(Previous post: Lunch with Dina)
Nina has lunch with her sister where they talk about love, their lives and trade in rumor and gossip. Nina is unhappy because of her daughter’s engagement. Dina offers to help when she hears rumors her sister might be without money.
Nina Caliente rode everywhere in her recognizable pink limo. People would follow it and once she got out take out their phones or cameras and snap pictures, Nina pretended she didn’t see it, or didn’t care. Truth was she was enjoying her fame, every bit of it, she did so ever since her first single came out and topped the charts and she assumed she would continue to do so up until the day she died. She regretted only that she wouldn’t be present to see her own funeral, all those people she knew and didn’t know celebrating her life, shedding tears for the world’s great loss…
Yet Nina didn’t waste too much time thinking about death. Life was short but that made it only more valuable. That is why Nina was rarely still, there were always interesting projects to be realized, interesting people to be met, good songs to dance too, new cocktails to try out, good-looking men with lips to be kissed…
But then again there were nights when even Nina stopped and took a break. Tonight was such a night. She had gotten back from a meeting at a local school were she was helping a young teacher with a musical, changed into her sweatpants and was in her kitchen making dinner.
Not many people knew Nina Caliente was an excellent cook and how she loved cooking shows and making meals for her family. Everyone knew she loved expensive food, and good dining in famous restaurants all over the world but they figured she was a busy woman with no time to spend in the kitchen. In that they were all wrong.
Tonight she had decided to make it simple with some spaghetti and vegetarian sauce to go with them. She had been experimenting with no-meat cooking lately. Nina’s life philosophy was give everything a try at least once so why not try being a vegetarian…
She had put on the sauce on the stove and was gently mixing it looking out to see where her son was. She knew he had gotten outside to telephone which might ring alarm bells to most mothers whose imagination could probably go much wilder than their teenage boys ever could but Nina didn’t worry. She knew what phone call would lure her Bran outside, the one to his sister.
Bran and Latrica had always been inseparable. Nina and her own sister were close growing up but even they would fight, she couldn’t remember her two children ever getting in a fight. She thought their relationship might strain and probably change as they grew, Bran entered the awkward teenage years and Latricia moved out going first to college and then into a home of her own but seemingly nothing changed. They talked over the phone every day and they remained as close if not closer.
As to why Bran didn’t want her to hear the conversation it must have meant they are talking about the wedding. Nina really wanted to be the kind of mother that helps her daughter plan the big day, picks out the dress and all that bullshit but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Nina never believed in marriage and she especially didn’t approve of her daughter marrying, so young and naive and inexperienced with life…. It made her so angry but she knew there was nothing she could to, even though she tried….
Bran came inside just in time to set the table. Nina opened a bottle of wine and offered a glass to her son but he refused instead eating quietly, his mind elsewhere.
“How is Tricia doing?” She asked breaking the silence.
“Fine.” He wanted to say something more than stopped himself and just took another bite. Nina sighed.
“You guys can talk to me about it you know… About the wedding.” Bran just looked at her.
“Latricia says you keep urging her to postpone it as much as possible.”
“Well if she won’t cancel it….” Noticing Bran’s expression Nina stopped. “You know I want what is best for both you and your sisters. I just think this wedding is not the best idea in the world….”
“They really love each other…”
“That is exactly what I am saying! You both are so young, still believing in fairy-tales…” Nina was about to launch in a rant when she saw her son’s tired face and realized this was the hundredth time they were having this conversation. “I am sorry Branden, we don’t have to talk about this, again. How are you? You look tired.”
“I am fine.” Bran replied. “School is good, work too.” Nina knew that it was more than that. Bran got on a honor roll in the winter semester, he got as far as he possibly could at his job at the supermarket. Those weren’t things she would mention to her sister at one of their weekly lunches because there were no words to express how proud she was of her youngest son, of all her children who were growing in such good people. And imagine I did it all alone, without ever getting married…. She thought with a smirk.
“You have been working extra hard Bran, what do you say we go relax a bit after dinner, out in the tub. I didn’t see any paparazzi tonight.”
“I am too tired mum, I’ll load up the dishwasher and head straight to bed.” Nina sighed.
“Oh come on Bran. Please. I promise I will even wear a swimsuit.” This got a little smile from her son and he finally agreed to her proposal.
She did as she promised and wore a one-piece striped bathing suit when she came outside and seated herself in the warm water of the hot tub. As she noted earlier there were no paparazzi outside tonight. She debated playing some music but she decided to wait for Bran and let him pick something. When he came out he was wearing long shorts and a dark blue T-shirt.
“Why didn’t you take the shirt off?” She asked him when he submerged himself in the water only his head sticking out of the bubbles.
“I forgot!” He replied looking down at himself miserably. “It is wet now…”
“It doesn’t matter.” Nina said. She was used to her son forgetting things. He was like that ever since he was small. “Maybe you can play us some music? And we can talk, about you. Tell me all about school, and your friends!” Bran took a deep breath and then started talking.
“Well Kerry and Persephone are officially dating now. I already suspected something was going on back when we were on that camping trip last summer… When I told Tricia she laughed she said if even I noticed it than it must really be something there. And now Waylon is seeing Nan’s sister Maja so she is now in our gang. She is cool, she plays the guitar too. I hope we will be good friends, I like her a lot. Nan is freaking out about it, she always speaks ill of her sisters you know and know she is about to get another one, her father’s new girlfriend is carrying a girl apparently…” Bran talked and Nina listened thinking once again how happy she was she had her children. Turns out there were things more important than fame.