I Wanna Make You Feel Wanted
"Have a good night, Jill."
"Thanks, Pat. See you Monday."
I grabbed my coat, dreading the walk outside. It was December 3 and the temperature was hovering somewhere around -5. The moment I opened the door to the dentistry center, the cold blast hit me full force, almost sending me running back to my office to hide. Instead, I headed out, closing the door behind me and carefully tested my steps to make sure I wasn't treading on black ice. Once I reached the car, I turned it on and immediately switched on the heater. I never was one for following the 'let the car warm up' rule. I dug my cellphone out and punched in my mom's cell.
"Did you get there safe?"
"We got in about two hours ago. Tibby's in heaven. We just got to FAO Schwarz."
I laughed. It didn't take much of an imagination to conjure up a vision of her reaction to being surrounded by wall-to-wall toys. At the same time, I had a pang of regret.
"I should have gone," I said.
"Honey, it's fine. I'm thrilled that your dad and I get to have time with the kids here. I'm not so excited about the concert, but..."
"Just make sure Tibby doesn't try to get onstage," I warned.
"She couldn't do that," mom said.
"Trust me, she could. She's sneaky."
"She's---Cole, where's Tibby?"
There was a lot of chatter and several heart-stopping moments on my end before mom came back on the line. "She buried herself under a mountain of plush. It's all good."
"See?" I said. "Sneaky!"
"It's under control," mom said. "She'll return to you in one piece, probably holding three new stuffed animals and wearing one of those 3D shirts."
"1D," I said. "One Direction."
I smiled. "Mo--"
"Mommy, this place is amazing!"
Tibby's voice, filled with enthusiasm flooded the line. I immediately relaxed.
"Are you having fun?"
"Well, yeah! Nana and Papa are gonna buy me the whole store!"
"Now Tabitha," I heard my dad say.
"Hey Coley. How was the flight?"
"Good. Grandpa's gonna take me out early to see the Statue of Liberty."
"Take lots of pictures," I said. "And be--"
"Careful," Cole finished. "I know mom."
I could almost see him making that annoyed 'I'm not a baby' face. I suddenly realized, slightly in horror, that I really was turning into my own mother.
After a few more minutes and a dozen more assurances that everything was fine, we hung up. My car was nice and toasty. I backed out of my parking spot and pointed the car towards home.
It had been a whirlwind four months. So much had happened. Me and the kids were officially Georgians. I had a new job in a large dentistry office. Brian had pulled me into helping him with the house, especially after admitting he needed to spend more time working on vocal problems that he had been denying for the last couple years. With a voice that was probably more perfect than it had ever been before, he had begun to spend more and more time out in L.A. recording the new album with the other guys. It was the time that he was gone that was the hardest.
And tonight, for the first time in forever, I was going home to an empty home. Brian had managed to get Tibby 1D tickets for Christmas and had proceeded to plan a whole trip to New York for her, Cole, and my parents and he was out in L.A. As excited as I had been about the possibilities of me time, I was now feeling extremely apprehensive about the empty hours I had to fill.
The house was dark when I pulled up. All of the trees had been taken down and work had begun on a large pool and a wide expansive of flower gardens. The house was still blocked from view from the road, but instead of being shielded by trees, a large friendly white fence stretched the entire perimeter. The space would be paradise in the summer. But tonight, it just looked barren.
I pulled into the garage, thankful that I wouldn't be subjective to the elements anymore that night. I used my keyless remote to disable the security system and unlocked the door leading into the house.
I knew right away that something was off. Even though the house was dark, there was noise coming from the interior.
My heart leapt into my throat. I grabbed the nearest weapon I could find, Tibby's 'Walk with Me' life-size dolly. I rationalized that I could beat an intruder with the thick plastic legs. I crept along the wall, my ears straining to figure out the garbled noise. As I neared the living room, the words, actually music, became clear.
I hear a voice in my mind
I know her face by heart
Heaven and earth are moving in my soul
I don't know where to start
Tell me, tell me, the words to define
The way I feel about someone so fine
How do you talk to an angel
How do you hold her close to where you are
How do you talk to an angel
It's like trying to catch a falling star
The song brought back a flood of memories, happy, sad, bittersweet...it ran the whole spectrum. I lowered the dolly and peeked around the corner.
"Welcome home, baby."
The room was a flood in candlelight and flowers. The shades were securely drawn, maintaining the empty look of the house from the outside. The furniture was pushed against the wall. Standing there clad only in jeans with his bare feet on the hardwood floor was Brian.
"What are you doing here?" I whispered. I don't know why I felt the need to whisper, except that I was still in shock.
"Do you really think I'd make you spend the night alone?"
"But," my mind was still drawing a blank. "You're in L.A."
He laughed. Even though it was thinning, Brian had been trying to grow his hair. The result was hair that tended to curl along the base of his neck and across his forehead making him look extremely playful and sexy. "I am, am I?"
"I--" The room was so bare. The little tea light candles were throwing me for a loop. He walked towards me, his hand extended. The song, piped in from somewhere, ended. "I wanted to surprise you."
I took his hand, taking a careful step forward. I felt overdressed. Thoughts of fuzzy slippers and frumpy cotton pajamas flew from my mind. This was...romantic. "You did a good job."
"But I'm not done yet. Sit."
"Sit?" I looked at the chairs, all pointing towards the wall. "Where?"
Brian sat down, crossing his legs. I slowly sank down in front of him, copying the motion. He leaned over grabbing his guitar.
"I thought about doing all this while How Do You Talk to an Angel was playing because I've always thought about that song as being ours," he said. "But I know that things that happened after the dance probably left a tarnished memory on it."
I nodded. He had spoken so much better what I had just thought.
"So instead, I have this for you."
His fingers ran over the strings and the most beautiful melody began to form. His eyes closed as they always did when he really sunk down into a song. His voice rang through the empty room in a way that sent shivers through my spine. I knew then that he had purposely rearranged to provide for just the right acoustics.
You know I'd fall apart without you
I don't know how you do what you do
'Cause everything that don't make sense about me
It makes sense when I'm with you
Like everything that's green, girl I need you
But it's more than one and one makes two
So put aside the math and the logic of it
You gotta know you're wanted too
I wanna wrap you up
Wanna kiss your lips
I wanna make you feel wanted
I wanna call you mine
Wanna hold your hand forever
And never let you forget it
Yeah I, wanna make you feel wanted
Anyone can tell you you're pretty
And you get that all the time, I know you do
But your beauty's deeper than the makeup
And I wanna show you what I see tonight
I'd heard the song on the radio a dozen times, but it had never really hit home until that moment. Tears streamed down my face as he finished, his eyes opening and meeting mine. The fiery flames of passion and love that I felt reflected from his own eyes. He slowly removed the guitar strap from around his chest and began to open his arms towards me.
I was in them before they fully opened, my lips crushing his own. It was a moment frozen in time. As we came up for air, he shifted slightly with me in his lap. When his arm came back around, his hand wasn't empty.
I knew what it was before he even opened the box. I had never been the recipient of an engagement ring before. Paul had been too poor and we had been too young and in way too much of a hurry. He had teasingly proposed with a bread twist-tie.
But the ring before me was very real and very fun. There wasn't another word to describe it. Two hearts intricately woven together, the centers a mesmerizing display of in-lay diamonds.
"Jilly, I've gotten your father's permission to do this," his voice shook, sounding so much different than the confident artist a second before. "I'm not going to be stupid enough to let you get away a second time. Will you marry me?"
A normal woman's reaction would be to cry. A romantic setting for a proposal, a dream come true, a beautiful ring. Instead, I began to laugh so hard I snorted. Brian looked shocked.
"Yes!" I gasped for air before erupting into another round of gut-wrenching laughter.
"Yes?" he repeated.
"Are you serious?"
My eyes were watering from laughing so much. I was sure he was going to change his mind now that he realized I was acting like a raving lunatic. I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes. It was hard to keep a straight face. I really was losing it!
"Yes," I said. He cupped my face and shook my head.
"What am I going to do with you?" he whispered. He kissed me again gently. I hugged him tightly around the neck.
"Do what you just did," I said.
"Just make me feel wanted."