Enid grinned. “Oh, Bill and Annie are such sweet people, Hana. I hope you get to meet them sometime. Girls, I think I’d like to get a bit more of a nap. If you could help me to the bed, I’ll lie down. Hana, call me about an hour before dinner so I can get up and dress.”
“Sure thing, Auntie,” Hana kissed her on the cheek as she lay down. “Sleep sweetly,” she turned off the light and shut the door quietly.
“She’s diminished,” Marnie said. “Still the same sweet lady though. I’m glad she’s okay.”
“That’s the first time I ever heard her described as sweet by anyone,” Hana said, surprised at her new friend. “Most people call her the witch!”
“Most people don’t know your great-aunt like I do.” She looked like she was going to cry. “My dad nearly died when I was a kid. He needed expensive surgery, and a lot of therapy. We didn’t have insurance. Ed and Enid paid the medical bills, then turned around and set up a college fund for me to get a good education.”
“They covered some of my college for me too,” Hana said quietly. “Generous to a fault, that’s my Aunt Enid. Uncle Ed was the best, I loved him like my dad.”
“I was so sorry to hear he’d passed,” Marnie said softly. “He was awesome! You know I’ve heard the story of how they met every year, and I never get tired of it.”
“You know what’s funny? I never heard that before. It’s like she and Uncle Ed had a separate life here, away from everything else.”
“She told me once she was expected by the family to behave a certain way. She’d been difficult as a girl and everyone always said, Well, what can you expect? It’s Enid. So she decided to give them what they expected. Except you. She’s spoken highly of you all these years. It’s super that you were able to help her out like this.”
“I think she felt sorry for me,” Hana said. “Got to bail Hana Belle out again. I feel like such a failure.”
“Nonsense! She was so proud when you graduated. She wrote and told me you were graduating Summa Cum Laude. You don’t know what that meant to her.”
“I wish she’d been able to come to graduation,” Hana sighed. “But that was right after her stroke and she was still in the hospital. I barely got a chance to say hello and goodbye before I moved. Then that fell through.”
“Fate works strangely, doesn’t it?”
“My grandmother would say, Divine Providence,” Hana said. “I’m not sure I believe in either one, but who knows? I don’t say no to a good opportunity.”
“Speaking of which, we need to find you something to wear. Show me whatcha got!”
They walked into Hana’s bedroom and pulled out all her luggage. As Hana unpacked, Marnie put things in drawers for her.
“If you hate where I put things, just fix it later. The important thing is to get them out of the bags and into the drawers so you don’t feel like you’re living from a suitcase.”
“True. We’re here for at least six weeks.”
“Okay, let’s see. It’s between this and this,” Marnie gestured at two of Hana’s blouses. “The jeans are good, but put on the sandals instead. Now which top?” She held them up in front of Hana.
One was a gauzy material with long full sleeves. It had a tight bodice, gathered under the bust and tied behind. It was pale blue with lace and embroidery inset in the front panel. The other was pink in a crisp cotton with sleeves that were laced to the elbow. It was a little longer than the blue one, and came to a point in front and back. Instead of lace, it had delicate rows of tiny pin tucks across the chest.
“The pink looks better with your coloring,” Marnie decided. “With your ivory complexion, you need something to give you a little zing. The blue’s pretty, but the pink is more you.”
Hana grinned. “Let me guess, you do that color thing?”
“No, I have a semi-useless bachelor’s in fashion design. My master’s is going to be in theater and dance with an emphasis in costuming. So trust me, pink’s more you.” She winked.
Hana held the pink blouse up to herself and looked in the mirror. It really did bring out the color in her cheeks. She guessed she wasn’t bad looking, if a bit pale. She had short, curly golden blonde hair, bright blue eyes and full pink lips.
“Okay, I trust you,” she told Marnie. “So tell me about Jasper, is he seeing anyone?” She thought of trying to be subtle, but Marnie was such an honest, up front person, she decided that was her best approach.
“No, he’s not, actually.” Marnie grinned. “I knew you liked him!”
“So why hasn’t anyone snatched him up yet? It seems to me all those guys would be beating women off with a stick!”
“Jasper’s real picky. He doesn’t want a woman just because she’s cute. He likes wit, charm and brains. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from our dozens of conversations on the subject. Let’s face it, all men are cruising to get in a girl’s pants, but Jasper isn’t just after that. I mean, he’s straight, don’t get me wrong. He’s a gentleman. Those are hard to come by!”
“Why haven’t you snatched him up then?”
Marnie giggled. “Like I said, Jeff stole my heart! Jasper and I are really good friends. He’s more like a big brother than anything. That might be subject to change if he ever made a pass at me, but he never has. Weird, huh?”
“Yeah, a little. Do you think—well—Maybe?”
© Dellani Oakes 2022