Daphne Winstead is new in town. She meets a woman named Karen at the doctor’s office whose records she’s going over. The practice head thinks that someone is embezzling. It’s up to Daphne to find out who and how. For now, however, the city’s had the first major snow of the season, so the women get an unexpected day off. They decide to spend a long weekend at the home of Ian and Cynthia Yarrow—a multi-billionaire and his wife.
“Booya! Beat you at your own game, Mister Yarrow!” Frtiz’ British accent was strong, but sounded genuine.
“Someone give the man a cookie,” another male voice said. “Or he’s gonna explode from puffed up self-importance.”
Loud laughter ensued. It faded slightly when Karen and Daphne entered the room. They looked up expectantly. Some of the faces were familiar, others weren’t. The women rushed to her, hugging her and dragging her into the room. They tried to introduce her to everyone at once until Karen took control.
“Give the girl a chance to breathe! Let’s start with the host and his lovely wife. Daphne, my cousin Ian Yarrow and his wife Cynthia.”
A strikingly handsome man sat on a chaise lounge, his legs in some sort of odd braces. He smiled. “I’d get up, but I’m still getting used to this contraption. Welcome, Daphne. We’ve heard about little else from the girls. Glad to finally meet you.”
“Thanks for inviting me, Mr. Yarrow.”
Ian’s booming laugh warmed her. “Just Ian is fine. Or Yarrow. I even answer to hey you.” He took her hand. “Welcome. I’m glad to have another person to call friend. Honey?”
He deferred to the attractive redhead seated next to him. She was very pregnant, due pretty much any day, so far as Daphne could tell.
“I’m so glad to meet you. I hated that I missed the last girl’s night, but we were getting Ian’s brace adjusted.” She stood awkwardly, hugging Daphne. The baby kicked and both women laughed.
“When are you due?”
“Soon. About a month. Gillian’s due Monday.”
“Which is why they invited me,” a handsome dark haired man next to Reva said. “I’m Hal.”
“The token doctor,” Ian interjected.
“What they don’t know is I haven’t delivered a baby since my residency.”
“A hundred years ago,” the ginger haired Brit said, coughing.
“Don’t get cocky, squirt!” Hal said, laughing. “He thinks since he just won that round, he’s da bomb!”
“The British contingent is represented by Gillian and Fritz Heathrow-Cooper,” a pretty dark haired British woman said politely. “I’m Gillie and that ginger haired turnip is my husband. . . .”
“And hyphen,” he added. “Fritz Cooper. She hyphenated, I didn’t. What we’ll do when the baby is born, I don’t know. I can’t see saddling a little tyke with that sort of handle, can you?”
Daphne wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t want to get into the middle of an argument, if such it was. “I don’t know. I never had any occasion to hyphenate.”
“Sounds positively dirty when you say it like that,” Fritz said with an enthusiastic rubbing of his hands. “Oi, love! Let’s hyphenate!” He winked at his wife, nudging her ribs.
She smacked him playfully. “Cocky bugger. As to the babe, she won’t hyphenate. Her middle name is Heathrow, her last Cooper.”
“Really? When did you decide that?”
“Just now.” She looked self-satisfied.
“They’re a crazy bunch,” Karen explained. “But fun. Last, but not least, my spouse, Luc Vaughan. Honey, this is Daphne.”
“The one you’re trying to hook up with Ralan? Aw, hon, she’s too good for him.” He kissed his wife soundly. “Kidding. He’s a great guy. Nice to meet you, Daphne. What would you like to drink?”
“What are my choices?”
Gillian replied, pointing to a variety of insulated carafes. “We’ve got tea, Earl Grey. Hot chocolate, coffee and hot cider.”
“Wow, so many choices! Cider sounds fantastic.”
“Excellent choice. My idea,” Ian answered. “See, someone besides me likes it, Fritz.”
“Insane, she is. Has to be. So, you’re dating Ralan?”
“No! What? I haven’t even met him.”
“Good,” Derrick said as he walked in. “That means there’s a chance for me to sweet talk you first.”
The room exploded in laughter. They weren’t laughing at Derrick, more at what he’d said. Daphne looked carefully at the pilot for the first time. He was tall, broad shouldered, blond and handsome. Every man in the room was gorgeous. How could there be so many good looking men in the world and she couldn’t seem to find even one? Her two boyfriends in college were nowhere near this handsome. She said as much to the room full of people.
“That’s a good question, that is,” Fritz said. “Let’s ponder it, shall we?”
“Ponder this,” Derrick said, grabbing his groin.
“I had hoped,” Cynthia said amidst loud, male laughter. “That we could go the weekend without that kind of humor.”
“With this lot?” Gillian said. “It’s amazing that none of them have dropped their pants and flashed us.”
“Give us time,” Ian countered. “The day is young and I’m sober.”
“I’ve seen your tukas,” Gillian replied in a bored tone. “Magnificent,” she whispered loudly to Daphne. “Really posh. Nothing quite so remarkable as a billionaire’s arse.”
Her husband pinched her ribs, laughing. “I’ll remember that, my girl, when you want to grab mine.”
“Yours is very nice too, sweetheart,” she said in a singsong voice.
“Are you always like this?” Daphne asked, somewhat taken aback.
“Sometimes we’re naughty,” Derrick replied, grinning as he poured himself some cider.
“I love it! You’re just like my family.”
© 2014 Dellani Oakes