Preorder now for a Valentine’s Day release!
(And, because I like you all so much…)
John: “That’s newly sprung in June;” ~Robert Burns
Dinner played out like a dream and Els was super happy with the delicious fruits of her labor. If it wasn’t enough that we were newly dating and in love, the fact that my brother gave his thumbs’ up, reluctantly or not, was huge! Now, all we needed was for Dr. Reid and his posse of men to be on board with our courtship and life would be good.
“I feel like I’m dreaming.”
Reaching over to hold her hand, I agreed. “It was all you, Els. James likes you…all will be good from now on. You can stop worrying.”
She glanced at me warily. “You think?” Els added a sigh before saying, “You think that James is all right?”
I pulled into the cul-de-sac and parked in front of her house. “Tell me what’s been on your mind, Els. I know something’s been bothering you since we returned from Boston. Now, will you share?”
Els laughed. “I guess I was worried for nothing. Lilah mentioned something…James, my twin, kinda mentioned something…they both freaked me out, but they were wrong.”
“Would it have anything to do with my twin and I having the same taste in women?”
Her eyes bugged out in an adorable way. “You knew?”
Now it was my turn to laugh. “I guessed.”
“It’s all good now,” Els answered. “I’m so happy that we all get along.”
“Me too, Els.” I leaned in to give her a kiss when a large helicopter-chasing-a-criminal-sized flashlight focused straight at us and lit up the entire neighborhood.
“Get in the house, Ellie.” Doctor Reid announced those five words, loudly enough to be heard several blocks down.
“Oh my gawwwddddd!” Els shrieked. “What the hell, Dad?”
As if he understood what Els had said from an enclosed car, he added, “NOW!”
Every door on the cul-de-sac opened to view the commotion. When we left the car, I watched the ladies shaking their heads in exasperation while the men were shaking their heads in laughter.
And I thought my brother was going to be our biggest struggle…
“Come on,” I whispered to my irate, but still adorable girlfriend. “Let’s not push your father any further than necessary. He’s still an obstacle we need to jump over.”
“UGH!” My girl was not happy. “Dad!” she yelled at him.
Before he disappeared back into the house, I saw his mile-wide grin. I understood this was an act he had to star in for the sake of his conscience and for the sake of the rest of the men on this cul-de-sac who feared for their daughters.
“I’m going to buy my own house!” Els yelled as she walked into the house. “I have plenty of money. I, obviously, need the privacy. And, I don’t need your approval. I’m twenty-eight!”
Dr. Reid was ready for his daughter’s tirade. “You don’t come into your funds until you’re thirty-five. How will you buy a home in Los Angeles on a beginning surgeon’s salary?”
“I have plenty of money saved.”
Dr. Reid called her bluff. “Yeah? Go ahead and try to get a loan after offering a measly down payment.”
“Aargh!” My girl stomped her feet and complained. “How come the boys get their fund a decade sooner than the girls? How come Ian received his even sooner? This is so unfair!”
Dr. Reid, who was making his daughter even angrier by the second, was saved by his wife. “Ellie. John. How was your dinner with James? Everything go well?”
“Yes, Mrs. Reid.” I reached to give her a quick hug. “All went well and I’ll be out of your hair for the time being. I don’t think my brother will be kicking me out of the apartment; he’s given us his blessing.”
Being the perceptive one, Mrs. Reid smiled in relief. “We’d always be happy to have you back here, John. It’s empty here without Ian and JR. James is rarely home and now that Ellie has you, she’s not home. Please come over more often. Bring James with you. We like him very much, too.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Reid. I’ll be sure to extend the invitation to my brother. I’m sure he’d love to come over.”
“Anyway,” Els wasn’t done talking to her dad, “I’ll be talking to a real estate agent soon, Dad.”
“Whatever, Daughter!” Dr. Reid copied Els’ intonation.
Mrs. Reid laughed. “Jake, why don’t we go upstairs and leave Ellie and John to do whatever it is they’d like to do. The night is young. I’d like to watch a movie with you.”
Dr. Reid kissed his wife on the temple and answered, “Queue the movie, Emi. I’ll be up as soon as John leaves.”
“Jake…” Mrs. Reid’s voice meant business. “We are giving Ellie and her man some privacy!” She could be stern when needed. Dr. Reid stared back at his wife. She fought back with, “I still have my house, where you used to visit me when we were dating, and I’d be happy to give it to our daughter when the tenant leaves.”
“Really, Mom?” my girl asked with hope.
“NO!” her father responded. “I’m heading up to join your mother. I expect you,” he pointed at me, “to be on your best behavior.”
“Yes, Sir.” I had to chuckle as soon as Dr. Reid turned his back on us. His wife had won this round. “Let’s go make out in the guest bedroom,” I suggested. “If your father asks, I’m still retrieving some of my belongings.”
Els giggled. “You’re a genius.”
“I’m just a man who’s been interrupted one too many times tonight.”
I led my girlfriend to the guest room, hoping Mrs. Reid would keep her husband as busy as I planned to keep my girlfriend.