Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now!
“Hi Ashley,” Bree said into her phone.
“Hello,” Ashley replied tersely.
Bree frowned. Usually Ashley was a lot more talkative when they chatted on the phone. They hadn’t seen each other for a few days over the holiday weekend and then just briefly at school. “Is something wrong?” Bree asked.
“Why would you say that?” Ashley shot back.
“Because you sound like you’re mad at me.”
“Hmpph,” was the response.
“Are you mad at me?” Bree persisted.
“If you don’t know then there’s no point in us talking further.” Ashley was about to hang up.
“Wait!” Bree commanded.
“Why should I?”
“I want to know what’s happened. I don’t want you to be mad at me. You’re my best friend.” Bree hoped Ashley could hear how sincerely she meant all those statements.
“Then how come you don’t have time to talk to me and tell me about your sister’s new house and the big party? You know I wanted to hear all about it.”
“I…I meant to.”
“You know where good intentions lead.”
“Are you telling me I’m going to Hell?” Bree asked in shock. “Who told you that anyway?”
“Seems I’ve heard someone in your house say that,” Ashley informed her.
“Dada…” Bree whispered.
There was silence on the other end of the phone.
“Ashley, are you still there?” Bree asked.
“Yes,” came the reluctant reply.
“I’m sorry,” Bree said in a whisper. “I guess I got busy with the family. I didn’t mean to…”
“Okay, okay,” Ashley interrupted. “You’re forgiven. So, tell me all about the house and party.”
Bree smiled to herself as she filled Ashley in on all the goings-on from the long weekend. It was great talking to her best friend, sharing all the juicy gossip and listening to Ashley’s perceptive observations about the people at the party.
“It doesn’t sound like Michael is too happy about JR and Jacqueline’s plans for the future,” Ashley stated.
“You got that right. He doesn’t like anything that isn’t basically his idea. I’m just glad he didn’t make a scene when they announced that they are getting married.”
“Yeah, that would have spoiled the whole day.”
“That’s for sure,” Bree agreed.
“So, are you going to be a bridesmaid?”
“Me, oh, I don’t know,” Bree stammered. She really hadn’t thought about that. “I … I don’t know anything about what they are planning for their wedding.”
“I bet you will be asked,” Ashley said confidently. “You are JR’s only sister.”
“Yeah, I am,” Bree said thoughtfully.
“I think that would be so exciting. You get to dress up in a beautiful gown and walk down the aisle before the bride. You’re going to look sensational. Everyone will be blown away.”
“The bridesmaid isn’t supposed to be more important than the bride,” Bree chided. “And I don’t even know if they want bridesmaids. Maybe they want a really simple ceremony.”
“Anyway, I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves.”
“It’s something to think about,” Ashley continued. “It could be fun, and oh, who would you ask as your date? Ryan?”
“I don’t think so. I’m over Ryan,” Bree declared.
“Then you should start thinking about who else you might invite.”
“I guess…” Bree knew who she would like as her date if the wedding went off as Ashley was planning, but she also knew that wasn’t likely to happen.
“Are you going to soccer camp this summer?” Ashley asked.
“Um, yeah, most likely, I don’t really know,” Bree admitted. She hadn’t given the summer much thought. She was intent on getting through the rest of the school year. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go to soccer camp. It was kind of the same old same old, year after year. She often did a lot of the training with new participants, but she got no credit and no payment for what she did. Maybe it was time for a change. Or… she could be the star of the show at camp if she really put her mind to it. That might not be so bad, she thought, as a smile crossed her face.
“Are you still there?” Ashley asked.
“What would make for a great summer.”
“And what did you decide?”
“I don’t know for sure,” Bree admitted.
“Well whatever it is, I hope we can spend more time together.”
“We will. I promise,” Bree said sincerely.
“You know I’m going to hold you to that,” Ashley stated.
“I’ve created a monster,” Bree laughed, and Ashley joined her. It was great to be back on good terms with her best friend.
“Daddy,” Bree said as she walked into the kitchen having come from her room, “How come we don’t have a pool?” She had been doing a lot of thinking since her talk with Ashley.
“Huh?” Justin replied, a look of astonishment on his handsome face.
“You know, that thing made of concrete and full of water that people swim in.”
“All right, smarty pants, why are you asking?”
“You and Dada have a lot of money, don’t you?” Bree asked.
Justin nodded reluctantly. “Where is this coming from?”
Bree got herself a drink of juice and sat on one of the stools at the kitchen counter. “I was talking to Ashley,” Bree began.
“Did Ashley want to know why we don’t have a pool?” Justin asked.
“No, she would never be so … crass.”
“Crass, that’s an interesting choice of words.”
“Don’t try to change the subject,” Bree warned.
“So, if this isn’t Ashley’s idea, is it yours?”
“Yes, I want to know why we don’t have a pool,” Bree said.
“We have the stream.”
“That’s not the same as a pool.”
“Um, what do you mean?”
Justin took a deep breath. “When your father and I moved here, we did it to get to the peace and quiet of the country, to be close to nature,” he explained.
“Dada wanted to be close to nature? Yeah, right, he’s afraid of frogs,” Bree countered.
“There’s a reason for that, and … he isn’t as afraid as you might think.”
Bree looked quizzically at her father. “Are you saying he is just pretending to be afraid?”
“No, but he sometimes exaggerates his fear. He enjoys the reaction he gets. You don’t see him afraid of any other wildlife, do you?”
Bree shook her head. “So, was it Dada’s idea to move here?”
“Yeah, he knew that his brother and Claire would be nearby and he wanted to develop a closer relationship with them. He liked the idea of getting out of the city, too.”
“Were you living in the loft then?”
“So, this was a really big change to move out here?”
“It sure was.”
“Did Dada miss the loft when you moved here?”
“I think he did, a bit, but there was so much work to do on this place that he didn’t have a lot of time to miss it.”
“Work, on this place?” Bree asked.
“The cottage was abandoned and close to falling down. John was able to rescue it. It was some time later that John moved his half of the conjoined cottages here.”
“Wow!” said Bree. “I always thought it was just like it is now.”
“That’s the only way you’ve ever known it, sweetheart.”
“Why are you asking about a pool all of a sudden?” Justin asked. He probably shouldn’t have mentioned it again, since Bree was distracted by the story of the cottage. However, he wondered where the whole swimming pool idea had come from.
“Ashley was talking about the summer and how we could spend more time together. I thought if we had a pool we could swim all summer. Lots of the kids at school have pools in their backyards, and we have lots of space.”
“As I said before, we moved here for a simpler life. We didn’t want all the chemicals that go with a pool. Your father loved working on making the gardens. We never saw any need for a pool. Does that answer your question?”
“I guess so.”
“Did you really want a pool?” Justin asked with some trepidation.
“It would be nice, but we don’t really need it.”
“Thank God for that,” Justin said breathing a sigh of relief.
“If I really wanted one would you get one for me?” Bree batted her violet eyes at her father.
“Don’t try to pull that on me,” Justin warned, but he couldn’t help but smile.
“It was worth a try,” Bree giggled.
“You are too clever for your own good.”
“How can I be too clever? I like being smart, and it’s very useful.”
“Is it now?” Justin asked as he handed her a cucumber. “Get it ready for the salad.”
Bree went to the sink to wash the cucumber. As she wiped it dry, she said, “Do you think JR will have bridesmaids at her wedding?”
“What?” Justin shook his head at this abrupt change of topic. “Where are all these questions coming from?”
“From my head.”
“Can you ask your head to slow down a bit?”
“It doesn’t listen to me,” Bree giggled.
“Then you need to train it better.”
“It has a mind of its own.”
“You are incorrigible.”
“I know, but you love me anyway.”
“Yes I do,” Justin agreed.
“Can I get some of that love?” Brian asked as he walked in from the sun porch.
“Only if you cut up the peppers,” Bree declared.
Justin gave her a high five as they laughed while Brian shook his head.
Ray and Gus strolled into the kitchen as Justin and Bree were preparing dinner. Gus thought it was as good a time as any to broach the subject of Bree going to Canada.
“Hey,” Gus called out as they entered the kitchen. “Can we help?”
“You can start setting the table,” Justin said indicating their own kitchen table.
“Not the sun porch?” Gus asked as he began to take out the dishes and cutlery they’d need.
“No, Patrick has a game tonight,” said Justin. Gus nodded his head and kept on setting the table with Ray’s help.
“Uh, is this a good time to discuss summer plans?” Gus asked.
“Go ahead,” Justin said with resignation.
“What’s going on?” Bree asked sensing the tension.
“We have a proposal to make to you but it depends on what you’re planning to do this summer,” Ray began.
“What kind of proposal?”
“Are you planning to go to soccer camp this year,” asked Gus.
“I’m not sure. I’d like to but it’s getting boring,” Bree admitted.
“Boring, but you love soccer,” Justin exclaimed.
“Yeah, but I’m not learning anything new and sometimes they ask me to help coach other kids but…”
“You don’t get paid for it; I get it, Bree,” Gus responded. “Jus, does the camp have CITs?”
“What’s a CIT?” Justin asked.
“Counselors in training. Like junior counselors, they get paid, not as much as the fulltime counselors but the camp hopes the CITs will return the next summer, and when they’re old enough and have the experience behind them, they’ll be fulltime counselors. Eventually the older counselors age out or go on to fulltime careers,” Gus explained.
“Hmm, I’ll look into it but let’s focus on your proposal,” Justin said knowing Bree was getting antsy. Gus understood.
“Ray and I are planning to spend some time at North, we’d like you to come with us,” said Gus. Bree reacted with a high pitched squeal and a huge hug for her brother. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Gus laughed as did Ray. Justin’s reaction was a bit more sedate but he knew how happy this would make Bree. Plus, he and Brian would begin to learn if Bree was really serious about making Kinnetik her career.
“So, I guess you like the idea,” Ray stated with a grin.
“Oh, yes! Daddy, are you and Dada going too?”
“We hadn’t planned on it. Your dad and uncle received the go-ahead from the city for their latest project, I don’t think he’d want to leave right now,” Justin explained.
“Is that the planned construction around Babylon?” Ray asked. Ray was slowly getting more involved with overseeing the management of Babylon; he had an interest in the construction plans. Justin nodded.
“Bree, this is a big responsibility; you’d be expected to conduct yourself as a businesswoman, not like a giddy teenager,” Justin stated.
Justin watched his daughter’s face. Bree went from excitement to insulted at the giddy teenager remark into reining in her emotions. When she began to discuss the plans with Gus and Ray in a calm business-like manner, that’s when it dawned on Justin that his little girl was really growing up. Justin turned his thoughts back to cooking dinner.
“I’m going to get Brian,” Justin stated when dinner was ready and on the table.
“Knock, knock,” Justin called out as he rounded the steps and approached Brian’s office door.
“Hey, dinner almost ready?”
“Yes, it is.”
Brian looked up from his computer to study his spouse’s face. “What’s up?”
“Gus and Ray spoke to Bree,” Justin said with a sigh.
“Let me guess, she nearly hugged Gus to death,” Brian said.
“Yup. I’m sure she’ll be packed by bedtime,” said Justin. Brian smirked.
“No, she won’t. She’ll carefully consider the wrinkle factor then decide against,” Brian teased.
“Brian,” Justin growled.
“Come here, Sunshine,” Brian said as he stood with his arms open. Justin was there in a second. “We discussed this and I have the same feelings about this but it’s the right thing to do. She will be surrounded with enough responsible adults to protect her. If she wasn’t, I’d never consider this, not without me being there. But this is a crucial time for Kinney Bros. I can’t just drop everything to go.”
“I know. And the summer is when Lindsay starts preparing for the Emerging Artist show. Lindsay always wants me there, and I like being at the gallery with her,” said Justin.
“It will be fine and we’re not that far away. We can fly up there if we’re needed. I’ll check with Liberty Air if we can have a private plane on standby.”
“You’d do that?” Justin asked as he looked up into Brian’s eyes.
“Of course, I will. I’m crazy but not stupid. I may not like it but I’m learning to live with the idea of having two adult children,” Brian said. “And also planning ahead for anything that may necessitate a speedy way of getting to Canada at a moment’s notice,” Brian further explained.
Justin had no choice but to accept Brian’s explanation.
“Thank you,” Justin murmured as he hugged Brian. Then a stomach growled. “That was yours. Let’s go feed the beast before dinner gets cold,” Justin strongly suggested.
“No argument from me,” Brian replied as they went down to have dinner.
“So, do you approve?” Brian asked Bree as he sauntered into the kitchen. Platters and bowls began to circulate around the table as everyone helped themselves.
“Oh yes, Dada. Thank you,” Bree politely responded. Brian caught his son’s eye and arched a brow. Gus smirked as he rolled his eyes. Bree was trying to prove that she would conduct herself appropriately.
No more Kinnetik business was conducted at the dinner table; it was family time.
“Pop, we were discussing the possibility of Bree becoming a CIT this year at soccer camp,” Gus ventured.
“I plan on speaking to the camp to find out if they have a CIT program,” Justin added.
“Huh, great minds or some such crap,” Brian blurted. “I was doing just that when you came to get me for dinner. They do have a program but we’d have to contact them soon before all the spots are taken,” Brian explained. “So, it’s up to you to put together a calendar so we can get this ball rolling.”
“We’ll work on it after dinner, won’t we, Short Stuff,” Gus suggested, getting a bright sunny smile from his sister.
Brian glanced at Justin; he wasn’t that enthused about Bree’s summer plans but he wouldn’t stand in her way.
“Who’s for a slice of Rachel’s cherry pie?” Justin asked as he began clearing the table.
Justin moved faster when he heard Brian’s voice included in the response. “This calls for some vanilla ice cream too,” Justin said with a sunshine smile.
Brian gave Justin a wink as he put on the coffee and the water for tea.
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