Perfectly Seasoned Series
While dropping their children off at preschool, five women’s lives converge, marking the start of a supportive bond and long-cherished friendships that will last a lifetime. Twenty-five years later on a beautiful spring day, Betts, Parker, Aimee, Ellie, and Jody meet for their seasonal gathering. Ranging in age from fifty-two to sixty, they proudly call themselves “the babes.” As boomers, their days—and nights—are busy and complicated as they balance careers, empty nests, changing relationships, aging parents, and romance at midlife. The sacrosanct gatherings are where their individual journeys unfold, revealing disappointment, heartbreak, triumph, and joy as each faces a crossroad full of surprises.
Ellie shrugs and throws up her arms. “It is…or was…until my bartender up and quit. Apparently, he got wooed away by a big chain operation in Chicago; they gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I’d been scrambling for a few days looking for a replacement since I certainly don’t want to be mixing margaritas on top of everything else.
“As luck would have it, in walked—or should I say, in strutted—Larry, a retired Army officer with a long-simmering passion for bartending. Dare I say he’s quite the looker—full head of silver hair, tall, well-built—and he doesn’t exactly lack for confidence. For me, Larry’s a bit too outspoken and know-it-all, which could be a problem. He’s obviously used to being in charge, and he’s not shy about offering his opinion. But I was in a jam, so, perhaps against my better judgment, I hired him on the spot.”
Sensing the unusual excitement in Ellie’s voice about a male—who isn’t a relative—I’m thinking this situation could be quite interesting.
“Hey, a handsome Army dude behind the bar will be a big draw on Ladies’ Night.” suggests Aimee. “Maybe he should wear his uniform with all his shiny hardware—he’ll be irresistible!”
Just then my phone rings, and Parker’s name appears on the screen. Damn, I forgot to call her this morning, and she’s probably returning my call and text from last night. So much for my being a concerned friend. Barely getting out a hello, I hear Parker screaming into the phone.
“He’s going to kill me—he’s really going do it this time!”
I inhale and try my best to stay collected. “Parker, where are you?” My heart is racing.
“Locked in the bathroom,” she screams. “Steven’s going crazy, and he’s about to break down the door!”
“Okay, whatever you do, Parker, just stay on the phone with me. Ellie, call 911 and tell them to get to Parker’s house, NOW!” In the background are banging noises and the sound of Parker crying hysterically.
Ellie informs me the cops are on their way and will arrive in less than ten minutes.
For the next few excruciating minutes I’m Parker’s lifeline, keenly aware I must keep her on the phone until help arrives. “Parker, listen to me,” I say in my most commanding voice. “You’ve got to calm down. Tell Steven we called the cops, and they’ll be there any minute. Do it now, Parker!”
Through her sobs, Parker stammers frantically, “The police are on their way, so you better leave me alone.”
Much to my horror, the banging grows louder, and I barely make out a muffled “f#%kin’ bitch” through the clamor. Steven is not backing off—he is only getting more enraged.
“Oh My God, he’s almost through the door!” shrieks Parker.
Suddenly, the screams fall silent as the phone goes dead.