Monday, February 28, 2011

The Lassiters Ch. 9 Both theTwins Get Engaged

Melora and John were having their senior birthdays. Lori and Trey were still at the University at the time. When John saw all the candles on his cake he cracked,

“Quick, get me the hair blower!”

Many candles stood for many happy years for John. The same was true for his wife, Melora. They had come a long way and brought 4 children into the world since they met many years ago. John’s journey began in Atlanta and upstate New York, then to Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. Melora ‘s started in Dearborn, Michigan, then to Charlotte and Mooresville, North Carolina where she met John. Their final move, this time together, was to Pleasantview where they remained to that day.  Their youngest children, the twins, would soon be home from school to start their adult lives.

They lived pretty much as they had for the last twenty years, Melora the former chef, still loved to cook and paint. Fishing and gardening now took up most of John’s time although John and she still gave hot stone massages to each other the way they had since their first trip to Twikkii Island. Occasionally John wrote another book.

The kids came home after getting their diplomas and slid into their old lives but only temporarily. It was a tight fit, anyway, since both had lived for two years in a dorm and for two years in rental houses. They were very independent now.

It took a day or two for the twins to adjust to the senior John and Melora. Lori missed her mother’s beautiful long copper hair, and she hated to see her strong, masculine father begin to age. When he walked he almost seemed a little frail. Trey always had his mind on other things and anyway, he was a man, so he didn’t seem to notice it all that much.
They were both looking for jobs and it took longer for Lori to get one than Trey. Meanwhile, they enjoyed fishing in the family pond. Then Trey marched off to the first day on his job. While she looked for work, Lori decided to learn how to repair things, starting with the downstairs bathroom sink. 

At last, just after her engagement party she found a job in the business world. Everyone thought that was a funny choice since Lori was very dramatic and creative. They thought she’d want to be an actress, she’d majored in drama. Lori probably would have liked that, but she wanted a job, any job. She and Harvey needed the money for a house and they wanted to get married. John told her he’d pay for the wedding, so that was taken care of, but she knew Harvey wouldn’t set a date until they were both working, So the business job opened up and she took it.

Trey and chelsea were getting already engaged and getting anxious to start their life together, so Melora invited her over for a special supper. Chelsea was a little quirky; she’d never forgiven her mother for cheating on her father and then leaving them back when she was 16, so she did not want her mother there. She was close to her father and brothers but her brothers already knew Trey and Lori quite well.  In the end she did not even invite her father, Larry Max. Somewhat mystified by this Melora respected her wishes and they had the dinner.

John and Trey greeted Chelsea at the door. The Lassiters had known Chelsea since she was seven years old, but especially when she was in high school. That's when she and Trey began dating. 

After dinner, Trey and Chelsea cuddled in the living room amongst the many family portraits painted by Melora, Grace and Lori. There they reminisced about the early days of their courtship.

A few weeks later Trey and Chelsea sneaked off and were married by a justice of the peace. They left immediately for a honeymoon in Three Lakes. John and Melora found out when Trey and Chelsea sent them a telegram accompanied by a bottle of Dom Perignon . Larry Max received the same thing. Now Trey and Chelsea were settled in their new home and very happy.

Melora and John had just found out two months ago that oldest daughter Grace had married Devon Brecht in Vegas. They both loved to gamble so that made it the perfect honeymoon place for them as well.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” Lori told Harvey, “I didn’t think Grace would ever marry. She always wanted someone exactly like our dad—poor Devon, hope he’s up to the job but, not the guy Lalique called wishy-washy.”

“Lalique may be a little bitter, he’s her old boyfriend. Anyway, maybe Devon’s changed,” Harvey suggested.

“For his sake I hope so,” Lori giggled, “Or he’s in for a rough haul. They’re living in her house right now.”

Lori's older brother, David, was still single and perhaps would always be so, but he’d been seeing Belinda Candeloro for a while; it could happen.

“You wouldn’t do that to me, would you, elope?” Melora pouted. looking at Lori, “You’re my last chance to see a daughter in a bridal dress.”

“Fat chance, Mom; you ought to know I would never give up a chance to be the belle of the ball for a day with all eyes on me. No way,” she laughed, crossing her heart, “I promise!”

So Lori worked at her new job and spent time with her parents. Harvey was working long hours at his new job, but they tried to get together as often as possible. They had no real privacy though and they couldn’t help but miss the rental home that Lori had shared with Melanie for so long. They used to trade off favors with Melanie and her taking turns staying at Horrible House so the other could have their home for private time with Harvey or Gareth.

Melora was painting a portrait of Lori whenever Lori was off work to replace the one her parents were giving up; one that was done when Lori was in high school. Melora said Lori could take that one with her.

The time came for a get together with Harvey’s folks and Debbie. Lori asked if they could have turkey for dinner since that was Harvey’s favorite. So Melora made a lovely roast turkey for the occasion with stuffing, turkey gravy, candied yams, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. 

Since the Lassiters had known the Fergusons for some time there was no awkwardness when they arrived for dinner. Lori threw herself at Harvey, the time of their wedding was getting close, but for Harvey and Lori it could not come soon enough. Harvey always ate it up when Lori demonstrated her love for him in public. Private demonstrations made him even happier of course.

The Lassiters were getting to know Debbie since the dinner at Harvey’s house and Melora, in particular, thought the teenager was a very sweet girl.

Melora and Madeleine talked about the possibility of grandchildren; Madeleine had four and another on the way, while poor Melora had none. But she was hopeful now because Harvey and Lori said they definitely did want children. Both women were stoked about the coming wedding and had already met to discuss their dresses for the day.

With the delicious aroma of turkey roasting everyone but Melora entertained themselves with games. Debbie discovered the putting green, John and Shep played a game of pool. Madeleine had fun with the pinball machine while Lori and Harvey played cutthroat SSX3. Meanwhile, Melora put finishing touches on the dinner.

Harvey was really happy with the turkey dinner. “This is great! I love both kinds of stuffing, so now we had sage and onion stuffing at my house and cornbread here tonight. Do we get two turkeys next Thanksgiving?” he teased his mother and Melora.

Melora smiled, “The turkey is in your honor, Sweetie. We love you like a son already and are very happy about you and Lori getting married. We’ve got Cherry Cheesecake for dessert, so save room!”

This made Harvey feel really welcomed into the family. He looked across the table at Lori, who's eyes were twinkling. She mouthed "I love you" then gave him her sweet smile and his evening was complete.

Near the end of the evening--it was quite late--Lori and Harvey went to the living room for a private conversation. 

 Feeling playful, Lori quizzed Harvey on how well he remembered their early dating days.

“Remember our first kiss?” she teased.

“Of course I do.”

“Okay, where we were when we kissed?”

Harvey wracked his brain for a moment,

“Hmmm. Oh yeah, the Arcades. See, I did remember!”

“Okay then, remember the first time after our kiss that you came to see me here at the house?
“Sure, I thought you were the most beautiful girl I’d ever met, but you were just so dramatic! Don’t pout, honey,” he laughed, “I also thought you were one of the sweetest girls in Pleasantview. I was hooked but good in a very short time. But that wasn’t the first time I came to your house.”

 “It wasn’t?”

“No the first time I was eight. And now who doesn’t remember?”

“Um, well, what did you think of me then?”

Harvey laughed, “That you were a bossy little thing and always kept the purple crayon for yourself.”

"Did you think I was pretty then?" Lori kissed his cheek.

"Always fishing for compliments, Brat. I was just a little kid so I don't remember thinking about your looks at all."

"Well, Gareth thought I was pretty when I was eight!" she tossed her head.

A quick look of irritation flashed across Harvey's face.

"Did he? Funny, he's always saying how he loved you as a brother."

Lori amended, "Well, he did love me like a brother and still does, but he told me once he thought I was pretty even then and wanted to be my knight on a white horse." 

She laughed but wished she had not brought it up since Harvey obviously did not want to hear it, although she did not know why.

"Well, who's your hero now?" he grinned, breaking the tension.

"You know you are!" and she melted into his arms.

”Honey, I have a surprise for you," Harvey announced, "I found a house I think you’ll love so as soon as we both have time off I want you to go with me to look at it.”

“Harvey!” Lori hugged him, “That IS a wonderful surprise—I can’t wait to see it.”

Things were falling into place finally. If Lori liked the house they would make a bid on it. The house turned out to be perfect except for minor changes. It was across the street from Shep and Madeleine! Harvey and Lori had already planned their summer wedding to be at the Ferguson home. They would live there while final touches were being done on the house. It would be just about a year since they came home from University, but finally their wedding day was in sight.