I Go By Two Names.
Olivia would not let Jonah drive her up to the front door. Not because the distance put him out, but because she did not want him to see where she was going. Yes, they were going out, and yes, it was serious, but this was ‘family stuff’ and following her last significant other who had accidently become embroiled in ‘family stuff’, she was not keen to make the mistake again. Of course Jonah saw this as an affront. In his simple, suburban, Sunday dinner type way, families were part of any functioning relationship. He had said as much for several nights now, but Olivia had no intention of mixing these two areas again.
‘Which one is it?’ He asked, craning his neck to try and make out the door numbers.
‘Stop here.’ she said, louder than before. Jonah turned to her.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes. Right here.’
If he proved troublesome, she would not wait for him to find a parking space. A parking space might give him the courage to get out with her. He was driving slowly enough that she could feasibly jump out. Open the door, mutter a goodbye, and then run.
But that would be ridiculous. He was her partner, they were serious. She could not just jump out of the car like she was a 14 year old in a hurry to get off a routemaster.
And anyway he could still follow her. Would follow her. It would exacerbate the situation.
She had to be smarter.
‘There’s a parking space there.’ She smiled, pointing to the closest vacant space. Jonah reluctantly steered into it.
‘Shouldn’t I at least come in? You know, to say something?’ He pressed.
‘To say what?’
‘Something to let them know I’m thinking of them’
‘I can pass on your sentiments’ Olivia said, ‘in fact, I already have.’
She raised her hand to stroke the back of his neck.
‘Everyone thinks it’s lovely that you’re supporting me through this.’ She said quietly. Quiet voices make things seem sincere, she thought. Especially when they were coupled with a display of affection.
‘They know about me?’ He asked, warming at the knowledge.
‘Of course they do!’ she smiled through the bitterness. She had to tell them something. They had asked her repeatedly, how she was going to get there.
Jonah leant in and kissed her. With the balance seemingly restored, Olivia stepped out of the car. Jonah watched her in all her black finery as she mounted the pavement to wave goodbye to the car.
‘I’ll call you when it’s over. Maybe you can come up then.’
Those were her parting words. If Jonah had been an observant man, he would have noticed that she said up instead of in. He would have noticed that the terraced houses had no numbers because their backs were facing the street. He would have noticed that Olivia was clutching a bag full of spare clothes. But he was too focused on his apparent snub to spot the signs of deceit. So Olivia stood and waved him off, and once he was out of sight she began the real journey to her family home.