The next morning, I awoke to sunlight streaming into the room through the voile blue gingham curtains at the tall, narrow windows. My bed was small, but very comfortable. I’d slept like a rock. My guest bedroom was very quaint and cozy. A handmade quilt covered the mahogany bed, which had been made by Uncle Byron, along with the nightstand, cheval mirror and small desk. The hardwood floor was a shiny oak, and there was a comfy blue-patterned armchair in the corner.
Anxious to see what the day held, I bounced out of bed and shuffled to the closet to pick out an outfit. It had to be fabulous, of course, just in case Randy came by. I grinned like a Cheshire cat. After showering, I donned a turquoise-and-white-striped Nicole Miller sundress. Glancing in the mirror, I admired the way the dress clung to my curves before flaring out to my knees. “Perfect!” I slipped my feet into turquoise sandals, fluffed my curls a bit and made my way downstairs.
The kitchen was already bustling when I stepped in, and it was only 8:00 am. Aunt Sandy was flipping pancakes on a skillet, Dad was poking at some bacon and Mom, bless her heart, was frowning at a can of biscuits. Domestic duties were not her forte. That’s what we had maids and cooks for. As I made my way to the breakfast table, Mom yelped as the can suddenly popped open and the biscuits came spilling out. Aunt Sandy and Dad laughed at the look of utter shock on her face. I couldn’t help giggling myself.
Still laughing, Aunt Sandy handed Mom a baking tray. “It’s okay Erin. Those things get me every time.”
“Oh, right,” Mom said good-naturedly as she arranged the biscuits and stuck them in the oven. “I’ve never even seen one of those contraptions before.”
“Good morning, all!” I chirped brightly as I sat down at the table.
“Morning, Jo,” Aunt Sandy beamed at me. “I didn’t expect you to be up so early.”
“I wanted to help with breakfast. Plus, the day is just too beautiful to sleep in.”
“Wow, Jo,” Dad said incredulously. “Are you really my daughter?” he teased.
Mom nodded emphatically, “And to think you didn’t even want to come.”
I smiled sheepishly, “I know, I know. I’m glad I gave Marian a chance though. And it’s so good to be with family like Aunt Sandy.”
Aunt Sandy smiled that special, warm smile. “It’s lovely to have you, Josephine. Can you set the table, please? Your uncle and cousin should be down soon.”
“Sure,” I said as I stood up to search for dishes and utensils. Like my mom, I knew nothing about cooking, but this I could do. The breakfast nook in the kitchen had a large table with enough seating for at least ten people. I set six places and stepped back to admire my work. The sunlight glinted off the glasses and silverware I had arranged with razor-sharp precision. “Immaculate.”
Just then, I heard thundering on the stairs and shortly thereafter, Jason did a Tom Cruise Risky Business slide into the kitchen in dirty, holey socks. He was wearing wrinkled green cargo shorts and a black t-shirt with a V so deep and wide it showed most of the forest of curly hair on this chest. I wrinkled my nose in disgust behind his back. Soo gross. I liked my men with smooth chests. I wonder if Randy’s is smooth…My mouth quirked in a dreamy smile that quickly disappeared as I caught Dad looking at me in confusion. I did not want any of his teasing.
“Morning, Jason,” Aunt Sandy chimed.
“Morning, Grandma.” Jason replied as he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. He seemed to have a very soft spot for her. It was cute. “Good morning, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin.” He gave us each a perfunctory smile.
“Morning,” all three of us replied.
“Any plans for the day?” Aunty Sandy asked Jason.
“Not really. Just video games with Randy.”
My ears perked instantly. Yes! I get to see him today. I didn’t know why I was so excited about someone I’d only met the day before, but I’d felt a connection with him.
“Alright, time to eat,” Aunt Sandy announced as she carried a heaping platter of pancakes to the table. Dad and Mom followed with biscuits, eggs and bacon and Jason grabbed orange juice from the fridge.
As though on cue, Uncle Byron shuffled into the kitchen at that moment. “Mornin’, everyone,” he drawled. “I hope you all slept well.” He grinned widely at us as we greeted him. He had sort of a rustic charm to him; it felt comforting. Plus, he smelled a lot better today than he had the day before.
When we were all seated, Dad said a prayer for the food and we dug in. It was delicious. The mealtime conversation centered on the plans for the day. Uncle Byron was taking his tractor into town for repairs and Aunt Sandy planned to make a quilt for her new grandbaby. Mom and Dad were going to an old train-station-turned-museum, then for lunch at Dad’s favorite barbecue restaurant. They invited me to come along with them, but I politely declined, insisting that I would like to spend the day with Aunt Sandy. My parents smiled knowingly at me, but thankfully, obliged me and didn’t say anything embarrassing. OK. Yes. I wanted to see Randy, but I also liked Aunt Sandy a lot and she said she’d be glad for the company. I was sure I could learn a lot from her. I looked forward to what the day held.