Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Episode 31

"I can't believe you said 'yes' to that...that boy."

"Genevra, Jack Donati is a decent young man. It took some courage for him to come over here tonight. Besides, what did you expect me to do? Tell him to go to hell?"

"That would have been okay. And you could join him there." Genevra Adams glared at her husband. The man was a fool. She should never have married him. And she sure as hell didn't want her daughter going down the same road, marrying someone she would come to despise. "This is a complete disaster, and the blame is on your shoulders."

"Really? How would that be? You're the one who encouraged her to come back to Pine Lake."

"Not to work as a bartender." Genevra poured herself a generous portion of scotch, knocked back an unladylike amount, and continued her rant. "You need to stop this engagement. If Whitney is too obsessed with this ridiculous relationship to break it off herself, you have to step in. We've already got a terribly mess on our hands with Billy. Th doctors don't know if he'll ever be fully normal. We can't have Whitney ruin her life tied to some fortune-hunter. Maybe David can help you talk to her. Thank God we've got one child whose life isn't some soap opera."

Blake's brow creased. He rubbed his face with both hands. "I'm going out."

"Now? It's almost ten."

Without replying, Blake turned and left.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Episode 30

Jack Donati took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. Just coming up to the front door of the Adams' mansion made his palms sweat. The only way he was going to get through the next hour was by keeping Whitney first in his thoughts. He would do anything for her: slay dragons, crawl across burning coals, and--scariest of all--come here to ask her parents for permission to propose.

A maid came to the door, looking suspicious when he asked to see Mr. and Mrs. Adams.

"Are they expecting you?"

He glanced at his watch. "Yes, Ma'am. I'm Jack Donati. They said two o'clock, which it is exactly."

"Very well. This way." She turned, and he followed her inside and down a long marble hallway. His heart pounded as the maid opened beautiful wood-paneled doors and he saw Blake and Genevra Adams sitting across from one another in matching wing-backed chairs looking ridiculously formal.

"Mr. Donati has arrived," the maid announced.

"Well, I doubt that," Genevra said, "but show him in anyway."

Blake sent her an ominous glare before standing to shake Jack's hand. "Jack, it's good to see you," he said. "Have a seat and tell us what brings you here. You were rather cagey on the phone."

Jesus, I need more time, Jack's mind raced as he sat. "Nice to see you both, too." He tried to smile into the awkward silence that followed while he gathered his thoughts.

"Whitney and I had a really nice time last weekend with David and Michael. Michael made us this amazing brunch--omelets and homemade coffee cake. They are such a great couple--ah, I mean, omelets and coffee cake. Together. They're great."  
Oh, God, how stupid could he be? David's parents didn't know about Michael yet, didn't even know David was gay.
"You know, salty omelet, sweet coffee cake. Great combo." Jack cold feel the color rise in his face and Blake was staring at him like he'd just dropped trou and crapped on the fancy carpet.

"I'm sure you're not here to tell us about brunch menus," Genevra said. She crossed her arms in the classic body language of animosity.

"Uh, no, Ma'am."

Jack took the small black box from his jacket pocket, opened it and held it to the light so the tiny diamond would sparkle.

"I got this for Whitney. I'd like your permission to ask for her hand in marriage."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Episode 29

Lately, John Donati had the unaccustomed feeling of being the odd man out--every time he drove past the house of a woman he was interested in, he'd find some other guy lurking around. It didn't help that there were only two women he found interesting: Claire Monroe and his former wife, April.

Claire was a sweetheart, but he'd seen the way she and Matt Wilson looked at each other. John didn't approve, what with Matt being married, but his opinion wasn't going to change the way Claire felt, which was a damn shame.

April was another story. He'd been a fool to let her walk out the door, and it was totally his fault. He had put his job before his home life. She'd called him on it, but he figured she was bluffing when she gave him an ultimatum. Biggest mistake of his life, he thought as he walked up to her front door and rang the bell.

"John-D," she answered the door using the nickname he'd had since second grade when there had been four Johns in their class. "What's up? You're not in uniform, so this must not be official."

"Hey, April. Do you have a minute?"

She stepped to one side and opened the door, gesturing him into the house where she'd lived since their divorce eight years ago.

The living room was a wild jumble of half-finished canvases, tables littered with paint tubes and brushes, house plants, bright ceramics and an eclectic mix of found objects ranging from driftwood to an alligator skull.

"How've you been?" he asked.

"Okay. Excellent, really. Except for the fact that you were right about Paul Harrison. What a jerk. Thanks for the heads-up on that, although I'm not thrilled that you were spying on me."

"Not spying. Just keeping an eye on strangers in town. Not my fault if the guy has a bad reputation with his bank and his four ex-wives."

"Okay, don't rub it in. Apparently, I have lousy taste in men." She picked up several magazines that were strewn on the couch and casually tossed them on the floor. Her offhand housekeeping style, which had annoyed him when they were married, now seemed endearingly quirky to him. "So what's on your mind?"

"It's Jack. You know he's been seeing Whitney Adams?"

April laughed. "I believe he's doing a lot more than 'seeing' her."

"You know what I mean."

"No, actually, I don't."

John ignored her obvious attempt to bait him. "I'm worried about it. The Adams' have more money than God. Whitney's used to the best."

"Speaks well for our son, don't you think?"

"April, Jack wants to marry her."

His ex-wife gave him one of those looks he never did learn to interpret.

"John, get a grip," she said. "Jack is a grown man. He and a lovely young woman are in love. We should rejoice."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Episode 28

Whitney Adams and her brother, David, sat at his kitchen table. It was Sunday morning,a nd David's partner, Michael, was preparing brunch for the three of them.

"So Jack is sleeping in this morning?" David asked.

"He's so exhausted," Whitney replied. "The past few weeks have been crazy. He goes to classes at the community college in Mason three mornings a week, then works as many hours as he can get at Taverna. If he can stick it out, he'll be an EMT in another ten months."

"And then?"

"We'll see," Whitney replied with a sly smile.

"Should I buy a tux for the wedding?"

"Ooh, did I hear 'wedding'? I love weddings," Michael chimed in as he placed a picture perfect bacon and Swiss omelet on the table. He ran his hand affectionately along the back of David's shoulders before sitting down next to him. "Dig in, kids. There's enough here for all of us, and the coffee cake will be out of the oven in five minutes."

"So have you told the parents yet?"

"No." Whitney scowled. "I haven't had the courage."

"We hear you, sugar. Can you imagine what dear old Daddy will say when he finds out about us?" David said, winking at Michael.

"Point noted," Whitney replied. "Hey, speaking of the old man, yesterday I saw him coming out of the library of all places. He was talking to Jeni DuMont and they looked pretty friendly."

"Jeni DuMont? Is she that tarty woman who claims to be Lassiter's sister?" Michael asked.

"The very same."

The two men looked at each other, then back at Whitney. Simultaneously, they said, "That can't be good."