A Taste of Summer(7)

By: Beverly Preston

“I thought I heard your voice,” Tess announced in a sing-song voice, embracing Carrie Ann.

“Shhh,” JC exclaimed, placing an index finger to her lips. “Tom’s about ready to get into some hot water for lying.”

Tess wrapped her arm around her husband’s waist giving a look of mock-disbelief. “You? Get in trouble? Never.”

Shayla interceded, “Tommy was just getting ready to come clean to JC about Ryan.”

“Ahh…the reckoning. I knew this would come to light one day.” Tess gave a sinister snicker. “By all means, please carry on.”

“I didn’t really lie, per say. I simply told a small story.” He paused to clarify, “Reed, this was before you and JC met. We were all together at a party in Italy. Production on the film had just launched, so I invited Ryan to join us. That’s when I encountered my first case of OPFS.”

Noticing Carrie Ann’s confusion, JC explained, “Over Protective Father Syndrome. He had a bad case of it.”

“Oh, gotcha.”

“The last thing I needed or wanted was Ryan near my daughters.”

“Or any other man.” Tess teased.

“So…I took the liberty of implying that Ryan was into some not so reputable things.”

Carrie Ann wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, her or JC. Both let out a little gasp when their mouths dropped open.

“It wasn’t a big deal.” Tommy wafted his hand in JC’s direction. “I simply used it as a little deterrent for the girls to stay as far away as possible from him.”

“You said, and I quote, ‘He’s into some really freaky shit!’” JC reminded.

A huge grin of appreciation broadened over Reed’s face. Resting his cheek atop his wife’s shoulder, he gazed over her profile as one of his large hands lulled over her stomach. “I’m forever indebted to you, Tommy.”

“I soooo would not have dated him,” JC assured Reed with a kiss. Simultaneous snickers ricocheted around the kitchen like popcorn kernels in a hot pan. “Okay, well maybe, but he really wasn’t my type.”

“Not anymore.” Reed boomed, reaching for her hand and starting for the sliding glass door. “I’m all the type you need.”

Carrie Ann stood there, melting into a puddle of mush, watching the ridiculously happy couple wave goodbye and mosey out the back door heading for home. It wasn’t far. They only lived next door. The notion that they would probably be in bed in a matter of minutes brought on a deep-seeded feeling of loneliness.

“I need to get laid.” Carrie Ann muttered under her breath, but unfortunately still loud enough for everyone else to hear.

Tommy and Tess’s mouths bowed south in sympathy.

“Sorry. Probably too much information.”

“And on that note I’m outta here.” Tom wrapped Carrie Ann in a bear-like-uncle hug. “I expect to see you at the premier. I’ll make arrangements for two VIP passes that way you can bring a date.”

“Fine. Whatever. I’ll go.” Her head bobbled back and forth objectionably. “No need to worry about the extra VIP pass. I’ll be flying solo.”

“I’ll send two in case you decide to bring someone from the HAH Foundation. Either way, you’ll be sitting with us.”

Shayla clapped her hands together in in three rapid successions. “Yay! I’m so glad you’re coming.”

Tess clutched an arm around Carrie Ann’s shoulder in a motherly fashion. “You’re not seeing anyone?”

“No, not really.” She hem-hawed curling her lip. “Jason, the realtor I used to lease the mansion for the auction, is definitely interested.”

“I take it you’re still not interested?” Relief molded over Shayla’s petite features. She’d previously expressed concerns with Jason, a mysterious flaw of some sort that she’d been unable to put her finger on.

“Not really. I got no spark. Nada! Not a one. Jason’s a great realtor. He totally hooked me up with this amazing house in the Pacific Palisades. He’s handsome and charming. Plus, he’s going to show me some properties while I’m on vacation next week. He thinks he can find me a house for less than what I’m renting, but that’s where it ends for me. I mean, let’s face the facts, my father introduced us and keeps hinting around insisting that he’s the perfect man. Whatever the hell that means. That in itself is enough to scare any woman into near celibacy. Love and happiness aren’t exactly on my dad’s list of relationship requirements. Everything revolves around worth.”