BEE: Start Spreading the News
Who in their right mind gets married on a Wednesday? Only my pain-in-the-ass-nephew and soon-to-be-niece got married, not only on a Wednesday, but also on the biggest holiday known to humankind. Christmas! As much as I bitched about working overtime to get Laney and Donovan’s gift ready, I was thrilled for the couple. They were as perfect a pairing as Jake and Emily and Max and Jane.
Watching Laney smile every time the words Donovan, wedding, or love, came up in a conversation would melt even the most hardened cynic. As crazed as she was, two days before her wedding, I’d never seen her happier.
“I just spoke with Donovan and he says he won’t be home till the morning of the wedding!” This was now stressed-Laney talking. “He’s still negotiating a settlement for the sale of Grandfather’s company. I think I’ll have to talk to Grandfather and ask why this can’t just be done and over with.”
Barbara, Jamie, and I were putting the final touches on Laney’s wedding dress. Or better put, I was doing last minute adjustments because Laney kept losing more weight, and her mother and future mother-in-law were sitting on the couch oohing and aahing.
“He’ll be here soon. There’s no way he’s going to miss his own wedding.”
“But Ma, he hasn’t participated in this wedding at all. I’m so sad that all he’ll do is stand at the altar and say, ‘I do.’ He’s missed out on a bachelor party, my bridal shower, the dress rehearsal…who ever heard of a dress rehearsal without a groom?”
Barbara Reid and Jamie Taylor didn’t know how to ameliorate this “problem.” Laney had no idea how involved Donovan had been all the way from London. The mothers were sick and tired of getting his meddling phone calls. Even I was sick and tired of his meddling phone calls. What the hell did he know about fashion? Well…he did know a damn more than most men, but still…
“Laney. Donovan won’t care about any of the details.” Barbara rolled her eyes. “He just wants to get married to you.”
“I know, Mom. I know he’s working, but it kind of breaks my heart when he doesn’t want to talk about the wedding. He keeps changing the subject when I ask him for his opinion on anything.”
“My son is actually holding back an opinion on something?” Jamie snorted. “That’s a first.”
“You’re looking mighty pretty there, Cousin!” We all stopped dead when we heard a male voice in the house. The four of us had been together all day without a man in sight, so Nick’s whistle and compliment made us jump.
“Nick! You scared me! Knock, next time, will ya?” Laney only said what was on all our minds. “What brings you over?” she asked, as she not so casually looked my way. She was now sly-Laney—or perhaps, she was wanna-be sly-Laney.
“Emily says dinner’s ready.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so earlier?” Barbara led all of us in the procession across the street.
Nick and I purposely walked slowly. “I was wondering…?” he asked carefully.
“After all this lunacy is done, I still have a couple of weeks left before school starts…”
“And last year, my family spent New Year’s in New York…we have a small apartment there…though Jake has a large one overlooking Central Park that we could use…or a hotel is also an option, though it’s damn expensive at this time of the year…” He was rambling like a nervous schoolboy.
“Yes!” I did what he did to me at the design center. I stopped and kissed him in the middle of the cul-de-sac.
With mischief only Nicholas Reid could pull off, he asked, “Yeah? You’ll buy me a couple of plane tickets so I can spend New Year’s Eve in New York with this girl I’ve been seeing?”
“Really? You’re actually admitting that you’re seeing a girl? She’s not just someone you’re screwing?”
“I am and she is.” He grinned. Our bodies were still locked in make out position. “I thought we’d see how many cities we can have sex in, as a novelty. I’ve heard women want to feel special and experience many ‘firsts.’ Sex in London was a first for me, and I believe I’m a New York virgin. However, I may have to think a little harder about that one. And if things progress nicely, my Florence virginity is up for taking, too.”
I died laughing! Was this guy for real? And did he actually tell me we were seeing each other and that we’d still be together when Max and Jane got married? Un-freakin’-believable!
“Well, Nicholas Reid. In full disclosure, I may not be a New York virgin, but my Florence virginity is up for grabs just like yours. But you’ll have to be awfully good for me to want to give it to you.”
“I haven’t heard you complaining about my skills. I’m as good as they come.”
“Yeah? Prove it.” He was about to come in for another kiss when a blaring honking noise scared the shit out of us. We quickly disengaged.
Max and Jane came out of their car with an I-saw-Mommy-kissing-Santa-Claus smirk. Max walked right by us and gave Nick a “good job” kind of pat and Jane gave us two thumbs up. Not that it was a secret to any of the Reids what was going on between us, but we were still embarrassed.
“Let’s talk more later. Emily might send Ellie out to call us in for dinner.”
We didn’t exactly walk in hand-in-hand but the fact we walked in together made a huge statement for Nick.
“NICK!” Ellie rammed her body into him. “Pray?”
“It’s dinner time, Ellie. No more playing. Come sit in your chair,” Emily called her gorgeous daughter.
“Yesh, Mama.” As soon as she made her obliging statement, she casually strolled to Max and asked, “Ax! Pray?”
“Ellie!” Emily warned. “What did Mama say to you?”
“Thowry.” She skulked over to her seat and placed herself next to her brother.
The three children all sat in a row and they were absolutely breathtaking. Ellie looked like her great grandmother, her father and her aunt. James, I was told, looked more like the Logan side of the family, though he and Ellie looked identical in many ways. And JR, who was old enough to sit in a high chair and eat something that resembled mashed up oatmeal, looked like a beautiful blend of his two siblings. The three of them would have a great time together in a couple of years.
“Ellie, do you like your flower girl dress?” Laney engaged her in a conversation. Why she tried to talk to a twenty-month-old, was beyond me. “I sent your Uncle Donovan a picture of you and he thought you looked very pretty.”
“My Unca!” Ellie let Laney know. Then she pointed her forefinger at Laney and chastised, “My Unca!” just in case we didn’t catch that high decibel the first time.
“Elizabeth…” The warning was getting stronger and the obligatory “thowry” was spoken again.
“She has a thing for Donovan.” Jake found his daughter darling as he went over and lightly bit the forefinger that was still pointing at Laney. Ellie giggled so much, her siblings looked on and Jake was “forced” to bite two more forefingers. Even JR giggled.
“What woman doesn’t have a thing for my future husband?” Laney boasted. “Oh! And there he is!” She rudely picked up her cell phone at the dinner table. “Hello, Hubby. Why are you still up at this hour?”
“Oh brother!” Doug, who was sitting next to Laney, bemoaned. “He’d get here a little sooner if you two would stop talking on the phone and finish selling the company, already!”
“Shut up, Doug!” Laney jabbed an elbow into Doug’s arm and got up to take her call elsewhere.
“They need to get married, already. The house is turned upside down, Mom’s as crazed as Laney is, and I’m getting too many damn phone calls from my future brother-in-law with a long to-do list. When the hell is he getting over here?”
“He’ll be here soon.” Roland and Estelle walked in to dinner. It was late December but the weather was nice enough for us to sit outside with the patio heaters on. Jake grilled steaks and I almost expected Ellie and James to hop in the pool when dinner was done. This family was the quintessential Southern California family—laid back and fun.
“Hello, there, Bee.”
“Hey, big brother,” I greeted Scott, who was also joining us for dinner. “Roland, I hear congrats are in order. I butted into Laney and Donovan’s conversation outside and I heard the good news.”
“Yes, but congrats are all for your son. He scored huge on this deal. Laney will be very happy with the surprise coming to her once they’re married.”
“What does that mean, Gimpy?”
“You shall find out after the wedding.” Roland wouldn’t divulge any more information.
“Hey,” Nick whispered. “So, New York…?”
“New York!” I agreed. “When do I need to buy tickets? Unfortunately, the guy I’m sleeping with is a poor med student. I have to be his sugar mama for the time being.”
Nick chuckled. “Merry Christmas,” were the words Nick spoke seconds before my phone dinged with an email notification of a plane ticket to New York.
New York with Nick? Definitely held mega potential!