"Jon, why the hell are we here? It's Valentine's day in two days, and I am yet to buy a gift for Emily." Jason calls from the kitchen, where he is busy browsing for cupcakes.
He isn't gonna find any. Nate and I hid them yesterday evening. "Don't gripe. You should have done your shopping a week ago." I will have a word with him later. My sister deserves better.
"You better have a solid reason to drag us all out here at this hour," Kevin grumbles, pissed at me for destroying his Sunday morning slumber.
"Guys, we are celebrating Boylentine's day." I try to prepare them for my plan.
"What the heck is Boylentine's day?" Jason strolls back to the game room, biting the large piece of rum cake in his hand.
How the hell did he find the last slice I hid from Nate? Now, I will have to persuade Sharon to make another one using all my flirting skills to ask her to waive off the one cake in two weeks rule she had me and Nate sign off. But that can wait as I have more pressing matters to discuss. "It is celebrated two days before Valentine's when friends spend time together." I hope these nitpicks buy into this shit.
"That's a girly thing, dude, and it's called Galantines day. A girls' day out before the fourteenth." Kevin, the sourpuss lawyer, is not going to make it easy.
"Are we being gender-biased? If the girls can have their day, why can't we?" I counter my fussy cousin.
"Somethings fishy. Jon never invites us on a Sunday since he proposed to Sharon." Jason puts the plate down and wiggles his eyebrows.
Hmm, he misses the card games we played here every weekend. I miss them too, but Sharon works through the week. Sunday is the only time we get to spend together, and even those were scarce once my team qualified for the playoffs. Time to fess up. "I need a grand gesture."
"Shite. What did you do now?" Kevin straightens himself on the couch.
"Hold your sneers. It's our first Valentine's day, and I wanted to run some ideas by you guys." I admit to the real reason I called them in. After running through a list of options and Nate refusing to help, I had to pull in the cavalry.
"But why the grand gesture? You already asked Sharon to marry you. Weren't thousands of fans at the stadium enough for your spectacle." Jason smirks.
"Not to mention a million viewers on TV." Tom rolls his eyes.
I glare at him for butting in, despite his silence being bought yesterday. "Puff. You are all so dumb. Stay, and you can learn from the Pro. You need grand gestures out of bed to keep things sizzling between the sheets." Tom and Kevin snort their beer. Sputtering and coughing.
"Guys, it is Couples Playbook 101. Besides, I am sure Tigress is up to something. She has been sweet and less prank-sy for the past week, and Nate has been sneaking around." Sheesh, my son will not help me. The six-year-old blabbermouth has decided not to take sides.
"So, what's your plan." Kevin dabs his t-shirt with a tissue. It will not help; the beer has soaked into the cotton material.
"Not before you take the Boylentine day oath." Over the years, I learned a few things from my lawyer cousin.
"What the fondant is that." Like the rest of my family, Jason is fast catching up to Sharon's penchant for culinary cuss words.
"An oath of secrecy." I extend my open palm toward the three sitting in front of me. They grumble and mumble before adding their hands to mine. We shake, firming our pact.
"If it is such a big secret, then why is he here?" Jason points to Tom.
"Hey. Did you forget who got these two thick-headed dumb shucks to sort out their differences?" Tom shoves Jason.
"Yeah, I agree with Jason. What if you are a double agent? You do work with Sharon."
Kevin is right. Tom and Sharon are close. He did help some. Ok, a lot. He was my only chance at recovering the fumble. "Tom won't unless he wants to miss out on season tickets to our home games. Will you, Dr.Thomas?" I remind him of our deal.
"My lips are ticketed." Tom zips his lips.
Once the three settle, I pass the brochure to Kevin. "Are you trying to get yourself killed?" Kevin gives it to Tom, whose eyes bug out when he reads the flyer. "Woohoo. This is perfect for the adrenaline junkie."
"Shh. Keep your volume down, doc. That pesky son of mine might hear you."
Jason snatches the flyer from Tom and pouts after reading it. "Aww, cho-chweet."
"Shuddup." I snap the brochure from him. I will do anything for my Tigress.
"Jon, you have our blessings. Perfect plan." Kevin stands and pats my back, eager to leave and resume his Sunday snooze.
"Hold on, grizzly bear. This is no time to hibernate." I push Kevin back to the couch. He slumps with a groan. I ignore the grumbles from the three and strut my way to the locked drawer next to the shelf with the game consoles.
"What the hell are you up to?." Jason holds up his hands when I return with a stack of books. Nine, if you are the counting type.
"The real reason I invited you here is to help me with these." I distribute the books between them. At first, I bought two DIY books on baking with a plan to do it myself. The recipes left me baffled, so I bought a few more until I gave up trying to make sense of them. Give me a football playbook, and I will explain it to you in my sleep. But baking? This is so out of my league. "You, gentlemen, will help me bake a perfect chocolate truffle cake for Sharon."
"No," Tom, Kevin, and Jason rise in unison, dropping the books like hot potatoes.
"Oh. Yes. Yes." Nine books in Jon's hands cannot bake a cake, but three wise men with nine books will help make a chocolate delight for my Tigress.
I hope this sneak peek into the life of the characters of my sports romantic comedy (All the Lines to Cross) brought a few smiles. They are waiting to meet you this Valentine's day.
If you are in India,