Impulse: Book Two
IT'S JUST THE BEGINNING
"This is Book Two in my series called Impulse.
If you haven't read Book One: AFTER ALL IS SAID, you might want to start there."
DISCLAIMERS: (see INSTALLMENT ONE)
Copyright © 2002 by Mezzo All Rights Reserved
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"Well, it's about time you two got here. You're lucky we saved you some food." Gordon came over and gave them each a warm greeting.
"How's my little girl?" He hugged his daughter and kissed her on the forehead.
"I'm fine Daddy. Tori and I went out this weekend and we didn't get a whole lot of sleep." Brett adored her father and it showed on her face. He had slightly grayish hair, mixed with strands of blonde. He was a very distinguished looking man, carrying an air of respect, honor, and warmth about him. He could be a lion in the courtroom but a kitten when it came to his family.
"Well you two may have stayed out late, but you both look wonderful." He hadn't seen his daughter this happy in years. Since the whole episode with Jenna, Brett hadn't been the same. He had worried that she might never be the same again. Judging by the way that she looked now, those days might finally be over. There was a definite sparkle in her eye and a bounce in her step. It quite possibly had everything to do with Miss Victoria Hull.
"Well we had a bit of a slow start. I'm sorry to have kept her up so late." Tori looked at Gordon and a knowing exchange passed between them. They had always been able to communicate so much with just an exchange of expressions.
"Well I'm glad you could come. Come on. Let's get you both something to eat and drink then you can come and visit with us." Gordon led them to the buffet and what a spread it was. Another guest came to the door and Gordon left them to say hello to the new guests.
"Wow this looks great. I don't know where to start." Brett's eyes were wide with hunger while Tori waited to see the mountain of food that was sure to make its way to Brett's plate.
"I know you can put the food away on a regular day. I can't wait to see what you can do when you've been so active in the past 24 hours." Tori whispered into Brett ear. A blush slowly crept to Brett's face and she shot Tori a look warning her to behave.
"You had better stop or you will not be able to have that conversation with Uncle Paul and Aunt Diane like you wanted." Brett threatened.
"Oh really? Why is that?" Tori feigned innocence.
"Because if you insist on dropping innuendos, I will have no choice but to drop you right here, right now and have my way with you. Then everyone will know." Brett said smugly.
"Why Miss Brett, whatever do you mean? I meant no such thing." Tori shot back in her best southern drawl.
"Yeah right missy. I'm not the one who's the walking heartbreaker: the one who everyone flocks to so they can bask in your beauty." Brett loved the banter that Tori and her shared. Slowly but surely, the connection was coming back in full force.
"Well obviously you haven't gotten the memo." Laughing as Brett gave her an inquisitive look. "You know the memo. The one that says 'longtime heartbreaker and absolute lost soul has found the love of her life and is now in retirement'." The smile on Brett's face could have lit up the world. All she wanted to do was throw her arms around Tori and kiss her senseless.
"Oh that memo. I remember now. The one that also said 'famed reclusive writer finally saw the light of day. She was last spotted cavorting with the lost heartbreaker as they danced off into the sunset'." Brett winked at Tori and the two gazed deeply into each other's eyes.
"Yeah that's the one." Tori was just about to lean forward and absently kiss Brett when she heard a familiar voice call her in the distance.
Startled, Tori turned around to find Aunt Diane headed their way. "Oh boy." Tori said.
"Tori, sweetheart. I thought that was you I saw come in." She took Tori in her arms and gave her a big embrace. "And dear Brett. It is always so good to see you. You look wonderful." Turning she gave Brett a hug as well. "I've been chatting with your Grandma. She is such a hoot. I just love her."
"Yes she is Aunt Diane. You know I haven't even had a chance to say hello to her yet. She'll have my hide if I don't. If you'll excuse me for a moment." Brett smiled warmly and excused herself leaving Tori and Diane Crawford alone to talk.
Tori watched Brett walk away unaware that Diane Crawford was watching her.
"Tori..." Diane said interrupting Tori's appreciation of Brett's lilting gait.
"I'm sorry, Aunt Diane. I'm so glad to see you." She gave Diane another hug. "I haven't really had a chance to come by and talk with you and Uncle Paul since I've been back."
"I know Sweetheart. Your
father has been raving about how you're doing and all the things you're accomplishing
"Thanks. It's great to be back home."
"Well Cole should be home soon. Maybe now that the two of you will be back here you can get to see each other more often." Diane tried to be subtle but made her point just the same. She took in the glow on Tori's face and the joy in her eyes. She hadn't seen Tori look this peaceful or this beautiful in years. She wondered what was the cause for this change. Better yet, who was the cause for this change?
"I know Cole's going to
be back soon. He tried to reach me in
"I heard you bought a place in the city? Where did you end of buying?" Diane asked. She started to feel Tori's unease.
Grateful for a change of subject Tori answered, "I actually found a place overlooking the park. Have you heard of the Louis Clayton building on Central Park West?"
"Why yes of course dear. That's a very exclusive residential building. However did you find it?" Diane was very interested. She loved architecture and this building was very well known.
"Timing I guess. William Vander burgh had it listed with the Pomeroy Agency and they just happened to be the one I called. I really love the place. I'm going to have a house warming just as soon as I can."
"William Vander burgh? You mean to tell me you own the Penthouse. Tori, they had a write up on that place in all the magazines. You just have to let me see it. I heard it's magnificent." Diane bubbled over in enthusiasm.
"Yes, I think so. I promise I'll have you and Uncle Paul over soon." Tori was trying to think of a way to bring up Brett tactfully. Now she had an excuse. I'll have them over for lunch. Perfect.
Diane studied Tori's face again. In all the years that she had known her, she couldn't remember ever seeing Tori so relaxed. "So Tori, I don't think I've ever seen you looking so good. I mean you're actually glowing. I know it can't be my son that's causing this because he's been gone the whole time you've been back. So when are you going to break my heart and tell me who you're seeing?"
Tori was floored. Okay that is one way to breech the subject. I guess lunch is out. "Umm... Well I could just pretend that I'm not. But that wouldn't be fair, now would it? Before I tell you though, you have to promise me that you won't tell Cole. I really want to tell him myself."
"Oh my...this is serious isn't it?" Diane was disappointed. But anyone that made Tori this happy could not possibly be that bad.
"Yeah, it's serious and I think it's going to be a bit of a shock to some people." Tori readied herself for her coming out party.
"Really? Why is that dear? I'm sure whoever it is, must be quite a gentleman. I'm not one to brag but my son is quite a catch and I know whoever this is must be nothing short of perfection to have caught your eye." Diane was now very curious. Who could it be?
"Why don't we go outside Aunt Diane. What I'm going to say may surprise you a bit and I'm not really sure how you're going to react." Just then, Paul Crawford came up to them and stopped to join in on the conversation.
"Well ladies. It's good to see you both holding up the buffet. You have been standing here for quite a while. This conversation must be quite intriguing from the look on my wife's face." Paul Crawford was such a happy go lucky kind of guy. Cole was just like his father with his boyish good looks and warm personality.
"Hi Uncle Paul." Tori reached up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Yeah, we were having an important discussion."
"Really? Is this a private conversation or can I join in?" Paul was now a little concerned. He loved Tori like a daughter. They both did. Anything that concerned her they took an interest in.
"No. Actually I was hoping to discuss this with you both at a later time Aunt Diane and I sort of stumbled on to it and now it's really too late to turn back." Tori really didn't want to hurt them. They had always been so good to her.
"Well dear, you know there is nothing you can't tell us. It's obviously very important to you." Diane took Tori's hand and hooked an arm around her husband's. "Let's go find somewhere comfortable so we can talk. Shall we?"
Richard watched as his daughter and his childhood friends, the Crawfords, made their way to the library.
Richard went over to Gordon. "Hey Gordon, do you know what that's all about?" Richard stared in the direction of the departing Crawfords and his daughter.
"I have an idea but you're going to have to wait just like the rest of us." Gordon knew that Tori had to square away some unfinished business.
"If I'm correct in my assumption, it's going to make our girls very happy when it's all through." Gordon smiled at his childhood mate.
"Is that so? Well I hope you are right my friend. I really hope you're right." Richard agreed as a little smile started to form at the corner of his mouth.
TO BE CONTINUED. Installment Eleven