Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chapter Six

"Pass the chips and dip," Claudia asked from her corner of the couch. She had just gotten herself comfortable.

"Not until I have had some first," Dawn insisted as she hurtled the back of the couch and landed in the middle. "I have first dibs, they are my favorite."

Jessi arrived carrying a tray filled with different bags of junk food and candy with Kristy right behind her waving the rented tape. "Lead me to the VCR," Kristy announced.

"It is over there." Claudia waved toward the far wall of the top floor living room. "Underneath the TV. Hey, Dawn, I want some too you know." Dawn was already loading up a plate with food.

Dawn passed a plate laden with chips and dip from the tray Jessi had settled on the coffee table in front of the sofa. Popping the tape into the VCR, Kristy grabbed the remote and immediately pressed play before passing it to Jessi. As the previews were beginning, Jessi turned out the lights and the girls lounged into comfortable positions around the room: Jessi and Claudia on the couch, Kristy on the recliner and Dawn sprawled across the floor.

Jessi fast forwarded the previews and resumed playing for the beginning of the movie.

“Hey,” Claudia protested. “Sometimes the previews are good.”

“More often than not, my experience has been that they are not.”

The room was silent as scenes of open country and the main character, Maggie Carpenter, galloping across the fields played across the screen. Just as the camera began to pan over the tall buildings and noisy sidewalks of New York City, Dawn groaned.

“I hate city,” she muttered before diving a hand into the chips again.

“We know,” Claudia rolled her eyes. “You have only mentioned it a couple million times over the past few months: ever since Liam started talking about living near a major airline for a year.”

“It worked,” Dawn pointed out. “And besides it is true, I hate cities.”

Before the conversation could continue, both Jessi and Kristy hissed for them to shush. The silence resumed as the movie began in earnest. It lasted until a new character appeared and Kristy could not help commenting.

“Enter scientist,” she announced. “Any feelings, Dawn?”

Dawn tossed popcorn at Kristy half-heartedly. She could not deny her weakness for the nerdy types.

A moment later Dawn was yelling. “’Dot, dot, dot,’” she sputtered. “He doesn’t know an ellipsis when he sees one!”

“I take it that Liam is safe from this guy’s competition?” Claudia muttered.

“It’s okay,” Kristy said. “He wasn’t good looking anyways.”

Dawn ignored them and watched the screen.

Just as the first old lady smacked Ike with something, Austin appeared in the door way in time to see. “What in the world are you watching? Why did that old lady bean the man? What did he do?”

Claudia pushed up off the couch long enough to hiss at him to be quiet or leave. Obediently, he left.

“You do realize that he will be back in a few minutes with reinforcements, don’t you?” Jessi pointed out.

“Yeah, he can’t let us watch some movie that promotes male beating.” Dawn commented before returning her attention to the movie.

As Ike’s character started making excuses, Kristy grimaced. “Typical.”

The front of Peggy Fleming’s salon became centered on the screen. “Curl Up and Dye” Kristy read. “Sounds like something Dawn came up with.”

As Ike agreed to a hair washing, Claudia shook her head. “How stupid can you get?”

After another half hour the boys made their appearance just as Peggy was telling Ike about her husband’s morning radio show “Wake up with Flem.”

“What kind of movie is this?” Austin asked. Adem, Scott, and Liam were on his heels and took no time in crowding up the room with sweat and dirt. The construction downstairs was apparently a messy job. “First, old ladies are bashing men with newspapers and now they are talking about morning personal issues. I was sure that you guys were getting a chick flick.”

“It certainly doesn’t sound like the typical chick flick,” Liam commented as he sat on the floor next to Dawn.

“Of course us guys know nothing about that stuff,” Scott took the chips from Kristy and sat on the floor with his back to her legs. Kristy jabbed his back with her toe and told him to be quiet.

“Cool impression,” Austin said as Ike mimicked Maggie’s cheering. Claudia glared at him. Wisely, he shut up.

A few minutes later, Maggie and Peggy were making up and Peggy said, “I understand that sometimes you just spaz out with excess flirtatious energy and it just lands on anything male that moves.”

Maggie responded, “Anything male that moves as opposed to anything male that doesn’t?”

“Well, like certain kinds of coral” was Peggy’s response.

Scott interjected, “Peggy sounds like your kind of girl, Liam.”

Liam grimaced as they missed the next few lines.

Peggy was talking about “married women who have lost their mystery.”

Maggie objected, “You are totally mysterious.”

“No, I am weird,” Peggy explained. “Weird and mysterious are two very different things.”

“I am weird,” Maggie said.

“No, you are quirky,” Peggy said. “Quirky and weird are two very, very different things.”

Austin laughed. “It gets better and better, huh Liam?”

Popcorn flew across the room and landed on Austin’s head.

“Not in my living room!” Jessi yelled. “All of you out! Go take showers or something, you stink.” She prodded her husband in the ribs.

“I didn’t do anything,” Adem protested. It was in vain. In moments, Jessi had shooed them all out the door with orders to clean up and stay out. Finally the girls could rewind their movie and settle back to watch in peace.

Just after Ike was describing how a proposal should be done. Kevin surprised them all by commenting out of the blue, “how sweet.”

“When did you come in?” Kristy demanded.

“Oh, back when they were examining rings.” He sat on the chair opposite the recliner. “I came looking for the guys, but they said that they were under orders to make themselves scarce. I thought I would attempt to infiltrate the lion’s den for them.”

Kevin played with the cover of the video. “Oh, now I get it.”

“What?” Kristy demanded.

“You kicked the guys out so they would not know that you are watching a movie called the Runaway Bride.” He glanced at her with a fake innocence. “Didn’t want Scott to know that you were planning a get away?”

“Why you!” Kristy rose and dived for Kevin. She was only prevented from creaming him because Dawn and Jessi intervened.

Claudia got up and opened the door to the hall. “I would run if I were you,” she advised. Kevin took it and sprinted. The door closed after him.

“You can let her go now.” Claudia plopped down on the couch again and grabbed the remote. “Now I will rewind, again.”

Finally they finished the movie without further interruptions. Everyone stretched and then Jessi got up to get the tape.

“It was okay,” Dawn said as she tried to roll herself to her feet.

“What do you mean, ‘okay?’” Kristy protested and reached for the popcorn bowl only to find it empty.

Dawn shrugged. “I guess I did not like the guy.”

“Not geeky enough for you?” Kristy asked as she went looking for ammo.

“No,” Dawn managed to move the chips out of Kristy’s reach just in time. “He was so nasty at the beginning that I had a hard time getting him out the hole he had dug himself into. Besides, I would hate to have a married fight with him. He goes for blood.”

“Come on,” Jessi announced as she headed for the door. “Its time to see what is for dinner.”

“Dinner?” Kristy and Dawn grimaced at the thought of more food.

Claudia smiled and headed for the door. “Sounds great, I am eating for two now and I am starved.”


“Hey Kristy,” Jessi cornered her sister-in-law in the front hall immediately after dinner. “How many invitations did you send out for this wedding and are we going to have to correct the location if you are going to be having the event here?”

“Huh?” Kristy gave her a blank look. “I haven’t even decided on a guest list.”

“You do have a date, don’t you?” Jessi asked with raised eyebrows.

“Um,” Kristy answered, “late August sometime, maybe.”

Jessi groaned. “Now I know why these guys get frustrated with you. We need a date, now, and we are going to have to get the invitations done immediately. From now on you are going to be spending a lot of time with Claudia while Dawn and I finish stuff around here.”

“Oh no.” Kristy moaned. “But, I wanted to help with the house!”

“You can, after the wedding is planned,” Jessi said.


“No, buts,” Jessi frowned. “You have to do it, girl. Scott can’t; you have to.”


“No, huge invasive stench,” Dawn corrected, coming in in time to hear the last exchange. “Don’t worry; Claudia will have you finished in no time.”

“The time is not what I am dreading.” Kristy muttered as she went looking for Scott.


“Scott,” Kristy hollered down the basement stairs. The voices she had heard continued, but no answering call came. Deciding she had to go down to get an answer, she opened the door the rest of the way and ventured down the dim stairwell.

“Hey guys,” she called in the direction of the noise. “Whose idea was it to not fix the lights on the stairs first? It is like a tomb.”

“The better to annoy you with, my dear,” Kevin commented as he appeared around a corner.

Kristy checked her first reaction which was to turn around and bolt. “Is Scott here?”

“No,” Kevin grinned, “Shnuckums is not down here.”

Crossing her arms and frowning forbiddingly, Kristy demanded, “Do you know where he went?”

“Well, I don’t know…”

He didn’t get to finish. “Then I will go look somewhere else,” Kristy said as she turned on her heel and headed back up the stairs. The music that she had mistaken for voices was all she could hear behind her as she shut the basement door. She briefly considered locking it, but decided she didn’t want to encourage the guy.


“What about this one,” Claudia handed the invitation sample book to Kristy and pointed to a simple white invitation. It had no frills; the only decoration was a raised garland of ivy around the border. The leaves were highlighted with a subtle green. The sample type was a loose, but simple script.

Pushing aside the book of gilded one, Kristy absentmindedly rubbed Leia’s head as she examined the newest option. “I think this one might be it.”

“Finally,” Claudia sighed. Thumping the large binders down on the coffee table of the study, she stood up and stretched. “Now let me see your guest list.”

“What guest list,” Kristy asked innocently. “With all this initiation picking out, I haven’t had time to ask Scott about a list.”

Claudia smoldered. “You said you were going to do that yesterday.”

Before Kristy could defend herself, Dawn burst into the room. Yellow and peach colored paint covered her overalls and a smudge of bright yellow was across her forehead. “We finished the bathroom on the third floor.”

“No fair,” Kristy whined.

Claudia grimaced. “I hope both of those colors were not used in the same room.”

Dawn looked down at her pant legs and laughed. “No the peach was the one of the guest bathrooms. How is it going?”

“Don’t ask,” Claudia muttered and resumed moving the sample books.

“I already did,” Dawn replied. “How is it going?”

“I picked invitations, Claudia is angry I have not done the guest list yet.”

“What month is it, Kristy?” Claudia seethed, “June! And when is this wedding? August!” She dropped the last book onto the pile with a dramatic thud. “I can’t do everything!” she yelled and then stomped out and slammed the door with a bang.

Dawn looked from the closed door to Kristy’s stunned face. “I would surmise that it has been a long morning and you still haven’t done something.”

“I did try,” Kristy protested. “I tried to find him last night after dinner, but I found Kevin instead and then I got all flustered and angry because he would not tell me where Scott went and I was so mad and I am…” she stopped for a breath and Dawn interjected.

“Do you love Scott?”

“Of course,” Kristy burst out.

“Do you want to marry Scott?”

“Yes,” Kristy declared with slightly less vigor.

“Then quit dragging your feet,” Dawn told her dispassionately. “You have been dragging you feet this whole time; so, quit it and start working with us.”

Kristy stood there a bit shell shocked. “I will go talk to Scott.”

“Good idea,” Dawn agreed. “I will make sure most of that was hormones,” she said indicating the sample binders with a wave.

Kristy nodded and left.

“Oh, boy,” Dawn muttered before following.

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