Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 13byrpsuch©
I cruised by Jeff's around noon. I didn't honk the horn because I wanted to see the whole family.
Harri opened the door. "Ashley, so nice to see you. I think Jeff will be ready soon." She gave me a delicious hug.
She released me, but before I could answer her I was driven back by a tackle worthy of the most ferocious linebacker.
"Ashley," said Sandy. She had her head buried in my chest and her arms held me against her as if she was afraid I would flee.
I tousled her hair. "How have you been, Sandy?"
"Fantastic. I have Sam and Harri here, Jeff is home for the weekend and I met you. It's like a big, long birthday." She simply bubbled.
I couldn't recognize the aroma, but I was sure Sam was in the kitchen whipping up some unknown delight.
Sunny came down the stairs with a man who had to be Jeff's dad. He reminded me of Louis Skolnick from Revenge of The Nerds: white shirt, black-rimmed glasses, thin, dark polyester pants, everything but the pocket protector. His hair was combed down to the left. How did Sunny let him look like this?
Oh, yeah, this was a family of be who you are. Sandy might not know who she was, and I wasn't sure about Jeff, but for sure Sam, Harri, Sunny and, what's his name, did.
"Hi, Ashley." She came over to give me a hug. "I don't think you've met Louis, my husband."
It was all I could do to contain my compulsion to giggle. I coughed.
I reached out my hand to shake and that seemed to be an acceptable greeting to him.
"Nice to meet you, Louis."
"Nice to meet you, too. Sunny speaks highly of you."
Sunny? What about Jeff?
"Sam's busy cooking or I'm sure he'd be out here to say hello," said Sunny.
Sandy still had an arm around me, but not with the intensity with which she had attacked.
Sunny put her hand on my bicep and slowly drew it down to my elbow. "Jeff will be down soon," she said. "He's finishing up packing."
"I'm sorry I didn't get much of a chance to meet you, Ashley," said Louis. "I hope you'll come see us over the Christmas vacation."
"Uh, sure. I'd love to."
Sunny still had a hold of my elbow and was escorting me to the living room.
"Just a little girl talk. I'll have her back in a jiffy."
What was going on here? Was this like the dad taking the young man into his parlor to tell him what he would do to him if he messed with his daughter?
She directed me to the plush, chocolate brown sofa and sat immediately to my left.
"I love Louis with all my heart. He's an intelligent, sometimes brilliant, loving, caring, giving man. He goes out of his way to try to do things to make me happy, and that makes me very happy.
"He often doesn't understand what would make me happy. He'll bring me a cherry-filled donut, remembering how much I loved them before I had to watch what I eat, because he thinks it will make me happy. And it does. But only because he's gone out of his way to do something for me, not because the donut is anything special."
She paused and looked meaningfully at me.
I've met Sunny. Jeff has told me things about her. I knew she had some really important point she was trying to get across but, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was.
I remained silent long enough for her to realize that she was going to have to be a bit more specific for me to understand.
"As smart as he is, Louis is not especially adept socially. He also doesn't understand relationships all that well. It doesn't really hurt him because he was lucky enough to find me and because he has such a generous heart. But if he had to go out looking again, he'd probably spend the rest of his life alone."
She paused again. It was interesting, but I still didn't get her point.
"Jeff has some of those genes. I don't know how he'll turn out, but right now he's almost as clueless as Louis."
"I don't know a lot about your background and your experiences. I believe you have a kind heart. I doubt you've ever had to deal with anyone like Jeff. It could be difficult for both of you."
She squeezed my hand and paused again.
No she didn't. She wasn't pausing. She was done.
Yikes! Is she helping me or Jeff or both of us? Is she predicting we'll fail and just trying to get me ready for it?
"Thank you," for confusing the crap out of me.
She rose and I accepted the signal. She put her arm around my shoulder and led me back to the foyer.
Sam was dancing his way towards us singing,
"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone? They paved paradise, put up a parking lot."
Was he too telling me something or was he just in a good mood, singing something from his hippie days? Maybe he had heard it from Counting Crows.
He took the back of my head in his hands and planted a big kiss on my cheek.
"Ashley, so nice to see you again."
"You too, Sam."
I loved it. I was accepted like a family member without having to do anything to earn it. It was a nice feeling. I had probably earned it, but it would not have been required. Is that how it's supposed to be?
"When are you coming home again, Ashley." Sandy seemed excited at the prospect.
"Probably not until winter break."
I ran my hand over her hair. It was fun to suddenly have a little sister. I was no stranger to adulation but this was more like admiration. I could get used to it. This whole scene put a big smile on my face. All that was missing was having the family dog jump up to lick my face, and Jeff.
He came down the stairs.
"I don't know if they're going to let you leave. Guys, I can't get back to school without her."
We made our cheerful goodbyes, hugs all around. I felt a little sad leaving. I could happily spend a lot of time here.
Jeff picked up his backpack and we headed out to my car.