“Riley,” Taylor began, “you totally have to hang out with us this summer. You know, do all the girly things.”
They were making lunch in the kitchen as Sidney and Troy were outside talking by the water. Trina had insisted on the meal being healthy, so they were preparing a salad. “You know I’d never miss out on the girly things. I’m sure there is a spa around here somewhere, right?” She looked at Trina.
“I’m sure there is,” Trina replied with a smile. “We’ll set a time then the three of us can go.”
“And get the full treatment, too.” Taylor added.
“Well, of course.” Riley chopped up some green pepper and looked over at Sidney’s mom and sister. Taylor was adding some tomato cubes as Trina was working on the chicken strips. “So, what have you guys been up to all year?”
“School and hockey,” Taylor said quickly.
“And how’s that going?”
“Good. I got all eighties this year in school and got seven shutouts this season.”
“Nice. You’ll give Sid a run for his money in hockey.” Riley smiled at Taylor. She loved Sidney’s little sister. “How about you, Trina, how’s everything?”
“Everything was crazy but it’s calmed down considerably. Trying to get Tay from school to hockey most nights was a little hectic. Plus, we would try to catch as many Penguins games as possible.” Trina looked out the window towards her husband and son. “It was kind of hard because Troy is always in Pittsburgh or traveling with the team, so I was usually doing it myself. But now everyone is home.”
Riley kept the smile on her face even though she felt some sympathy for Trina; her husband was leaving her alone with one of their children while he followed their other. “Well, I’m glad that you’ll get a break. Sid is so happy to be home even though he’ll tell you that it’s sooner than he wanted.”
Trina shifted her gaze from Troy and Sidney to Riley, and smiled. “Riley, you are perfect. Sidney is so lucky to have you. We’re lucky to have you.”
Stunned that the conversation had taken a different route, Riley was silent for a few seconds. “Thank you. Really, I’m the lucky one. I love your family.” She was going to ask about the look Troy gave her but decided against it. Maybe he was caught off guard that she had come along with Sidney.
Troy and Sidney walked into the kitchen laughing. Sidney came and stood next to Riley and kissed her forehead. Troy kept his distance. Riley saw the distant look he gave her when she glanced at him and made sure to reduce the amount of glances she’d throw his way.
“Lunch is ready,” Trina announced.
They sat at the kitchen table and make polite conversation. Riley was quiet for most of trying to figure out what was up with Troy. Had she done something to offend him? Impossible, she hadn’t seen him in months.
Everyone else seemed fine with Riley, so why wouldn’t Troy be? He’d always liked her. He had always shown nothing but kindness and affection for her. Well, there was that time in September when she and Sidney had reunited without either of them knowing, Troy had been unkind and distant then. But they’d made up, hadn’t they?
“Riley?” Sidney said it in a loving tone with just a hint of impatience and confusion bubbling underneath. “My mom asked you a question.”
“Hmm? Oh, sorry!” Riley pushed the thoughts and questions aside and focused on Sidney’s mother. “Could you repeat the question? I kind of zoned out.”
“It’s all right. I asked how your parents were, and your siblings.”
“Right. My parents are fine, so are my siblings. I haven’t heard much from Storm and Keaton lately but I’m assuming that they’re fine.”
“You should invite them over sometime.” This time Troy spoke.
Shocked, Riley turned to face him. “Oh, I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Riley, your family is welcome. We should’ve brought Ben with us.” Sidney said as he squeezed his girlfriend’s hand.
“I’m sure they’ve got plans of their own this summer. Enough, anyway, to keep them busy.”
There was a bit of a silence after that until Taylor decided to break it.
“We should go swimming,” she said and looked directly at Riley.
“That sounds like fun. But you have to wait at least half an hour until you get in the water after eating,” Trina said in such a motherly tone that Riley smiled.
“Did you bring a suit?” Sidney asked his little sister.
“No.” A frown formed on Taylor’s face.
“That’s all right; I probably have something that’ll fit you. You’re about my size,” Riley added as she scanned Taylor.
Sidney shot Riley a look that said ‘It better be appropriate’ she smiled at him.
Taylor and Riley headed upstairs into the master bedroom where Riley had all of her clothes. They talked on the way up and laughed when Riley had to stop a moment to think about which way she was supposed to turn once up the stairs.
“Alright, so what type do you want to wear?” Riley opened her suitcase and turned to Taylor. “One-piece, bikini, covers a lot, or doesn’t cover a lot?”
“Now, I’m supposed to make sure that it’s an appropriate choice, but really, does it matter? I mean, it’s not like there are dozens of guys here. There are two: your dad and your brother. Mind you,” she said with some thought, “do you really want to look slutty in front of your dad? No. So we’ll go with conservative.
“I think I found a good one for you,” Riley continued as she pulled out a bikini that was orange and pink. She thought it was one of her more conservative bathing suits. “Do you like it?”
Taylor examined it, and smiled. “I love it.” She took it out of Riley’s hands then looked at her. “Which one are you going to wear?”
“See, I thought about that before I left Pittsburgh. I made sure to pack some things that weren’t so… revealing. Not that I have things that, you know, are it’s just when you go on vacation with your boyfriend and you know that there is going to be water and swimming…” she trailed off as Taylor’s expression got more and more amused.
“Go on,” Taylor urged.
“Shut up.” Riley laughed. “Anyway, my point is that I packed parentally-acceptable things. Ah, I found one that I guess is fine.” She held up a two pieced, army green bathing suit.
They changed and critiqued each other. After deciding that they looked fine, both Riley and Taylor made their way downstairs. It was empty so they looked out the door and saw Trina, Sidney, and Troy all sitting outside in the backyard. Sidney was in his bathing suit as well. Trina and Troy had opted to not swim that day.
“I’ll race you,” was all Riley heard Taylor say before she shot out the door.
“Oh, it’s on.” Riley mumbled and raced after her.