“I want you to come by the fire house and meet the guys. You could come hang out and watch a football game with us.”
“Won’t that be kind of weird?” I asked Mike.
We were eating dinner at my place and waiting for the potato casserole I made to finish baking. Mike was using a laser toy to play with Murphy from the couch.
“Why? They know about you, plus, you already met Tony.”
“Yeah, but this is, like, your boss and stuff. And I think it would be weird for you to meet Tucker or Eddie or Joe.”
“But these guys are my family, Faith. They aren’t just co-workers. And besides, I have met your Bruno pals.”
He was right. Mike has stopped by the bar a few times when it’s been slow and he’s met Cara, Bruno, and Brad.
“Come on, Faith. At the very least you could meet Dolly. We could fool around in the sleeping quarters if you get bored...”
He pulled me to him and gave me a hot kiss bet we were interrupted by the timer on the oven.
“Dinner time.” I said.
Mike pretended to be annoyed and helped me set the table while the casserole cooled. I made up a salad and got us some sodas (and fed my hungry baby) before settling down at the table.
“Okay.” I said.
“You’ll meet them?”
“Yes.” I smiled. Mike smiled back and took a moment before speaking again.
“I don’t want to scare you away or anything…and I now we haven’t been together for very long in the grand scheme of things but I’m so in love with you, Faith. I think about our future sometimes. Does that freak you out?”
“No.” I said, “I think about it, too.”
“Have you thought about maybe moving in together?” He asked.
I froze a little bit. The last time I’d had a conversation like this was with Sean and he ended up basically living with me because he sublet his apartment while he was on tour.
“Hey, whoa, I was just asking, we can pretend like I didn’t.” Mike said noticing my reaction.
“It’s…not that.” I said, “Mike, I don’t think I’ve really told you much about my past relationships. I know I told you that I was engaged to my last boyfriend and that it wasn’t very healthy but I think I owe it to you to tell you just how much damage that relationship and the one before it did to me.”
Mike looked at me with concern, put his silverware down, and held my hand. I took a deep breath and started in.
“My relationship with you is very different from what I had with Sean. And part of that is because I wanted to forget about the relationship I had before him. I dated my boss before Sean. He was engaged to someone and lied to me about it, when I broke things off he made my job a living hell and tried to hurt me when I quit. Then I met Sean; I didn’t want a relationship with him at first. We met at a bar and I went back to his hotel room and we’d had that arrangement for awhile.”
The shame I felt telling Mike this cascaded over me and my eyes welled up.
“Faith, it’s okay.” Mike rubbed my hand with his thumb.
“Almost from the beginning of our relationship, Sean lied to me; he had jealousy problems, and would constantly accuse me of lying or having feelings for my boss. This behavior only got worse when I ran into my boss at a bar and he tried to hurt me and it was bad; it’s why I have those nightmares. Sean got involved and because of that I couldn’t press charges but he turned it around and tried to use it as evidence that I still had feelings for my boss. He showed up at my work once and saw me talking to my friend, Adam, and got very upset with me. And I thought that was okay because he had to justify our relationship to his manager and almost gave up his position in the band to be with me.”
My voice shook.
“When Sean went on tour, I think I was able to see just how unhappy I was with the relationship and I think he knew it which is why he asked me to marry him. Eventually he ended up cheating on me and getting that person pregnant. But we didn’t completely break things off. Sean would still come over and…and…I was seeing someone else at the time and I feel so badly about that.”
I looked up at Mike and waited for him to start yelling but he didn’t. He just continued to listen.
“But then I called it off, for real, and I told the person I was dating, too, who chose to break it off as well. And then I found someone else and we’d had the same arrangement that Sean and I had had before we started dating and that person wanted to take things farther and the only reason we didn’t was because I’d hurt his feelings on our first actual date. So then I decided I should avoid dating for awhile which is when you entered into my life. And everything with you has been so different and I’m not afraid to tell you things like I was with Sean, I’m not afraid you’re going to make accusations like he did, you actually trust me even when I told you I lied to you that one time, and I…I don’t really know how to be in a relationship like this, I guess.”
I let out a breath and then looked at Mike with trepidation.
After a while he spoke.
“Faith, I love you.”
“That’s it? That’s all you have to say after all of that?”
“Yeah. I know you had a life before me and it would be pretty stupid of me to expect you not to be shaped by it. I love ALL of who you are and I would marry you tomorrow if I didn’t think doing so would be absolutely insane and also scare the hell out of you.”
I practically leapt across the table to kiss him and give him a hug. (We are not getting married any time soon, though!)