Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.
Chapter 2 Summary: Along with breakfast, Carson finds Lily alone in the kitchen. She tells him she wants his permission to date his wife. Has hell frozen over? The conversation quickly becomes heated. The argument may not be the only thing making them hot.
Jane’s Favorite Line: “Rocking the boat was not Ava’s style and bringing her lesbian lover home for a month practically flipped the damn thing over.”
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Before Lily stepped away from her bedroom door, she made a mental, “You Are Here,” dot in her mind. She noted that there were three closed wooden doors on her end of the hallway. She just didn’t know which end she was on. Her sense of direction was lost at some turn last night when she stopped paying attention to anything other than Ava’s lovely bottom in front of her as she led Lily to her room. Lily smiled at the memory of Ava’s skirt swishing from side to side and her own desire to get a peek under it. A few seconds later, Lily shook her head to refocus on the task at hand.
To the far right of the door across from hers sat a deep brown, wooden console table that was placed underneath a huge horizontal mirror hanging on the wall. The mirror’s frame was easily seven inches wide. It was bronze in color and full of detailed carvings. Searching past it she saw that this decoration was not repeated on the other end of the hallway. She had found her point of reference. Lily tugged up her black, loose-fitting sweat pants. They were hanging low exposing her hipbone and a thin layer of flesh between them and the bottom of her white tank top. She knew she would have to yank them up after every other step she took.
By the time she reached her destination thirty minutes later, she wished she had left breadcrumbs instead of settling on a point of reference. There were so many nooks and crannies to the home and Lily explored almost every open door. Each room possessed its own life. Each one was decorated in a way completely different from than one beside it. Even the most modern room, however, still had a country charm. Every room felt like home.
The last set of stairs Lily descended brought her to the back of her destination. The first thing Lily saw was everything. Especially, the basketball gymnasium space, which was the kitchen. It took her breath away. Welcome to Lily’s playground. The second thing she saw was nothing. All of the appliances were flawlessly hidden. Even the oven was disguised as a painted country-white, wooden drawer complete with the rustic iron handles to match the rest of the cabinets. Lily only spotted it at all because it sat below the seven-burner stove top. And it wasn’t a wussy electric stove top. This house cooked with fire. The back splash was shiny, but resembled distressed wood. The counter tops had the same effect. You knew you were touching marble or granite, but the design was wooden in appearance so as to not distract from the country feel of the space. It was a kitchen Lily both wanted to make homemade jam in and a five-star meal.
The only thing that disappointed Lily about the kitchen was the fact that breakfast had already been prepared. There were three long wooden islands in the middle of the kitchen. They were designed like tall tables, with all of the drawers and cabinets of a useful island. These were a darker wood to balance the whiteness of the rest of the space. The first island closest to the stove was for prepping and complete with a small rinsing sink. The second held a small breakfast buffet. Fresh fruit overflowed from one basket. Pastries were arranged on another platter. Stacks of fluffy pancakes waited under a glass display. And of course, the scent of fresh coffee filled the air.
Lily picked up the coffee pot and one of the mugs next to it. She passed by the third island that had a row of wooden high top chairs for eating in a more casual setting and sat down at the nook on the far side of the room under the bay window. The view of the massive backyard wanted her attention but the kitchen kept it.
She looked up at the stainless steel pots and pans hanging from their rack on the ceiling. The early morning sun from the skylights reflected off of them and the resulting beams of light added a soft drama to the space. Lily’s eyes followed the crisscrossing, exposed, wooden beams from one end of the kitchen to the main entrance. As if on cue, Carson walked into view. He was dressed to kill in another suit made for his body. Once he saw Lily, the look on his face made Lily feel he just might.
Carson’s temperature rose as thoughts of how Lily and more importantly, Ava, spent last night flowed through his mind. Another deep breath. After relieving some tension by climbing on top of one of his mistress last night, Carson spent the car ride home deciding if he was going to throw Lily out. He decided to ignored the girl and let this thing play out. He was pissed, but he was also intrigued. Rocking the boat was not Ava’s style and bringing her lesbian lover home for a month practically flipped the damn thing over. He wanted to know why this skinny little thing in front of him was so special. He also wanted to know how she imagined this would work out. He noticed Lily had a ring on her finger during their introduction last night. How could she be too cowardly to bring Ava home to her husband, but ballsy enough to parade around in front of someone else’s husband?
Carson decided to stick to his plan and ignore her at this moment as well. He placed his briefcase down at the entrance and walked over to the buffet. He went directly to the coffee machine, turned one of the upside down mugs right side up in his left hand and reached for the coffee pot before he noticed it was missing. He looked over at Lily.
“Does your husband know you’re here having sex with my wife?”
“Well, good morning to you, too,” Lily replied with the lead-by-example cheeriness she would use to demonstrate manners to a five-year-old.
She picked up the coffee pot from the table and walked over to Carson. She took the mug out of his hand and began to pour his drink. “And, yes, he does know.” She handed the cup to him.
Liar. He conveyed with one disbelieving cock of his head.
Lily laughed and softly nudged his hand with the cup. “At least he knows I want to. We haven’t actually, “did the do” yet,” she teased.
Carson straightened his head. She wasn’t lying. He took the cup from her and studied her as he took his first sip.
“Why haven’t you?”
“We’re waiting for your permission.”
Lily realized this may have been the first time she actually heard someone scoff. She had read, “So-and-so scoffed at this or that,” all of the time, but she had never actually heard it. Carson ’s scoff was followed by a smirk.
“Ava hasn’t needed my permission up till now. She’ll screw anything in a skirt,” he purposely looked over and down at Lily’s sweat pants ensemble. Without desiring it to, the thought entered his mind that her pants may give up their fight of hanging on to her hips and slide off completely. “Figure of speech, of course.”
“Of course. And are you the pot or the kettle in this illustration?”
Somehow, Carson managed to stand straighter as he put his coffee down and turned to face Lily directly. This, of course, was not possible. Carson’s posture was perfect. Everything about the man-minus his attitude-was perfect. “The pot, and I’m starting to boil.”
This close, Lily had to raise her head to look Carson in his eyes. She refused to take a step back. Sure, she was intimidated. She imagined she looked like a spirited little chiwawa barking at a bulldozer. Not a fight anyone needed to see to know the outcome. But she wasn’t scared of him. She had already noted that his palms were laying flat against his sides. Despite what he was saying and how threateningly he was saying it, the fact that his two fists hadn’t formed proved he wasn’t truly upset by this little exchange of theirs.
Lily, however, was truly upset and trying not to let it show. Lily cared for Ava and didn’t like Carson dragging her down to his level. “Despite what you believe, Ava doesn’t cheat on you. With anybody. Male or female.”
Carson’s scoff and smirk were simultaneous this time. “I guess your little southern bell didn’t tell you everything.”
“I didn’t say she hasn’t cheated on you. I said she doesn’t. You’re projecting what you do onto her. Carly was twelve years ago. Ava was young and drunk and sorry. And your bruised male ego-”
Narrowing brown eyes caused Lily to glance down for a second and catch a glimpse of Carson ’s fingers twitching.
Stop talking, Lily. She thought to herself, but didn’t.
“You can’t get over the fact that she found something in a woman that you-”
Full fists now. Just stop talking.
“If you had gotten over yourself and had just forgiven her instead of becoming the town’s tramp you’re marriage would be fine.” With the last words gone from her lips, Lily felt the full weight of her stupidity for saying them. She quickly hurried on, “Would you like some more coffee?” Without waiting for an answer she picked up his mug and began to refill it.
Lily was nervous now. Carson could tell. The little girl ran off at the mouth and now she didn’t know what he would say or-what he knew she was really worried about-Lily didn’t know what he would do as a response. She immediately started talking one hundred miles per hour about how beautiful his kitchen looked and how much she loved to cook. The eye contact she had defied him with only seconds ago was now nowhere to be found as her eyes darted this way and that, but mostly down.
Part of him wanted to pick up her thin little body and toss it out of the bay window. Part of him wanted to continue to watch her sweat. None of him wanted to consider what she had said as true. He was sure Ava lied to Lily about the number of her indiscretions. Why would she admit to anything that would taint her new interest’s image of her? Though, Lily clearly knew about Carly and not from him obviously. Why hadn’t more names come out of her mouth?
Carson decided it was a well thought out ploy of his wife’s. Confess to something extreme to appear more trustworthy. And why you’re at, tell the story with enough tears in order that you may appear to be the victim. Carly was a good choice to confess. She was the only lover of Ava’s that Ava knew Carson was one hundred percent certain of.
Lily handed Carson his cup of coffee without looking up. He took it and a sip. “You’re welcome,” she corrected him.
Carson felt his eyes narrow once again. This little girl did not know when to quit.
Lily got the message and quickly pushed on. “Did Ava make all of this?”
“One of our chiefs.”
“‘One of’, uh?”
“Yes, ‘one of’.”
Thank God! Lily thought as the girl who bounced into the kitchen threw her arms around Carson. When she turned to face the buffet, she noticed Lily.
“Lily!” The girl beamed and threw her arms around Lily as well. Lily didn’t expect such a warm gesture from her. For one, most teenagers are not so forthcoming with adults. Secondly, the girl didn’t seem like a hugger. She was dressed in a way that can only be described as, “sharp”. Nothing was out of place on her. She wore a black A-line skirt that hugged her hips and, although slender, she did have some weight on her, but it looked good. Seven more pounds would push her over to the heavy side, but no one would care. She would be pretty at any size. Pinching her waist was a three-inch wide red leather belt. It contrasted nicely with the black skirt and added flare to the white, V-neck blouse with three-quarter sleeves she was wearing. Her black pumps brought her up to Lily’s height of five-eight.
“I’m glad I caught you before class. We missed you last night at dinner. I was so anxious to meet you.”
“Sorry,” Lily searched for words. “Yesterday’s flight exhausted me. The bed was calling my name a bit early. You’re Sarah?”
“That’s right.” Sarah glanced at her dad and Lily missed the secretive smile she tossed at him. Carson gave a dismissive shrug. She turned back to Lily. “We hardly get company passing through for so long and not only are you company, you’re family! How close were you and my mom growing up?”
Lily froze. She had no intentions of lying to a sixteen-year-old girl, but did she really want to tell her the truth? Lily didn’t think it was her place to do so. Unbelievably, she actually looked to Carson for help.
“They were practically kissing cousins, if you let your mom tell it.”
The shock on Lily’s face at Carson’s words said it all. Sarah replied to it with a laugh that was full and friendly. “Don’t I know it. I was just teasin’, Lily. I know you’re not cousins.”
At this point, Lily realized that she definitely did not have the home court advantage. She wanted to know just exactly how embarrassed she should feel. A degree she couldn’t possibly begin to calculate without knowing how much Sarah did know.
Sarah apparently read her mind. “Just so you know how bad of a lie you being my mom’s cousin is, she only has like five family members. And they all live around the corner.”
Lily couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with a sixteen year old. Talk about mature beyond your years. Sarah’s haircut didn’t help matters. It was also mature, not the flow down to your back length she knew it must have been once. Sarah had it dyed dark brown with light brown highlights and cut to chin level. She looked as if she were going to manage a fancy hotel for the rich and famous in L.A., not going to high school in the boondocks.
Lily found herself trying to mimic the young lady’s casualness towards the situation. “I thought our lack of resemblance gave us away,” she joked.
“It doesn’t help you none-any. It doesn’t help you any.” Sarah corrected herself. “I suggest she introduce you to everyone else as a friend.”
“I’ll let A know.”
“‘A’, uh? I didn’t think ‘Ava’ could get any shorter. It’s cute.” Lily blushed at her slip of the tongue. “Don’t worry. Really. It’s cute,” Sarah reassured her and gave her another hug. “Well, I’d love to catch up, but Emanuelle will be pulling up to take me to school soon.”
They had a chief who made breakfast before six a.m., so why not? “Personal chauffer?”
“Boyfriend. Good guess, though.” She grabbed a banana. “Would you like to meet him real quick?”
“Come on. He’ll be here before we reach the front door.”
True to her statement, the moment they opened the front door, not only did the full ninety-five degrees of heat hit them, so did the sound of music that could only be described as Spanish rap.
Emanuelle literally jumped out of his completely uncovered dark blue Jeep and headed over to the two ladies. At first sight, the pair appeared mismatched. Sarah stood next to Lily looking completely sophisticated in stockings and all despite the “you-should-only-come-outside-naked” heat. Emanuelle was dressed nicely, but in a younger fashion: baggy khakis and a blue sports jersey with a white t-shirt underneath. However, when he spoke, he did so with the same friendliness and warmth Sarah had. Lily smiled.
“Hey babe,” he gave Sarah a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “And, hello.” Right away Lily found herself in her third embrace of the day. Emanuelle was chubby and the bear hug he gave Lily totally engulfed her tiny frame. The temperature rose an uncomfortable twenty degrees more until he released her.
“Hey, sweetie. You just squeezed my mom’s cousin nearly to death. Meet Lily.”
The fake smile Emanuelle used to cover over his real confusion was apparent to both ladies. Sarah shot a quick “Told you so,” smile at Lily.
“Good to meet you. Where you from?” Emanuelle asked quickly recovering from the illogical information he had just received and returning to his warm self.
“Really? What’s it like?”
Sarah turned Emanuelle towards his jeep. “We don’t have the time. Sorry, Lily, no time.”
“No worries. Later.”
“Yep,” Sarah called over her shoulder.
Lily re-entered the house as the couple headed to the jeep. She was thankful to escape the heat and return the wonderful invention called, A.C. She decided to avoid the kitchen as well as the rest of the house until she knew Carson wasn’t in either. She exhaled and prepared herself mentally to relocate her point of reference. She accepted that it would take longer to find since she refused to go back the way she came, which was through the kitchen, which possibly still contained Carson. She tugged back up her steadily dropping sweat pants and started up the grand stairwell in the foyer.
Carson smiled to himself as he drank the last of his coffee. Hearing the sound of footsteps on the foyer’s stairs after the front door reopened and closed again meant one thing: he was right. He didn’t fully understand what it was that Lily or Ava wanted to achieve with this little stunt of theirs, or even if their end goals were the same, but neither of them would be brave enough to succeed. The fact that Lily didn’t rejoin him to finish their conversation combined with the fact that Ava was nowhere to be found all morning proved it. Carson could tell that Lily was serious about wanting his permission to have a relationship with his wife. A fact he couldn’t wrap his mind around, but it didn’t matter. Hell didn’t have plans to freeze over the last time he checked. And Ava wasn’t crazy enough to have a lesbian love affair under his roof. Either way he looked at it, Lily was bound to leave in a few weeks sexually frustrated if she didn’t give up and make her exit before then. Carson would enjoy watching the two make fools out of themselves in the meantime. Women.
Carson walked over to the kitchen’s entrance in a few long strides to pick up his briefcase. He straightened up and looked back into the kitchen as if watching the scene between him and Lily replay before his eyes. He smiled as he recalled the fire in her eyes and her hands on her bare hips as she defended Ava. Silly girl. She reminded him of Sandra’s, the woman of choice last night, little chiwawa. The damn thing barked at his heels every night he went to see her. It thought it was so badass when in reality, one tiny kick and Carson could send it sailing across the room. That would be the end of its good intentions to protect its owner. Yet, it was ready to fight against all odds. Admirable. And a bit sweet. And a bit humorous in a way that caused him to yield to his first instinct to kick the thing and put up with its yapping instead. Those were the reasons he never kicked the dog and they were the same reasons he didn’t haul Lily out of his house right then and there. Good intentions in a small package. Lily just might be Ava’s little chiwawa. Carson laughed out loud and left for work.
Emanuelle placed both hands on the steering wheel and paused before driving off. “Your mom’s cousin, uh?”
Sarah fastened her seat belt. “Yep.”
“Yes. Cousin.” Sarah stressed the two-syllable word to the point it lasted for twenty seconds.
“Babe, your family is freakin’ awesome.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“Y freakin’ loca.”
“Don’t I know it. Now let’s go, sweetie,” Sarah ran her left hand through his black, slightly wavy, slightly curly hair. “Let’s not break our perfect attendance record.”
Emanuelle kissed the palm of her hand when it reached his lips. They both smiled as he put the jeep in gear and drove off.