I pulled up the car outside Delilah’s house. Climbing out, I retrieved her present from the back seat, before locking the car and strolling towards the front door with Geoff. I rang the doorbell, then waited for Delilah to open the door.
“Happy birthday!” I cheered.
“Ah, thank you, Nina.” We embraced. “Twenty-nine, getting old.”
“Hardly, hardly.” We broke away and then stepped inside, Delilah closing the door behind Geoff and I.
“Thanks for coming over,” she said.
“No worries, thank you for having us,” I replied.
Spending the evening with Bandile’s cousin was somewhat of a surprising invitation. Yet, it was good to get to know the members of the support group and their extended families a bit better, even if Delilah was a decade older than me. Just as we sat down in front of drinks and nibbles, we heard a knock at the front door. I glanced over my shoulder.
“I’ll get it,” I offered, standing, presuming that it would be Bandile arriving.
It was different to usually meeting him at the library. Sure enough, two smiling faces were on the other side of the screen door.
“Hey,” I greeted, opening the door so that Bandile and Joey could enter.
I didn’t comment on it seeming to only be the two, rather than the three of them, coming over. It wasn’t my place to poke my nose into someone else’s relationship.
“Well, now that you’re all here, I have some news, we have some news.” Delilah stood, to join Nahum in the kitchen. “We’re getting married!”
She stretched out her hand from underneath the sleeve of her jumper, to reveal her teardrop-shaped diamond ring.
“Thank you, thank you.”
I looked over to Bandile’s stunned expression, which bloomed into a grin.
“That’s the best news,” he gushed.
“Thanks. We’re pretty chuffed.”
“Well, at least one of you is settling down,” Joey remarked.
“Too right, babe, too right.”
They spoke with mirth, so I wasn’t too concerned. Grazing platters were lid across the coffee table.
“Are you going to be in another musical, Nina?”
“Oh, not this year. I don’t think they’re running one at the uni. They were going to do Rocky Horror, so I’m not sure what happened with that.”
We’d stuffed ourselves with chips and nibbles, but a delicious dinner of home-cooked pizza was prepared nonetheless. Nahum carried it through to the coffee table and sliced it up, pulling apart tender dough oozing with mozzarella and topped with tomato, olives and herbs. The conversation dulled briefly, so we could eat. They’d cooked like true Italians.
“That was absolutely delicious,” Joey gushed.
Nahum pecked Delilah on the temple as he got up to clear the plates away. I glimpsed my watch.
“Look, it’s been a really lovely night, but we’d better make tracks,” I announced, offering Geoff a smile. “Otherwise, we’re never going to get up in the morning.”
We bid our farewells, making our way out to the car. I drove. Geoff and I returned to my place, him texting his family while we walked up the driveway, to inform them that he would be staying overnight with me. We changed into our pyjamas, Geoff stripping off his shirt. I admired his form, but we were content with just sleeping, or at least, trying to. Something else would come, in time. Geoff was lying in bed beside me with his chest bare.
“Aren’t you cold?” I dreamily asked.
“Yeah, a little bit,” he conceded, reaching for the blanket to inch it up, “but I’m alright.”
The younger sister of missing Sydney man Mitchell del Reyan, Nina del Reyan lives on Dharug land in western Sydney. She has recently commenced a teaching degree at Macquarie University. Nina loves her family and friends and is deeply committed to finding answers and justice for the families of missing people.
Abbey Sim is the founder of Huldah Media. She is a creative writing, law and theology student who lives on the lands of the Dharug people in Sydney, Australia. Abbey desires to explore themes of hope, love and longing through her storytelling. She is the author of 'Shadow' and 'From the Wild'.