It’s Tonya’s first Thanksgiving in Los Angeles. George will be spending the day watching football, while Tonya’s mother and stepfather have come to visit her. Tonya meets her parents at their motel, and they drive up to Santa Barbara to spend the day with Mike. As the turkey is cooking, the conversation takes an interesting turn.
An except from the contemporary romance novel Aquamarine
It had been years since Heather or Alberto had seen the ocean, so they stopped to take pictures as they made their way up the Pacific Coast Highway. Tonya’s spirits rose once they reached Santa Barbara and parked in front of a small, unassuming home in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Mike came out as they exited their vehicle, greeting Tonya with a big hug.
“Okay, that’s enough,” said Heather with a nervous grin.
“Sorry, Mom.” Tonya quickly made the introductions, but her mother looked a little star struck. The scent of roasting turkey filled the air as Mike invited them inside and told them to make themselves at home in the living room.
“Can I help you with anything?” asked Heather as she presented him with the pies.
“Mike’s an amazing cook.” Tonya’s face beamed with pride as she spoke. “He learned how while he was working at his dad’s grill.”
“Yeah, but they also knew to not serve anything I prepared to the public.” He excused himself for a moment, but before stepping away he asked if they liked dogs.
“We love dogs,” said Heather.
“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Tonya grabbed the wine and followed Mike into the kitchen where he greeted her once again, but this time with a kiss.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Rose.” He was about to kiss her a second time when Bruno barked loudly from the patio. Both burst out laughing.
“Well, okay, I guess.” Mike opened the door and both dogs bounded inside, greeting Tonya with wagging tails while Mike grabbed a few sodas from the refrigerator. Heather still looked a little star struck when they returned to the living room, and she immediately focused her gaze on Tonya.
“So, now that we’re all here, I want to talk to you about something. I’ve been having dreams about your sister again, and she’s been saying some interesting things.”
“Like what?” asked Tonya.
“She says you need to let it go about Jesse and move on.”
“I’m just telling you what she said, and I feel the same, so maybe the dream came from my own subconscious. The point is, you’re an up-and-coming musician, and Jesse hosts a nationally syndicated talk radio show. I’m not saying you have to be a guest on his show, and frankly, I’d prefer you weren’t. I’m simply saying you could possibly run into him somewhere, and if it were to happen, you need to be gracious. Just give him a nod or a quick hello and go your merry way.”
“She’s right,” said Mike.
Heather turned to Mike. “I’ve had other dreams in which Annette tells me you have some sort of a plan to get Tonya away from George.”
A serious look came over his face. “As we all know, Tonya isn’t in a financial position to live on her own. However, I’ve offered her a room here, and she’s saving up her money so she can buy a dependable car. So once she has the means to travel to LA for her modeling gigs, we plan on making some changes.”
“What about your advance?” asked Heather.
“I won’t have the money until sometime next year.”
“I wanted to take her on tour with me,” said Mike, “I certainly could have used her on the viola, and it would have given her some nice exposure as well. However, George wants to remaster the album she did with Shawn, so they’ll be in the recording studio when I start the first leg of my tour.”
“Hold on. Time out.” Alberto looked at Tonya. “Have you signed any kind of agreement with him?”
“They’re still working on my contract, which my manager will sign for me as my representative.”
“Good to know, but I wasn’t talking about your record contract. I’m asking about the agreement for you to rent a room in George’s home. Did you sign any kind of lease?”
“No. It’s a verbal agreement only.”
Heather spoke up. “All I can tell you is whenever I have these kinds of dreams about your sister, she’s never wrong. She says Mickey will help you break free of George. I have no idea what it means, and it may be nothing more than a concerned mother’s worry.”
Tonya took a deep breath and swallowed hard. “So did Annette say anything else?”
“No. She just said you need let go of Jesse, and Mickey will help you with George.”