Sequel To You Don't Even Know Me. READ THAT BEFORE THIS! If you don't, you'll be completely lost, and be simply cannot have that, now, can we? Link is in my sig.
Just One Little Question
I dragged my hand across the table, leaning in closer to the face that was so much like my own. A lock of black hair fell in front of my face, partially obscuring my view. I quickly scraped it away and asked the question that had been on my mind for weeks.
“Are you going to ask her to marry you?”
Tom made a pained face. “Bill, if I knew, you’d know.”
“It’s been two years.”
“I know. But marriage…entails something else. Something I’m not ready to do yet. And it’s a big commitment. I can’t feel tied down again, I-”
I cut him off with a sigh.
“Tomi. That was four years ago. You were nineteen.”
He shuddered at the unpleasant memory I referred to.
“And you love her. Missy, you-” I was going to say ‘didn’t love,’ but Tom shook his head, stopping me. Still a sore subject. I should’ve known.
“I do love her.”
“Exactly. And marriage isn’t that bad.”
“Oh, because you’re such an expert,” Tom replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
I glanced around the little café – people were whispering and pointing, as always. Some people still came up to us, but we liked to lie low when we weren’t out on tour.
Out of nowhere, a very familiar girl appeared behind Tom. He turned to greet her with a small kiss, and she sat down.
“Hey, Cass,” I said. “We’re still sticking to normal hellos, I see?” I faked disappointment.
“Yes,” she replied, laughing. “No kisses for Bill.”
“You’re right,” Tom said. I was surprised. It was a very old-Tom thing to say. Not so much a new-Tom thing to say, though. He’s still found ways to tease me, though much less than he used to. And he never teases me about not getting girls.
Cassie raised her eyebrows, assuming Tom meant something by his comment. She’s seen the old interviews, she ought to understand. But she’s seen a lot more of the new Tom than the old Tom.
“You and Katie-”
“No!” I threw a sugar packet at Tom.
“I’d be surprised if you did break up. It’s been, what, three years?” Cassie threw in.
“Oh, yeah!” Tom said, realizing something. “That’s one more than Cass and I.”
“And I’m going to ask her, soon!” I spoke a little too soon. I’d been thinking about it, but I wasn’t completely positive yet.
“Oh my God!” Tom shouted, attracting attention from everyone in the restaurant, even more so than already. “Seriously?”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” His reaction had made me positive. This was the right thing to do. Katie and I were meant to be together, forever.
“What are you talking about?” Cassie asked, pulling Tom’s arm to return him to a sitting position.
“I’m going to ask Katie-”
“To get married!” Tom interrupted, his voice high with excitement.
“Oh my gosh, seriously?” Same thing Tom had said, only she’d substituted “gosh” for “God.” Cassie had a very strong Christian upbringing, and was in the process of converting Tom and I. It was a bit harder to make Tom believe than me, but you have to give her credit for trying.
“Yup.” I was grinning. So was Tom. I was glad he approved.
“That’s great!” Cassie was genuinely excited. Tom beamed at me.
“I’m surprised. My little brother settling down before me.”
“That’s how it was always going to be,” I said. “Nothing’s changed.” I added the ‘nothing’s changed’ softly, and Tom immediately ducked his head.
“Yeah, it’s always been Bill to say he would settle down first. Remember, Tom – you had the first sex.” I couldn’t believe Cassie had actually just said that! She doesn’t know about the whole deal with Missy, but still. That was really bold.
Tom blushed. “Yeah, well…” he shifted uncomfortably, apparently thinking the same thing I was. “Um, Bill! When will you ask Katie?” I hadn’t thought of when.
“I don’t know. Soon, I think.”
“And best man is…?” Tom asked, implications thick in his voice.
I pretended to think it over. “Ummm…Georg.” He reached across the small table to punch my arm. “Fine, Gustav, then.”
“We’ve been over this…for the past, what, fourteen years?”
“Fifteen, and I didn’t know if things had changed.”
“How would they have changed?”
Tom’s self-esteem had been lower than usual after the whole Missy conundrum.
He shrugged, and my phone vibrated. I pulled it out of my pocket and slid it open. The text was from Katie.
‘Park in 5 mins?’
I replied with ‘Can’t. @ café w/ T+C. Come.’
“Katie’s coming,” I said, looking up. Tom and Cassie were kissing. No, they were making out. “Guys.” I raised my voice a little.
They broke apart, Cass blushing.
“Katie’s coming,” I repeated.
“Sweet. Coffee Wars part 2.” Tom said, and I remembered the last time the four of us came here. We’d each gotten coffee and competed to see who could put the weirdest stuff in it. The loser had to drink the winner’s creations. The jelly from my donut in the coffee had won, by unanimous decision. Cassie lost, and said it tasted like cat barf. No one wanted to know how she knew that.