By Christmas that year, Stephanie had entered into our lives so thoroughly that it seemed obvious that she would spend some of the holiday with us. We planned it that she would come over the day after Graham came home from University. We had our hopes that something would spark between them, but we refused to let on. Graham was smarter than that, though.
“I know what you’re thinking, Mom. You want me to fall in love with your intern just as much as you have.”
“Oh sweetheart, you don’t know that. I just think she’s a sweet girl and you should try to be her friend.”
“Dad is grinning. I know what that grin means. Remember when you wanted me to ‘just be friends’ with the neighbor’s granddaughter? Look how that turned out!”
“Oh don’t be so hard on your mother, Graham. She only has your best interests at heart.”
“If by ‘your best interests’ you mean ‘grandchildren,’ then yes, she has my best interests at heart.”
Ilsa had to leave the room because she didn’t want Graham to see her laughing at him. She had always been a bad liar. I followed her into the kitchen where she confided that she and Stephanie had the same conversation, nearly verbatim, the day before.
“They would be perfect for each other! Look how similar they are!”
“Similar doesn’t always mean perfect, darling. They are young. Let’s just see where the cards land after tonight.”
The doorbell rang a little later. I looked at Ilsa who was just as inquisitive as I was. Stephanie never rang the doorbell. She usually just came barging through the door hollering to see whether or not we were in. I went to answer and sure enough, it was her. She also had two bottles of wine; a deep pinot noir for me and a chardonnay for Ilsa. She had gotten to know us quite well, I thought, and greeted her with a hug.
“Ready?” she asked.
I winked my response and commenced the typical hollering that accompanied her arrival.
“Ilsa! Sarah’s here!”
“I mean Samantha!”
“Oh wait, she says her name is Stephanie!”
“Quit being an ass, Anderson, and let her in!”
I tried not to be blatantly staring at my son the first time he saw her future wife, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t paying any attention to his old man. It was the first time I had seen my son at a loss for words. One more point for the good guy team, I thought. I threw another wink towards my wife who was also not paying attention to her old man. Her face was written with another “I told you so” that she would never voice.