14. Baby, It's Cold Outside

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It had started snowing while I was leaving work, so I called Luca to tell him I would pick him up on the way to my parents. They lived ten minutes out of town on five acres of rolling hills. It wasn't worth the risk of taking two separate cars.

When he flopped into my passenger seat, I had to laugh. "I don't actually think I've ever driven you before."

"How is that possible?"

I look behind me to start backing out slowly. "When we lived here, I didn't have a car. If we rode home from school together, you always drove."

My mind rushes to those wonderfully intimate few weeks we had together as teenagers. His mind must be there too; he places his hand on my thigh and gives it a slight squeeze.

"As much as I miss your mom, I can't wait to get back here tonight."

"Mmm-hmm."

As I'm driving, I can feel Luca's hand sliding further up my leg. I have leggings on but still feel a rush run through my body. "You're going to need to stop that, or I might kill us both."

"Stop what?" He asks innocently while rubbing my mound. I moan and swerve the car slightly. He places his hand back on his lap. "Alright, alright, I'll stop." But the sexual tension in the car is palpable. By the time I pull into my parents' driveway, it's almost unbearable.

My parents wouldn't be able to see the car from their front door, so Luca leans over and starts kissing my neck. He didn't shave today, and his whiskers are tickling my jaw. I can't help but giggle and raise my shoulder to my ear, forcing him away. He looks at me with an intensity that sends a rush of heat through my body.

He gently grabs my hand to place on his lap. He is hard as a rock, and we've barely even  touched. "Later" is all he says.

I nod and start to open the door, but he stops me. "I'm going to need a minute."

He is obviously needing to calm himself down before interacting with my parents. I roll my eyes playfully...like my underwear isn't drenched right now.

After a few moments, we are both ready to go inside. When we enter the kitchen, both of my parents are standing there, aprons on, slicing vegetables.

"We didn't hear you come in!" my mom says while rushing over to Luca. She gives him a tight hug, which he returns. She has barely mentioned him since we moved, twelve years ago.

I think a part of her always felt guilty for leaving him. It was soon after we moved that he got his first misdemeanor, and it all went downhill from there.

My dad comes up behind them and pats Luca on the back, heartily. "It's good to see you, son."

"You too, Mr. McDonald." Luca breaks my mom's hold on him.

"I think you're old enough now, we can probably drop the 'Mr.'" My dad says with a smile.

My mom pipes in, "Luca, until today, I hadn't heard from you in weeks. What have you been doing, young man?"

Wait...weeks? Have they been communicating all along?

"I know, I know, I'm sorry. It's just been busy with the apprenticeship and...everything." He doesn't elaborate.

We help finish the food prep and sit down to a hearty meal, all the foods that I know are Luca's favorites. Meatloaf, fried potatoes, my mom's deviled eggs, and a salad with ranch. Luca does most of the talking, telling us all about the tattoo shop he's working at. I can tell he is passionate about it. Maybe he has finally found his calling.

After a lull in conversation, my mom says, "So, Shelley, did you hear about Jason?"

The sound of his name sucks the breath out of me, and I drop my fork. "No."

"Well, I heard from his mom a few days ago that Heather and he are getting divorced." I know it's wrong to be happy about this, so I try not to smile. I fail. A few days ago they were posting pictures on social media representing a loving couple, obviously trying to portray something that didn't exist.

I look up at my mom who is also trying not to smile, and failing. We both start laughing hysterically. I look toward my dad who is also chuckling lightly and shaking his head. I look at Luca sitting across from me and can't read his expression. He probably thinks were horrible for laughing at this.

I do feel bad for Jason and Heather's daughter, but, in my experience, it is better to have two parents who are separated and happy rather than two parents who are together and miserable.

And, let's be honest, Jason and Heather are two of the most self-centered people on the planet--Leslie helped me see that. How could they not be miserable together?

After dessert of cherry delight, also Luca's favorite, my phone buzzes. I look down to see a text from my boss.

Due to the weather, we're only working a skeleton crew tomorrow. So congratulations, you have the day off! Be safe! And see you in two days.

"Weather? Is it bad outside?" I ask the room. My dad stands up and looks out the window. "Woah, yeah, it's really coming down."

Now we all stand up to look outside. I can barely see through the falling snow, but my car looks to be buried in at least six inches.

"You guys can't leave" my mom says, matter of factly. Luca and I look at each other, unsure about what to do. I'd been looking forward to being with him since last night; I was not waiting another night.

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