Red was tired, worn out from helping her mother clean up the summer cottage. They had scrubbed it from top to bottom. Now that Red and her mother, Anne, were nearly done, all Red wanted to do was sit back and watch a movie with a bottle of her favourite ‘Red’ — a nice Cab-Sav or a Merlot.
Then, her mom appeared with a picnic basket, “Gina, I know you’re tired and we’ve been working all day, but I need you to take this basket of food down to your Grandma Addy’s house. She’ll be upset if one of us doesn’t at least pop by for an hour or two to visit.”
Red crossed her arms, “Mom, all I want to do is put my feet up and rest. I came out here to relax with you, Dad, and Michael, not to work even harder than I do at the firm. Besides, no one calls me Gina, just you. Call my Red that’s my name , like my hair.”
“Well who do you think your beautiful hair came from? My mother, your Gran Adeline of course. I know you’re worn out but you’re younger and have my energy than I do. I still have to change the sheets and air out the upstairs bedrooms for your father and I, and your brother’s room needs new bedding as well.”
“Make him do it.”
“Mike won’t care. I can’t have his room that way.”
Red grumbled, “Grandma’s a fantastic cook, mom. She makes amazing food for herself. She eats whatever she likes and doesn’t have diabeties even at eighty-three. How about I give her a call and tell her I’ll come by with lunch tomorrow? She’ll prefer I call before showing up,” Red reasoned.
“Err, Red, your Grandma isn’t always as healthy as she likes to think she is. I was down here earlier this year because she hadn’t been able to cook and do a lot of her usual activities. Her arthritis has been acting up. It’s not healthy for her to be too thin at her age and she refuses to take the steroids the doctor prescribed her. She needs the food tonight. I called her and she told me she’s been eating toast and jam for days.”
Red was shocked, “You should have said something earlier, I would have visited Gran Addy before now.”
Anne shrugged in apology and Red gave her mother an angry look tbefore stockng out the front door to her Camry. It was red like her hair and practical. Red was nothing if not practical. It was why she was one of the best associates at her law firm.
She drove as fast as she could down the dirt road to her Grandma’s quaint house. Red gritted her teeth as stones assaulted the sides of her car and sighed in relief when she reached her Grandmother’s front drive and bungalow.
She picked up the picnic basket from her back seat and knocked on her Grandma’s aubergine front door. “Gran, are you there? It’s Red, I have food mom made for you. It ‘s delicious and should tide you over for a few days. I can bring more when I’m over next,” she yelled through the door.
Red didn’t hear a response so she tried the door handle. When the front door opened easily Red grew cautious. She walked inside her grandmother’s front entrance, hanging up her vermillion jacket on a coat hook and putting most of the food away in her gran’s fridge. She put together a plate of chicken, potatoes, gravy, and cauliflower with cheese sauce for her grandma before heating the food in the microwave for a few minutes.
“Adeline?” Red called. “Grandma Addy? I have supper for you from my my mom. It’s Red, Grandma? Are you okay?”
She walked down the hallway and knocked on her grandma’s bedroom door holding the tray with the steaming plate of food and a cup of her gran’s favourite tea. The door swung open on its own and Red realized her Grandma Addy wasn’t in her bedroom. But who was?
Red shrieked when a half naked man came into view stretching his well defined arms and back in front of her grandma’s picture window. The man was covered with intricate tattoos, designs trailing up his well toned arms and back.
He seemed to know she was there and when he turned around Red almost drooled noticing the attractive man’s six-pack abs and mesmerizing shamrock eyes. She had to close her own cerulean eyes to gather herself and not clumsily drop the tray of food. Red felt her grip wobbling as she tried to breath.
The gorgeous tattoo covered man rushed forward to help her. Red noticed his dark hair and inhaled his fresh woodsy scent as he grasped the tray from Red’s shaking hands.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“No! No I am not. What the Hell are you doing in my Grandma’s bedroom? Where is she? My mom sent me over here to bring her food. All she’s been doing is eating toast all week. So where is she? And who are?” Red yelled.
The man tried to calm her rubbing her arms and hushing her. Red didn’t back down, “You have five seconds before I call the police and tell them you’re trespassing in my Grandma’s home. Guess what else? I’m a lawyer so I’m going to make sure we sue you for trespassing and anything else I can.”
The man sighed shaking his head at Red. She followed him to her Gran’s writing desk, tray in hand. His handsome face crinkled as he gave her a genuine smile and took the tray from her. Red started to shout again but the man placed his hand over Red’s mouth.
“Just give me five minutes. I’ll clear this all up.”
Red wrinkled her nose and grasping his hand over her mouth, threw it away from her.
Then his hand was back over her mouth, “Okay, Miss lawyer. My name is Wolff, Axel J. Wolff. But everyone calls me Wolff. Your Grandma asked me to house-sit while she and my grandpa Reggie went to Hawaii. They used to go out before both of them married their respective spouses. But now your Grandpa and my Nana have died so Addy and Reggie are both enjoying life together. I’m not trespassing and your Grandma did call your mom to tell her to send you over with food for me. I’m pretty sure she wanted us to meet.”
Wolff smiled then picked up the fork from the tray and started eating. “This is amazing. Not as good as Addy’s cooking but much better than my own. Did you make it?”
All Red could do was stare at Wolff suspiciously. Something about what he said didn’t add up. Her Grandma always told her if she was going away. She would’ve mentioned something on their twice weekly phone calls.
“Wolff,” Addy said. “If your Grandpa Reggie lives here, how come I don’t know you? My family’s summer cottage is not far from here on the lake and I remember your Grandpa and even your Dad here in the summer. But I don’t remember you?”
“All the children and grandchildren came down here in the summer for at least a few weeks. I would remember you were Reggie’s grandson. Your Grandpa always gave me twizzlers, but I don’t recall you for some reason, why is that?”
The back of Wolf’s free hand grazed Red’s cheek. He smiled at her taking in her sweet appearance with a predatoral gaze. His eyes swept her face and down her body several times. Red felt her body flush responding to the hunger in his eyes. She couldn’t help but admire his fit body and perfectly structured face. Red bit her lip and Wolff echoed her reaction to him.
” I saw you a few times growing up. You’re around ten years younger than me so that’s probably why you wouldn’t have seen me. Beside, most of the time I was away at military school and then I was in the marines for a while. We didn’t get much of a summer break.”
Wolff set the tray aside and stared into Red’s dazed eyes, “What big eyes you have, Gina. Do you believe me? About Addy and Reggie?
“My name’s Red. Has been since I was eight. I hate Gina. I believe you but how’d you know my real name?”
“Addy of course. Red, would you like to keep me company?” His eyes travelled down her body and up to her mouth, devouring her as he went.
“Whose the one with big eyes now?” Red asked.
“The better to see you with,” Wolff replied.
” I don’t know if I believe a word out of your mouth,” Red said observing Wolff with careful curiosity.
Then his shamrock eyes glimmered and he held out his hand to Red. His smile was indeed wolffish and Red’s pulse raced as he took her small hand in his own.
“Kat, are you sure you went grocery shopping? The fridge is nearly bare and there’s no meat; even the pantry is half-empty?”
Kat looked away from Jan, flipping through movies to watch on Netflix but Jan wouldn’t be ignored.
“Well, I did go grocery shopping. I know it was my turn, but do we need all that food?” Kat said.
“What do you mean do we need it?” Jan asked. “Our bodies need fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein. We need whole grains and items to bring for lunch and snacks. You didn’t even buy dark chocolate,” Jan remarked. “Did something happen? Did you run out of money?”
Kat sighed, her face ashamed, “Yeah, I overspent shopping for clothes for work clothes for my internship. I didn’t mean to but it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to shop for any new clothes.”
Jan considered her friend’s admission.They were both students in the last year of their business degrees and money was tight, but she decided to forgive Kat.
“Okay Kat. I wish you’d had more self-control, but I know you require professional clothes for work. I also realize we both need both to replace some of our worn-out clothes soon. I’ll forgive you this month and pay for the rest of the groceries.”
“Oh thank you Jan.”
“But I have conditions: You need to buy most of the groceries for the next two months so I can do some shopping for my self for next semester. You’ll have to help me, I’ve no sense of style when it comes to professional attire.”
Kat laughed, “Agreed I’ll pay for our groceries for two-months, after this month; the fashion advice is free.”
Jan hugged Kat and they watched a new movie together, content with their solution.