I called Rob and cancelled our date. He was disappointed, but he said he understood. I waited three days and couldn’t stand it any longer. I called him back and said we needed to talk. He thought so too, and invited me over. This time I ended up at the right house… literally right next to Joseph’s. That’s wasn’t awkward at all.
Marshall greeted me first out on the sidewalk.
“Hey buddy,” I smiled, reaching down and petting the Simtannican sheepdog.
The dog shook his head happily.
“Can you keep a secret?” I asked, kneeling to whisper in the dog’s ear. “Well, of course, you can… you’re a dog… I think I’m in trouble, Marshall…because I feel all sorts of butterflies.”
“What’s the secret?” Rob asked, startling me.
I stood up so fast that I felt dizzy. Marshall jumped up on me, placing his paws on my abdomen. I laughed.
“Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it, Rob?” I smirked.
“Then I’m jealous, Marshall,” Rob grinned, rubbing the dog’s head. “Lizzie has your ear.”
I smiled swept across my face. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he repeated, with a much-too-cute smile, and then ran toward the house with childlike enthusiasm. “Come in… come in… please.”
I followed him inside, and we were barely through the front door when he stopped and I bumped right into him.
“Oh… sorry… what am I thinking? Okay… hold on…” he moved across the room and cleared off the couch, setting a mixture of Carrie’s toys and the dog’s toys on the floor so I could have a place to sit.
I watched him, amused.
“Sit… sit…” he urged.
I did as he asked.
“So here goes…” he sat down in the chair across from me. “…I know that I’m a package deal, and not many women want that… or can accept it… but I… I think you’re special, Lizzie. And I want you to know that I haven’t felt this way about anyone… for a long time…” he shook his head, and rubbed the center of his forehead. “No… this coming out wrong…”
“No… wait… I’ll just… I have to get this out before I lose my nerve.”
“…I haven’t felt this way about anyone… ever…” he corrected.
My eyes widened.
“And I want to give us a chance… if there’s an ‘us.’ I mean, if you want there to be an ‘us.'”
I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.
“I had a long long talk with Carrie, and she gets it. Well, as best as she can get it… as best as a toddler can understand. And she likes you Lizzie. She’s been missing you.”
“We both have,” Rob reached for my hand and squeezed.
I felt the emotion welling in my throat. What a way to warm a girl’s heart!
“Please say something,” he whispered.
“I’ve missed you… both of you too…” I managed.
“Yay!” Carrie came running into the room, startling us both, and she raced into my arms. “Izzie…Izzie!”
I laughed, and kissed the top of Carrie’s head. “Hi precious.”
“Is that a yes?” Rob mouthed.
“Yes,” I croaked hoarsely. “I’ll be your girlfriend.”
Carrie almost immediately dragged me off to her bedroom so we could play while her dad made us both dinner. She wanted to show me all her new toys, even if I had seen most of them anyway. It was sweet. I was still processing what had just happened.
After dinner, Carrie fussed until I agreed to give her a bubble bath with all her rubber boats and ducks and to make up stories about the bubble monster. Rob laughed and told me I wasn’t getting off easy. I grinned.
“I don’t mind.”
After putting the munchkin to bed, I met Rob outside.
“I’m sorry,” Rob apologized. “She can be so demanding.”
“I don’t mind,” I replied.
“You’re really great, Lizzie. I know this comes with a lot of responsibility and extras that you weren’t expecting.”
“Don’t mention it, Rob, I know Carrie is your daughter, and I know how much she is apart of your life, so she’ll be apart of mine too.”
“Okay…” he looked down, faltering a step.
I reached for his hands and squeezed reassuringly. “I’m here for you, Rob. I want to do this.”
“We’ll just take things slow.”
“I can live with that.”
I threw my arms around him, embracing him as tightly as I could, hoping I made the right choice.
Author Notes: I hope you’re as happy for them as I am. I barely had to write. The screenshots speak for themselves. Unfortunately due to a game glitch, I lost screenshots when Rob officially asked Lizzie to be his girlfriend and Carrie so cutely and autonomously interrupting them. 😛 This chapter featured InfraGreen’s/Trip’s Rob Buckley, Carrie, and Marshall.