“I do,” Jasper said. “Your Uncle Ed taught me. I’m not all that good. Can’t seem to break the double digits.”
“Doubles, like twenties?” David asked.
“Oh, no. Like ten,” Jasper said with a sly wink.
“You have a ten handicap?” Tick was impressed. “I can’t seem to shake fifteen. Care to play a round while you’re here?”
“If we have time,” Jasper said. “Can’t leave Hana to close out the house on her own. She might not love me anymore.”
Aileen stiffened, glancing between her daughter and Jasper. “Love? Is this a serious relationship, Hana?”
“Yes, Mom. Quite. Jasper asked me to marry him, and I’ve accepted. In fact, when we get back to the ranch, I’m moving in with him.”
“Well,” Aileen said quietly. “Well. I suppose we’ll have a wedding to plan.”
“Not immediately,” Hana said. “We’re planning on a year or so from now.”
Jasper raised an eyebrow, trying not to laugh. They hadn’t discussed a date at all. Point of fact, he hadn’t even given her a ring yet, something her mother remarked upon.
“Auntie promised me her ring from Uncle Ed,” Hana said. “We’re getting it sized.”
“You’re getting it?” Alice scoffed. “I’m the eldest girl. I should get it.”
“Yes, but she likes me,” Hana said, hotly. “I’m the one who’s taken care of her and loved her all these years. You’ve done nothing….”
“Sis,” David said quietly. He shook his head, lips in a firm line.
“I think it’s time to go now,” Hana said, fighting tears. “Mom, thank you for lunch. It was delicious, as usual.”
“You’ll be here for dinner, won’t you?” Aileen said, her voice and face betraying her anxiety. “I’m cooking all your favorites.”
Hana had never seen her mother like this, so concerned about pleasing her. In fact, she seemed down right hopeful. “Sure, Mom. We’d love to. David said he’d take us by to rent a car so we won’t have to beg rides.”
“All right, dear. Dinner’s at seven sharp.”
“I know. Some things don’t change.” Hana hugged her mother and father, avoiding her other siblings.
David took them to the car rental place, hardly speaking until they arrived. He turned to Hana before she got out of the car. “What did you do to Mom? She’s so—mellow.”
“No idea,” Hana said. “I was going to ask you the same thing. And she was nice to Jasper!”
“I know, right? Shocker.”
“And genuinely wants to see me?” Hana shook her head. “When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. Will you be at dinner?”
“I might. Mom did ask me. Which is another first.”
“You should come,” Jasper said. “If your mom went to the trouble to invite you, she must really want you there.”
“I suppose,” David replied. “Okay, I’ll see you there at six thirty. We’re expected to meet up for cocktails.”
“Thanks, D. See you later.” Hana gave him a hug and kiss before she and Jasper walked into the car rental building.
They drove to Enid’s house in an older, but still very upscale, neighborhood. All the houses were beautifully maintained, though their yards weren’t the surgical nightmare of Aileen’s. Enid and Ed’s house stood out because it was a sprawling split-level ranch that was stark white on top, red brick on the bottom, with a bright red roof and a green door.
“This is great!” Jasper said. “I can totally see them living in a house like this. Let me guess, original marcite floors?”
“See for yourself, smart guy,” Hana teased. She opened the door with a flourish.
The floors were, indeed, marcite and buffed to a matte sheen.
“If you walk on the floor without your shoes, go barefoot, or you’ll fall on your ass,” Hana warned, taking off her shoes and socks. “I like how it feels on me feet.”
Jasper shed his footwear as well, finding it cool and silky against his bare feet. “Oh, that’s sexy,” he commented, laughing.
“Speaking of sexy, have I told you how hot you are?”
“Not for hours,” Jasper replied, pulling her close. “Where’s the bedroom?”
Hana giggled, taking him by the hand. She led him to the second story, turning left at the first landing. “This is my old room,” she said.
The door opened on a classic girl’s room with a white four poster bed with white canopy scattered with rose buds. The walls, area rugs and drapes were various shades of pink.
“It’s very pink,” Jasper said. “I’d feel really awkward making love in there.”
“I know, so would I. I just wanted you to see my old room. I spent as much time here as I could, when I was a kid. Auntie and I decorated the room together. I was very into white four poster beds with rosebuds when I was seven.”
©2022 Dellani Oakes