Chapter 1: How It Started
Why is my phone chirping so early on a Saturday morning?
I picked up the phone, looked at it, and thought, damn, has it been seven years already? Seven years since Pamela and the girls left me alone.
She thought I was cheating on her; I wasn't. I just ... Loved my job more than I loved her.
I turned off the alarm, put the phone down, and rolled over and went back to sleep.
Oh, come on ... Who is calling me so early on a Saturday morning?
It was my sister.
I sat up in bed, stifled a yawn and answered it, "Good morning Susan. What can I do for my much older sister?"
"Listen dumbass. I just looked at my phone and noticed what day it was. Are you okay?"
"Nothing that two dozen donuts and a gun in my mouth couldn't fix."
"Jesus Christ, little brother ... It cannot be that bad?"
"Yes it can," I said. "You lost a husband to a heart attack, well I lost a wife ... to my job!"
"I have an idea to get you out of your funk," she said.
"What? You can produce a woman in her mid to late 30s. A woman who could love me, despite all my bad habits? Is there an oil lamp I need to rub three times to get a magic genie with three wishes?"
Laughing, she said, "I've been thinking about your problem, and might have a solution. She's going to meet you at Starbucks at noon. The one on the corner of Standard Road by the Walgreens store!"
"Whom have you set me up with?" I asked. "So now you are setting your little brother up on ... a blind date at a Starbucks?"
"Do not go back to sleep? I'll call you back every 15 minutes!" She threatened.
"Alright. What's her name?"
"You'll know her when you see her" ... and there was a click.
Well, I'm up. I might as well take a shower.
Afterwards, I brushed my teeth and combed my hair, realizing that I needed a haircut.
If this fantasy girl doesn't like me like I am, so be it.
I was nervous, so I got there early, and I nursed a grande Caramel Brulée Latte.
At this point, I watched the door for anybody coming in. A couple of single guys, an older married couple. Then, a redhead opened the door ... I know her!
She looked my way, and I stood up. "Hey Lisa, what are you doing here?"
First thing, she broke into a really big smile and said, "My mother; your sister sent me here. She told me there was a good-looking guy waiting for me. At least, she was right about that, be right back!"
She walked up to the counter and ordered herself something, I couldn't tell what and came back over and sat down.
Boy, she still looks really good. A redhead with brown eyes that seem to melt into your own. She has a really nice figure, prettier than her mother, my older sister Susan.
"So, she didn't tell you that I was here?"
Breaking into that smile of hers, she answered, "No she didn't. Do you know why she would set me up with her own little brother, my cute uncle Richard?"
"She's almost 12 years older than me Lisa. How old are you these days?
"Uncle Richard that's a rude thing to ask a girl!"
"I'm sorry, but to be perfectly honest I always thought that you were pretty!"
"That's better! And, not because you asked, but I'm 33. You are 40 ... is that correct?
"Ouch," I said out loud.
"Medium Peppermint Mocha for Lisa" was announced. She got up and walked to the counter. She does have a nice butt I thought in the moment.
We started talking about lots of things, with her inviting me over for dinner that night at six pm.
On my way out, I said, "It's a date!"
On the short drive home, I remembered when I was about 14 or 15, we were all at a reunion of some kind, and she came up to me and asked for a kiss. She couldn't have been more than seven or eight years old, on the verge of being one of those girls who's too pretty to ask out. I remember keeping an eye on her that day, wishing that she wasn't my niece.
Why would my sister set me up with her own daughter?
I took the time to get that haircut. I'm glad I haven't gotten any gray hair yet. I guess some gals like that in a guy.
At 5:55 PM, I arrived with a bottle of Rose wine. I hadn't been to see my sister in maybe three years. For living in the same town, that's too long.
Lisa opened the door with a big smile and a beautiful dress on. After closing the door, she offered me her arm.
Together, we walked into the dining room. Of course, there was Susan, still looking nicely herself for being 12 years older than me. If she's not coloring her hair, she looks very good.
I walked up to her, and handed her the wine, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek!
"At least you still remember how to clean yourself up, Richard!" she said with the same glimmer in her eye that her daughter has.
"Thanks for waking me up this morning," I said to her. "A chance to have dinner with two lovely redheads is a real treat for me."
"You do cook for yourself don't you?" Susan asked.
"Yes I know at least six meals; they all involve meat."
Lisa laughed putting her hand on mine.
"I forgot how cute you were and how funny," she said to me with those brown eyes.
"Richard," Susie said to me getting my attention, "I know that you must be wondering why I set up my own daughter with my younger brother?"
"It did strike me as odd, but a good odd."
"A couple of reasons, actually. I've been depending on her too much lately, not giving her much of a chance to find somebody."
"Second, she is getting over a break-up after six weeks with a guy. He treated her ... not very well. You were the right age, and I know you two had a past together. I saw that kiss ... and it filled my heart."
"I certainly didn't know that you were such a sentimentalist Susan. There is a little matter that Lisa and I have the same blood. It is not very kosher for an uncle and his niece to be dating."
"I understand your problems with this," my sister said.
"I don't really have a problem at all. She is so very beautiful, not unlike her mother. What happens if we get serious?"
"How serious are you talking about?" Lisa said to me. Susan turned to hear my answer to this as well.
"How about love at first sight serious?" I said looking at her.
"Oh," was all Lisa said.
Susan went into the kitchen.
"Richard ... are you saying that you are in love with me?" Lisa asked.
"I may just be, if saying that is moving too fast for you..."
"No, it's not!" she said gripping my hand in hers.
Susan came out with a large pot of something. After setting it down, she came back out with a large plate of spaghetti pasta.
"You even remembered my favorite meal, didn't you?" I expressed sincerely.
"Its mom's recipe," she answered.
"I may be in love with both of you," I said!
After both ladies served themselves, I gave myself a heaping plate of pasta and then put a nice big batch of spaghetti on top of it.
"How do you stay so thin uncle ... Richard?"
"I run two miles, well at least I used to, every morning and evening. After this big meal, I will definitely need to.
"Could I join you?" this young redheaded woman said to me.
"Would you let me come pick you up in the morning, or nudge you!"
"Let me think about that," she said with a laugh.
"Richard," my sister said, "I don't remember you being so charming?"
"It's really easy when you're surrounded by beauty, like I am right now!"
We all ate, and we had a pleasant time talking about earlier times. Back when mom and dad, and Susan's husband were alive.
I helped Susan with the plates and the leftovers, while Lisa had something to do.
I came out of the kitchen, seeing Lisa with a small suitcase.
"Going somewhere beautiful?"
Home with you," was her short answer!
"Lisa!" her mother remarked.
"Don't worry mom, I've got a dozen condoms in here as well."
"To be honest Lisa; Pamela made me have a vasectomy four years after Becky was born."
"Even better stud," she said. "See you in a couple of days mom!"
She grabbed me by the hand, barely giving me enough time to wave good-bye to my sister.