Chapter 20

      Thanksgiving Dinner


      "Please relax, sweetheart. Everything is going to be fine. Listen, if at any time you would like to leave, just let me know, ok? But really, Elizabeth is the sweetest ever. You have nothing to worry about."

     Symphony groaned. "But what if she takes one look at me and decides I don't measure up? I'm not like all of those beautiful women you used to date."

       Gently pushing Symphony against the wall, Michael crushed his lips to hers, as he plunged his tongue down her throat. The kiss was so fiery that it temporarily halted her anxiety, making her forget all of her worries. "Symphony... Baby! Just stop it! You're more than beautiful... You're exquisite. I, for one, am glad you're nothing like those women. You're much more."

      Before Symphony could snap back to reality, Michael rang the doorbell to Elizabeth's condo. After being led by the doorman to where dinner was being held, Elizabeth beamed with happiness when she saw the two. "There you are!" she bellowed, her arms outstretched towards them.

       Immediately rushing towards her, gently pulling Symphony along, Michael yelled affectionately, "Elizabeth!"

      "I'm so glad you could make it,  sweetheart," she spoke warmly, giving him and Symphony each a big hug.

       "I'm glad we could as well. I've missed you so much. Thanks for inviting us."

       Turning her attention towards Symphony, Elizabeth took both of her hands in hers and said, "it's so nice to meet you. Can I get you anything?"

       "No-no, I'm alright, Ms. Taylor. But thanks for asking. It's so nice to meet you as well."

        When Symphony's hands began to tremble, Elizabeth gave them a light squeeze and said, "no need to feel nervous around me. I'm so happy you're both here."

        After letting go of Symphony's hands, Elizabeth pinched Michael on the cheek and said, "she's adorable, sweetie."

      Turning to look at Symphony, he smiled at her admiringly. The last woman he had introduced to Elizabeth was his ex-fiance, Mercedes.

      As a huge lump formed in Symphony's throat, she tore her gaze away from him. She loved staring into Michael's deep, beautiful brown eyes, but right now, it was too much for her to handle. Despite Elizabeth telling her not to be nervous, she felt as though she could pass out at any moment.

      As Michael grabbed ahold of Symphony's hand, he could tell by the sweat forming on her palm that her nerves were getting the best of her. In hopes of soothing her anxiety, he whispered in her ear, "Baby... Please calm down."

       Drawing a deep breath, Symphony smiled at him weakly and said, "I'll try."

       For the rest of the afternoon, Michael and Symphony engaged in light conversation with Elizabeth and the other guest. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, as Elizabeth was the most gracious host. Symphony could see why Michael loved her so much. She was extremely kind and laid-back. Not once did Elizabeth make her feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

       Linking her arm with Symphony's, Elizabeth chuckled at Michael and said, "Do you mind if I steal her away for a moment?"

       "If it were anyone else that asked, I'd say no. But for you, Elizabeth... Sure," Michael teased before turning serious. "But only if Symphony is ok with it as well."

       Symphony smiled. "It's ok, baby... We'll be back in a bit."

       As Elizabeth took Symphony on a private tour of the condo, they discussed everything from fashion to music. And even though the two had been chatting with one another for most of the afternoon, Elizabeth wanted to speak with her in private.

      Based on what she knew, she could quickly tell that Symphony was a sweet person and loved Michael immensely. Out of the few women, Michael had introduced her to throughout the years, Symphony was the most down to earth.

        Leading Symphony into a beautiful room that had magnificent artwork displayed on every inch of its walls, Elizabeth smiled and said, "Are you still feeling nervous, my dear? Michael told me you were feeling a little apprehensive over meeting me."

       Symphony breathed deep. "Yes, I was — Meeting your boyfriend's best friend, and second mother is a very daunting task when she's the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor."

     

        "Oh, dear! No need to flatter me. I'm just like everyone else. Now that we have spent some time getting to know one another, I hope you're no longer feeling nervous."


      "I won't lie and say that I'm not. But my anxiety has calmed down quite a bit.

It's just that I love Michael very much, and I was afraid of you not liking me. I was worried he'd dump me if I didn't get your seal of approval. Please forgive me if I've said too much."


      "Oh please! If that were the case, Michael would have never gotten engaged to that Mercedes woman... She was someone I wasn't too fond of. But let's not go there. I hope you're enjoying your evening thus far. And no, you haven't said too much. I'm glad you're feeling more relaxed around me."


     "I most certainly am, Ms. Taylor. Thanks for having me. It was extremely nice of you to allow me to attend as Michael's guest."


     "Oh, you're very welcome! And please... No need to be so formal. Call me, Elizabeth. And with that being said, don't call me Liz... I've disliked the name ever since my Brother, Howard, nicknamed me 'Lizzy the Lizard,' she grimaced.

      Symphony nodded. "Got it, Elizabeth. But if you don't mind me asking, is there any particular reason why Michael hasn't introduced you to any of his girlfriend's for such a long time? Michael has been very open with me, but he can also be a bit of an enigma at times. I want him to feel completely comfortable with me."

       Taking a seat on a nearby sofa, Elizabeth padded the spot next to her, gesturing for Symphony to sit down. After Symphony took a seat, Elizabeth placed her hand on Symphony's shoulder and said, "That sounds like Michael, alright. For the fact that you're here, it means he's very comfortable with you. He doesn't just introduce every and any woman he dates to me. But please... Give him time. It takes a while for him to open up completely. He's been hurt many times. And might I add, very deeply. One of those times made him lose hope in finding a woman to share his life with."

       Symphony frowned. "Would you mind telling me what happened? Two months ago, while we were at a cafe, he did mention losing someone very special to him, but he didn't elaborate further. Is that what made him lose hope? His losing someone? Was it Mercedes? We haven't spoken much about his past relationships."

       Standing up from the sofa, Elizabeth took a deep breath and said, "I think he should explain his past relationships with you. Especially his break-up with Mercedes. And as much as I've loved this friendly girl-chat, we should rejoin the others. I'm sure Michael is wondering what's taking us so long, and who wants to eat cold turkey? Dinner is to be served in 30 minutes."

       Symphony smiled. "Thank you, Elizabeth. I've enjoyed our conversation, as well. You have no idea how much this has meant to me."

       "No problem, dear. I like you a lot. It's so nice to see Michael happy and in love again. I was beginning to worry about him. He thinks I'm clueless, but I know all about his random hook up's... Chris tells me everything. Albeit, it's not much since Michael is a gentleman. But they are men, and they talk."

       When Elizabeth and Symphony returned to the party, they both gushed when they saw Michael doting on a precious three-month-old baby.

      "Oh, how cute! Michael has always been great with kids. He's such a natural.

I'm hoping to get a God-baby from him someday," Elizabeth chuckled, as she winked her eye at Symphony. "Well, I'll see you later. I need to check on a few things before dinner is served."

      After Elizabeth trotted off to the kitchen, Symphony made her way towards Michael. As she took a seat next to him on the sofa, she placed a tender kiss on his cheek and cooed, "Hey, sweetie, I'm back. And who's this little Angel?"

       Michael spoke in a hushed tone, not wanting to awaken the sleeping infant. "Her name is Elise. Isn't she adorable? She's the daughter of Elizabeth's friend, Savannah. She asked me to watch her while she went to the restroom."

       When Michael lifted his eyes to look at Symphony, she saw a longing in his eyes she had never seen before. At that moment, she knew exactly what he felt because she felt it too. But now was not the right time for her to entertain the idea of having his baby; they weren't even married.

       Pushing the crazy thought out of her brain, Symphony excused herself for a drink. It had been a long day, and she was experiencing a range of varying emotions.

       During dinner, Michael and Symphony sat directly next to each other while Elizabeth sat straight across from them. Being the dame she was, Elizabeth 'pulled out all the stops'. Dinner consisted of a five-course meal, and drinks were endless.

      Taking a sip of her Dom Pérignon P2 2002, champagne, Elizabeth asked Michael how did he like the Banana-Cream pie they had for dessert. She knew of his love for the sumptuous treat and had made it especially for him.

        As Michael thought back to the first time Symphony made him a Banana-Cream pie, he smiled and said, "it was excellent, but my baby makes the best pie. Symphony made me one, and it's the best I've ever tasted. But please... Don't tell the chef I said that."

       Raising her eyebrows in surprise, Elizabeth shrilled, "excuse-moi! But I am the chef. I made that pie, especially for you, Michael."

       Michael mumbled under his breath, "shit!"

       Looking down at her lap, Symphony giggled and said, "oooh, you're in trouble!"

       "Be quiet, Symphony. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be in this predicament," he spoke sarcastically.

       "Oh, stop it, you two!" Elizabeth chuckled,

"Though I'm a little upset to hear I'm no longer your favorite Banana-Cream pie maker, I'm happy to hear Symphony cooks for you."

      After dinner had come to a close, Elizabeth walked Michael and Symphony to the door. He wished they could stay longer for after-dinner drinks, but he and Symphony needed to get some rest for tomorrow's meeting with Sony Corp.

      Giving Symphony a tight hug, Elizabeth kissed her gently on the cheek and said, "don't be a stranger, dear. I hope we'll be seeing each other again very soon. You're a total sweetheart."

       As Michael watched the two embrace, his heart had become overcome with emotion. Seeing the woman he respected and admired greatly, get along with the woman he had fallen deeply in love with meant a lot to him. While he was his own man and could think for himself, he still valued Elizabeth's opinion and was happy the two had immediately hit it off with one another.

       Taking Elizabeth by the hand, Symphony touched her heart and said, "Thank you for such a lovely evening, Elizabeth. It was so nice meeting you. I enjoyed our conversation. Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope to see you again soon."

       Turning towards Michael, Elizabeth pulled him into her arms, rocking him from side to side. "I'm so glad you could make it, sweetie. I've missed you so much."

        "I've missed you too. I'm sorry for not visiting as often as I should. It's just you're not on the east coast often and I--"

      "Michael, I understand. We'll figure something out, Elizabeth spoke softly into his ear, cutting him off mid-sentence, "Symphony seems like a wonderful woman. I'm happy for you."

      Whispering in return, he closed his eyes and said, "Thank-you. She means the world to me. I'm going to try to make this work."

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