“I’ll try that,” Paisley said bravely. “What the heck, I’m not driving.”
“If you don’t like it, I’ll finish it,” Kai said. “Sweet tea with lime,” he ordered.
Cody got the same. Ed and Marianna ordered ice water with lemon.
“Never heard of tea with lime,” Ed remarked. “That’s different.”
“Our mother’s allergic to lemons, but she likes citrus, so she uses limes instead.”
A young man, with light brown hair and a dark tan, walked over to the table with two Mojitos. He set them down in front of the women with a flourish. Kali hopped up, hugging his neck, kissing his cheek.
“Stu! I didn’t know you were working here!”
“Just started, part time. With the baby coming, I needed a little extra cash. When Brandi told me she needed unmolested Mojitos, I knew they had to be for you. How you been?”
Ed regarded the other man warily. Kali pulled Stu over, extending his hand to Ed.
“Sweetie, you remember my cousin Stu. He’s Dave’s older brother.”
“Oh!” Ed stood, shaking the other man’s hand. “I was about to cream you, man.”
Stu laughed loudly, shaking Ed’s hand heartily. “No worries, man. I understand. She’s not real good with explanations, so we’ve learned to run fast—me and my brothers,” he explained. “Kali’s the only girl with a million male cousins. We met at Thanksgiving once,” he reminded Ed. “But there were billions of us there.”
“Yeah, I should have know, though. You look just like David.”
Stu chuckled. “No, I’m older, so he looks just like me, only I’m better looking.”
That gave them all a laugh. Kali introduced the others. Stu shook hands all around, grinning.
“I need to get back to the bar, sweet pea. Be sure to tell me if I made them right.”
“You’d better. I taught you.” Kali cut her eyes at him. “I’ve tended bar since I was old enough to hold a bottle,” Kali explained. “I started out with lemonade stands, and now I tend bar at the Hilton.”
“She doesn’t need to work at all,” Ed said quietly.
“No, but it keeps me busy and it’s fun. I’ve also swung a lot of business his way,” she explained. “There’s a lot of bored, rich people out there, who have nothing better to do than customize their cars, or fix up old ones. There was an antique car convention in town one time. We lined up a couple dozen jobs from that one gig.”
“Just know you don’t have to work, babe,” Ed said softly, kissing her.
“I like to, Eddie.”
The waitress came back to take their meal orders. She didn’t write anything down, simply smiled and nodded, repeating the order before moving on.
“She doesn’t write it down?” Ed asked Kai.
“She’s got a fantastic memory. Everything she hears, she remembers,” Kai, who knew her, explained.
“That would drive me crazy,” Kali said.
“That’s cause half of what you hear is your own self talking,” Marianna said with a giggle.
Kali laughed, tossing her bread at Marianna. “God, she’s so right.”
They had a great time at dinner. Paisley and Kali each had two Mojitos. Kali got more talkative, if that were possible. Paisley got the giggles. Everything was hysterically funny. Kai kept an eye on her, concerned she’d had too much to drink. When the women went to the restroom, he watched her until the door closed behind her.
“Don’t worry,” Ed said kindly. “She’s fine. So, Cody. Having fun?”
“Yes, sir. Marianna’s a great girl.”
“God, don’t call me sir, okay? Ed’s good. She really seems to like you.”
“I hope so. I like her a lot. And you don’t have to worry. I’ll treat her right.”
“You’d better, or I’ll break both your legs,” Ed replied, not smiling.
Cody gulped. Ed laughed loudly.
“I’m fking with you, man. But seriously—I will.”
Hanging his head, Cody looked so upset, Ed relented.
“I’m teasing, kid. You seem like a real gentleman. And I’m only gonna say this one time. You know she’s not experienced, right?”
Cody nodded, gulping. “Me either,” he answered honestly.
“Okay. Well, if you have any questions, you ask, got it? You do something wrong, you can hurt her your first time.”
“I can’t believe you’re telling me this,” Cody said, blushing. “I mean, she’s your sister.”
“I wish my first girl’s brother had said something to me,” Ed answered. “Maybe it would’ve gone better. But you got two experienced men here to ask. I know eventually it’s gonna get to that stage, only it better not be too soon.” He pointed one stubby, calloused finger at Cody.
Cody gulped again. “I’ll let her decide,” he whispered.
“That’s the answer I was after,” Ed told him, smiling proudly.
They said good night by the cars. Ed allowed Cody a chance to kiss Marianna good night. The two other couples walked away from the cars for a few minutes to give them a little privacy.
A chilly breeze blew in off the ocean. Paisley shivered. Kai put his arm around her shoulders, holding her close. She leaned her head on his shoulder, cuddling up to him. Kali did the same with Ed. Soon, they too were kissing under the star laden sky. Another, colder wind sprung up making the girls gasp. The men decided it was time to go.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes