|A Fateful Romance
Author: Gamista PM
Lyna Jones is a wedding/party planner. She is a shy woman. After a night out with her house mates, she meets her soul mate, Brody Parrish. When it seems fate has brought them together, Lyna must take a leap of faith and gain confidence in herself.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 19 - Words: 138,732 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 05-10-13 - Published: 09-23-11 - id: 2954767
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Crowds of people wandered along the Walk, as Brody and Lyna walked past a giant rotating globe with 'Universal' on it and walked in the first, a clothing, store.
"Wow. This is a big clothes store," Lyna said, looking around.
There were walls covered in shirts and rack of jeans, shorts and belts.
"It's kind of a weird place for a clothes store, isn't it?" Brody asked, as they walked down the first aisle.
"On the contrary, these clothes are either props from movies, or movie related. There's a shirt on the back wall that was worn by Peter Jackson when he was producing 'Heavenly Creatures'" a worker said, walking up to them.
He was tall and very thin. His hair was standing straight up with gel and the tips were a bright pink. He smiled warmly at Brody.
"That's great to know," Brody replied, clearing his throat.
Lyna suppressed a giggle and continued down the aisle.
"You are a romantic, aren't you?" the worker asked her.
"Guilty," she admitted.
"Oh honey. Please. We're all guilty of something at least once in our lives. But I think there's something over here you'd like," he said, taking her hand.
He led her to where three racks of dresses stood and pulled out a white spaghetti strap dress.
"Does this look familiar?" he asked, holding it out to her.
"Actually, this looks similar to the one Olivia Newton John wore on the 'National Bandstand' television show in 'Grease'," she replied.
"It's the same one," the guy said, excitedly.
Lyna took it from him and looked it over. She handed it back to him.
"It's similar, but not the same," she said, smiling.
"What do you mean?" he demanded.
"There was a flower on her stomach. It was on the left side. Plus it had a little sheer shawl type thing. She wore it in, but took it off after they were sitting. She handed it to the girl sitting beside her and then you see her leave with it, after Cha Cha DiGregorio starts dancing with Danny after Sonny distracted her. So, what you have here, is merely a replica," Lyna said, smiling.
The guy glared at her before shoving the dress back on the rack and stomping away from her. She giggled as Brody approached her.
"That was funny," he said, laughing.
"I know. I think it's kinda sad that I knew that much about a simple dress," she said, shrugging.
"No, that just means you're knowledgeable," he said, taking her hand.
They walked through the store.
"I love tye dye," she said, pulling a blue shirt off a shelf.
"Have you ever had a tye dye party?" he asked.
"Not really. I volunteered to help tye dye shirts for choir in the eighth grade. It was for our spring concert," she said, shrugging.
"You were in choir?" he asked.
"Yep. Fifth grade to graduation. I was offered a spot on the 'Crimsonaires', my school's show choir. But I had to sing a solo and you know the stage fright story," she said.
"But you still sang in choir?"
"Yeah. It was different being in a group. Plus we were standing still. There was a difference," she said, looking through the nearest rack.
"I see. Well, to avoid awkwardness, would you be interested in having a tye dye party with me and my sisters this summer? Phoebe, Chloe, Mickey and Elliot are invited as well," he said.
"Yeah. Let's throw a big tye dye party! We'll have a cook out and everything!" Lyna squealed.
Brody chuckled and nodded. "Let's get home and settled before we think about that," he said.
"Good point," she said, putting the shirt over her arm.
She sifted through the dresses and found a light blue dress. She held it up to herself and looked in the mirror by the counter.
"That's pretty," he said, standing behind her.
"Pretty?" she asked.
"Yes. If you're wearing it, the dress is merely pretty. You yourself are beautiful," he said, kissing her cheek.
She blushed and looked at the price tag. "Not bad."
"Splurge," he said, nudging her back.
She sighed deeply and shook her head. "Where am I going to wear something this fancy?" she asked.
"Fair point," he said, nodding.
She put the dress back on the rack and walked away. She paid for the shirt. "We ready?" she asked, as they met up by the door.
"If you are," he said, smiling.
He took her hand as they walked out the door. They walked through the small crowd and into a music store. There were rows and rows of CDs, cassette tapes and even vinyl records.
"Welcome to 'All the World's a Stage', The only music store where if we don't have it, it doesn't exist. I'm Suzette. Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" a small woman with waist length brown hair asked, walking up to them.
"No. I think we're just looking," Brody said, as Lyna walked away from him.
She walked to a shelf and started thumbing through the selection. She pulled a Beatles album and examined the cover. She set it aside and continued to through the CDs. She had a small stack of CDs when she finally located Brody who was thumbing through a poster display.
"Find anything?" she asked, setting the stack of CD's on the poster holder.
"A few good alcohol and music posters for the bar," he said, indicating several rolled up posters leaning against his leg.
"Cool," she said, looking through a second rack.
"What did you find?" Brody asked.
"Some CD's for mom and a couple for me," she replied.
"That's cool. What CD's did you get for yourself?" he asked.
"A couple Toby Keith, a couple teeny-bop boy bands as my mother would say," she said, laughing.
"Oh?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Backstreet Boys, 'N SYNC," she replied, shrugging.
"Sounds good," he said, nodding.
"Right. I forgot how good their music is," she said, laughing.
Brody chuckled as he finished going through the posters. "Are we ready?" he asked.
"I am if you are," Lyna replied, picking up the CD's.
They headed to the checkout, paid, and then left the store.
"Where to next?" she asked, as they stepped into the bright sun.
"Are you hungry?" he asked, looking at the various food vendors and shops.
"A little. You?" she replied, following his gaze.
"Kinda," he said.
"Well, how about this: we get something from a vendor like a hot dog or ice cream or something and then go to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner after we're done?" she asked, taking his hand.
"Sounds like a plan," he said, smiling at her.
He pulled their hands to his chest and pulled her for a kiss. She giggled as their lips met.
"Now, what to eat?" he said, as they separated.
"Um...how about a corn dog?" she said, motioning to a small cart with a blue and yellow striped umbrella.
"Sure. Sounds good," he replied, as they headed towards it.
They approached the cart where a short pudgy man with a bushy gray mustache stood handing a corn dog to a child in a stroller.
"Here you go, kiddo. Enjoy the City Walk!" he announced with a joyful laugh.
"He kinda reminds me of Santa Claus," Lyna whispered, with a smile.
"I noticed that," Brody said, as the man turned to them.
"Welcome to the Umbrella Room! What can I get for you, my pretty little lady?" the man asked, his eyes twinkling.
"I'll take a corn dog and a soda," she replied, smiling warmly.
"Wonderful!" the man said loudly as he reached into the cart. He pulled out a large corn dog. "And for you, sir?" he said, turning to Brody.
"I'll take the same," he said, pulling out his wallet.
"Alright!" the man said, reaching back into the cart. He pulled out a second corn dog. "Here you go. And your drinks are right there in the cooler," he said, motioning to a large soda cooler.
Lyna reached into the cooler and pulled out two sodas.
"Thank you. Keep the change, sir," Brody said, handing him money.
"Why, thank you, kind sir. Enjoy the City Walk, you lovebirds!" he called as they walked away.
Lyna smiled broadly as they walked to a bench and sat down. "He's a sweet man," she commented.
"He sure is," Brody said, smiling.
They ate in silence for a moment, watching people walk by.
"So, what do you think?" she asked, opening her soda.
"It's awesome. I mean, the stores are pretty unique and the vendors are just as nice as can be!" he replied, watching the corn dog vendor.
"That's what I thought when I first came here," she said, smiling.
"What was it like, the first time you came here?" he asked.
"I'd imagine I was the same as you. I was 14. Dad went with me. We went in June, right after school let out. The weekend before, we went to a movie as a family. We finalized the plans early May and I was practically living out of a suitcase since then. I was really nervous about flying. I'd never gone anywhere that wasn't in a car. The furthest I went from home was to Indianapolis with Dad and Mom a couple of times after his surgery," Lyna explained.
"Your dad had surgery? What kind?" Brody asked, concerned.
"Gastric bypass. He weighed nearly 700 pounds before it. He lost 200 pounds within the first year. Then another 100 every year since. He's finally reached a stable weight of 280 since 2004. He and I have been workout buddies basically since," she said, looking at him.
"That's amazing. I mean, I couldn't tell when I met him," he said.
Lyna chuckled and nodded. "He's come so far."
"You look great too by the way. You have an amazing body," Brody said, placing a hand on her knee.
"Thank you. You have a great one as well," she said, chuckling.
She leaned in an gave him a deep kiss. When she broke it off, she smiled.
"So what did you do the first time you came to Cali?" he asked.
"Well, we came here, went to Charlie Brown's at least four times, Santa Monica pier, Edwards Air Base and DisneyLand. We also went to other places that aren't tourist attractions, like the mall and Barnes and Noble, the Krispy Kreme shop, places like that," she explained.
"There's a Krispy Kreme shop?" he asked, eyes bright.
She laughed and nodded. "Yeah. It was pretty cool. Got to watch them make the doughnuts."
"That's awesome," he replied.
"Oh! And I forgot. We also went to the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum. It's closed now, but it was pretty cool. I was the only one in my class who knew who they were when I went back to school," she said, laughing.
"That would have been neat to see," he said, taking a drink of soda.
"It was. Dad and Aunt Loretta dressed up in cowboy outfits and got their pic taken," she said, standing up.
"That would have been interesting to see," he said. "Why didn't you dress up?"
"Who do you think took the picture?" she said, walking to a nearby trash can and dropping her trash into it.
Brody laughed as he followed suit. He then took her hand and motioned back to the shops. "Ready?" he asked.
"Yep," she said, leading the way into a small candy shop.
"Welcome to the Sweet Tooth. I'm Margie. If there's anything I can help you with, just let me know," the short elderly woman said, behind the counter.
She was organizing a small display of lollipops.
"Thank you," Lyna said, as they walked past her.
They walked down the first aisle and pointed out candy.
"Chocolate covered gummy bears!" Lyna said, excitedly.
"White chocolate covered pretzel sticks," Brody said, picking up a package.
"Yum!" she said, smiling.
"You like white chocolate?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yep. It's my favorite," she said, smiling.
"Mine too. Not a big dark chocolate fan," he said, returning the smile.
The door opened and the corn dog vendor walked in.
"Margie! How's the most beautiful woman in the City Walk doing today?" he said, swooping over and kissing the woman's hand.
Margie blushed and giggled. "Oh, Henry. You've been in the sun to long," she said.
"Nonsense! Well! If it isn't the lovebirds! How did you enjoy the corn dogs?" Henry asked, noticing Brody and Lyna.
"They were great. Thank you," Lyna replied, smiling.
"You're very welcome, little lady," Henry said, with a twinkle.
He turned to Margie and held a hushed conversation. Lyna raised her eyebrow at Brody who shrugged.
"Who knows," he whispered as they continued down the aisle.
"Margie m'dear, what time do you get off work?" Henry asked, as Lyna and Brody approached the counter to pay.
"I get off at 7 tonight. Why?" Margie asked, as Henry stepped towards the door.
"I'm taking you for dinner at the Rock Cafe. It would be an honor!" he said, loudly.
Margie blushed and nodded. "I'd love that," she said, smiling.
"Until 7 m'dear. Good day, lovebirds!" Henry said, bowing slightly to Brody and Lyna.
"Good day, Henry!" Lyna called, as he stepped out into the sun.
"Please excuse him. He can be very boisterous when he wants to be," Margie said, as she started ringing up their purchases.
"He's a wonderful man. Is he your husband?" Lyna asked.
"No. Actually my husband passed several years ago. Henry has just been a friend since grade school. After he heard my Jackie passed, he has been by my side. He really helped me through it," Margie replied, eyes glistening with tears.
"That's really sweet," Lyna said, placing her hand on her heart.
"Thank you. What about you two? Do you live around here?" Margie asked, changing the subject.
"Actually, we're from Indiana. We're on our first vacation as a couple," Brody replied.
"Indiana? Wow. You've come a far way. How long have you two been together?" Margie asked, taking the money Lyna handed her.
"Just under a month," Lyna said, smiling.
"That's so sweet. Do you have family in California, or is this just a random place?" she asked, handing Lyna her change.
"I actually have an aunt in Palmdale, along with extended family," she said, nodding.
"Oh, wonderful! Well, welcome to the Universal City Walk!" Margie said, warmly.
Brody smiled as he handed her money for his purchases. "Thank you, Margie. You have a wonderful store here. Do you own it?" he asked, looking around.
"Yes, I do. My daughter and her husband used to own a toy store here, but after Jackie passed, I bought it from them and turned it into a candy store. Much better business," she said, wisely.
"That's great. You have a great day, Margie," Lyna said, placing a hand on the old woman's wrinkled wrist.
"Thank you sweetie. You have a great one as well. And enjoy the rest of your vacation!" she said, as the couple walked out of the store.
"Wow. Are people out here really that friendly?" Brody asked, as they walked down the path to the next store.
"Well, shopkeepers and vendors are. Most people are just irritated and grumpy being out in the weather with several screaming kids," Lyna explained, as he opened the door to a movie store.
There were several aisles of movies while the walls were covered in posters, toys and various gadgets from movies.
"Wow. I'm in nerd-vana!" Brody breathed as he walked along the wall.
"I didn't know you were a nerd," Lyna said, laughing.
"I'm not really a nerd. I just have nerd-like tendencies," he corrected her.
She giggled and turned to the movies. They separated as she walked along the movie shelves. She had a small handful of movies when she ran into him again. He had a T-shirt draped over his arm along with a stuffed Chewbacca and a toy lightsaber. She raised an eyebrow.
"My cousin's birthday is next month and he is a Star Wars freak," he said, shrugging.
"I believe you," she said, smiling.
They walked up to the counter and Brody paid for his purchases first.
"Do you like card games?" Lyna asked.
"Some. Why?" he asked.
Lyna picked up a small rectangular tin with a picture of John Wayne on it. "I love playing. Maybe we can play," she said, as he handed the cashier money.
Brody looked at her curiously, but didn't say anything. After he was handed his change, he picked up his bag and waited for Lyna.
"Are you okay, baby doll?" he asked, as they walked out of the store.
"Yeah. I just saw those and thought of Grandma. She loved playing Euchre, Pinochle and Bridge. It kinda made me sentimental," she said.
Brody stopped and pulled her close. He wrapped his arms around her and gave her a kiss. She sighed and laid her head on his chest.
"I'm sorry. She loved the Duke. And it's hard, with the day she died coming up. I'm sorry," she repeated.
"Don't ever be afraid to say what you feel. If you want, we can call it a day and go back to the hotel," he said.
"No. It just took me by surprise. I haven't really thought about her since Sunday. And when I saw the cards, for a moment, I thought 'Grandma would love these. She would love to show them off to her friends'," she explained.
"You're right. She would have loved them. But not because they're John Wayne. But because you gave them to her. You gave her a gift, meaning you thought of her while you were on vacation," he said, kissing her forehead.
She smiled at him. "You always know what to say to make me feel better," she said.
"I just figure what would I want to be told if I was in your shoes," he said.
She looked down. "Probably that you could take them off, cause they're hurting," she said, laughing.
Brody laughed and gave her another kiss.
"Are they really hurting?" he asked.
"A little. But only when we stop," she admitted.
"Well, where to next?" he asked, motioning to the numerous stores in front of them.
"Well, what time is it?" she asked, pulling out her cell phone.
"It is a little after five," Brody said, checking his watch.
"Wow. Already?" Lyna said, putting her phone back in her purse.
"You ready to call it a day?" he asked.
"No. I just didn't think we've been here that long," she said, shrugging.
"Time passes slowly in the presence of those you love," he said, wisely.
"That is true," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck.
He smiled as he gave her a kiss.
"We'd better not start anything in public," he said, after a moment.
"Fair point," she said, taking his hand.
They walked into the next store. There were thousands of Pez dispeners. Brody let out a whistle.
"Wow. That's a lot of dispensers," he said, approaching a large display.
He started looking through the display occasionally muttering to himself. Lyna smiled at him and moved to the wall displays. She pulled a 'Lightning McQueen dispenser off the wall and looked at it. She then found a 'Mater' one.
"Gabriel and Mario," she said, nodding. She looked along the rest of the wall and found a blue saxophone. "Josiah," she said, picking it up. She then found a monkey and grabbed it.
She then moved to the candy display and picked out several different flavors to give each child a variety, plus some extra for herself. She checked out and wondered to the large display where Brody was still sifting through.
"Find anything?" she asked, smiling.
"There are several cool ones. I'm trying to limit myself," he said, laughing.
"Right. I only got souvenirs for my niece and nephews," she said, waving her bag.
"You're done? Already?" he asked, incredulously.
"Yeah. I only buy the candy. I've never understood the point of a dispenser," she said, shrugging.
"I'll hurry," he promised.
"It's okay. Take your time," she said, patting his butt.
"Keep that up and I'll have to do something about it," he threatened.
"Uh-huh. Sure you will. I'm not worried," she teased.
"Try it," he said, smiling evilly.
"I will when you least expect it," she said, walking away. She sifted through a smaller display.
Brody walked up to the checkout counter, fifteen minutes later. Lyna waited patiently, standing by the door watching the passing crowd.
"You ready, baby doll?" he asked, wrapping an arm around her waist.
"With you, I'm ready for anything," she said, as she opened the door.
They stepped out into the brilliant sunshine.
"Who do you have left to buy for?" he asked, as they walked past the next store, a makeup/hair salon.
"Um, my dad, Phoebe and Chloe. Maybe tomorrow we can hit the mall in the Valley. Chloe would like something from there. She doesn't care for native California stuff," she said, shrugging.
"What are you going to get your dad?" he asked.
"Candy from Charlie Brown's. He loves the taffy and crystallized suckers," she said, smiling, shielding her eyes from the sun.
They passed a souvenir stand, selling City Walk t-shirts, water bottles, visors among other items with the Universal logo.
"I need sunglasses," Lyna said, walking around the small stand.
She tried on several pair, while Brody looked at the baseball caps. She bought a pair while he held out two caps, one dark blue the other khaki.
"Which do you like better?" he asked.
She thought for a second. "The khaki. Makes your eyes pop," she said, smiling.
He nodded and paid for it. As they continued to walk, he slipped it onto his head and adjusted it. She shook her head.
"Don't you like it?" he asked.
"I love it. It makes you sexier," she said, assuring him.
He raised an eyebrow.
"I think the sun's getting to you," he said, wrapping his arm around her waist.
"No. I'm good," she said, as they walked.
"Ice cream?" he asked, pointing to a small sundae shop.
"I'd love some," she said, as he opened the door.
They walked in and walked up to the counter. All the tables were full and the small shop echoed with conversations. Lyna looked over the menu boards.
"What sounds good?" she asked, turning towards him.
"Something to split, or something to ourselves?" Brody asked, pulling her close.
"We can split something. I'm not picky," she said.
"Okay. How about a banana split?" he offered.
"Sounds good," she said, stepping forward.
"My treat," he said, sternly.
"Fine," she said, pouting slightly.
He chuckled as he bent down and gave her a kiss.
"What can I get you?" the teenager behind the counter asked.
"We'll take a large banana split and two bottles of water," Brody ordered.
"Gotta stay hydrated," he said, kissing her forehead.
He pulled out his wallet and handed money to the cashier. After he had gotten his change, Lyna motioned to a table that had just opened up.
"Go snag it before someone else does," Brody said, nudging her.
She walked quickly to the table and sat down, placing her purchases in the chair beside her. A few minutes later, he joined her with a large dish heaped with ice cream and toppings. He handed her a bottle of water and smiled.
"This really is a large," he commented, handing her a spoon.
"Yep. I doubt we can eat all of it," she said, dipping the spoon into the ice cream.
"Right," he said.
They ate in silence for a few minutes.
"Tell me more about the first time you came out here," Brody said, opening his bottle of water.
"Well, besides the places I already told you, we spent a lot of time at the Antelope Valley mall. We went and saw a couple movies. It was awesome. Towards the end of the trip, Aunt Loretta threw a small party for us. I don't remember even a quarter of the people there. I don't think I met half of them before that night. Demi and Lalani were joined to my hip.
Oh yeah. Aunt Loretta had four cats at the time, Star, Goldie, Sammi and Sunny. Star was ancient. She was always sneezing and wheezing. Shortly after we left she passed away. Sammi was my fat cat. She weighed like 40 pounds. I was in charge of brushing her fur. She hated it, but I wore thick gloves and just dove in on her belly and back. She eventually got used to it," Lyna said.
"Wow. What about Hannah and Bandit?" he asked.
"She's had Hannah for as long as I can remember. But she had a dog my first time here named Rusty. He was a Chow mix. He had cancer so one of his front paws had been amputated. But that didn't stop him. He was such an active dog. So beautiful too. Him and Hannah were so close. She took him to the vet one day. After the appointment, he climbed into the back seat, laid down and when she got home he was gone. Broke Aunt Loretta's heart.
A few months later, she was asked to dog sit some puppies and when the owner came back to get them, they offered her one for payment. That's how she got Bandit. He got his name because he was always stealing something, whether it was a toy or food from another dog. He couldn't keep his teeth or paws to himself," she explained.
"Wow. What about your second trip?" he asked, taking another bite of ice cream.
She sighed and took a bite. "Well, in September of '98, our house caught fire. It was my freshman year. We were sent to a hotel while repairs were done. Grandma B was living with us, because her health was slowly deteriorating. The first few days after the fire, she stayed with a friend of hers. After about a week, we convinced her to come out here and stay with Aunt Loretta for awhile. Each of us kids got a certain amount to replace all of our belongings. I got the most, because everything in my room was destroyed.
Well, after my belongings were paid for, I had a fairly large amount left. I decided to talk to mom and dad and see if I could go out to California to be with Grandma for Christmas. They said yes. So a week before Christmas I was packed up and heading to California. Aunt Loretta parked in the Valley and took a shuttle bus to LAX to get me. Grandma didn't know. It was a surprise. We went to Ron and Vera's dropped me off and then she went to get Grandma. We threw around ideas as how to present me to Grandma. Finally, they threw a coat over me and plopped me onto the couch.
When Grandma was seated and Aunt Loretta was looking for a seat, Ron smack my knee and said 'Hey! Shanae! Sit up! Loretta needs a place to sit!'" she said.
"Wow. What happened then?" Brody asked, smiling.
"I threw off the coat and said, 'I'm moving! I'm moving!' Grandma stared at me before crying. She couldn't believe it. After we ate and visited, she wrapped her arms around me and wouldn't let go. That was the first Christmas I spent away from home," Lyna said, sighing.
He patted her hand. "But you were home. I mean, kind of."
She laughed as she took another bite. "That is true. Let me rephrase it then. It was the first time I wasn't with my parents for a major holiday," she offered.
"Better," he said, laughing.
They ate in silence for a few minutes. Lyna put her spoon down and leaned back in her chair.
"I'm full," she said, taking a drink of water.
Brody put one more spoonful in his mouth and nodded. "Me too."
They sat for a few more minutes.
"Ready?" she asked, finishing her water.
"I am if you are. I'll take care of the trash," he offered, standing up.
"Okay. I'll be right back," she said, approaching the counter.
He walked to the door and waited while she bought two more bottles of water. He held the door open as she walked up to him and handed him one of the bottles.
"Thank you," he said, giving her a kiss.
"You're welcome," she said, as they stepped out into the crowd.
"So, what kind of stores are left?" he asked, looking around them.
"I think there are a few more clothes stores and definitely a toy store," she said, pointing to a few stores on the other side of the walk.
He nodded as he wrapped an arm around her waist. "Lead on, McDuff," he said, grinning.
She giggled as they started walking. They approached a clothes store called Gravel. She held the door open and he walked past her. The store was filled with shelves of shirts and racks of jeans. A far rack by the dressing rooms held dresses and skirts. Lyna pulled out a black spaghetti string dress and held it up in front of a mirror.
"That looks...not you," Brody said, walking up behind her.
"Not me?" she said, confused.
"I can't picture you in black," he said, shrugging. "Sorry."
"It's okay. I don't really see it either," she admitted, laughing.
She put the dress back on the rack and continued looking through the racks. She found a thick strapped pale pink dress.
"Now, that looks more like you," he commented as she held up against herself.
"You think?" she asked, unsure.
"Yeah. No offense, but you're too pure to wear black. Well, less pure than you were day before yesterday," he added in a hushed whisper.
"Oh, stop. I'm still just as pure as I was when we came here," she said, smiling.
"Uh-huh," Brody said, wrapping his arms around her waist and started kissing and nibbling her neck.
"Stop!" she said urgently.
"Or what?" he challenged.
"Okay. You made your point. I'm not as pure as I was day before yesterday. Now stop, before you start something we can't finish until later," she insisted.
He laughed and kissed her neck one last time before releasing her. She took a deep breath before heading to the cashier. She paid for the dress and waited for Brody by the door.
"Ready?" he asked, taking her hand.
"Yep," she said, opening the door.
They walked out the door and into the crowd. Lyna adjusted the bags in her hand.
"That's it on this side. Ready for the other side?" she asked, looking at Brody.
"I'm not sure. I'm not sure how much more we can carry. But my wallet is pretty light," he said, laughing.
"Did you just wanna call it a day, then?" she asked.
"No. We got a few more places to go. I definitely wanna stop in that jewelry store. I gotta get my sisters a few things. Mel wants a basketball pendant if we can find one, Dani likes weird and funky earrings so I figured either here or Charlie Brown's would be best. And Violet loves stuffed animals. She has a collection of over 100. So I figured the toy store would be a good stop," he explained.
"Sounds good. I love toy shops," she said, as they started walking through the crowd.
They walked into the jewelry store. Lyna walked over to the necklaces while Brody looked at the earrings. She found a silver sphere on a chain and picked it up. It wasn't a basketball, but it was close. She held on to it as she continued to look.
"Hey, you think a 17 year old girl would like these?" Brody asked, walking up to her.
He handed her one pair of orange triangle earrings and a pair of neon green circles.
"If she likes funky ones, she could wear one of each," she responded, handing them back to him.
"Fair point," he said, smiling.
She held up the necklace she found. "It's not a basketball, but it looks beautiful," she said, handing it to him.
"She'll love it. See anything you like?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No. I have two necklaces that I have no intention of replacing. I have over fifty pairs of earrings. I can't have charm bracelets because after a day, I'm either missing half the charms or the entire bracelet," she said, laughing.
"I see. No jewelry for the lady," Brody said, nodding.
She laughed as they headed to the cashier. He paid for the jewelry.
"Would you like cases for them?" the cashier, a tall, thin man with red hair asked.
"Um, sure. I'll just stick them in one of the other bags," Brody replied, nodding.
The cashier nodded and pulled three small black felt boxes from under the counter and placed the necklace and earrings in each one.
"Have a good day," the man said.
"You too," Brody replied, as they walked out the door.
They walked through the crowd.
"How about the toy store and then call it a day?" she asked.
"Sounds good," he replied, as they passed another clothing store.
"Ooh, my bad. It's a Disney store. Not just a toy store," she said, as they walked up to the store door.
"It's all good. Toys are toys," he said, opening the door.
They walked into the store, and she smiled, looking around.
"I love this store!" she breathed.
"Who's your favorite character?" he asked, as they walked around.
"I love Eeyore. Who's Violet's favorite?" she asked.
"From Winnie the Pooh or any Disney thing?" he asked.
"Any," she responded.
"Well, her favorite Pooh character is Piglet. But overall, is Tinkerbell," Brody replied, looking at the small Tinkerbell area.
"I think Tinkerbell is over rated," she said, shrugging.
He laughed as he looked at the merchandise. He picked up a small snow globe.
"Think she'd like that?" he asked.
"I think she would. But I also think she'd like this," Lyna said, picking up a Tinkerbell purse. "It's got a matching wallet."
"Yeah. I think she would really like that," he replied, taking the purse.
Lyna walked over to the large stuffed animal display. She looked through the various characters and pulled a medium sized Eeyore out of the pile. She hugged him before putting him back.
"Why don't you get it?" Brody asked, walking up to her.
"Because, I already have two things to cuddle. I don't need them to start fighting," she said, smiling.
"I'm confused," he said.
"I have you and the bear you gave me. If I get another thing, it'll only be a third thing. You and the bear might already start fighting, saying there's not enough loving to go around," she said, laughing.
He laughed heartily as he wrapped his arms around her. "You're precious," he said, giving her a kiss.
"Thank you," she replied.
"You can't come into a Disney store and not get anything," he said, motioning around them.
"I just don't know what to buy," she said, looking around.
"How about something Eeyore-ish," he said, motioning to the small Winnie the Pooh display.
She walked over to it and after a moment, picked up a purse and a snow globe.
"Okay. I'm ready, if you are," she replied, walking back over to him.
"I'm ready." he said, as they walked up to the cash register.
"Did you find everything?" the young woman behind the counter asked.
"Yes. Thank you," Lyna replied, placing the globe and purse on the counter.
She paid for the purchases and stepped aside for Brody to pay. After they were both done, they walked out.
"Ready to go eat?" he said, motioning to the large Hard Rock Cafe sign.
"Ready," she replied, nodding.
They walked, hand in hand, to the restaurant.
"How many?" the hostess asked.
"2," Brody replied, motioning to Lyna and himself.
"Right this way," she said, taking two menus and walking away.
They followed her to a booth in the far end of the restaurant.
"Your waiter will be right with you. Have a good meal," the hostess said, as Brody took Lyna's bags and motioned her to sit down.
He placed the bags beside him as he scooted into the booth.
"You know, I think Elvis' razor is here somewhere," he said, with a smile.
"I think I'm gonna pass on that," she said, as she opened her menu.
He laughed and opened his own. "Are you going to allow me to pay for you?"
"Do I really have a choice?" she asked, smiling.
He pretended to think for a moment. "In a sense. If you really want to pay for yourself, I can't stop you. But it would make me feel good, since I couldn't buy you a piece of jewelry," he said, grinning.
"Okay. You twisted my arm," she said, giggling.
"Thank you," he said, placing his hand on hers.
"You're welcome, and thank you, huckleberry," she said.
"You're welcome, baby doll," he said, as she turned back to her menu.
They looked over the menu in silence for a moment.
"What sounds good to you?" she asked, looking at him.
"I'm kinda thinking about maybe the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I'm in a crispy munchy mood," he said, laughing.
"You know what? I am too. That sounds absolutely amazing," she said, nodding, as a waiter approached them.
"Hello. My name is Riley and I'll be your server today. What can I get you to drink?" he asked, pulling a small notepad out of his apron pocket.
"I'll take a sweet tea," Lyna said.
"I'll take the same," Brody said, closing his menu.
"Do you need another minute, or are you ready to order?" Riley asked.
Brody motioned for Lyna to order first.
"I'll take the fried chicken meal," she said.
"What vegetable would you like with that?" Riley asked, writing it down.
"What kinds do you have?" she asked.
"We have green beans, corn on the cob, peas, and a medley of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas," he informed her.
"I'll take the medley," she responded, handing him her menu.
"Okay. And you sir?" he asked, turning to Brody.
"I'll actually take the same," Brody replied, handing him his menu.
"Excellent. I will put these in and be right back with your drinks," Riley said, taking the menus and leaving the table.
Lyna sat back and let out a big sigh.
"You tired?" Brody asked, cocking his head to the side.
"A little. But it's a good tired. Kinda like last night," she said, with a small smile.
"That was a great tired," he said, wriggling his eyebrows at her.
"Oh stop," she said, waving him off, blushing. She giggled before looking into his eyes. "I love you," she said, placing her hand on his.
"And I love you," he said, giving her hand a kiss.
At that moment, Riley returned with their teas. "Is there anything else I can get you folks?" he asked, setting the drinks in front of them.
"Not for me thanks," Lyna replied, shaking her head.
"Me either. Thanks though," Brody replied, looking at Riley.
"Okay," Riley said, walking away.
Brody smiled back at Lyna. "Any ideas what to do tomorrow?" he asked.
"Maybe just go over to Aunt Loretta's. Give the dogs a bath, and spend time with the girls. Then have a small break and maybe go to Santa Monica pier on Monday?" she asked, looking at him.
"Sounds like a plan to me. Just rest and relax on Saturday? I think I can handle that," he added.
"Great. Maybe Aunt Loretta would even let you cook," Lyna said, picking up her glass.
She took a deep drink while his eyes sparkled.
"Yeah. Maybe she would. Wonder what I should make," Brody contemplated.
She smiled and giggled. "You don't have to think about it right now. We can discuss it tomorrow with her and the girls," she said, patting his hand.
"Fair point. Besides, Santa Monica pier and Hollywood, where else do you think I should experience while we're here?" he asked.
"Well, that's about it. I mean we'll definitely go back to Charlie Brown's. Gotta get candy for dad. Then the mall to get something for Chloe," she said, counting on her fingers.
"Any ideas for her?" he asked.
"None," Lyna replied, shaking her head.
"I'm sure once you see something she would like, you'll know it," Brody said, reassuringly.
"Yeah. I just hope I find it soon. This particular trip has definitely made a dent in my wallet," she said, worriedly.
"It's okay. I can cover you, if you need it," he said, taking her hand.
"No, that's not it. I bought a certain amount of cash with me. I have a change jar in my room, and every night I empty my purse/pockets into it. It had close to two grand. I brought half of it with me. I just can't believe I spent so much," she said, shaking her head again.
"How much do you have left?" he asked.
"Just over half of that," she said, shrugging.
"That's not bad. Especially since you've bought for almost everyone you wanted to buy souvenirs for. Now I think you need to focus on buying souvenirs for yourself. I bought something for you. I figured this would be a great time to give it to you. I bought it before we left Goshen. I forgot all about it until I found it in my suitcase," he said, pulling a small black drawstring bag from his pocket.
He handed it to her. She looked at him, eyes narrowed, as she opened the bag. She pulled out a silver digital camera.
"I know it's late, but maybe you could still get some pictures while we were still here," he said, when she looked at him.
She just stared at the camera in her hands. She finally looked at him and smiled. "Thank you. But you shouldn't have," she said.
"It's not much. I have the software at back at the hotel to download the pix onto your computer. I just figured maybe you needed something more than just some trinkets and clothes to remember your time here," he said, placing his hand on hers.
She looked at him, tears in her eyes. "Thank you, Brody. I appreciate it!" she said.
"You're welcome, Lyna. And if it makes you feel better, I guess I could let you pay me back for it," he said, as the waiter approached with their food.
She smiled at him. "That would be insulting you. I've been thinking about buying one for a long time, but never really had a reason. Thank you," she said, as Riley set a plate in front of each of them.
"Ready for a refill?" Riley asked, pointing to their empty glasses.
"Yes, please," Brody said, handing both glasses to them.
As Riley walked away, Lyna looked at Brody in thought. She pulled out her phone.
"What's up?" he asked, as she looked back at him.
"Do you think it would be weird to get a picture of Margie and Henry?" she asked.
Brody smiled and nodded. "It would be weird, but I think they'd be glad to do it," he said.
"Good. They're such sweet people," she said, picking up her fork and knife.
"Yes, they are. Maybe, and I say this out of curiosity, maybe we're looking at our future," he said, shrugging.
Lyna looked at him and cocked her head to the side. She stared at him for a minute. "Acutally I can totally see you with a big belly and handlebar mustache," she said, giggling.
Brody laughed as he took a bite of his food. "I guess I opened myself up for that," he said, nodding.
She laughed as she started eating. They ate in silence for a moment, just watching people walk by or looking at the artifacts around them.
"Was there a movie or something you wanted to watch when we got back to the hotel?" he asked.
"Um, I'm not sure. What are you in the mood for?" she asked.
"I'm kinda in the mood for either a romantic comedy or just a comedy. You?"
"The same. We'll have to see what movies we have when we get back to the hotel," she said, taking a drink of her tea.
"Yeah. I don't remember what all I rented yesterday. That reminds me, I should call the bar and restaurant when we get back. Just to check up," he said, nodding.
"Yeah. I should call Pheebs and Chloe. I haven't even told them we made it," she said, laughing.
Brody laughing. They finished their meal in silence. Lyna had just finished her drink as Brody pushed his plate away.
"That was really good," he said, patting his stomach gently.
"Yes it was," she said, leaning back against the booth.
Riley approached their table and smiled at them both. "Can I interest either of you in dessert?" he asked, gathering the dishes.
"Not for me," Lyna said, shaking her head.
"Me either," Brody said, pulling out his wallet.
"Okay. I'll be right back with your check," Riley said, as he took the dishes and walked away.
Lyna looked back at Brody and dug into her purse. "I'll get the tip," she said, pulling out a few singles.
He held his hands up and smiled. "That's fine," he said.
Riley came back with the check and took Brody's credit card.
"Here hand me the bags," Lyna said, motioning for the bags beside him.
He handed them over and she started combining the bags into one another. By the time she was done, Riley returned with Brody's card and took his tip.
"You have a good evening," he said, smiling and bowing slightly at them both.
"You too," Brody said, as he walked away. "You ready?" he asked, turning to Lyna.
"Yep," she said, climbing out of the booth.
Brody took the bags from her and took her hand in his empty hand. They wove in and out of the tables as they headed to the front lobby. As they headed out the door, they bumped into Henry and Margie.
"Hey, it's the lovebirds!" Henry said, loudly.
"We could say the same thing," Lyna said, nodding towards the couples clasped hands.
Margie blushed and giggled.
"Um, do you two have a moment?" Lyna asked.
"Of course, sweetie. What can we do for you?" Margie asked, warmly.
"Well, you two are such sweethearts and I'd like to take your picture so I can remember how sweet you two really are," Lyna responded, pulling out her digital camera.
"Oh, you're such an angel!" Margie said, wrapping her arms around Lyna in a tight embrace.
"You don't think I'm weird?" she asked, as the older woman released her.
"You're not any weirder than I am," Henry said, puffing his chest out proudly.
Lyna giggled and Brody smiled.
"I'd greatly appreciate it," Lyna said.
"Of course my dear," Margie said, as she and Henry stood a few feet away, arms around each others waist.
"Okay. Say 'cheese'," Lyna said.
"Cheese!" Margie said.
Henry turned to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek as the camera flashed. Margie smacked him as Lyna walked up to them.
"Thank you, so much," she said, shaking both their hands.
"What are your names?" Henry asked, clapping Brody on the shoulder.
"I'm Brody Parrish," he said.
"And I'm Lyna Jones," Lyna said.
"Very nice to meet you both. Mind if I overstep my bounds, a little?" Henry asked, seriously.
"Um, sure," Lyna said, hesitantly.
"Well, I got to thinking after I left Margie's sweet shop, that the reason I was so taken with you two, is you kinda remind me of Margie and myself as a young couple," he said.
"Oh?" Brody asked.
"Yes. We were so much in love. Her eyes sparkled just like yours do when you look at him. And my breath caught in my chest when I looked at her beauty, just like you when you look at her," Henry said, indicating both of them.
"But what happened?" Lyna asked.
"He went off to Vietnam and was listed as MIA after it ended. I was forced to move on. Then one day a few weeks after Jackie passed on, I came to work and there he was working at the corn dog stand. I couldn't believe it. I went over and talked to him and we've been semi-together since," Margie explained.
"That's so romantic," Lyna said, placing her hand over her heart.
"Please, never take anything for granted, especially each other," Margie said, placing her hand on Brody and Lyna's clasped hands.
"We won't," Lyna promised her.
There was a silence among the four people.
"We'd better let you get to your dinner," Lyna said, stepping aside. "Thank you for the picture," she said, giving Margie a hug.
"You're welcome, sweetie. We're glad to be of service," Margie said, as Brody gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you too, Henry," Lyna said, giving the man a hug.
"You're welcome," he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
They all said 'good-bye' and walked away. Lyna took Brody's hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. They walked to the car in silence. Lyna leaned against the car while Brody put the bags in the back seat. He stood in front of her and took her face in his hands.
"To making it count," he whispered as he kissed her lips.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His lips trailed down to her neck and he gently nipped her. She reluctantly pushed him away.
"We should wait until we get to the hotel," she whispered.
He pulled away and looked into her eyes. "You've got a good point. I love you so much," he whispered, caressing her cheek.
"I love you too. There are no words to describe how much I love you," she said, placing a hand over his.
They stood like this for a moment, before a guard approached them.
"Is everything alright?" he asked.
"Yeah. Just having a tender moment," Brody said, stepping away from Lyna.
She nodded as she opened the drivers side door. She climbed in as he climbed into the passengers side. She burst out laughing as she started the car.
"That was funny. He probably thinks you're kidnapping me," she said, pulling out of the parking space.
Brody laughed as they drove out of the parking garage.