Part 1902 – What John Needed Clarice’s Advice On.

Clarice set the steaming mug in front of John. “One wonderful hot chocolate for one wonderfully hot man.”

“I haven’t been considered hot in years.” He picked up his mug. “But I love hearing you say it.” He took a sip. “mmm.”

“Well, you know truth is truth.” She sat in the chair next to him and placed her own mug of hot chocolate on the table. “I wish you could have seen me when I was a smokin’ hot mama. I would have flame-broiled your eyes and your brains. I was that level of hot.”

He grinned. “I believe it.”

“But you aren’t here to discuss our current state of relative attractiveness.”

“No.” He pulled a much folded piece of paper out of his slacks pocket and handed it over to her. “This is a list of things I needed to accomplish to make Barbara’s wedding special.”

She unfolded it and read it over.

“As you can see, I got most of the things checked off.”

“Oh, good. You did get a wedding cake.”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to forget that. Even if the groom can’t eat it.”

She looked up at him. “So, what’s the problem?”

“It’s. It’s so difficult. When I married Carolyn, she did all the planning. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. She kept telling me, ‘Don’t worry! I’ve got this.’ So, now. I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s something extra I can do or should do or—” He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Hmm.” She slowly read over the list. “Have they chosen a place for their honeymoon yet?”

“No, but.” He smiled. “I have that covered.”

She looked up at him in surprise.

“It took a lot of thinking and planning and deciding. I almost came to you to get your opinion, but I wanted to decide this on my own. I wanted to plan this one small detail completely on my own. I wanted to be able to tell her that this is completely my idea, that this is completely from me.”

“Oh? Now, you have me all curious. Where are you going to send them off to? I hope it’s somewhere romantic.”

“It is. I wanted to send them to Paris, but apparently this is the wrong time of year for plane trips to Paris. The ticket prices were insane and just for two people. I tried to tell them that this was a honeymoon, only daughter, only child, whole sob story. They were not impressed.”

“Tsk! How can some people be so hard-hearted?” She gave him a flirtatious wink. “You would have been able to sweet talk me into lowering the price.”

He grinned. “I know. So, anyway! Paris was off the books. So, I thought about it. I thought about her. I thought about Carolyn. What would she have advised? I knew she would have told me to take Barbara into consideration. Where would Barbara want to spend her honeymoon?”

Clarice took a sip of her drink. “After a whole big buildup like this, I’m really hoping you aren’t sending them to Dayton.”

He laughed. “Certainly not! I’m sending them to the beach.”

“The beach.”

“Miami Beach.”

“Oh!”

“It may not be Paris-level of romantic, but—”

“Are you kidding? It’s perfect!” She clasped her hands together and pressed them against her chest. Her eyes sparkled. “Just imagine: long languid days of lazy peacefulness followed by romantic strolls on the beach followed by heated romps in the bedroom.”

John shook his head. “I’d rather not imagine my daughter romping heatedly in a bedroom.”

She laughed at that. “I would worry about you if you did.”

“So? Is there something more I should do?”

She looked over the list one more time. “I see that you have a big question mark next to party favors. Do you still need help with that?”

“Yeah. I keep thinking party hats and kazoos.”

She laughed out loud.

Her laugh made him smile. “But I figured that wouldn’t do.”

“Oh, no! That wouldn’t do at all. Don’t worry, you decadent chocolate cherry whipped cream pie of high caloric loveliness. I’ll help you with that.”

His smile grew. “Thank you.”

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