But really, something like the holidays is just the kind of thing to fuck life all up. All this time I’ve been fretting about my own problems, but suddenly it’s clear that this isn’t any easier on him. I had no idea about Lachlan and his grandfather’s relationship.
“Does he like to drink?” I ask him.
“A bit much, in my opinion, for whatever that’s worth. I know when I go home or out with Brigs, they don’t drink in front of me. Which I appreciate. I don’t know how that will go down with George. He’s a stubborn shit. But I’ll deal with it.”
I squeeze his arm, gazing up at him imploringly. “And I’ll help you deal.”
He smiles softly at me, the snow lighting up his face. “Promise?”
We stand there for a few more minutes in that winter wonderland, watching Lionel frolic in the snow, Jo rolling around on her back making doggie snow angels, and Emily just staring at this cold new world, thoroughly unimpressed like a regular old Scrooge.
Oh well, you can’t win them all.
“So when are you going to ask her to marry you?”
Brigs’ question is so out of the blue that it takes everything not to spit out my coffee. Instead, I choke on it.
“What?” I manage to say, coughing into my arm, my eyes watering. “Bloody hell, Brigs.”
He gives me a faint smile, his ice blue eyes looking positively devilish. He shrugs with one shoulder, observing me with amusement. “I think it’s a fair question.”
I swallow the rest of my coffee and lean back in my chair, shaking my head. “Is that why you asked me out for coffee? Did your mom put you up to this?”
His features slacken, unimpressed. “No. Not at all.” I know he wants to add that she’s my mother too, regardless if I’m adopted, but he lets it slide this time. “But I can’t help noticing that Kayla moved all the way to Scotland for you. This isn’t some casual fling.”
“This never was casual,” I say, giving him a measured look. “You know that.”
He nods, knowing all too well what Kayla and I have been through already, and taps his fingers along the edge of the wooden table, looking out the window. The temperature has been cold enough so the dusting of snow from the other night hasn’t melted, and though the city streets have turned to mush, there’s something almost fairytale-like about Edinburgh at the moment. I make a note to take Kayla to Princes Street later to really soak up the atmosphere.
Even though I meet with Brigs once every week or so, there was something in his voice when he called this morning which made me think he had something on his mind. And the way he’s fidgeting when he normally remains so calm only adds to my suspicion.
“So why are we really here today?” I ask him carefully. “Not that I mind, I can just tell that something is on your mind and it isn’t me and Kayla.”
Also, to be honest, I’m happy for a subject change. The way I feel about Kayla is so intense, and so personal, it’s almost overpowering at times. I still can’t believe that she’s here, that she came back to me. For me. For herself. The last thing I want to do is jinx it all by wondering about marriage.
Not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind.
It’s been crossing it a lot, actually. In fact, every time I feel myself being pulled into the shadows, every time my hands shake because of the need to drink, to escape, I think about her. I think about just that. I think about the person I need to be for her, forever.