A Taste of Summer(9)

By: Beverly Preston


“I’m sure you have. They’ve filmed several reality shows here.”

“Really? This place is perfect.”

“When Jason first mentioned the possibility of using the Pacific Hills Villa, I totally dismissed hosting the auction here.”

“Why?”

“I didn’t think it would be a big enough venue. It took some convincing, but it turned out to be the ideal location. Plus when the owner realized it was for the HAH, she offered it to us at no cost. A donation of sorts. I couldn’t turn it down.”

“I can tell you that it was refreshing not to have to jump through hoops in order to get the correct permits. This place comes with plenty of parking and His and Hers restrooms.”

“It’s the little things that make you happy,” Carrie Ann chuckled. “Jason did an amazing job finding this place.”

Sara snapped her fingers in recollection. “Hey, this is where they film Still Single!”

Carrie Ann grew up surrounded by fame and fortune of Hollywood leaving her numb to its effects. However, Sara was somewhat of a newbie to California and reveled in the glitz and glam.

“Would you mind taking a picture of me with the house in the background?” Giddy excitement sweetened her tone.

Noticing the pink tinge dusted her cheeks, Carrie Ann asked on a whim, “I’ve got an extra VIP pass for the movie premier Saturday night. Would you like to go with me? We’ll have to work it a little, but…”

“This Saturday?” Her entire body slumped in disappointment. “Oh man. I can’t believe I have to turn you down, but I have a date Saturday night.”

“You could always cancel. Or change the date.”

“You don’t understand.” Sara shook her head. A timid grin crept over her petite features. “As much as I’d love to stroll down the red carpet with you, Carrie Ann, I need this date. I even bought a new pink nighty.”

“Ahh, I totally understand.” A quick round of pings tap danced a circle around her lower belly at the mere thought of new-sex jitters. “Believe me, I’d rather be in your position.”

Sara snickered pressing her palms together in a pleading fashion. “Amen. I’m praying for a few good positions.”

Both women laughed as she snapped a photo of Sara posing in front of the infamous Rose Courtyard. They moseyed to the far edge of the outdoor pavilion, soaking up the California sunshine before the hectic agenda broke loose.

“I’ve been watching the weather reports. Hopefully the storm moving up from the gulf holds out until after the auction, but if not the party planners will provide dropdown walls, heaters, whatever we need. They’re bringing a van full of their finest examples.”

Tilting her face skyward, Carrie Ann closed her eyes to the brightness. She prayed the weather held off. Not for the sake of the party, but for the sake of her sanity. Stormy nights always brought back the horrible memory of the night her mother died. She could deal with the rain and strong winds. She could even tolerate the grumbles of thunder in the distance. But she hated the lightening. The deafening cracks snapping through the night sky still wielded a brutal assault on her emotions. A sickening feeling of total loss and heartache that made her stomach turn.

“I’m still not happy about using the tents,” she complained. Her tenacity outweighing reason.

“The canopy?”

“They can attempt to dress it up all they want by using the word canopy, but it’s still a damn tent. It’s half the size of a football field! I’ve been envisioning this event for a year and not one time did I conjure up a beautiful image of a tent.”

“It’s not that bad, Carrie Ann. By the time we bring in the stage, dance floor, and all the tables dressed with candles and beautiful flowers, the staleness will disappear. If it rains—”

“I’ve put in an order to the weather gods.” A firm business-like voice carried over the expansive travertine. “They’ve promised to hold off on the deluge until after the auction.”

Jason appeared from the shadows of the open doorway. He ambled toward them wearing a light grey suit, crisp white shirt and patterned navy blue tie. Dark sunglasses concealed his sapphire eyes, but a wide smile stretched across his lips, drawing a discreet sigh of appreciation from Sara.

“I’m going to need all the weather-prayers I can get.” Carrie Ann grinned extending a hand.

“Nah, you’ll pull it off.” Jason clasped her hand in both of his. “What do you think of the estate?”

Sweeping a dithering glance from one side of the property to the other, Carrie Ann shrugged in a ho-hum sort of way. Her smile ultimately giving away her approval. “It’s amazing. I can’t thank you enough for the recommendation.”