Haley sunk down on the couch and worriedly exchanged a glance with Ian. This sounded serious.
Tears pricked Eva's eyes and she looked imploringly at Nathaniel. "You tell them," she said, sniffling.
No! Haley was already screaming in her mind. Her parents had always seemed so happy together! They couldn't be getting a divorce!
"...so your mother needs to leave for awhile..." her Dad was saying.
Haley blinked back tears and buried her face in her hands, sobbing.
Eva dropped down to her knees beside Haley and took her hands in her own. "It's not forever. I'll be back before Christmas!" she promised as she started crying earnestly, as well.
"You'll be back?" Haley asked, wiping at her eyes, confused. "What do you mean?"
"I'll need to be out of town for a few months on the election circuit." Eva glanced up at Nathaniel. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" she asked hesitantly.
"Wait," Haley said, tears discarded. "Does that mean you're not getting a divorce?"
Eva looked at her daughter, horrified. "No! Good God! Were did you get that idea from?! Weren't you listening to your father?! Our candidacy is being announced today...."She rooted through her briefcase and handed Haley a flyer.
Haley looked up from the flyer, "They called you Mrs. Black," she pointed out.
Eva swore and jerked the flyer away from Haley and looked for herself. "Son of a...." she swore angrily and flicked her gaze up to Nathaniel. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" she asked.
"Dad, is this really necessary?" he asked.
"It sure is!" Nathaniel confirmed. "You got to start working on that throwing arm!" he said proudly. Nathaniel was more than a little proud that Ian had decided to go into sports, just like his old man. He remembered the thrill of a win! "Meet me out front in 10 minutes."
Ian grumbled under his breath.
"Make sure you put your fingers were I showed you when you throw it!" Nathaniel called out.
Nathaniel caught the ball easily and grinned. "Exactly like that. Keep practicing that!"
Anxiously, he shifted from one foot to the other. "Dad!" he finally interrupted. "I've gotta go meet Cici before school!"
Nathaniel sighed, feeling chagrined. Give him a son interested in sports and he'd turned into one of those crazy football dads!
"Greeeeeeat," Ian mumbled under his breath as he jogged away.
Nathaniel watched him head over to Cecelie's house and smiled. He wondered when Ian was going to admit he had a thing for Cici...
Staring at the blank easel, sudden inspiration came to her.
"Hi, Haley?" she heard a voice behind her ask.
Haley laughed, "What am I not stuck on?" she asked self-derisively. "I just can't seem to figure out how to solve any of these graphing equations!" She sank to the grass helplessly. "I've just gotta get an A, but I don't understand!"
Maritza nodded and settled next to Haley on the ground. "So, let's start with problem 1. 2x + y = 8..."
"Come on, Al. Let's practice our lay-ups," Ian called behind his back to teammate, Alan Langerak.
He dribbled the ball and then jumped up and dunked the ball through the net. "Yes!" he said excitedly. "I nailed that!" Maybe those practices with Dad were paying off, he thought smugly. Glancing over towards Cici, he pumped his fists in the air. She laughed and clapped for him, enjoying his antics.
Then the cheerleaders showed up...
"Come on, Emily, let's get the music set up," Keely Vasquez said, setting their bags on the bench next to Cecelie. As the girls strutted by, they shot Cecelie a look, then whispered with each other, laughing. All of a sudden, Cecelie felt incredibly self-conscious.
Ian's attention was diverted when he glanced over and saw the pretty, little blonde cheerleader. In particular, his gaze was drawn to the parts of her that bopped and jiggled as she did her cheer. Keely had certainly grown up, and filled out, since he'd seen her last.
"Ian! Heads up!" Alan called out after tossing him the ball and realizing that Ian wasn't paying attention.
Ian glanced away from Keely's chest and got hit right in the head with the basketball. Crap, that hurt! he thought.
He heard someone gasp.
Man, that hurt! He shook his head once to try to clear the haze and then chased after the errant ball.
Keely ran up to Ian. "Oh my gosh. He hit you right in the head!" she said, reaching up and prodding his head. "Are you okay?"
Ian nodded, dragging his eyes upward. "Yeah," he said. "It's cool."
Cecelie's heart plummeted when she saw Keely standing so close to Ian and fawning over him. She hadn't missed that he'd gotten hit in the head when he'd been blatantly ogling Keely's boobs. Probably socks, she thought spitefully.
Feeling sick to her stomach, Cecelie headed home. Ian had never looked at her like that...
And if it just so happened to coincide with his director premiere, then that was just gravy!
Well, everyone but Eva. An over-booked schedule and inclement weather had forced Eva to miss out on his showing. She'd been devastated when she'd called to tell him that the planes wouldn't be leaving due to the snow. He'd been disappointed, but assured her that he'd give her a private viewing when she got home.
"Cliff! How've you been?!" Nathaniel greeted his elder brother. He was the spitting image of their father.
Clifford thumped his back, "Just proud of my little brother!" he said good-naturedly. Clifford's screen dreams never came to fruition, but he never harbored a grudge against his little brother. In fact, he was always the first one to brag about his brother, the actor, and now, his brother, the director!
Kiki looked down at the flyer in her hand and frowned. "You're handing out flyers?" she asked.
"Sure, it helps promote the documentary! Veronica suggested it and the studio ran with it."
Kiki pouted, "The studio never produced flyers for my films!"
Nathaniel shrugged, "Perhaps they thought they weren't necessary," he said.
"That must be it. My films are blockbusters!" Kiki said, then probably realizing how petty that sounded, she added, "But this is nice.. for the first premiere..."
He gestured towards the staircase. "After you, mi'lady," he said.
"I never knew we were the only spot those birds migrated to," someone behind him commented. Nathaniel smiled.
When the documentary was finished, Nathaniel stood up and took his bows, answering a few questions from his guests. Veronica had planned this launch as a small, intimate affair to really show-case his work and his love of the land.