Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lalique Flynn Ch. 11 The Inevitability of Perry

By the time Perry Everhart called her a couple days after their skating date, Lalique had decided to see him again. She invited him over for a nice dinner at her house and he accepted immediately. No surprise. 

Just as before he seemed to have a real way with Alain and Desiree. Lalique also decided to let him meet her younger twins, Brett and Noelle. He handled the babies with ease, not like a single man at all.


It was after supper and a refreshing dip in the indoor pool that they found themselves alone together on the love seat in the living room. Arlene was with Alain and Desiree and the babies were sleeping.

"How is it that you are so good with children?" Lalique asked him.

He smiled,

"Ahh, that. Well, I'm the oldest of four boys; I suppose that may have something to do with it. There was me, Prince was three years younger, Pres was three years younger than him but my baby brother, Parker, was much younger than the three of us. He was rather a surprise to my parents, evidently. I was thirteen when Parker was born. I had to care for him from time to time; so I learned how to feed him and even change him. I've always had an affinity for kids, though."

"Why were you all given names that started with 'P'? If you don't mind me asking."

"Mom wanted a junior and my Dad hated that idea--he said he wasn't going to have his son called "Junior". His name is Phillip so Mom compromised  by using his first initial on all of us."

"Well, I love the names, they're all classy--is Pres short for Preston?"

"No, for Prescott and Prince is short for Princeton. But Parker and me we come just as we are."

"I'm surprised you've never married, since you like kids so much," Lalique remarked somewhat slyly.

"I was married at one time..." he paused and Lalique held her breath, "I'm a widower."

"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean--"

"No, it's okay.  It was a few years ago. We met in law school and we were broke but happy except we were trying to have kids and not succeeding. We were both checked out and it seemed the problem was not with Sandy, it was me. In fact, it was while they were doing the tests on her that they found the cancer. We hoped she could beat it, of course, and we kept saying she'd be well and we would adopt. But it never happened. She would have a round of chemo and it would seem to be working; her numbers would drop, but then they'd stop and begin climbing again. She was having horrendous side effects from a drug that was not helping. So they'd take her off that medicine and try a different treatment. Some of them made her so sick and miserable," he looked down at his hands which suddenly fisted, "I watched her suffer for two years and she was so thin and frail at the end that when she took her last breath I was actually thankful that it was done. I couldn't stand to see her have that pain anymore. Selfish of me, I know. She was only 26."

Lalique put her hand on his and he relaxed a little.

"So I closed up our little house and sold it and took a week to go camping in the mountains with two of my brothers."

"I can't imagine how awful that must have been," she said, "I've never had to lose anyone close to me. Is that when you moved to Pleasantview?"

"Yes. At first I thought I'd look for an apartment in Bluewater Village or Crystal Creek--there's so much more to do in those towns--but in the end I got a place in Pleasantview. I didn't want a social life then; I threw myself into my work."

"You really are a special man," Lalique marveled, "You have remarkable control and have come a long way."

His voice was suddenly lower and a bit rough,

"Honey, I don't have much control when it comes to you."

He leaned over and his mouth covered hers. That was the first time he'd even tried to kiss Lalique since their stormy evening on her front porch--she thought it was well worth wait. Of all the men she'd ever dated--and sometimes she thought they were legion--he was far and away the best kisser.


The weeks went by and Lalique's two oldest set of twins were growing fast. Arlene was still a wonderful nanny, but it was so obvious she was in love with Ray Nolan that Lalique figured a wedding couldn't be that far away. Once Brett and Noelle were walking it wouldn't be so hard to be without Arlene should she marry. In fact, Alain and Desiree's birthday was fast approaching.

Alain and Desiree:

Perry found a way to convince Lalique to let him prepare dinner for her at his apartment. It didn't take much persuading on his part since, by now, she definitely did want to be alone with him.

"It's just a little place," he warned her as he pulled into his garage which was on the main floor, "But I work so many hours that it works just fine for me."

They took the spiral staircase up to his living room. After dinner they played a video game and then spent more time "getting to know each other". In every way.


Still reeling from her night with Perry, Lalique spent the next day walking around with her head in the clouds. She wasn't sure how he felt--was he in for the long term or just having fun and would be gone--taking her heart with him?

Only a few more days and Alain and Desiree would have their birthdays so Lalique was trying to make sure they had lots of fun and activities appropriate to a toddler. 

Relaxing in her tub tended to make Lalique daydream about Perry. In fact she daydreamed a lot now, no matter what room she was in, but the privacy and relaxation of a bubble bath seemed to really bring it out. She decided she would invite both Perry and Ray Nolan over for the birthday party.

Lalique's first set of twins were the product of artificial insemination but, in truth, the father lived a life in Pleasantview with his wife and new baby boy. He made his contribution to the sperm bank during a period of about a year when he was single and in med school and needed a little money. It was not something he'd cleared with his then-fiancee and he rarely thought of it now. He had no idea that he'd specifically "fathered" a set of twins who resided right in the next town. Lalique knew some facts about him like his physical appearance and his age at the time he became a donor. She knew he had red hair and green eyes, and that he was a doctor whose parents and most of his siblings still lived in Pleasantview as well. She also knew his medical history which was excellent. She could have asked for his name (not in every state was this possible, but it was no problem in her particular state), but she didn't really want to know, as long as she had his medical information. Desiree had Lalique's eye and hair color, and Alain had her raven hair, too, but his large pale green eyes had to have come from his biological father. The same for their cute little snub noses.

The day of their birthday Lalique and Arlene tickled and played with the twins.

Volatile Desiree gobbled down her fresh fruit at lunch and then pitched a fit to get out of her chair immediately. Alain, contemplative as usual, savored his bananas and strawberries slowly, examining each piece first as though Lalique or Arlene might be trying to pull a fast one.

Lalique was still upstairs when Ray and Perry arrived and she came to the top of the stairs. Perry looked up at her from the front door; his eyes were piercing and swept over her like a caress. Immediately heat ran through her making her gasp a little. The sexual tension between them was undeniable and she pushed desire down with some effort. Oh, dear. Not at her children's birthday party, please.

Desiree was the older twin by two minutes so Lalique helped her blow out the candles first. Then it was Alain's turn. The twins loved all their gifts including the baseball glove and bat, and the dollhouse that Perry gave them. 

Late that night Lalique reviewed the day. Perry had tried to corral her into going to his apartment again, but she'd given an excuse. The depth of her feelings were now beginning to scare her. She collapsed on the love seat in her bedroom; she was exhausted. Worse, John had called to ask about a visit with the children and was incensed when he heard that he'd not been invited to Alain and Desiree's birthday party. Lalique was too tired to argue with him. Besides, the next day they would have their first day of school and she needed to be up early with them.

My babies are growing up, she sighed. Oh, well. Now she could get into the whole "making cupcakes to take to class, helping with scouts activities, toting them to dance and Tai Kwan Do lessons; and overseeing homework" mode. She definitely needed to start taking a multi-vitamin...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lalique Flynn Ch. 10 On Thin Ice

This chapter is almost twice as long as my usual and has less pictures. Hope you enjoy it just the same--Author




"It's Perry Everhart, honey. I wondered if you'd like to go out to dinner."

"Mr. Everhart, why do we keep having this conversation? I'm not interested in going out with any man. I'm especially NOT interested in going out with you."

"Caught you on a bad day, huh?" she could just imagine the smart-A grin on his face, "I'll check back another day."

He hung up before she could tell him not to bother.



"Lalique, it's Perry--"

"Don't you ever give up? The answer to whatever you have to say is 'no'. Goodbye."



"Hi, sweetheart." 

"Oh. It's you." 

"There's a brand new Colin Farrell movie showing in Bluewater, I know you said you really liked him."

"Not that much. Look, Perry, you're wasting your time calling here. It's true you're very good-looking and you have money and charm, but I'm not available. Peddle it somewhere else."

"You'll give in one of these days," he assured her confidently.

"Goodbye, Mr. Everhart, goodbye."


"I don't get it; why won't you go out with him, Lalique?" Arlene asked her one day at breakfast.

"He's a pest for one thing; calling me every day to ask me the same thing."

Perry, in fact, had not called for three weeks. This actually made Lalique a little miffed since he'd given her the rush and then stopped cold; even though she'd specified that he do just that.

"Well, he hasn't called now for a while," Arlene pointed out, "Honestly, I don't get it. Of course, he's not as handsome as Ray, but pretty close. Even with those glasses he's a hottie. In fact, now that I think of it they kind of resemble each other--just through the eyes and mouth. He's got a successful career as a lawyer and he likes the kids. At least that one time he was here he got along really well with Alain and Desiree--you never did let him see the babies."

"He looks nothing like Ray," Lalique protested, "And his glasses make him look distinguished which works well for a professional man."

Arlene blinked at her,

"I wasn't trying to disparage him; just the opposite."

Lalique quickly switched gears. Why had she been defending him, anyway?

"Arlene, I've sworn off men--with good reason. John was a very alpha male and Perry seems to be cut from the same cloth. Arrogant and macho. Perry thinks he is the answer to every woman's prayer. I don't want another man telling me what to do and sweet-talking me into agreeing with him. Neither do I want to be another notch on his belt. I can't afford to have men running back and forth through my children's lives, winning their affection and then dumping me and my kids. No way. I know John will try to be there for them, but if not for that I'd send him away, too."

After another week Arlene took three days off to visit her parents in Garden City, the other side of Three Lakes. This left Lalique alone to care for four children under the age of four. Of course, she loved her children very much, but was used to sharing duties with Arlene and toddlers Alain and Desiree were a real handful, especially when combined with the needs of two small infants. 

It was the third and final night and Lalique slouched, exhausted, on the love seat in her bedroom, staring unseeingly at a blank TV screen. She'd showered that morning but never got around to putting on her makeup which she always did no matter what; but not today. Her hair was shoved up in a messy rats' nest on top of her head and held with a clip; she'd barely brushed it and now half of it was straggling down around her face. Miraculously all four children were asleep--but for how long? The soft tropical melody from her cell phone almost didn't register for a moment. And how long had it been since she'd been to the beach anyway?

She glanced at the phone and it only said "Wireless Caller" but she recognized the number shown. It was Perry Everhart--after a month. Some nerve. Still, she was hungry for conversation with an adult. Besides, she'd come to the conclusion that she was tired of fighting his persistence and her own attraction to him. The reality was that she'd missed his calls and their adversarial conversations. She was ready to admit defeat.

"Hi Perry."

He sounded a bit surprised,

"Hi, doll. What's going on?"

"Truthfully? Arlene has been at her parents in Garden City for three days and I'm going crazy."

She began to tell him the events of the day, including the news that Desiree had discovered mommy's makeup and proceeded to decorate both the bathroom and herself with several Lancome lipsticks and an eyeliner pencil. Alain, meanwhile, had developed a sudden fascination with throwing items in the toilet and then flushing it. He'd managed to get in there a couple times. Some of the stuff even went down never to be seen again, including a few of his little cars. Then, he tried to flush half a roll of toilet paper and some blocks down and everything blew up. The plumber had left only a couple hours ago. Lalique was fairly sure it was the disappearing act of the cars that was the real hook for Alain.

"I'm a terrible mother," she suddenly claimed, nearly in tears, "I can't even make it three days without their nanny here. And the babies are teething so they are fussy, poor things. I need four hands at the least."

She went on, knowing she was prattling but she couldn't stop herself,

"I keep wondering if I've somehow conveyed to Desiree that women are only valuable when they're beautiful. I don't want her to be shallow or to make her insecure! And maybe I pushed too hard when I potty-trained Alain so he's now obsessed with the toilet. He'll either be anal or a slob!"

Perry chuckled,

"I don't mean to make fun, but you're just tired, honey. These little stunts don't mean anything profound. Not any more than they mean that Desiree will grow up to be a hairdresser or interior decorator or that Alain will be a plumber or magician. After all, I'm told that playing with makeup is fun for most females of any age and certainly everyone likes to play in water, none more than little boys. He'd splash water all over in a kiddy pool or fountain, too; it's just that the flush feature of a toilet has added appeal."

She had to smile even as she sniffled and Perry asked,

"When is Arlene getting back?"

"She should be here tomorrow around lunchtime."

"You need a break and to spend some time with a grownup. Why don't I pick you up tomorrow around 4? I still haven't taken you ice skating. The weather has cooled off and Halloween has passed. It's time to start getting in the mood for winter. You do ice skate, right?" 

"I used to roller skate when I was a kid, but I can't remember ever ice skating. I guess I must have done it at some time or other, though."

"Okay, then we'll head to Wonderland rink and we can have dinner afterward."

She hesitated a moment, drawing the word out,


"Come on, it'll be fun."

"All right."


"Lalique, honey?"

Perry held his hand out to her in encouragement, his stance relaxed but steady. Lalique, on the other hand, was extremely tense. She took his proffered hand and put one foot on the ice and immediately would have fallen if he hadn't caught her. She was shocked; the ice was like glass; and Lalique realized she'd made a terrible mistake. Pulling back her foot she suddenly recalled--for sure--that she'd never ice skated before in her life--no wonder she had no memory of doing it as a teenager.

She was slightly crouched at the opening of the rink and clung to him fearfully with one hand while the other hand clawed at the railing beside her.

"Um, you know what, Perry?" she rasped, "I think I remember now that I never did ice skate. Not once. I was kind of a bookworm rather than an athlete."

"Well, that's okay, baby; I'm going to help you; I'll be right beside you. You'll do great, but we need to actually get out out on the ice; people are starting to pile up behind you," he said soothingly as he tried to pry her hand away from the railing.

"I think this is a bad idea. I'll just go over to the bench and watch you skate."

"Come on, I won't let you fall. You said you used to rollerskate all the time."

"Not really all the time; besides, I was a teenager then and now I'm I'm somewhat older. Just let me go back, Perry, I didn't realize how slippery ice is compared to a wood or concrete floor and wheels are easier to balance on than these skinny little blades."

Lalique couldn't believe how terrified she was and how that was making her act like a child. She was humiliated yet she couldn't make herself move. People were giving up in frustration and heading to the other entrance to the rink since she she was blocking that one. 

She heard a stubborn and aggravated teenaged boy behind her complain,

"Jeez, lady, will you get outta the way?"

Perry suddenly put his arm around her waist, pulled her tightly up against him until her skates were slightly off the ground and swept her out onto the ice. She let go of the railing at the last moment so she wouldn't resemble a wishbone.

At first Lalique had both arms pincer-like around his waist and her feet were locked together at the ankle. All Perry could do was keep her at his side and propel her slowly across the ice. 

Gradually, after an hour or so he was able to get her to try to actually move her feet, but every time she tried that she fell on her butt. To Lalique it just wasn't worth it after awhile because he didn't want her to hurt herself so he tried to hold her up and once they both fell.

"Ohhhh, I'm too out of shape for this," she groaned as he helped her up for the fifth time.

"Believe me when I say your shape is fantastic. You're really doing well. I just shouldn't have let go of you," he said and she laughed out loud.

"Oh, yeah, I'm doing great. You're having to haul me around like a sack of meal and whenever you let go I crash."

"You can't learn how to do it overnight."

It was humiliating to see everyone around her--even small children--doing better than she was.

But after another hour or so he'd brought her to the point she could move her feet and not fall. He only had to hold her hands not hold her tightly up against his side using both arms. Not that being crushed against Perry didn't have a certain appeal to Lalique... 

When she tried once more to let go of his hands and push off on her own, down she went. Perry quickly reached for her, turning his own foot a little sideways to let her brace one skate against it to get up.

She gave a shaky sigh and tried to smile as she was once more upright and in his arms. He looked into her face and said in a concerned voice,

"You're tired aren't you? I should have realized. Come on, let's go get something to eat."

Picturing an elegant restaurant since they were in Bluewater--and several existed--Lalique was somewhat surprised when Perry pulled up in front of the bowling alley. Now what torture would she have to endure? She was almost as bad at bowling as she was at ice skating.

They didn't bowl; instead they sat at the counter and had deliciously greasy cheeseburgers and thick creamy milkshakes and Perry added fries to his order. Afterward they played pool. That was fun for Lalique since she was an excellent pool player; having been schooled by her father, Errol.

When Lalique finally noticed her longtime heartthrob, Brian Ottomas, walk by she was amazed to realize she felt nothing. She had always nursed a crush on him since they'd shared one lone night of passion when she'd first come back to Pleasantview. That was back when her kid sister, Melanie and her friend, Lori, had been at University. She had not been able to forget him. Until this moment. Her mind was now preoccupied with Perry she realized and then hastily she put that information out of her thoughts.

Brian O. and Lalique long ago...

"Are you free this Friday night?" Perry asked when they got to her front porch. At different moments during the night he'd taken her hand, caressed the back of her neck, put his arm around her shoulders; touched her often in tiny but respectable ways, but while he had looked at her mouth often, he'd not tried to kiss her. At the moment all Lalique could think about was that she didn't want to want any man. That's what she'd been telling herself ever since she'd had her youngest two children. No men, right? Yet she couldn't help but wonder why he had NOT tried to kiss her all evening. Was he not attracted to her after all? He was waiting for her answer.

"Um, no, not Friday."

"Saturday, then."

"Perry, I had a wonderful time tonight...well, not counting all the times I fell. But I have four kids and a dismal history with men. I can't afford to get involved with anyone. From what I've been hearing you know a ton of women who would die to go out with you--why don't you ask one of them?"

"If I wanted to go out with someone else I would. Lalique, I don't want to make your life more difficult; but you're the only woman I'm interested in spending time with and I think we would be great together. I know you feel something for me, too--why won't you let it out?" he gave her a crooked grin, "I swear you won't regret it, honey."

"Honestly, Perry, you have to be the most arrogant man I've ever met," she laughed.

He only smiled and she found herself concentrating on his mouth so she didn't see his green eyes regarding her with the alert attention of a cat watching a mouse.

She took a long breath,

"Okay, I'll think about it--call me in a couple days."