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The Promise - Part 2

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"Alex, I said I'm sorry." I reached for his arm where he sat on the opposite side of my bed.

He pulled away. "Why would you do that?"

Well, at least the hour-and-a-half-long silent treatment had ended. "I wasn't thinking!"

"You tongued me in front of our family!" He sniffled.

Was it really worth crying over? "Why are you crying?"

"I'm so embarrassed I could fucking die, Liam! For Christ's sake."

I climbed across the bed and wrapped my arms around him from behind. "Don't die."

"Get off!"

I tumbled back as a pillow smacked my face.

"You don't get it. Oh my god." Alex pivoted to look me in the eye. "Liam, listen. You don't think, and that's your problem. Don't ever do something like that again."

I understood what I'd done was inappropriate. Even my dad had raised his voice and Daniel Santos never raised his voice. "I'm sorry... I won't."

Alex sighed and touched my hand. "I'm still a little shaken, so―"

There was a knock at my bedroom door.

"Come in."

Mama Camejo stuck her head in. "We're ready to talk, but first I want to speak with Liam in private." Alex's apprehensive eyes shifted from me to his mother. Slowly, he stood up and went to the door. "We'll be down in a moment," his mom assured as he sent me a wistful look. As he left, she took a seat on the bed beside me. Once she was sure he was down the stairs, she began, "To be honest, I'm reluctant to support this."

My heart stopped and I couldn't make eye contact.

"Alex is my only child. He's been through a lot. Up until that summer, I would have supported anything. Up until that summer." She turned her head towards me, wanting me to understand what she meant.

And I did. Things would be different if I'd kissed Alex back at that before high school party. If we'd started dating then. But that's not how things had gone. Because of me.

"Christmas a year ago, your parents told me what you'd been through and I supported you being friends again. Friends."

She touched my hand like her son had earlier.

"But Liam, you put my baby through a world of hurt so I'm worried to trust you with his whole heart again."

I knew it. I knew my sin. And the fact that I didn't have the right to love Alex.

"So, promise me you'll care for it like it's more precious than your own. Live for him, no less than I do."

I nodded adamantly at the woman with dark frowning eyebrows, unsure what words to use to let her know it already was―that I already did.

"Okay." She released my hand and slicked her black hair back into her bun. "Let's go downstairs."

I followed her to the living room where everyone else was already sitting on the couches and Lily on the rug at the coffee table. King was asleep on his bed in the corner, and I wished I could trade places with that clueless animal right then. Ms. Camejo sat next to my mother and I sheepishly sat on the loveseat beside Alex.

"Lily, go play in your room," my mom said, arms folded.

Lily looked up from her Wonder Woman Barbie. "Are you going to talk about sex? I'm already ten. Do I have to leave?"


"I want to hear about Alex and Liam too!"

A heavy huff left my mom's lips while my dad, who had returned to his regular passive self, gave a pensive smile of resignation. "Hm, so, since when have you been dating?" he asked.

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