15 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Twelve
The Proposal

"The canapes are yum,"  Sam chewed as she smiled warmly at Frieda. 

Both ladies were dressed for the festive season.  Frieda wore a glittery gold gown by Elie Saab, that made her look angelic, whilst Sam had opted for a bright red frilly top and a green frilly skirt.  They chatted about their respective families, about the wonder of teething problems and their hunky husbands.  Sam had become close to her neighbours in the last couple of months and every so often, would invite them round for dinner and invite the kids over for mini slumber parties as she had every Disney film to date.

Hartley was in a conversation with Elvin and Liam about football and random stuff.   Hartley smiled at his wife, who smiled back.  The year had been hard on their marriage but they were back on track, Frieda had mellowed out a lot and she was more at ease with Liam and everyone else and he finally felt like everything was falling into place.  The doorbell went and Liam strode to the door, opening it up, Jack and Frederica stood, clutching a bag of presents each.  They both chorused, a Happy Christmas and strolled in.  Everyone gravitated towards them with open arms.  Once Frederica got rid of her coat, the ladies congregated near the fire place.

"So good to see you Sam, how are the babies?" Frederica asked.

"The babies are sweet little things... they have their good and bad moments but they're my little angels.  I was very close to calling them Simba and Baloo but Elvin was having none of it," Sam chirped.

"Yes, I think that would be taking it to the extreme thought Sam," Frieda smiled, "I would love to have seen Elv's face though, in passing.  That would have been a right laugh."
"Typical of you Frieda to get a kick out of someone else.  How are you by the way? " Frederica tapped her twin sister, gaining her attention.

"Good, y'know me. Frederica,  have some champagne, something to eat you look a little pale," Freida called one of the waiter.

"I can't have any champagne," Frederica smiled shyly, "But I won't pass on eating."

Sam and Frieda both stared at her and chorused together, "You're pregnant!" And they engulfed her in a hug, screaming.

Hartley, Elvin, Jack and Liam approached them.  It was Jack who spoke first, "I gather you told them then?"  As he snuggled up to his wife, planting a kiss on her forehead.

"Told them what?"  Liam asked puzzled.

"I'm gonna be a dad, guys." Jack said sheepishly.

Hartley, Elvin and Liam smacked Jack proudly on the back, "Nice one mate," Elvin smiled.

"About bloody time," Hartley joked.

"Congratulations dude," Liam smiled, "When's she due?" 

"July, a nice Summer sprog."  Jack smiled.

As the night wore on and everyone settled on the couch, everyone started sharing stories.  Spoke about first impressions and things they wanted to do in the New Year. 

"I can't believe this year has flown by so quickly," Frederica commented, lying flat on the sofa.  Jack touched her small bump of a stomach.
"Blimey, you guys are gonna be parents in the new year... talk about big changes,"  Sam commented.
"I can't wait... I've already started planning the making of the cot, the fixtures, even the toys," Jack spoke with wonder and awe.
"I'd like to see it some time, when it's done,"  Hartley said.
"Yeah, you could definitely expand on that,"  Elv chipped in, "I know when my Mrs had the babes... she kitted the nursury out in pure Disney... it's like we have the whole Disney shop on the top floor." Elv said.
Sam flung a cushion at him, as she breast fed her baby, "There is nothing wrong with Disney."
"Alright babe, alright," Elv smiled cheekily.
"So Liam, when you planning to get hitched and have a couple of babies?" Frederica asked.
Liam shrugged, God, he hated these questions.  They always made him uncomfortable.  Luckily he was saved by the bell.  Thank fuck for that.
Hartley jumped up and raced towards the door, as he opened it, he started laughing.  Everyone turned round to see Millie dressed up in an elves costume.
"How come you're not dressed up?" Millie said confused. 
"Didn't you get the memo?" Hartley laughed even harder. 
Millie stepped into the hall and turned around to see that everyone was dressed glamorously.  She, unfortunately wasn't, but the kids seemed to like it as they ran up to her and were smiling like Christmas had come early. 
Frieda was the first to stand up and greet Millie, "Oh Millie, you look lovely,"
"Please spare me, I look atrocious," she said waving away the comment. 
"I must have missed you off the email,"  Frieda grinned, "Liam, why don't you come and help Millie with the food in the kitchen?"
Liam wanted an excuse to talk to Millie, but the pass that Frieda had given him, made him feel like an adolescent having his moment with a verified-beautiful woman.   On close inspection, she was wearing tight green stockings, over sized green shoes with the baubles on the top.  An over sized red jumper with even more baubles and a hat with a giant bauble on the end of it.  No wonder Hartley couldn't stop laughing, she did look rather amusing.
"Go ahead and laugh Liam Blake, I know you want to,"  Millie rolled her eyes as she smiled at him, "But before you do, can I just eat something, I'm famished."
"Yeah, just follow me," he said, leading her towards the kitchen.  There were plates of canapes and food nestled underneath silver plates covered in cling film, "Why were you so late anyway?"
"Yeah, about that, I just got back from New York.  My trip of two weeks was only meant to be two weeks but it extended, literally got back a few hours ago, and then, I realised an old red bridesmaid dress wasn't going to cut it for a Mary Christmas outside, so I had to call on a friend who knows a friend who has a costume place on Shaftesbury Avenue.  So, that's my long story short,"  Millie said, grabbing an empty plate and piling food on top, "So, are you doing these days?"
"I've been clean for six months now, it's been a struggle but I'm seeing the end of the tunnel now," Liam said, pouring a glass of champagne into a champagne glass for her.
"Thanks," she said, taking it from him and taking a sip, "So, being around alcohol doesn't bother you then?"
"Not really,"  Liam replied, "I've just learnt to live with it now."
Millie nodded as she delved into some food, "So, what else have you been up to then? Come on, I want the goss."
"I've just been hanging out with anyone who'll have me y'know.  I've learnt a lot through everyone... and no one's treated me like the drunk that I am," Liam said contemplative.
"Liam, you're not a drunk... it pains me to think you would feel that way," Millie said putting down her plate of food to stand in front of him.  She grabbed his arm and tugged at it, when she looked at him her eyes were filled with unshed tears. 
When Liam touched the softness of her cheek, the tears streamed down, "Why are you crying Mills?"
"I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me... it's been a while, you've been on my mind since the last time I saw you and I guess... I've just been worried," she said simply.
"Why are you worried about me, I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself," Liam smiled more to her, then himself.
"Because at one point, I thought I was going to lose you and the trip I was on kept extending and I didn't know whether I was coming or staying," Millie moved to the sink, "Just ignore me, I'm a jibbering mess."
Liam gave her, her space.  He should find it amusing to see a grown elf at the sink, but nothing was amusing right now, not when she was surely upset.  He hated to see her cry and all he wanted to do was collect her in his arms and hug her, "Mills, look at me." 
Millie turned slowly towards him, leaning a hip against the counter, "I'm okay now, you don't have to worry about me,"  He paused, collecting his thoughts, "Actually, I owe you a lot.  If you hadn't intervened then, God knows... I don't even want to think about it.  Do you want to go for a walk?"
"Not really, these shoes aren't really made for walking," Millie said inspecting the soles, "Actually, my feet feel like ice slabs right now." 
"Oh, do you want to go to my place?  I've really missed you and I somewhat feel like I'm being watched now, by everyone?" Liam whispered as he looked out to see everyone being suspiciously normal.
Millie followed his gaze and noticed a lot of their friends looking towards them, "Good Idea."

"This might be a bit big, but it's warm and dry,"  Liam said walking towards Millie who was sat like an elf in his living room.  He handed her long cashmere pyjamas and a fleecy top, "You can use my bathroom, if you wish."
Millie nodded and disappeared up the stairs.  The last time she was here, Liam hadn't been himself.  He had been drunk, out of his head and pissed.  He had renovated the place now, the furniture had changed.  It had almost felt like a different house when she stepped in, exorcised his demons by getting rid of all the furniture and replacing it with new vintage, cosy furniture.  There was even a McCalister rocking chair near the window.  As she stripped out of her elf costume and left it on the radiator to dry, she put on her clothes.  God, they smelt of him and something inside her went pop.  Don't get ahead of yourself Millie, she told herself.  She closed the door behind her and found Liam in the kitchen cooking up an omelet and making her a hot chocolate.
"You don't have to do that,"  Millie said, taking a seat on the couch.
"I want to, besides I kinda dragged you out there without a decent meal, it's the least I could do."  Liam said, expertly flipping the pan.
"How'd you learn to cook?" Millie asked, snuggling underneath a blanket.
"Ah, I took some lessons... I had a lot of free time, learnt a few things.  Maybe one day, I'll show you," he winked.
"I would like that," Millie replied. 

Millie 'mmmed' when Liam served up the food, she hadn't realised how hungry she was, and what an amazing chef Liam made.  She could really start getting used to this but she paused.  Lately she'd been thinking a lot about Liam and was estatic when she was invited to Hartley and Frieda's Christmas party.  Now, as she sat comfortably in the corner of his couch, she just didn't want to move, looking at the clock above the mantel piece, it was almost midnight.  Where had the time past?

"Thanks for the food Liam, that was amazing.  I could seriously get used to that," she smiled, setting the plate on the coffee table.

"Y'know me, I like to impress the ladies with my culinary skills... even if it is just the basics,"  Liam leaned into the couch a few feet away from her, watching her.  She looked comfortable in his house, in his jammies and suddenly, he just said it outright, "God, I've missed you so much Millie.  I really have."

"I've missed you too Liam," Millie replied, "So, what happens now?"

"Well, I was hoping you would spend Christmas with me?"  Liam said.

"Is that all that you want, Christmas?"  Millie challenged.

"No, it's not all that I want.  I don't think Christmas, forever, eternity would be enough Mills," Liam said, raking his hands through his hair, "God, none of this was how I pictured it would be."

"Then spit it out,"  Millie said, "I'm tired of waiting for that grand gesture... if you don't do it, I damn well will.  I've been fighting to keep my distance Liam, I have.  I have been fighting so you could recover and now that you have, all you ask of me is Christmas, I want more then that..."

Before she could utter any more words, he kissed her.  Kissed her passionately, their hands tangled in each other's hair.  He kissed her, like they had been apart for centuries.  He kissed her, like he had all the love to give but it still wasn't enough.  And before they both knew it, they made love on the couch in his living room.  It was heated, but it was gentle, tender and sensual.  And that's when he told her, "I love you Millie," he peered down at her, his elbows on either side of her, "I love you so much Millie, that I want you to be mine and only mine."

"Well, that's a bit possessive and a bit unromantic.  I was hoping you would go down on one knee and ask me to marry you instead?" Millie quipped. 

Liam laughed, "I was getting to that but thanks for stealing my thunder... but that's okay, you stole my heart away from me a long long time ago, so that figures.  What do you reckon?  You wanna be my wife?" 

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