“Ugh, Liam, this is really not necessary now,” I whined like a four year old, trying to shield my eyes from the glaring flashes of the paparazzi cameras. Lately, Liam and I had been all over the news. We had been in every popular magazine known to Americans: Vogue, People, Us Weekly, Seventeen. Not to mention magazines in other corners of the world. Our relationship was a pretty big deal. The reason I was whining and complaining was because Liam wanted to meet my parents.
After our very heated office make out two weeks ago—a makout so intense I was literally this close to giving him my virginity, before pulling away and telling him no—we had spent every day together since. And then he popped the dreaded question:
“Why don’t we go see your parents?” I knew it was only fair for him to meet my parents given I’d met his, but I was still nervous. My parents knew about my relationship with Liam Hawke. Everyone knew about it. And they were just as excited to meet him as he was to meet them. We were walking hand in hand to his limo. Paul had the door open for us. We climbed inside. The paparazzi shoved their faces against the thick glass of the car, looking oddly inhuman as they did. When the car was driving away, I frowned up at him.
“Do we really have to do this today?” I groaned. Liam grinned angelically.
“Yes, we do. You’ve met my parents and I think it’s time I met yours.” If I were being honest, I wasn’t worried about my mom. I knew she would like Liam. And Lucas—my brother who oddly had the same name as Liam’s friend—would eventually grow a tolerance to him. Lucas didn’t really like the guys I dated, he merely tolerated them. I wasn’t worried about those two. They would be fine with Liam. It was my father that worried me. It had taken a lot of convincing before my father gave me his blessing to marry Simon. The week after we broke off our engagement my father said,
“There are plenty of attractive black men out there. Find one of them.” So, me bringing Liam home would probably make his blood boil. My father was an old-fashioned man. He believed black people should stay with their own and vice versa. For him, there was no in between.
“Besides,” Liam continued, ignoring my scowl. “My parents wanted to invite your family to have Thanksgiving with us.” If I hadn’t been sitting, I would’ve fainted.
“W-what?” Liam grinned.
“Yvonne, don’t be nervous. We can handle meeting your parents.” I shook my head slightly, trying to clear my thoughts as we pulled into the driveway of my childhood home. As we walked to the door, memories already began dancing in my mind. All the times I’d shared with Simon and Kate.But it didn’t hurt anymore. I could think about it without flinching. Liam’s hand in mine made me feel superhuman. I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
A few seconds later, my mother stood at the door. She was 5’5” with dark hair that caressed her collarbone and skin like brown sugar. She flashed a huge smile and reached out to hug me tightly.
“Yvonne, I missed you,” she breathed.
“I’ve missed you too, mom.” I smiled slightly. My mom let me go and then looked over my shoulder. I looked back and saw Liam standing behind me, waiting patiently. “Oh and mom, this is my boyfriend Liam Hawke. Liam, this is my mom.” My mom stuck out her hand and Liam took it.
“Well, it’s nice to finally meet you, Liam.” Liam looked at me and winked before he kissed the back of my mother’s hand. She looked taken aback.
“The pleasure is all mine Mrs. Michaels. I see now where Yvonne gets her looks.” My mom was grinning so widely it was a wonder how her face didn’t crack.
“Please, call me Marcine. Come in. Lucas and Frank are waiting inside.” We went inside and hung our coats up. I saw Lucas as soon as I stepped inside. He was slouched against the wall, looking very bored with his mouth turned down at the corners.
“Lucas!” I cried, jumping into his arms. He sighed and patted me on the back. Some would’ve thought of it as cold, but this was actually his way of saying he was glad to see me too. “Lucas, this is Liam. My boyfriend. Liam, this is my brother Lucas.”
“Lucas Michaels,” Liam said, grinning. “The mastermind behind the new Call of Duty game coming out next fall.” Lucas perked up, looking impressed.
“You know about that?” Lucas asked.
“Hell yeah. Hawke Corp has been funding for the game. They said the engineer of the game really knew what he was doing. When I took a look at your work, I was very impressed.” Lucas grinned—I mean he actually grinned — and said,
“Thanks, man.” And then my dad rounded the corner. The tall, former military general stood at 6’5” packed with muscles of steel.
“Daddy!” I crowed, flinging myself into his arms. He hugged me tightly, murmuring how he was glad I was finally home. When I let him go, his eyes shifted to Liam. They narrowed and he walked toward Liam, who surprisingly didn’t flinch.
“So, you’re Liam Hawke.” Liam nodded, his smile never wavering. I, however, was cringing internally the entire time. “Follow me, Liam.” And then my dad led Liam into the kitchen for a talk I had no doubt would be intimidating.
Gretchen had her lower lip stuck out in a pout, her eyes wide and pleading. “ Please, Daddy?” she begged the older man sitting in front of her.He sat behind his desk, rayed back in a huge chair, frowning at his daughter.
“We can’t risk that,” he responded firmly. “You said Ryan wasn’t willing to kill her. And if Ryan is still watching over her not even our best men can stand a chance against him.” He shuddered. Gretchen frowned. She knew Ryan’s name struck fear in the heart of every mobster and crime lord in the city, but still she needed this done.
“You’ll do it quickly. No one will even know you’re coming.” He shook his head.
“No,” he said, finality in his voice. “If you want the girl gone, do it yourself.”
“Fine,” she snapped, stamping out of the room and slamming the door behind her. Time for Plan B.
Thanksgiving was a bit awkward. After their talk in the kitchen, my dad actually seemed to like Liam. It was amazing how he’d won the hearts of my family in one day. However our parents meeting was awkward, for me at least. But I had no need to be worried, our parents got along wonderfully. Some of Liam’s good friends from work were here, including Lucas. He and my brother found it amusing that they shared the same name.
Levi, Martia and Kayleen were here. The man Jacques I had met so long ago was here. Even Simon and Kate were here. Kate seemed to be in a sour mood though and she kept frowning at me. I ignored her. I wasn’t going to acknowledge her petty shit on Thanksgiving. We ate and we laughed. The kids played as we talked and joked around. Then we ate desert and drank champagne.
Liam kept a tight grip on my waist the entire time. I could get used to this, I thought to myself, sipping on champagne and looking up at his handsome face. Gretchen was there too. Levi was tense and Martia kept staring at her, waiting for her to make one wrong move. Even Chauncey looked ready to pounce at a moment’s warning, sort of shielding his pregnant wife and looking anxious. But Gretchen was well behaved. She smiled and laughed at every joke. For those who didn’t know about her murderous side, she seemed charming.
Liam was tense when she walked past us. His grip on my waist became even tighter, his posture was protective. However she walked by, looking at me smugly. Why does she look so smug? I wondered. But she was gone just as quickly as she came.
Kate had excused herself to go to the bathroom. If she had to see Yvonne and Liam be all lovey dovey one more time she was gonna puke. She walked down the huge hallway. Liam’s mom said at the end of the hall to the left. This house was f—–g huge.
Yvonne didn’t deserve Liam. She didn’t deserve a man so handsome and rich. She deserved to have that taken from her. She heard the soft clacking of high heels behind her and she turned around. It was the girl she’d bumped into earlier. The one with the perfect brunette tresses and the flawless skin with amazing cheekbones. And she was looking right at Kate, her gaze was knowing. It was like she knew exactly what Kate was thinking.
“I can help you get what you want,” the woman spoke softly, smiling.
“And what’s that?” she challenged, raising her eyebrows and placing her hands on her hips.
“Watching Yvonne crumble before you,” the woman said. “My name is Gretchen and Yvonne took Liam from me. And now she must pay. But I need your help. I know you hate her, too. Aren’t you tired of her always getting what she wants?” Kate grinned at the woman and nodded.
“What did you have in mind?”