Jolene was surprised when Mom invited them over for a special dinner the weekend before their wedding. Mom didn’t like Buck Neckid. She wished they wouldn’t get married. She prayed they wouldn’t get married. She never said she hated him. But she did.
Right after they arrived at Mom’s house, Mom pulled Jolene aside. “Are you really sure? You don’t have to go through with this. It’s not too late to change your mind.”
“He makes me happy.”
Mom sighed. “Well, have a seat.”
Jolene found Buck in Mom’s formal living room. “What was that about?” he whispered.
They sat down on the hard pink brocade love seats that were only used for company. Jolene pressed close against Buck’s side. Holding his hand. Linking her fingers with his. He squeezed her hand and kissed her lightly on top of her head before Mom joined them. It was a tense stilted hour of making conversation. They were both relieved when Mom finally asked them to remove themselves to the dining room for the special meal.
It was up to Mom’s usual standards. An overcooked bunch of carrots was artistically displayed on a serving platter. The greens still bound together by a red elastic band. Just like they came from the store. The chicken flesh oozed dark pink. To say the potatoes were lumpy would be an understatement. Jolene pushed the food around her gold rimmed china plate. Wishing she had a paper napkin or dog under the table to make her meal disappear.
“I really think I’ve outdone myself,” said Mom.
“That’s for sure,” said Buck with an attempt at a smile.
“Wait until you see the dessert. I made it just for you, Buck.”
“What is it?” asked Jolene.
“Covfefe pie. It’s the latest thing. Everyone is making it.”
“Never heard of it,” said Buck.
“It’s the best if I do say so myself.”
Buck smiled. “Jo makes the most amazing pies. Best I’ve ever had in my life.”
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” said Jolene.
“Not the only way,” he replied. “You’re smart, funny, kind, patient—”
“Oh, really,” interrupted Mom with a frown. She stood up and left them to get the pie from the kitchen. She brought it out on a crystal serving stand. Placing it on the table in front of herself and preparing to serve everyone individually.
The covfefe pie looked rough. The crust was over browned. With red gummy pools of filling that had erupted during the baking. Jolene leaned over for a sniff. “Is it raspberry?”
“Not just raspberry,” said Mom. “There are other ingredients that make it special.”
Buck winked at Jolene. “It looks amazing.”
Mom cut a huge piece, almost half the pie. She slid it onto a plate that she passed to Buck.
“That’s an awfully big serving,” he said.
“Why waste time asking for seconds?” said Mom. She put down the silver knife and pie server, looking at Buck expectantly. Waiting for him to try it.
“Where’s my piece?” asked Jolene. “I love raspberry pie.”
“You can’t have it,” said Mom. “You’re allergic. It’s got nuts in it.”
“Why would you make it with nuts if you know Jo’s allergic?” asked Buck.
“What type of nuts?” asked Jolene.
Mom hesitated a moment. “Peanuts.”
“I can have peanuts,” said Jolene. “Can you please cut me a piece?”
“I really don’t think you’d like it,” said Mom.
“I’ve never tried covfefe pie before. I really want some.”
Mom lifted the knife and prepared to cut a sliver of pie.
“Bigger,” said Jolene. “Not as big as Buck’s, but you know how I love pie.”
The piece Mom cut was still smaller than Jolene would have liked, but she couldn’t be bothered to argue.
“Why aren’t you having any,” Buck asked Mom.
“There’s gluten in the crust. You know me and my celiac disease.”
Jolene was surprised. “Why didn’t you make it gluten-free?”
“I forgot. I just automatically used my tried-and-true recipe. So flaky.”
“Jo makes the flakiest crust I’ve ever had,” said Buck.
“Oh, really.” Mom stood up suddenly. “I’ve forgotten to put the coffee on. Excuse me a minute.”
After she left the room, Buck forked up some pie and gave it a sniff before trying it. He made a face.
Jolene tried some of hers. “There’s a weird taste. Underneath the raspberry flavour.”
“What do you think it is?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Another one of Mom’s strange flavour profiles? It tastes like there’s some type of herb, but I can’t figure out what it is.”
“It’s not the worst dessert she’s ever made,” said Buck.
“What are you saying in there?” called Mom.
“You’re not talking about me, are you?”
“How’s the coffee coming,” called Buck. He whispered to Jolene, “I hope it’s actually brown this time.”
Jolene was laughing when Mom came back into the dining room.
“What’s so funny?” asked Mom.
Mom frowned before brightening up when she saw their progress on eating the covfefe pie. “How is it? Isn’t it amazing? Everybody says so.”
“Very interesting flavour,” said Buck.
“Thank-you,” said Mom. “What about you, Jolene?”
Mom laughed. “I’m so jealous. Next time I’ll have to make a covfefe pie that I can eat. So silly of me.” She urged a second piece for Buck to eat.
They drank their coffee as fast as possible. It wasn’t hot which helped. It didn’t taste of coffee, but Mom’s never did. They were so happy to get out of there and get back home to the apartment.
Buck grabbed the hem of Jolene’s tight red mini dress with a low scooped neckline revealing deep cleavage. In one swift practiced move, he pulled it up and over her head. “Ta da!”
She was naked underneath. Just the way he liked. He took her hard. Just the way she liked. After, she pressed close to Buck’s side on the sweaty wrinkled sheets. Clasping his hand. She loved the colour of her skin next to his. If their colours were mixed, the result would be a rich copper brown. She wanted to have babies with Buck so much. As she drifted off to sleep, she felt him kiss her lightly on her cheek.
It was about an hour later when his groans woke her up. Jolene wasn’t surprised. Mom’s meals were notoriously hard to digest. He groaned louder. “Are you OK, babe?” she asked.
He sat up on the edge of the bed. Holding his arms tight across his stomach. She reached over to rub him gently on the back. “Babe?”
He farted. Smelly. Nowhere near gaseous enough. He ran for the bathroom. There was the sound of splashing and moaning. Jolene was just about to go after him when a pain ripped through her. So bad everything went black for a second and she saw stars. Jolene felt her intestines twisting and roiling. She was having trouble breathing. Air puffed out her rear. “Oh, no no no no no…”
Hot yellow bile burned up Jolene’s throat. She tried to swallow. It wasn’t going to happen. She ran for the bathroom.
The next morning, they were still side by side. Hung over the side of the bathtub like wet towels on a rack. Kneeling in a pool of their own fluids. Jolene’s body pressed against Buck’s side. Their pinkie fingers were linked together where their hands touched, resting in the viscous pool of vomit that covered the bottom of the tub.
Mom called in the afternoon to check on Jolene. The phone rang and rang. She was probably busy with her now dead fiancee if all went as planned. Well, Mom would just have to try Jolene again later.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash