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Sunday Dinner: Part II
An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle
“Please tell me that mom isn’t trying to set me up with a lesbian,” Nathan mumbled wearily as he rubbed a hand roughly down his face.
“Well,…………” Eric said, letting his words trail off meaningfully.
“She just wants what’s best for you,” Joe said, biting back a smile as she gave his arm a reassuring squeeze while she reached over with her free hand and plucked the large fast food cup of out of his hand.
A sigh escaped her as the sweet nectar hit her tongue. This was the best part of being pregnant, she thought taking another long pull on the straw. There really was nothing like the men in her life bending over backwards to anticipate every single one of her needs out of fear, she thought as she spotted the second cup waiting for her on the kitchen island. She was so lost in the intense flavor from the Milky Way shake that she almost forgot that she was supposed to be messing with Nathan’s head for her own enjoyment.
“This has got to stop,” Nathan said, shaking his head in disbelief as he watched their mother fuss over her latest victim.
“You know what you have to do to make this stop,” Eric said, reaching over to pick up that second Milky Way shake, but one glare from her had him quickly dropping his hand away and taking a step away from the kitchen island.
Nathan snorted at that. “I’m not getting married.”
“Then tell her that,” Eric simply said as he turned his attention to food his mother had spread out on the counters and kitchen table.
“Because it worked so well for you when you told mom that?” Nathan shot back, a muscle working in his jaw as he watched his mother and the woman that she planned on shoving his way set up the grill.
Eric chuckled at that as he grabbed a plate and began loading it up with potato salad. “And maybe if you had backed me up back then, she wouldn’t have turned her attention on you when I finally gave into Joe’s demands and married her.”
“My demands, huh?” Joe said, smiling fondly as she remembered things a little bit differently.
“More like begged,” Eric said with a shrug as he added another large scoop of potato salad onto the plate.
“It was pretty pathetic,” Nathan agreed with a solemn nod, his attention still on the two women talking outside.
“Nathan?” Alice called, waving her hand to get his attention. “Could you bring out the burgers?”
“Shit,” Nathan hissed, backing away from the counter and the window where the women could see him.
“The burgers are in the fridge,” Joe told him helpfully, gesturing with the second milkshake towards the fridge.
“I’m not doing it,” Nathan said with a rebellious shake of his head.
Eric chuckled as he moved on to the pasta salad. “There’s no point in running.”
“She’ll only hunt you down,” she pointed out, her attention shifting to that plate in Eric’s hands, overflowing with potato and pasta salad.
“Not if I change my name and leave the country,” Nathan said, moving towards the living room.
“She’ll still find you,” Eric said, reaching over and taking her hand in his. With a slight tug, he led her to the table. He placed the plate on the table, sat down and pulled her down onto his lap.
Sighing with pleasure, she shifted on his lap and picked up a fork and took a bite, noting that Alice had definitely outdone herself today. Then again, according to the woman this one was definitely the one for Nathan. Although she’d heard Alice make that claim a few hundred times over the past couple of years, she’d never seen Alice this determined before.
Unfortunately for Alice, this probably wasn’t going to end well since Nathan had a tendency of hating all the women that she shoved his way on sight. Out of all the women that Alice had thrown towards Nathan, she would have to agree that if any woman had a chance to bring Nathan to his knees it was definitely Tara. She was a funny, smart and kind woman who would keep Nathan on his toes and if he had met her in any other way than having his mother shove her at him, he probably would have fallen hard for Tara once he got to know her.
There was no chance in hell that Nathan was going to give her a chance.
It really was a pity, Joe thought, accepting a bite of potato salad from Eric.
“Where are you going?” Eric asked, watching his brother with a mixture of pity and amusement.
“Home,” Nathan said, grabbing a plate of chocolate chip cookies on his way to the door. “I’m done with this shit.”
Eric chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her. “Coward.”
“Damn straight,” Nathan said with a wink as he headed for the door, but Joe couldn’t just let him leave, not when she looked forward to these Sunday dinners every week.
“You’re leaving?” she asked, making sure to sound hurt.
“Yeah,” Nathan said, still heading for the door, but the nervous look he shot at Eric said it all.
“You’re going to leave without seeing the kids?” she asked, worrying her lip as she allowed her chin to tremble….just a little.
“Well,” Nathan said, shuffling his feet nervous as he shot the door behind him a look of longing, “they’re still sleeping and I-”
“I understand,” Joe said, dropping her gaze down to her lap and let her shoulders sag.
“No, it’s okay, Nathan,” she said, adding a little sniffle at the end even as she was forced to poke Eric who’d started shaking with silent laughter. “I’m sure the kids will understand.”
Nathan sighed heavily as he reluctantly took a step towards her. “She’s not even my type,” he argued.
Well, that was true.
Tara was definitely not Nathan’s usual type. Not even close. Nathan liked his women sweet with a touch of innocence, long beautiful flowing hair, and a motherly disposition. Tara…..
Had none of that going for her.
Although she was nice, Tara was not what Joe would call “sweet.” There was also nothing innocent about her, not with her “I could give a fuck” attitude. Her hair was cut short, shorter than Nathan’s and Eric’s and with her tattoos she didn’t exactly come off as maternal. Still, beneath that tough exterior and sarcastic attitude, Joe knew that the woman underneath all that…
Would drive Nathan out of his mind, which of course would entertain her and really, at this stage of her life that was all that mattered.
“You won’t stay for me?” she asked, biting back a smile as Eric snorted out a laugh.
“I thought,” she said, choking back a strangled sob, “that you loved me.”
He didn’t respond, and she didn’t expect him to. She’d won and they both knew it. As much as Nathan wanted to leave, he would never leave now and risk a hysterical phone at three in the morning, not after last time. She could feel his glare as he stormed over to the refrigerator, yanked it open, grabbed the platter of burgers and stormed off towards the backyard where the main event would be taking place.
She waited until the door slammed shut behind her before she quickly got to her feet and headed for the backyard, determined not to miss a single second of today’s entertainment.
“You,” Eric whispered by her ear as he reached past her and opened the door, “are an evil woman.”
“Damn straight,” she said with a satisfied sigh as she stepped outside just as the festivities began.
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