Gray sat at the small outdoor table and watched as a blonde female in a crisp white suit walked across the street. She turned every head that was in her vicinity and she wasn’t even aware of it. Smiling to himself, he lifted a hand waved at her. She smiled in return, pushing her sunglasses on top of her head. He watched her until she disappeared into the restaurant’s main entrance and then appeared at the doorway to the outside patio. Standing, he prepared himself for the mental abuse he was about to receive.
“What kind of trouble are you in?” the blonde asked, hugging Gray.
“Can’t a guy invite his big sis to lunch without being in trouble?” he asked, pulling her chair out for her.
“Of course a guy could, but we’re talking about you,” she said, sitting down in the chair. “You only call me when you’re in some sort of drama.”
“Just want to talk Em,” Gray said, sitting down across from her. He knew Emma was right. He called her on special occasions and visited her and her family at least once a month, but he rarely ate lunch with her. He was lucky he had actually caught her in town. “That’s all. Catching up on what you’re doing.”
“Screw that,” Emma said, reaching across the table and sliding Gray’s drink closer to her. “Dirty martini. I’ll take that.” She smiled over the glass and then raised it to her lips for a drink. Putting the glass down, she continued, “You know what I’m doing. Working, working, working, and when I’m not working I’m at home with my devoted stay-at-home husband Brian and our adorable twins Caitlin and Dennis. There’s nothing new in my life. Let’s talk about you. Do you have a woman in your life?”
“Funny you should ask that,” Gray answered, leaning forward and taking his drink back. “Get your own. That’s why I called to talk to you.”
“I knew it,” Emma said, clapping her hands together. “What’s her name?”
“Nice name. Very regal sounding.”
Sighing, Gray folded his arms and rested them on the table. “Are you finished?” he asked.
Rubbing her chin, Emma nodded. “For now. What does Olivia do?”
“It’s not important and that’s not why I wanted to talk to you about her.”
“The hell it’s not important. It is very important. What does she do Gray?”
“She’s a samurai sword wielding diva,” he answered, smiling at the memory from their first encounter.
“I like her already,” Emma replied, resting her arms on the table. “She’s gotten under your skin hasn’t she?”
“To say the least,” he answered, playing with the toothpick that held the olives in his martini glass.
“How long have you known her?”
“A few days shy of two weeks,” he answered.
“And?” Emma asked as their waiter appeared. “We’ll need three dirty martinis. I’ll have water no ice and tap is fine. I’ll take the lunch special that was on the board too.”
“And you sir?” the waiter asked still feverishly writing on his notepad.
“The same lunch special is fine,” he answered. “Thank you.”
The waiter nodded and left the table as quickly as he had arrived.
“What?” Emma asked as Gray stared at her.
Shaking his head, he sipped at his martini. “You could have at least let him greet you and three martinis? Really?”
“You’re one ahead of me,” Emma answered, “and if I had let him greet me and say all the things that are not important, I’d have less face time with you. Besides, I’ll make sure you tip him very well.”
Gray sighed. “You would total get along with Olivia.”
“So do I get to meet her? Better yet does mom get to meet her?”
“Eventually?” Emma asked. Sitting back in her chair, she stared at Gray. “At least it’s not the typical Gray Smith knee jerk reaction of one day. Eventually is way better than one day.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Gray smiled at his sister. “Between you and Mom, you guys would scare off even the cruelest of terrorists and since I like Olivia a lot, I’d rather you not scare her off.”
“A lot huh? So what’s the deal then?”
Gray sighed. “I don’t know. I mean things seemed to be going well. Our first date was fantastic. She had a little too much to drink and told me she was interested and didn’t want to play mind games.”
“It didn’t scare you off?”
“Complete opposite. I just stood up and kissed her.”
“How was the first kiss?”
Feeling a smile creep across his face, Gray looked at his big sister. “She made my heart stop. It was what you said you had with Brian and what mom had with dad. It seemed everything in the world disappeared except the two of us.”
Sighing, Emma leaned forward again in her chair. “So what’s the deal then?”
“She came into my office yesterday and said she needed to come up for air.”
“And you don’t believe her?”
Shaking his head, Gray took the olives out of his drink and then finished it. Dropping the olives into the glass, he pushed it away. “The night before we had dinner with Ellie and Chris.”
“Who I’ve never met and you’ve been friends with them forever. She must be serious if your two best friends have met her.”
“Can I finish?”
“You have the floor,” Emma said as the waiter dropped off the two waters and three martinis. “Thank you,” she said to the waiter.
“After our first date, they both were concerned I was moving too fast, and before you speak, yes it was after the first date. They like to over react. I simply told them we didn’t want to play mind games, we enjoyed each hanging out with each other, and that we both wanted to see where it goes.” Gray slid his second martini closer to him and added the olives from the first glass into it. “At dinner, things were going well so I went to the kitchen with El to help with dessert.”
“And Olivia’s alone with Chris?”
Gray nodded. “I knew better. I knew I shouldn’t have left her alone. Chris has been very ‘are you ready for a relationship and it’s moving too fast. She’s going to make you a baby’s daddy’ and we haven’t even had sex yet.”
“What?” Emma asked. “Actually, we’ll talk more about that later. Continue.”
“Thank you,” Gray replied. “He said something to her and I’m not sure what. He won’t tell me because he knows I’ll probably punch him in the face. She won’t tell me because I’m sure she told Chris she wouldn’t.” Pulling the toothpick of olives out, Gray pulled one off and popped it into his mouth. “I know one hundred percent that Chris said something to scare her off and I have absolutely no idea on how to fix it.”
Taking a deep breath, Emma raised her martini to her lips. “Be patient,” she said after taking a drink. “How long is this coming up for air suppose to last?”
“Three days, but I’m not sure if yesterday was the start or if today was, and I can’t call and ask because we’re not speaking to each other.”
“Are you more afraid of making her mad if you call and ask or are you more afraid of losing her interest because of Chris?”
“Both,” Gray answered, burying his head in his hands. “If something fucks up here, I want to be the true cause of it. Not because Chris opened his big fat mouth and said something out of context or because he’s an idiot.”
Emma reached across the table and pulled Gray’s hands from his head. “Does she seem like she’s got a good head on her shoulders?” she asked, staring her brother in the eyes.
“I’m sure you didn’t scare her,” she replied. “Let’s say Chris did say something to her. Whatever it was has been said and there’s nothing you can do about that. Whatever he said scared her or gave her second thoughts. If she is like any normal female and it sounds like she is, she took what he said as something you have said to him.”
“But I didn’t,” Gray said, throwing his hands up in exasperation. “That’s what the problem is. I can’t have her thinking I’m not interested in her. God knows I am. I probably have been interested in her longer than she could possibly imagine. I can’t lose that because my former best friend opened his mouth.”
“You won’t Gray. Give Olivia her three days. Just be patient with her. If it’s real like what I have with Brian and what mom had with dad, then it will work out.”
“I’m still going to punch Chris.”
Smiling, Emma raised her martini glass. “Let’s toast,” she said.
“To what?” Gray asked, raising his glass. “To my sorry excuse of a love life?”
“To a woman who finally took your breath away. To a woman who finally got under your skin. To a woman who finally made my little brother call me, his big sis, and ask for advice.”
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is a rough draft and not the final version