An Awkward Meeting
Setting napkins at each place on the table, I ask, “What if I say something, Joey without thinking?”
“Like what Hello Todd, I see your witch of a mother is trying to sabotage my livelihood, nice to meet you,” Red says with a little too much bitterness, and I thought I was the only one still angry.
“Exactly, I don’t know if I can hold my tongue.”
“I don’t know what to say Livi; you might not be the only one who can’t.”
“Why the gloomy faces?” Pearse asks, joining us in the dining room. “We’re at the beach; it’s a sunny day, we’re going to meet this Todd fellow who Ali seems to be enamoured with.”
“That’s the problem P.”
“His mother is Vice President of the Women’s League,” Joey replies, setting a fork down on the table. “Oh, you mean those old protesting biddies.”
“The very same ones, not just that they may have been responsible for several suppliers cancelling our orders.”
“What, why am I only hearing about this now?”
“You were away there was nothing you could do, we’ve fixed the problem as best we can.”
“I hope you put a hit out on those old hags.” He comments, looking at me.
“Yeah, I have Pearse you know because I keep a hitman on speed dial.”
“You think Alice knows?” He asks, damn it why am I the only one who didn’t consider her knowing anything about it; I say nothing.
“We don’t know.” Joey replies, Pearse looks from Joey to me and asks directing the question at me,
“Well have you asked her?”
“No and I’m not going to, and neither are you.”
“The hell I’m not.”
“You say a single word to her about this Pearse, and I will never forgive you. I mean it.” Slamming the rest of the napkins down on the table I leave the room.
Sitting down on the warm sand, I stare out into the ocean, Rufus sits down beside me while Atticus runs off to frolic in the surf. Rufus nudges me with his nose; I pet him on the head, he leans against me. I wrap my arm around him. Looking up at me, he licks my face, I smile. “What should I do Ruffy?” He whines in reply, scratching behind his ear. I kiss the top of his head. Atticus is busy digging a hole sand flying out behind him in all directions; he’s going to need a bath when he gets home. “Why is it always so complicated, why can nothing ever be straightforward or simple?”
“If he has an answer for that can you let me know.” Without having to look around I know it’s Joey, Pearse is with him too, I can smell his aftershave, clean and crisp.
“What do you two want?”
“That’s pleasant, I must say.” Pearse comments sitting down beside me, Rufus glares at him, “Can he not eat me, please?”
“I don’t know he hasn’t had his dinner yet.”
“I won’t say anything Oli as much as I want to I won’t not if you don’t want me to.”
“Though it seems rather extreme for them to take it this far.”
“That’s what I thought too, maybe because their protesting has made no real difference they decided to kick it up a gear.”
“A gear this is going from 0 to 1000 in 5 seconds.”
“Well, it’s fixed now the best we could so let’s just get meeting this guy out of the way for today.” My phone beeps, taking it out of my pocket to see it’s a message from August, The eagle has landed. “Would seem they have arrived, let’s get this over with.” Heading back up to the house, a very messy Atticus runs ahead of us spinning a few times looking back at us as if to tell us to hurry up. Rufus walks at my heel.
“You ready?” Joey asks as we reach the back door.
“I’m ready.” Pasting on a huge smile I open the door, Rufus never leaving my side. “Hi I’m Olivia, you must be Todd.” Reaching my hand out to a shorter, more rotund man than I had imagined, then again I have seen his mother and granted he is quite a bit taller than she is but his physique is similar. He reaches his hand out to take mine, Rufus emits a throaty growl, Todd quickly pulls his hand back. “He’s quite harmless.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
“This is Joey and Pearse. I assume you’ve already met August and Simon.” The usual pleasantries ensue, Rufus glares at Todd making him a little jumpy.
“Oh yes, the rather burly chaps who let us in.”
“That’s them. Need any help with your luggage?”
“We’ll be fine,” Alice says in a dry tone, not sure what her problem is we’ve all been somewhat civil.
“Ah Auggie could you do me a favour and give Atticus a bath, he’s covered head to toe in sand?”
“Was he digging holes again?” Nodding my head, August shakes his and says “That dog. Come on Atti lets get you cleaned up.”
“I think Todd and I will go for a walk along the beach.” Alice announces, “We’ll take our luggage up when we get back.” She heads for the back door all but dragging Todd along behind her.
“Have a nice walk.” We all say as she slams the door behind them.
“Ooh can we do that again, it was so much fun.” Simon says as he puts another crate of beer in the fridge.
“I see you've come prepared.”
“Of course, just like I heard a clinking from your luggage Oli. I thought things were ok between you two again.” Shrugging my shoulders, I reply;
“I thought so too.”