Me and Joyce went to spend the weekend at the house of Justen Hunnycut, a super rich dude with an incredible house in Santa Barbara. One of the reasons we got invited was so that Joyce could be part of a bridge foursome, since Justen’s obsessed with the game.
Friday night, Joyce came back to her room long after I fell asleep in mine (I reckoned it would look strange if both beds hadn’t been slept in), so I didn’t see her until the next morning when she was enjoying “early tea” in bed. (I took that to be another old-fashioned English thing.) I had a cup of my own early tea before I went into Joyce’s room…and then the tea did what it always does to me. It made me sleepy, so I dozed off on Joyce’s bed for another half hour. Then she told me they played bridge until after 2:00, and that she came out the big winner. (Stakes are low, however: Joyce came away from the table only thirty dollars richer.) She’s a good player from what I’ve been able to tell, although she said getting the best cards helped. Justen’s a good player too (you’d expect from someone who invites guests for the weekend so they’ll play bridge), and Joyce says Jonas (the famous actor) is super good. But he’s the kind of super good player who rolls his eyes and makes faces when you put the down the dummy and it’s not what he was expecting. Joyce was glad that never happened to her. As for Daisy, a.k.a. the chick in the mermaid dress, y’all already know what Joyce thinks of her lol.
The plan for Saturday was, after we went down to breakfast (where I had my first devilled kidneys, which I really liked…but remember I’ll put just about anything in my mouth lol) for Joyce to go with Justen, Adam, Allan, Jonas and Daisy for a tour of some local art galleries. Joyce has been talking about investing in some art, and the tour was one of the reasons she wanted to go up for the weekend. Lord Malcom and his boyfriend went off sightseeing (probably to go look at boys on the beach lol), so only me, Luke, Sabrina and Tom were left in the house.
That’s when me and Luke really hit it off. Y’all know I have a thing for water and Justen has an incredible pool on a huge flagstone deck with a view of the ocean. It was about twice the size of the Andrews’ pool and had a mosaic tile bottom. I couldn’t wait to get into my board shorts and dive in, even if I was going to be the only person in the pool. Turns out I wasn’t the only person: Luke has a thing for water too, and he joined me before I’d finished my first round of laps.
So basically me and Luke spent the whole day splashing around in the pool. We had every kind of race we could think up (Luke swam in high school and is in six-pack shape, so I got to get my ass kicked by a gay dude more than just a couple times), and played water polo (I beat him at that) until we were so exhausted that all we could do was haul our asses up onto a couple pool floats. Luke even had a whole closet full of pool toys he says he almost never gets to use. Except for when we had lunch (the Philipino butler dude brought us triple-decker sandwiches and a couple bottles of beer outside) and waited 30 minutes before getting back in the water, we spent the whole day in the pool. The only other dude I know who you couldn’t get out of the pool like that was Gardner back home, only, if possible, Gardner was even more competitive than Luke when it came to races and shit.
I told y’all that Tom and Sabrina were in the house all day too. Tom got the scotch and soda tray and a chair at a table under an umbrella outside and was totally out of it by 11:00. When Sabrina came outside, she had her sketching things with her. At lunchtime, she admitted that she’d been drawing me and Luke while we were in the pool. She said she hoped we didn’t mind and that the sketches were for her and she wasn’t going to show them to anyone. Neither of us minded, and I thought the sketches were really good when she showed them to us. I mean, they looked like me and Luke and you could tell that we were having a good time. She sketched some more after lunch, too. Yeah, I’ll admit it: it was pretty cool that a famous artist was drawing me while I was playing water polo.
Me and Luke only got out of the water when we had to go change for afternoon tea, which was scheduled for 4:30, once the others got back from their gallery tour. Changing gave me a chance to stand under the drenching shower in the bathroom for a while. I was totally what Mom called “waterlogged” – the cure for which, by the way, was an ammonia Coke. The closest I got to that was a couple cups of tea at tea. That had its usual effect on me: Joyce told me I was out like a light for over 90 minutes when I went to lay down until it was time to put my tux on for dinner.
Dinner on Saturday night was the same ritual as on Friday, starting with cocktails and going on through five courses with a wine for each course (and what may be my new favorite dessert, strawberries romanoff with homemade ice cream) and port and short cigars for the men while the ladies were sent to sit in the drawing room, where Joyce got to think about how much she hated Daisy lol. Then we went to join the ladies, Justen had a quick cup of coffee, and him, Joyce, Jonas and Daisy went to play bridge.
I took a seat on one of the davenports with my coffee, and Sabrina came over and sat next to me.
“I wanted to talk to you…but I wanted it to be kind of private, so I didn’t bring it up at dinner.” (I was seated next to Sabrina in the dining room. She was loads more fun to talk to than Daisy was on Friday.)
I had no idea what she was getting at. I reckon I just sat there and looked puzzled.
“I’ll cut to the chase,” she said. “I’d like to paint you.”