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Colorado Game - 20. Chapter 20


"Stop fidgeting," Mom said as the cab pulled into Castle Pines Village. "I still wish you wore a tie, Mark. These people are fancy."

"I don't need a tie to enjoy a meal," I replied, "and you know I hate them. Why any man enjoys walking around with his throat half constricted is beyond me. It looks hot, granted, you should see Ross in a suit, he looks good enough to eat, but..." Mom slapped me. Then she made some sort of gasping sound.

"Get a load of that joint; Jesus, what a palace."

"First time in these parts, eh?" the cabdriver asked. As we drove along, we passed several mansions and the driver, who obviously had been here before, pointed out several houses of which he knew the occupants.
Several baseball stars apparently lived here, as did some other names familiar to the society pages.

"Wait ‘til you see the Forester place, where you're going. It's in an exclusive part called Pointe. It's one of the bigger houses."

"These you consider small?" Mom asked sarcastically, jabbing a thumb backward.

"Lady, this is just the beginning, wait and see."

We passed several more exquisite houses, including one mansion that caused me to swallow uncomfortably. If this was considered small by the cab driver, I wasn't really looking forward to the Forester residence. The driver seemed to know quite a bit about most of the houses and so when my mom asked about the Forester house, he informed us that it actually consisted of a main house and several guesthouses, scattered around a hill top.

"You should be able to see it in a minute," he said, making a left turn. "There. See all those scattered lights? Way up there, straight ahead." I did see some lights but hardly enough to make out anything. Most of the other houses were showcased by floodlights, probably also a deterrent for burglars, but the Forester place was too far away to make out anything. "They don't really like to draw attention to themselves. They've probably got the best view, up there; it's one of the biggest lots in the park." We passed through black, heavy steel gates, scarcely lit and I almost didn't even notice them, if the driver hadn't spoken up.

"Now we're on the grounds. The driveway goes around a bit. You should see it by daylight; it's a sight for sore eyes."

When we finally pulled up to the main house, I actually was pleasantly surprised. From what I'd seen so far, many houses in this neighborhood were quite tasteful. For some reason I had thought they'd be more like some of the monstrosities in Hollywood but these were more like ranches. The Forester main house had only two stories. It was big, or rather, wide. The main house, as said, had two stories, but two wings lead to a side and then back. You had to go up a flight of stairs to get to the front double doors.

When we stepped out, one of those doors opened and Ross appeared in the doorway, waving. I waved back and turned to the cab-driver, going for my wallet. He stopped me by raising his hand.

"No need. It's on account."

"Oh..." I said, feeling stupid and blushing. "I didn't know. Sorry."

"Enjoy your evening," he replied and then drove off, leaving my mom and me standing there, looking at the rapidly disappearing tail lights. I think we both felt a little out of place here, and I took mom's hand and we slowly started to walk toward the house.

"Wow, Mark" Ross smiled, when we ascended the steps leading up to the house, "you clean up real nice."

I was glad it was dark because I felt like a schoolgirl on prom night, showing her boyfriend her dress for the first time. But instead of a dress, I was wearing a black turtleneck, black jacket and black jeans. Yeah, I dressed for the occasion, letting colors reflect my mood. I wasn't at all feeling at ease around here.

"And you, Gloria. You look stunning!" Mom wore her "Demi Moore' outfit, a knock-off dress famous from a film called ‘Indecent Proposal'. I agreed with Ross, though, that she looked stunning.

"Thanks," Mom said, making me groan inward when she started to chew her gum.

"Yeah, especially the gum, real classy, ma," I said, shaking my head.
Ross laughed when she slapped the back of my head. But she spit it out onto a piece of paper and wrapped it, putting it away.

"Come in. Someone is dying to meet you," he said, extending a hand to let us pass him inside. When I walked passed him, he held my arm and stole a quick kiss. "It'll be fine, don't worry," he whispered.

Once we were inside, he closed the door. We were in the main hallway, obviously, where a giant double staircase arched up from two sides, ending in a landing on the first floor.

"Holy sh..." I heard my mom say.

She was right. From the outside, the main house hadn't looked so big, but that was because we hadn't seen how far it stretched back. Now that we did, it was most impressive. Between the stairs, a hallway ran all the way to the back, where a door could be seen.

"Kitchen," Ross said, following my gaze.

"Ah..." I answered, feeling nervous. "So... lead the way to the throne room, please." At that, he loudly laughed and led us to the left, into a salon.

The furniture wasn't as opulent as I had imagined. Sometimes, you see these shows on TV, or in movies, and it's like you walk into Bloomingdale's storage facility. In here, though, elegance ruled the room. White, plush sofas were scattered throughout the room. The walls rose up high, plastered in neutral off-white and the hardwood floor was polished to a shine; expensive rugs lay here and there, Persians from the look of it. All the way in the back of the room, a tall woman rose from one of the sofas, waiting for us to come to her. Mom, who now also showed a little hesitance to meet this lady, gave me a little shove, making me stumble on one of the carpets. When I shot her a glare, she grinned and shrugged.

"Hey, she's your mother-in-law."

"Stop calling her that," I hissed, but I couldn't very well stop now. Luckily, when I approached her, Ross joined me and introduced us.

"Mother, I'd like you to meet Mark Norcross. Mark, this is my mother, Sofia Forester."

"Nice to meet you," I said, looking straight at her, offering her my hand. Whenever I'm nervous, I try to hide it by appearing confident. That, and my mixed eyes, usually have the desired effect of bringing someone off-balance enough to regain my composure. It seemed to work in this instance too because when our eyes met, and her hand came forward to shake mine, she hesitated. It was only a moment but it was enough.

"Very unusual," she mumbled as she tilted her head. Then she offered me a smile and shook my hand, a good, firm shake. "Finally we meet. A pleasure to actually see you in color this time," she said. Her voice rasped deeply, like a mix of smoke and whisky. I grinned, embarrassed because of the newspaper photo reference. "Although... tell me; was this choice of clothing deliberate or did someone die?"
Okay, that did it.

"Mother..." Ross said, warningly.

"It's okay, Ross," I said, turning my full attention to his mother, not even sparing him a glance. “Are you always such a bitch, Sofia, or is this my lucky night?"

Ross's eyes flicked rapidly from his mother to me and I heard my mom take in a breath and hold it. It went deadly silent.

andr0gene 2004-Present; All Rights Reserved
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