Enid raised an eyebrow, making a wry face. “That’s your mother talking, young lady. She’s always trying to do the right thing, and not upset me. Drink whatever you like. Just remember, you’re driving home.” She winked. “I’m past caring about it. This juice is delicious and if I close my eyes, I can imagine it’s a glass of Dom.”
Hana squeezed Enid’s fingers and walked over to the buffet. She glanced around for Jasper, but didn’t see him yet. Grabbing a plate, she filled it with at least one of everything on the table. When she was finished, she found Jeff’s twin, Jimmy, mixing drinks like a professional.
“Name your poison, Miss Sutherland.”
“Call me Hana, please. Hmm—got a specialty?”
He winked provocatively. “Well, I do, but the name’s a bit scurrilous. Tasty drink, naughty name.”
He leaned over, whispering in her ear. “It’s called a Fuck Me Up. Which is as much an invitation as it is a drink name.” He winked provocatively.
Hana’s smile was skeptical. She raised an eyebrow scanning his muscular, well tanned body with a practiced eye, lingering just below the belt buckle. It was a look she had perfected while in college, and it had worked well to discourage unwanted come-ons. She was teasing Jimmy. She didn’t think he was completely serious, but there was a hint of a real invitation couched in the flirtation.
“Or not,” he looked at the table. “Sorry. Sometimes I get carried away.”
“I’ll try it,” she told him abruptly. “The drink,” she clarified quickly.
Jimmy snapped his fingers in mock disappointment. “And here I was thinking the line had actually worked! Too smart for me, aren’t you?”
“I wouldn’t say that. But you should try simply introducing yourself to a woman first. She might be so wowed by your good looks, tight ass, and that nice package, she won’t need the line.”
She swished her hips invitingly as she walked back to the table with her food.
Jimmy stood speechless at the bar, fumbling with a glass, several types of alcohol and fruit juices. After a few minutes, he brought her drink to the table.
“Enjoy!” he told her, bowing hastily as he scurried away.
“What on earth did you say to that boy?” Enid watched him scuttle to the kitchen. “I’ve never seen him like that.”
“He suggested a drink,” Hana told her. “And had an additional suggestion. I made it rather clear I didn’t think he needed a pick up line. Not with that physique.” She giggled.
“What did you say, Hana Belle?” she wasn’t really scolding, the old woman was curious.
Hana repeated the conversation word for word. Enid nearly rolled on the floor, she laughed so hard. Wiping her eyes on her napkin, she chortled gleefully.
“No wonder he ran out of here! Oh, my dear! That you get from your father! He’s the master at the subtle, yet pointed, put down.”
The band was coming in. They settled down and started playing softly, a tune Hana recognized. It was an instrumental by Kenny Wayne Shepherd called While We Cry. The guitarist was so good, she half expected to see Kenny Wayne playing. Instead, it was a man in his late forties, obviously another of the Jacob’s kin. He had the same blond good looks as Jimmy and Jeff.
“That’s Janine and Jerry’s oldest boy, Stan. He’s Jeff and Jimmy’s father. He plays professionally.”
“Not another J name?”
“Jerrold Stanley, I believe. After his father. He found two Jerry’s confusing, so he started going by Stan.”
The song ended and Hana clapped enthusiastically. The next piece was also a haunting melody, this time by Pink Floyd. Stan played in the background as another man came forward and started to sing.
“I’m surprised that Jasper isn’t here yet,” Enid said, looking a little worried. “It’s not like him to be late.”
“There he is,” Hana felt the same flutter in her chest when she saw him.
He’d just come in the door. His dark hair, slightly damp, falling in soft ringlets to the top of his collar. He wore a green polo shirt and blue jeans, which clung to every ripple of muscle like a glove. He moved with confident ease to their table and squatted between them.
Taking Enid’s hands carefully in his, he gazed into her dark eyes with a soft smile. “Hiya, Miss E. How’s my best girl?”
“I thought she was my best girl,” Jeff said from the buffet table.
“Nope, cuz. I’m three years older, I saw her first.”
“Yeah, you wish! She’ll always be my girl.”
“Oh, stop, you two!” Enid looked pleased at their silly banter. “I’ll be best girl to you both, how’s that? There’s enough of me to go around.”
Enid giggled and blushed. For the first time since her illness, she looked like herself again, not the fragile shell she had become.
“Let me introduce you to my great-niece,” she told Jasper, diverting his attention to Hana.
“We’ve met. Hello, Miss Hana.”
He held out his hand, taking Hana’s in his own. His hands were strong and calloused, but the touch was firm and gentle. She wondered what he did for a living.
© Dellani Oakes 2022