Read The Fourteen Day Soul Detox, Volume Two Online
Authors: Rita Stradling
Sarah’s game blared out, playing
the same chord of music over and over. “Angel, if you don’t
turn your game down, I’m going to take the phone away.”
“No take the phone away!”
she shouted as her game music decreased.
“Thank you,” I whispered as
I caught up to Peter’s car.
He slowed his pace and after a few
minutes pulled into a strip mall I’d never been to before. The
strip mall was lined with upscale boutiques and salons. We parked in
front of a small store. The windows were frosted and bare, except for
a decorative silver logo that read ‘The Scotch Cabinet’.
Peter got out of his car and entered the store, only to exit a minute
later with a wooden box.
He rushed back to his sports car,
pulling out of the spot and barely waiting for me to pull out of
mine. We drove deeper into the southern coastal neighborhoods I had
never visited before. As we weaved through neighborhoods, the houses
bulked up so large only two of them could fit comfortably on a block.
Peter turned down a road lined with
heavy, reaching oaks. We came out along the beach, where the few
houses were separated from each other with stretches of sand dunes.
“Look how pretty it is out here,”
I said to Sarah. When she didn’t respond I said, “Isn’t
this neat? Kay lives on the beach.”
Peter parked in front of a sprawling
one story house, behind what I recognized as Susan’s car. I
parked between two cars a little way down the road.
“This is beautiful!” I said
to Amy as I exited my car.
The roof slanted out at all angles,
interspersed with dormers, in a long low cottage-style house. Windows
stretched the length of the house, giving the illusion that the house
was made of glass.
Peter and Amy waited by the walkway as
I helped Sarah exit her door. Sarah rushed up to join them and the
group turned and headed up to the large wooden door.
The door opened and a woman’s
head popped out, her brown curls bouncing as she smiled at us.
“Oh, wonderful!” she
exclaimed. “Come in, come in.” She pulled the door open
wide, and I got a good look at her. A huge smile spread across her
gorgeous heart-shaped face. She wore a long silky maxi dress that
cinched at her waist, and was barefoot.
“I’m Carrie, Patrick’s
sister-in-law. Are you Jamie and Sarah?” she asked.
She crossed the distance and hugged me.
“You are exactly how I pictured you. I’ve been talking to
your friends, and I absolutely love them. They are so sweet.”
She pulled away and looked at Sarah, “And you are adorable. How
old are you?”
“Ten,” Sarah said.
“She’s eight; she just
likes the number ten, right angel?” I corrected.
“I do too,” Carrie said to
Sarah, “But my favorite number is seven.”
“My favorite number is ten,”
Sarah mumbled as she pressed her face into my stomach.
“This is my sister Amy and her
husband, Peter,” I said, gesturing to Peter and Amy who stood
with smiles fastened on their faces.
“Actually, we’ve met at the
club,” Peter’s voice sounded too bright.
Carrie turned to Peter, her smile
wavering for a second. “Oh, of course, it’s so nice to
see you both.”
“How is your flower business?”
Peter asked, taking a small step forward.
“Oh, it’s wonderful,
especially this time of year. Everything is blooming. But, honestly,
I thought it would be more work owning a flower shop,” she
laughed. “I do almost nothing at all, except arrange a bouquet
once in a while. Who knew owning your own business could be so easy?”
Amy and Peter laughed, their eyes fixed
Sarah took a step back and started to
walk off, but I took her hand and said, “Wait for us, cutie.”
“I am so rude! I’m hogging
you all to myself. Let me take you down to the party,” Carrie
said, linking her arm through mine and leading us through the house.
Up close, I could smell a light perfume and a stronger tang of
“This place is awesome,” I
said as we walked through an open sitting area and glass doors that
led to a wide stone patio. A few steps down, a long white deck
stretched into the sand dunes. A pool sat to one side. Beside it, a
small grotto area surrounded a Jacuzzi.
My gaze caught Susan sitting, kicking
her feet into the pool, as she watched Aiden and Kay splash each
other. On the other side, a large stone wall with a grill set into it
was surrounded by Patrick, a guy who looked just like him, and Beza.
Each had a drink in their hands and a smile on their face.
“Beza, are you drinking beer?”
I asked in disbelief as I approached the group.
“It’s a root beer,”
she said, shooting a smile my way.
“Oh, good, I was about to die of
shock,” I said, wiping pretend-sweat off my brow.
“One of these days. But not
today. I need to be supportive of my wife. Susan’s sad she
can’t have one.” Beza said the word ‘wife’
with clear enunciation, her gaze flitting to Amy and Peter and away.
She hugged me and Sarah, then gave Amy and Peter a quick wave before
excusing herself to go join Susan.
I turned to the guys. “Hey, how’s
“This is Jamie,” Carrie
said, beaming at the man I assumed was her husband. “And that’s
Sarah,” she said, gesturing at Sarah. “And this is
Jamie’s sister and brother-in-law…”
“Amy and Peter. It’s great
to see you. Thanks for coming.” Patrick leaned over the wall to
shake Peter’s hand.
“Thanks for having us,”
Peter said. He lifted the wooden box in his hand. “This is your
Peter took the box, and his brother
looked down at it and whistled. “Eighteen-year-old. Good
taste,” he said.
“Wow, man, you have a great
memory. Thank you,” he said, opening out the doors to the box
and pulling out a bottle scotch.
“You ever try this one?”
Patrick asked grinning, his gaze meeting mine.
“We don’t carry that one at
Mike’s Saloon, and I told you scotch isn’t really my
thing,” I grinned.
“You’re missing out.”
“I’m going in the pool,”
Sarah said, tugging on my hand.
“I have that swimsuit for Sarah,
if you want,” Patrick said, coming around the wall to meet us.
“Definitely. Is it okay if she
eats first?” I asked, pulling Sarah in for a hug.
“Sure. Would she prefer hot dogs
“What do you say, angel, hot dogs
“I’m going to the pool!”
“Angel,” I crouched down in
front of her. “You need to eat if you want to go in the pool.
You had gymnastics today, and now you want to swim. It’s
important to eat nutritious food when you get so much exercise. After
you have some dinner, you can get your suit on and join the other
Carrie patted my shoulder. “May I
help her get some food? I love kids. Besides I want you to enjoy
“Sure, if you’re up to it.
Thank you,” I said, standing.
“Hey, Sarah, cuteness, I’m
really hungry too. Would you mind coming and eating with me? You can
choose what I eat, if you want.”
Sarah looked at Carrie with wide eyes.
I poised to catch her, in case she ran in the other direction, but
when Carrie offered her hand, Sarah accepted.
They walked to the barbeque and
Patrick’s brother walked around the small wall to stand next to
Patrick. He cleared his throat, giving Patrick a pointed look.
“Oh, sorry.” Patrick smiled
and gave an exaggerated exhale. “Jamie, Amy, Peter, I apologize
in advance for doing this to you, but allow me to introduce my
“Nice to meet you people.”
Derek’s grin was all for me as he reached out a hand to shake
mine. “You go to that concert?” he asked, nodding to my
I turned around and pointed at my back.
“This one is from 1978, but the shirt is actually from the
concert though. I won it from our dad.”
“Wow, tough break for your dad.
How’d you win it?”
“An epic beer pong competition in
Belize. Amy and I were tied with our parents, three to three. My
stepmom and our dad are good, but Amy is the best.” I patted
Amy on the back as I spoke.
Amy breathed in through her nose and
glared at me. She shook her head slightly, but I was sure only I
picked up on it.
I shook my head right back at her and
rolling my eyes, I continued, “So we decided to make it more
interesting, if we won, they made Amy’s next car payment and I
got this shirt. If they won, Amy and I cleaned their house once a
week for the rest of the summer. We won.”
Derek turned to Amy, and said, “We
should play. Oh, shit, we haven’t offered them beers yet, have
“No, we didn’t,”
Patrick said, leaning down to a cooler.
“I’ll take one,”
Peter said, accepting a beer from Patrick. He swung an arm around
Amy, squeezing her to him. He shook his head at the beer Patrick was
holding out to Amy. “Amy doesn’t drink beer anymore. The
story Jamie told was from when Amy was in college.”
“We have wine, or I could go make
you a drink. Unless you want to make an exception,” Patrick
said, still holding out the beer.
“Yeah, make an exception. I used
to be something of a beer pong champion myself. I’d love to
match skills,” Derek said, eyebrows raised.
Amy’s gaze fixed on the beer, but
then she blinked and shook her head. “Wine would be wonderful,”
“I’ll take it,” I
said, reaching for the beer before Patrick lowered his hand.
“So, I guess your sister is out,
but are you up for an epic game of beer pong.” Derek gave me an
“Oh, no, I would fail miserably.
Amy definitely carried me, I suck at beer pong.” I took a sip
of beer, then added, “And I’m driving.”
“You don’t have to drive.
My brother has plenty of bedrooms here.” Derek slapped Patrick
on the back and Patrick’s cheeks reddened slightly.
“Thanks,” I said with a
small laugh, “but Sarah has school in the morning and I have
“Doesn’t Sarah go to Kay’s
school? Patrick could take both of them and you could drive to work?”
Patrick cleared his throat. “Derek,
seriously? They just arrived and you’re strong arming them into
staying the night?” He turned to us. “Any of you hungry
yet? The tri-tip isn’t quite done, but a couple of the steaks
look good to go.”
“We all ate at the theater. We
can wait for the tri-tip,” Peter said.
“Yeah,” Amy smiled.
“I’ve been meaning to
challenge you to a tennis rematch, my pride’s been smarting
since the last time we played,” Peter said, taking a step
forward and just slightly in front of Amy and me.
“I’d like that Peter, we
definitely should.” Patrick stepped back and looked over at me.
“How about you Jamie, are you hungry?” he asked.
“You know, due to unforeseen
circumstances, I ate an entire large buttered popcorn by myself, so
I’m not that hungry yet.” I pause, looking away.
“Actually I take that back I am weirdly hungry. I’d love
Patrick laughed and I couldn’t
help joining in.
“I’m kind of on the
opposite of a diet right now. So, bring on the barbeque and whatever
else I guess,” I said.
“Great. I’ll make you a
plate,” Patrick said.
“Oh, thanks, but I could do
that,” I said.
“It’s no problem; I was
going to make one for myself anyway.” Patrick rounded the
barbeque, forking two large steaks onto plates. “Want any
salad?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Yeah, why not.”
“I’ll just have a little
bit of everything, if that’s okay.”
“Finally! A woman with an
appetite. Maybe we could still have some sort of competition,”
Derek said, clapping me on the back.
“Well, you said you had hot dogs,
right? I can eat them pretty fast,” I said.
“Seriously?” Derek said,
“No, that’s disgusting,”
Patrick came around with two heavy
laden plates of food. “You want to go eat over by the pool or
at the table with Sarah and Carrie?” he asked.
“Um, by Sarah, if you don’t
mind,” I said.
“No, that’ll be great.”
He led me further down the patio and down a step to where Sarah and
Carrie were eating at a sturdy table.
“I don’t really know any
gymnasts, who should I like?” Carrie was saying as Patrick set
down our plates. She took a big bite of salad and gave us an awkward,
chipmunk smile as we sat. She held up a finger as she chewed, then
said, “Your daughter is telling me all about the American—is
it?” She looked at Sarah for confirmation, “…The
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics National Team?”
“The Women’s Artistic
Gymnastics National Team. Aly Raisman is your favorite. Say, my
favorite is Aly Raisman,” Sarah said, pointing at Carrie.
“Aly Raisman is
favorite, but Carrie might not know who that is,” I told Sarah
as I took the first bite of steak.
“I don’t, but I’ll
definitely look her up,” Carrie said.
I pulled Sarah in for a hug and kissed
on her forehead. “Wow, you ate so much, good job.”
“I like all of them, all of the
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics National Team, but my favorite is
Gabby Douglass,” Sarah said to Carrie.
“Sarah is an amazing gymnast
herself,” Patrick said.
“Are you?” Carrie said.
“I’m going to go swimming
now,” Sarah said, getting up.
“Wait a couple more minutes for
your food to settle, okay?”
She groaned as she stood.
“Okay, I’ll make a deal
with you. Go sit with your aunts for five minutes. You can put your
feet in the Jacuzzi, then I’ll go get you and you can go
“No,” Sarah said.
“Okay, you can sit here with us,
or go put your feet in the Jacuzzi. Pick one,” I emphasized.