Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Lassiters Ch. 9 Senior Summer

Most of the summer Lori and Trey lazed around by the pool but then John decided to take Trey and David on a 3-day fishing trip up to Three Lakes. Melora said “Yay, no cooking”. She and Lori had a beauty day when they gave each manicures and pedicures, used masques and  moisturizing facials, and Lori colored her mother's hair. Then they rented some DVD’s and ate pizza that night. The next day they left early to go shopping and bought more clothes for Lori for school. While there they ran into Elle and her mom, Bobbi Jo, and joined them for lunch. On the last day, Grace came over to visit and swim. 

While Grace was there Lori tried to casually mention Brian to see what kind of reaction she’d get.

“I really don’t think you should be asking me about him,” Grace complained, “I think Mom and Daddy want you to try to forget him.”

“Fine,” Lori said calmly. She’d expected as much.

Grace continued to look stern, “Why would you ask me anyway?”

Lori waited a beat,

“Because I heard you went with him when you were a teenager.”

“What’s going on,” Melora asked as she sat down. She’d been at the other end of the pool helping herself to nectar.

“She wants to know about Brian Ottomas and me,” Grace told her.

“Then tell her, unless you just don’t want to talk about it for reasons of your own. It’s natural that she’s curious,” Melora smiled at her youngest daughter, “She has really tried hard this last year to put it aside. We’re proud of her.”

Lori felt guilty when her mother praised her. She hadn’t talked about Brian to anyone over the 15 months, except very occasionally to Melanie. But she still thought about him, she still kept his photo in a tiny cubbyhole of her desk and more importantly, she still had plans to be with him somehow one day. She had tried to put Brian in a cubbyhole in her mind as well, like the photo in her desk, but she had not succeeded entirely. She didn’t want to forget him. Not ever.  She was going to school soon and she hoped she would be too busy to think about him as much. That, of course, remained to be seen.

So Grace relented and told her that she had merely had a crush on Brian and they went steady for all of two weeks when they were 14.

“Long ago,” Grace pointed out needlessly, “Okay I gave him his first kiss—at least he said it was his first kiss.”

“You gave everyone their first kiss,” Melora teased, “Or so it seemed at the time.”

Grace grinned and shrugged, “I like to make people happy. But that’s all I gave anyone...kisses,” and she looked pointedly at her sister.

“Hint, hint,” Lori sulked, “Well that’s all I’ve given anyone, too. And at least I’ve kept it to one or two boys, not a whole herd of them! And if you’re wondering, I never kissed Brian—unfortunately.”

“Girls, perhaps we should change the subject,” Melora jumped back in to the conversation. Lori and Grace practically never argued, obviously this was a touchy issue for both of them. They both became silent until Melora asked what they should eat for supper.

“Remember, I’m not fixing anything,” she told them, “I planned not to cook this whole weekend, and I’m sticking to it. How about for fun and old time’s sake, we go up to the drive-in. I’d love to have a “set-up” and a Double Snappy-burger with fries. I’m ready to pig out.”

That brought both girls back to life, everyone loved Sam’s.

Meanwhile the men in the family were doing some male bonding in the mountains. Plenty of fresh air, flapjacks, log-rolling, competitive axe-throwing and most of all, fishing. John and his two sons, David and Trey.

Trey and John had a great time with the log-rolling although they both would get mad when they fell in.

They stayed at the campground where fishing was good and they could enjoy the campfire although Trey managed to get overheated.

David was just like Nicky Ferguson and preferred to sleep in the hammock:

 The next day they tried out the hot springs and sauna.

Axe-throwing and fishing rounded out the day. Some girls wandered along and decided to stand right next to David to fish.

"Do you mind if we fish here?" one of them cooed and David shrugged, 

"Fine by me." 

Adult women made Trey nervous so he went over to the other side of the little lake. When the women giggled annoyingly and flirted with David (scaring the fish in Trey's opinion), he went over to throw some axes and John joined him.

The last morning before they left John and Trey learned the slap-dance, a local tradition.

They returned looking pretty scruffy.

“Why did I pack all those clothes if you were going to wear the same thing for three days?” Melora groused when she was emptying out their suitcases.

“In case it rained and we got soaked,” John told her, “Anyway, we changed on the third day when we were on our way home.”

Melora shook her head. Fastidious John wearing clothes for over two days, it was nearly unbelievable


The Genie.

Early one morning, Lori went out to get the newspaper when she noticed a golden lamp on the ground nearby. She picked it up and on closer inspection saw that it was slightly tarnished so she began to buff it a little with her long loose over-blouse. Wait until Mom sees this; it must be an antique. Suddenly there was a whooshing sound and the lamp trembled in her hand and then fell to the ground. A strange purple mist rose out of it. With that, a magnificent genie in an ornate brocade waistcoat appeared.

“For heaven’s sake, you scared me to death!” Lori cried, “And you made me drop the lamp!”

“I am the genie of the lamp and I am here to grant you three wishes!” he roared, his voice majestic and echoing. He seemed quite unapologetic.

“Really? Well, I wonder what I should ask,” Lori considered. As the moments ticked by the Genie cleared his throat genteelly and suggested,

“Many people ask for wealth or beauty, a long life or even the power to defeat or put off death.”

“I don’t know, seems like I should wish for world peace or a cure for cancer.”

“Madame, this is the not the Miss America Pageant and anyway, we don’t grant those worldwide wishes, strictly personal ones,” the Genie pulled out a watch on a chain and looked at it rather obviously. He hummed to himself, but in a dignified way.

“Hmmm, can I make for a wish for someone else?” Lori now contemplated asking for a long life for Brian, after all he was 16 years older than her; it couldn’t hurt.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way, either, no second-hand wishes.”

“Well, if I ask for beauty, what will happen?”

The Genie sighed, “You’ll either attract lots of men, if it goes well, or, if it goes wrong, you’ll have townies ringing your doorbell night and day.”

“What! They should have a disclaimer on that!”

The Genie whipped out a legal looking paper and passed it under her nose and then quickly tucked it back into his waistcoat.

“Well, now I don’t know what to wish.”

There were a few more moments of silence as Lori pondered and then the Genie, becoming irritable, muttered,

“Kid, do you mind? I’ve got other customers, you know.”

“Okay, long life. I wish for long life. Surely that can’t have any bad effects.”

The Genie started to say something in regard to that. Then he looked at Lori and abruptly shut his mouth. Vrooooosh! He twirled about impressively calling out something in another language. The first wish was granted. Whoa! She felt healthier already. Lori suddenly got a kind of a starry-eyed look in her face, remembering the story her mother had read to her the night before they went to Twikkii the first time. (Author's note: the children's story was mentioned in the November 7 post The Lassiters in Winter Ch. 2)  So she just had to ask,

“This might sound silly, but I don’t suppose in all your travels you might ever have met a golden crab who grants wishes and takes children on adventures? I’m sure he’d be very friendly.”

“I do not number magical crustaceans among my friends, even if they are golden!” he snapped but as her face fell he relented, “Okay, let’s just say I’ve seen Gilda around--she’s a female, by the way--and we’ve said a few words from time to time.  But it’s not like we hang out or anything! And don’t even ask about the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy,” he warned.

“I knew it!” Lori was rapturous, “She DOES exist!” Lori was surprised to know that the golden crab was a she, but then she had heard that she-crabs made the best soup. She certainly hoped Gilda did not end up in such dire circumstances. The Genie almost whined,

“Kid, the second wish?”

“Oh, well, I don’t care about wealth; I guess I’ll take the beauty,”

“A wise, but unnecessary choice, lovely lady,“ the Genie solemnly intoned. Again, he made an ostentatious display of magical grandeur as he granted the second wish. Lori looked down at herself but she didn’t see her bust plump out dramatically, nor did she see the long lovely legs she’d always envied and wanted.

“Hmphh!” she sniffed, “Big deal.”

The Genie prompted her,

“And the third wish?”

“I wish that I might marry the man of my dreams.” Of course, that would be Brian.

“That’s not one of the wishes we offer.”

Lori shrugged, “That’s dumb, but, okay. Well, that’s all I want then, you can keep the third wish.”

The genie was dismayed at this news; his composure gone at last.

“But you have to choose a third wish!”


“Well, it just isn’t done, leaving a wish unmade. Here, let me remind you of the suggested wishes that can be used…”

“No, no, no, I don’t want any of those other wishes. I told you what I wanted to wish and you said you can’t do those things.”

“I did NOT say I can’t do them; I can DO anything. I simply said it was not allowed. There must be some rules or you have anarchy. You are a very foolish girl not to want money or to ask for—“

Lori eyebrows flew together and she cried impatiently, “Oh, Genie, I wish you would just leave me alone!”

Vrooom! The Genie disappeared in a puff of purple smoke and the golden lamp seconds after him.

“Oops,” Lori bit her lip.

Well, she thought as she picked up the newspaper, that had certainly been mind-blowing, but she had to admit she'd been quite disappointed in the wishes that were allowed. And those possible side effects were scary and unfair. Imagine, townies harassing you by ringing your doorbell night and day? Her father would most certainly be furious if that happened. Then Lori smiled to herself with some satisfaction; so Gilda was the name of the golden crab. She really existed. Too cool.

Lori’s mind quickly changed course, only three days until the big pool party to send off her and Trey and all of their friends to college. She had carefully planned the couples that would be together and the still unspoken for friends she hoped to introduce to each other. She felt sure she could use her matchmaking abilities to turn single people into new couples. Her choices, she believed were excellent. Confiding her plans to Harvey, who was still her close friend, she naturally did not tell him that he was one of the people she hoped to get with someone new. That would be Melanie. He shook his head, 

"Okay, Brat, but you can't shove people around like men on a chessboard you know." 

Brat was his unlovely nickname for her.

"You'll see," she smiled like the Mona Lisa, "Everything will go like clockwork."

AS the last few people arrived at the Lassiters the music was on full-blast and people were already in the pool. Lori noticed that Melanie’s eyes were always on Harvey. That was good. After Christmas Lori and Harvey had agreed to be just friends. They still went out together sometimes, but no kissing or making out. Harvey was not enthusiastic about it, but when Lori explained she had to concentrate on schoolwork and did not want to date anyone at the time, he went along with it, biding his time. This way his feelings were not hurt, at least Lori hoped not. Of course, Holly and Gareth were still a couple, and so were Trey and Chelsea, but most of the others were free agents, Elle, Melanie, Corky, and their kid brother Andy, were among them. Maybe now Melanie and Harvey could get it together.

Holly and Harvey’s older brother, Nicky, drove them over to the Lassiter home and was talking to Melora.

“I just happened to come by the house and wasn’t sure what the chaperone situation was so thought I might be of help. Of course, if I’d known both you and Mr. Lassiter would be here, I would just have dropped them off and been on my way.”

“Don’t be silly, Nicky. In fact your parents would have been welcome to come as well. So come on out and mingle,” Melora assured him. 

Nicky, always attracted to older women, flashed her a dazzling smile and went out to the backyard.

At some point in the day, Lori’s schemes started slip-sliding away as Holly struck up a friendship with Andy Lomax; who was only a junior and had not figured into Lori's scenario. And Gareth, who had never known Melanie very well, decided to go over to where she sat and began talking to her; thus distracting her from Harvey. 

Meanwhile, Nicky was joking with Melora; trying to charm her. Lori looked around for her father, who was not the most tolerant of men, but he must have been in the house. Probably loading a shotgun, Lori fretted. That would be all she needed. Homicide had definitely not figured into her plans, either.

Elle danced with Andy for a while but then turned her charms on his brother Corky. Well, that was better; Lori didn’t want Elle dating an underclassmen, any more than she did Holly. I mean, if Holly did become fascinated by Andy what would happen when they all went off to University? She’d be pining away for someone not there. It did not occur to Lori that she was doing that very thing with Brian. Melanie and Gareth seemed to be more and more enthralled with each other, Lori could see that. Really it was too annoying. She was treading water in the middle of the pool, turning this way and that, watching her carefully laid plans going horribly awry. If Melanie didn’t take up with Harvey and got interested in Gareth, Harvey would be alone, and so would Holly. Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time, actually, except for Lori.

By the time they sat down to cheeseburgers, Gareth was at the end of the table right next to Melanie. Lori was on his other side and gave him a dirty look but he seemed to miss it completely. She thought of pinching him hard to get his attention, but she'd known him since they were in diapers and he'd probably just pinch her back without even thinking about it. Andy was sitting next to Elle but watching Holly at the other table. Harvey kept sneaking anxious glances at Lori because he could see nothing was going the way she wanted at all. He'd actually been hoping to convince her they should be together again and not just as friends. If she was in a bad mood because of this he'd have to wait until another time, and there was no time left. They left in a couple days for University.

Nicky regaled everyone at Lori’s table with funny anecdotes about the fishing trip he’d been on with Harvey and their Dad. But he kept peering over at Melora whenever he thought he could get away with it. John had gone inside; as he got older cheeseburgers no longer agreed with him and he was fixing himself something else to eat in the kitchen. He came back out to help clear the tables because he noticed Nicky was again talking to Melora while clearing. The kid was getting annoying, John thought. The two men got into a slight traffic jam around the tables, but that was all. 

As the sun set Lori gave up on her matchmaking and ended up sneaking in to the library with Harvey, her trusty sword and shield. She cried on his shoulder over her failure as a matchmaker. Harvey was sympathetic and one thing led to another. As they kissed in the quiet room, Lori had a feeling their 8-month break from romance was over. Really she was glad; she'd missed Harvey--and his kisses--much more than she realized.

One of the new couples, Melanie and Gareth, were making out on the love seat in the game room upstairs. They had both, evidently, forgotten about Harvey and Holly.

Elle Broke gave Corky Lomax his first kiss. And his second, and his third and...

Out around the pool were two other couples, Holly and Andy, and Trey with Chelsea, also cuddling on in the semi-darkness. Holly did not seem to notice or care that Gareth was off somewhere with someone else.

Actually it had worked out well, if not the way Lori planned, and no one had become jealous or got in a fight. That was a miracle in Pleasantview, where holding hands with the wrong person could get you slapped silly.

Nicky had been talking with both John and Melora. It was finally obvious to him that she was not interested in any romantic tryst and was oh, so happily married to John. Besides, Nicky reasoned; he knew he wanted kids, so he’d better start looking at women his age or younger. He called for Holly and Harvey who finally emerged from the pool area and the library and took them off home.  The rest of the kids began to head to their cars calling out their goodbyes to each other.

Later on Melora snuggled up to John and said, “Doesn’t it make you feel sort of romantic, all these kids we’ve seen grow up and now they think they’re madly in love with each other?”

“Actually it makes me sort of nervous as to how we’re going to get them through four years of college without several of them eloping or getting themselves into trouble, if you know what I mean.” John was cynical as usual, but he put his arm around her and admitted, “We’ll sure miss them all of them though; it’s going to be way too quiet in Pleasantview for the next four years.”

Lori at University HERE

Trey at University HERE

Next installment of the Lassiter family (but read the university chapters first to stay in chronological order) HERE