When the hose down was complete, they were cleaner, though chilly and dripping. Laughing, all the girls shook their hair so the water droplets sprayed Luis and Gabe. The two boys beat a hasty retreat from the gaggle of dripping women. Giggling so hard they could barely stand, the five girls clung together for support. With Claire out of the picture, the others weren’t so uptight and nasty. They’d actually been friendly all day.
The teenagers took their short showers and changed clothing for the evening. At six o’clock sharp, they lined up for dinner and trooped to the kitchen to eat. There were two picnic tables down the center of the large, long room. Each was covered with a tablecloth and adorned with flowers. The kitchen smelled amazing. Noses twitched at the pleasing odors of spices and garlic.
After a short blessing, Leslie cut huge slabs of lasagna and served them with the help of Polly and Caroline. Bowls of salad and bottles of homemade dressing passed around with everyone helping themselves. Thick chucks of garlic bread followed the salad. Everyone ate until they were nearly sick. Polly, Caroline and Leslie cleaned up, loading the three dishwashers in the kitchen. The rest of the group wandered into the game room, collapsing on the chairs, sofas and floor.
“That was so good,” Brad groaned. “I ate enough to last me a week.” He burped.
“Anyone have room for dessert?” Leslie asked as he walked in the room. He carried a cake, slathered with white frosting and covered in coconut.
Groans greeted him, but each of the teenagers took a piece and finished it, declaring it the best coconut cake ever. Leslie smiled, obviously pleased.
“Why did you ever give up running a restaurant,” Clayton asked. “Your food is fantastic!”
“There’s a lot involved,” Leslie replied. “And it’s stressful. I developed some heart issues and couldn’t handle it. I do cater and cook for private parties. I keep my feet in. You can’t just put it aside and tell yourself you’re never going to cook again. It’s who I am.” He smiled. “I don’t expect you kids to understand.”
“No, I get it,” Brad said quietly. “It’s like music. If someone told me I’d never be able to make music again, I think I’d die.”
“I like to write stories,” Denise admitted. “I have to write something every day or I feel wrong inside.”
“Me too,” Maddie confessed. “I write some short stories and I’ve written a lot of poetry.”
“Me too!” Denise’s eyes glowed. “Tell me about some of your stories.
The two of them went off to a corner to talk about writing. The others discussed music, even the mean girls. Claire still hadn’t put in an appearance.
“I guess the Princess couldn’t bother to come down and eat with us peons,” Clayton grumbled.
“She wasn’t upstairs when we got our stuff,” Beverly said.
“I’m a little worried about her,” Jane admitted. “She was really upset about what happened.” She paused, examining the group. “Look, I’m not saying what she did wasn’t wrong, cause it was. But you don’t know what her home life is like. Her folks are really uptight. They expect her to be perfect.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes