She couldn’t think of a better way to end their honeymoon than spending the rest of it with Jason, sleeping in until noon, making love by the pool and ending their nights, naked, sated and knowing this was only the beginning.
“So, this honeymoon wasn’t a complete disaster then?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her and pulled her back into the water where she immediately wrapped her arms and legs around him and leaned in for a kiss.
“It’s perfect,” she assured him with a kiss that told him exactly what she had in mind for the rest of the afternoon.
“And this curse?” he asked sounding oddly amused as he leaned back from her kiss and turned them around.
“Is nothing more than a few old wives tales overplayed to scare future generations,” she said firmly, wondering what it would take for him to see that this whole thing had just been a series of bad mistakes, nothing more. Perhaps another bowl of buttercream frosting would do the trick, she thought with a smile as she leaned in to kiss her husband when she realized something very important.
They weren’t alone.
Swallowing past that suddenly large lump in her throat, she tightened her hold around Jason, for some reason hoping that the move would make this easier, and squinted over his shoulder at several khaki, pink and tan blobs.
“What exactly am I seeing?” she whispered as she squeezed her eyes shut tightly and ducked as far as the water and Jason’s large body would allow without the risk of drowning.
“Oh, you mean the group of people standing by the pool, openly staring at us?” he asked in an offhand tone that was really going to earn him an appointment with her fists of fury later.
“Yes!” she seethed with embarrassment. “Them! What are they doing?”
“Well,” he began with a bored sigh as he looked over his shoulder, “it appears that one of them is trying to take pictures with his cellphone without his wife knowing about it.”
“David!” came the horrified gasp, confirming Jason’s suspicions and making her bury her face against his chest.
“And the rest?” she hated to ask, but she had to know.
“Appears that our real estate lady was wasting no time in showing both properties so that I could buy you that old house on Oak to fix up while I tried to save up enough money to build you your dream home.”
“Oh, I see,” she said, unable to stop the pleased smile that teased her lips or kiss his chest to show him how much she loved him. He really was the sweetest man alive, she decided even as she continued to use his large body as a shield from the onlookers who for some reason were still standing there, staring at them.
“As for the rest of them, I can only guess that one of them was probably called to tow the truck away, the police officer is probably here to fine us for abandoning the truck by the side of the road, a few of the of the neighbors who didn’t feel like waiting on the sidewalk decided to come get a closer look, a pizza delivery guy apparently decided to follow the crowd, and your grandmother is sitting in her wheelchair, thrusting her cane in the officer’s face who’d apparently made the mistake of making eye contact with her.”
“Oh, I see,” she mumbled weakly, wondering what the odds were of her swimming to the other side of the pool and jumping out and making a mad dash across the deck to the safety of the double patio doors without being seen were.
Definitely not good, at least not unless by some miracle a pair of glasses were to miraculously float past her, providing her with the ability to escape what was quickly becoming one of the most mortifying moments in her life without making it worse by running face first into a wall or something. Well, at least she could safely hide behind Jason until everyone got bored and moved on, she decided because she refused to acknowledge this little incident and give Jason’s asinine theory about this being some sort of-
“Young lady, what the hell are you doing in that pool with him?” the terrifyingly familiar voice demanded, adding just enough acid to his tone at the end there that there was no mistaking who the speaker was or what he was really angry about.
“Please tell me that my father isn’t here,” she whispered with dread as she let her legs fall free from Jason’s hips.
“I’m afraid that I can’t do that, my little grasshopper,” Jason said, softening his words with a kiss to her temple.
“Then what can you tell me?” she asked with a pathetic whimper even as she shifted to the side so that she could squint in the direction where she felt the murderous glare concentrated on her.
“That your entire family finally showed up for a visit.”
“Do you want me to handle this?” his father asked from where he sat next to him on the front stoop.
“You are not staying married to him!” they heard Haley’s father shout in response to something Grandma said.
“No,” Jason said with a slight shake of his head as he grabbed the shirt his father held out to him and quickly pulled it on. “I’ll handle this.”
“If it makes you feel any better, this curse is almost finished with you,” his father said, giving him a reassuring smile as Jason stood up and straightened his clothes as he did his best to ignore the audience that refused to leave.
“There’s no curse, Dad,” he explained before adding, “Besides, if there was one, it would have ended the moment that I got Haley home.”
“That would have only prolonged the curse, son.”
“And you know this how?” Jason asked, seriously tempted to turn the hose on their unwanted audience.
His father chuckled weakly as he rubbed his hands roughly down his face. “Just trust me on this one. The curse won’t end until you put an end to this nightmare.”
“And how exactly am I supposed to do that?”
“How dare you embarrass your father by marrying the help!” Mrs. Blaine shouted, adding her thoughts to the matter that up until now Jason had agreed to let Haley handle.
“Claim your bride, son,” his father said, getting to his feet, “Claim your bride.”
“You’d do anything for attention, Haley! Anything!” one of his lovely sister-in-laws cried as Jason let his father’s words sink in.
“I can’t believe you wrecked our vacation for this!”
“You’re so selfish, Haley!”
“You never think about anyone besides yourself!”
“Where are you going, Jason?” his father asked as he opened the door and headed inside.
“To claim my wife,” he said, letting the door slam shut behind him. Other than pause long enough to shoot him looks with varying degrees of disgust, her family continued to scream at Haley, trying to talk some sense into her.
“What the hell is wrong with you marrying someone like him?” one of her sisters demanded as she gestured towards him with a well-manicured hand. “I know that you don’t have much going for you, but that doesn’t mean that you had to settle for a loser, Haley!”
“He’s only after your money!”
“What the hell is wrong with you? Are you that desperate for attention that you’d be willing to settle for a loser like-Ow!” Mr. Blaine bit off with a wince of pain that only turned into a cringe when Grandma pulled her cane back and let him have it again and again, and probably would have taken another swing at her son if Jason hadn’t reached over and gently pulled the item away before she could do any serious damage.
“Mother,” Mr. Blaine bit out, glaring down at his mother from a safe distance across the room, “this is for her own good.”
“This isn’t your choice,” Grandma said with a firm nod as she discretely reached over and-
“No,” Jason said firmly, placing the cane well out of reach from Grandma and her desperate need to beat the shit out of her family with the hopes that they could talk this through, but Mr. Blaine seemed to have an agenda all his own.
“Take the girls home, sweetheart,” Mr. Blaine said with a forced smile as his attention shifted to Jason and stayed there.
eally think that we should handle this as a family,” Mrs. Blaine said in a stern tone even as she gestured for her daughters to make their escape while they still could.
As the three women filed out of the room, not a single one of them glanced at Haley to offer her their support. They simply escaped, leaving Mr. Blaine to handle something they clearly deemed beneath them.
“Why don’t you go to your room as well?” Mr. Blaine suggested, but Haley stubbornly sat there, shaking her head.
“Haley,” Jason said with a soft smile, touched that she cared so much about him that she was willing to sit there and endure more of her father’s bullshit for him, “everything will be fine. I promise.”
“I’m not going,” she said more firmly as she looked up and met his gaze head on.