NICK: Tea With Lil’ Beau?
“Bee and I were almost man and wife…” This Beau draped a possessive arm around Bee and gave her a creepy smile. “Isn’t that right, Beeautiful?”
To say Bee was caught off-guard would be like saying Jake likes Emily. At one point while this Beau went on and on about himself and what’d he’d been up to since he and Bee separated, I pushed Bee’s chin up to get her to close her mouth.
“What?” she whispered.
I whispered for her ears only, “You’re going to start drooling if you don’t close your mouth. How the hell did the two of you get along when you both talk so damn much? Does this guy ever shut up?”
Bee laughed aloud, which forced Beau to shut up. Thank God! “I don’t think we’ve met. Hi, I’m Bee Taylor,” she spoke to the pretty gal who sat at the other end of the six-top. I always liked the way Bee made everyone feel welcome. She was Miss Congeniality at her best.
“Hello.” The girl waved. “I’m Lily. Thank you for letting me join you in this wonderful tea.” She seemed nice enough.
“How do you and Beau know each other?” Bee kept her in the conversation.
Not surprisingly, Beau answered for her. “Lily is new to our company and we are here for a seminar. There are a few more of us but only Lily was able to join us for tea.”
“So you two are not an item?” Ruby questioned.
“No. Not at all.” Beau said with another slimy look toward Bee. “We are co-workers and since Lily paid for the taxi this morning, I thought I’d return the favor and treat her to tea.”
“Where are you from, Lily?”
“I grew up in Jersey, but I’m staying with my sister and her family in Los Angeles until I can find a place. Bee, you sound like you’re American as well.”
“Nick and I are both from LA, too. What a small world. Where in LA are you staying?”
“I’m on the Westside, but I work in downtown LA.”
Bee gave a pretty smile. “I live in a loft in downtown. You should stop by one day. We could be friends.”
“That’d be great, Bee. What do you do?”
“I’m a clothes designer. Nick, here, is a med student. And I’m sure Beau told you about Ruby and Michael?”
This Lily, girl, woman, whatever she was, looked young. I pegged her at twenty-two or three, at most. But since she was colleagues with Beau, she must have been in her early to mid-twenties. There was a sweet innocence about her and Bee was doing her usual to keep the conversation interesting.
“How long are you in London for, Bee?” No surprise, it was Beau talking, again. I wished I didn’t have to hear this guy talk.
“I leave in a few days. Nick and I are here to help his brother’s family move back to the States.”
“Can we see each other before you leave?” Shit! Seriously? This asshole sees me sitting across from Bee and he’s asking to get together with her?
Bee shrugged her shoulder and answered, “I don’t see why not?” No fucking way! Did she really agree to meet with him? “Are we on babysitting duty, still?”
“I don’t know. Ask Emily,” I spit out, to her damn amusement.
“Wait a minute,” Lily interrupted our stare-down. “Are you by chance related to Emily and Jake Reid?”
What the hell? “Um, yeah. Jake’s my brother.”
“Oh my gosh! You’re Nick Reid! I’m Lily Jenkins, Sarah’s sister. Jake once told me he’d introduce us if I ever came out to LA. I feel like I know you, already.”
“Um…” Seriously, I had no idea what this girl was talking about. Who the hell was Sarah, and why had Jake promised to introduce us?
Lily giggled like a little girl. This girl was very different from the woman sitting across from me, in all ways. “You have no damn clue who I am or who my sister is, do you?”
“Are you even old enough to use four letter words?” Everyone busted-up with my question.
“My sister Sarah is Emily’s best friend!” Ding, ding, ding! “I see the light bulb has gone off.” Snarky little thing… “Do you remember when Emily came to visit our family that first Thanksgiving she was dating Jake? That was when he upgraded us to a fabulous suite at the W in Times Square and the two of them couldn’t get enough of one another?”
“You and your family were out to dinner when Emily called Jake, and I asked if he had a younger brother he could introduce to me because your brother was the ideal boyfriend at that time.”
“And that’s when he told me he’d introduce us if I ever got myself to LA. I think I was sixteen at the time and I thought we’d meet, fall in love, and get married when I graduated from high school!” The whimsical way she dreamed up this fairy tale made me chuckle.
“Shit, we’ve got another Laney on our hands!” Bee commented, and Ruby nodded in agreement.
“Sarah told me your cousin Laney is marrying the most handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on. Is that true?”
Michael jeered, “Only if you’re blind.”
Lily’s eyes popped open and she thought about the situation briefly. “Then you’re that Michael!” Lily was too excited. “I’ve heard all about you.” She was kind of starry-eyed and cute. “I feel like all the characters in my favorite romance novel have come alive! And you must be the clothes designer, Bee Taylor—aunt to Donovan Taylor.”
“I am.” Bee found Lily cute, too.
“Is he really even more handsome and more romantic than Jake?”
“Well…not to toot my own nephew…but he is pretty freakin’ gorgeous. And as for the romantic part, you’ll have to ask Laney and Emily. The two of them can duke it out and see who comes out the winner.” Funny Bee! She slammed Michael for his slam on her nephew. I loved this woman’s sense of humor.
“Do you have a picture of him?”
Bee took out her phone and pushed a button. “Hey, Slavedriver.” She was calling Laney. “Text me a picture of you and my nephew.” Laney must have asked why because Bee quickly said, “Respect your elder and just do as your Aunt tells you!”
“Cousin,” I interrupted Bee’s conversation, “we’ve abandoned the twins and are on our way to Florence.”
“You can’t do that, Nick. What will Emily do? She’s got three kids!” Laney was horrified with my brilliant news.
“If you’re so damn concerned and flabbergasted, come home and help. Why the hell am I moving your boxes in addition to playing with the mini-slavedriver, Elizabeth Reid?”
“Why do you have my fiancée in a tizzy, Cousin?” Donovan spoke in his lazy, arrogant drawl.
“Shit man. Come take care of the little girl who calls me Nick, but you, Unca.”
Donovan proudly announced, “I took Ellie and James out for their first ice cream cone the other day and told them that I was their only Uncle. Good one, huh? And that Ellie was smart enough to follow along. At least she can pronounce your name. She calls Max, ‘Ax!’”
My little niece was as darling as they came. I’d do just about anything for her, James, & JR.
“Get your asses back to the flat.” I put my foot down at this ridiculous situation.
“Damn, you can be a nag! We’ll be home first thing in the morning. Now stop bugging us.” Laney was back on the line. “Max and Jane found the winery they want to get married at and we’re taking in the scenery and sampling their goods. You’re breaking the romantic mood.”
I hung up on Laney, pissed as hell that I was at a tea with four other people I didn’t care to get to know.
“By morning, all the forces will be back and we will be home a few hours after that.” I informed Bee.
“I guess I can’t see you tomorrow, Beau. We leave sometime in the morning.”
“How about tonight?” the asshole asked.
Bee looked to me for permission and I was stumped. Just because we slept together last night didn’t mean we were tied to one another. If she wanted to see a friend, or an ex-boyfriend, ex-fiancé, whatever the hell he was…I had no right to tell her what to do.
“Well?” Bee put the ball in my court.