Status: Thank you for everything x

Footsteps for a Bride-to-Be

#17: "Thank Goodness for You"

December 8th, 2011

8:50pm - Our Love Nest

"Mitchell is final down and out, Herman," I whispered as I slowly shut Baby Phelps' bedroom door closed, lightly turning the knob and released a relieving sigh. The dog stared up towards me and let out a small yelp before he wandered away without me having to tell him what to do. I was finally free from Baby Phelps' screaming and crying as his two top teeth were breaking through the gums, and it hurt more for him compared to the bottom teeth that were now halfway out.
I let out another sigh and brushed my fingers through my hair, tying it with the elastic hair tie into a loose bun as I made my way towards the main bedroom. I was worn out, but it was just another day for me as Baby Phelps and I occasionally battled throughout the day with his fussiness. I entered the bedroom, my feet dragged along the carpet towards the bed, my body weighed heavier and heavier. I fell flat on the bed, a yawn escaping from my lips. I stared at the plain white ceiling, thinking of what else I needed to do before I would be allowed to go to sleep for the day.
"Laundry from washing machine to dryer, Herman's vitamin pill, take the trash out, brush my teeth, and-" I paused, tapping onto my thumb as I tried to recall the final thing. "What was that last thing?" I muttered to myself as I tried so hard to remember. "Ugh," I groaned, my palms flat on my face as there was no hope on remembering whatever the final task was, I felt quite irresponsible.
I sat up after a few minutes and up to my feet. Maybe if I did what I had to do, the final thing on my list would pop back into my head. I'm certain that it was the last thing on the list, if it wasn't, then I'd just be hating myself even more...

Am sure it's the last thing to do...

Herman kept me company throughout the whole time. He sat with me and watched me move all the piles of clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, he cooperated with me when time came for his vitamin pill, and he helped me with the bag of heavy rubbish out from the kitchen to the curb. I dragged the big black bag out by dragging it, slowly, and it drained my batteries straight to five percent.
"Well, well, well," I heard a voice speak from behind me. "Look at you, Roxy."
My eyes narrowed. There's only a few people who ever called me that.
"Fulton Junior," I gasped. I met with his eyes and, in an instant, wrapped my arms around him like there was no tomorrow. I haven't seen him in nearly a year, but I did live with him for a year, so I did miss him in the first few months while I live in Baltimore.
"I didn't know you'd miss me that much," He chuckled as he gave me a light pat on the back.
"You are such a dork, as usual." I let go of him and took a big step back. "Oh geez, come on in," I chuckled and rubbed my hands together as I led him inside the house.
"Wow, look at where you landed yourself," He complimented. "I can't believe you replaced me for this little family home," He continued giving good comments as I led him to the kitchen. I washed my hands while he took a seat on the stool by the counter opposite me. I felt his gaze throughout the whole time. I didn't give him a comment or a word while I arranged the used dishes into the dishwasher, wiped the wet counter and gave Fulton Jr. a glass of water.
I got one for myself and finally took a big gulp, followed by a stressed out exhale.
Fulton Jr. smiled and tapped his fingers against the glass. "Being a stay-at-home Mom and being in a relationship with the oh-so-awesome Olympian must be draining the hell out of you," He spoke with a mixed tone. "I think it's time you give me tips on this relationship stuff, because I have some news to tell you."
"News?" I repeated. "Well, go on!" I said with excitement, but I made sure my volume was kept to a low as Baby Phelps was sleeping away in the other room.
He chuckled and took out his phone, he flicked his finger about and suddenly grinned. I watched in awe at how happy he was just from looking at whatever he was looking at. I waited patiently, my hands gripping onto the glass as I stood straight and stared at him with intrigue.
"Hurry," I groaned slightly.
The guy finally turned the phone around, the screen faced towards me and I saw him with a beautiful woman of Spanish decent. She was beautiful, had black hair, tan skin, pouted lips and bright brown eyes, and I assumed she was a model. Fulton Jr. shook his head and introduced, "This is my dear Lucia Ortega, my girlfriend for nearly two years."
"Wait, what do you mean two years? That would mean that you've been seeing her ever since we lived together?" I calculated it clearly in my head before I reached out and slapped his forearm. "You jerk, why didn't you tell me this?" I growled at him.
"Why would I tell you?" He teased. "It's not that I didn't want to tell you, but it was because I wasn't sure you were prepared to hear that I wanted to date other people."
I touched my chest and pouted. "Why would you break my heart like that?" I sarcastically responded to his teasing. "But really," I said with a serious tone. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because it actually started with an arranged marriage by our Parents - which still exists - because both publishing companies our Parents own thought it was the only way they could merge together," Fulton Jr. sounded quite embarrassed telling me about it.
I smiled at him, and it wasn't out of pity. "I can't believe you were arranged to be married."
"We sort of clicked and we promised to keep it a secret that we both fell for each other, I didn't want our Parents to know that they were right. Who wants to tell their Parents they were right?"
"So then, what brings you here in Baltimore?"
"Well, I came because I wanted to see how you were doing-" He took a sip of water. "And because I met with your fiancé in London, we went to the same event and we chatted and he bluntly told me that he was conscious of me when you and I were living together."
Michael told Fulton Jr. how he felt?
"And after reassuring that we had nothing going on, he asked me a favour that I couldn't say no to."
I cocked an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?" I furrowed my brows.
He laughed at my expression before he continued, "Well, I went to New York a couple of days ago, and apparently, your fiancé was meant to come home tonight."

Shoot, I was supposed to pick up Michael! That was the final item in my to-do list.

"But he asked me to take care of you for a couple of days because he's delayed back in London due to bad weather and lack of proper equipment for an advertisement shoot," He ended with a big grin.
"So, I'm stuck with you for a couple of days?" I crossed my arms in disbelief.
"Pretty much so," He laughed. "And to be honest, I actually planned to visit you even if your fiancé didn't ask me. I'm in town for a couple of days for a business meeting with a local publishing company here," He was quick to change the whole topic. "And they want to be a sub group and my Father sent me here because he thought I'd be good enough to handle it. I think I'm not ready for this business stuff," He confessed, still sounding as though he wasn't happy with his job, and that was always that way since he got the role and sent off to Europe. He'd always been an artist since I met him.
"Why don't you finally tell your Dad about how you're feeling instead of working at a place you're not happy with?" I suggested, though I knew that he won't be listening to anything I'd say. He was scared of hurting his Dad, he's quite a loving son to both his Parents.
So working on a job that he hated was better than doing what he loved and be ignored by his Parents.
Fulton Jr. reached out and gave me a pat on the shoulder. "I know you mean well, Roxy."
"And I know I said something so stupid," I laughed off my shame.
"How are you? I was thinking I'd help out while I'm here." He changed the topic once again. I couldn't keep track of what we were talking about at all.
"Well, I wanted to ask you to read through something for me, but you have to promise to keep it between me and you." I looked him in the eyes, seeking the sign he promised, which he did with his typical nod, grin and wink combo. If I didn't know him well, then I would've been quite doubtful of him, but he knew how to keep promises and he knew how to keep his mouth shut. I had to ask though, "Do you promise?"
"I do, I promise," He nodded once and reached out for a handshake. "I'll even shake on it."
I hesitated to give him the handshake, but he kept it there with a determined look in his eyes. I left him hanging for a bit just to tease him, which made him wave around his arm so to tell me to hurry it up. I laughed at his frustration and finally gripped his hand.
"Are you telling me subtly that you don't trust me?" He jokingly questioned with a hint of worry.
"Nope, I grinned sneakily as I made my way to the lounge to pick up the laptop, opening it along the way and placed it in front of him. He cocked an eyebrow and looked towards me with a more worrying expression before looking back on the screen with a lot of words.
"Are you writing a new book?"
I shook my head, closing the first document and revealed another document that had fewer words.
"Could've easily fooled me," He chuckled.
"I need you to read that and tell me." I instructed him and took a step back with a heavy heart.
I could only watch him as he scanned through the document, even rubbing his chin as he pursed his lips together. "Wow," was all he mustered from all of those silent minutes.
"What do you think? Is it good enough? Because I really want to-"
"-Express yourself, I know," Fulton Jr. ended my sentence. He closed the laptop and turned to face me. His lips curved as he nodded. "It's perfect."
"Don't lie."
"I'm not." He pressed his hand on the left side of his chest while lifting his other hand upwards at the same time. "I swear, Roxy, that what you wrote would make any man cry."
I released a lot of air as soon as he said that, the weight over my heart went with it and I felt enlightened.
"You're definitely ready to get married," He added as he stood up and pulled me to an embrace. "To think that High School student my Father introduced me to would turn her words to books and grow up so fast, and now she's getting married!"
"You are such a dork," I mumbled against his shirt.
"I'm honoured that you let me read it."
"Shut up," I mumbled more while stepping away from him and glaring at his humorous manner. He has definitely changed compared to that guy I first met to the guy I lived with and the guy standing right in front of me. I couldn't help but think how I must've changed into his eyes.

Fulton Jr. and I spent another hour talking and catching up. He told me about his misadventures in London and in the European Offices of the publishing company. It was always nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen in a long time, though he and his Parents were invited to the Wedding, it was definitely nice to see him prior to that. It made me realize how come I've really come since High School. I wanted to talk more with him, but there was a knock at the door, and it gave me a bit of a fright. I asked him to wait as I rushed to the door, rather confused as it was already nearing ten o'clock in the evening, and I wasn't expecting anyone due to the fact that the swimming couple a few blocks away were also in London.

It was probably Michael's Mom? His Sisters?

I adjusted my hair as I made it to the door. I took a deep breath, worried that it might be someone I didn't want to see, but when I turned the knob and twisted it to open, my eyes were wide open. I felt my heart race as fast as it possibly could, my jaws dropped and I was completely in shock. The tall, handsome figure had a bouquet of white roses on one hand and a big luggage on the other, and he had a goofy grin that went well with the situation. I heard Fulton Jr. greeted from behind me, and the figure in front of me thanked him for the distraction.

I wanted to scream, fortunately I managed to have enough strength to hold it all in.

"I'm home."


December 12th, 2011

I was so happy with Michael back into the world, and the night he arrived, Fulton Jr. revealed that the two of them planned to surprise me, since they were in Baltimore near the same time. However, Fulton Jr.'s flight was ahead of time, just a couple of hours and my fiancé thought it would be nice for me to see my old friend again - after they agreed that there was nothing going on.
I thought it was a nice gift, and I gave him a big kiss for it.

2:30pm - Starbucks

"This is our little guy," I introduced Fulton Jr. to Baby Phelps, who wasn't able to meet my ex-roommate as every time they were in the same room, the baby was sound asleep or was visiting his Grandma Debbie.
"So this is the little guy that just doesn't want to see me every time I come to visit him for the past three days I've been around," He jokingly said and shook the baby's hand with his finger, the two clicked pretty quickly too. "You're pretty good looking, I'm jealous that you have great genes," He added as he reached out and took Baby Phelps from my grasp.
"When you have your own kid, he or she will have some pretty great genes too." I took a sip of the hot mocha and leaned back on the comfy couch. I felt relaxed as I watched how Fulton Jr. interacted with Baby Phelps in his grasp, and it was probably the first time he's held a baby as he looked really stiff and careful with the way he moved.
He gulped and muttered, "Don't move so much, little man, it's kind of hard to keep a good hold of you."
"Mitch is like Michael, fearless," I warned. "He loves the water, loves Herman and loves to just sit in front of the television watching sports," I continued on. "They're alike in so many ways."
"I can see it," Fulton Jr. agreed. He eyed the baby in his grasp and smiled so brightly without him realizing that he was doing that. "He may have your looks, but he's a mini-Phelps," He teased and looked at me with the same grin. I gripped the mug in between my hands and gave him a nod, and he gave his attention back to the baby in his grasp.
It was a good while before he noticed I was still around. The two were instant friends, talking and playing around with the bits and pieces that were around the table, and eating rice crackers together. At one point, Baby Phelps bit Fulton Jr.'s finger while feeding him, and that made him laugh whole heartedly.
"So where's Michael? I thought he was coming?" He questioned, but still kept his attention away from me.
"He'll be coming soon, but I don't think you two will end up seeing each other at this rate."
"It's okay, there's still the Bachelor party and the big day too." He winked and stood up to give Baby Phelps back to me. "We got quite a lot in common, so you'd be surprised on the amount of events he's already invited me to," He chuckled as he put his jack on, adjusting the sleeves and the watch that dangled around his wrist. I stood up with Baby Phelps in my grasp and prepared for a group hug.
"I'm sorry I can't drop you off."
"You just owe me one."
"Don't worry, I'll pay you back." I took a step back and used Baby Phelps' hands to wave goodbye, we both watched Fulton Jr. walk out with his bag.

It was always sad to see someone go, knowing that I wouldn't be seeing him for quite some time, but seeing a certain someone else walk in after fifteen minutes was a whole different feeling.

I felt my heart skip a beat, but I couldn't get up because the little baby boy fell asleep while chewing on his rice cracker. Michael walked in with heavy panting, he looked fresh and clean as his eyes scanned the entire building, and considered looking at his phone to call me. I shook my head as soon as our eyes met.
"I'm guessing I missed out on the farewell," He panted and leaned down to give me a kiss on the lips.
"No, you're not late," I sarcastically responded while watching him reach into his back pocket to take out his wallet, and his gaze was directed towards the menu board behind the counter.
"Do you want anything?"
"No, I'm good." I shook my head once again. "Thank you though."
"Alright, give me a sec." He gave me a quick peck once more and rushed to the queue at the front of Starbucks. I only kept my eyes on him, watching his every move and his interactions with everyone around him, who clearly recognized him without him trying to be noticed.
I hadn't stared so long before a woman approached me, taking a seat opposite me and apologized on her sudden intrusion. She looked worried, and I couldn't say anything because only she had enough wind to keep talking. I didn't know her name, but the blond woman, who looked older than me, said, "I don't think you need to know me, but I'd like to say that I read your books, and I knew about you before I found out who you were dating. It's quite embarrassing, but I was wondering if I can ask for your autograph?"
I held in a gasp. She asked for my autograph. Was I hearing things?
She pulled out a book from her big bag, and it looked so familiar, and when she turned it around, the cover was the first book I very wrote.
"I think it's embarrassing to see my book right in front of me," I confessed.
"Really? Do people not recognize you? I mean it's not that hard nowadays since if someone spots Michael Phelps in public, they're bound to find you and your son."
"I tried to keep anonymous."
She looked like she didn't believe me.
"I did," I tried to convince her.
A shy giggle escaped from her as she placed the book and a pen close enough for me to sign. "Thanks to you, I became confident and started dating again," She revealed as she opened up to the first page, where I wrote a dedication and thank you to a group of people. I saw that I wrote Michael's name right at the end, where I thanked him for being cooperative and helping me out with everything.
"Congratulations on your achievements," She added as I finished signing. "Thanks again." She rushed away from me before I could get a word into the whole conversation itself. She thanked me for helping her find love, and I felt thankful for Michael for helping me find love too.

The moment he sat down, I thanked. He looked very confused while sipping his drink.
That man didn't know how thankful I was for him.
♠ ♠ ♠
Okay. I promise the next one will be back on track.