It took a lot of pressure to make a diamond, Mitch figured it was why they were the choice for engagement rings. A reminder of how strong the relationship was, the pressure it had withstood, to become the shining treasure that so many strived for. He stared at the one he had chosen, pear shaped because there had been a time their relationship had been that way, set in a platinum band, delicate but strong, just like Max, and felt a little of that pressure that had formed the diamond pressing on him. It wasn’t doubt, nerves maybe, that this was the right place, the right time. She wasn’t one for grand romantic gestures though, so when else?
With a shake of his head he snapped the box closed and shoved it into his pocket, determined to focus on the work on his desk. He read a report and at the end added his initials and the date to the list of others and found himself staring at the date, a goofy grin on his face. Six months, six months since Max had used the key to his apartment for the first time to apologize for her own imagined transgressions…
“I hate when Zander is right,” she said with a groan and poked Mitch in the chest.
“Hey,” he laughed and grabbed her finger. “Don’t punish me for that. No wait, if that’s what this was, please do!”
She laughed and pulled her hand free to pet his chest, watching her hand as she soothed the spot she’d poked.
“What was he right about this time?” he prompted when she seemed content to just stare at his chest.
“A couple of things.” She lifted her eyes to his for a moment then looked back down. “The naked apology for one, I’m an idiot for two.”
“The apology he’s one hundred percent correct,” Mitch agreed easily. “But why are you an idiot?”
“Oh so many reasons,” she said airily with a wave of her hand.
“For tonight.” She hefted a sigh and looked into his eyes. “I should have… I wanted to… you…” she rolled her eyes and swore under her breath. “I want more with you Mitch. I want you to meet my family. I want to spend time with you where we keep our clothes on for a while. We should date,” she finished decisively.
“Okay,” Mitch agreed readily but was frowning, “So you’re an idiot for wanting that?”
“No!” This time Max’s poke was a shove that had Mitch rolling to his back but he grabbed her as he went , pulled her onto his chest. “I’m an idiot for not realizing that sooner, for not taking you tonight.”
“Ahh. Okay then, I agree with Zander. I bet there was cake too, since it was your mom’s birthday,” he said with a smirk and a hint of accusation.
“Zander told you that eh?” she grimaced and pressed a kiss to his chest in apology.
“He did eh,” he mimicked.“Also you two are related.”
“Wow. He really was in a talkative mood,” she said surprised. “He didn’t mention how?”
“Should he have?” Mitch frowned. “I just figured cousins… no?”
“Ah not quite. He’s sort of my brother. Well half brother,” she added quickly.
“Oh. Okay. Yeah no, he did not mention that.”
“It’s complicated.” Max sighed and slid off Mitch to curl against his side.
“Is it? Enlighten me babe,” he prompted gently.
“Well… maybe odd is a better word.” Another sigh as she assembled her thoughts. “Our parents are best friends, Zander’s mom and one of my mom’s particularly. They grew up together, they’re like sisters.” She paused to let that sink in, waited for his reaction.
“You said one of your mom’s?” Mitch checked, his voice relaxed, curious.
“Yeah. I have two mom’s, no dad.”
The silence stretched until Mitch yawned then said. “Are we getting to the odd bit soon?”
Max grinned and patted his stomach gently. “Sorry to be keeping you awake. I guess I expected some reaction there. Usually I get a ‘how was that’ or ‘are your mom’s hot.”
“Fuck,” Mitch huffed a laughed. “Sorry for not being an idiot.”
“It’s appreciated,” Max assured. “So Zander and I have the same dad. When my moms decided they wanted a family, he was the donor. But we grew up not knowing that until we were teenagers.”
“Okay, I’ll give you odd on that. So are you like, one big happy family or…?”
“We’ll we’re happy. Not that big though. Zander and I both have a brother each, so four kids total. And Uncle Sash is just that, an uncle, not a dad figure or anything.”
“You have a brother?”
“Just the one. You?”
“One and a sister.”
“I always wanted a sister.” Max’s voice was wistful and Mitch stroked a hand over her hair and down her back.
“You can share mine,” he promised. “Anything else I need to know about your odd family right now?” he asked around a jaw cracking yawn.
“My brother’s kind of famous,” she said after a moment of thought. “But I’ll tell you about it later.”
Her ‘kind of famous’ had been a slight understatement since he was in the hugely popular band ‘Sign of Life’. Quinn hadn’t been at the dinner party that night since his band had been on tour but Mitch had met him since and they had been almost friendly. Since Mitch reacted the same way to any man his sister brought home, he understood completely.
Meanwhile, her parents loved him, his family loved her, their parents all got along well, which was a good thing since he had the feeling that wedding planning would bring them all closer together. If she aid yes that was. She would. She better! Both of her moms had teared up when he’d asked them for permission, as had his mom while his dad had just said, “One done, two to go.”
A knock on his office door drew him from his thoughts and he looked up to see Adrian and a vaguely familiar man looking at him expectantly.
“Do you have a few minutes to meet our new instructor?” Adrian didn’t wait for Mitch’s nod before walking in to slouch in one of the chairs on the other side of his desk.
“Of course.” Mitch stood with a smile at the other man and held out his hand. “Mitch,” he introduced.
“Luc,” he replied with a smile and a firm shake then sat down beside Adrian.
“Have we met before?” Mitch asked, sure they had.
“We have “Luc grinned. “Wasn’t sure you would remember though, it was at a club, The Void.”
“Yeah no, I feel like it was something else.” Mitch frowned then shrugged. “It’ll come to me.”
“I’m sure it will,” Adrian interrupted then placed a folder on Mitch’s desk. “Luc’s info is all here. He’ll be starting next week with some Yoga and Body Combat classes.”
“Great.” Mitch picked up the folder and flipped it open to check all the paperwork was complete. “Let me just check a few things then you can get back to your tour.”
“You’re our last stop actually.” Adrian stood and stretched his arms over his head.
“Give me a few minutes then and I’ll have your staff access card.”
“I’ll leave you with Mitch then.” Adrian clasped Luc’s shoulder. “Welcome to the family, look forward to doing a few classes with you.”
“I’ll slow it down so you can keep up,” Luc teased and Adrian laughed then took his leave. “Did I miss something?” he asked as Mitch seemed to be staring at one page in his file.
“Yeah no.” Mitch looked up from the paperwork. “It’s your emergency contact.”
Luc sat forward and pulled his phone from his pocket. “Did I forget the number? I have it here.”
“No it’s here. It’s just your girlfriend…” he shook his head then shrugged. “I remember you from outside the club, with Zander, I thought you had a boyfriend.”
Luc chuckled. “You are right, I did, still do. Levi just isn’t great at answering his phone, gets caught up in his work. Jorja wont answer hers at work but her work contact details are there too. They can get a message to her if needed.”
“Okay then, makes sense.” Mitch nodded as if he heard that kind of thing all of the time. “Well it looks we’re good here.” He turned to his computer and quickly accessed the program he needed to produce Luc’s access card.
“I ah, haven’t seen Zander in a while. Is he well?”
“Last I heard he was,” Mitch answered absently as he tapped at the keyboard. “He’s been gone nearly six months, I think he’s in London right now. Okay, that should do it.” He stood up and crossed to the door. “It’ll be waiting in reception.”
“Zander’s in London?” Luc repeated as he stood up. “Wow.”
“Yeah but not for much longer.”
Mitch shook his head and grinned. “Don’t mind me, who knows what he’s going to do. Me on the other hand, I have plans so let’s get this done.” He slid his hand into his pocket and touched the ring box that he hoped would be the start of the next chapter of his life…