A dream trip to Cabo could be what ends Elsie and Tommy’s relationship. Trouble rears its ugly head at the airport when it turns out that Tommy’s mother, Linette, got first-class tickets for everyone but Elsie, who’s booked in coach. Tommy fails to convince Elsie to go on the trip and they break up. He reveals heartbreaking details of his childhood that explain their strange family dynamic. Elsie expresses her love, support, and pride in him. He promises to make things right with his parents and she expresses confidence that he will. The real test will come if and when they meet Tommy’s parents. Start Elsie and Tommy’s story here – Not Even Cabo – Will This Vacation Be What Ends It? – Part 1
Five months later
Elsie and Tommy were seated in a secluded part of a posh restaurant at a table for five. Tommy was fidgeting with his napkin as he recounted some story about something that happened at work. She smiled when she once again clocked his subconscious fidgeting, and it somehow had the effect of calming her down. This was the second time they were meeting his parents for dinner, and he’d been just as anxious the first time.
Tommy’s parents had said nothing about his late-night text message. The talk Tommy had been anxious about never materialized. As it turned out, Marcus had confronted their parents in Cabo. He’d told them that they were being unfair and disrespectful to Elsie and Tommy and made it clear that if Tommy chose Elsie and decided to leave the family, so would he.
His parents had just invited them out to lunch a few weeks after their return and when Tommy said Elsie wouldn’t come, his mother had simply said, “It will be fine. Everything will be different.” When he’d told Elsie, she’d agreed to try and see what would happen. It had gone well and here they were for a second round, with Tommy just as anxious as before. Maybe even worse now, she thought. He was worried that the first pleasant lunch was a decoy to hook them in, get them to lower their guard.
Elsie smiled at him, unable to stop herself until he finally stopped fidgeting and asked, “Why you looking at me like that?”
“Like what?” she asked, grinning playfully.
He was saved from having to explain himself by his family’s arrival. Handshakes were exchanged all around, and Marcus wrapped Elsie in a warm bear hug before they took their seats and got into some aggressive small talk. The food arrived, and they exchanged family updates between bites. Some cousin was secretly married and secretly pregnant. Another was secretly divorced. Yet another had a secret high-paying job they didn’t want people to know about because… fear of witchcraft.
Time flew and despite their apprehension, the evening went well and was even fun to boot. At the moment, Tommy was complaining about having to sit through crazy traffic that entire month. She’d heard this rant at least three times already, but it was still amusing. Not equally amusing was when his mother asked why he was dealing with traffic when he lives in an area of town that wasn’t affected by the ongoing road construction.
Tommy was caught off-guard and had this fleeting panicked look before he said, “I moved in with Elsie last month.”
His dad, disbelieving, asked, “You mean you moved into her house?”
“Yes, she’s more attached to her place than I was to mine, so it made sense. Plus, it’s nicer than mine, unless you count the atrocious traffic.” He responded, knowing exactly what his father was saying but refusing to take the bait.
“That’s not how things are done,” his father spelt out, meeting Tommy’s eyes. “A man cannot live in a woman’s house.”
“I know. But this is what works for us.” He replied, voice firm, holding his father’s gaze even though it was foreign and all he wanted to do was look away.
“Do you really think you know better than everyone else? You’re not the first people to love each other.” His mother huffed out.
“Mom.” He said, shaking his head, praying she’d drop it already. “We’re just doing what works for us.”
A tense silence descended on the table. Tommy moved his hand under the table and caressed Elsie’s thigh to reassure her. She reached for his hand and gripped it, returning the sentiment.
“You don’t want to get married first?” His mother tried again, carefully choosing her words. “Why not just do things the right way?”
Tommy turned to Elsie with a smile, “Nah, we’re good. This way is right for us.” She couldn’t help smiling back.
Silence settled on the table again and for a few minutes, the only sound was that of cutlery scratching plates and tentative chewing.
Marcus, as was his custom came to the rescue, jumping in with a highly suspect story about one of their teen cousins who had been suspended for hiding out at an all-girls high school that his all-boys boarding school had visited for a Sunday service. The boy and his accomplice friends had been discovered missing two days later and had promptly been suspended after they snuck back into school. The story had everyone in stitches, especially after the revelation that they had been hiding in the girls’ full school uniform to avoid suspicion. Just like that, Tommy and Elsie’s sinful living was forgotten. More stories about the antics of high school kids flowed and before long, it was time to leave.
Tommy and Elsie alighted from the old rickety matatu, and she sighed in relief. That thing was so old, she’d been doubtful about its ability to get them home. It didn’t help that all the windows in it had either been closed or glued shut, so they’d been stuck in there marinating in the dank air. It also didn’t help that Tommy had been fidgeting the entire way, atypically scratching himself in public. He was convinced he’d seen a bedbug and was equally certain that they had been utterly compromised.
As soon as they were off the pathetic excuse for a vehicle, he took her hand and started walking at a brisk pace that approximated speed walking.
“Tommy,” she struggled to keep up with him. “You know what this is called? Paranoia.”
“Elsie, I swear nimeona bedbug. Just trust me, sawa?”
They got to the house in record time. Tommy decided they could not sit until they had showered. He boiled two kettles of water and demanded they strip and soak their clothes with it. Then it was straight to the shower. After two thorough scrub downs, he relaxed, and the shower took a turn for the better, achieving its maximum sensual potential.
What started in the shower reached a glorious summit in bed. She lay sprawled on him, relaxed, limbs fluid, eyes closed in bliss. He was silent, the only sound in the room, his breathing marked by the rise and fall of his hairy chest beneath her.
Growing up, she’d planned and hoped for more for her future. Yet this was so much more than she could have dreamed of. Sure, countless dreams they’d had had not panned out and financial freedom was a fantasy she no longer entertained and there’d always be tension with his parents, but there was also so much joy and so much peace from unexpected places. His YouTube channel was growing. He was making inroads into editing as a job. She was still writing fanfic and working a job that edified her soul if not her purse. They had love. This loving and being loved, there was nothing like it. Not even Cabo.
~ The End ~
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