I hear Becky’s voice from my position on the sofa but I don’t turn to look, I keep my eyes on the latest Jeremy Kyle episode, they’re back already? Is it really Wednesday?
“Ueeve!” A little voice reaches my ears and tiny feet slap the laminate floor as Tori Black runs towards me, arms wide.
I sit up and reach for the little girl, grabbing her tiny form and holding her close, savouring her clean scent of talc and soap.
I can’t believe my dad fell in love with my high school teacher, married her, and now I have this gorgeous little sister.
“Where’s Yaya?” Tori frowns up at me.
“Uh- she’s not here today,” I smile at her and she narrows her big grey eyes, “What choo do?”
I laugh; sometimes this child is way too perceptive.
Becky approaches and scoops her daughter up and into her arms.
“Come on Missy,” she kisses Tori’s hair, “It’s time for your afternoon nap…”
I chuckle as I watch the pair of them depart, Tori muttering and grumbling about being far too old such nonsense.
“So, how’d it go?” Becky asks upon her return a few moments later.
I sigh, “Not great… Maya’s been staying at her parents, haven’t seen her since the surprise…”
Becky cocks an eyebrow at me, encouraging me to go on.
“I really don’t get it,” I say with another sigh, “I thought she’d be happy… but she’s been all weird ever since…”
“OK, so how did you give it to her?”
“Well, we went to the festival, had a picnic… then we walked home and I gave her the box outside our front door…”
“You put it in a box?!” Becky exclaims, eyes wide.
“Not the car, the key!” I chortle.
Maya’s been on at me to pass my driving test for ages, but truth be known I’ve always got better things to be spending my money on, such as books for research and movie tickets… I’m not really interested in learning to drive – but I decided to take up lessons and surprise her with a car for us to share for our anniversary. If she wanted me to learn to drive then I would, I’d do just about anything to make her happy.
However the surprise didn’t go down very well to say the least…
“Ok, I wasn’t going to tell you this,” Becky begins, “but I think I may know why she’s upset with you.”
“Well, a couple of weeks ago we were in the kitchen and I asked her if she had any special plans for your anniversary and she said she knew you’d planned something so she was leaving it all up to you…”
“Then she started asking me how your dad proposed, wanting all the details, how I felt and stuff…anyway, I kind of get the impression she was expecting a proposal on your 2 year anniversary, not a car.”
“Wha-?” I frown, “Seriously? After 2 years? That’s no time at all!”
“It’s enough time…” Becky says, “Look at Fin and Bee, they’ve been married a year and they have a baby…”
Scowling I wrack my brains. Was Maya really expecting a proposal, am I really that blind?
“I suppose it would explain her reaction.”
“I’ll bet anything that’s what she wanted.”
I stare down at the wooden floor before me and frown- A proposal; really?
The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.
I think back to the Spring Festival – Rueben’s comment about marriage. Had Maya discussed it with him, was he hoping to trick me into blurting out my proposal plans?
Sure, I love Maya with all my heart, she’s all I see – without her I’d be a wreck, but to marry her? I’m twenty years old. I figured I’d be at least twenty five before I even started to think about marriage and babies.
I rub my temples, suddenly I feel slightly ill. How do I rectify this one?
“So, what now?” I groan, “What am I supposed to do?”
“I have no idea,” Becky replies, “but whatever you do, you’d best act fast and be careful what you say.”
I’m completely torn.
I really have no idea what to do.
For the first time in our 2 year relationship I’m scared to see her.
Once I realised why Maya was acting so weird I contacted her straight away and arranged to meet her today, at her parent’s house – Hart Manor.
I knew they were out so it meant we’d have complete privacy, something we rarely had at my house – especially with little Tori around.
“Hey,” Maya smiles shyly at me as I approach the house and I return her gesture.
“Hey,” I say and I enter the house, wiping my shoes on the door mat.
We stand there, and I feel extremely awkward for a few moments – I feel like I’m 15 years old again, butterflies dancing in my belly, finally Maya breaks the silence.
“Do you want a drink?” she asks.
I nod and follow her through to the kitchen.
“Why are you upset?” I ask her, taking the mug of coffee from her outstretched hand a few moments later.
Maya frowns, “I’m not upset, why?”
I cock an eyebrow at her as I take a sip of my hot beverage, “Um, how about the fact that you’re staying at your parents instead of with me?”
“I just needed time alone.”
“Why? I thought you’d love the car, that you’d be pleased we were moving forward…”
Maya stares at me for a moment and I raise my eyebrows in question, waiting for her response.
“It’s just…” she begins but falters.
“It doesn’t matter…”
“It does, obviously, it really does, tell me.”
“Yves, just leave it!” Maya snaps.
I feel my irritation increase “Is this because I didn’t propose?” she’s obviously not going to say it so I may as well bring it up.
“What?” Maya scowls.
“You thought I was going to propose, on Saturday night – then when you saw it was a car key in the box you were disappointed.”
“No- I…” Maya shakes her head. “I-“
A low rumble interrupts her and I turn to see her mobile phone vibrate into life on the kitchen work top next to me.
We stand in silence for a few moments, starring at the phone.
“You gonna answer it?” I ask, reaching for it.
I pick up the phone and glance at the screen which reads “Rueben Lake.”
I pass it to her. “It’s Ruby,” I say.
Maya shakes her head and presses the ‘reject’ button before sliding her phone into her pocket.
“So he’s ringing you at home now?”
Ever since Maya started her job at the police station she’s been getting closer and closer to Rueben.
“No, you’re not. You may be a friend to Rueben, but that’s not how he sees it, he’s wanted to get into your pants since you started working together…”
“Don’t be stupid…”
“I’m not. I’m stupid for being worried that my girlfriend’s spending time with some total douche bag who obviously wants to get her into bed?”
“You are stupid; you’re stupid because you don’t trust me!”
I frown. I do trust her. I don’t trust Rueben Lake.
“This isn’t getting us anywhere…” Maya says.
“Please,” I say, “Can’t you just come home?” I approach her, placing my hands on her narrow waist, I kiss her forehead.
“I’ve missed you,” I say, kissing her nose.
I know she’s smiling without looking, “I’ve missed you too,” she whispers.
I cup her face in my hands.
“You’re beautiful, Maya,” I say, and I kiss her with all I can muster.