Sizzle (2010)(10)

By: Julie Garwood


Sidney smiled when she saw what Lyra was wearing. “New pj’s?” she asked.

Lyra nodded. She went to the kitchen and returned with a bottle of water.

Sidney tilted her head and studied her friend for several seconds.

Lyra noticed. “What?”

“How come, even with a sunburn and dressed in 1950s pajamas, you still look stunning?”

“Okay, what do you want to borrow?”

“Nothing.”

“Then why the compliments?”

“I just think it’s disgusting,” she explained with a grin. “I always feel like the homely stepchild when we go out together.”

Lyra wasn’t buying it. “Oh, please. I’m ordinary. You’re the one with the strawberry blond hair and gorgeous eyes.”

“I’m the girl next door. You’re the sexy one. I make men smile. You make them pant.”

Lyra laughed. “You’re crazy. Men adore you.”

Sidney shrugged. “Some do,” she said. “I suppose it’s because I know how to flirt.”

“Yes, you do. You’ve turned it into an art form.”

“I am good at it,” she admitted. She pulled out her T-shirt and said, “I’m thinking about implants.”

Lyra had just taken a drink and nearly choked on the water. “You’re what?”

“Implants,” she repeated with a straight face. “If I get them, I’m going for gigantic, like Professor Pierson. Perky Pierson.”

“Those aren’t real?”

“They’re up around her neck,” Sidney said. “There’s no way they can be real.”

“You aren’t really thinking about getting implants, are you?”

“Of course not. You’re so easy to rattle.” Swiftly changing the subject, she asked, “Did your grandmother send you those pajamas?”

“Yes, she did,” Lyra replied as she sat down across from her friend and picked up a laptop.

“What was the occasion?”

“Early birthday gift.”

“She doesn’t ever get you anything else, does she?”

“Not for a long, long time.”

“What about your brothers? Does she get them pajamas, too?” she asked, smiling as she tried to picture Lyra’s brothers wearing them.

“Watches,” she replied. “Watches or alarm clocks every holiday.”

“I think your grandmother is a genius. Think about it. She’s eliminated the agony of trying to figure out what everyone wants, and she never has to fight the crowds or worry about costs. Christmas shopping must be a breeze.”

“You’re right, it is,” Lyra agreed. “You really should meet her. She’s the only member of my dysfunctional family you haven’t met, and I know you’ll like her. Why don’t you drive down to San Diego with me this weekend? I promised Father Henry I’d have another talk with her. I’m planning to leave after class Friday afternoon. Please come. It’ll be a nice getaway for you.”

“I wish I could, but I can’t. I’ve got two projects due the end of next week and both of them need a little more work. I’m going to be in the film lab all weekend.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“You’ve got your own project to finish. How’s it going, by the way?”

“Almost done,” she said. “I want to add a few more photos of the oh-so-lovely men and women dumping their trash, but I’ve got all the pictures I need.”

“That’s great. You’ve got to be happy you don’t have to spend hours every day driving back and forth to the dump in all that traffic.”

“No, I’m still doing that.”

“You just said you weren’t taking any more photos …”

“I’ve got another project going now. It’s not really a project, I guess. I’m just curious.”

She told Sidney about the patch of grass and flowers she’d found on the other side of the hill. “It was so … surprising, and I admit, I’m fascinated.”

“So you set your camera to take pictures of what? The grass growing?”

“No, I want to find out who’s cutting the grass and tending the flowers. More important, I’m curious as to why. I’ve got all sorts of theories, but my favorite is a lost love. Maybe that little patch of grass is where they liked to picnic or—”