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Secrets
by Jamie Yarbrough

Chapter 27

Whitney wondered what would have happened if her neighbor hadn’t driven up at 3:30 in the morning, she had been drowning in the feelings and sensations Noah had created in her and chances are she would not have stopped if he hadn’t pushed her away when the cars lights hit them. She could still feel his hands sliding over her burning skin. She balled up her pajama top and shoved it into the back of her drawer and told herself to stop grinning like an idiot.

She couldn’t believe she had agreed to go to breakfast with Noah. He told her to get a shower and something a little less revealing and he would buy her breakfast at the Book Cafe. She had agreed and now that she was back in her room her doubts had returned too.

She stood under the hot stream and felt her aching muscles relax. She had been cramped in the car with Noah all night, they had cuddled and talked for hours until the sun rose and she had slipped into the house and now she was completely confused as to where they stood. She sighed as the water began to cool and stepped out of the tub and into her soft robe. She debated on making Noah sit there while she blew dry her hair and found the perfect outfit and makeup but decided against it when she spotted him through her window, leaning against his car watching her. She waved at him and grinned as she pulled out her favorite tee and a pair of tiny shorts she knew would make him crazy and tossed her hair back into a bouncy ponytail. I hope I don’t look like I’m twelve, she thought as she dashed out the door.

Noah whistled as she walked up and eyes her long smooth legs. He wondered how they had ever managed to stop last night. He opened her door for her and then walked around to his own, wondering why no other girl had been able to make him laugh the way she did and feel all the things she made him feel.

He pushed aside serious thoughts knowing neither of them was quite ready for that kind of talk and lamented about how long he had been forced to wait for her. Her laughter shot straight into his heart as he pulled away from the curb, it was already a good day.

Theresa awoke as the sun peeked over the houses and wondered if anyone had spotted her there, asleep on her own lawn. Thank god it was summer she thought as she rubbed the goosebumps on her arms. Any sooner and I would be a Popsicle. She dragged herself into her room and realized she had only a few hours before Luis and Kay showed up to shock her family. She wondered if she should do the same and tell her mother about Ethan’s proposal. She shook her head at the thought and flipped on her computer while she ran a hot bath. She checked her messages while she waited and her jaw dropped when she saw she had received 30 messages from Ethan. She checked them one by one, the first coming only a few minutes after she had run from his house and the latest arriving only a few minutes ago. Theresa skimmed over them, each was filled with love and promises and apologies that he couldn’t wait to ask. He begged her to come back and be his and Theresa finally turned off her computer when she heard a shout from down the hall.

"THERESA! Dios Mio!" Pilar shrieked.

"Mama?" Theresa asked panicked as she dashed into the hall. She stopped as she saw her mother at the bathroom door and holding up a sopping wet throw rug in one hand.

"Oh! Oh Mama, Oh I am sorry, I just guess I let it slip my mind..." Theresa gasped as she dashed into the steamy bath-room, the floor was soaked, an inch of water on everything. She went quickly to the tub and turned off the water and then turned to face her furious mother.

Pilar watched her daughter as she ran by. She had tears in her eyes and on her cheeks and she looked even more ex-hausted than Pilar felt. Pilar was curious though, the sadness that had swamped her for the last year seemed to have disappeared in the last few days. She looked happy inside even with the tears, and scared she noted, not just because she ruined the bathroom. Pilar broke into a smile as Theresa looked at her expectantly. She was waiting for me to yell, Pilar thought.

Theresa couldn’t believe her eyes, her mother stood in the doorway, her feet soaked holding the ratty old rug as it dripped, her hair still mussed from sleep, laughing joyfully. Theresa felt her hear soar at the sound of her mother’s laughter, it had been to long since Theresa had heard it. She giggled her self which broke Pilar out into more laughter and soon both of the Lopez-Fitzgerald women were sitting on the soaking floor arms around each other, laughing.

"Mama, I missed you." Theresa gasped between laughs, thinking of the year she had pulled herself away from everyone and realizing how much that had hurt not just herself but the people who loved her. She realized as she sat there that she could be herself here, just as she could with Ethan and she wouldn’t lose one to have the other. Theresa laid her head on her mother’s shoulder as they sat and felt truly happy for the first time she decided.

Ethan’s love isn’t something I have to fight for any more than I have to fight for Mama’s love, she thought, it has been there through good and bad and it will be, I was the one who pushed him to Gwen and I was the one who made myself doubt it. Theresa felt fesh tears come again as she realized in her heart that she could belong to Ethan now and for-ever she just had to take the chance and say yes. She hugged her mother and helped her off the floor smiling again.

"Mama, Ethan asked me to marry him again." Theresa said quietly once they were both on their feet again, dripping wet.

Pilar nodded and schooled the fear out of her eyes. She had always known Ethan and Theresa loved one another and she hoped this time they both realized what that meant and didn’t let anything get between them, not even them-selves. She hugged her daughter and nodded, swallowing her own tears.

"I am happy for you, Theresita." She said simply. The pulled apart and surveyed the room. Pilar turned and walked to the closet in the hall and came back with a bucket, mop and several towels. She handed the mop and bucket to Theresa and laid the towels down on the carpet that had gotten soaked by the door before she turned back to her daughter and smiled.

"You can do it." she said as she walked down the hall, hoping her daughter understood her meaning.

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