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Friday, October 29, 2021

F³ Tradition Denied

             I did the Spock eyebrow and squinted at Cassie.

            “What?”

            “There’s definitely more to this. And you know I’ll figure it out.”

            “Of course,” she admitted, “but will you figure it out in time?”

            “Cassandra,” Nikki grinned, “you have already made my night. I shall delight at keeping your uncle deliciously off-balance so he doesn’t deduce your secret.”

            “Well played,” I said. “But I’m not licked yet.”

            “Emphasis on yet,” Nikki said.

            My head whipped towards her.

            “Distraction achieved,” Cassie said, triumphantly.

            Dang, need to work on that.

            “As much as I want to continue the distractions, I believe your date has arrived.” Nikki stepped to the side to show Rick Hale walking up the sidewalk.

He was dressed as a more generic buccaneer, while Cassie sported the captain’s tricorn hat. Rick’s mom waved from the car.

I gave a tentative wave back as Cassie brushed past me. She immediately got in close, putting their faces side-by-side as she took a selfie of the two of them.

“Rick,” Cassie began a rapid-fire delivery, “this is my uncle’s friend Nikki, and this is my Uncle Matt.”

Nikki inclined her head, politely.

I reached out a hand.

Before Rick could take my hand, Cassie continued. “Uncle Matt is a private investigator. He really wants to intimidate you by telling you, that he owns a gun and he can track you down, but that’s not necessary because I will keelhaul you myself. We’re all good, right?”

Rick and I shook, both of our hands kind of limp. Him no doubt because of the intimidation, mine because Cassie had stolen the winds from my sails.

“Okay, we’ll see you there!” She turned Rick around, took his arm, and walked out to Rick’s mom for their ride to the dance.

“Oh, Matthew, you look so deflated. You were truly looking forward to dragging out the intimidation of that young man, weren’t you?”

“No, not really. I mean, it’s a tradition, right? And how often do I get to intimidate someone?”

“Never, dumpling. You’re too adorable.”

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