“Could be. She won’t ever talk about it, I’m sure. This is a Mom I don’t know. I’m not sure what to make of it.”
“Why make anything of it? Just enjoy it.”
Since it was still fairly early, Jasper helped Hana locate some of the items that Aunt Enid wanted. Mostly, she needed clothing. There were a few books and knickknacks she wanted for the house.
Hana’s mother had given them boxes, packing tape, markers and three huge bags of styrofoam peanuts. She promised them more if they ran out. Hana set about packing the clothing, wrapping them around some of the more delicate items. She kept a detailed list of the contents of each box, on a yellow legal pad—also supplied by her mother. A list went into each box, but she also kept a master list.
Jasper had a chuckle at her expense. “You aren’t as different from your mom as you’d like to think.”
“Being organized is a good characteristic that follows you through life,” Hana said in a rather imperious tone. Hesitating a moment, she started laughing. “Oh, I sounded just like my mother!”
Jasper chuckled. “Well, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. I happen to like organization.”
“Yes, Mr. Alphabetized CDs and DVDs.”
“And books. And spice cabinet.”
“You don’t alphabetize your canned foods, do you?”
“No, but they are grouped by expiration date. Is that okay?” He took the pad and pen from her, dropping them on a box as his lips descended on her throat.
“Yes. That’s okay.” She closed her eyes, arching her neck so he had better access.
Jasper lifted her, carrying her to their bedroom. He tossed her on the bed before taking his shirt off. His pants followed quickly. Hana struggled out of her clothing, trying to keep up. Jasper helped her before taking off his boxers. Hana lay back on the bed, admiring his body, reveling in the fact that he was hers alone.
“How did I get so damn lucky?” she asked as he lay down next to her.
“I’ve been asking myself the same thing,” he replied.
She opened her mouth to say something more, but his kiss stopped her. “Don’t try to over think it, just kiss me.”
They woke the next morning with the sun glaring in the curtains. Just before the alarm went off, Jasper got up. Hana lay a few more minutes in the comfortable bed before rising. As it happened, she shouldn’t have bothered getting up, because Jasper took her right back to bed. Their shower was understandably hurried. They hopped in the car and Hana drove to her mother’s house. Fortunately, they were right on time.
Aileen had asked Jasper numerous questions about his likes and dislikes after dinner the night before. She’d created a feast for breakfast, including most of his favorites.
“I didn’t have any mangoes,” she admitted. “But I’ll get some.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, Aileen. This is magnificent. I don’t even eat this well at home! I’m usually the one cooking. This is a rare treat. Thank you.”
Aileen blushed, smiling at him. “You’re so welcome, dear. Can’t have you wasting away. Hana is a good cook, did you know that?”
“I’m a passable cook,” Hana admitted, blushing herself.
“Nonsense, you’re very good. All my girls can cook. I even got my boys where they can make at least one nice meal each, as well as lunch and breakfast foods. If you know how to cook an egg, you’ll never starve.”
Jasper chuckled. “My mother says the same thing. I’m great with a grill. Not so good with conventional cooking, but I grill a great steak.”
“We should plan a barbecue while you’re here,” Aileen said. “Would you be willing to grill steaks and ribs for everyone?”
“I’d be honored. Bring a little slice of the ranch back here to Texas.”
“I’ve got a recipe for marinade that’s to die for. What do you use?”
They spent the next half hour comparing recipes. Hana marveled at Jasper’s ability to charm her mother without really trying. She seemed genuinely to like him, something that was confirmed by her father. Jasper was giving Aileen his recipe for rose food, and she was writing down her baby back rib rub.
“Your mama sure must like that boy,” her father said with a grin. He put his arm around Hana’s shoulders.
“She certainly seems to,” Hana said. “I was so worried she wouldn’t like him. You know how she gets.”
“I do. She misses you a lot. It’s a treat having you home. I don’t know how she’s going to cope once you leave.”
“Really? She’s never really shown it before.”
“Your mother has had to fulfill a role that was thrust on her from an early age. You’ve met your grandmother.” He smirked, kissing her forehead. “She was expected to be perfect, and raise the perfect family. It hasn’t always been easy on her.”
©2022 Dellani Oakes