After walking in on Evie telling Mae and Nolan about Alex the next morning, her parents convinced her to invite him over for the family get together that afternoon. It didn’t take much convincing as she really wanted to see him again, but it did take a promise from her dad that he wouldn’t be too hard on Alex; a promise that did take a bit of begging to get.
Evie’s grandpa had suggested that she just invite Alex’s whole family over, they could all get to know each other but it might take some of the pressure off as well. Evie thought that would just add more pressure, but told Alex to bring his family anyway when she called him. Only his younger sister and his brother were able to make it, which was a relief to Evie, she didn’t think she wanted to meet his parents even if it was only fair when he had to meet hers.
She’d expected her dad to still give Alex a bit of a hard time and that was probably the plan but their conversation had quickly gone into sports when her dad learned that Alex was a PE major at university and played soccer, and hockey when he got the chance. Evie’s dad was also a PE major and soccer was his passion, so they’d quickly bonded over that. Evie started chatting with Alex’s sister, Katie, while the guys talked sports and they moved their conversation into the kitchen after a few minutes.
“So, now that we’re out of earshot, any embarrassing secrets about Alex?” Evie joked as she poured them each a cup of coffee.
Katie laughed “Aren’t those supposed to be saved for the wedding?”
“Well, I think it’s a bit early to think about that, so…” Evie said handing a cup of coffee across the counter to Katie.
“Well, don’t worry, you’ll be able to discover some on your own. He’s got those crazy superstitions and rituals he follows so his teams don’t lose… it’s so weird.”
"My dad, too. Not so uncommon in sports, it’s worse when they play on a major league team though… they’re all crazy.”
“Are you saying bad things about me?” Evie’s father’s voice came from behind her.
“Good. Anyway, we thought we could go out and play a bit of soccer while waiting for everybody to show up. Me and your mom against you and Alex.”
“Okay sure. If you can get mom to play anyway, she’s off talking to work I think.”
“Somebody really needs to teach her what a vacation is.” He sighed. “Well, I’m going to go see what’s up. I guess we find somebody to fill in if need be, but if I can’t have your mom on my team I get you.”
“Hey, not fair, I already won this argument.” Alex said shuffling in beside Evie and wrapping an arm around her shoulder.
“And what about what I want?” Evie asked.
“Hey, if you wanna choose to be on my team, I’m totally okay with that. But neither of us really have a choice I think if we play with your mom.” Her dad answered as he walked off.
Evie chuckled, he had a point. Her mom loved to team up with him and kick the kids’ butts and it was pretty hard for them to deny her what she wanted.
“Don’t worry, I would have picked you anyway,” Evie told Alex, “maybe I can kick my dad’s butt for a change.” She laughed.
A little while later they were at the park, Evie and Alex were playing against her parents as planned and his siblings and her siblings watching.
Evie and Alex still lost however. Evie’s dad grinned at them “Ah I love kicking butt. See boy, you can’t beat me.”
Evie wanted to tell him off for the jab at Alex, but Alex with a smile and shake of his head told her father, “Hey man, one day I’ll challenge you to a hockey match, it’ll be a whole different story.”
Evie and her mom just looked at each other and shook their heads.
“Okay boys, let’s just head home.” Her mother said.
“Oh no need” A voice called out, Evie looked up to see her grandpa and her aunts walking up “Thought we’d just join you guys out here. Much nicer outside.”
They spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening just hanging out around the park. More of Evie’s aunts and uncles and some cousins coming and going as the day dragged on. They just hung around grilling food, playing games, chatting and having a great time. Evie’s dad and Alex played a couple more rounds of soccer though Evie opted out of playing so she could chat with Katie while watching.
She was just glad to see her dad and Alex getting along, she was worried that her dad was going to be really hard on him. But since she didn’t really spend much time with Alex since he spent so much with her dad, Evie and Alex stayed behind after everybody else had gone home.
“Well, I guess you pass the test.” She laughed as they snuggled close on the ground to watch the sunset “my dad seems to really like you. I figure any guy who can win him over so easily must be really special.”
“It’s just fortunate we’re both into sports. But I must be really special for you to take an interest in me in the first place because you’re really special.”
Evie blushed and snuggled in closer “Aww.”
They watched the rest of sunset in silence, Evie got lost in thought and didn’t pay much attention to it however. She spent too much time thinking about how much she was going to miss Alex, and how scared she was that their relationship wouldn’t survive the distance after she left in the morning and Alex went back to school.
She didn’t even notice him holding out his hand to pull her up until he started hollering at her “earth to Evie.”
“You seemed lost in thought and I thought we could dance.” He said still holding out his hand and kicking on the boom box that was on the ground.
“Oh, sure” She answered taking his hand and letting him pull her up.
“I don’t even know why this thing is here, but it’s kind of useful right now.” He said pulling her close and wrapping his arms around her waist.
“You know, that’s from when my dad proposed to my mom. They forgot it and didn’t make it back for it for a while, I guess the eventually decided to see how long it would last here. It’s amazing it never got stolen.”
“I guess it’s just too much a part of the place now. So what were you thinking about anyway?"
“Just how much I’m going to miss you. And how I’m kind of scared for what lies ahead, when we’ll be so far apart.”
“I’m scared too, but I really like you and will do whatever I can to make this work. We can talk on the phone all the time, and I’ll visit you when I can but that might not be much.”
Evie smiled feeling a bit better “I’ll visit you too, at college, whenever I can.”
“That’s going to be so bad for my studies, but I won’t say no to that.” He smiled back at her as she leaned in to rest her head on his shoulder
They stayed out dancing until Evie was almost falling asleep at which point Alex walked her home, very slowly to savour the last few minutes they had together.