Chapter 16 ~ Is Jane Flirting with Brad?
Larry and Brad built a large fire in an outdoor fireplace behind the cabins. Brad must have thought he picked up a second shadow with Matt staying as close to him as his skin. Matt fired sports question after sports question at Brad. And, Brad fired back answers just as quickly. They talked about football. They talked about baseball. And, they talked about Matt’s favorite, basketball.
Grace and Jane sat in their chairs watching the three work around the fire. Grace joined Jane and had a bottle of beer. She sipped it slowly. She nudged Jane, “I have not seen Matt so animated in three years. He is happy for the first time. I’m jealous. I haven’t been able to get alone with Brad for one minute. Matt is by his side talking sports to him. To me, talking about sports is like listening to a foreign language. I can seek Brad likes Matt. Do you think Brad has any interest in me?”
“We’ve got the whole weekend, girlfriend. Don’t rush things. Let them unfold naturally. Let Matt continue his great selling job. Brad will have to think it took a great mother to raise such a great kid. The matchmaker queen knows these things. I know how to manipulate the perfect ending. Put yourself in my capable hands,” said Jane raising her bottle to Grace. They clinked bottles and laughed.
Thirty minutes later, Larry called out, “Dinner’s ready, girls. Bring your paper plates and appetites. The three amigos have hamburgers, steaks, fresh trout, and grilled veggies waiting for you.”
Matt was first in line. Grace was next to him. And, Jane followed Grace. Larry was relishing his role as top chef. Brad had the duty of serving food to the three.
Matt held out his plate, “I’ll take two hamburgers and some veggies, Brad.”
“I grilled them just the way you ordered, Matt. If you have any complaints give them to Larry,” said Brad. Everyone laughed.
After his plate was filled, Matt turned to Grace and said, “Mom, let’s sit over at that picnic table. I asked Brad to join us. Is that okay?”
Grace said, “I’d like that a lot, Matt. Thank you for inviting Brad to join us.”
Jane discretely jabbed Grace in the back with her index finger. Before Grace could say another word, Brad said, “Let me guess, trout and veggies? Am I close or out in left field?”
I think Brad is using a sports metaphor. I’m not sure. I don’t want to ask. I’ll ask Matt later, she thought. Grace smiled, “You were reading my mind, Brad. Thanks,” said Grace as she extended her plate toward him.
Grace followed Matt to the picnic table. They set their plates down and sat together on the side of the picnic table facing the fireplace. Grace watched Jane. She was still at the grill talking with Brad. Grace couldn’t tell, but it seemed to her that Jane might be flirting with Brad. Then, she thought, it couldn’t be happening, Larry is right there with them and he looks as happy as a clam in mud, whatever that means. She couldn’t see Brad’s face, Jane was obscuring the view.
Matt interrupted Grace’s thinking, “Mom, did you know Brad played football at UT until he blew out his knee? He might have made the pros. He played tight end. I bet he would have better than the Gronk. What do you think?”
Gronk? Who is the Gronk? I never heard of the Gronk? Is he science fiction? Grace kept watching Jane and said, “Much better. Much better, Matt.”
“That’s exactly what I thought, Mom. Tomorrow, Brad said if there was time he is going to show me how to shoot a jump shot. He said there is a hoop in the parking lot behind the park headquarters. Do you want to come and watch us?” said Matt getting ready to take a big bite out of his burger.
Grace’s hand went on Matt’s arm. “Let’s see what tomorrow brings. In the meantime, wait for Brad to join us so we can say grace together. He’ll be here in a minute, he’s putting food on his plate.”
“I bet Brad’s eating the same as me, Mom,” said Matt.
Grace glanced at Matt and smiled, then she turned her eyes toward Brad who was carrying a his plate toward them and smiling. She saw Jane’s eyes following Brad. She shook her head and thought, Jane’s an incurable flirt. She’ll never change.