Both sets of eyes were on Renn as she pulled out the empty chair at their table and sat down – Gabby’s with curiosity and Wes’ with apprehension. Renn acknowledged Gabby with a quick nod, then glanced from Wes to the margarita shots on the table, and back to Wes again. “I finished my martini. Are one of these drinks still available for me?”
Wes wasn’t sure if it would be adding fuel to whatever fire was between his cousin and Renn, but he also wasn’t about to give Renn a reason to get up and leave his table. “Of course,” he replied. “Take whichever one you like.”
“Actually, I was drinking the green one next,” Gabby stated rather matter-of-factly.
“Really?” Renn shot back as she reached for the green margarita and took a sip. Gabby just rolled her eyes.
Wes made a showing of clearing his throat. “So, I guess you two go way back,” he started uncomfortably, hoping to break the brewing tension. “Though I don’t recall Gabby ever mentioning you before.” He looked to Renn, hopeful that she’d continue the conversation.
“I’m not surprised,” replied Renn with a slight shrug. “She likely would have never mentioned my name, especially not since that ‘kickball incident’ from when we were in college.”
At the sudden mention of kickball, Gabby nearly choked on the drink she had just taken, causing both Renn and Wes to look at her with shocked expressions as she finished her mild coughing fit. “Kickball? Seriously??” she gasped as she turned to Renn. Renn just looked at her with an amused expression. But Wes was dumbfounded. “Did you say ‘kickball’?” he asked. He shook his head slightly, then turned to Gabby. “I can’t picture you ever playing kickball,” he said to her. “Was that a college thing?”
Trying to regain her composure, Gabby took a cautionary sip of her margarita. “It most assuredly was not a college thing,” she finally replied.
“Well, not sanctioned anyway,” Renn interjected. Gabby shot her a look. “Where are you going with this?” she asked Renn.
“What do you mean?” asked Renn innocently. “You started it.”
Wes looked nervously between the two girls. While he did want to get to the bottom of their feud, he was beginning to regret bringing up a conversation with them together. Perhaps it would be best to separate them now, and find out the story later. He stood up and turned to Renn, hoping to diffuse the situation.
“Renn, I noticed an hors d’oeuvre menu sitting on the bar earlier. Would you like to go up with me while I order a few things and help me carry them back?” he asked hopefully.
“Oooh, Gabby – that reminds me,” started Renn. “Do you remember those dessert hors d’oeuvres you used to always get with the maraschino cherries, and how you’d show off after the kickball games by tying the stems in knots in your mouth?”
Wes slowly sat back down in his chair, staring wordlessly between the two girls. Renn leaned into him and loudly whispered “they always said she had a talented tongue.”
Wes turned full body to stare at Gabby in disbelief. “Do I even know you?” he asked her incredulously.
“Oh my God, what? Seriously?!? She’s full of shit!” Gabby exclaimed. She looked Renn in the eyes, and Renn couldn’t contain herself any longer and burst out laughing. Suddenly Gabby was laughing too, and Wes looked at them both like they had just lost their minds.
Gabby finally took pity on her cousin. Stifling her giggles, she sat up a little straighter and looked at him. “Wes, I’d like to introduce you to one of my closest friends, Renn. Renn, this is my cousin Wes.”
“I’m very pleased to officially meet you,” said Renn happily as she extended her hand to Wes. He took her hand into his own, still glancing from one girl to the other.
“I’m not sure I’m following you. You two were furious with each other a few minutes ago.”
“No we weren’t,” laughed Gabby. “I just asked Renn for a favor and told her I’d play along with whatever she said. And you were pretty good,” she said as she turned to Renn. “You almost even had me going.”
“Well, you know I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life,” Renn admitted with a grin as she winked at Wes. Wes realized there was no bad blood after all at the table and felt himself relaxing. He gently squeezed Renn’s hand before releasing it.
So…..,” he started, looking Gabby right in the eyes. “I’ve been set up.” Gabby just replied with a smirk and raised her glass to him in a mock salute. Wes shook his head, still trying to completely catch up. “But when did you two plan this? You never spoke with Renn before I saw her and went up to her at the bar.”
Gabby and Renn exchanged a look, and Gabby nodded. Renn unlocked her cell phone and slid it in front of Wes. It was open to the last text message she received. Wes looked down and read the message from Gabby:
“Hey, Renn – my cousin
and I are in this same club
right now. He just noticed
you and is coming up to
say hi. I still owe him for
that whole cowboy thing,
so make something up
and I’ll play along.”
Wes looked up at Gabby. “‘That whole cowboy thing?’”
Gabby just shrugged. “You know I hate that shit.”
“Yeah, I know,” chuckled Wes. He glanced back to Renn, who was watching them both with an amused look on her face. “What about you, Renn? Do you hate that shit, too?”
Renn shuddered in reply. “I’m afraid I’m with Gabby on that one – I can’t do country music or the whole cowboy thing either.” She paused for a moment, then looked back at Wes with a smile. “Though I hear that living in the country does have its charm.”
Wes leaned back in his chair, grinning broadly at Renn. “Well, yes, you can find a certain charm to country living. And don’t roll your eyes at me,” he finished without looking at Gabby.
“You weren’t even looking at me!” she protested.
He turned to her, arching a brow. “So you weren’t rolling your eyes?”
Gabby grinned into her drink. “Maybe just a little,” she admitted.
Renn watched this interaction between Gabby and Wes. She loved Gabby like a sister and had always been intrigued by Gabby’s stories of her cousin living out on his farm in such a different lifestyle from her and Gabby. Now that she finally met Wes, she wanted to get to know him better.
Gabby looked over at her friend and noticed the thoughtful look on her face. She also hadn’t missed the smiles and glances directed at Wes. Gabby smiled, suspecting she wouldn’t be traveling alone when she made her next trip out to the country.
© Dahlia Ramone: September 4, 2016
This was written for Blogophilia Week 29.9 Topic: “A Talented Tongue”
(1) Incorporate a J D Salinger quote (“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life”)
(2) Include the word ‘kickball’