May is a super wild month at the Canterbary compound and let me tell you why. My daughter and husband both celebrate birthdays right in the middle of the month--along with our anniversary--and Mother's Day (in the US) always lands in the middle of it all. We often wind up with days where we're celebrating birthaversaries or the golden trio of Mother's Day/birthday/anniversary as we did this weekend. Like I said, super wild.
To give you some perspective: I threw away half of a perfectly gorgeous cake last Friday because there was so much more cake to come. There are few things more sacrilege to me than allowing good cake to go to waste but it had to be done. I couldn't devote refrigerator space to a slightly stale cake when I had two more to make this week.
Cake and mayhem aside, I'm sending along a Mother's Day moment with everyone's favorite fictional mom, Diana Santillian. She loves her *herbal* gummies, meddling in the lives of Magnolia, Ash, and Linden, putting people in wedding dresses “just to see,” and springing blind dates on her kids during family dinners.
I hope you're doing well, my friend!
My mother was kind enough to sound relieved as she said, "That's not Millie."
I appreciated that as much as I could appreciate anything that invited my mother and sister into my bedroom at this unholy hour.
I didn't bother separating my lips from Zelda's hair or loosening my hold on her shoulders as I fired an irritable look at them. I'd hoped it would keep my mother in the doorway, one hand flat on her chest and the other gripping the doorjamb as if she needed its support during this difficult time.
My sister blinked away, her lips folded together and her cheeks pink with amusement as she said, "Nope. It's not."
And that was the final push my mother required to march across the room and introduce herself to my—my—
What the f*** was Zelda?
Oh. Right. She was my assistant.
The one who let me use her as a pillow last night. The one who held my hand while doctors manipulated my bones. The one who produced an egg sandwich from her purse and insisted I hire her at thirty thousand feet.
"Ash," my mother prompted with that wide-eyed, unblinking falcon glare. The special edition mother glare known to beat the truth out of children—even the grown ones—without lifting a finger. "Please explain to me how you came to be bruised up and down and in a sling, right after introducing me to your lovely friend."
"We're not friends." I said this with my cheek on her head. I said this with my arm around her shoulders like she was my life preserver. I said this with a sharp edge in my voice as if I found the suggestion more offensive than the truth. As for the truth, I didn't know what the f*** that was. "We're—I mean, we're—"
"Zelda," she said, meeting my mother's outstretched hand. "I'm Zelda and it's very nice to meet you, Mrs. Santillian."
"Please call me Diana," she replied. My mother met my eyes with a smile that could power the entire city of Boston for a week.
I held Zelda closer. I didn't want to share her. Which was ridiculous. F***ing ridiculous. It was probably a result of the pain pills. And Jesus Christ, the whiskey. Pills and whiskey and had I eaten in the past twenty-four hours? Probably not.
"Now, Zelda," my mother continued, her glee as restrained as my rising panic, "tell me your last name. I need to get it over to Magnolia's wedding calligrapher. They're working on place cards this week and—"
"Everybody get out," I yelled. I could not deal with calligraphers and place cards right now. "Out. Now."
My sister laughed as she stepped into the hall. "This lasted significantly longer than I'd expected."
My mother backed away but continued lavishing Zelda with her adoring gaze. "We'll wait for you to get dressed, honey. I'm still waiting to hear about your injuries though it does seem Zelda has you well in hand."
If you only knew.
I was too busy scowling at my mother and begging her with my eyes to shut the hell up to realize Zelda was sliding out of my hold. "I should really"—she waved at her wrinkled clothes and ran a hand through her dark hair—"yeah, Ashville. I should really."
With more audience than I wanted for anything in my life, I reached out and twisted her t-shirt around my hand, yanking her back where I wanted her. "No, you shouldn't."
"She definitely isn't Millie," my mother loud-whispered to Magnolia.
"No, not at all," my sister agreed.
For more of Diana Santillian's commentary on her son's life and Ash's slow walk to figuring out that he's very much in love with his assistant, check out Boss in the Bedsheets.
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