Love Incorporated
By Elena Lane
Date: September 17, 2021
Ch. 1111

Weeks later things were still going strong in Tabitha’s relationship with Braxton. Though, they had pretty much avoided discussing the whole parent conflict. It was just easier that way, but of course, they couldn’t avoid it forever. Eventually, they had to deal with that one big problem that was still looming over them. Sooner than they had hoped, Tabitha and Braxton’s two opposing worlds collided, exploding like fireworks into the sky.

At the final social event of the summer, their situation took a disastrous turn. The event was for a charity that raised money for cancer research; it was one of those events where Tabitha’s family and Braxton’s both coexisted. Unfortunately, this year it would be harder for them to avoid each other completely because Tabitha and Braxton had every intention of showing up as a couple. Braxton and Tabitha arrived hand in hand, smiling. Their parents, meanwhile, stood on opposite sides of the room. This wasn’t going to be an easy night, but Tabitha was sure that everybody could keep their cool, just for this one night.

“You look beautiful,” Braxton commented as he escorted her to her chair.
“You look handsome yourself,” she said giving him a quick peck. They sat down into their seats, becoming more relaxed as the night went on. Instead of focusing on their unhappy parents, they turned their attention to each other and that made all the difference. Things were so tranquil and nice for those moments.

Unfortunately, the peace and quiet didn’t last. Before they knew it, a loud argument had broken out. Of course, it was between their two sets of parents. Tabitha looked over at the four adults who had at some point come together during the night. She cringed as she heard their words, “We don’t want the likes of you homosexuals tainting our Braxton. We can accept that his views on homosexuality differ from ours, but we can’t accept him actually becoming a part of your sinful life. We have values and we want Braxton to have them too,” Julie Decker spat.

A fire was burning in Kevin’s eyes as he said, “Well, we don’t really want your hateful bigotry to be anywhere near our daughter either, but we still let her see that punk son of yours; a hooligan like him will never have values, but I guess neither will you. You teach hate and I don’t find that very moral.”

As more words were tossed back and forth, Braxton took Tabitha’s hand and led her towards the fight. The argument became louder and louder, booming in Tabitha’s ears. She hated this; why couldn’t they just make an effort to get along? They didn’t have to like each other, but they could be adults about it and act cordially to one another.

Braxton spoke first, “Can we just calm down? There’s no need to make a scene here.”

Mark bit his tongue, but Kevin couldn’t constrain himself, “Listen, kid, you have no right telling us what to do. Your parents are uppity and disrespectful; they deserve to be put in their place and so do you.”

Tabitha turned to her father, “Dad, I don’t like the way you’re talking to my boyfriend, especially since he’s right; you’re all acting like children. There’s no need to yell and scream about this. Can’t we just speak like adults and work this out?”

This time Harold Decker jumped in, “Young lady, you must understand; sometimes, yelling is the only way to communicate with thickheaded sinners.”

“Dad,” Braxton seethed, “Stop it. We’re not asking you to agree with each other. We just want you to keep your opinions to yourself and be able to have a friendly, if fake conversation. Tabitha and I are dating and you can either support us or you can reject us, but let me warn you,” he said turning to his parents specifically, “if you reject the relationship between Tabitha and I, then I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to keep our relationship. Now, there’s no reason to lose a relationship with your only son simply because of stubbornness and inflexibility. Obviously, you can choose whatever you want, but know that there are consequences.”

His mother sighed after a long pause, “We love you, Braxton, know that. Otherwise, we’d never even think of letting the Collins into our family life, but if it’s okay with your father, I think that we can try to mend the rift between our families and have some kind of mutual respect for each other.”

“Dad?” Braxton asked.

His father did not look amused at the whole situation, but with a resigned voice he said, “Fine. We’ll give this a shot.”

Tabitha turned to her dads, “Do you two think that you can agree to those same terms?”

Mark replied, “For you, sweetheart, we’d do anything and if this makes you happy, we’ll do this too.”

Kevin was silent, but spoke after Mark gave him a nudge. Through gritted teeth he said, “Fine, it’s a deal.” Then with a growl he added, “But if that Braxton hurts you, I’ll hurt him.”

Tabitha laughed, “I would expect nothing less.” Though, she knew that her dad would never actually hurt Braxton; it just wasn’t in his character, but she also knew that he would never have the need to. Tabitha was certain that Braxton would only ever treat her with kindness and love.

After the agreement was made, the parents began to try their hand at polite conversation. It was obvious that they were struggling to do so, but just seeing them put in some effort made Tabitha feel relieved. Maybe this could all work out after all.

Braxton leaned his head to Tabitha’s ear, “Do you want to get out of here for a while and leave them to work things out?” he asked.

Tabitha nodded. “Sounds perfect,” she replied and they said goodbye to their parents quickly before fleeing the building. It sure was nice to be away from all that tension.

Braxton took Tabitha to the park for a quick stroll so that they could have some alone time in the fresh summer air before he took her home.

“Everything worked out, at least,” Tabitha said as they sat down on a park bench.

“More or less. Your parents still aren’t happy about this and neither are mine, but they’re not going to disown us and after the blowup, they acted civilly to one another. It’s progress if nothing else.”

Tabitha nodded, smiling. “We’ve made some progress ourselves,” she said slipping her hand into his and curling up beside him on the bench. “We use to hate each other.”

Braxton laughed, “Yeah, but I remember the first day I fell for you.”

“Tell me about it,” Tabitha demanded curiously.

“Well, it turns out you were the one falling that day,” he said lightly.

“So you knew from the very beginning?”

Braxton nodded, “I actually have a little confession to make about that day. Do you remember how you bumped into me and fell to the ground?”

“Yeah? What about it.”

“Well, I kind of did it on purpose.”

Tabitha laughed, rolling her eyes, “I should have known.”

Braxton took her hands in his, becoming serious. “You know that I love you, right? More than anything in this world.”

Tabitha felt her heart skip a beat. Hearing I love you felt beautiful. She could barely contain her euphoria, but as coolly as she could she replied, “I love you too, Braxton. You’re not the man I envisioned giving my heart to, but I love you more than I thought I could love anyone.”

Braxton leaned his face towards Tabitha’s and then, they kissed and kissed and kissed some more. They knew that through it all, thick and thin, that they could rely on one another. Tabitha was sure that more problems would likely arise, but if they could survive their feuding families, they could survive anything. Their love was strong and no matter what the future held, they knew that their love would endure; their pasts and their futures would become one united future. Someday, they’d be man and wife; Tabitha was sure of it because every time they were together, they became one entity with a steadfast, incorporated love.

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