Tag Archives: Brian

The Reunion, 12…


You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here

“Well, who doesn’t love a good game of chase?” he leaned forward and casually picked up one of her hands, running his fingers over hers.  She was aware of how much larger and harder his fingers were, a little roughened from the carpentry work, obviously stronger than hers. Now that she thought about it, everything about him was larger and stronger than she remembered.


So,” she said, and the word came out a little huskier than she intended. Brian still toyed with her fingers and she turned her hand over to grasp his.  She cleared her throat and tried again. “So, what was it you got your degree in after all, Brian?  I always thought you’d be a mathematician or scientist or something.”

Brian grinned down at their joined hands.  “Saw me as a mad scientist, did you?  I’m an architect, actually, but designing big commercial buildings was not for me.  I did that for a while, but got tired of the traveling and big cities.  And I’ve picked up plenty of building skills along the way, enough to act as general contractor on building the inn.  I have to admit, I really like being hands on.”

The electricity between them was palpable and Jen was afraid she was reading more than was wise into Brian’s casual remarks.  But when she met his eyes, she could clearly see the teasing warmth. Down, girl, she admonished herself, as she felt the tingle down to her toes.  She needed to keep this easy and uncomplicated.  But, then again, there was something to be said for sexy and sweaty, too!

Brian paid the check and they decided to take a walk down by the riverfront while it was still light out.  There was a beautiful breeze and it was just beginning to turn cool.  Brian grasped her hand again as they walked along in front of the stores and shops.

“I’d like to see our little town build up like this over the years, have a true downtown area that might draw more than just the college kids’ parents.  So I bought the inn as a start, figuring I could live there and run it until I hire someone to take over, especially if I want to keep renovating other places in town.  I don’t know about the old bowling alley or skating rink, but it seems the kids in this area need something to do, too.”

“It seems like you’re doing a beautiful job of restoring the inn from what I’ve seen. I can’t wait for the reunion to see the downstairs all put together.  Part of my job is meeting planning, so I’ve had some experience with pulling venues together and deciding on decorations for events, things like that.”

“Sounds like you like what you’re doing, then?”

“I do like it most of the time, although I admit I’m not sure how I feel about living where I do anymore.  The commute in to the city is long and when the weather is bad, it makes the days incredibly long.  Especially in the winter, I feel like I can go days without seeing daylight!”  And even though she laughed, Brian could see a little bit of sadness in her eyes.

“I know this is asking a lot of you and you’re only here for the reunion, but maybe you’d find the time to go through some catalogs online and help me pick out some things for the inn?  My skills are more geared to picking out wood finishes and flooring, not paint colors and drapes and furniture.”  He’d be willing to take any help he could get from her in that area.

That does sound like fun, kind of like having a new house to decorate!”  Jen beamed.  It seemed Brian really was interested in spending time with her.  This could end up to be a very enjoyable week.  Or longer if the text she’d gotten from her friend at work was true.


The Reunion, 11…

You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here

“Brian, I do understand, but Casey’s what, 18, 19?  And she is going to be out from under her parents’ roofs pretty soon anyway.  You won’t have a lot of say so when she’s away at school, especially what she’s doing at night or on the weekends.  It sounds like you did a great job raising her and now you’ll have to trust her to make good choices.“

Whoops, she knew she’d really stepped into it when his smile thinned and his eyes narrowed.  “And you know this from your vast experience with child rearing?”


“Wow, sorry, of course not. No kids here. I didn’t mean to overstep. I haven’t even seen you in years and here I am giving you advice on your teenager –“

“No, I’m the one who’s sorry.  I just apologized for how I treated you years ago and I’m being an ass again.  Of course you’ve got opinions about how teenaged girls act. You were one. Your ideas are probably worth more than mine.” He looked up at her and she could see the sadness in his eyes. “It seems like Casey’s gone from being Daddy’s little girl to this almost grown up overnight and I hate it. I mean, she used to care what I thought and talk to me about everything!”

“Oh, Brian, I’m sure she still cares. Maybe it’s different for girls, this breaking away from being someone’s child and learning to live on their own. I know it was like some huge declaration of independence for me. It’s why I wanted to go out of state to college – get as far away from the little town and my parents as I could. Otherwise, I’d always just be mom and dad’s little girl.”

He looked down at his dinner plate and struggled to regain his composure. Just thinking about the recent issues with Casey was enough to drive him crazy. And here at dinner with Jen was not the place. He should be focusing on her.

“Forget I said anything about it. I’m sure she’ll come around.”  With an effort, he changed the subject.  “So tell me what you did after you went away to school.”

And Jen proceeded to tell him about how his not taking her to prom was actually a good thing because it had served as a catalyst to get her to change her life, come out of her shell, take care of herself by eating better and exercising and caring about her appearance. And that led to a boyfriend and then another whom she married after graduation and lived with in the Chicago area. But the marriage only lasted four years and even though she dated now on and off, it seemed as though she’d not found anyone she wanted to keep seeing.

“So it’s just you and Jack now?” he asked, his eyes teasing.

“Oh, yeah, and he’s a sweetheart for sure. And the perfect speed, too. He’ll do walks around the block or the neighborhood, but then he’s more than happy to snooze next to me on the couch while we watch a movie. He’s a real snuggler.”

“A real snagger is more the word I was thinking,” Brian laughed. “I still can’t believe he stole my underwear while I was coming out of the shower.”

“He does love a good game of chase!” Jen laughed. And when she saw the glint in Brian’s eyes her breath caught.  Apparently he wasn’t upset with her anymore.

“Well, who doesn’t love a good game of chase?” he leaned forward and casually picked up one of her hands, running his fingers over hers.  She was aware of how much larger and harder his fingers were, a little roughened from the carpentry work, obviously stronger than hers. Now that she thought about it, everything about him was larger and stronger than she remembered.

The Reunion, 10…

You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here

“So, can we see the rest of the place?” Jen was surprised at the excitement she felt in looking around at the inn.  “I haven’t been in here except maybe once or twice when we were kids.”

Brian paused.  “Well, maybe tomorrow or the next day if that’s okay.  I want to give the floors time to dry really well before we walk on them.   The plumber and electrician are coming in tomorrow, too, so maybe the day after and I’ll give you a personal tour?”

“Sure, that would be nice.  I’d love to hear about how you decided to buy and run an inn in our old hometown.”

“Well, actually, I’d love to tell you.  Why don’t we get dinner tonight and catch up?”  Brian was proud of working in the invitation he’d been planning.  Jen smiled, “Thanks, I’d like that. “

Jimmy and Pam stood off to the side with slight smiles on their faces, as though none of this was unexpected.  Jim turned slightly and Jen thought she saw him wink at Pam.  Uh, oh, was this part of the problem with Pam’s husband?  She’d bet money that Pam didn’t even realize she was flirting with Jimmy, but if Kevin had seen that look… No, she was probably overreacting.  When exactly would Pam and Jimmy ever see each other in this town?

“So, Pammie, we should probably get out of the guys’ way, don’t you think?” Jen wanted to hurry her sister out of the old inn before anything else could happen.

“Oh, of course, sorry.  We didn’t mean to hold up all your work!”  Pam was immediately apologetic and Jen felt stupid for saying anything.  After hugs all around, Jen and Pam took their leave and Brian promised he’d be back at the house by six so he and Jen could get dinner.

Dinner out with Brian turned out to be a lot of fun.  Jen had showered and dressed before Brian got home and he hurried to clean up so they were able to leave the house by 6:30.  She had already fed and walked Jack and he curled up in his dog bed with a look over his shoulder that clearly admonished her for leaving him again.  Jen patted his sweet head and promised quality doggy time later.  With a wave of his plumy tail, Jack closed his eyes and drifted to sleep, his favorite evening activity anyway.

Brian had picked a little steak and seafood place for dinner that was about a 30 minute drive away, closer to the city.   The hostess led them to their table, smiling sweetly at Brian as she seated them while managing to ignore Jen the entire time.  Brian winced apologetically as the hostess walked away, but Jen just smiled and shook her head.

The food was heavenly.  Jen had scallops, one of her favorites, grilled to perfection and served on a bed of wild rice and sautéed vegetables.   She was glad to see that Brian liked his steak medium rare, because anything rarer than that would have left her nauseated.  She liked an occasional piece of beef, too, but she preferred hers more than just warmed over lightly. 

“So, Jen,” Brian started after clearing his throat, “I really feel like I should apologize once and for all about senior prom in high school.  I was such a geeky idiot back then – yes, I get the irony – still a geek even now, but I like to think I wouldn’t be as big an idiot now.  I’m afraid I was more worried about my lack of dancing and romancing skills than I was about hurting your feelings, and I’ve felt terrible about that.”

It was such a sweet apology and Jen couldn’t help but smile at him.  “I was angry for a while, but believe me when I tell you I’ve gotten past it, Bri.  I even had a boyfriend and a fiancée and an admittedly brief marriage, so you don’t need to spend another moment thinking about it.  In fact, I’d really like to hear more about what’s been going on with you all these years.”

Those lovely hazel eyes of his brightened as he pulled out his phone.  “Well, after I finished my degree, I got married, too,” he said, “and we have a teenaged daughter.”

At her gasp of surprise he looked a little confused then smiled again as understanding dawned. “Oh.  No, not cheating on the wife.  We’ve been divorced for a few years now.  I wanted to move back to the small town and she wanted to move on to an even bigger city.  Cities are just not for me, I’ve found.  And when I heard that the old inn was for sale last year, it seemed like the perfect time to move back to Brim.  This is my daughter, Casey.”

“Brian, she’s just beautiful!”  And she was, all long blond hair and big light eyes and that tall, thin coltish look that Brian had growing up.  “It’s hard to put my finger on it, but she definitely takes after you, doesn’t she?”

“Yeah, thankfully she’s got Sherry’s good looks, but she kind of has my build, I guess, although I’m not sure she’d be pleased to hear that.  Right now we’re not on the best of terms.  I put my foot down about her traveling this summer with a group of kids.  She starts college in the fall and that’s a big enough step without backpacking around the country with friends.”

“Mm-hmm, that must be difficult, but –” Jen began.

He looked pained.  “Her mother thinks it’s just fine for her to be alone for a month with a bunch of guys and girls I hardly know, not even sure where they’re going to be exactly or what they’ll be doing.  I’m not so old that I don’t remember what it was like to be a teenaged boy!  And just being safe nowadays.  I mean, the stories in the news…”  He shuddered.

“But she’d be traveling with several other teenagers in a group?”  I’m a little confused as to why he’s totally freaking out.

“Sure, but three girls and three guys, I can just see there won’t be a lot of good judgment going on there.  I mean, her boyfriend is a pretty good kid, but he’s heading off to school in Michigan in the fall anyway.  And Sherry says she knows these other kids, but really?  How well can she know them?”

“Brian, I do understand, but Casey’s what, 18, 19?  And she is going to be out from under her parents’ roofs pretty soon anyway.  You won’t have a lot of say so when she’s away at school, especially what she’s doing at night or on the weekends.  It sounds like you did a great job raising her and now you’ll have to trust her to make good choices.“

Whoops, she knew she’d really stepped into it when his smile thinned and his eyes narrowed.  “And you know this from your vast experience with child rearing?”

The Reunion, 9…


You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here

“Aww, Pam, I’m sorry.  Tell me what’s going on?”

“Well, he’s not really out of town on a business trip.  He’s actually moved out for awhile.  He said he’s just not sure he wants to be married to me anymore.  Can you believe that? Shit, I can’t do this right now, Jen, I’ll be blubbering all over the place and I don’t want to lose it in front of anyone.”

“Oh, man, I’m sorry.  Of course you don’t.  We’ll talk about it in private later and drink a big old bottle of wine.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not sure wine is enough to do it this time.  I’m afraid he’s serious about not coming back, he’s just waiting for the kids to be older before he does anything.  And I need to find a way to support myself and get my own insurance.

“Anyway, want to stop in the Inn and see the renovation?  I’ve been there a few times to look around and it’s pretty cool what they’re doing.”

“Okay, sure, I’d love to see what’s going on.”  So Jen and Pam continued down the block, Pam discretely dabbing at her tear stained face until she’d cleaned up the smeared mascara and no one would be the wiser.  They tried knocking on the door of the Fairview, but from the level of sound inside, no one would be able to hear them, so they just slowly opened the door and peeped in.

“Wow,” whispered Jen to her sister.  “I had no idea this place was so big inside.  I can’t remember the last time I would have been in here.”

“Isn’t it gorgeous?  Just look at those floors!  I love what they’re doing with the – oh, hi, guys, sorry, we’re busted, huh?”

Brian and Jim came out of the kitchen and Jim reached the radio first and turned the music down.  “Hey, girls, what brings you by?  Looking good this morning!”

“Wow, Jimmy Sawyer?  What are you doing here?”  Jen swooped in for a hug and Jim caught her up and twirled her around.

“Geez, Jen, you look great.  Brian was just saying – “  He caught the murderous look Brian was giving him and put Jen gently down on her feet, smiling innocently the whole time.  “Brian told me you were in town, staying at your mom and dad’s place with him.”

“Well, not exactly with him, Jim,” Jen winked.  “He scared the hell out of me when I showed up and my dog ran off with his shorts.  “Brian,” she said teasingly, “you never did tell me exactly how Jack got your boxers off you?”

Brian just laughed, as she knew he would.  “Yeah, well, I was just getting out of the shower and I didn’t think I needed to lock the bathroom door, seeing as I was the only one staying there.  Then this little dust mop of a dog comes barreling in, grabs my shorts off the floor and takes off like a bat out of hell.  So, of course, I followed.  That’s how I found out that Jen is staying at her mom and dad’s place this week, too.”

Jen and Brian both turned to Pam.  “Well, sheez, I guess I forgot you were going to be there at the same time or I would have said something.  But then Jen might have changed her mind about coming down and I didn’t want her to miss the reunion this weekend.”

Brian nodded, “Well, I can certainly understand that.  I’m glad you made it out, Jen.  What do you think?  The lobby should be big enough for everybody, no?”

“Really?  We’re having the reunion here?  I just figured it would be in the gym at the high school.”

“Yeah, it just seemed like since we’re all grown up now, having it someplace a little nicer would be a good idea.  We’ll have the floors done by tomorrow and I have the electrician and plumber coming then, so we’ll be able to use the kitchen and the restrooms down here for the party.  The rest of the place is going to take me a little longer.”



The Reunion (5)…


You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here

As soon as her heart stopped pounding in her ears, Jen clumsily scrambled to her feet.   She hastily pulled down the hem of her tee-shirt which had pulled up and exposed a strip of pale skin, purposely ignoring the hand he held down to help her.  He was smiling a little bit, looking awfully unintimidating for an intruder, especially one dressed in just a towel with damp hair.  Okay, she needed to get a grip.  No one would break into a house and take a shower, right?

She tried to think what to do next, and found herself looking at his bare feet and then again at the towel.  She forced her eyes up to his face and — something niggled at the back of her brain.  He did look familiar.  The height, the dark hair, the rather serious look on his face with just a hint of a smile.  “Brian?” she blurted out.  “Brian Walsh?”

“Uhm, yeah.  Sorry, I didn’t know anybody else was staying at the house right now.  And you are?”  He raised his eyebrows in question, no sign of recognition on his face.  She was pretty cute, he thought, all flustered and pink-cheeked, standing there in her flannel pants and little tee-shirt looking like she might punch him.  Kinda sexy, actually.

“For God sakes, Brian, it’s Jen.  Jen Meyer,” she scowled impatiently.  “Maybe you should have put your glasses on before you came barreling down here.  What do you mean, you didn’t know anybody else was staying here?  Why are you in my parents’ house?”

He held up one hand, carefully keeping the other one on his towel.  “Whoa, hang on.  I got a key from Pam and I’m staying here while I’m doing renovations on the Inn.  And if it’s not too much trouble, maybe I could get my shorts back before the little dust mop chews them up?”

“Oh, good Lord, his boxers were still in Jack’s mouth.  Face burning, she reached to snatch them away,  but of course Jack gleefully launched into their usual game of tug and it took a few minutes before Jen could get the cloth out of his mouth, all the while having to hold onto Brian’s boxers while he just stood there and smirked.  “Here, take them,” she said, ungraciously shoving the damp things into his big hand.

“Oh, and by the way, I can see you just fine.  Had Lasix surgery years ago and I don’t need the glasses anymore.  Afraid I just didn’t recognize you.  It’s been a long time, Jen, and you’ve – well, changed.”

He stopped, as though embarrassed to say that she wasn’t a chubby girl with braces anymore.  “I mean, you look great, really great.  It’s been a long time since I saw you last…”  He trailed off, remembering that the last time they’d really spoken had been at high school graduation, when he’d tried to apologize for not taking her to prom.  Again.

God, he’d been a geeky 17-year-old who panicked at the last minute about sweaty palms and unexpected boners while slow dancing with a girl.  So he’d gone into work and ditched Jen, not realizing back then what a big deal it had been for her.  Never realizing what a big deal dressing up was until his own little princess had been born.

“Well, thanks,” she mumbled.  Then she seemed to realize that she was in her sleep shirt and pants with nothing underneath and he was wearing a terry towel slung low on his hips and dangling his boxer briefs by the waistband because they were damp from Jack’s doggie drool.   Hoping her shirt was loose enough not to let anything too revealing show, Jen gestured to the door, smiling sweetly.

“Hey, don’t let me keep you from, uh, whatever it was you were doing up there.  I’ll talk to Pam tomorrow and get everything straightened out.  Maybe you just misunderstood about the house?  There’s lots of little motels around here now, probably some with kitchenettes.  I’m sure you’ll find something you like.”   She couldn’t believe that Pam would have forgotten to mention that she’d told good old Brian Walsh he could stay at their parents’ house the same week she was planning to be there.  Boy, was she going to give Pam a piece of her mind when they talked!

Okay, he wasn’t exactly a stranger, they’d known him and his family for years.  And he had grown into a nice looking guy with damp, curling dark hair and big, broad naked shoulders.  And who knew his geeky, black framed glasses had hidden such gorgeous eyes?

“Oh, sure, but I’ve already found something I like,” he said, winking at her.  “Besides, I already paid Pam for the next month, so I’m not planning on going anywhere tomorrow, except back to work on the Inn.”

When her mouth dropped open in disbelief, he leaned close and brushed those soft, full lips over hers.   “Sleep well, Jen,” he smiled and headed back up the stairs.  Maybe being back in Brim was going to be fun after all, he thought.