“You sure you’re ready for Grandma Edna and her meddling?” I asked as I led Lily up my parents’ driveway. Everyone was here with the exception of Zander and Riley, who was still ordered to stay off her feet. She was chomping at the bit to get out, but Zander wasn’t budging. She was even willing to come see Grandma, which should tell everyone just how bored she truly was. No one willingly came to our Sunday brunches, not when Edna was involved.
“I’m fine, Tanner. She can’t be that bad.”
I could only shake my head and wrap my arm around her shoulders just a little tighter. Poor girl had no idea what she was about to walk into.
I heard her nagging the moment I entered the house.
“The way you boys mistreat your bodies, I just can’t get over it. Mason at least only has one tattoo.” Grandma always found a way to tell us we were doing everything wrong.
“Nope, got four. Three are just in places I only allow Kelly to enjoy,” Mason clarified.
“Don’t forget about his piercings. He has a couple of those.” Max had found a way to keep the attention off himself. “What piercings?” my mother and Granny E said in unison.
“Another place only Kelly is allowed to enjoy.” Mason seemed so refined and straitlaced. No one would expect him to have his junk pierced. Now the secret was out.
“Max, I would expect it from you or even Tanner, but Mason?” my mother announced. We had just rounded the corner, and Lily snickered at her comment.
“What the hell?” I asked. “I’m not even here sixty seconds and somehow I’m already being talked about.”
My mom smiled as she stood from the couch and pulled me in for a hug. “What took you so long?” she asked.
I tilted my head to the side, motioning to Lily. “Lil couldn’t decide what to wear. I told her she looked beautiful in anything, but she didn’t believe me.” Lily had finally decided on a pale blue dress, which brought out the color of her eyes. It was conservative and covered entirely too much in my opinion, but I knew she was worried about her first impression on Granny.
My mother’s gaze shifted to Lily. “Well hello, sweetheart, I’m glad you’re here,” she said as she hugged her. I loved how accepting and welcoming my mother was. She was an amazing woman.
I looked up just in time to see my grandma analyzing Lily from across the room. Her eyes softened from their usual judgmental haze. She took a few steps in our direction, and I held my breath, praying, hoping she’d keep her judgments to herself. I was more than positive I would not be able to hold my tongue if she said something out of line.
“Who is this beautiful young woman?”
Well suck me dry. I think I heard someone quietly whisper, “What the fuck?” I was sure it came from one of my brothers.
“I’m Edna, honey, and what’s your name?’ she asked Lily.
I think Lil was just as shocked as everyone else. I had prepped her for the cranky version of Granny. Nowhere in that conversation had I mentioned the woman that now stood before us.
The room was full of open-mouthed, mesmerized, yet confused people.
“Lily.” Her shaky voice came out barely above a whisper.
“Well, Lily, it is nice to meet you. Come with me. Let’s go get us some tea.” She hooked her arm through
Lily’s and led her toward the kitchen.
Silence set in as we all watched the two of them walk away. Lily never looked back. In fact, you could hear her soft laughter as they stepped out of sight.
“You remind me a lot of myself when I was younger,” Edna said, her voice fading down the hall.
Ah, hell no, Lily was nothing like Granny. She was sweet and kind. So far from Edna and her bat-shit crazy ways.
“Dude,” Max grunted. “Your girl has tamed the crazy ol’ lady. That thought should scare the shit out of you.”
Everyone including my father was shocked. Shit like that never happened. Granny E never found anyone she didn’t have some sort of complaint about.