I took a deep breath as Hunter stepped out of the bathroom “How do I look?” He questioned, I examined his baggy jeans and tight blue long sleeve shirt, with an beige colored insignia on it.
"You look, are you sure you want to meet my family today?" I said, not being able to finish my original thought.
"I look that bad huh?" He said looking down at his normal everyday clothes.
"No! Its not that at all, you look handsome." He smirked and took my hands in his.
"Then what is it?"
"I, have an odd, odd, family."
"Is that all? Amy, everyone has an odd family! Wait till you meet mine, your gonna wanna get out of that house faster than time moves when your having fun." I smiled at his analogy, and hugged him quickly.
"Yeah your right, I just want to prepare your for the definition of disfunction." Hunter shook his head.
"They can’t be that bad, they raised you."
"Yeah I got out early, but still look at the emotional reck I am!" Hunter tilted his head back in frustration.
"Can you please just take a compliment, one time please." I smiled.
"Maybe one day!" I replied as I walked over to night stand to grab my bag and I tossed Hunter his keys. We had flown into New York to visit my parents, after they had invited us over for Christmas Dinner. I felt horrible about taking Hunter away from his family, but he was excited to meet my whole family.
"You got the room key?"
"Yeah its in my bag."
"Ok then we are ready to go," Hunter unlocked the door, and let me pass him. I loved hotels, something about them was always just so fun. Hunter made sure the door was locked and I traced my hands along the wallpaper.
"I bet I can make it to the lobby faster than you."
'What do you mean?” He looked, confused. I turned so I could face the end of the hallway, towards the elevator.
"I mean, ready set, go!" I ran as fast as I could to the wall, I tapped it trying to ease my turn towards the elevator. I tapped the button fast, but I saw Hunter coming quickly up behind me. Hunter was competitive, thats the way he always was. He was competitive, only thing, I always needed to be right, that also included always needing to win.
"Not a chance you can beat me!" He yelled, but just as if on cue, the elevator doors opened and I pressed the Lobby button, while pressing the close door sign. The elevator doors were caught by Hunter’s hand and the doors opened slowly. "Ha!" He laughed in trump, but stopped abruptly because a family walked in behind us. Hunter apologized for standing in their way, and found his space next to me.
"I said to the lobby, this is just the elevator." I looked up at him, he smiled at me with devious face, almost like he had a plan. At that moment I devised one of my own. The family hadn’t pressed any buttons to stop, so I assumed they were going to the lobby. That worked in my best interest. Hunter reached his hand out pressing the 3rd floor button, and looked at me.
"I got this in the bag, don’t be upset when I win." I shrugged, keeping a stolid look on my face.
"Whatever you say Hunter." The doors opened for the 3rd floor and Hunter took off running and the family looked oddly at me. I avoided the stares as I pressed the 2nd floor button, not needing to hide my nerves any more. I tapped my foot on the ground as I awaited the doors to open. They did, and I too ran out of the elevator quickly. I shot for the stairs and heard the steps of Hunter, as the hit the ground of the stairs only one flight up. I took off like a shot down the two flights of stairs and made it, finally, to the lobby. I ran to the front door and jumped in triumph, an even bigger smile appeared on my face when I saw an out of breath Hunter see me standing there. I heard him mutter damn it, under his breath. I smiled at his sore loser attitude. "Aww what happened? Did you lose the bag you had this race in?" I ask, referring to his remark in the elevator only a few a moments earlier. He shook it off.
"No, I just figured I would let you win, for once." I laughed and grabbed his hand.
"Sure, sure." Hunter guided us out to the car he rented for the weekend while we were here in New York. He opened the door for me and he climbed around the other side.
We pulled up to the tan colored house. I recognized the window boxes my mom so desperately wanted, the dark brown wrought iron boxes, and the green ivy plants that somehow managed to live through the winter. I know my mom didn’t have a green thumb, but my grandmother certainly did, she would always come over and fix the flowers and plants in our front yard. I assume she fixed the plants. I took breath of the cold winter air as I stepped out of the car, remembering the different feel it had then the Nashville air. Hunter closed his door, the sound brining me back to reality. I looked over at Hunter, how would I introduce him? This is Hunter, my boyfriend. My country star, boyfriend, Hunter. Hunter— “You ready baby?”
"Yes, very ready." Hunter looked up at the house and walked over to me, grabbing my hand.
"I’ve got to admit, I am very nervous." I looked over at him, and kissed his cheek. I brushed his hair back.
"No need to be nervous. To be honest you’ll be judging them, more than them judging you." Hunter laughed, his head tilting, his nose scrunching just a little. "They are going to love you, just as much as I do." Tightening the grip on his hand, we walked to the front door, and rang the door bell. Over and over again I prayed in my mind, please, be a normal relative, grandma, grandpa, mom, or dad. One of those, please.
"Cousin Sam." I sighed into the forceful hug, pressed onto me by her. Hunter went to pull away his hand, so I could fully embrace my cousin, but I kept a tight grip. I pulled back, and Hunter held out his hand to shake my cousin’s. "This is Hunter, Hunter this is my cousin, Samantha."
"Nice to meet you Hunter! Amy you look, so, different." There it was, I was beginning to wonder if she could set a new record this time. The longest amount of time she could go without saying something offensive.
"Yeah I know, very different."
"And wow, look at you two, so adorably short!" I felt Hunter squeeze my hand a little tighter. Hunter struggled with his height for a long time, and as confident as he is now, everyone has a weakness.
I looked over at him, a plastic smile on his lips. I should’ve warned Hunter about the heigh comments, it happens every time we all get together. For some reason, I was one of the only short person in the family, everyone else could touch the ceiling and here I was.
"Yeah i guess we are a pretty perfectly matched couple." Hunter gritted out, and put his arm around my shoulder. Sam smiled at us sincerely. She didn’t mean to be mean, she just was. She put herself on a pedestal, higher then everyone else. Samantha stepped out of the way to let us inside, and Hunter took his arm from over my shoulder, and followed behind me.
"Amy! Amy’s home, my little baby!" I ran directly out of Hunter’s grasp on my hand, and into my grandma’s arms.
"Grandma!" I said and she laughed.
"Sweetie I don’t think I like this Nashville stuff." My grandma, Lena, said as she pulled back. A smile on her face, told me she was half joking, half serious.
"Yeah it’s all his fault." Hunter stood there wide eyed for a good 3 seconds until he put out his hand to shake my grandma’s.
"Now that you dislike me for taking your granddaughter aways, i’m Hunter Hayes."
"Yeah but what’s your real name?" I heard a familiar voice say.
"Dad, do not start with this, his real name is Hunter Hayes." I said as I walked over and hugged him in his chair at the dining room table.
"Yeah but it’s just so, stage name like."
"Well my full name, my real name, is Hunter Easton Hayes." Hunter said walking over to meet my dad.
"It’s just so country perfect, how do I explain that?" I shook my head, not knowing exactly what he meant, but getting the gist of it. Hunter’s name did sound like it was made for fame in a way. My dad stood up and shook Hunter’s hand.
"Nice to meet you Mr. Smith."
"Nice to meet you too, Hunter Easton Hayes." I felt the tense moment subside when my dad pulled hunter in for a ‘guy’ hug and told him to call him George. I sighed in relief and I saw my mom run into the room, with a pan and oven mitts on.
"Hunter? Hunter’s here?" My mom had been waiting to meet Hunter ever since i first mentioned his name. She told me she could tell I was in love with home from the way I said his name, and that was even before we starting dating. Plus, when I showed her his music, she fell in love with him too. She’s always been a fan of country music.
"And so is your daughter, been away for awhile, Amy remember her?" My mom smiled and put down the food on the table and removed the gloves as she came to hug me.
"I’ve missed you so much sweetheart."
"I’ve missed you too." I kissed her cheek as she pulled back and went to hug Hunter.
"Its so great to meet you!" She said hugging him.
"Nice to meet you too Mrs. Smith."
"Oh please that is George’s mom, Lena’s, name, call me Ronnie, or Veronica. Whatever you prefer honey." Hunter smiled at her hospitality. My mom has always been that way, kind to strangers and to family.
"Where’s Eric?" I asked, my brother should be here. Unless of course he just didn’t show up. The only thing you could count on from him was his ability not to be counted on.
"He’s in the kitchen." My dad said, pointing down the hall as if I had forgotten the home I had grown up in. I peered over, not being able to see inside.
"Is he doing something? Why didn’t he come out to meet Hunter?"
"You know your brother." I sighed, and rolled my eyes. I grabbed Hunter’s hand and pulled him to the kitchen. Eric looked up at me and smirked.
"Hey there sis." He waved, as if he couldn’t remove himself from the chair and hug me hello. He looked down at his plate, not acknowledging Hunter in anyway.
"Eric, this is my boyfriend Hunter."
"Yeah I figured."
"What is your problem?" Hunter squeezed my hand.
"Its ok, he’s just being a brother." He whispered to me. I sighed and nodded. The odd thing about Eric was that he could torment you all he wanted, but was over protective at the same time. How? He used to make fun of me all the time when we were younger, worse then brother sister nagging at each other. But one time I was texting a boy and he almost killed the kid.
"Eric stop being an ass and shake his hand. I’ll show you like this."
"Cousin Anthony!" I said he quickly hugged me and went to shake Hunter’s hand.
"Hi Hunter I’m Amy’s cousin Anthony."
"Hi Anthony." Hunter said back smiling. Anthony put his arm around Hunter, taking him away from him, walking him towards the dining room. He was whispering something in Hunter’s ear, which made me nervous but I took the time to talk to my brother.
"So how’s Margo?"
"She’s here, ask her yourself." He said, snubbing my conversation from the start.
"How are you?"
"Are you mad or something?"
"No, this is just weird." I huffed.
"A little part of me hoped you would’ve grown up while I was gone." I pushed up from the kitchen chair and walked into the dining room. I saw Hunter sitting on a chair next to my cousin. My dad sat on the other side next to him and my grandfather across from him.
"Guys, time to eat. Everyone gather around!" I kicked Anthony out of his seat so I could sit next to Hunter. He seemed relived at that decision. Everyone gathered around the table and took their seats, including Eric and his fiancé Margo. When everyone sat, and had a drink in front of them my grandpa did the honors, as always.
"To an amazingly cooked meal by Lena and Ronnie-"
"Mainly Ronnie!" My grandma chimed in and everyone laughed.
"And to having my granddaughter back home for the holidays." I smiled, and raised my cup a bit higher. "And to meeting Hunter, who seems like a great guys, but if he ever hurts my granddaughter I’ll take out the shotgun." Hunter laughed and I did too. "And to Eric and his lovely fiancé Margo." Margo smiled, always being shy, but she has loosened up since high school. They were high school sweet hearts, I don’t really know what Margo saw in Eric but it must be something because they’ve been together for a long time. "Cheers!" He said and we all hit our cups together, I made sure to hit Hunter’s last, to see his smile and his blue eyes before taking a sip of the drink.
"So how is everybody, Amy, how is Nashville?" My dad asked and I smiled at their interest. I was never one to be the reason for conversation, always adding little snip its of my own opinion to be masked by someone’s more overpowering voice. I was the background noise, never expected to be anything more or less.
"It’s fantastic, I can’t wait for you to come down there. Our house is just, so pretty."
"Oh I am sure it is, I gave you a lot of advice on the furniture." My mom chimed in and I laughed. It was true almost everything in our house was picked out by my mom. She has good taste what can I say?
"It’s not very religious what you two do, living together without a wedding ring on your finger." Another snarky comment from lovely cousin Lisa.
"And when’s the last time you went to church?" I replied quick and heard my grandma cough, surprised at my instant come back. Normally I would take it, but not today. I am not going to get pushed around anymore. My dad, George, started to laugh.
"Amy 1 Sam nothing!!" He said in between laughing.
"Sam when are you gonna find yourself a nice boyfriend, someone like Hunter. He is so sweet!" My grandma said patting Samantha’s leg. Sam was older than me by a few years and always thought she was the best looking, best acting, and the wisest, it was good to watch her fall down a peg. Hunter looked down at his lap, trying to hide his smile or blush from the compliment.
"Aww don’t be so hard on her, she’ll find herself someone soon. I know she will." I said, trying to make up for the whole family ragging on her.
"So Hunter, what do you do? I mean I know you work in music but what exactly?" My grandfather asked, I don’t think he actually believed the fact that Hunter was quite famous.
"I um, I write and sing my own my music." Hunter said smiling. I saw my uncle nodding in the corner, he always knew about money. I remember he referred to Taylor Swift as a company and not a person just because she wrote and sang her own music.
"Write? Lyrics and music?" My grandma asked and Hunter nodded.
"Yeah I play about 30 instruments so I use those to write the actual music and the lyrics, I’ve just always liked to write."
"Like my Amy girl here." My cousin Anthony said, messing up my hair. "Always loving to write. Too bad that didn’t amount to anything." I looked up at him shocked.
"You’ve got to be kidding right? I write at the New York Times for a living." Anthony’s eyes went wide.
"Oh my gosh yeah! I just figured you left New York so you left the job behind." I nodded at the misconception.
"Yeah i guess thats understandable I write from Nashville. Back to Hunter, ask him more questions!" I said and Hunter nervously looked at me.
"Believe me, we were getting to it." My mom said, eager to ask another question. "So you go on tour Hunter?"
"Yeah, I love being on the rode." Hunter used to tell me he slept better in the bus then his empty bed. He doesn’t say it too often since I moved in, i just figure its because he hasn’t been on tour in a while. "But I never really had anything to leave at home you know." Hunter said looking at me, taking my hand in his under the table.
"So what would happen when you go on tour? I mean between you two?" I sighed, not wanting to answer the question.
"We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it." I replied and my mom nodded, getting the message.
"What makes you think you’re good enough for my sister?" My brother spoke up, the first time in a long while. Hunter swallowed thickly, obviously caught off guard by the question. I went to speak up, but Hunter started talking before I could preempt my brother.
"Good enough? Nothing, not a thing makes me feel like i’m good enough for your sister." I felt my cheeks blush and my body went warm. "Although, I am so glad that she thinks i’m good enough." I laughed and looked at Hunter, the best thing about it, he was so sincere. I intertwined my fingers with his under the table and he pulled our hands into his lap, rubbing circles into the back of my hand. Eric nodded, and smiled, finally.
After dinner we all opened presents, I didn’t expect anything. Mainly because I have been away for so long, but I got a present. My parents bought me a notebook, a very expensive looking one. My name was inscribed on the front with gold dust sprinkled on the black leather binding. They even got Hunter something. My dad and mom got him a t-shirt with his face on it, and Encore written on the bottom. Hunter laughed while opening it because he saw the familiar bag from his merchandise store online. After dessert and few more laughs, we decided it was finally time we call it a night.
"Well I don’t know about you Hunter, but I am exhausted." I exclaimed, as I yawned. My grandmother looked up at the clock.
"Yeah its getting late."
"Getting late? Its been late for about three years now." My brother exaggerated, making Margo laugh. I guess he was a pretty funny guy.
"Yeah, I agree I am so tired." Hunter yawned. The yawn caught half way through the room before I stood up to grab my bag and car keys. Before we could leave came the barrage of hugs, expected from my family. The best hug exchanged was a quick hand shake and hug made between Hunter and Eric. I smiled before kissing my mother on the cheek, goodbye.
"Love you guys."
"Love you too, but now that you have a rich boyfriend exploit him a bit. Come down and see us a bit more." My dad said and Hunter laughed.
"Hey, anytime she wants to get down here, I’ll get her here in a shot." My dad smiled and hugged Hunter goodbye.
"Love you, bye!" I said as I pulled the door closed behind us and we walked over to the car. We walked behind the trunk, putting the presents we have got in it. Hunter closed the trunk and pulled me close by the waist.
"Hunter they could be watching us." I whispered and he shook his head.
"Not through the car, so what do you think? They like me, or no?" I kissed his cheek.
"They love you."
"Good cus, I love you and well this all needs to work out for me." I smiled and before I could talk, Hunter pulled me even closer to bring his lips to mine. Lightly moving them in sync with mine. A butterfly kiss he called it, because sometimes my eyelash would lightly brush against his cheek. Plus it wasn’t a full kiss, just a sweet one, romantically sweet. They way I loved our relationship, perfectly, romantically, sweet.
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