Dane wasn’t sure why his coffee suddenly tasted so bitter. It might have been the way his brother was looking at Gia when they walked through the door, and she was laughing at what he’d said. Perhaps it was because his attitude had been affected by it and there had been no reason for it. The way Russ had referred to her as a goddess still burned his ears.
Dane’s mother orchestrated everyone through the kitchen, and they all managed to have full plates of food when they were done. She’d managed to set enough chairs and tables, strung together, to house all the guests. He’d seen her do that at Thanksgiving too. He could hardly find enough room on his little table in his apartment to eat his microwave dinner. “Eric and Susan, you sit there,” his mother pointed to chairs. “Russ, you there. Gia you there. Dane you there,” she said pointing to three chairs near the end of the table which flowed into the living room. “Let me take that for you,” Russell smiled at Gia and took her plate. “Oh, thank you. You seem to come to my rescue for everything.” “What can I say? I’m raised right.” Dane let out a grunt, which had both of them turning to look at him. He simply forced a smile and took his seat—after Russ pulled Gia’s seat out for her. At least the food was excellent. Dane t listened to Pearl and Tyson tell stories about their wedding on the beach at sunset and their honeymoon filled with snorkeling and hiking near the waterfalls. It wasn’t that he didn’t like hearing the stories or the awws that came from every female in the room, but watching his brother lean into Gia, and her laughing at everything he said, seemed to be raking on his last nerve. He took his plate into the kitchen for another helping of ham. He was a sucker for ham and tiny bagels. It was something he couldn’t explain. “Does your family do this often?” Gia slid up next to him as he tried to delicately pull two pieces of ham apart. Dane looked at her then at the table of family members who laughed and talked over one another. He shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. Mom’s always putting together a brunch or a dinner.” Gia eased her hip against the counter. “You seem uncomfortable around them all.” “Nah, just all the gushy wedding stuff I guess.” She pursed her lips. “You are not a romantic?” Was that a loaded question? “Sure. I mean I can be romantic. I just…” She laughed and rested her hand on his arm. “I am sure you are the kind of man who could sweep any woman off her feet.” Dane cleared his throat, only because he’d choked on the air he sucked in when she’d said that. “I’m not too sure I’m very smooth with the ladies. My mind has been elsewhere for the past few months.”
She nodded and picked up the serving spoon to ladle more fruit on to her plate. “I understand. I still have some friends back home who will not speak to me because I moved away. I will admit before I left, I might have pushed them away.” “Why?” She shrugged. “So I would not be hurt by leaving.” Maybe she did understand. “I get that. I think…” “Did Susan make those little bacon wraps with dates?” Russ pushed in between them. “I didn’t see them, but dad has one on his plate.” “Steal his then,” Dane said through gritted teeth. “Lighten up.” Russ gave him a jab as he reached in front of Gia and grabbed the bacon on a toothpick. “Looks like I just missed them the first time.” Russ ate the first one and then reached for another. “Did you try these?” he asked Gia, holding it up to her mouth. “Not yet,” she said as he clamped the bacon wrapped date in her teeth and pulled it from the toothpick. Dane was sure he heard both himself and his brother sigh. She gave them a collective wink and carried her plate to the table, now occupying a seat left vacant by Pearl’s father who seemed to have disappeared. “Could you be any more of a pig?” Dane finally took both pieces of ham and dropped them on his plate. “Are you talking to me or the meat?” “You,” he whispered gruffly. “You’re throwing yourself at her. It’s annoying.” “And you’re not, so I don’t see the problem,” Russ argued as he returned to the table. Dane stood there a moment trying to collect his thoughts. How had it happened that he’d moved away, and the world went on without him? He was finding out, very quickly, he didn’t like it.
Top 10 Favorite All Time Movies:
- You’ve Got Mail
- Forrest Gump
- Gone with the Wind
- Toy Story
- Star Wars
- Back to the Future
- Night at the Museum (all 3 of them, but they’ll count as 1)
- Pretty Woman
- St. Elmos Fire
- The Intern (my newest favorite)