“I know, Han-Zilla. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have given it up to him.” He kissed her forehead. “I’m happy for you, Little Bit.”
When Hana came out of the restroom, the men had their bags. Dave led them to the car, chatting about family.
“Mom’s got the clan coming for dinner,” he said. “I’m sorry I didn’t warn you. I didn’t know until I got here. My invitation must have been lost in the mail,” he said with a chuckle.
“What’s Mom mad at you about now?”
“My divorce was finalized a few days ago, and I held a celebratory party. There was much drinking and jocularity.”
“Your friends hired a stripper, didn’t they?” Jasper asked with a smirk.
“No. They hired three.”
“How the hell would she even find out about it?” Hana asked.
“Apparently, our brother is a fucking narc,” David said. “I can’t prove it, but I think it was Tick.”
“His name is really Tick?” Jasper flinched.
They’d reached the car. David and Jasper put the bags in the trunk.
“No, his name is Patrick,” Hana explained. “But he decided when he was ten that Pat wasn’t a good nickname for a guy.”
“So he chose Tick?”
Hana and David exchanged a look. “When you meet him, you’ll understand.”
“Pictures were taken,” David continued his tale. “Pictures which made their way to our mother’s phone.”
“Oh, shit,” Jasper said. “I can only imagine what my mother would do.”
“I was dancing with them,” David said proudly. “Wearing nothing but a big grin on my face. And a smiley on my dick.”
Hana and Jasper burst out laughing.
“You’ve certainly mellowed since the last time I saw you,” Hana remarked as they headed out of the parking garage.
“Not being married to the Bride from Hell does that for a man.”
“I’m happy for you, Davie. I couldn’t stand your wife. I tried.”
“Oh, she hated you, so that’s okay.”
“What? I’m so lovable.”
“That’s why. She said you were so sweet, it made her look bad. She did fine at that herself.”
He pulled into the busy city traffic, cursing when a semi tried to cut him off. He didn’t speak for several minutes, except to curse. Finally in the proper lane, he settled down, watching traffic almost serenely.
“What prompted this move?” he asked Hana.
“Auntie is so much better there. And I feel like I can breathe. I had no idea how much Mom sucked the life out of me until she wasn’t around to do it. You would love Jasper’s family. They’re so warm and welcoming. They smile and laugh and are genuinely happy to see one another.”
“What is it you do, David? For a living?”
“Accounting. Boring as hell, but it pays the bills. Honestly, I’d rather be an artist. I love to sculpt and paint, but you can’t pay the bills for the Evil Spawn from Hell by playing with clay. At least I don’t have to pay her alimony. I paid her outstanding bills in front of the judge. He said that was sufficient. Banshee Bride is a shopaholic. She had twenty thousand dollars worth of unpaid bills. Now, the bitch can burn.”
Jasper nodded, grinning. “Ever thought about relocating to the desert? You could help out with the books, live in one of the cabins and indulge your art habit.”
“If you tell me one of your family members owns an art gallery, I might laugh myself sick,” Hana said.
“Okay, I won’t. Can’t have you getting sick in the car.”
“Yeah. In Santa Fe.”
“Actually, that has some appeal,” David said. “I just found out my townhouse is going condo and the buy in is fifteen thousand. I can do it, but I don’t like the place that much. And honestly, being around our ex-friends in the same town with my loud mouthed ex-wife…. It’s not the most fun I’ve had in a day. I will seriously consider it.”
“Please do,” Jasper said. “It’s a serious invitation. Take it up whenever you like. The more the merrier at the Lazy J. You can fly back with us, visit, see how you like it.”
“Thanks, Jasper. That certainly bears thought.”
They arrived at the Sutherland home and Jasper could tell right away what kind of housekeeper Aileen Sutherland was. Her yard was picture postcard perfect. Not a blade of grass out of place. Each bush, shrub and tree precisely manicured. Even the flowers had been clipped into exact spheres by some long suffering gardener. It was almost painful to Jasper, who loved the irascible chaos of nature. He grasped Hana’s hand, eyes somewhat wide. She squeezed his fingers.
©2022 Dellani Oakes