan has told me so much about you! And don't call me Mrs. West, please, call me Julie."

I blinked in surprise as she left my arms and I felt Nathan go tense beside me. Giving him a small look, he kept his eyes forward, not bothering to meet my gaze.

His mother jerked her head towards the doors. "Let's go inside, I have lots of food made."

Darian followed his mother and Nathan put his hand on the small of my back.

I looked up at him and cocked an eyebrow. "You talk to your mom about me? I thought you just told her you had a girlfriend."

His hazel eyes were gleaming with deviousness as he said, "I may have lied, just a little."

I opened my mouth but didn't say anything as we entered the house.

Darian was right, it was a lot cozier on the inside. The stairs looked like they came out of the movie Titanic as they were the first thing you saw as you entered the house. On the left, there was the living room, filled with bookshelves floor to ceiling covered in books and black leather couches, one of which was occupied by a sleeping golden retriever. On the right was the dining room with a large ashwood rectangular table with loads of food on it.

As we entered the dining room, I could see the entry way to the kitchen, which was equally as large as all the other rooms in the house.

Nathan guided me to a seat, pulling out the chair for me, causing me to blush yet again. "For my princess."

I laughed a little and my heart picked up in pace as I studied the smirk that was resting on his face. He sat beside me and threw an arm over the back of my chair.

Darian sat across from me and their mom sat beside him. Looking around room with a big smile on her face, she said, "I never thought I'd see the day where my Nathan would find the girl of his dreams."

Nathan let out a sigh. "Mom..."

"Oh, I am sorry, I don't mean to embarrass you in front of your girl!" She apologized, not at all sounding sorry.

She rested a hand on Darian's arm. "Now, how's that boy of yours? And get that hat off, it's not polite at the dinner table."

Darian took his beanie off his head and scratched his head awkwardly. "Justin is good, he went to visit his dad in Vancouver."

"Oh, that's lovely!" Julie mused. "I just love that boy, he's just so kind."

Darian nodded his head awkwardly and Nathan started twirling my hair with the hand that rested behind me. "Where's Steve?"

Just as Nathan finished his question, a man walked in. He looked like he was in his late fifties, maybe early sixties at most, with a well kept, short salt and peppered beard, and styled hair to match. With a kind smile, he said, "Hello boys!"

"Steve!" Nathan boomed from his seat, with a genuine grin on his face. "How are you doing? Did you catch that match the other day?"

"You bet," he chuckled as he sat at the head of the table. "And I'm good, thank you. Darian, how's school doing?"

Darian smiled at his dad and nodded his head enthusiastically. "It's great! Doing well with my scripts. My prof said they have great potential."

"Good," his father nodded. "I always knew you were going to go places with that writing of yours."

His gaze turned to me and his outstretched his hand across the table. "Steve West, you must be Audrey."

"Indeed I am, sir," I placed my hand in his. "It's nice to meet you."

"Please," he chuckled. "Call me Steve. Sir makes me feel ol- Nathan no comment."

Nathan put his hands up in surrender. "Wouldn't dream of it, Pops."

Darian chuckled and I let out a small laugh as Steve rolled his eyes and Julie shook her head.

After the laughter died down, Julie clapped her hands. "Let's eat!"



When the dinner was finished, we went to the living room. Nathan and I shared a couch, while Darian sat with his parents on the other one, their dog, whose name is apparently Cheddar, sat at their feet.

We were talking about anything and everything when I felt a sudden pang of sadness, thinking about how much I missed my parents. Nathan must've noticed my sudden silence because he leaned over, so close I felt his lips graze my ear as he said, "It's okay, princess."

I nodded my head slightly, so his parents wouldn't notice and Nathan kept me close. 

When his mother noticed our closeness, she gave us a sly smile. "Oh, you two look so perfect together! Steve, don't they look perfect together?"

Steve nodded his head, agreeing with his wife. "Absolutely. I'm proud of you, son."

Darian looked at the floor and Nathan tensed slightly, no doubt feeling guilty about lying to his parents. He nodded his head and said, "Thank you, but there's something I need to tell you." 

He moved his arm away from me and leaned forward, looking serious, so serious his jaw tightened as he swallowed. "Audrey and I are-"

"Adopting a puppy!" I burst out, letting out a nervous laugh.

Darian smacked his hand on his head and his parents looked quite confused. Nathan, however, did really well hiding his shock of my sudden outburst. 

"Sorry," I began slowly. I ran my hand through my hair and sighed. "I'm just really excited, I've never had a dog before and I just love animals."

Nathan threw his arm around me again and gave his parents a grin. "She's adorable whenever we talk about puppies."

Julie placed her hand on my knee and said, "I think adopting a puppy is lovely, dear. Have you thought about what breed you wanted?"

Trying to quickly come up with a dog breed, Nathan beat me to the catch. "A corgi. She loves corgis."

Nathan's mom gave us smile. "Good choice, they're adorable little things, aren't they?"

Nathan and I nodded our heads and Darian was looking like he was trying his best not to laugh at the situation Nathan and I have gotten ourselves into.

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