Paisley and Gerard had just entered the kitchen to find several men and women sitting at the table beside his parents.
He smiled as he led Paisley over to them.
“Hi Aunt Linda,” he bent down as she kissed him on the cheek.
“This must be Paisley,” Aunt Linda smiled.
Gerard nodded, “Everyone, this is my girlfriend Paisley Walker. Paisley, this is my these are my aunts Linda, Darlene, and Sandra . And my uncles Mike, Spencer, and Peter.”
Paisley smiled at each of them when Gerard introduced them. When Linda stood up and hugged her, Paisley froze momentarily before hugging her back. Looking over his aunts shoulder Paisley caught Gerard rolling his eyes, causing her to giggle.
“This is a very beautiful dress Paisley,” Linda pulled back and looked at her.
“Thank you,” Paisley’s soft southern accent added to her demure appearance.
Linda beamed and sat back down next to her sisters. Gerard placed his hand on her lower back and lead her out of the kitchen, “I wanna introduce to some other people.”
As soon as they had exited the kitchen, everyone turned to Donna.
“She’s very pretty,” Sandra gushed and Linda agreed.
“Very. She seems to make Gerard happy.”
Donna smiled, “Yes. I haven’t seen him smile or laugh as much as he has since mama died. They had a rough patch recently but they’ve worked it out. I have a feeling she’s going to be around for a long time.”
She stood up and began setting the table for dinner. Turning to her husband she asked him to bring everyone into the kitchen.
Donald walked into the living room, “Time to eat. Let’s go. Gerard, it isn’t necessary to introduce her to everyone at once. She’s going to go into information overload.”
Everyone laughed as Gerard turned slightly red. Paisley giggled and kissed him on the cheek before she sat down across from Mikey.
“Ok. Everybody, time for gifts.”
Paisley and Gerard were the last to enter the living room. Gerard motioned for Paisley to sit in the recliner, the last available seat in the room. As soon as she had sat down, he sat at her feet. From across the room Donna and Donald smiled at each other as they glanced over at the young couple.
“Alright. Let’s get started,” Donald turned to Paisley, “ The first gift is for you from Donna and I.”
Paisley’s eyes widened, “ Oh. Thank you, but you didn’t have to. I’m not family.”
Donna passed the gift to the shocked girl. “Of course you are. “
Paisley opened the package and began to cry when she pulled out the blue paisley top.
“Thank you. I love it. This is the first gift I‘ve gotten since my 16th birthday,” Paisley wiped away the tears with the hand that wasn’t being held by Gerard.
Donna sat on the arm of the chair and wrapped her arms around Paisley as everyone in the room was affected by Paisley’s announcement. Leaning down she kissed Paisley on top of her head.
“I think you have several more gifts underneath the tree,” she said as Donald handed them to her.
Paisley looked down at Gerard who was gazing at her with concern in his eyes.
“I’m fine. Don’t worry. Open your gifts. I wanna see what you got,” she told him with a smile.
Gerard smiled at her and complied with her request.
The spotlight taken off of Paisley, Mikey and his cousins tore into their gifts as well.
“Well that was fun,” Mikey sat down next to Paisley on Gerard’s bed.
“I didn’t mean to cry. I feel stupid for crying, ” Paisley sighed causing Mikey to give her a one armed hug.
“Paisley don’t feel that way.”
Paisley hugged him back just as Gerard came out of his bathroom.
“Of course Paise. Don’t feel like that. I think we all understand why you did cry. But like mom said, you’re family now. And I know you got our aunt Linda’s vote.”
“And that’s hard to do,” Mikey added as he started up the steps.
“She still doesn’t like Frank,” Gerard mused.
“Emphasis on still,” Mikey replied as he completely exited the basement.
Paisley laughed, “Then I guess I’m special.”
Gerard sat down next to her and picked up her hand.
“I could have told you that.”