Just then Daryl’s cell phone rang. “It’s Axel,” he said to Merle who nodded with a grin and a wink.
“I bet he’s got some good news fer ya!”
“Excuse me ladies,” Daryl said to Carol and Andrea then stepped out into the hallway to take the call. The two women barely heard him; by then they were sitting on the couch engaging in girl talk.
“Hiya Daryl! I’ve been trying to get a hold of ya all mornin’ brother! You still down in Savannah?”
“Yeah man. Finally met up with Merle. He’s okay, and I already let Ma and Pa know that he was back from Vegas after I finally spoke to him this morning.”
“I knew he’d be alright. Merle’s tough as nails! I just got yer message that he was out in Vegas last night. Lil and I took the twins down to the amusement park with a couple of their friends on Saturday and we stayed the night at the hotel down there. Unfortunately my dang phone got wet on one of the water slides so I had to let it dry out. It started workin’ again last night thankfully.”
“The rugrats have a lot of fun?” Daryl asked with a smile. He loved all of his nieces and nephews but was especially fond of Axel’s two youngest daughters. His other three kids were all in high school and one was about to go to college, but the two youngest were an adorable, fun loving set of seven year identical twin girls with long blonde ponytails and big green eyes who talked a mile a minute, finished each other’s sentences and were always giggling, and not to mention crazy about their Uncle Daryl.
“They sure did. We took a shitload of pictures. Lil put them on Facebook if ya wanna check ‘em out.”
“Will do. So what did you need to tell me?”
“D, yer not gonna believe this! Once my phone was workin’ again I got a notification to check the joint account and the ten grand Merle borrowed from it has been put back in, PLUS an additional ten grand! Then first thing this morning I get a knock on the door at the house and it was a certified delivery I had to sign for. When I opened the envelope I saw that it was a personal check from Merle for another twenty grand, paying me back for the ten he borrowed from me plus an extra ten large. That’s forty thousand bucks, man! Can you believe that? The bastard must’ve won really BIG out in Vegas!”
“You can say that again,” Daryl said with a smirk. “That big brother of ours never ceases to amaze me, and he really hit the motherlode of good luck this time. I doubt he’ll EVER have any more money problems ever again. In fact, hang on Ax… I’ll let ya speak to him; he’s got some big news that I’m sure he’d like to tell ya himself.”
Daryl went back inside the sitting room and gave Merle the phone. He then noticed that Andrea and Carol were by then giggling like old girlfriends who’d known each other for years. In fact they were so engaged in their conversation that Daryl almost didn’t want to interrupt them.
“Um, babe… you two lovely ladies already know each other?”
“Something like that,” Andrea said with a smirk. “You wanna tell him?”
“Sure!” Carol laughed. “When I happened to mention that I was staying at my friend Michonne’s house down at the beach, she started screaming laughing and saying that she went to law school with Michonne Douglass and that she was one of her oldest friends! It then clicked that I was Michonne’s writer friend Carol who needed info for finding a book publisher last year. Andrea is a copyright lawyer for a large textbook publishing house here in Savannah, and she’s the one who referred Michonne and I to try the publisher I now work for. If it wasn’t for Andrea I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten my book deal!”
Andrea then chimed in. “And I absolutely ADORE her collection of naughty short stories. I have a copy upstairs I want her to autograph for me and I even follow the fan blog! In fact,” she then whispered, “the kinky stories on that blog are partly to blame for how I got knocked up! I used to read them to Merle in bed sometimes when he’d stay over with me at my old place, and believe me when I say they’d get him all riled up in the sack,” she added with a wink.
Just then Merle came back in and asked Daryl to come see the work he’d done upstairs, as well as to have a word with him privately. Once upstairs he leaned in and told his brother the scoop.
“Look D, I’m truly sorry if I scared ya. I was just so hung up on Blondie that I was losing my mind. I wanted to marry that girl from the moment I laid eyes on her months back, but I didn’t think I was good enough for her. She’s high class all the way brother. I mean REALLY high class. She’s a bonafide blue blood, trust fund baby with Ivy League schoolin’ and her folks are beyond LOADED, as you can see. But guess what, she’s about as down to earth as they come! Her pop’s net worth is around $100 million, easy, and the profits from this country club alone are enough that no one in the family will ever be broke, but they’re all humble folk who graduated college and still go to work every day. She’s got a younger sister, Amy, also a lawyer, and the two of them are in line to take over the country club when their father retires in another decade or so. I did some work on her folks’ vacation house at the beach around New Year’s and that’s when we met. I couldn’t take my eyes off her the entire time were were there and I don’t know how I get the nerve up to ask her out so I said it jokingly so I wouldn’t be so embarrassed when she said hell no, but she surprised me when she said hell yes I could take her ass out. Could’a knocked Old Merle over with a feather. A girl like her wanted to go WITH ME to shoot pool and have beer and wings at a hole in the wall honky tonk! Can you believe that? And we had the time of our lives! Andrea’s smart and sweet and one hell of a ball breaker, and brother she’s a goddamned tiger in the bedroom!” he said with a whistle, while wiggling his eyebrows. “I finally met my damned match! She knows I ain’t rich and had trouble with the law in my past but she said she doesn’t care… I make her laugh, and I make her happy and safe and that’s all that matters. She loves me for me and even her damn folks like me! Her mama is crazy about me and her father respects me because I own my own business and proved to him that I’m a hard worker who genuinely cares for his precious eldest daughter. When I found out Andrea was pregnant I became OBSESSED with spending every minute I could with her, and that’s pretty much how I ended up off the radar these past few months. I was wracking my brain, driving myself nuts trying to figure out a way to propose to her and I scrimped, saved and borrowed every nickel I could get my hands on to buy her that set of rings you now see on her finger while we were in Vegas. I gambled every dime I had and hit the jackpot at the Bellagio, tripling my money. Even though she’s loaded, and I’m scrimping by from client to client, I wanted her to have a ring she could be proud to show off to her friends, and know I paid for it. She said yes and we got married at The Big Little Chapel on the Vegas strip. Now I feel like I’m on top of the world. I got the girl of my dreams and a baby on the way, and brother, I couldn’t be happier. My life’s come full circle. As soon as he found out we were hitched, her pop offered me a big time job here on the estate, to replace that Gregory prick as a matter of fact, but I refused because I still want to make my own money to provide for my wife and child. Of course my new connections are gonna help me get me so many new work contracts that money won’t ever be a problem again, and since Andrea makes about four times what I make annually as a lawyer we’ll be set for life regardless. Mr. Harrison said he respected my wishes about not working for him, but wouldn’t take no for an answer when he insisted on building us a new dream house and giving us $100,000 in cash as a wedding gift to decorate it however we want, and he and his wife have already set up a multi-million dollar trust fund for the baby! I paid off every debt I had, gave Ax a couple of dollars in addition to what I borrowed from him, paid back what I owed our joint business account with interest, and don't be surprised if there's a little something in the mail for ya when ya get back home too,” he said with a wink.
“That’s awesone Merle and I'm happy for ya. Congratulations and thanks are in order, brother!” Daryl exclaimed, shaking Merle's hand then pulling him close for a brotherly bear hug. He could hardly believe what he'd heard.
They ended up having a late lunch at the mansion; with Carol & Andrea, Andrea and Daryl and Merle and Carol getting better aquainted, but finally Daryl let Carol know that he hated to leave so soon, but that he had to get on the road to go home to Atlanta before it got too late. They said their goodbyes and promised to hang out again real soon and Daryl took Carol back to the beach house.