Authors: Mellie George
grabbed his cell phone from his pocket, and began touching the screen. All of
a sudden, my phone vibrated inside my dress pocket. I had several text
messages, but the most recent was from an unknown number. Sent three seconds
ago. I smiled and read, “
need, I got it. I’ll call you in the
brightly. “Okay, well then, I guess this is good night.”
said. “Can I have a hug before I go?” he asked, holding out his arms. “You
haven’t given me one of those yet, you know.”
right, I didn’t. I’m sorry. Of course you can. It was so great seeing you
again, Luke,” I said, wrapping my arms around him and hugging him tight. Oh
dear lord, he smelled so good. His scent was intoxicating.
Lilly. I’ll see you for lunch tomorrow. Can you tell your parents goodbye for
me and thank them for dinner?”
Drive safe, okay?”
“I always do.
Goodnight Lil, until tomorrow,” he said, and gently leaned in and kissed me on
the cheek. My breath caught in my throat, and I could feel him smile.
whispered. He was still smiling when he stepped off the porch. Then he got
into his car, and drove away, the smile still on his face. Shivering slightly,
I walked back into the house.
looked up from her book. “Hey, darlin’. Where’s Luke?”
“He said he
wanted to check on his surgery patient, so he left. He asked me to thank you
for dinner and tell you and Daddy goodbye,” I said, still a little dazed from
our talk. I went out there clear the air and apologize, and I ended up asking
him to lunch. I’ve been back for less than eight hours and I was already acting
like a completely different person. It must be the air here.
“Now that you
mention it,” Jack said, “it is getting pretty late. I don’t have anything
planned tomorrow, but I am just tired. Nothing admirable about me
he said, with a laugh. “The food was delicious, Ros, thanks for having me
over,” he said, and leaned down and kissed my mother on the cheek.
and replied, “Oh, you’re welcome honey, thanks for coming. You go on home and
get some rest. Make sure you take some apple pie with you.” I smiled.
Typical Southern mother, feeding you even after you leave.
some, I wouldn’t leave without it,” he said, holding up a Tupperware container
full of pie. He turned to me, and said, “Well, Lilly, it was great seeing you
again. We are all going to need to get together like this again and catch up
some more. I want to hear about all the trouble you have gotten into in the
big, bad city.”
I grinned at
him and said, “Oh I don’t know about that. It would be a pretty short
you’re probably right. You always were boring,” said Jack, and he pulled me
into a brotherly hug. “I’ll see you soon.”
I hugged him
back. “You too, good night. Drive safe.”
He gave a wave
to everyone and shook my dad’s hand. As he walked toward the door, he lightly
rested his hand on Daisy’s shoulder and quietly said, “Good night, Dais,” and
walked out the door. He almost sounded a little curt. I glanced at Daisy and
she rolled her eyes.
Violet set her
magazine down on the coffee table and stretched her arms. “Well, if everyone
is heading out, Evan and I probably should too. I lost track of time. I forgot
what it felt like to have normal, adult conversations that didn’t involve a
child’s education plan,” she said, sweetly. “Hey, Lilly, do you think we could
meet for breakfast tomorrow? Maybe go over some of the plans? You are in this
wedding too, and I want you to be involved.”
I looked at
Daisy, and she looked like she was silently pleading with me to come. “Of
course, that sounds good. Where you want to meet?”
I lit up. I
used to work in Grady’s Diner when I was in high school. Alvin Grady, the
owner, was always like a sweet old Southern grandpa. He and his wife Janine
never were able to have children, so he always doted on the young people of our
town. However, he always told me he had a soft spot in his heart for the
Harrington girls. He was one of the people in my life that encouraged me to go
into culinary, telling me often I had a talent for it. He taught me so much
about food, and I have carried his advice with me ever since then. “Oh my, yes.
It will be wonderful to see Mr. Grady again. Besides, no matter how hard I try,
I have never been able to make my apple cinnamon pancakes taste like his. That
be meet around nine or so?
good,” I said, and then instantly regretted it. Nine in the morning here is
like six in California. No wonder I didn’t feel tired.
then. It’s a date. I’ll see you in the morning. So glad that you are home,
Lil,” she said, hugging me.
“Thanks, I am
too. And, Evan, it was great to meet you,” I said, giving him a quick hug.
“It was my
pleasure, Lilly. We will see you all soon,” he said. They got their coats,
and walked out the front door. And then there were the four of us.
“So, Daisy,” I
started, “are you heading out too?”
“Ah, no. My
apartment building has had some plumbing issues lately, so I’m staying here
until it’s livable. Looks like we are neighbors again,” she said. Daisy’s
room was next door to mine.
Mama came up
and hugged us both around the arms. “My girls. Here again. I don’t even want
a Christmas present, ‘cause I got what I wished for.” We hugged her back.
After Mama and
Daddy had gone to bed, I took a shower and got dressed in my pajamas. I wore a
pair of black shorts with a dusty rose pink lace pattern on them, and the
camisole that matched. I thought a hot shower would make me feel more tired,
but I was wrong. I was too keyed up to sleep. I can’t believe that I acted
the way I did around Luke. I mean, I didn’t make a fool of myself or anything
like that, but it wasn’t like me to be nervous around a man, even if it was
Luke. It must be something in the air around here. I think the thing that
made me the most uncomfortable was the fact that I didn’t feel that
uncomfortable at all. I really thought that it would be a lot harder to fall
back into my life here after being gone so long, but it wasn’t. Everything here
felt so right and complete, and that bothered me. After trying to get
comfortable for thirty minutes, I decided to go downstairs and look for a book
to read. Something good and boring that would make me sleepy. Maybe one of
Daddy’s medical journals. As soon as I walked out of my bedroom, I met up with
Daisy in the hallway.
sleep either?” I asked.
I was just sleeping so great, I just thought I’d get up and try it in the
kitchen,” she said, playfully shoving me. “I was going to make some tea, do
you want some?”
help you,” I said, and we walked down the stairs. I decided to break the ice
about the collective men in our lives. “So, you and Jack again?”
way,” Daisy protested.
“Oh come on,
Daisy. I know I haven’t been home in a while, but you are my sister. I still
know you better than you think I do. Tell me about it,” I said as we walked
into the kitchen.
and shook her head. She didn’t say anything and grabbed Mama’s teapot, poured
water into it, and set it on the stove. Finally, when she ran out of things to
do to distract her, she sat down at the kitchen table. “It started about four
months ago,” she admitted, and I immediately sat in the seat next to her, eager
to hear more.
four months ago?” I asked, playfully innocent and batting my eyes.
“Oh come on,
Lilly. Grow up, we’ve been sleeping together.”
“Ah ha, I knew
it! How did
happen?” I asked, excitement going through me.
“Well, some of
the nurses I work with and I went out for drinks after work, and Jack happened
to be there. He had had a blind date that didn’t go well, and was just
stopping there to unwind. We saw each other, and we started chatting. We had
a fun night, playing darts and taking shots. Then, we ended up back at his
apartment. You can figure out the rest.”
help but smile widely. “See? I knew something had happened between you two.
So, what’s up now? Are you two together again on the DL?” I asked.
Seriously, Lil, what are you, thirteen?”
didn’t answer my question.”
that would be a
“Aw, why not?
I think you guys are cute together.”
is why not. I like having my freedom. I don’t want to be in a
relationship with anyone right now, especially not with Jack. Been there, done
laughed, and she nudged me.
Ugh, I don’t know, Lil, he’s just driving me nuts. He wants us to be together
again. Bad,” she said, and then the whistle on the teapot sang out. She stood
up, grabbed two mugs out of the cabinet, and dropped tea bags into each of
them. She poured the hot water into the mugs, walked back to the table, and
took a seat next to me.
said?” I asked, taking the cup from Daisy once she sat down.
“Oh you know,
the usual. He’s been saying that he misses me, and that he doesn’t ever want
to be with anyone else, that he loves me, blah blah blah,” she said, pouring
honey into her glass. “He’s really stressing me out, Lil. My stomach has been
upset for days. I even threw up after we had lunch yesterday.”
“You two had
lunch? That’s a day date, you know,” I chimed, accusatorily.
She rolled her
eyes. “I was having lunch alone and he sat down with me. Uninvited.”
“So, he told
you he loves you? Daisy, wow. That’s huge. How can you act like that doesn’t
mean anything?” I asked, taking a sip of my tea.
doesn’t. To me, this relationship or whatever you want to call it is just
about two old friends meeting up a couple of times a week for meaningless,
albeit hot, sex. If he sees it as something different, then that’s on him.”
Wow, my little sister sure had changed. “Anyway, let’s talk about something
else. You are making me nauseous again.”
“What do you
want to talk about?”
“Well, we can
talk about Luke. Let’s open that can of worms,” Daisy said, grinning. And
now, the spotlight was back on me.
is nothing to talk about.”
that way when you two were on the porch holding hands,” she said. Damn it.
Mama should really think about replacing those old lace curtains.
“Oh God, I
held his hand out of instinct. He had just told me what had happened to his
parents, which I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about!”
Daisy looked at me. “He asked us not to. He said he didn’t want to interrupt
your life, so Mama and Daddy just let it go because that’s what he said he
wanted. Sorry, Lil.”
okay. I guess I’m just sad that I wasn’t there for him when he needed someone
“So, you still
care about him, then?” she asked me, her eyes surveying me.
“I’m always going to care about him, Daisy. He was the first guy I was ever
with, and he was one of my best friends before that.” She kept looking at me,
taking long sips of her tea. We sat in silence for a moment. “What? Why are
you looking at me like that?”
is more to it than that. There is something you aren’t telling me.”
“What are you
quote you, ‘you are my sister. I still know you better than you think I do’,”
she said. Touché, Daisy.
I rolled my
eyes and sighed. “It’s nothing, really. He was getting ready to leave, and I
just blurted out that we should hang out together tomorrow, and then he invited
me to lunch.”
at me. “Lunch, huh? That’s a day date, you know,” she mocked, throwing my
words back at me. “Where?”
“I don’t know
yet, he’s supposed to call me in the morning to pick a place.”
another long drink from her tea, eyes on me. “Can I ask you something?”
permission to ask a question has stopped her before. “Sure.”
“If it was no
big deal, why did you not want to tell me? I mean, after all, it’s just
“True, but I
didn’t want anyone making something out of it. You know how people in this
town can be, and how fast something like this would get around. It would get
back to Mama and Daddy, and I don’t want them having false hope that I might
move back home. I am just meeting an old friend to eat and to catch up,” I
said. Just an old friend. An old, intoxicating, and incredibly sexy friend. “Can
we please just drop it?”
just hope he doesn’t call you while we are having breakfast with Violet. She
will explode with joy,” Daisy laughed. “She might even try to convince you two
to have a double wedding with her and Evan.”
I rolled my
eyes and laughed along with her. As we sat there chatting more about our
lives, a comforting feeling swept over me. It was so nice to sit here in
Mama’s kitchen, sharing a late night cup of tea with my sister. I never really
let myself think about anything else but my career, and sitting here now I know
that if I had, I would have gotten homesick. I really had missed this place.