Because of Jade Release Party (official) post #4: Sonny on bridges, Luki on parenting, and Jade on tulips and tossing cookies

May 24, 2014

Some of you have seen this graphic before with it’s teensy excerpt. Here’s the longer bit it comes from. Setting the scent, this is chapter one, and Sonny’s driving the home from Seattle, where Luki has finally gotten the good news that, after five years, he remains cancer free.

Yellow and red tulips with dark background

AFTER THEY’D had Full Sail Amber Ale and hamburgers at the Metro, and Luki had gotten upset at the staff for ignoring Sonny, and Sonny had reminded Luki he didn’t care—all of which is exactly what happened every time they went to the Metro—Sonny piloted the flying Mustang down I-5, over the Tacoma Narrows bridge, up and around the Kitsap Peninsula, the long way home.

As they made the trip through Bremerton, Luki said, “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Sonny said, “Yeah, they filmed some of it here. And supposedly the story took place here.” He was surprised, though, because Luki didn’t really watch movies or television.

“My dad liked that movie. I think he secretly wanted to be a romantic.”

“Maybe he was a romantic,” Sonny suggested. “You know, with your mom. Kaholo said he never got over her dying, right?”

Luki looked as though the thought was completely new and possibly a little painful. Eventually he said, “Yeah, could be. Maybe I’ll ask Kaholo about it when we get everybody together to celebrate my five years cancer free.” He smiled—the second real smile in a single day—and held that expression until Sonny was able to turn his head and smile back.

Sonny switched hands on the wheel so he could reach for Luki’s broad, brown hand currently at rest in his lap, his white gold, black opal, and colorless sapphire wedding set sparkling in the afternoon sun. When Sonny touched it, Luki turned that hand up and caught Sonny’s in his sure but gentle grip. Something delicious traveled all through Sonny, an invisible shiver of pleasure and probably anticipation. He thought, magic hands, but what he said was, “Maybe that’s why he couldn’t accept you as you are, Luki.”

“You mean that’s why he ‘hated what I am.’”

“Well, that’s the way he said it, yeah. But what if he just was afraid you being gay would be another terrible loss, and he wouldn’t be able to deal, just like he couldn’t deal with losing your mother.”

Luki shook his head and raised one corner of his mouth in a wry expression that all by itself dismissed any excuses for his father’s cruelty. “Sonny, I can’t deny my dad gave me a lot of personal power in other ways, and it serves me well. And he said he loved me—he only said it once, but he did say it. And he saved me from being carved up like the bar-b-que pig. Growing up in his shadow and at his command, I couldn’t help but love and admire him. I still do. But I can’t think of anything to excuse his repugnance toward me because I’m gay. Maybe you’re right, but if you are, he was selfish and childish, and that’s not an excuse.”

Sonny didn’t say anything for a while, driving onto the long, flat Hood Canal bridge, which would take them from the Kitsap to the Olympic Peninsula and, still on Highway 104, up and around the coast, past Discovery Bay, and eventually home.

“This is a long bridge,” Luki said.

“Mm. About 7,000 feet.” Sonny changed his voice to his version of tour-guide-Sonny, and added,

“The longest floating bridge in the world located in a saltwater tidal basin.”

Luki chuckled appropriately. “Well, while we’re on it, maybe you can tell me, do you think my dad could be excused for hating… my being gay?”

“Hell no, Luki!”

The answer was vehement enough to actually startle Luki. Once he recovered he said, “You know, Sonny, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this, but…. The way my dad was, it’s a big reason I’ve never wanted to be a parent. I mean, I remember my mom, barely, and as far as I know she was great, and then of course there’s Kaholo. If I know anything about how to treat a kid, it’s probably because of him. But I’ve always worried I’d be a lousy parent. And if I was, I can assure you I’d blame Peli Vasquez, my good old dad, for at least part of it.”

“Honey, I don’t think there can be an excuse for a parent treating their child like that. I was only talking about understanding it a bit more—more for your peace than his benefit, certainly. And who knows what kind of parent either of us would have made. Chances are, we won’t know. But we’re damn good uncles.”

“True. But speaking of Nebraska—”

“We weren’t.”

“Doesn’t matter. I can’t wait to call Kaholo when we get home. Tell him the news, see if he’ll come out to celebrate.”

“Why wait?”

Luki looked blank.

“Cell phone.”

“Oh yeah!”

For the rest of the trip, Luki made calls and arrangements. Kaholo definitely would come. Jackie and Brian would try to carve out time from their work with British intelligence to make the cross-Atlantic trip—it was that important to them. Josh and Ruthie wanted to get together but had some issues with traveling. Ruthie was midpregnancy and for some reason had morning sickness and general nausea much later into the pregnancy than was usual.

“It’s a little inconvenient, Mr. Vasquez,” she drawled.

“Does everyone from West Virginia call their uncle-in-law ‘mister,’ Ruthie?”

She laughed, which was a sound Luki always enjoyed. It reminded him of a slow, deep creek running over rocks, in and out of eddies and pools. He inwardly smiled, but it did worry him when she said she was having problems. She apologized for her formality with a smile in her voice. “Sorry, I keep forgetting. I don’t know why. So, Luki—there is that better? Anyway, it’s a bit of a problem. I never know when I’m going to be sick, and also the doctor told me I shouldn’t travel until after the baby comes.”

“Okay, Ruthie. Maybe we can figure something out, but I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. You didn’t with Jade, right?”

“Sheesh. That girl was easy. She acted like she knew exactly what she was doing—even during the birth. She’s still easy, Luki, and you know she talks about you, misses you. That’s another reason I wish we could come. But then, you know Josh just finally got the job transfer he wanted. He was permanent at the refinery, but he’s on the offshore crew now, maintenance out on THUMS Islands. I don’t think he could get off work—he’s still training and on probation.”

“Huh…. Well, congrats to him on the job. Hey, hold on a minute okay?” Luki held out the phone so Sonny could point to the button he needed to press to put the call on hold.

Once he’d done that Sonny said, “What’s up?”

Luki explained the reasons Josh and Ruthie couldn’t come north for a celebration, but before he could ask about an alternative, Sonny spoke up again.

“Well, how about we go down there? It’ll be a great chance for a road trip.”

“That is exactly what I hoped you would say, sweetie…. Well, not the part about the road trip. I was thinking we’d fly.”

“Nope. Road trip.”

With that settled, Luki took Ruthie off hold but found instead that five-year-old Jade was waiting.

She explained, “Mommy’s throwing up, Uncle Luki. And I can’t come to your house right now.”

“Um. Okay. Why not?”

“’Cause at my preschool I just planted my orange tulip bulbs, and I have to be here to take care of them when they pop up out of the dirt.”

“Well, that’s very conscientious of you.”

“What’s conscientious?”

“Responsible?”

“Good?”

“Yeah, little girl that I love, good is a great word for it.” It was a diversion. For some reason, “little girl that I love” always made Jade giggle madly. This time was no exception. When she slowed down, Luki asked, “Is your mommy done throwing up yet?”

“Nope. Still tossing her cookies.”
“Tossing her cookies?”

“Yeah, silly. It means throwing up. Don’t you know that?”

“Oh, well. Thanks for explaining. Why don’t you tell me good-bye, and after we hang up tell Mommy that Uncle Sonny and I are going to come there where you live, so you don’t have to leave your baby tulips. Okay?”

Next, food for thought and the promised contest, and after that, a steeeeeeamy excerpt.

6 Responses to “Because of Jade Release Party (official) post #4: Sonny on bridges, Luki on parenting, and Jade on tulips and tossing cookies”

  1. Andrea M says:

    I love this!

  2. Lou Sylvre says:

    Fun, right? A little crazy sometimes!

  3. Nickie says:

    Gonna have to buy this book. Lou, you rock!

  4. Lou Sylvre says:

    Thank you! Oh my! I feel quite flattered!

  5. BookLover62 says:

    Ahh, Jade sounds like such a little lady!

  6. Lou Sylvre says:

    She’s pretty confident, Lori, and quite has her uncles wrapped around her pinkies. :)

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