I was an hour late returning to the office. And Anna wouldn’t stop teasing me when she caught sight of my disheveled hair and wrinkled blouse before I had a chance to escape to the restroom and freshen up. The rest of the day I had a lovesick expression on my face and my worries about Andrew had melted away. Alex showed back up at six sharp and followed me back to his place. Then we spent the evening filling out and faxing the paperwork back to his lawyers. We were crossing our fingers that they would grant the temporary restraining order before the hearing for the official one took place. I wasn’t sure how things would go down if Andrew still hadn’t been located by then. But I couldn’t see him hiding away for two or three weeks; that’d be ludicrous.
I tried not to think about it as the weekend rolled around, but it proved easier said than done. Andrew was still nowhere to be found and I had the horrible nightmare two more times. Alex had finally gotten me to tell him about them and then he’d promised that he wasn’t going to let anything like that happen. Friday night we got the phone call that the temporary restraining order had been put into place. And we had a hearing date a week from Monday. That called for a celebration, which was fitting considering we were meeting up with Greg and Anna.
We had reservations at STK at eight o’clock sharp. STK was one of the popular and very trendy steakhouses in the greater Los Angeles area that had some of the best dishes known to man. Its seating was in high demand and we had been lucky enough to get in because Anna’s uncle was the head chef. Usually you had to call a week or two in advance to get into a place like that.
Alex and I arrived at three minutes to eight and were bombarded with flashbulbs going off the minute we stepped from his SUV. Suddenly, cameras were thrust in his face and people began tossing questions at him faster than I could keep up with them. He was his usual charming self though and politely conversed with the reporters, holding securely to my arm and leading us inside the restaurant.
“Are you okay?” He questioned once we were in the safe haven of STK.
I blinked my eyes, still seeing bright white lights before them. “I… think so. I’ll letcha know for sure once my vision returns.”
He chuckled and smoothed a hand over my back. “I’m sorry about that. I had no idea they camped outside this place.”
I wanted to rub my eyes, but didn’t want to smear my makeup. Instead, I squeezed them shut then blinked them rapidly a few more times, relieved to see that things were slowly returning back to normal. “What was all that?”
I glanced towards the doorway then to him. “Geeze, how do you not go blind?”
He chuckled then took my hand in his. “You wear sunglasses.”
“I always wondered why in pictures I saw, celebrities were wearing sunglasses inside or at nighttime. But it makes complete sense now.”
“Yeah, sometimes it can get rather frustrating. But it’s the price you pay for doing something you love.”
I gave a little nod and gave a grateful sigh once my vision cleared completely. “Okay, I can see right again.”
“Good.” He kissed my forehead then led me towards the maître d’, where he gave our names and we were soon being led towards the table Anna and Greg were seated at.
They rose once they spotted us and I introduced Greg to Alex. He shook his hand then gave Anna a quick hug before pulling out my chair. I thanked him and slipped into the seat, smoothing the flirty, black cocktail dress I had selected for the night.
“So, how are you guys?” Anna questioned once we were all seated and had given the server our drink orders.
“We’re doing pretty good.” Alex reached for my hand and held it protectively in his lap.
I gave a nod and met my friends gaze. “The temporary restraining order came through and we have a court date a week from Monday.”
“Oh, Morgan, that’s great!”
“Yeah,” I peeked over to my boyfriend then back to my friend, “we’re really relieved.”
“Yeah, I bet you are.” She gave a little nod, her brows lifted in agreement.
“So how are things with you guys? Greg, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you.”
“Yeah, you haven’t been over to the house in awhile.”
Yeah, things have been kinda busy.”
“We’ll have to have you both over sometime soon.”
I glanced over to Alex with a little grin before returning my gaze to Greg. “That sounds rather nice.”
He grinned and looked towards his wife. “We’ll have to figure out a day.”
Anna tilted her head. “What about next Sunday?
Greg lifted his brows. “Alex, do you golf?”
“It’s one of my favorites.”
Greg gave a broad grin. “Well, what if I take Alex with me to the course in the morning and you ladies could meet us down there for lunch?”
I looked over to my boyfriend.
He gave a warm grin of his own. “That sounds good to me.”
“Great.” Greg sat back as they brought our drinks over.
We then spent the next few minutes pouring over the menus and trying to decide what delectable dish we wanted. After the orders were placed, we were left to our own vices and relaxed back in the chairs.
“So, Morgan tells us you’re a musician,” Anna spoke up from where she sat sipping on her iced tea.
Alex turned to her and gave a nod. “That’s right.”
“What exactly do you do?”
“A little of everything.” His hand squeezed my leg as he conversed with my friend. “I sing, play some different instruments and write. I’ve even started getting into producing.”
“That sounds really interesting.”
“Yeah, it definitely keeps me busy.”
Anna gave a nod. “Do you play any shows or anything?”
“Definitely.” He leaned back in his chair, moving his arm to the back of mine, his body leaning towards me. “I’ll actually be touring this fall.”
“Ooh, that’s so neat,” my friend exclaimed from her spot across the table. “If you do a show in the area, we’ll have to come.”
Next to her, Greg nodded. “Are you in a band?”
“I am,” Alex responded with.
I glanced between them as they chatted, Anna asking him about the type of music he plays and finding out about the group he’s in. They talked a bit more about his career and then a little about what Greg did and then our dinner was served. Over the medium rare and well done steaks, our conversations continued. Greg and Alex seemed to hit it off and were soon involved in a discussion about golf and the PGA tour, leaving Anna and I to talk about work and her daughter and my dog and the latest happenings in current events. It was a relaxing atmosphere and the four of us enjoyed our dinner at a leisurely pace. Finally, after our plates were cleared and we were sipping coffee and trying to decide if we wanted dessert, Anna turned to Alex.
“Morgan was telling me about Bernie. I’m so sorry, that’s something terrible to have to go through.”
My boyfriend gave a little nod, a sad look crossing his face which he quickly pushed away with a hopeful expression. “Thank you. Yeah, it’s tough, but the doctor’s are hopeful and think that we’ll be able to kick it.”
“Who’s Bernie?” Greg piped up from his spot.
“One of my dogs. He has cancer.”
“Oh, that’s rough.”
“It is, but Bernie’s a fighter.” I reached over and laced fingers with Alex, giving his hand a comforting squeeze. “And each visit to the vet just goes better and better than expected.”
“Good.” Anna gave her endearing grin.
“Right.” He pulled my hand over into his lap. “And on his appointment on Tuesday-crap, Bernie has a vet appointment on Tuesday.” His dark eyes met mine.
I gave a little nod. “Okay, baby.”
“No,” he chuckled low and turned to face me more, “he has an appointment at 11 and my mom comes in at 10.”
I blinked. “How are you gonna pick up your mom and take Bernie to the vet at the same time?”
“I’m not.” He shook his head. “I’m going to have to reschedule the appointment. Though, they’ve been so booked, I don’t know when I’ll be able to get another one in.”
I gave a little pout. “Maybe someone can pick your mom up for you… or take Bernie to the vet.”
“Can you do it?”
I blinked. “What?”
“You think you could pick up my mom? I would say, take Bernie, but sometimes there’s paperwork and tests and I have to be there for those.”
For some reason, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of picking his mom up at the airport all by myself. “But…I don’t know what she looks like.”
“I’ll show you a picture.” He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “And I’ll send her a pic of you.”
“Or, she could stand there with all the drivers holding up a sign with your mom’s name on it,” Greg suggested.
Alex laughed low. “I like that idea, but my mom wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, please don’t make me hold a sign.”
He grinned at me. “So, you’ll do it?”
I couldn’t tell him no. He needed me, and after everything he’s done for me, I could at least pick his mom up. What was I so worried about? I’m sure she was a wonderful lady, after all; she had raised a wonderful son. Giving a nod, and a small grin of my own, I responded, “Of course.”
“Thank you, baby.” He kissed my cheek then my lips lightly. “I really appreciate it. I should get there not too much longer after you, hopefully.”
“I don’t know how long I can stay, I’m leaving work to do this, remember.”
“I thought you were going to take the day off.”
That’s right; I had told him I’d try to do that. “I don’t know for certain if I can yet.” Which was not a lie, because the request had to be approved by Zoe.
“Well, if you can’t stay, just drop her off and she’ll be fine at my place till I get there.”
I gave a little nod and squeezed his hand. “Okay, that sounds good.”
“Thank you.” He smiled and kissed my lips lightly before turning back to the other two people at the table with us. “Sorry about that, anyone up for dessert?”
The rest of the dinner went smoothly and afterwards we headed no over to a classy Rhythm and Blues lounge that Alex had picked out. The inside had been cozy, with tables close together and high back booths facing the stage. The servers had worn black pants, white shirts with black vests and ties and black fedoras, very Blue’s Brotherish. While we had sipped our coffees, the band had played music that was lively yet soothing and the Sawyers had been delighted with the place. Upon our departure, Greg and Alex had exchanged numbers and discussed what time they wanted to tee off when they met up for golf and I had hugged Anna, telling her I’d see her in the office on Monday.
Alex told me on the way back to his place, that he’d had a really good time and had enjoyed Greg and Anna’s company. He agreed that we’d have to get together more often and that he was looking forward to the golf next Sunday. Of course, that delighted me and on Monday, I relayed that conversation with Anna. She told me the same about Greg and even said that he was talking about getting in touch with Alex before Sunday to make plans. Something told me they were going to become pretty good friends.
Of course, when I relayed the conversation with Dianna, she wondered when we were going to go out to dinner with her and Manuel.
“It’s different with you and Manuel,” I explained to her that Monday evening. I had gotten out of work a little early and stopped by her place to visit before heading on to Alex’s.
“How is it different?” She was sitting across from me on the love seat, sipping on some raspberry tea.
“Because it’s you. Anna is a dear friend, yes, but you’re like an older sister to me and what you think really means a lot.”
“Aww, Morgan, that’s so sweet.”
I blushed a little. “It’s true.”
“I know it is and that means a lot, but I’ve already met him and I already like him, so I think we should get together and go out sometime.”
She had a point. She had already met him and she liked us together, so there didn’t seem to be a reason to put things off. “Okay, you’re right. This weekend isn’t good though, his mom is coming into town tomorrow and on Sunday we’re going to meet up with Anna and Greg for brunch.”
“His mom is coming into town?” Her brows rose.
“Yeah, and I have to pick her up at the airport in the morning.”
“How come you have to?”
“Bernie has a vet appointment at eleven, so I volunteered.”
“Aww, Morgan,” a tiny grin tugged at her lips, “I think that’s really sweet of you.”
I blushed again. “Yeah, but it makes me nervous. My first time meeting his mom and he’s not there with me.”
“Why does that make you nervous?”
“Because, what do we talk about? Alex won’t be there to guide us in the direction, or field certain questions or topics. I have no idea what she likes, or doesn’t like. I don’t know the kind of person she is. What if she doesn’t like me?”
Dianna watched me with a calm expression. “Why wouldn’t she like you?”
I gave a little shrug. “I don’t know, I was just listing off possibilities.”
“I’m sure she’s going to like you.” She leaned forward and set her tea on the coffee table. “You’re a nice person, you’re sweet and funny and kind and I don’t see any reason she wouldn’t like you.”
“What do we talk about? I hate having those silences where you’re racking your brain and you don’t know what to say and you don’t want to say something stupid.” I fell back into the armchair with a heavy sigh.
“Morgan, you’re getting yourself too worked up. You’ve got to just calm down, it’s going to be okay.”
I rubbed my forehead. “I know… I just really want her to like me. This…what we have going on is very serious and,” I wet my bottom lip, “permanent and I just don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with his mom.”
“Aww, honey,” she moved over and crouched in front of the arm chair, “you aren’t going to get off on the wrong foot. You just have to have a little faith in yourself. I’m sure she’s just as nervous to meet you. The woman that is so important in her son’s life.”
“You’re right.” I gave a sigh. “I dunno why I’m so nervous.”
“Well, this is a big step for you. He’s met your parents and now you’re meeting his mom. Of course you want to make a good impression. When you marry someone, or make a serious commitment to them, you’re also doing the same with their family.” She gave my knee a comforting squeeze. “But his mom is going to adore you.”
“Yeah,” I gave a little nod, still feeling some nerves, “thank you. You’re completely right.”
“I know.” She smirked then sat back and rose to her feet. “And I expect, when you two eventually do get married, you’ll make me your matron of honor.”
I giggled at the thought of marrying him. “You know I will.”
“Good.” She returned to her seat and took up her tea again.
“So,” I glanced around her living room, “when are you and Manuel getting that dog?”
Dianna chuckled. “I keep putting it off, but he’s constantly bringing it up.”
“You oughta just let him get one.”
“I’m still not keen on the idea.”
I gave a low chuckled. “I know, but at least he’s not asking you for a baby.”
She gave a snort before taking a sip of her warm beverage. “And he better never do that.”
“You seriously don’t ever want children?” I know that everyone had their own preference, but Dianna not wanting children saddened me a little and I wasn’t sure why.
“No, I just don’t have even the tiniest urge to have any.”
“That’s too bad; you’d make a good mom.”
She scoffed. “I would not. There isn’t a single bit of mother-ness in me.”
“Yes there is; look how good you’ve been taking care of me and helping me out and being there for me.” I watched her with a lifted brow. “I think you’ve got more in you than you realize.”
She broke our gaze and gave a little sigh. “Alright, maybe I do, but it’s still not something I want to get into.”
I gave a little nod. “And that’s okay. I think you’d make a great mom, but it’s completely your decision.”
She nodded then a slight grin tugged at her lips. “What about you?”
I arched my brows. “What about me?”
“You want children?”
“Well… yeah, but not until the time is right.”
“Of course.” She gave a little nod then a bigger grin. “Now, you would make a good mother.”
“You think so?”
“I know so.” She leaned forward and set her mug on the coffee table once more. “You and Alex are going to make beautiful babies. They’ll have your beautiful blue eyes and his olive complexion, maybe his dark hair or little blonde ringlets.”
I giggled softly. “They would be beautiful, wouldn’t they?”
“Very.” She grinned and watched me. “And I’ll be their Aunt Dianna, who will spoil them rotten and give ‘em back to you.”
That made me laugh. “Oh boy, that’s something to look forward to.”
She laughed as well then watched me with a twinkle in her eye. “I’m so proud of you, Morgan. I can honestly say I’ve never seen you this relaxed or genuinely happy.”
“Thank you.” I smoothed my skirt some, feeling a little blush creep onto my cheeks. “I’m pretty proud of myself, too.”
“As you should be. You’re finally on that home stretch.”
“Yeah,” I gave a little nod, “I just hope there aren’t any unexpected road bumps.”
“There always are, honey. You just learn how to get over them together.””