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Ilook down at myself. I’m wearing a pair of denim short shorts and a black tank top with a pair of denim wedges. A large, silver heart shaped pendant sits on my tank top between my breasts.

“Are you sure I look ok?” I ask Tyler for the hundredth time.

“You look great,” he says. He gives a soft laugh. “At this point, I feel like you’re just fishing for compliments.”

I roll my eyes.

“I don’t mean it like that. I mean are you sure I look ok for the barbecue? Are you sure everyone will be dressed casually?” I ask.

“I’m sure. Summer it’s a barbecue not a royal gala or something. Just relax ok,” he says.

I nod my head, but I don’t know if I can actually do it or not. I suppose it’s pointless to keep asking if I’m dressed ok or not now that we’re in the car on the way to Angela’s place anyway. Even if Tyler changes his mind and decides actually that I don’t look ok, I don’t think he’d say so at this point. And even if he did, it’s not like I have a spare outfit with me to change into and if we were to go back for me to change my outfit, we’d be late and then I’d worry about being seen as rude instead of worrying about being under dressed.

Ah fuck it, I think to myself. This is me. They will either accept me as I am, or they won’t. I can’t be one of those women who totter around in skyscraper heels and wear beautiful dresses all day every day. It’s just not who I am.

“Well, here we are,” Tyler says as he pulls up at the curb.

I get out of the car and look at the house. It’s a nice house, well looked after, but it’s nothing as grand as Tyler’s house and I start to feel better. This seems more like the sort of place I will be able to relax in.

Tyler walks around the car and joins me, and we head for the house. He leads me away from the front door and instead to a green-colored gate in the middle of a tall wooden fence at the side of the house. He puts his hand over the gate and releases the bolt and then he pushes the gate open and gestures for me to go through it. I step through and wait while Tyler follows me and then locks the gate behind us. He takes my hand in his and leads me around the edge of the house and into a large back yard.

The bottom half of the yard is mostly grass with a swing set and a small trampoline that is currently being bounced on by a cute looking toddler. A small building is nestled in the bottom corner. The top half of the yard is all decked out and covered with patio furniture. I figure Angela must entertain out here a lot to have this many outdoor tables and chairs.

Just across from the seating area, a large trestle table loaded with salad, buns, condiments, plates and napkins sits, waiting to be filled with meat from the smoky barbecue that sits beside it. An older man is flipping chicken breasts and steaks with tongs on the barbecue. Everyone else is congregated around the tables on the various seats.

The back door to the house is open and I can see the array of drinks laid out on the countertop of the kitchen. Music drifts out through the open door. Angela sure knows how to throw a party it seems.

People have started to notice our arrival and a woman stands up and comes over to us. Tyler releases my hand and takes both of hers in his. They air kiss a cheek and then Tyler releases her hands and puts one hand on the bottom of my back, pushing me gently forward.

“Angela, this is Summer. Summer, my sister, Angela,” he says.

“Hi,” I say, holding my hand out to shake hers.

“Nice to meet you,” Angela says.

She takes my outstretched hand, but she doesn’t shake it. She uses it to pull me in and gives me a hug which I return awkwardly. She releases me and then takes my hand and starts leading me away from Tyler into the main part of the yard.

“Come meet everyone,” she says.

I glance back at Tyler as Angela pulls me along. He just smiles and I laugh softly and give in, allowing Angela to take over.

“Mom, this is Summer. Tyler’s girlfriend,” Angela says, leading me over to a woman with short gray hair. She’s wearing dark blue pants and a pretty blouse, and she smiles at me.

“Hi Summer, I’m Sally,” the woman says with a warm smile. “I’ve heard a ton about you.”

“All good I hope,” I say with a laugh and then cringe at how much of a cliché it is to say that.

“Of course,” Sally says. She winks at me. “And don’t worry. I have a ton of embarrassing baby photos for you.”

We both laugh and I feel myself relaxing slightly. Angela gently takes my elbow and steers me away towards the barbecue where Tyler now stands with the man cooking. He’s holding the little girl from the trampoline on his hip.

“Dad, this is Summer. Summer this is our dad,” Angela says. “And head chef for the day apparently.”

“Don’t act all innocent Angela,” her dad says with a laugh. “We both know you knew I would take over the barbecue.”

Angela laughs and nods her head.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Clark,” I say when the laughter fades.

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