Note: This Kenzie’s Capers episode occurs before the upcoming Homecoming.
I’m in Philadelphia spending the week with my Reed family. It’s been a blast, getting spoiled by my grandparents, seeing my aunts and uncles and spending time with Great Grandma Reed. Great Grandma even lets Alexis and me help her bake a cake. We dance and have fun while she tells us stories about our moms when they were kids. Sometimes she looks at us, shakes her head and smiles. She says it’s hilarious that I’m more like Aunt Charisma and Alexis is more like my Mom and that the two of them are in for a rude awakening when we become teenagers. I don’t know what that means, but Great Grandma sure gets a kick out of it.
Today I had a spa day with Aunt Charisma and Alexis. We got our hair and nails done at her beauty salon. Those ladies like to chew the fat, as Grandpa John Jacob likes to say. They know everything about everybody. A few of the ladies grew up with my Mom. They said I have her smile and a lot of her personality but the rest of me is all my Dad. They gave me something called a blow out and Aunt Charisma said she prayed Mom wouldn’t kill her but would thank her later when she didn’t complain about combing my red-headed mess in the mornings before school.
After we left the beauty salon, we went shopping. I love shopping with Aunt Charisma. She has a way of commanding a room. Mom said her being bossy all her life finally has a good purpose. The sales people scurry around when she says she wants something. She says they’re attentive because their commission from her purchases is usually enough for a down payment on a house. Mom is right, Aunt Charisma really should have her own reality show. She’s a hoot and people like her because she’s a straight shooter. If she’s thinking it, she speaks it. Mom says I have that same problem too.
“OK ladies, we’re going to put away all the nice things we bought today.” Charisma handed them bags. “Let’s get this stuff unpacked and get ready for dinner.”
“You mean before Uncle Derek sees.” Mackenzie mused.
“No.” Charisma put her hand on her hip. “Uncle Derek tricked me into making a bet I couldn’t control my impulse buying, especially since you were coming to town. It was unfair. He knows I like to splurge on my girls. But what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. I refuse to lose a bet.”
“I think I saw smoke coming off your credit card.” Mackenzie laughed.
“Daddy’s feelings get hurt when you don’t use the credit cards. Right Mom?” Alexis chimed in as she held up a cute matching purple sweater that Charisma bought for the girls.
“Right.” Charisma tapped her daughter’s nose. “And we wouldn’t want him to think we don’t appreciate how much he likes to spoil us.”
“Mom would have fainted.” Mackenzie reached into a shopping bag and retrieved a shoe box. “She has a fifteen-minute rule for shopping. If you can’t make up your mind in fifteen minutes, then you don’t really need it.”
“Retail therapy is a time-honored tradition with the Reed women. Something that your mom never took to. I’m happy you didn’t inherit that personality quirk from her. But you have her spunk and her smarts. That’s a good thing.” Charisma opened the doors of the walk-in closet. “Let’s get to work.”
Aunt Charisma’s closet was like a wonderland. She shared it with Uncle Derek, but it was clear she was winning the fight for space. Just like Dad’s part of the closet is a lot bigger than Mom’s. She let Alexis and me play in it all the time. She had an endless sea of clothes and a whole wall of shoes. She knew just where she wanted her new shoes to go and started making space.
“Aunt Charisma how do you walk in these shoes?” Mackenzie held up the shoes with a four-inch heel that Charisma had purchased.
“Where does this go?” Alexis held up a handful of colorful scarves.
“Put those in my top dresser drawer.”
“OK.” Alexis nodded.
Opera music began to play. It was Charisma’s cell phone which meant it was a call from someone at the vineyard.
“Aunt Charisma, your phone is ringing.” Mackenzie said.
“Kenzie sweetie. Can you answer it?” Charisma removed the garment bag from her new dress. “And don’t forget the greeting.”
Mackenzie skipped over to her aunt’s phone that was on the bed. “Charisma Incorporated, Mackenzie speaking.”
“Ciao Uncle Marco! Come stai?”
“I’m fine, just fine.” Marco laughed. “Il tuo italiano è superbo.”
“Grazie. I’ve been practicing. We have a language tutor that comes to the ranch on Saturdays.”
“That’s very good.”
The Ranch Ladies, that’s what Mom calls them, decided the children in the family should learn the many languages that we speak in the family. She said there was no excuse for not communicating with family unless you didn’t want to. And then she said that was ridiculous because our family always talked to each other.
“What have the Reed ladies been up to today?”
“We went shopping and bought lots of stuff.”
“That sounds about right.” He laughed heartily. “Is your Aunt Charisma around?”
“Sure thing.” Mackenzie skipped back into the walk-in closet. “Aunt Charisma, it’s Uncle Marco.”
“Goodie! He may have some good news.” Charisma ran over to the phone. “Ciao Marco. What’s the good word?”
“I’m at the jewelers and I think I’ve found the one.” He sighed. “Well, the other one, Katrina is the only one.”
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” Charisma laughed. “Let’s see the goods. I’ll put you on video chat.” Charisma and Marco adjusted the setting on their phones. Charisma stared at the screen for a moment then sank down on her vanity bench. “Wow. It’s gorgeous.”
Mackenzie and Alexis crowded around her to see what had her attention.
“Nice rock, Uncle Marco.” Mackenzie said.
“It’s humongous.” Alexis said. “How many peas?”
“Che cosa?” Marco scratched at his temple.
“Oh!” Charisma bit back a smile. “Alexis means how many carats.”
“This is one sophisticated family.” Marco ran his hand through his hair. “Maybe I should get my art appraisals done by you ladies.”
“It’s never too early to start an appreciation for the finer things in life.” Charisma spied the ring again. “Trina’s going to love the ring. It’s bright and sparkly, but sophisticated and elegant just like her.”
“You really think so?”
“I know so.” Charisma smiled. “Tell him ladies.”
“Molto buona!” Alexis said.
“It’s beautiful. It has a lot of peas and carats.” Mackenzie said.
“The Reed ladies have spoken.” Marco waved to the jeweler.
“When’s the big proposal?” Charisma asked.
“I have everything set for Saturday.” Marco sighed. “I hope I don’t screw anything up.”
“You won’t. I promise to keep mum until she calls me. I even promise to pretend to be surprised when she calls me, screaming in my ear.” Charisma laughed.
“Thanks, for everything Charisma. Addio signore.”
“Bye bye!” They yelled. Charisma ended the call. “Uncle Marco did good.”
“I bet it cost a million bucks.” Mackenzie said.
“Wow.” Alexis chimed in.
“Ladies.” Charisma took on a serious tone. “I don’t want you to think it’s all about the how big and expensive jewelry is, although it’s nice. It about the emotion behind it. You don’t have to have a big diamond to show someone you love them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doesn’t hurt.”
“It’s about showing someone how much you care about them.” Mackenzie replied.
“Right.” Charisma smiled. “With that being said, Aunt Trina is going to be over the moon. We have to keep it a secret.”
“Do we have to? Isn’t this a good secret?” Mackenzie asked.
“Yes.” Charisma stood, wringing her hands. “You have a point. This is a good secret. And good secrets are meant to be shared. I would be derelict in my news spreading duties if I didn’t share this with at least your Mom. We were going to call her anyway to show her your new hairdo. I mean, I have to tell her. After all, a grapevine is only as strong as it’s vine and grapes.”
“Uncle Marco knows all about grapes.” Alexis stepped into a pair of her mother’s shoes and began walking around.
“Right! It’s all coming to together like some strange kismet. So, I have an obligation to tell your Mom. And she’ll tell Izzy, so technically I only shared with one person.”
“Uh huh.” Mackenzie put a pearl neck around her neck.
“And we’ll just keep quiet on anything else you may have heard the past few days.” Charisma fastened the clasp for her. “Mum’s the word.”
“I mean it girls.” Charisma reached for the shopping bag with her new handbag in it. “Remember, Reed ladies don’t gossip. It’s called an information exchange.”
“Grandpa John Jacob calls it chewing the fat. And Uncle Rafe calls it scuttlebutt.” Mackenzie gave her a cheesy grin.
“While I’m not too fond of the words fat and butt being in the same conversation, they all mean the same thing.” Charisma nodded. “So, we’re not going to tell that Aunt Theresa and Aunt Peyton might be pregnant. And Uncle Robert may be taking an early retirement. And Cousin Bridgette wants to intern at Reed Designs and Interiors. Put it all in the vault and spin the dial.”
“Who am I kidding? You two Daddy’s Girls are going to spill it as soon as your fathers ask you about your day.”
“We promise. We won’t.”
“Good.” Charisma smoothed her dress. “Let’s finish putting these things away. I think you two should wear those sweaters tomorrow when you get your pictures taken with Great Grandma.”
Aunt Charisma continued to chat away about the family. She was a wealth of information. We learned a lot this week while she gabbed with Aunt Debra, Great Grandma Reed and all the other ladies in the family. She was excited about the family tree project and how Aunt Sam is almost finished with it. Once it’s complete, we’re going to have a big party at the ranch to celebrate all the branches that make up our family tree. A half hour later we were finished.
“Great work.” Charisma said she shut the closet doors. “Derek won’t know—”
“Derek won’t know what?” A familiar voice came from the doorway.
“Derek! You’re home.” Charisma put her hand on her chest. “What are you doing sneaking around the house?”
“I wasn’t sneaking.” Derek sauntered into the room and kissed Charisma.
“Uh huh.” She squinted at him. “Where’s D.J.?”
“He fell asleep in the car. I put him down for a quick nap before dinner.” He folded his arms across his chest. “Back to the mystery. Derek won’t know what?”
“Nothing.” She waved a hand at him. “You know. Girl stuff. We had a glamorous spa day. It was great.”
“I see. Everyone looks beautiful.” Derek grinned and looked at the girls. “Ladies. What’s going on?”
“Nothing!” Mackenzie and Alexis yelled in unison then put their hands over their mouths.
“Real smooth girls.” Charisma rolled her eyes.
“I shut the vault Daddy!” Alexis winked at her mother. “So, I can’t talk about it.”
“Oh really.” Derek stroked his chin. “The last time you shut the vault your mom surprised me with that trip to Russia. How about I fix you ladies a nice big sundae after dinner and you can tell me all about your day? With chocolate syrup, nuts and lots of whipped cream.”
“And sprinkles?” Alexis eyes widened.
“And caramel.” Mackenzie nodded. “You can’t forget the caramel.”
“You bet.” Derek smiled. “I’ll even put an extra cherry on top.”
“I give up.” Charisma said.
“You get a sundae too.” Derek put his arm around her. “I’ll top yours with chocolate shavings and cherry liqueur.”
“You think you can bribe me with yummy treats. It won’t work this time.” She pouted.
“Yes, it will. It always does” Derek kissed her cheek. “Now let’s go get dinner ready and you can tell me about all the things you bought today.”
We followed Aunt Charisma and Uncle Derek out of the bedroom and down to the kitchen. They are just like Mom and Dad. They like to tease each other but it’s all out of love. It didn’t take D.J. long to wake up and join the fun.
I can’t wait until Alexis and D.J. come to the ranch for the summer. We always have the best time. It’s fun having another girl around. Mom says we’re two peas in a pod. We are the next generation of Reed women and we have some pretty big designer shoes to fill.
Hope you enjoyed Kenzie’s Capers! Find out what happens next in Homecoming!
In case you missed it, check out Kenzie’s Capers:
Check out Big Bro Jake’s thoughts in The Jake Chronicles:
Tree House Follies with Uncle Jared, Kangaroo Court with Uncle Channing, Phone Follies with Uncle Tyler, Big Brothers Club Meeting with Uncle J.J., Music Lesson with Uncle Tate, Running Interference with Uncle Robert, Field Trip with Uncle Bubba, Babysitting Avery & Wyatt, Present Hunting with the Gang, New Year’s Eve on the Ranch , Love Lessons from Mom and Dad and Thanksgiving at the Ranch.
Until next time,
Copyright © 2019 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.
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