I have not disappeared! I have a guest! She arrived last Tuesday, and she’ll be with us for another two weeks or so.
We met about three years ago in Devon at a mutual friend’s wedding. I was in the wedding party seated next to the father of the groom (and having a fantastic time hearing his stories), and she was seated next to a dreadful guy who wouldn’t stop sharing–and demonstrating–his views on women. Suddenly, she appeared next to me and begged to sit next to us citing the horrible behavior of her table companion. I’m not sure if we broke any precious “wedding” rules, but I wasn’t going to send her back to that table. That guy had been pestering me all night as well except he kept touching my bare shoulders while trying to imitate what he thought was an American Southern accent. She and I sat together and ate lemon posset while doing our best to avoid Terence the Ironically Misogynistic Lech.
We can thank Terence for his rude behavior, however, because we got to be friends because of it!
So, she took her first grand adventure across The Pond to our house. My husband asked before she arrived, “Does she know what she’s getting herself into?” I told him that I thought that she did. At least I was pretty sure that she did.
She has done splendidly simply being in our home, but our home is intense. I take it for granted just how, well, annoying my kids can be, and I say that with maternal affection. Grace and Milly are always setting each other off. Grace is sensitive to tone, and Milly delivers information with the tact of a nuclear bomb which translates to constant bickering. Eadaoin is high affect and loud so she sounds like she’s yelling all the time, and everything is one, big drama. Doireann is the family executive so she, too, comes off as autistic in her delivery style i.e. she would make a terrible diplomat. I am accustomed to all this bickering, but a guest is definitely not. Putting myself in her shoes, I suddenly felt stressed out! Good grief! I wanted to move out! It’s like living with The Bickersons.
Oh, the bickering. Bicker, bicker, bicker.
“She’s touching me, she’s looking at me, she said something in a tone, I don’t like your tone! Well, I don’t like your face! It’s just my face! Well, I don’t look like that! Well, your face is weird! Well, your mom’s face is weird! Wait, that’s MY mom! MooOOOooom! She just said that your face is weird!”
Not exactly the picture of relaxation. So, we’ve been doing rather than being. The less time spent indoors the better although my girls can bicker and argue anywhere. They can fuss in church, they can fuss at home, they can argue in the store, they can bicker doing chores! They will not eat green eggs and ham. They will not like it, Sam I Am!
We’ve dragged the girls around the city to all our favorite places, and we’ve had a good time. The day before yesterday, we found ourselves at Half-Priced Books. It was a welcome respite after showing our guest all the posh spots in the city. As we entered the venue, she declared, “Now this is a place I like!” The girls love Half-Priced Books, too. It feels like a treasure hunt. You never know what you might find.
At some point, Grace decided to randomly pull romance books off the shelf to mock the covers and titles. I don’t know why 13 year-old girls find the covers of romance novels to be so titillating, but they do. Granted, a title like Caught between A Jock and A Hard Place is bound to draw attention, and, admittedly, some of the covers are ridiculous. The bodice-rippers are amusing to be sure, but some of these contemporary romantica covers with Abs McQueen posing and preening are eye roll provoking. And the names for the male protagonists? Dare, Chance, Thunder, and Dawg? They sound like male strippers working at a club called The Acrotchalypse, and these dudes are the featured four horsemen!
As I was perusing the fiction section, I could hear Grace snickering. Then, Eadaoin got involved so the volume increased. “Ohmigod…EEEW!” I started giggling. What scandalous cover did they find? Was it a Harlequin novel? One of the older classics with real people on the cover with their 80s hair? Was it one of the newer books with a supernatural theme? A paranormal romance? A woman petting a wolf with a title like In The Heart of The Beast or Wolf’s Heart? There are those cowboy romances with very cheesy titles like Lassoed by Love. That is not what ultimately led Grace and Eadaoin to shriek with embarrassment.
I finally wandered over to the Romance section in a feeble attempt to bring some order to their chaos. We were in a bookstore after all. Grace and Eadaoin were showing me various books with their idea of scandalous covers, but none of them were. They were just mildly awful in that Fabio-Wears-A-Pirate-Shirt-And-Looks-Like-Captain-Morgan way. They never actually found any truly sexy images until Grace pulled out this book:
She took one look at Private Lessons, blushed beet red, and dropped the book on the floor like it was radioactive. She immediately covered her mouth and started giggling and looking around nervously. Eadaoin, of course, was drawn to the book. She leaned down to pick it up, but as soon as she saw the cover she leapt away from it as if she might catch a virus by simply being near it. “Ohmigod…uh…what…what the…Mom! They’re…look at his face! He’s…uh…they’re about to…what is this book about? Wait, are all these books about…? Are these romance books about…SEX?” And the light went on. “You mean they aren’t about dating people? Like meeting people and going on dates? They’re about…sex?”
I was trying so hard not to laugh. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and roll around. Full on cackle. In fact, I think I did because someone shushed us. We were shushed three times! To say that Grace and Eadaoin were horrified is an understatement. “Why would anyone want to read about that?!” More cackling.
Fortunately, Milly and our guest were nowhere near us when this went down. We were able to leave mostly unharmed although now Eadaoin and Grace know that romance novels are really about sex in one form or another. My curiosity was piqued when we returned home, and should any of you feel interested in reading Private Lessons, it is available on Amazon for Kindle.
Another day in paradise…
Resources (some beach reading perhaps?):
Private Lessons by Julie Leto
HE HAD A LOT TO LEARN….
Banker Grant Riordan was a bit of a stuffed shirt—until “Harley” showed up on his doorstep and sent his libido skyrocketing. Hired as the “entertainment” for a bachelor party, Harley dressed like an exotic dancer and had the eyes of an innocent. Unfortunately, after a little accident, she didn’t have a clue who she was….
Harley might not have known who she was, but she definitely knew who she wanted. Sexy, serious Grant made her heart race and her body tingle. But he definitely needed to loosen up—and Harley was woman enough to help him do it. There might have been a few holes in her memory, but she had no doubt she could give Grant some very memorable lessons….