“I know. It was completely unfair. I’m sorry.”
May I emphasize that Chica never apologizes for anything? Ever. Never has. For her to say that to me, meant a lot. I gave her a hug and kiss.
“Let’s get some food before Suzie eats it all.”
Our pregnant sister’s plate was piled high. It wasn’t all her doing. The others were teasing her, telling her she was eating for three.
“Twins?” I yelped. “What has your enterprising husband done now?”
“The job that nature intended. This time, girls.” She had three boys. “And I get my tubes tied.”
“It’s your job to procreate next,” Maria said to me.
“Not so. There are others, older than I, who have thus far failed to multiply. I get a pass for a few more years.”
“It’s not just up to you. What do you think, Rowena?” Dionne asked. She’s the nosy one. Not that the others aren’t. She just has it down to an art form.
“We just started dating,” I said.
“And already consummated your relationship,” Dionne countered.
“Do I share details of your sex life—ever? Have I—ever?”
She had the decency to look embarrassed.
“But you’d make such pretty babies,” Hannah, the quiet one, added.
“Thank you. But I’d like to date more than a few days, before we start talking weddings and kids. I also didn’t want her to meet you all so soon. I’m not sure I have her well enough hooked. You could scare her off.”
“You saved her life. She’s not dumping you,” Carmen said.
“Saved her life?” Apparently Randy was the only one who didn’t know. I would have liked that to continue.
“He’s the mystery man at Starke and Howe,” Chica told him proudly.
“Could have gone without saying that,” I admonished.
“Is it a secret?” Hannah asked, puzzled.
“Don’t want the press camping my doorstep.”
“I’ve been telling everyone,” Antoinette said. “They haven’t said your name once, and it’s all over the news.”
“Which was how I wanted it. I didn’t do it for the notoriety. I did it because it was the right thing.”
“And the bastard hit me,” Rowena chimed in. “I think you deserve your fifteen minutes of fame. What you did was nothing short of heroic.”
Her hug and kiss were fierce. Had we been alone, I’d have gladly taken that further. Having my sisters and mother around, was slightly intimidating. I won’t say it made me feel less of a man, but it certainly put a quash on my desires. I never had to look for a cock block, when I was younger. I had eight of them. Built in.
Dinner was fun. Rowena fit right in, Randy held his own, and we all had too much to drink—with the exception of Suzette. I hadn’t realized that several of the family had decided to stay the night. I have a good sized house, master bedroom. and three other bedrooms, as well as a Murphy bed in the office. There are two full baths upstairs, and another downstairs. Suzette was going to drive Mom home, and the rest were staying. What their husbands had to say about this, I didn’t know. Wasn’t exactly my place to ask.
I wondered if my brothers-in-law had approved of Randy. I intended to find out as soon as possible. Other than Hannah and Charlotte, all my sisters are married. Hannah seems to be a confirmed single. She has boyfriends from time to time, but can’t seem to settle down. I think it’s because she’s inordinately shy and, like me, she wants her space. I’m not averse to sharing mine with the right person. Perhaps she hasn’t found hers yet.
Once dinner things were cleared up, we went out back. There’s a pool and a large porch with lots of furniture. It’s screened in, so we can enjoy the great outdoors without bugs. It has subtle, indirect lighting that provides a warm, golden glow. The pool is lit with inset lights, which glitter and shiver with the movement of the cleaner. It crawls across the bottom and sides like a giant lobster. Some of the sisters wanted to get in the pool, so I pulled the monster out while they went up to change.
“Want to hop in?” I asked Rowena.
“I don’t have a suit with me.”
“We can find something. I have a couple spare suits. I think one will fit you. Never been used.”
“Why do you have women’s bathing suits?”
“With this many women around, you have to ask? They visit, and don’t always bring suits, but nearly always want to use the pool. They keep me stocked with after-season suits in all sizes. I think one that Carmen brought, will fit.” It did.
The suit was a one piece, but a very seductive one. A halter top that looped around her neck, it was attached to a skimpy lower half that left a lot of skin showing. A dark aqua, it set off her golden hair and green eyes to perfection. She changed in the master bath while I struggled into my board shorts in the walk in closet. Normally, this is not a difficult process, but the boys weren’t cooperating. They were excited by the expanse of bare skin, and the idea of seeing Rowena wet and nearly naked. I hoped that once I got in the water, things would calm down, but I had my doubts.
©2021 Dellani Oakes