Interpretation – an explanation that differs based on whether you’re sitting at the table or haven’t entered the room yet
Ienter my parents’ house on Sunday afternoon for our weekly Sunday dinner to discover everyone except my father is here already. I check my watch and realize I’m five minutes earlier than normal. Why is everyone here ahead of me? And why is everyone’s attention glued to the door?
“Why is everyone on time today?”
Ashlyn widens her eyes. “No reason.”
I cock an eyebrow at her. If the widened eyes hadn’t already given her away, her answer of ‘no reason’ would. She’s obviously plotting something.
Everyone thinks I’m oblivious to the scheming my sisters and the rest of Winter Falls do. I’m not. I simply choose to not be involved. I have more important things to do with my time than bet on the gender of Ashlyn’s baby or whether Forest will arrive at the monthly meeting wearing pants, although I do prefer it when he’s clothed.
There’s a knock on the door and I move to answer it as I’m the closest but Aspen tackles me to the floor before I can get there. I shove her off of me and stand.
“What are you doing? What is wrong with you? This is not a football field.”
“Welcome,” Mom greets the person at the door.
“Thanks for inviting me, Ruby.”
I shiver at the sound of Beckett’s voice and my feet automatically carry me toward him, but then I remember how distant he’s been acting ever since we had sex and force my feet to stop moving. I may have realized I love the man, but I am not going to throw myself at him. He has already proven how quickly he grew tired of me.
“Why is my boss here? And why is he calling Mom Ruby?”
“I asked him to call me Ruby,” Mom says as she carries a bundle of flowers to the kitchen.
“Someone’s a suck up,” Rowan mutters under his breath.
“Cleaning her gutters wasn’t enough?” Cole grumbles.
I’m confused. “Is cleaning gutters a euphemism?”
Ashlyn giggles. “You don’t honestly think Beckett and Mom—” Her words cut off as she swallows and places a hand on her stomach. “Thanks for the visual, Lilac.”
“Must you insist on pretending to be squeamish about our parents’ sex life?” I can’t resist asking.
She pretends to gag, and I glance away before she notices my humor.
“Hello, Lilac,” Beckett greets as he joins us in the living room.
“Hello,” I respond because Mom doesn’t allow rudeness in her house. “What are you doing here?” This question is based on curiosity and is therefore not rude.
“He’s your paramour. Of course, he’s here.” Ashlyn waggles her eyebrows.
“How many times do I have to explain to you paramour refers to an illicit affair?”
Ashlyn shrugs. “Until I stop finding it amusing?”
“I invited him,” Mom says as she returns with the flowers in a jug and places them on the table.
“Because you’re involved.”
“We’re not involved.”
“You had sex with him.”