Chapter 1: Marital Bliss

Grandma pulled her car into the driveway of the house Taylor and I shared.

We had been married three wonderful months, and each day I was happier. I had almost everything I could ever want. We had a great house, he had a good job, with the added security of our inheritance from my parents. My grandmother was just a few blocks away, and we were just as close as ever.

Lisa and Derek had an apartment just a few bus stops away and we spent time with them whenever possible.

But together, Taylor and I were happy, healthy and ecstatic to spend the rest of our lives together.

I frowned as Grandma parked her car behind Taylor’s. “What’s going on? Did you know about this?” I asked.

Grandma’s face was an identical expression of confusion. “No, I had no idea… Let’s find out what’s going on.”

We climbed out of the car, and I started up the driveway.

When Grandma and I left to go grocery shopping, Taylor had been still in bed. However, now he was standing in the driveway with his older brother, Isaac. What was even more odd was the fact that my red Oldsmobile was pulled up to the garage with the hood up. When I had left, my rusty old car had been parked in my grandmother’s driveway where it had been for over a year. I was sure it wouldn’t run anymore, having been already ten years old and a piece of junk to begin with.

“Taylor?” I asked in confusion.

“Emma, hey. You’re home early.” Taylor beamed, moving around my car. He moved his arms around me and kissed me gently. If he was trying to distract me, it was working.

“What are you doing?” I asked, frowning. I glanced over his shoulder to my car.

“Well, they’re reinstating your license next week; we thought we’d see if we could get your car running. We got it here, but it quit halfway up the driveway… we had to push it here.”

“Correction; I did most of the pushing. You helped.” Isaac said, coming toward us and leaning against my car.

I smiled. “Do you guys know anything about cars?”

Taylor and Isaac exchanged glances and answered “No.” In unison.

I sighed. “Okay, just remember that if you screw it up, you’re going to pay to have it fixed.”

I turned smugly and started toward my grandmother’s car, lifting two grocery bags.

I led the way into the house, carrying our groceries into the kitchen. I set my bags down on the kitchen island with a heavy sigh. We set to work putting things away immediately.

“Thank you so much for your help, Grandma.” I smiled, hugging her tightly. “Are you sure you can’t stay for dinner?”

“I’d love to, but I’m having Leonard over for dinner, tonight.” Grandma smiled softly.

I grinned. “Again? Things must be pretty serious between you two…” I teased. I knew this was a man she had met at her weekly bridge game; and soon they were going to bingo together and seeing movies and spending a ton of time together. She insisted they were just friends, but I found them adorable.

I helped myself to a yogurt cup from the fridge.

“I should get home, I still need to get my dinner started before he comes over.” Grandma mused. There was an excited twinkle in her eye.

“Okay.” I nodded.

I walked her out and we said our goodbyes.

Before long I was sitting on the front steps watching Taylor and Isaac argue over the insides of my beloved car.

Snowball– the cat Taylor had given me for my last birthday– appeared at my side. I stroked his fur lightly, watching as he sauntered down the driveway, rubbing himself against Taylor’s leg.

I stood and followed him down the drive, scooping him up and cradling him to my chest.

“I’m cold,” I informed them. “I’m going inside. Do you guys want anything? A drink maybe? Or I could make sandwiches…”

“I’m fine thanks.” Isaac replied. “I think we should wrap this up for now and maybe try again tomorrow. If all else fails, I have a good mechanic…”

I smiled. “Thank you for coming over.”

“Any time.” Isaac shrugged.

I shivered involuntarily.

“Go inside, sweetie. I’ll be right behind you.” Taylor kissed my temple and sent me off toward the house.

Once inside, I placed Snowball in his favorite place to sleep in the afternoons; a patch of sun in the front hallway. I began setting the table for dinner, humming softly to myself.

Taylor eventually came in, lightly kissing my cheek and moving toward the fridge for a can of Dr. Pepper.

“Can I help with anything?” He offered, after nearly chugging down the entire can.

“No, it’s okay. I think I’ve got it under control.” I smiled faintly.

He nodded, leaning against the counter and watching me set the table carefully.

“Hey, you know, I was thinking maybe Friday night we could go out. Go see a movie or something…” He suggested.

“Tay,” I smiled. “We can’t. We have that Christmas party for your work, remember?”

He sighed. “Oh, right. A bunch of boring people from my work. That’s going to be fun.”

“It might be. Besides, I’ve already bought my dress…”

“Okay.” He nodded. “If you want to go…”

“It could be fun.” I smiled.

He chuckled. “No, it won’t. They’re very boring people.”

I smiled. “I think it would be nice to meet the people you spend most of your day with.”

“Right. I could introduce you to my secret work girlfriend.” He teased.

I frowned. “So not funny. Not even a little bit.”

He chuckled, moving his arm around me. “I’m sorry, sweetie. Just a bad joke. There’s no secret girlfriend.” He smiled and gently kissed my lips.

“There better not be.” I warned.

He grinned. “You’re cute when you’re jealous. Really cute.”

I sighed and decided it was time to change the subject. “So… umm… what exactly are you trying to do with my car again?” I asked carefully.

“Well, you’re getting your license back soon, once they medically clear you, right? So I was going to see if you wanted a new car, but I know how much you love that old piece of junk…” He smiled.

I laughed softly. “Don’t be mean to my car. It may be a piece of junk, but it’s my piece of junk.” I playfully pouted, moving into his arms. I laid my head against his chest and let my arms fall around his waist.

“I know.” He murmured, pressing a kiss to my forehead. “I just thought it might make you happy to have a car that actually runs…”

I sighed. “You make me happy; I don’t need a fancy car for that.”

Taylor chuckled. “Okay.”

The timer on the oven went off, signaling our dinner was ready. I slipped out of his arms to retrieve the chicken from the oven.

“Wow. Dinner looks good.” He grinned. “You’ve become quiet the cook, Em.”

I smiled. “Well, I had good teachers. My gran and your mother have been giving me lessons since the wedding.”

“It’s working. You’re the only person I’ve ever seen wreck a microwave…”

I playfully shoved him. “Go sit down and shut up.” I scolded.

“Are you going to send me to bed without dinner?” He teased.

“Maybe.” I laughed.

“Does a spanking come with that? I’m not going to lie, I might enjoy that…” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Just sit down!” I laughed.

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