Getting to know you
Riley went inside and took a shower. She got out and put on the pink dress and heels from before. Her work uniform had magically disappeared from the closet, so all she had was the two dresses and the bikini Chris had given her. She dried her hair and went out to the kitchen.
“Good evening, Miss Riley, the cart is ready,” Mrs. White said.
“Thanks, Mrs. White,” Riley said pushing the cart into the dining room. She put a plate in front of each of the guys. They all smiled warmly at her. She knew something was up.
“You seem to be walking a lot better in those shoes,” Mr. Jameson said, “I take it these gentlemen had something to do with that.”
“Yes, Sir,” Riley said placing his plate in front of him, “Can I get you anything else?”
“Where is your uniform?” he asked.
“I don’t know, Sir. It seems to have gone missing from my closet,” Riley replied.
“She looks better in the clothes we pick anyway,” Rex said winking at Riley.
“I wouldn’t be winking if I were you, Rex. You might end up with a fist in your eye,” Riley said. Rex grinned.
“Oh, but dad it is so much fun to joke with her,” Chris said with a chuckle.
“I know you guys are having a good time, but remember Riley is a person, too,” Mr. Jameson said, “Riley if they pester you, feel free to come and tell me. I’ll put them back in line.”
“Yes, sir,” Riley said giving him a curtsy thinking, Yeah right, these guys have you wrapped around their little finger. You wouldn’t do anything...
“Isn’t she great?” Syd asked, “She’s learning quick and has gotten better at the waltz.”
“Is that so?” Mr. Jameson asked.
“Yes, sir, these guys are great teachers,” Riley replied.
“Are you going to the ball Chris is throwing?” Mr. Jameson asked.
“Yes, they’re teaching me to dance for the ball,” Riley replied. She watched them eat their plates and as they finished, she took their plates putting them back on the cart. The guys said good night to her as they got up and left.
“Riley,” Mr. Jameson said, “Can I speak with you a moment?”
“Yes, sir. What can I do for you?” she asked.
“Chris doesn’t know you are Elizabeth’s sister, does he?” he asked.
“I don’t think I ever mentioned it. She doesn’t want me to,” Riley replied looking at her hands.
“He may be angry when he finds out. I don’t think he gets along with her very well,” Mr. Jameson said, “Just be careful.”
“I know, sir. I understand that this is just a summer thing. I think of them as just friends,” Riley said.
“Alright, then good night Riley,” Mr. Jameson said getting up and leaving Riley to finish clearing the plates. As she pushed the cart into the kitchen, she saw Mrs. White waiting for the dishes.
“I’ll take care of these, Mrs. White, you go on to bed,” Riley said pushing the cart over to the counter.
“Alright, dear, thank you,” Mrs. White said.
“I’m just going to eat first,” Riley said sitting down at the counter. She went to eat and realized it was cold so she popped it into the microwave. Mrs. White patted her back as she passed her. Riley smiled at her and waited for the microwave to finish warming it.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize you would get a cold dinner,” Chris said leaning against the door jamb.
“It’s not a big deal,” Riley said taking the plate from the microwave and sitting down. She picked up her fork and started eating. Chris sauntered over and sat next to her.
“Did you ditch your friends again?” Riley asked.
“Only for a pretty lady,” he said leaning on the counter and watching her eat.
“I thought it was bro’s before ho’s,” Riley said.
“Are you saying you’re a ho?” Chris asked.
“Yes, I’m a virgin ho,” Riley said, with her eyebrow quirked, before bursting into laughter.
“Kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it?” Chris asked. Riley nodded and ate some more.
“You do look good in a dress, you know?” Chris said brushing his fingers down her arm.
“Don’t make me get your dad,” Riley said pointing her fork at him. Chris laughed but didn’t move.
“What do you have against Liz, anyway?” Riley asked. Chris went from a smile to a frown instantly.
“Why do you need to know?” he asked narrowing his eyes.
“I’m just curious. I don’t know, I’m a bit surprised at how much you seem to hate her,” Riley replied.
“Yes, I hate her, let’s leave it at that,” Chris said, “I think she’s just a dumb gold-digger.”
“Oh,” Riley said not wanting to push him further. He seemed angry enough just hearing her name.
“She’s jealous of you. I can tell. I suppose it doesn’t help that we’ve been putting you in designer clothes,” Chris said smiling.
“So, you’re doing it to make Liz mad? I don’t think I want to be part of that,” Riley said finishing her food and getting up.
“Don’t be mad, Riley. It’s just a perk, not the reason,” Chris said.
“So, what’s the reason?” Riley asked starting the water to do the rest of the dishes in.
“It actually is just for fun. This week we’re trying to see who can pick the outfit you look prettiest in, obviously I gave you a break and lost by putting you in shorts and a bikini,” Chris said with a shrug and walking over to her, “I like the pink on you. I think Rex might have won this week.”
“What’s the prize?” Riley asked as she washed the plates.
“Huh? Uhm… no prize, just for fun,” Chris said, “After Syd and Damon get their turn, we are going to see who can make you look the most like a princess. The prize for that is dressing you to match their own outfit for the masquerade ball.”
Riley laughed, “You guys really are bored, aren’t you?”
“I guess we just get our kicks making others look good,” Chris said, “Of course if you look good it will make us look good.”
“That’s why you guys are teaching me to dance? So that you look good dancing with me at the ball?” Riley asked washing the plates and putting them in the strainer.
“Well, yeah. That and because we have nothing better to do,” Chris said drying the plates and putting them away.
“Do any of you have girlfriends?” Riley asked, “I’m just curious because I honestly am starting to wonder if you prefer the company of males.”
Chris chuckled, “Actually Syd, Evan, and Rex have girlfriends, and they’ll be at the ball. And no, we are not gay; we all love the company of women. We just have had this BFF club where we spend summers together since my parents separated, fifteen years ago. It’s odd because they are still married, but they live in different houses, in different states.”
“Oh, so they’re like your support group who keeps you in line?” Riley asked smirking at him.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Chris said putting the last dish away.
“I’m sorry to hear about your parents,” Riley said putting her hand on his shoulder. Chris turned and put his arms around her.
“You’re different than any girl I’ve met before, Riley,” Chris said holding her close, “The separation really bothered me at first. What about your parents?”
“My dad was a sperm donor, pretty much. I never met him, and my mom would rather be my friend than my mom, when I do see her. I grew up with my older sister and my grandmother taking care of me,” Riley replied playing with Chris’ hair, “My family wasn’t perfect either.”
“That feels good,” Chris said closing his eyes as Riley ran her fingers through his hair.
“I’m sorry your family sucks, too,” Chris said leaning close to her. Riley looked down at his lips and then back to his eyes. He looked into her eyes before closing his and putting his lips to hers. He ran his tongue along her lips and when she gasped, he delved into her mouth with it. She was surprised to feel his tongue enter and loved the sweet taste of him. She slid her tongue into his mouth as well. Riley wrapped her arms around his neck leaning into him. Then she stopped and pulled away.
“We shouldn’t do this, Chris,” Riley said shaking her head, stepping past him, and going to her room. Chris watched her leave in a daze. Riley went into her room that she shared with Elizabeth and put on her pajama shorts and tank top.
“Hope you had fun out in the pool while Mrs. White and I did your work,” Elizabeth grumbled.
“I told Chris to let me get some work done next time,” Riley replied, “I at least got the entertainment room cleaned.”
“Riley, you are getting too close to those childish morons, you need to be careful. I don’t want you to end up pregnant. I’m not grandma and I won’t take care of any children you have,” Elizabeth grumbled, “I don’t have the patience for that.”
Riley knew she was referring to their mother when she mentioned the pregnancy thing. Riley looked at Liz sadly. Liz had been more affected by their ever-absent mother than Riley had.
“I know, sis. I won’t, I’m careful. I don’t quite understand what you’re saying though. First you tell me to snag one of them, and now you tell me to stay away from them,” Riley said getting into bed.
“I don’t think that they are the right type of guy for you,” Elizabeth replied looking down, “You’re too innocent for them. They’ll rip your heart out.”
Riley looked over at her sister and wondered if she was talking about Mr. Jameson. She had so many emotions going on right now it was hard to fall asleep; Chris kissing her, her sister being jealous, and then her sister warning her away. She felt so confused about everything. Her sister was lying down with her back turned to Riley.