Saturday came far too quickly. Vivien almost called twice to cancel. After Luc’s reception at Bingo Burger, she wasn’t certain that she could cope. She’d been up at 6am, making the taco salad for the picnic. She put twice the meat in it she normally did. Then she took a quick shower and dressed in a pair of jeans, a tanktop and a light shirt to go over it. She put her hat and the two bags of chips next to the fridge. Then she paced. She wrote lists, organized her handbag for the third time and was about to start cleaning her living room when the doorbell rang. Vivien glanced at the clock on her way to the door. It was 8:45am.
“Hello,” said Andrew as he walked through her door.
“Hi. You’re early,” she said.
“Yes, I thought I’d get here with plenty of time. You have a nice house,” he said looking around. He took in the books on the bookshelf, the various knick-knacks, the small pile of books on the floor and her laptop on a desk.
“Thanks. I’ll just get the salad from the fridge,” she said turning towards the kitchen. She headed to the kitchen and realized that Andrew was just behind her.
“Need anything carried?” he asked.
“You could grab the chips and my hat,” she said.
“Alright.” Andrew took a moment to look around the kitchen too. Clean, tidy except for the dishes in the drying rack. He grabbed the chips and followed Vivien out.
She picked up her handbag and after Andrew exited, she locked her house and headed towards her car.
“Vivien, come with me today. I’m driving,” Andrew said.
“Oh. Yes. Okay,” she said. “Duh!”
They got into the car and Andrew headed out. As they passed a Sports Now! store, Andrew pulled in and parked.
“Of course! They’ll break the ice,” said Andrew.
Vivien nodded. She followed him into the store and they found the display of cheap Frisbees. She figured that they’d get three or four. Andrew picked up twenty.
“Do you think you have enough?” she asked sarcastically.
“Well, I’m not sure. Do you think we should get thirty?” he asked in all seriousness.
“What? How many people will be there?” she asked.
“Oh, somewhere between forty and ninety,” he said.
“Oooh, maybe thirty then,” she said a bit stunned. She grabbed ten more. The check out guy thought they were nuts until she explained that they were going to a big family reunion. He nodded and threw in some tennis balls in multiple colors for free. Andrew paid and they headed out of the store.
“Tennis balls?” he asked.
“Yeah. Those should be a riot too,” said Vivien wondering just what she had gotten herself into.
They were almost out of the city when Andrew turned to Vivien as they sat at a stoplight. “Do you have any questions?”
“Tons!” she said.
“Okay, ask,” he said.
“Well, is there any kind of etiquette I should be aware of?” she asked.
“Yeah. Dos and don’ts. Don’t bring chocolate, Don’t piss off Luc, bow?” she listed.
“Vivien, just act normal. Be yourself. Not pissing off Luc would be a good thing. However, your bigger problem will be Ginny,” he said.
“Ginny? Which one is she?”
“She’s my former fiancé, one time lover and sort of second in command, although there are days I think she and Meg are the real bosses. Long grey hair with ginger tips, curvy figure, and a temper. Patrick is her mate. Big tall guy, dark hair, dark eyes, walks like he has a six-gun on his hip,” Andrew said.
“Oh shit. Bitchy-poo and TDD,” Vivien said under her breath.
“Um… I had nicknames for everyone. His was TDD; Tall, Dark and Dangerous,” she said.
“And Ginny was ‘Bitchy-poo’ I take it because you saw her in one of her better moods?”
“Yes. Oh please don’t tell them about those!” said Vivien.
“No, but I want to hear the rest of them.”
“Um, that might be a problem as I don’t know their real names,” she said.
“Ah. Okay, let’s play twenty names… Mine?”
“Silversmith, and Becky’s was Gothchick. Your boss is Baldy,” said Vivien.
“Okay, Luc and Meg?”
“AWT for Alpha Wolf Tech and Classy,” said Vivien. “Then there was Mountain and Midget.”
Andrew laughed. “Oh… George may laugh, but Angie will kill you.”
“Oh shit, I’m sorry, but I had to have nicknames!”
“It’s okay. Just don’t use them. Anyone else?” he asked.
“Swish, because he looked so metrosexual. And then there were the two cowboys. Cowboy 2 was always with Wolf Girl. then there was Lanky and his son, and Bitch 1 and 2,” she finished.
“Okay, that sounds like Kevin, who is gay, Cal my cousin, Peter and his wife Lisa, Sandy and his son Jesse and the last two…. Blonde and brunette?”
“Yes. Bottle blonde,” she said.
“Marie and Ysabel. You got most of the immediate family. Not bad. At least you’ll know most of the people who won’t be happy that you work for the newspaper,” said Andrew.
“Well, that may not be an issue for much longer. I got a notice yesterday. Unless I can come up with some interesting articles, I’m done at the paper,” she said with a sigh.
“Oh? I’m sorry,” he said.
“It’s okay. I’ve been worried about it for a while, but I don’t have one of the juicy editorial jobs,” she said.
“Alright. Well, stay by me, and don’t be surprised if people are hostile. The papers caused a lot of grief and some of us are not well behaved,” said Andrew. “And for that I am sorry in advance. On the other hand, we have Frisbees.” He smiled at her and patted her hand in reassurance.
“What do you mean he’s bringing a reporter to the picnic?” growled Ginny.
“She isn’t coming as a reporter. She’s his date!” Luc growled back. He’d been arguing with people all week over this. First they were all smiles that Andrew had finally decided to date. The minute that they learned she worked for one of the newspapers, they were ready to hit things.
“I still don’t like it!” said Ginny.
“Don’t like that he’s dating? Or dating a person who might have been part of the trouble?” asked Luc. He’d figured that Ginny was behind most of the fuss.
“You know which it is!” Ginny growled.
“Oh, okay. You’re mad because Andrew is finally dating? Finally found shomeone who makesh him happy after yhou left?” said Luc. He was losing his cool and his jaw was shifting.
“Enough you two!” Patrick said wading into the shouting match. “You, shift back and settle down,” he said to Luc. “And you just shut up and give the poor woman a chance! Otherwise, I will take you over my knee and blister your furry ass!” he growled using sub-vocals at Ginny. Ginny flinched.
Luc took a deep breath. He looked around and saw that his immediate family as well as Ginny’s were standing far too close. He also saw Meg standing there with the babies on her hips and she was not happy. Whether it was him, Ginny or Andrew’s date that had caused that look, he didn’t know. What he did know is that he had to say something before Andrew and Vivien arrived.
“Attention! Everyone listen up! I need to talk to you and I NEED you to listen. For once, I am pulling rank! As Family Head, I request that you listen. As many of you may have heard, Andrew has a date with him today. As odd as that may seem, this is a good thing! Her name is Vivien Sopris. She works for one of the newspapers that was part of the lawsuit not too long ago. She was NOT one of the reporters. She was NOT part of the legal suit,” he said taking a deep breath. “However, she was curious. Curious enough to start putting things together, just like people have from time to time. And like from time to time, one of us has taken an interest in a human.” Luc looked around as he caught his breath. Most people were settling down. Meg was beginning to smile.
“Now, I EXPECT you to treat her with the same grace you would anyone. You didn’t treat Meg or Angie in a nasty fashion. You gave them a chance. I expect you to do the same for her. I’ve met her and she’ll be okay given a chance. Besides, Andrew has promised that they’d bring a surprise. And if you spoil that with nasty behavior, I’m going to be REALLY PISSED,” he growled with enough sub-vocals to make chests rumble all around him.
Meg walked over to him as the crowd dissipated. She handed him Elliot and then hugged him.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Oh? Why?” he asked uncertain.
“For your little bitch session. You did the right thing. Vivien needs to be innocent until proven guilty. Yes, it is upsetting that she works for the newspapers, but if this is Andrew’s mate?”
“Exactly. And I know Ginny is being protective, but enough is enough. I met her and she’s okay. And she has the curliest red mop of hair I’ve ever seen,” Luc said.
“Yeah, and… promise not to tell?” he asked looking around.
“Well, okay I think.”
“She’s bringing Frisbees,” he said with a smile.
Meg looked at him puzzled. “So.”
“Most of us have never played as wolves,” he said and the glee showed in his face.
“Oh my god,” said Meg shaking her head in disbelief.