They sat alone in the parking lot. The bright lights caused stark and stretched shadows through the nooks and crannies of the little car. The keys were in her hand, and she knew that she should probably just start the car and drive away, but she couldn’t make her muscles command follow that simple little command. She just tuned to look at his half-hidden face again.
“We, um, we might have messed up.” She could see his smile even through the darkness. “I think we’re going to have to ask for help.” She groaned exaggeratedly, hoping that the joke of overreaction would help cover the fact that she was disappointed. “I know, love. My pride is hurt too. But-uh, yeah-we’re definitely in over our heads here.”
She let her head fall forward, resting against the cold plastic-y covering of her steering wheel. “Yes. We are in over our heads.” She felt his hand on the back of her neck, squeezing and releasing gently in a half-hearted neck rub. “I thought we had a plan,” She groaned more to the horn than to him.
His sigh was almost heartbreaking. “I’m so sorry. We did have a plan.” He ran his fingers down her back down, scratching along her spine. “I had a whim. I messed it all up.”
“No, no.” She leaned back, squishing his hand between her back and the chair. “We messed up the plan together. I accepted your whim, and we got off the plan together. It’s part of that being a couple and making decisions together thing. We both make decisions and we both have to accept the consequences.”
He wiggled his fingers behind her, and she pushed back against his hand a little hard to watch him make a ridiculous exaggerated face of pain in an attempt to make her smile. She did, and he smiled back.
That’s why they were still together, injured pride and in over their head-ness aside. They smiled when the other smiled, and the greatest victory of the day was the other laughed. They loved each other. They were going to make it through this.
She leaned forward to let him pull his hand free. He leaned over the console and kissed her softly on the shoulder. She took a deep breath and put the key in the ignition, praying that the car would turn over on the first try. “So—Whose pride should we utterly annihilate first? Yours or mine?”
“Well,” He considered the options, sitting back in the passenger seat, reaching over to rest a hand on her knee, “Your Dad already thinks that I’m the worst thing to happen to you. Let’s go play off that to see if feeling that he was right makes him more willing to let us crash for the night.”
She turned the key, and the car turned over easily. That seemed like a good omen. “All right. To my parents’ house it is.” He gave her knee a little squeeze, and she gave him a smile back. They would get through this.