All right, it has recently been brought to my attention that Kirsten totaled a rental car and not her Range Rover. For my purposes, though, it was her own car. Thanks for the kind reviews. I've discovered why there's so much angst around here…fluff is really hard to write well. Let me know if I've failed/succeeded.
It wasn't over yet. Not even close. After the first round—heated, ravenous, frenzied—had ended, though, it was time for conversation. Kirsten delicately climbed off her husband and found a chaise longue of her own. She briefly considered clothes, but figured that after they'd had sex poolside, anyone who was trying to watch had seen enough that it wasn't worth it. Thank God for high fences.
"So," she said, slightly out-of breath. "What's happened in Newport since I left? I mean…six weeks in Newport-time is about a year standard time." Sandy arched an eyebrow at her.
"Well, with you and Marissa Cooper away, the town's been missing two of its biggest scandal-makers. Jimmy and Julie are living together in that enormous 'McMansion' your father built. The Arlingtons are divorcing."
"Nate finally figured out about Jenn and the D.A.?"
"Yeah, and in a choice between the two of them? Mike can prosecute her for that coke habit; all Nate can do is try to uphold the terms of their pre-nup."
"Which doesn't matter, considering that Jenn Arlington has a job of her own."
"Exactly," Sandy nodded. "It's been exciting." He rolled his eyes slightly and stood up. "Come on, let's go inside. I want to give you the rings I bought." He walked over to Kirsten's chaise and offered her his hand. Grinning, she took it and followed him back into the house.
They hadn't done this often enough—take advantage of when the boys were out. Kirsten remembered vividly consummating their marriage in every room of the old house, even the foyer that one time, but in the stunning Newport mansion she felt oddly uncomfortable being naked in the living room. No one was coming home; she'd paid off the boys, and anyway she was sure that Ryan would not even dream of coming back unless he knew that they wouldn't walk in on anything they didn't want to see. She began to relax.
Sandy appeared in the doorway, glancing fondly at his wife, who lay on the couch. She was so beautiful, so precious, so…loved. He was glad to have her back.
"Hey, baby," he said lightly. She turned her eyes to him, gorgeous blue eyes that could be cold as steel but right now were blue-flame hot. He offered her the first box. Kirsten opened it to find a wide gold wedding band: plain and simple but beautiful. She noticed an engraving on the inside and squinted to read it.
"Make of our hearts, one heart," she read. That was from a musical. "West Side Story?" she guessed. Sandy nodded.
"I'm proud of you." He took the ring and gently slid it onto her bare finger. Then he offered her the next box.
The diamond was beautiful. Unlike many of her friends, Kirsten wasn't adept at judging the size or quality of jewels, but she did have the background to instinctively tell that it was beautiful to a jeweler as well. Sandy was right; the yellow gold was warmer and sweeter than the platinum bands she'd worn for twenty years. There was an engraving on this one, too, but it was long and in tiny writing.
"Read it to me, Sandy, I'm tired," said Kirsten with a laugh. He complied.
"'I'll know, and I won't ever ask, am I right, am I wise, am I smart,'" he read. She laughed.
"How ever did you get that on a ring?" she exclaimed, only half-rhetorically. "Is that from a musical, too?" Sandy looked shocked.
"You don't recognize it?" He sang a few bars of the song. Kirsten frowned.
"Much as I love to hear you sing, I'm sure I've never heard that song before," she said.
"I can't believe it. I have been involved with you for over twenty-two years, and you're unfamiliar with Guys and Dolls?"
"Sorry?" she offered.
"Well, that has got to change. The next high school that puts it on, we'll go see, okay?" Kirsten smiled as she realized that he was serious.
"Sure." She placed the ring in her palm and gave him her hand. He took the "engagement" ring and carefully slid it onto her finger.
"There, I feel officially 'married' again," said Kirsten with a smile. Sandy leaned over and gently kissed her. She grinned and pulled him onto the couch on top of her, making a mental note to never, ever tell Seth that his favorite television-watching spot had been "christened."
Meanwhile, Seth and Ryan had decided to bring Summer on their let's-give-Mom-and-Dad-some-privacy expedition. Her "step-monster" had invited them in, but Ryan chose to wait downstairs while Seth went up to Summer's room. He figured that the two needed privacy, as well.
Seth knocked on her door, and was surprised when she didn't call out, just came to the door and opened it. She looked stunning. Her hair was freshly washed and still wet, and the silk robe she wore was loose enough that he could see a pretty, feminine bra peeking through it. Seth loved this Summer, the one who wasn't perfectly made-up and dressed-up, because she looked so natural and so real. He had loved waking up with her over the summer while Mom had been away and Dad hadn't felt up to telling him that his girlfriend couldn't stay over. He wondered if that would change now that Mom was back…he figured he could bring up the whole UC Berkeley v. UMD thing and maybe she'd go easy on him.
"Cohen," said Summer softly. Summer Cohen. Yup, it was going to happen. Seth couldn't look at her and keep from imagining what it would be like to live with her, full-time, to see her wet-haired, fresh from the shower every day. He didn't need to meet any other girls to know that he was going to marry this woman.
"I thought we were taking the night off," she said, not angrily, but as a plain statement.
"Yeah, well, Mom came home and she threw Ryan and me out of the house so that she and Dad could, uh, um, have all the, uh, the…" he swallowed "the sex." Summer smiled her "sunshine" smile.
"Your mom's home? I thought you weren't expecting her for a week."
"We weren't. She decided to surprise us."
"How is she?" Summer liked Seth's mom and dad, and she liked that they were so publicly affectionate, despite how grossed-out it made Seth.
"Obviously she's fine," he said rapidly, as if the quicker the words came the less he had to think about them. "If she and Dad are up for such a long round of sex that she pays off Ryan to stay away until midnight…"
"How is it that she told Ryan but you know the exact time?" asked Summer suspiciously, her neatly manicured hands playing with his hair.
"I wormed it out of Ryan. You know what it's like getting information out of him."
"Well, what can I say? I'm very persuasive. Anyway, speaking of persuasive, am I persuasive enough to convince you to put on some clothes and come out with us?"
"I thought you didn't want me to wear clothes at all anymore, Cohen."
"Mmm…yeah…but there's Ryan, and Marissa is not back yet to join you in the clothing boycott, so I think that you should put it off just a little bit." Seth indicated "a little bit" with his thumb and forefinger, and Summer laughed.
"You're such a dork," she said sweetly but teasingly. "But I love you." They kissed.
"Actually, Summer, I think that you love me because I am a dork," he told her with a smile. She considered.
"Hmm. You might be on to something there." They kissed again.
"I'm going to go get dressed now," said Summer awkwardly, gesturing with her hands toward the closet.
"I'll wait downstairs."
Back at home, Sandy and Kirsten had finally moved it to the bedroom, where they lay in silent, breathless contemplation.
"I replaced your Range Rover," said Sandy absently.
"Really? With what?" without opening her eyes.
"It's a Mercedes ML500, silver. I figured we have enough black cars."
"Well, I didn't know what you'd want. The kids seem to like it."
"I mean, no offense…you have good taste…I was just hoping to have a cute little sports car again, you know?"
"We can let the boys keep it when they go to college."
"College," Kirsten moaned softly. "God, I can't believe it. Actually, now that I think of it, we'll probably want to get them both cars…they're going to different cities."
"I never thought I'd be the kind of dad who bought his sons expensive, gas-guzzling cars for their advents to college," said Sandy with a laugh. "Seventeen miles per gallon." He shook his head. "At least it's not a Hummer."
"Maybe we can buy Ryan a Peugeot. You know he'd feel guilty about gas prices." Sandy laughed, and leaned over to kiss her on the belly button.
"That tickles," she said, still not opening her eyes.
"So if you didn't want an SUV…what did you want?"
"The thing is, I don't actually know," she said with a laugh. "It's been awhile since I drove a car that wasn't so…big."
"We can go shopping sometime, if you like. I'm sorry I bought the car without asking you."
"No, it's cool." Kirsten finally opened her eyes and planted a kiss on his lips. "You…" kiss "are…" kiss "so…" kiss "thoughtful."
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"If you're thinking that we're about to 'do it' again…"
"We are animals." Kirsten's light laughter filled the room in response to his irreverent comment, and Sandy reveled in the sound. She was home.
"No, honey…we're just madly in love," she said with a dramatic flair. They kissed. She had missed this so much. "And we have to make up for lots of lost time…"
Summer finally came downstairs, and Seth caught his breath. She was wearing a short hot pink strapless dress with spiked-heel white sandals. Her long, dark hair hung straight around her shoulders.
"Summer…you look…I…there are no words. There are no words. You are magnificently beautiful." Her smile was shy for a second, and then confident.
"Let's go." He loved her. This was the woman he was going to marry.
Contains short excerpts from "One Hand, One Heart," from West Side Story, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and "I'll Know," from Guys and Dolls, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. If you're unfamiliar with either song, I suggest googleing them, because they are both amazing.