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One Step At A Time

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26One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 1st April 2012, 12:41

Oh. My. God.

Jo starred at the beautiful ring and at Liam. This couldn’t be real it was her dream come true. Could this really happen?

No way. He is just doing this because people expect him to do this. They are together since two years now and people wondered if they ever live in sin together. Colin had probably told him that it is time that’s why Liam got all dressed up. The ring must cost a fortune. Why did he do this?

Liam was looking at her expectantly. She had to answer him, but this felt all kind of wrong. Liam was acting not at all like himself.

“Liam, I… um… I can’t. I’m sorry.” Jo felt horrible for saying no to Liam, because she wanted to marry him but this felt so wrong. Liam got up from the floor, looked at her for a brief moment, turned around and ran away. He didn't say anything, not even goodbye!
Jo looked after him, the little box still in her hand. Tears were running down her cheeks, this was a horrible mistake. Why did she always do everything wrong? She took the beautiful ring out of the little velvet box put it on her ring finger and whispered. “If I wake up tomorrow and you’re not there anymore. I’m dead, because my life left me.”

She looked at Peter. “Of course I marry you!”

Jo walked slowly home hoping to find Liam at home, but when she opened the front door the flat was dark. No one was there.

“Liam? Liam please I said yes. Look I’m wearing the ring. Liam, are you here?” No one answered and Jo realized what a horrible mistake she had done. She had just acted like Peter and let her love go.

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27One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 3rd April 2012, 21:22

Liam went straight to his flat- not the one he shared with Jo. Dick was actually there and startled when he stormed into the flat, right into his room and shut the door behind him. He fell on the bed and looked out of the window, his heart still racing from the running. And it hurt. His heart actually hurt. It was a feeling he had never felt before, not like that. After his mum died it hurt as well, but it was different…This time it felt like he got stabbed by the person he loved more than anything else. It did not only feel like he got stabbed, he really did get stabbed, right into his heart.
He was right all along. He never wanted to fall in love with a girl because he thought love was a useless emotion. Had he only listened to himself. He never wanted to open his heart for a girl, but he did, and now he got the result. That was precisely the reason why he preferred science to love. Science never hurt him. And it most certainly never broke his heart.
Did this just really happen? Did Jo actually break his heart?
Liam didn’t know how a broken heart felt like, but from the way he felt right now he assumed this feeling could be called a ‘broken heart’. This was by far the crappiest feeling ever. And if he had been smart enough and stuck to science instead of this ridiculous feeling crap he would have been fine now. Had he only…
He admired and envied Dick, he really did. Dick didn’t have to deal with something like a ‘broken heart’ because he was wise enough not to get involved with something as ridiculous as love. He was fine. He had a great life. No girl who stabbed him right into the heart. Yes, Dick was fine. And Liam felt as if his life was over. Before he met Jo he was just like Dick- fine. Everything was okay. He had his gadgets he could build, he had a job he liked, he had his goddess he could admire- but nothing that could really hurt him, not like Jo did. He’s always been right, from the beginning; love was an unnecessary emotion that only wasted his time.
He wondered why Jo constantly told him that she loved him when in fact she never did. She probably kept telling him that she loved him in order to keep him. She was too scared to be alone, so that must have been the reason she was with Liam in the first place…she just didn’t want to be alone. It had absolutely nothing to do with love whatsoever.

The first three days passed and Liam didn’t sleep or eat. He lost track of time, and he gave a damn about it. He was in his room, on his bed, staring out of the window the entire day, letting the days pass without doing anything. On the fifth day he went to the kitchen to get something small to eat although he still wasn’t hungry. Dick showed up behind him, leaned next to the door and crossed his arms.
“I never thought I would say this, but you’re actually more annoying when you’re quiet”, he said. He was used to the youngster’s non-stop talking, and he was the one who had to make him shut up all the time, but now Liam was unusually quiet, and Dick knew that something was up, and it was more than annoying for him to witness Liam’s strange behaviour. “Hey, you lost your speech or what?”
Liam turned around and looked quietly at Dick who raised his eyebrows when he finally saw the young boy’s face.
“You look like crap.”

“Whatever.” Liam hadn’t showered or shaved for five days, and his hair looked like it had never seen a brush. Under his eyes were dark circles. He left the kitchen without taking any further notice of Dick and closed the door behind him. On the sixth day, when Dick was out for a while, he heard the doorbell, but he didn’t answer. If it was Jo he didn’t want to answer it anyway, he didn’t want to see her. He didn’t want her to tell him that she only used him for the past two years so that she didn’t have to be alone. He didn’t want her to tell him that their relationship was nothing but pretense.
The past week he had tried everything not to think of her, but he had a hard time thinking of anything that happened before he met her. It felt like he didn’t even live until he met her. When he tried to sleep he saw her doe eyes, her smile, her freckles, and it hurt only more thinking of the fact that all of it had been nothing but a lie. He would never, never, never let anybody into his heart again. Out of the two people who had the most important place there, one died, and the other one took his whole damn heart, threw it on the floor and stepped on it. Even if he wanted to let people into his heart again, he wouldn’t be able to, because Jo had broken every part of it.
Liam wasn’t sure what day it was, but at one point he got up and opened the box with the pictures of his mum and the last book she gave him before she died, The Catcher in the Rye, but as soon as he opened the first page of the book he felt worse and put the box back under his bed.
One day later he went through some of his old notebooks in which he had painted various ideas for gadgets, and then one single piece of paper fell on the ground, and when he picked it up and turned around, he saw it was one of the first sketches he had painted of Jo shortly after they met. He stared at the picture for about fifteen minutes straight while barely blinking, then he threw it in the bin and lay back on his bed. Later that day he tried to get distracted by building a new machine, but all he could come up with was a little robot that said ‘Ehh, she doesn’t love you!’ if you pressed a little button on the back.
Sometime after a while Dick came into his room without knocking. He seemed a bit disturbed when he saw Liam who looked like a mixture of ghost and homeless guy on the street.
“Your girlfriend is constantly showing up here, she wants to talk to you.”

Liam didn’t answer. He just kept staring out of the window.

“Hey, your girlf-“

“She’s not my bloody girlfriend!”

Dick seemed pissed at Liam’s behaviour, but he wasn’t in the mood to argue with a grumpy youngster, so he left the room again, but came back the next day. He stormed into the room and grabbed Liam’s arm.

“You bloody get out of your room and talk to the girl! She’s not going to leave until you talk to her.”

Liam broke away from his grip and crossed his arms. “I don’t care.”

“Kid, you’re seriously pissing me off! If you two don’t work out your bloody problems-“

“There is nothing to work out”, he interrupted Dick coldly. He never talked so disrespectful to Dick since he respected him more than anyone else, but this time he didn’t even notice the way he talked. “Just leave me alone.”

“The girl is still outside.”

“And that’s where she can stay. I don’t give a shit if she stays there for the rest of her life, I don’t want to see her, got it?” Liam was very close to pushing Dick out of his room, but he knew that he had no chance against him because the older man was twice as strong. Instead he waited until Dick finally left the room, then he locked the door behind him and lay down on his bed, watching the clouds moving.

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28One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 4th April 2012, 00:18

Jo went every day to Liam’s and Dick’s flat, every day she begged Dick to let her in but he never did. It was two weeks since Liam had proposed, two weeks since he ran away. Jo looked at the first painting she did of Liam, the one she made even before they were together. She was so tired of crying, her eyes hurt so much, actually not just her eyes her entire body was in pain. She couldn’t remember if she had eaten the past two weeks, she did remember that she fed Teddy. Jo had to do something she had to convince Dick to let her in. The young girl gently touched the ring on her finger. She had put it on the moment Liam ran away and she would never take it off. This ring belong on her finger, just as her heart belong Liam and his… well she would love to say that his was hers but she wasn’t so sure anymore. What if he didn’t love her and really just proposed because everyone expected to do it.

“Teddy? Come on we are on a mission!” Jo took the box she had kept hidden from Liam, she was a little embarrassed what was in it, but this was a drastic moment and it needed drastic actions.

Jo hammered with her fist against the flat door. “Let me in Dick! I’m not joking anymore!”

“Go away, he doesn’t want to see you!” Dick bellowed through the door.

“Let! Me! In! NOW!”

Dick pulled suddenly the door open and looked at Jo and he was surprised this gentle girl that lived with him for months that cooked and hummed all day long looked like she was ready to kill someone, with her bare hands.

“He doesn’t want to see you.” Dick nearly looked a little weird, maybe annoyed.

“Dick please. This is all a misunderstanding. Please I’m begging you.” Jo’s tough face was crumbling and this sad pathetic face that begged him to let her stay with him, all those month ago.

“Whatever, but stop getting me into this shit.” He mumbled and disappeared into his room. Jo sighed and went to Liam’s door. She knocked but didn’t try to open his room door. She slid down the frame and huddled against the door.

“Liam? I’m pretty sure you can hear me. Listen, please. If you then still want me to go away I will, but please Liam listen.”

There was no sign that Liam heard her, but maybe no sign was a good sign? At least he didn’t tell her to go away.

“Liam I love you, more than anything. So much that sometimes I am scared that I push you away and now I did. It is a little bit hard to explain. Each day when I look at you in the morning I know no matter what will happen that day it will work out okay in the end. I need to know that you are happy, not because I need you in my life but because I don’t wanna have a life without knowing that you are happy. Even though I do need you in my life, but I don’t want you to be with me just because you think you had to.”

Jo sighed, for once she didn’t find the words to express her thoughts and feelings.

“Liam? Do you remember last year when you had to go away? The first night I was lying in… our… bed and I couldn’t sleep. I was so worried that I will never see you again. And I had so many thoughts in my head, all those things I would have told you normally while we fall asleep, but you weren’t there. First I thought about telling Teddy all those thoughts or maybe just pretend that you would be there but all this wasn’t right. Well I actually tried, I turned on the nightstand light and tried with all my imagination to see you lying in the bed next to me, smiling and… kind of admiring me, you always do look at me in this weird way. But… Liam it doesn’t work anymore. I think… I forgot how to see invisible friends and that night I even realized that I couldn’t even pretend to hear your voice. I can't pretend anything anymore. It all was gone and I felt so incredible lonely. I remembered that feeling, that’s how I felt after my first day at nursery school. I was so much smarten then all those kids and they… because I was so smart they… called me… names… freak… monster… know-it-all. And there was no one that liked me, and after that day when mother told me I need to learn to accept them. That was when my first invisible friend showed up. I told you that my last friend disappeared when I met you, and do you know why? Because you saw me and not as the freak everyone else sees me. Liam? That night last year, when I was alone and couldn’t change that I did the only think I could do. Pretend that you are on one of your missions and I could write to you. So I started writing a letter to you and I didn’t think that I would write to you every night while you were gone. Not just what happened that day but also a lot about us, what I feel and think, and so many things. Things I know that would make you nervous and uncomfortable that maybe would have pressured you in proposing to me. I never expected you to propose and if you really want me to disappear I will, but these letters are yours and… Liam I want you to have them. I’m begging you please read them. Please.”

Jo was crying, she felt so miserable and she knew how much she had hurt Liam by saying no to him. She never meant really no to his proposal, the ring on her finger was her proof, but she never expected Liam to propose like this, all dressed up and everything. The young girl knew that Liam felt even worse than she did and this was even more painful.

“Liam? I never wanted to hurt you. I am so sorry.”

Jo had gotten up and turned around and saw Dick standing at his door. “Please make him read the letters in the box. Please.”

The crying girl turned back to the door, hugged it weirdly and said. “Is breá liom tú le mo chroí go léir go deo!”

Jo and Teddy left the flat, first she wanted to go home but she couldn’t leave. She just couldn’t. She sat down on the little stone wall across the street. No one and nothing would make her go away, not even death itself. She would rather turn to stone here then leave without seeing Liam just one more time. Teddy sat down next to her waiting just like his human girlfriend. It wasn’t long until the mist turned into rain, and then into a proper storm. It was not just raining cats and dogs but at least elephants and hippos, but she would not leave.

Liam will come out, he has to. I love him!

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29One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 6th April 2012, 20:53

Liam heard Jo’s voice , but he didn’t hear what she said. He didn’t want to hear what she said. He didn’t care.
Actually, he did care. But he did not want to care.
It hurt him hearing her voice, and to know that she was just a few feet away from him made it only worse. As soon as she was gone he thought it would get better, but in fact it got even worse. Suddenly it was deadly quiet in the flat despite the rain that hammered on his window. He watched the stream of rain gliding down his window, then closed his eyes. The same moment Dick burst through the door of his room and threw a wooden box at him which landed directly next to his shoulder. Liam turned his head slightly to the box but didn’t bother opening it.
“What is this?”

“I told you to leave me out of this shit!”, Dick growled. “Read!”

“Read what?”

“How do I know? The stuff in the box!”

Liam knew the box wasn’t Dick’s, so he assumed it was Jo’s. There was no way he was going to open it. “Can you just go? I really don’t want to talk to anyone.”

“I’m not here to talk to you.”

“Just go anyway”, Liam mumbled while turning his back on Dick to face the wall. He had no idea how much he pissed the older man off. Dick walked to him and grabbed him by the collar.

“You open the bloody box, kid!”

“Okay, okay!” Liam pushed Dick’s arm away. He didn’t want to open the box, but he knew that Dick was serious. When he opened it he looked at a pile of handwritten letters. He just stared at them but refused to pick them up. He was just about to close the box again when Dick grabbed his arm.


“You wanted me to open the box, so I did. But I’m not going to-“

“You read the bloody letters or you can sleep on the street!”

Liam huffed. “It’s not your business, okay? I’m twenty years old, if I don’t want to read those letters I don’t have to.” He knew he sounded like a sulky teenager who was pissing off his dad, but he didn’t care. Dick looked like he was about to strangle him.

“Read the letters”, Dick grunted.

“Make me!”

As soon as Liam said that, Dick pulled out a gun.

Liam laughed sarcastically. “You’re not going to shoot me…”

“No, but if you don’t read those damn letters I’m going to hit you so hard with this gun that you won’t remember your own name.”

The younger boy held his breath. He knew Dick well enough and knew that he was very close to explode, and Liam shouldn’t provoke him any further. He also knew that Dick would put his threat into action, so Liam took a deep breath and picked up the first letter. “Fine!”
As his eyes wandered over the words his heart felt as if an invisible hand squeezed it real tight. Jo wrote those letters while he was gone for over three months last year. She wrote a letter to him each day, expressing how much she loved and appreciated him. She wrote that she wanted nothing more than seeing him happy, even if that meant that she wouldn’t be with him, if that would contribute to his happiness. There were many times where she mentioned that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, she even mentioned the word ‘marriage’ various times. He didn’t get it. Why did she say no to him then? If she really thought of marrying him, why did she reject him?
He bit his lip as he read the last lines of the last letter she wrote on the day of her concert, the day he came back to her on New Year’s Eve.
... Sometimes I think I never see you again, but you will always be in my heart. No matter how long I have to wait for you... You came BACK! You are really back, sleeping right now while I write this for the last time. I love you endless, even more than there are stars in the sky. XOXO Yvaine
Liam looked up from the letter to Dick who watched him without any facial expression.

“Where is she?”, he asked quietly. “Is she still here?”

“How do I know?” Dick got up and put his gun back. “Just leave me out of this whole crap.” Before Dick could leave the room, Liam already jumped off his bed, stormed out of his room to the door, ran down the stairs until he reached the ground floor, opened the main door and ran out into the rain. The same moment he spotted Jo sitting on the stone wall across the street, her head bowed down so she didn’t see him, but Teddy recognized him and let out a happy bark. When Jo looked up Liam’s heart started racing. He hadn’t seen her for two weeks, and yet it felt like he hadn’t seen her for years. For a brief moment they just looked at each other, then he crossed the street and stopped a few feet away from the wall. Teddy came to greet him but he didn’t pay attention to the dog, he only looked at Jo. He wanted to say so many things. He wanted to tell her that he literally went mad the last two weeks without her. He wanted to tell her that he missed her like crazy. But he couldn’t say anything. For the first time in his life a girl had broken his heart, and he had a hard time looking at her. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to feel her arms again. But he was scared. He really was. So despite all those things he wanted to say to her, he could only say one thing.
“Why did you give me those letters if you already made up your mind and said no?”

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30One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 6th April 2012, 22:39

Jo had lost all feeling for time, it could have been days since she had brought the letters to Liam. She didn’t fell the cold or that she was soaked to the bone. She kept praying, praying that Liam would believe her.
And then suddenly Teddy barked, it made Jo look up and there he was. The love of her live was across the street but neither of them moved for some time it felt like an eternity. But then he moved, Liam came across the street and stopped a few feet away from her.
Jo was so scared, scared that this would be the final goodbye. She had missed him so much, that there were no words for her feelings. Jo wanted to jump down the little wall, but something stopped her. What if he just came to tell her to stop bothering him? Jo looked at Liam, his eyes looked so sad and he looked horrible, and he looked exactly the way she felt after the summer concert as if she had broken his heart. And that made her suddenly so sad that new tears poured down her face.

“Why did you give me those letters if you already made up your mind and said no?”

Jo was taken aback? Could it be that he hadn’t understood why she gave him all those letters? Why she wrote them in the first place?

“My mind is made up since the night in London I met you.” Jo whispered, her teeth were shattering and she had difficulties thinking straight. “I love you endless, even more then there are stars in the sky. Liam don’t you understand? In those letters I tried to put the love I feel for you in words.” Jo looked sad away, she was since some time starting to worry that she wasn’t a writer after all. “It seems like I failed you again.”

Jo was trembling and shivering on her little wall, she was luckily sitting safely otherwise she would have fallen. She felt the little geek she met such a long time ago slip away from her. Jo touched the ring on her left hand. She never wore rings they felt to foreign, but this ring it felt like it belonged on her finger.

“Liam you should have let me explain. When you proposed a part of me did back flips, but then I looked at you and it felt so much like someone else told you how to do it. It felt like the proposal I could expect from Victor and not at all like something you have planned. I mean you were wearing a suit and didn’t look at all like Peter. Liam I never wanted to hurt you, that is the last thing I want. I am so sorry.”

Liam looked at her hand and even though it was heavily raining he saw her wearing the ring he gave her.

“I never wanted you to buy me a ring like this one, I mean I love the ring but you shouldn’t have bought it. It must have cost a fortune and for the matter of fact you didn’t need to dress up all fancy. I want to marry you and not Victor. Liam, I want to marry but not because you think you have to marry me. I want to marry you because there is no other person in the whole wide world you think you love more than me.” Jo looked at Liam. “I know you don’t say… said it very often but I thought you love me and… I know you loved me once but I destroyed it. I don’t know why I said no, when I actually wanted to shout yes. Liam you are the only man I will ever love, don’t forget you own my heart.”

Jo wanted so desperately to hug him, but she was scared that Liam doesn’t. She sighed, jumped of the wall and stumbled to Liam and hugged him as tight as possible. When he was breaking up with her she would be close to him this last time. She needed to breathe him one last time –okay he did smell a little strong, looks like he didn’t shower just like she did– and feel his warm strong arms hold her.

Just one last time…

“I do want to marry you! I do! I do! I want to grow old with you. I want to carry our children, I want to build the school for geeks like us. Oh Liam I love you so much! Please forgive me, I’ll do everything.” Jo snuggled as tight as possible into his chest, the rain was pouring down and she was so cold but not only from the outside she felt cold form the inside, cold and empty because the man she loved was hurt so much. She did the biggest mistake in her entire live, break Liam’s heart.

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31One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 7th April 2012, 11:47

When Jo hugged him and buried her face into his chest, he didn’t feel the cold and the rain anymore. He felt nothing but her arms. And it was the most beautiful feeling in the world. He finally knew why she said no to him when he proposed. She loved him after all, she just thought that he proposed because he thought he had to.
“I’m so sorry”, Jo mumbled into his chest.
He was sorry too. Sorry for thinking that she only used him the past two years. How could he even think of her like that? Jo had the kindest heart, she would never use anybody or hurt anyone on purpose, and there he was, thinking she took advantage of him just because she didn’t want to be alone. He felt really bad for thinking that she did something like that.
Suddenly Liam took her arms, broke the hug and pulled away from her. Jo looked sad at him, her eyes red from crying. Her heart almost stopped beating as he took her hand and pulled the ring off her finger. She had expected that he wouldn’t forgive her that easily, but she hadn’t expected him to take the ring away from her. So this was goodbye then…She tried to hold back her tears, but they came running down her face, mixing with the rain.

Liam looked at the ring for a moment, then he looked at Jo. “Firstly, I didn’t have to pay a penny for this ring because Graham gave it to me. It was meant for my mother, and he had kept it all those years. Secondly, right now I’m looking like crap, basically like a homeless dude. Thirdly, this whole setting here…” He looked around. “It’s not very romantic. It’s most certainly not the nicest area of London, and the stupid rain is pissing down on us, and it’s bloody cold.” He took a deep breath. “So…Yvaine…is this okay for a proposal? Because this is anything but what Victor would do. Or anybody else for that matter. I didn’t have to spend a huge amount of money on the ring, I’m not dressed fancy, and it’s anything but romantic here…” He paused for a moment. “So, let’s try this again, less fancy, less romantic, and more something that you would expect from me.” He got down on one knee and smiled at Jo who looked completely confused. “Yvaine, will you marry me?”

For a moment Jo just stared at him, her heart beating like crazy, but then a smile appeared on her face. A happy, relieved smile. She felt tears in her eyes again, but this time it was the good kind of tears. “I do!” Before he had the chance to get up she got down and hugged him so hard that he almost fell back. “Yes!”, Jo cried. “A thousand times yes!”

Liam chuckled. “One time would be enough.” They looked at each other, happier than ever before, and they didn’t care if they sat on the dirty ground and the rain was falling down on them. All they cared about was that they had each other again. And forever. While Liam put the ring back on Jo’s finger, he couldn’t help but smile, because the girl in front of him, this beautiful, lovely girl, was the girl he would marry one day. The girl he would grow old with. The girl he would never lose again.
“You said you don’t want me to marry you because I feel like I have to, but because there is no other person in the world I love more than you”, he said after he put the ring on her finger. “That’s the case, Jo. There is no other person…” He leaned forward and kissed her, and it felt like their very first kiss, incredibly special and perfect.
They remained on the same spot for a few minutes, just forgetting the world around them, even Teddy who jumped around them, then they got up and went back to the flat, still kissing while they got up the stairs and into the flat. Liam so didn’t care if Dick was somewhere- which he was, obviously disgusted as the two youngsters made out in front of him. Teddy followed them, but Liam closed the door to his room before the dog could get in. He didn’t want any distraction, he just wanted Jo, and only her. They were soaking wet, but their clothes soon fell on the floor. Liam didn’t care if Dick was in the room next door, or if his annoying old bed was squeaking, or if Teddy was whimpering in front of his door because he wanted to get in. Liam had his Jo back and that was all that mattered.
A bit later they lay next to each other cuddled under the blanket, Jo snuggled up against his chest, watching the rain on the window over his bed. She smiled dreamily while her finger wandered over his chest, then she kissed his cheek and giggled. “You have to shave, you have some stubbles and kissing your cheek is a very itchy feeling.” She smiled. “But at least I can kiss you again.”

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32One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 7th April 2012, 12:48

Liam chuckled. “I’ll do it later.” He was holding Jo close. He nearly had forgotten how nice it felt to hold her. But Liam couldn’t remember that Jo felt so warm. Suddenly he noticed that Jo was asleep, her breathing was uneven, and she didn’t breathe through her nose. She was sweaty but too sweaty as if they just had sex. Something wasn’t right here. And then all of a sudden he wondered how long Jo was sitting in the heavy rain or for the matter of fact if she took care of herself.

“Jo are you okay?” Liam whispered, but he didn’t get an answer. He pulled the blanket high above Jo’s shoulder.

“I’ll bring you home as soon the rain stop, I’ll promise.” Very gently so that he didn’t wake her he kissed the top of her head. He wouldn’t sleep, he would watch over her in case her cold would get worse.
The rain didn’t stop until the next morning, Jo was still sleeping and not just because it was early, the clothes ware still wet but Liam had a few clothes left here. So he dressed Jo, called a taxi, no matter that is wasn’t far to their home, but he didn’t want Jo in the cold air.
To his surprise was Teddy fed and dried, he saw the towel that was used. It must have been Dick, who fed the dog with the dog food that was still in the flat and who had rubbed the not so little dog dry. That made Liam wondered if Dick maybe liked the dog.

“I wonder what he taught the dog. Come on Jo the taxi is waiting for us.” Jo didn’t response so he picked her up and carried her downstairs. It made him grin when he saw the ring sparkle at her hand.

“Boy what did you do to the girl?” The taxi driver asked in a heavy Indian accent.

“She is just ill. Here drive to this address.” Liam was a little under stress, he would be better in taking care of Jo but he still didn’t like seeing her ill.

“Okay, you are the boss.” The taxi driver didn’t seem too friendly.

The drive was not long, paid the driver, and carried his girlfriend… fiancée – Liam grinned – up to their attic flat and put her to bed, while he took a long shower to turn the hobo Liam into the clean Liam. Jo was still sleeping, Liam went to the book shelf and took the book she bought him. It was a medical book, how to heal most common illnesses at home. And Jo knew him, so she had added a few instructions how to heat up soup and other things. He had to laugh when he saw them:
… walk slowly… fill bowls and cups only half full… don’t kiss me I don’t want you to catch anything… keep me warm, no that doesn’t mean have sex Wink

Jo was sleeping restlessly, but sleeping.
It took three days for Jo to get rid of her cold, it was a rather bad cold but the last two weeks and the long stay in the rain took their toll. It was early in the morning when Jo opened sleepy one eye. She was scared that she just had dreamed the making up with Liam, but to her surprise Liam was sitting next to her, he was already reading and drawing something. She smiled it probably was a new gadget he came up with.

“’lo.” Jo mumbled to Liam, her voice sounded funny and not at all like herself.

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33One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 7th April 2012, 23:26

Liam looked up from his book when he heard Jo’s tired voice. A weak smile appeared on her face. “You’re here…”, she whispered.

“Of course I’m here.” He got up and sat down next to her, touching her forehead to check her temperature. “You’re not that hot anymore.”

“I’m not?”, she asked sarcastically.

“You know what I mean.” He smiled and kissed her forehead. “You’re damn hot!”

“But right now I look like crap.”

“No, you don’t. You look like a slightly tired but seriously hot chick.”

She chuckled and buried her face into his shoulder while he stroked her hair gently. “I’m going to get you something to drink.” He could feel her grasp as he tried to get up.

“No.” Her grip got tighter. She hated the feeling of him leaving her side, even if it was only for a few minutes.

“I’m not going anywhere, Jo”, he assured her while he scrutinized her face. They didn’t really have the opportunity to talk about their time apart because the day they got back together again Jo got sick and was mostly asleep the past three days. He told her how much he had missed her, but he wasn’t sure if she really heard it.

“I’m sorry…”, she mumbled. “For being so clingy. I’m just not sure…did we really…I mean…you’re going to stay with me, don’t you? I didn’t imagine it, right? It wasn’t my fever or-“

“Jo!” Liam grabbed her shoulders. “You didn’t imagine anything. I’m right here, and I’m sure as hell not going anywhere, or let you go away. I’d rather die, I’m serious. The last weeks were just…it just…I just hated that we were apart. I couldn’t imagine that it would suck that bad, but it really did.”

“Did you hate me?”, she asked quietly and stared at her knees. “After I said no…”

“Hate you? There is no way I could hate you.”

“I broke your heart.”

Liam was quiet for a moment. It was kind of embarrassing to admit that, but yes, it really was broken after she rejected him.
“I didn’t hate you”, he said. “I never did, and I never will. You understand me?” He took her hand and smiled when he saw the ring on her finger. Not in a million years he would have expected that he would find ‘the one’ so early in his life, he of all people. He, the boy who was always convinced that there was nothing more important than science. The boy who thought love was a useless emotion. The boy who didn’t believe in such a thing as ‘true love’. Yes, he was always interested in women, and he really did have strong feelings for Lorelai, but it was his body that spoke, not his heart. He had desired her, even worshipped her, but he never loved her, not like Jo. His mother was the only person he had loved, but it felt completely different than loving Jo. He had loved her equally strong, but it was a different kind of love. And now the first girl he really loved wore the ring that was originally destined for the only other person he loved, which made it perfect.
He wished he didn’t have such a hard time telling her how much she really meant to him. Of course he gave her signs now and then, but it was very difficult for him to tell her directly all of the things that were going on in his mind. That she was the only person he needed… It used to be his mum, and now it was Jo. He didn’t need anyone but her. And the past weeks he had experienced how it felt like to be without the one and only person he really needed. He literally felt empty.
Liam closed his eyes and sighed. “So, when are we going to tell the others?” He had thought about it the past three days while Jo was sick. Should they keep it a secret for a while? Well, it was kind of hard since she wouldn’t take off the ring. Maybe they should tell the others after all.
Oh God, her mother will totally freak…

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34One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 8th April 2012, 00:43

Jo closed her eyes again. “Liam? Oh God. You didn’t ask my father for his permission did you?”

Jo sat up suddenly and looked at Liam. He looked at her confused. “No?”

“I thought so. I guess we have to tell them. We can invite them all here and have dinner together. We will invite Mother, Father, Lor and John for dinner. Let’s see I think in three days is a good day. Actually maybe we should go out and have dinner or, mh maybe we better go to Waterfall Downs. I will call later and tell mother we would like to come and visit them.”

“Jo is this all really necessary? Can’t we just call them?” Liam asked careful.

Jo chuckled. “You are forgetting that I am a daughter of a real Lord and Lady, mother will be so shocked that you didn’t ask father for my hand in marriage. I bet she will say thinks like a scandal, disgraceful, outrageous simply unbelievable.” Jo giggled, Liam went a little pale.

“That bad huh?”

“Yes mother will be shocked and Lor will have a talk with you about marriage and your new responsibilities as my… fiancée. Oh I like the word. Fiancée. That is a wonderful sound. Maybe John will also talk with you, but clearly mother and father will want to talk with you. Promise me that you don’t tell them that our wedding night is not our first time. I mean dad suspects it already, but mother doesn’t and… you know she is so much better let’s just leave her in believe that you and I sleep in separate beds. Please.” Jo looked desperate at Liam.

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35One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 8th April 2012, 10:46

This was a little much to take in at once. Jo’s father would want to talk to him. Jo’s mother would want to talk to him. Lorelai would want to talk to him. John would want to talk to him. Gee, anyone else, since we’re already on it? Maybe Charles the driver? Or one of the maids? Why did everyone want to talk to him? There were always two people in a relationship, and two people in a marriage, so why would everyone want to talk to him as if he was the only one?
Oh yes. Because he was the guy. And that was always a whole different story. He was the boy who would take their precious angel daughter away from them, and who would have all the responsibilities for her, had to take care of her and make sure that she would have a wonderful, safe life. No pressure at all.
And he didn’t think of asking Colin for permission first. That was more a thing that people from the upper class did, and he had completely forgotten about it. That was bad, right? Now he had to tell Jo’s farther that he already proposed, without asking him first. What if he wouldn’t allow it? Yes, Colin was usually nice to him and made sure that he felt welcome in Waterfall Downs, but when it came to his daughter he was overly protective, and maybe he didn’t approve of Liam as son-in-law after all. Or he did approve of him, but the fact that Liam had forgotten to ask him would make him look bad, and maybe Colin would be upset. And the mother! God, Jo’s mother would be the worst… She scared the hell out of him, he didn’t even want to think about what she would say or do after she knew that her only daughter got engaged to him, and not to some upper class snobby kid.

“Liam? Did you hear what I said?” Jo looked at him in expectation.


“Don’t tell her that the wedding night is not our first time.”

“Seriously, Jo? What are you thinking? I will most certainly not talk about the wedding night with your mother!”

“I know you wouldn’t want to, but I also know that you talk a lot when you get nervous, and now and then you spill some details that you shouldn’t have mentioned to others. And my mother will make you nervous.”

“Gee, Jo, you make me feel better with the second”, he replied sarcastically.

“I’m sorry, I just…I want things to go well – and they often don’t when we visit my parents. I don’t want them to break off the engagement because they think we’re not ready. I don’t want to lose you again.”

“Okay, okay, let’s just not drive ourselves crazy, because if we keep thinking about messing up, we will mess up.”

Jo nodded and walked to the phone. “Okay.” She took a deep breath. “I’ll call them and tell them that we will visit them.”

Three days later Jo and Liam got ready to leave for Waterfall Downs. Liam tried really hard not to show that he was a nervous wreck, but his constant pulling his shirt and fixing his hair gave him away. He wished he could just wear one of his cartoon jumpers, or that one jumper that had one of his mottos on it, but instead he looked like little Jeff from that freaking Donna Reed show that he and his mum used to watch and made fun of while they lived in the States. He was really scared that everybody would give him a huge speech, but what he feared most was that Jo’s parents didn’t want him to marry her. He didn’t want to think about it, but he should be prepared for the worst.

“Are you ready?”, Jo asked.


“Yes…”, Liam said, sounding like a scared 12-year old.

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36One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 8th April 2012, 13:30

Jo saw that he was not ready and she felt guilty. It wasn’t until they were sitting the Jaguar and out on the road that Jo had decided something. Liam didn’t mind that Jo was driving, she liked driving so he let her. Jo stopped suddenly at the side of the road.

“Listen Liam, if my parents don’t approve of our engagement we will run away. We will elope, we could go to Ireland together, or America or New Zealand, but no one is separating us again, ever!”

Jo looked very determined at Liam, it made him smile. Liam kissed Jo passionately. “You really mean that?”

“Yes! I let you go once I’m not letting anyone take you from me again.” Jo smiled, she knew what Liam had in mind in doing but they didn’t had time to have sex in the car, and Jo wouldn’t be able to look appropriated now that her hair was long and her dress extra pretty. “Liam, we do it later okay? As a treat after the dinner.” Jo giggled.

Liam grinned. “That is better than any dessert.”

Not long after that they arrived at Waterfall Downs. Colin greeted them at the door.

“It has been too long children. How are you my dearest Jo? Lorelai and John are already here and have tea with your mother. Come inside.”

Colin didn’t give the two geeks a chance to answer so they followed him in the dining room. For a moment Jo grinned remembering what they did here under the table.

“Josephine!” Elizabeth got up quickly and pulled her daughter into a tight hug.

“Josey, what is this?” Lorelai took Jo’s hand while she still was hugged by her mother. “This is a beautiful… ring. Oh my God is this, what I think it is?” Jo should have told Lorelai before then she would have helped to tell her parents, but so Lorelai was too shocked that she accidently blabbered out Jo’s and Liam’s news.

“What? Colin did you know that? Josephine we need to talk this can’t be true. What is going on here?” Elizabeth looked confused at her daughter.

“Oh, um yeah. Liam and I…” Jo went over to the nervous looking Liam and took his hand. “Liam and I we have great news. Liam asked me to marry him and I happily accepted. I know that he didn’t asked father for my hand first but he is not used to the custom.”

Four adults starred at the two youngsters in shock. No one said a word. “Please excuse me.” Colin left the room, he looked disappointed. Jo looked sad at the ring, she felt Liam tremble next to her. This went worse than Jo expected.

“Is the ring even real or just glass? The boy can never afford a real diamond. Lorelai say something.” Elizabeth stumbled back onto the chair. It took Lorelai a moment but then she smiled.

“Oh Liam, Josey I am so happy for you two. Let me know if you need any help with the preparations.” Lorelai widely smiled and hugged the two very tight. “Liam promise me to take good care of our little Josey, she is a very special girl and only deserves the best husband you can think of.”

“Congratulations Liam. I hope you know what kind of chains Jo will put on you know.” John grinned and patted Liam on the back.

“Liam maybe you should go and talk to Colin.” Lorelai whispered to Liam, while she hugged him a second time.

“Mother? This are good news. Really and the ring is real. I know that Liam will take good care of me.” Jo tried to assure her mother.

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37One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 8th April 2012, 19:21

There were so many people at once talking to him that Liam didn’t even know who said what until Lorelai whispered to him that he should look for Colin. Liam’s eyes met Lady Elizabeth’s, who looked like she was about to faint, and he decided it would be the best to find Jo’s father after all and escape from her mother who really freaked him out.
He was confused because Colin left the room, and he was worried that the older man was upset about their engagement. He most certainly didn’t look too happy.

“I’ll be right back”, he whispered to Jo who was left with her mother, Lorelai and John. At least she had her cousin for backup in case her mother went mental.
Liam didn’t know where Colin went, but he thought he might be in his study. When he stood in front of the door he took a deep breath, then knocked and waited. It felt like an unbearable time until he heard the older man’s voice on the other side of the door, telling him to come in.
Liam was almost trembling, he was that nervous. He felt like he walked directly into his death. Colin sat at his enormous, antique writing desk and didn’t look up when Liam entered.


“Sit”, Colin said, pointing at the chair without looking up.

Liam sat down like an obedient puppy and stared at his hands. He wasn’t sure if he should say something or let Jo’s father talk, but since the other man didn’t say anything and the silence got unbearable, he continued.

“I…um…I’m sorry…I didn’t…ehm…I mean…” He cleared his throat and tried to stop the stuttering. Colin looked up and there was absolutely no facial expression, so Liam had no idea what he was thinking.

“I’m sorry I forgot to ask you”, Liam continued shyly. “I didn’t mean to forget you, it’s just…I’m not used to…well…where I come from it’s not common, and I completely forgot that men in your society usually ask the father for permission. I just…I’m sorry…” He felt really bad, not only for forgetting to ask Colin first, but also for his background and the fact that in the eyes of Jo’s society he would never be good enough. He grew up knowing that money and status was not the most important part of life, but Jo came from a background where people expected her to marry someone who stood for all of this, money, status, a good name… He had nothing he could offer her. His hands were literally empty.
Sitting there in Colin’s study, thinking of all those things, made him wonder if the proposal wasn’t such a good idea after all. He wasn’t made to marry a girl of that background. He wasn’t made to marry into a family like hers. Even if Jo loved him now, one day she would realize that he wasn’t the right choice after all, because there was absolutely nothing he could offer.
Liam took a deep breath. “Sir, if you want me to break off the engagement, I will do so.” It hurt saying this, but he just realized that Jo would make a big mistake by marrying him. Why didn’t he realize that earlier?
“Jo deserves the best…”, he said quietly, avoiding any eye contact with Colin. “I don’t want her to regret all of this later, so maybe-“

“Don’t be ridiculous, son”, Colin interrupted him. “My daughter loves you, and breaking off the engagement would break her heart.”

“I know, but there’s nothing I can offer her. You want the best for her, but I can’t give her the best.”

“Nothing you can offer her?” He frowned. “You love her, don’t you?”

“More than anything, sir.”

“Then you already offered her the most valuable gift there is. Something that many men with money could never offer her.”

Liam looked surprised at the other man. Was he actually giving him permission?

“I won’t lie, Liam. I was very surprised to hear that you two got engaged- especially considering your young age- and I had hoped that if the day would come, you would ask me first, but I also understand that you grew up very different than Josephine did, and you are quite new to this part of society, so I will consider that fact.” Colin folded his hands on the table and looked at the young boy. “I always liked you, Liam, and your background was never a matter to me. The only thing that mattered was to see my only daughter happy, and she is. When she is with you I see the way she smiles, and it is a smile I have never seen on her before. She doesn’t need to tell me that she’s happy, her smile gives her away. That is more than I could wish for. You make her happy, son, I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Liam couldn’t quite believe what he just heard. “Seriously?” He quickly cleared his throat. “Um…I mean…eh…”

“Yes.” Colin nodded. “I’m serious. There is just one thing I was worried about when I heard that you were engaged, and that is your age. Josephine is barely an adult…”

“Me neither, believe me. I didn’t plan on marrying her the next day after I proposed. I’m definitely pro waiting.”

“I see…” A smile appeared on Colin’s face. “Can I just ask you one more thing?”


“What do you love most about my daughter?”

It was a tricky question, and Liam could answer something like ‘everything’ because he did love everything about her, every freckle, every smile, every wrinkle from laughing, every part of her wonderful personality. But he gave him the one thing that came to his mind right the second after Colin asked him.

“Her heart”, Liam answered. “I have seen a heart like that only one time in my life, and that was my mother’s. I can’t really describe it, I would probably fill an entire book with the description of Jo’s heart…” He paused for a moment while a tiny smile played around his lips. “But yes, that’s what I love the most about her.”

Colin watched the young boy quietly, and Liam started to feel nervous again, wondering if his answer wasn’t what Colin wanted to hear, but then the older man smiled.

“Welcome to the family”, he said with a warm smile.

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38One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 9th April 2012, 11:54

“Aunt Elizabeth, don’t worry Josey is a good girl. She would not get engaged with anyone. I know Liam, he is honest, good, friendly and very loving.” Lorelai whispered, she had handed her aunt a cup of tea there was some Brandy in it.

“No. He is a poor good-for-nothing. You are a disgrace if you chose him, you will see your father will send him away. He should have done it all those years ago.”

Jo looked at her mother or the woman that gave birth to her, she felt nothing but anger.

“He hasn’t finished school, he hasn’t any education and all he does is sinister work for the government, if this is even true. He has no money, no manners, and is nobody. He doesn’t even have a father. And now you want me to let my only daughter marry him? And…”

“Enough! Stop it right there! Liam is a wonderful young man. He might be sometimes a little childish sometimes and has not the rich fancy background but he has a good heart. He takes best care of Josey, you don’t even know that she had a bad cold a few days ago. And look at her now. She looks better than ever. Don’t you see it Aunt Elizabeth? Look at your daughter and tell me you really want to take away the one thing that makes Josey truly happy. Can you really do that?” John never said very much to Elizabeth, but right now he spoke very loud and determined.

Elizabeth looked at John, how dare he to tell her what to do. How anybody tell her what to do?

“Ma’am I am sorry but I have to be bold. The young Mister Liam is the best that happened to Jo. Jo was very miserable, but today she laughed for the first time again… I sorry to say this Lady but she did suffer a lot that you don’t care for her. Ma’am you might have a hard time but your daughter is or more was very unhappy, but today I saw her eyes sparkle again. All just because of this boy…”

Lorelai looked worried at her aunt that seemed to be very far away. “Aunt, are you okay?”

Elizabeth nodded, but didn’t seem to listen. Jo had starred at her mother the entire time, when she suddenly made a decision. As calm as possible she said.

“Mother. If you are worried what the people will think about me getting married to a boy who was not as fortunate as I was then maybe you should think about what the people will think when you lose the contact with your own daughter. I am marrying Liam and if you really don’t want this then I guess this means goodbye.” Josephine looked at her mother, she did feel sorry to be so drastic but she knew that with Liam she would turn out okay.

“Very well, marry the Irish boy.” Elizabeth said defeated. She sat back down at the dinner table and decided she would not say another word, not until her daughter would come to her senses.

“I love Liam, mother. With Liam I am for the first time really myself, and as long he is around I am not scared to be myself. I think that is a good thing.” Jo said shy to her mother, she hadn’t noticed that Colin and Liam had come back into the dining room. It made Colin smile to hear Jo, he always had hoped that his precious daughter would find someone like this.

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39One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 9th April 2012, 19:02

“If you’ll excuse me…” Colin looked at Liam, then went to his wife who looked tired. He touched her shoulder. “Elizabeth, shall we have a little walk outside?”

“Dinner will be ready soon.”

“Yes, but until then we can have a little walk, don’t you think?” He smiled warmly at her and reached out his hand to help her get up. He needed some time to talk with his wife alone. She needed to understand that their daughter was happy, and that money and status had absolutely nothing to do with a happy marriage, at least not for Josephine.
After they left the room the remaining four were quiet for a moment. Jo wanted to ask Liam how the conversation with her father went, but before she could say anything Lorelai walked to Liam.

“I hope you don’t mind if I talk to your fiancée in private for a moment”, she said to her little cousin. Since Jo already expected that Lorelai would want to talk to Liam, she nodded.
“Sure, no problem.”

Lorelai tipped Liam’s shoulder and gave him a sign to follow her while Jo and John stayed in the room. The other two went into the room next door, but the doors were closed so nobody could hear them. Liam had a hard time not staring at her again, because she wore a nice dress and it was just a reflex that everytime he saw her he couldn’t help but stare at her, but the circumstances had changed. After all, he was an engaged man now and he didn’t want to jeopardize that. Colin had just officially welcomed him into the family, so it would be inappropriate if he stared at the décolleté of Jo’s older cousin. Although…was he imagining it or did it look actually…ehm…bigger due to her two pregnancies…? Hmm…maybe it was-


“What? I wasn’t looking, I swear!” Once again he spoke before he thought.

Lorelai crossed her arms. “I wanted to say something else”, she said, pursing her lips. “But now that I see how much you’re blushing it’s more than obvious that you-“

“I’m sorry!”, he interrupted her quickly. “I swear I didn’t realize……if Jo was right here I would totally check her out! Seriously, I would-“

“Liam, relax! It’s okay.” Lorelai sighed. “I just wanted to talk to you about the engagement. I was very surprised at first, but I want you to know that I’m very happy for you two, which I already told Jo. However, I hope you are aware that there will be responsibilities, and I need to be sure that you’re really ready for this. You’re the smartest kid I ever met, but you also tended to be quite immature, which, I also noticed, has greatly improved. Of course you’re not completely mature yet, and knowing you I’m pretty sure you’ll never be, but in the past two years you’ve grown and learned how to take care and responsibility for another person, and I really admire that, Liam.”

He still had flushed cheeks but at least he could look at her without staring at her décolleté.

“When I first met you, you really were a kid, but now you’re a young man, and I have no doubt that you will take good care of my little cousin. Are you really ready for the responsibilities that you have from now on?”

Liam nodded. “Yes, ma’am.” He wasn’t exactly sure if he knew all of the responsibilities, but he knew one thing; he was ready for Jo, now more than ever before.

“Can I trust you that you won’t hurt her in any form or treat her ill, and be there for her when she needs you?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Can I trust you that you won’t cheat on her, not even if there’s an outrageously hot woman who offers to sleep with you for free?”

“Ehm…I have to think about that…”


“Just joking!”, he said, receiving a very strict glance from Lorelai. “I promise I’m not going to cheat on her.”

She looked at him with raised eyebrows. “I hope you know that I’m personally going to castrate you if you cheat on her. Got it?”

Liam nodded hastily. “Yes, ma’am!”

“Good.” Lorelai stepped in front of him. “Now can I hug you, knowing that nothing happens in your pants?”

Okay, I can’t give her any guarantee for that…

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m really glad you’re part of the family”, she said while she hugged him, but when he breathed in some of her sweet perfume she took a step back and crossed her arms. “Liam…”

“I’m sorry.” He started to blush again. “I think I better go to Jo now…”

“Yes, that’s what I’m thinking too”, she said, shaking her head with an amused smile.

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40One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 10th April 2012, 01:09

“She is not killing him, is she?” Jo asked, Jo did feel sorry how she talked with mother but she had just this once speak her mind.

John chuckled. “No, well she doesn’t have a lot of sleep lately, so maybe?” He smirked at the young girl shocked looking girl. “Don’t worry as long he doesn’t start crying and wanting to be fed he is safe. But now that he is gone I can talk to you Josey. Listen being engaged and getting married, but being married is hard work. God knows I love Lory and the boys but there are moment I which the boys would have come a little bit later. I can’t remember the last night I slept through, I can’t even remember when I last touched my wife, oh wait I know and the result of that is Henry.” John looked tired at Jo.

“Josey, just take your time. You are still so young you just started your life. Enjoy it as much as you can, starting a school for more geeks is tough enough. And Josey?”


“If Liam ever hurts you in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me. I will spank him so badly that the kid won’t be able to sit for years.”

Now Jo started laughing. “I’m the only one who is allowed to spank Liam.” Jo eyes sparkled mischief. Suddenly the door burst open and Liam pulled her rough into his arm and kissed her passionately. It didn’t take long for Jo to feel the last bits why he burst so suddenly into the room. For a moment the old panic rose in her.

Liam and Lorelai… didn’t…

She peeked over Liam’s shoulder. Lorelai clearly had bigger boobs and even though it was not long ago that Henry was born she still was beautiful and Liam… he… and then Jo saw Liam’s eyes. This beautiful blue eyes and as so often before he didn’t need to say I love you because his eyes said it for him.

“John just told me to get as fast as possible pregnant, having kids is the most amazing thing on the world. And you know the best part, we don’t need to worry about our sex life after the children are born, it won’t be existing anymore.” Jo grinned, she just said this to tease Liam a little bit for not having his pants under control while he was alone with Lor. Behind Liam even John and Lorelai were grinning, the two were tired but happy.

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41One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 10th April 2012, 19:11

Liam looked shocked at Jo. What was that? Getting pregnant as soon as possible? And a non-existing sex life? What the hell??? He was so shocked about what Jo just said that he didn’t even have the time to be embarrassed that John and Lorelai were listening to them.

“I’m just teasing you!” Jo slapped his cheek playfully. Liam was just about to feel relieved when Lorelai showed up next to them.

“Actually, you’re not that wrong, dear cousin”, she said. “As soon as a baby is on the way your entire life changes and you have to make all kind of sacrifices. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night since Henry was born. Unfortunately he’s a real cry-baby, Edward was a lot more quiet.”

“But he’s such a cute baby”, Jo smiled.

“I would never disagree with you on that, but don’t underestimate raising a baby, not to mention two babies. It is the most special experience you will have, but it’s a lot of work.”

Liam looked at Lorelai, then at Jo who seemed a bit dreamy. Which freaked him out.
“Hold on a second, what is all that baby talk?” He shot Jo the What-the-hell-look.

“Well, I’m not saying that I want a child right now, we’re not even married yet, but when the time comes it’s very helpful that we have Lorelai and John who we can ask for help.”

“Josey, honey, don’t you see how much you scare your fiancée?” Lorelai giggled as she noticed how pale Liam was. “You have to consider that men get a bit nervous when it comes to the ‘baby talk’, so go easy on him.”

Jo squeezed his cheek and chuckled. “This one gets especially nervous.”

“Okay, okay!” Liam blushed and wanted to change the subject, but the same moment the maid knocked on the door and announced that Mr and Mrs Williams were already in the dining room.

“Are you guys coming?”, Lorelai asked after she and John went out the door.

“We’ll be right there”, Jo answered and waited until they were gone, then she wrapped her arms around Liam and looked up to him. He was a bit stiff, which was the result of the baby talk.
“I know you don’t like to talk about…this particular subject, but now that we’re engaged, don’t you start thinking about…you know…”


“Babies.” Jo smiled shyly.

He swallowed hard. “No, actually not. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you immediately have to put kids into the world.”

“That’s not what I mean. Believe me, I don’t want to get pregnant immediately after we marry. It’s just…maybe you should get used to the thought that one day…you know…after a couple of years there might be the possibility of us having children.”

Geez, it really was a girl-thing, that obsession with children…He was completely fine how things were right now, just him and Jo, and nobody who interrupted them or occupied them. Yeah, maybe one day one kid –one, not more- would be okay, maybe. But for now he wanted to enjoy the time he had with Jo, the time where she was only his and he didn’t have to share her with anybody.
When he looked into her eyes he could totally see that dreaminess that women often got when they thought or talked about babies.

“Let’s go, we shouldn’t let your parents wait”, he said, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. Jo sighed and followed him. She hoped that he would get used to the thought with time, but she didn’t want to push him.

“There you are”, Colin said as the two came into the dining room and took place at the long table. Elizabeth looked a bit better and more relaxed. Liam tried not to look at her because she still made him nervous, but then she directly asked him a question.

“Where did you get the ring from, if I may ask? It looks…very nice.” She had a hard time saying something nice to him, but she actually managed it.

“Ehm…” Liam cleared his throat. “Graham gave it to me. It was-“

“Who is Graham?”

“Graham Hart, mother, my piano teacher”, Jo said.

Elizabeth seemed confused. “Why would your piano teacher give him that ring?”

John and Lorelai bit their lips to suppress a grin while Jo and Liam looked a bit uncomfortable. Colin watched the two closely, especially Liam.

“Ahem…because the ring was…eh…originally for my mother…and…um…did I mention that he is my father?”


“Graham, mother!” Jo rolled her eyes.

Poor Elizabeth seemed completely confused now. “Excuse me?” She looked from her daughter to Liam. “Is this what people call Irish humour? You must excuse me, but I do not understand that kind of humour.”

“Ahm…no, it’s not. I just found out, well, last year I found out.” Liam played nervously with his tie. “That was all…um…a very strange coincidence…ahem…”

Elizabeth stared at the young boy as if he was making fun of her.

“Well, that truly is a surprise”, Colin said, trying to help Liam a bit. “As a matter of fact I already saw a certain resemblance between you two, but of course I had no idea you were actually…related.”

“So, Aunt Elizabeth, aren’t you relieved that the young man who wants to marry your daughter has a father after all? One with a good name and reputation?”, Lorelai asked, slightly teasingly.

Elizabeth kept staring at Liam, which made him extremely uncomfortable.

“Anyway!” Lorelai folded her hands and looked at her little cousin. “When do you plan on telling the others about your engagement? You will have a party, won’t you?

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42One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 11th April 2012, 01:22

Jo had a hard time not to burst into laughter and spit her soup into Lorelai’s face, but then her cousin asked the dreadful question. Lorelai’s eyes sparkled, since Jo was little Lorelai planned a huge engagement party and an even bigger wedding. Long ago Jo did plan with her while she was little, but now that Jo was grown up well more grown up then before. Jo didn’t want this huge extravagant party anymore.

“Well couldn’t we call this the engagement party?” Jo asked shyly.

“But Josephine, this is by far not an appropriated way to celebrate your engagement. There are people to invite and we have to call the paper to print an announcement, we have to call the photograph so many things we have to do. Josephine after dinner you, Lorelai and I will sit together and start working on the invitation lists. Josephine are you listening?”

“Yes Mother.” Jo peeked to Liam who looked just as miserable as she felt.

“Josephine… blah… blah… blah…” Jo didn’t listen anymore but Lorelai listen Elizabeth and the two older women were planning and throwing ideas around.
The dinner was too quickly over in Jo’s opinion, Elizabeth took her aside and started planning, she had so many things collected over the years and ideas what kind of dress Jo should wear and when she should get changed.

“Blah… blah… blah… blah… blah… blah… blah….”

… ”What? Why do I change my dress right times on the wedding day?”

“Because you need one when you get ready, then the one for the ceremony, the one for the pictures, one for the receiving gifts, lunch, the afternoon, then the afternoon tea, dinner and then the dance. Oh those are actually nine…” Elizabeth went on and on about silverware, dish pattern, colour schemes, and so much other stuff Jo didn’t care for.
While the women talked parties Colin and John talked about politics and Liam, the boy sat a little lost on the other couch, at some point he dozed off, when the clock on the mantelpiece sudden struck one o’clock. Liam looked over to his Jo, who looked helpless at him.

“Um, Jo if you don’t mind maybe we should stay here, we have the meeting with the architect in the morning here in Oxford. And you should get some rest, don’t you think?”

Colin got up. “He is right, Jo should stay here. Elizabeth the invitations will there tomorrow let us Lorelai and John go home to their boys and the two youngsters need their rest too.” Colin kissed Jo and Lorelai on the cheek patted John and Liam on the shoulder and took Elizabeth hands to take her to bed.

After all goodbyes for the night were said Jo went with Liam upstairs. “Hey where are you going?”
Liam was walking to the usual guestroom he sleeps in.

“Um in the guestroom?” Liam looked tired and confused at her.

“Silly, now that we are engaged you can sleep with me in my room.” Jo giggled.

“Oh really? Are you sure?” Liam looked unsure.

“Yes I am and just to be clear when I don’t find the courage to tell Lor and mother that I didn’t like any of their ideas and they will change the plans to make everything as small as possible get ready to elope!” Jo pulled Liam in her room, she was so tired that she barely could sleep and they would meet in the morning at ten already - ten o’clock such an unchristian time – the architect to speak with him about the renovations that would start in September in Waterfall Downs. Jo was so excited that that the progress on turning Waterfall Downs into a school was moving along.

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43One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 11th April 2012, 19:51

It was strange being in Waterfall Downs and actually lying next to Jo as if they were already married.
Of course they had already been very close together here, closer than they were right now, but her parents were either not there or he had to hide in the wardrobe when Jo’s mother suddenly decided to knock on the door. Liam was still kind of paranoid and constantly looked in the direction of the door because he was sure that Elizabeth was still not particularly fond of the idea that he and her daughter were in the same bed, after all, they were not married yet.
Jo had fallen asleep pretty much right after she lay down, but Liam was suddenly wide awake. Just a moment a go he was tired as well, but when he put his arm around Jo and watched her falling asleep, he was no longer tired. All of a sudden a million things were running through his head. He thought of all the stuff Elizabeth and Lorelai had said about this unnecessary thing called ‘engagement party’, about Jo’s baby talk, about the conversation he had with Lorelai, all the responsibilities he had as a husband, the plans of building a school for young, highly intelligent students…it was very much to think about. Of course they had to do it step by step, but this evening he became fully aware of all the significant changes that were about to happen, and none of the changes were easy. There would be many challenges for the young couple, and he hoped Jo was aware of that fact.
He turned his head to her and scrutinized her peaceful face. Although they’ve been through so much in the past two years, their life together hadn’t even really started yet. There was so much happening right now, and so much more was about to happen…

And especially now he really wanted to talk to his mother. The wish to talk to her hadn’t been that strong for a long time, but now that all those changes were happening, he suddenly became aware how much he missed talking to her. Of course he could always talk to Jo, she was a great listener, but it was different because the whole changes involved her as well and she would be stressed out more than enough, so he didn’t want to bother her with the things he had on his mind.
Liam turned his head to the window. He didn’t want to admit it, especially not to himself, but right now he needed his mother more than ever. And she was not there. She wouldn’t even be at his wedding. That realization suddenly hit him hard. Of course she wouldn’t be there, it wasn’t a surprise or anything, but the past days he hadn’t thought about it because he was so caught up with all the stuff going on at the moment that he didn’t even have time to realize that his mother wouldn’t be there at the most important day of his life.
He sat up and made sure Jo didn’t wake up. She was so sound asleep that she didn’t notice him getting up and sneaking out of the room. He didn’t even know where he was going, he just wanted to get up, he couldn’t stay in bed anymore. It was completely dark in the huge mansion and he had a hard time seeing where he was going, but eventually he found the stairs and went downstairs. It was kind of creepy, all dark and quiet, but he didn’t care, he just wanted to get out. Liam opened one of the doors to the garden and went outside. He wore nothing but a plain shirt and boxershorts and he was barefoot, but he didn’t even notice the cold while he walked to one of the benches and sat down. He buried his face in his hands and took a deep breath. He needed to get rid of all the thoughts, but he couldn’t. All he could think of was the fact that his mother wouldn’t be there at his wedding. And he didn’t want to tell anyone how much it hurt that she wouldn’t be there, because he wanted to suppress those thoughts and get a grip and not showing any ridiculous sentimental feelings, he was a guy, for Christ’s sake, so he didn’t want others to know how much he struggled right now. He hated showing emotions, they were confusing and he was glad he wasn’t an emotional person, but right now he really had a hard time keeping it together. He was just glad it was the middle of the night and nobody saw him, he didn’t want anybody to know that he wished he could talk to his mother and the fact that he couldn’t drove him crazy.
Liam looked up when he heard a noise, but it was only a bird in the tree. He looked up to the sky and watched the clouds quickly moving. Here and there a few stars blinked through.
“I could really, really need you right now, mum”, he whispered. He knew she didn’t hear him, and he never pretended that she was still ‘around’, because his scientific brain told him that she wasn’t, but it actually felt kind of relieving to say aloud what was on his mind. The same moment he felt something burning in his eyes, and he quickly rubbed his eyes to prevent what he had not expected to come. He hadn’t cried more than five times in his life, and each time it made him angry because it meant that he showed emotions, and emotions made someone look weak. He hoped Jo wouldn’t wake up and find him here, he didn’t want her to see him like that.
“Screw this!” Liam got up, more upset than sad, and went back inside. He was very quiet when he entered Jo’s room. The sight of her sleeping made him feel a bit better. Carefully he climbed into bed, but the same moment Jo blinked and opened her eyes,

“Where were you?”, she whispered, still half in her sleep.

“I was just thirsty and got something to drink”, he said, trying to avoid any eye contact with her. He was glad it was dark, so there was a good chance she didn’t really see his face. He kissed her forehead gently. “Go to sleep.”

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44One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 12th April 2012, 01:26

Jo wrapped her arm tight around him, he smelled of outside, and for some reason he was trembling not shivering from being outside in the cold. Jo was half sleeping but something wasn’t right. “You okay?”

“Yes of course.”

This moment Jo had the perfect idea for a wedding gift for Liam. She smiled into his chest. “I love you so much! Liam?”


“I was kidding about the baby talk, I promise! Let’s plan in a kid when I’m around twenty-five.”

Liam was quiet, Jo felt that there was more and she really wished he would talk to her after all here it was dark and she couldn’t even see his emotions or tears.
Jo took a deep breath. “Did you tell Graham yet?”

“Not yet, there wasn’t time.” Liam whispered as if he was scared that his cracking voice would give away that he was hiding something. For some time they both were quiet, until…

“Whoa, Jo why are you crying?” Liam lifted her up and brushed with his thumbs her tears away.

“I dunno.” The tears kept pouring down Jo’s face.


“Are you mad at me?”

“What? No! Why should I be mad at you?”

“But there is something on your mind, and… you don’t want to know me and… I’m sorry all those stupid plans mother and Lor have, I don’t want any of those I will tell them first thing in the morning. I promise, I really want this whole engagement party and the wedding will be small and simple and I am so sorry Liam. I didn’t mean to scare you with the baby talk and oh my God did dad say anything? He doesn’t want you to marry me? No it’s my mother she is freaking you out, well she is freaking me out too. And she is totally unfair and…”

“Jo! Jo! Slow down. I am not mad at you, okay?”

“But… something is wrong.” Jo looked defeated down. She actually cried herself to get a bad hiccup. “Then why don’t you trust me? Whatever it is you can tell me… I know about your boner you got while you were alone with Lorelai.” Jo had no idea what she was talking but she felt the longer she was up and trying to calm down the more upset she got. It was clearly not her time, at night Jo should sleep and well not think and talk, but here she was trying to think what she did wrong to upset Liam.

“You wanna have sex? We can have sex.” Jo sat up and tried to untangle herself and take off her shirt.
Jo was so desperate and she was willing to do everything to make Liam feel better. And if that meant to sleep with him when she was so tired she would fall asleep while she was standing.

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45One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 12th April 2012, 11:49

“Whoa, hold on!”, Liam said before Jo could take off her shirt. Usually when she did that he thought ‘hell, yes!’, but right now it was just wrong, and Jo was clearly not in the state for that right now.

“No problem, I’m not that tired anymore”, Jo lied as she continued getting her clothes off. “We can do it, really. Just let me-“

“No, stop it!” He grabbed her arm a little too rough. Jo looked helpless and defeated. She didn’t want to cry but she felt already new tears in her eyes.

“I just don’t want you to be mad at me…”

“I told you I’m not mad at you”, he said while he sat up. “Sure, all that engagement and wedding planning thing was a bit much to take in at once, but we will manage it somehow, it won’t stop me from marrying you anyway. And your mother…well, she will always freak me out, but I guess I’ll have to live with that.” He paused for a moment. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Jo, don’t freak out about it, okay?”

“But something is wrong…You know that you can tell me, Liam. We’ll be married soon, and a husband should be able to talk to his wife, we should trust each other.”

“It’s nothing, Jo, really. I was just a little…I felt a bit sick, that was all.” He hated lying to her, but if he told her the truth he would have to talk about his feelings, and he hated that even more than lying to her. “I didn’t tell you right away because I know you’d worry, but I’m better now, it was just-“ He couldn’t finish his sentence because she already stretched her arm out to turn the bed lamp on the nightstand on.

“Don’t turn on the-“

Too late.

“You’re sick? What is it? Are you-“ She paused when she turned around and saw Liam.

“I’m fine”, he said, avoiding any eye contact with her. “I was dizzy, so I went outside to get some fresh air, went back inside, and that’s all. No need to freak out about it…” He hoped she would stop staring at her, but she didn’t.
Jo knew Liam well enough to know that he didn’t look like that when he was dizzy, or sick in general. The last time she saw him like that was actually not long ago, and that was when she broke his heart. So there was something else going on, and he clearly didn’t want to talk about.

“Can you turn the light off now? I really want to sleep.” He lay down and turned his back on her. “Good night”, he mumbled.

Jo was hurt that he constantly kept things from her and didn’t tell her what was going on, or what was on his mind. She only wanted to help, but he didn’t let her, instead he kept her out of everything as if she was some random stranger. This was not how two people in a relationship were supposed to act, and especially not two married people. She trusted him and told him everything, but he seemed not to trust her at all, otherwise he wouldn’t keep everything a secret from her.
On one hand she wanted to pull the blanked away from him and yell at him to bloody tell her the truth for once, but on the other hand she didn’t want to bother him and wanted to respect his privacy.
Jo took a deep breath, turned off the light and lay down, but now she was wide awake, angry and sad at the same time.
“I just wish you would trust me a bit more…”, she whispered.

Liam felt bad when he heard what she said. He wanted to tell her that it wasn’t a matter of trust but simply the fact that he absolutely hated talking about his feelings, but, of course, he didn’t tell her, and both lay next to each other, trying to fall asleep, but not able to fall asleep at all.

The next day two sleepy, slightly grumpy youngsters came downstairs. Liam completely forgot to brush his hair and literally looked like he had just fallen out of bed. Elizabeth pursed her lips when she saw him, but this time she didn’t say anything.

“Good morning you two, do you want some tea or coffee?”, Colin asked when they sat down at the table.

“That’s fine”, Jo mumbled, staring at her plate.

“That’s not an answer, Josephine.”

“Tea, please.”

Colin turned to the young boy who looked like he was about to fall asleep at the table. “What about you, Liam?”

Liam didn’t react, he just stared at the antique candle stick that probably cost a fortune. Jo pinched his arm.

“Ouch. What was that for?”

“My father asked you a question.”

“Oh…sorry…” He looked at Colin.

“Would you have some coffee or tea?”

“Coffee”, he mumbled, but quickly added a ‘please’ after Jo shot him a warning glance. An awkward silence followed, and neither Liam nor Jo said a word.

“Well!”, Colin exclaimed after they sat in silence for a while. “Are you looking forward to meet the architect? I’m sure you two will turn Waterfall Downs into a wonderful establishment.”

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46One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 12th April 2012, 14:07

Jo closed her eyes for a moment. She didn’t want to be mad at Liam and she really tried not to be but it was really hard. She knew that something was on his mind and since she knew Liam very well that it was about some emotions something he didn’t like to deal with. When she opened her eyes again, she was calm and would let Liam deal with his feelings on his way even though she thought one day all those feelings would eat him from the outside.

“Yes I’m very looking forward to this meeting. Mister March said he has all plans finished and even my wish to include a private flat for Liam and me. The old guest house will be turned into flats for the staff like teacher, a cook and some maids. Not many, I think the children will have to help with the cleaning and cooking. Here in the main building will be the student’s bedrooms, the classrooms, Liam’s lab, the dining hall, and a common room. Later I have to talk to Lorelai and see how the renovations of the stables go along, she mentioned yesterday that the first horses arrive from Stuttgart. I saw the paddocks while we drove down the avenue to the house. They look so awesome.” Suddenly Jo blushed because she talked so much, she saw her mother look already bored at her, while Colin looked very interested at her.

“Very good, before you go I would like for you to come to my study. There are some papers for you to sign, regarding your inheritance. After you signed those papers you are the official own of basically everything. Your construction plan can move on as planned.” Colin looked proud at his daughter. Liam seemed a little absent this morning, Colin hoped he was okay.

“Oh okay. Thank you.” Jo blushed she didn’t like to talk about money.

“Josephine I have some bridal dresses for you to look at.” Elizabeth said while she was sipping at her tea.

“Mother we didn’t even had the engagement party yet, I don’t want to look at the dresses.” Jo said calmly.

“But Josephine…”

“That is enough Elizabeth, no wedding talk while I try to eat my eggs.” Colin grinned at Jo but the young girl finished her breakfast in silent.

Not long later Jo and Liam left the house to meet the architect. Jo was so excited. “Liam, can you believe it we will see for the first time our school and our new perfect little flat in it and everything.” Jo looked at Liam, her eyes were sparkling but Liam didn’t yet manage to look excited.

“Liam? You don’t get second thought about us getting married? I mean I know I’m not as beautiful as Lorelai, but I try to be pretty for you.” No, Jo couldn’t shake of the panic she felt since last night. After all he was never with her alone and showed his excitement clearly in his pants. She looked at the ring on her finger, she was never very fond of jewellery but this ring was the most precious thing she ever owned. Her mother was so shallow that all she cared for were if the ring is real and for Jo the only thing that matter was that the ring was from Liam. Just like the bracelet he got her for his first birthday they had together. “And… I love you endless, even more than there are stars in the sky. I can try to be prettier, were more clothes like Lorelai and ehm makeup and you know be more sexy like Lor, if you want me to.” Jo starred at her hands in her lap. “If you would just tell me what upset you so much. I promise I won’t ask anything, but maybe it helps if you say to someone out loud what is on your mind.”

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47One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 13th April 2012, 11:21

Liam stopped for a moment. He had just been very close to grab her by the shoulders and shake her to make her stop talking about how ugly she was and how she would change so that he would like her more. It scared him how angry he got at her while she only tried to make him happy.

“I’m not having second thoughts about the wedding, Jo”, he said, trying not to look at her. “I want to marry you. I’m the one who proposed. Twice, actually, remember?”

She bit her lip. “I will try everything, Liam. I know I can’t completely change the way I look, but if you want me to dress more like Lor, I’ll do it and-“

“Enough of this crap! How many times do I have to tell you that I don’t want you to change? Stop comparing yourself with Lorelai all the time, it’s annoying! I told you I like you just the way you are, hell, I even composed a bloody song for you so you would understand…and yet you keep on saying that you will do everything to look like her! I’m sick of hearing you going on how ugly you are, just stop it already, I can’t hear it anymore!”

Jo looked both shocked and hurt at him. Liam didn’t mean to yell at her, and he immediately felt bad, especially when he looked at her. She looked like a kicked little deer kid. He couldn’t believe how mean he was to her, to the one person who meant the world to him, the one person he never wanted to hurt.
“Jo, I’m so sorry…” He wanted to hug her but he was actually scared to touch her, because just a moment ago he had been very close to slapping some sense into her, and that scared him even more. “I just…I hate it when you say that you’re not pretty enough, and that you want to be like Lor and that you would rather feel uncomfortable and dress up like her than being yourself. I don’t get why you constantly worry that you’re not good enough, and why you desperately try to be like your cousin…”

Jo stared at her hands. “Because you obviously get still very excited when she’s close to you…”

Liam sighed. “That’s…that’s more a reflex kind of thing, something I can’t stop that easily. It’s pretty much my body and I can’t really control it, that has nothing to do with my feelings.” He still didn’t dare to touch her. “I really don’t know what else I can do to prove to you that I don’t want you to be like her, that I like you exactly the way you are…”

“You could tell me the truth once in a while…” She looked up shyly.

“I’m not lying to you.”

“But you’re not telling me the truth either. You keep everything to yourself, and you have no idea how much it hurts me, because I feel completely left out. I just wish you would trust me for once…”

“I trust you.”

Jo looked sad at him. “No, you don’t.” She was about to turn away from him and continue walking when he finally said something.

“You really want to know what’s going on with me? You think it’s the wedding preparation, or your freaky mother, or your cousin with her big boobs that I obviously can’t handle, or that you’re not pretty enough and think that you have to change…but it’s not. It’s…it’s…”
God, it was so freaking hard to tell her what he really felt.
“I wasn’t the one who thought I would get married one day, she was. I told her, I told her so many times that I don’t believe in such a thing as love, that it’s…a complete waste of time, and I told her that I didn’t want to fall in love with someone, because that whole process just didn’t make sense to me…and she smiled…she just smiled at me and said to me that one day she will sit in the front row and look at me while I would wait at the altar. That I would find a person one day that I would truly love, even more than any science in the world…” He paused for a moment. “And she said it would be her happiest moment to see me there, so see my face when I look at my bride…Most people look at the bride when she enters, but my mum said she would look at me to remember that one special moment when I see the girl I’m about to marry.” Liam shook his head. “She was the one who wanted to see me at the altar in the first place, not me…and now she’s not even coming.”

Just a moment ago Jo was shocked how Liam yelled at her, but now that he was finally telling her what has been bothering him since yesterday, she could understand why he reacted that way, especially since he kept suppressing his feelings which only made it worse.

“Never mind!” Liam looked at his watch, it was already late and the architect was waiting. He felt stupid telling Jo about all that stuff, he probably looked like a complete idiot. “I’m sorry that I keep letting it out on you and drag you into this, you don’t deserve this. That’s exactly why…” He paused for a moment and looked into a different direction, he didn’t want to see Jo’s face. “…why I never wanted to let people getting too close to me. I couldn’t hurt you if you wouldn’t be so close to me, but there you have it, you’re too close to me, and I keep hurting you.” He still didn’t look at her. “Guess why I’m not particularly keen on having children. If I already hurt you so much, I don’t want to know what would happen with my own child…” He didn’t mean to tell her that. He didn’t mean to tell her any of this, not of his mother, and not of him being afraid that he hurt everyone who got too close to him. He slowly looked at Jo who didn’t dare to say a word. “I want to marry you, Jo, more than anything. I just…I wish she could be there. That was all, simple as it is. Don’t know why I couldn’t tell you this in the first place…” He turned around and kept walking. He realized how scared he actually was, scared of hurting Jo even more as soon as they were married, because then they would be closer than they had ever been before…

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48One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 13th April 2012, 12:59

Jo looked at Liam at first he did hurt her when he yelled at her, but this was just for a moment. Because then he talk, he really talked. Jo let him walk on for a little bit. It was funny how he thought he hurt her by telling her his fear. The young girl shook her head before she ran after him, took his hand and tiptoed to kiss him.

“You don’t hurt me when you tell me your feelings or whatever is bothering you.”

Liam didn’t say anything.

“And just for the record you would be an amazing dad.” Jo smiled at him. They reached the architect’s office and they learned all about the possible renovations in Waterfall Downs. Even Liam seemed to enjoy the time. He sure was interested that all the wiring in the house would be updated and a few other gadgets like internal interphones will be installed. It was a long meeting before they stepped back out into the afternoon sunlight of Oxford. The two were holding hands, Liam looked more relaxed still a little sad but only for someone he knew like Jo.

“Liam? I have an idea. I know you don’t like to talk about your feelings, but you could write them down.”

“I’m not writing a diary Jo.”

Jo giggled, the thought of Liam wringing a diary like a girl was just too funny. …Dear Diary today I build a new thingemagiga it can talk and drives like a car…

“No not like a diary, I was more thinking of a box you can lock. That way you can lock those feelings away, just like you prefer it. Problems look different after you said them out loud or wrote them down, that’s why I wanted you to tell me what was bothering you. I was worried because… It is not good to keep everything inside. It will eat you up and you end up like my mother. I don’t want you to get sick.”

Jo looked shy at Liam.

“I know you don’t like talking about your feelings and even though I do want to know them, I accept that… I’m not the one you want to share them. That is okay, really.” The young girl try to hide as much as possible how much it did hurt her that Liam didn’t trust her to have a weak moment and share his feelings. She smiled while they walked through the streets of Oxford. Teddy following them at their heels.

One Step At A Time - Page 2 ArielButtercup
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49One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 13th April 2012, 19:32

Liam could tell that Jo was sad about the fact that he didn’t share anything with Jo, even if she claimed that she was okay with that. She smiled, but he noticed sadness in her eyes.

“Jo, if I wouldn’t have such a hard time talking about that stuff, you would be the only person I would tell, I’m serious. You’re the only person I really trust.”

“What about Dick?”

“Dick?” Liam chuckled. “You seriously think Dick and I would sit down and talk about our feelings?”

Jo giggled. “No, not really. It’s just…you put him on some kind of pedestal and-“

“You did not just say that!”

“I’m sorry, but for some funny, slightly insane reason you adore that man and-“

“Jo!” Liam actually blushed. “It sounds really weird if you put it like that.”

“Sowwy…” She smiled apologetically.

“I mean…yes…he…um…is very…you know…kind of important to me, sort of…” He felt so damn weird saying that. “And you’re right, I would trust him with my life. But that doesn’t mean that I would tell him everything that’s on my mind. If there is one person I would tell those things, then it’s you. If…”

“If what?”

“If I wouldn’t have such a hard time talking about those things in general. So it really doesn’t have anything to do with you or that I don’t trust you enough, do you understand? It’s really just a matter of me being such an idiot when it comes to this whole ‘let’s talk about your feelings’ stuff, and your idea with the box…it’s nice.” He cleared his throat. He knew he would feel so awkward writing something on little papers and putting it in a box, but he appreciated that Jo worried so much about him. “I mean, don’t expect me to write, um, poems or something like that…”

“No!” She shook her head. “I don’t expect you to write much at all, and only when you feel like it. You don’t have to feel forced to write anything, I just know how dangerous it is to keep everything inside, and I don’t want you to end up like my mother.”

“Oh, hell no!”, he replied sarcastically. He looked at her face and started to count her freckles, something he often did without even realizing it. “Jo, I’m sorry that I took everything out on you.”

“That’s okay…”

“No, it’s not. I was very unfair to you.”

Jo squeezed his hand tenderly. “Things like that happen. I knew you didn’t mean it…”

Liam wanted to tell her how grateful he was that she was such an understanding and caring girlfriend, but when he opened his mouth the only thing he said was: “Great. Thanks.”
Why couldn’t he just tell her what he was just thinking? He didn’t have a hard time telling her that she had nice boobs or a nice butt, so why couldn’t he just tell her that she meant the world to him?



Get a grip. Just say something nice to her! You really have to make it up to her after behaving like a jerk today.

“What is it?”, she looked curiously at him.

“I’m honest to you, I’m freaked out about babies and that sort of stuff, because…well…I mean…God, babies are...they are…babies…”

“Yes?” She raised her eyebrows. “You know I told you not to worry about that, really, I don’t want-“

“I wanted to say something else”, he said. “Yes, it freaks me out a bit, but I like the idea…ehm…the idea of you being a mother…and stuff.”
Great way to express yourself, man!

Jo looked a bit surprised that he said something like that, he had no idea how happy it made her.

“Anyway!”, he quickly said before it would get to emotional, which would make him feel uncomfortable again. “You want to call Ricky later and tell him?”

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50One Step At A Time - Page 2 Empty Re: One Step At A Time on 13th April 2012, 21:53

Jo looked confused at Liam. “Tell him what? That you like the idea of me being a mother… and stuff?”

Liam grinned took her hand and showed her the ring on it again.

“Oh you mean that we are engagement, yes we should call him. Actually you know what? Why don’t we surprise him at his office?”

“Are you sure this is a good idea? What if he is busy?” Liam looked at Jo and brushed some hair out of her face. How could she ever think that he didn’t love her or trust her enough?

“Busy with Alfie again?”

Liam made a disgusted face. “Don’t remind me of that.”

Jo giggled and for the first time since last night that she was laughing freely and she had no idea how beautiful she looked in Liam’s eyes when she did. Suddenly Liam kissed his fiancée gently and pulled her close.

“Oh for what was that?” Jo looked surprised at Liam.

“Do I need a reason to kiss my fiancée?”

Jo smiled widely from one ear to the other. “I love it when you call me fiancée. It makes me feel so special.”

“Jo, you are special.” Liam put his arm around Jo’s waist and together they walked to Ricky’s office, they hope desperately that they didn’t see him with Alfie again. That was an experience neither of them wanted to have again.

“Ricky! Are you there we are coming in better be dressed.” Jo said loudly still in the corridor when she saw the Ricky’s office door was open. Someone cleared his throat and suddenly Jo and Liam saw an elderly man with Ricky in his office. They were talking about an essay on the desk.

“Excuse me?” Said the elderly man, Jo blushed.

“I’m sorry, these are very dear friends of mine and we have this joke to announce each other like this. It is a rather long and stupid story. Joseph, would you excuse me? I will finish the essays right after they left.”

The elderly man scrutinized Ricky. “Very well. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jo giggled when the other man left and closed the door behind him. “Wow that was embarrassing. How are you Ricky?” Jo hugged her friend tight and left her hand resting on his arm. It took just a second for him to see the ring on her finger.

“Whoa! Holy Cow! Liam? Did you finally ask Jo to marry you? That was about time man. The best wishes for the bride to be and congratulations for you Liam!” Ricky hugged the laughing Jo and then Liam.

One Step At A Time - Page 2 ArielButtercup
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