“What was that?” I asked Bekah as we left my mother’s house.
“I’m not sure what just happened there myself.” She laughed. “Those two women hate each other.”
“Hugs to the contrary.” I looked at her and felt so much hope. We were moments out of our first family meeting. Someone had decided that finally we needed to get everyone on the same page, and get the two families together. “Your mom walked right up to mine and hugged her. ‘So nice to meet you, heard so much about you.’”
“You have such a nice home,” Bekah said with a giggle.
“They hate each other, but this proves they can coexist,” I said.
“They can be civil. It’s fucking over,” Shadow said. “We win.” He wrapped an arm around her and took her home. Hymnal and Vigil were saying the last of their goodbyes at my mother’s house, but we were free.
Shadow had been fighting so hard for so long. Every barb aimed at my love and her family had blown away. They could be in the same place at the same time and set it all aside for us. He felt like a champion. He felt like a god. He wrapped his arm around the only thing he had ever wanted, and kissed her before walking her into their home. For the first time in his life, Shadow was truly happy.
“My parents said they might stop by after to talk to us about something,” Bekah said.
“Any idea what?” Shadow said.
“As long as they don’t bash what just happened, I’m fine with anything they say,” Bekah said.
They came in and dropped into the love seat. Shadow’s hackles popped up as soon as they sat. They did not sit to be comfortable. They sat together, hunched as one in the center of the love seat. No room between them. No rest for them. The arms of the couch were not being used. These two people were at war.
Bekah dropped to the floor just inside our room. I sat with my back to the book shelf. Something was wrong. This was not right at all.
“We have concerns,” Hymnal said.
What follows is by far the worst moment in my life. It is the worst moment in Bekah’s life. It was the thing that killed us. It was the one thing she could never take back. This is the cut right here. The one that ends us.
Hymnal looked at me, eyes hard. “She is not moving in with you,” she said, stabbing a finger at Bekah. So much hostility was pouring off this woman. A moment ago we were all laughing at Rose’s house. No shade of ill will. No sign of this. “When you go to Springfield, you are getting a dorm room. You are not moving in with our daughter.”
I looked at Bekah, and she stared at me. She looked at her mother. “Mom, what’s going on?”
“Bekah was raised to be a Christian and save herself for marriage. We know you have had sex. We know about the other girl. Now that might be fine for that girl, but our Bekah is a good girl, she is a virgin, and she is saving herself for her husband. You will not be able to corrupt our daughter.” She stabbed a finger at me and shook it.
So many things were firing at the same time. Shadow was getting worked up. He wanted blood. He was raging and slamming himself against our ribcage like an animal. Guardian was looking at Vigil who would not make eye contact with him. Artist started to scream. Servant rushed off. Shadow howled and all we could do was turn to Bekah and wait.
Because it was coming any minute. Any moment it would pop off. I was being called a corrupter. I was being attacked. How did she even know about my prior sex life? Bekah would be furious. She would rage. Any minute now it would hit. Any minute now my love, my soulmate, would stand to defend me.
She had not come to me as a virgin. Bekah had not been saving herself even before I met her. She had one sexual partner in her past. It never mattered until now. Nothing ever mattered until right now. I stared at her, and she looked at the ground.
“What we are saying is, it is better to wait,” Vigil said. “We know you two have lived here together for a long time, so it probably doesn’t matter anymore. But we—”
“We raised a good Christian girl. She will not lie with you and do what you want her to,” Hymnal said. She was furious. Shadow wanted her blood. He stepped forward but Guardian stopped him.
“I was raised Christian, too, Hymnal.”
“For what good it did. Listen, you have your past and it is none of my business, but don’t take that lust to my daughter. Now, Vigil and I have discussed it and we have decided there are two options. One, we marry you up real fast. Just a quick ceremony so you can make it official. You move to Springfield and live together. Or you two get dorms for the last semester until you are married in the summer, then you move in together.”
“We are adults,” Guardian said. “I am 21, Bekah is 19. We can do whatever we want.” Guardian looked at Bekah. “Right?”
But she was not even there. She had not even showed up. She was small, timid. She was broken. Guardian looked at her and he knew it was dying. He knew they had finally done it. They had killed us. This was never going to be okay.
She had told them my intimate secrets without betraying her own. She had let her mother think we still had not had sex. She had denied us, me, our love, our lifestyle. Guardian looked at her and broke.
Shadow looked at Hymnal and smiled. “Anything else?”
Hymnal stared at him and glared.
Vigil wiped his eyes. He had somewhere in there begun to eke tears. “When you have saved yourself for marriage it is so much sweeter. Now, I know that you two love each other, and you have been living together for months, and things have probably gone past that point already.” He paused. He looked at me. He looked at Bekah.
I don’t know what he was looking for. Maybe a quick, “Yeah, I have been fucking your daughter. The cat’s out of the bag. Now, can you leave us alone please so we can try to paste this thing back together?” That is what Shadow wanted. But Guardian was out. He would not let this go down worse. He felt as if he was breaking, cracking right down the middle and dying.
Hymnal talked for another hour. Vigil spoke a few times, too. He kept wiping his eyes and looking at me. I kept staring at him and looking back at Bekah as she curled up more and more. Shadow wanted to grab her and kiss her and fuck her right in front of them. He wanted to scream at her. To scream at them. He looked at her and in that moment, Shadow had never been so angry. He had never been so righteous.
Then, Shadow dropped it all. All of his love, all of his protection. All of his constant devotion to this girl he had loved. He dropped it all at his feet, spit on it, and walked away. He vowed never to raise a hand to protect this relationship ever again. He would not break it, but he couldn’t care less anymore.
Shadow had fought since the moment he had introduced Bekah to Rose. One quiet, painful battle at a time. Took one hit and gave one, then snuck out into the beauty of love to keep Bekah safe from it all. Now in this moment he looked at her and cut bait.
Hymnal hammered her point home one more time. She was a teacher, and they had taught her to repeat herself at least three times for learning to occur. So, we got the highlights again.
I was not going to corrupt her perfectly clean daughter. I was not moving in with her daughter. That was simply out of the question. And her daughter was a Christian. Her daughter was pure. I was the great corrupter of girls. In her eyes, I saw a truth that sat there for years.
You are lucky we are letting you in this family. She would tell me that in one way or another for years. Finally, in the end she would say it out loud.
But by then, Bekah and I were hard. We had been through the hell they dropped us into. The two of us had burned, had screamed, had walked lonely streets at night searching for a way back to what we had before this night. By the time Hymnal actually said, ”Why should we let you back in?” she had two options.
She was having me as a son-in-law, or she had no daughter.
Please stick around for that one. Please don’t leave me here. This is us at our worst. This is not what we are. Don’t judge us by this one event.
We are better than this.