Today's Reading

"It's kind of young," Estie qualified. "It's probably young enough for the Ride, but not young enough to be dating your clients. Share's only seven years older than me, and you still babysit for me."

She had a point. I'd never really thought about age. I generally don't dwell on an issue long enough to experience an emotional reaction to it. I do feel fear; fear is my friend. Though fear is an instinct more than an emotion.

Nonetheless, I must admit, I felt afraid of Ryan's smelling-the-coffee comment. Not afraid that I was going to fail to smell the coffee and die alone, but that my niece and nephew were buying my sister's dubious opinion of me. Or, worse, that they'd formed dubious opinions of their uncle on their own. Was Uncle Davy, marketing and fragrance genius, cool and rich brander extraordinaire, somehow letting them down? This, I did not want to do. I was, after all, the family historian—the keeper of the Cadillac.

Ryan came to my defense. "It doesn't matter how old Share is, because Mom says Share isn't even a real person anyways. She's manufactured by you. She says Emily Kaplinsky would have been perfect for you, but you wouldn't have given her the time of day."

"When did she say this?" I asked, turning around to face them. Ryan was now on the floor, his five dollars plastered in embarrassment over his eyes, but Estie scooted toward me and, with her hands on the back of my seat and her chin resting on her hands, began to talk.

Before I showed up at the bakery, she explained, Marcy's friends had asked where she and Ryan were headed at ten o'clock on a Sunday morning with a car-shaped cake. Ryan said they were going to celebrate their great-grandfather's birthday in their uncle's Cadillac, which was really their great-grandfather's but now belonged to their uncle. When Ryan explained that we do this every year, my sister raised her brows and said to the women, "Don't ask." Then she added, "He's stuck in the seventies."

Estie claimed she came to my defense with, "No he's not. He's dating Share. How can he be stuck in the seventies if he's dating a pop star?"

Marcy, according to Estie, came back with, "She's not a pop star. You can't be a star if you only have one song. And he's not dating her anymore, thank God. Talk about hitting rock bottom."

Apparently, the remark about smelling the coffee also came out in this general time frame.

"But don't worry," Estie reassured me now, "no one was listening. Most of them were still asking questions about Share, like if Mom's ever met her and if she's ever going to release another song."

Ryan crawled back onto his seat to join the recounting. "But Laurel was listening, and she told Mom you should take her class."

"Who is Laurel?" I opened the cake box and swiped a bit of the frosting. Yellow, to match the car.

"You know, Mom's friend Laurel from yoga?" Ryan asked.

I shook my head no. He rolled down the window of the car and pointed to someone through the window of the bakery. "She's right there. You can see her legs. She's wearing cowboy boots."

"Who wears cowboy boots with shorts?" I asked.

"Laurel," Estie answered. She, too, was now licking yellow frosting from her finger.

"Dad calls her The Mormon Rodeo," Ryan said.

"She's some sort of movie writer, and she teaches a movie writing class," Estie chimed in, "and when Mom said she had no idea how to make you get a grip on reality, Laurel said that you should take her class."

I told my niece and nephew that their uncle has a perfectly fine grip on reality.

"You might want to take the class anyway," Ryan said. "Laurel said it's usually full of single girls. And she said she'd let you take it for free, to pay Mom back for all the free food."

"So you are in," Estie said. "Whether you like it or not."

"That's what the wink was about," Ryan said.

"It starts after Memorial Day, and you need to come with an idea for a movie." Estie grinned.

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