Cereal Killers

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My coffee with Brian had continued through lunch. He'd taken me to a diner he loved and I couldn't help but post some pictures. Diner food was something else. I'd tried to beg Brian to share a meal with me but he'd insisted on ordering his own mountain of food. I ate less than half of what sat on my own plate and could barely move. Fortunately Brian had an appetite to match his ego. Huge.

He'd dropped me back at Cathy's late in the afternoon after we'd driven around to few cool secret beaches and surfing spots where I'd taken a few photos. He'd been interested in exactly what I did and what my blog and Instagram account was all about. I'd been happy to share my work with him and even took a few shots with him in them although they were definitely not for public consumption. I hadn't been able to resist sending a couple to Kelly. She'd responded with suitable best friend levels of enthusiasm to feed my crush.

Brian had promised to message or call me when he'd dropped me at Cathy's and by the time Friday and dinner with Val and Matt rolled around we'd messaged or spoken multiple times every day.

Cathy made me borrow a dress of hers because as she put it, "This is a fucking adult dinner Steph and not a playdate or a client lunch. I am making an effort and so I don't look like a pretentious show pony so are you."

Fortunately she hadn't thrown me too far out of my comfort zone. The dress was a stripped, boat-necked, three quarter sleeve tunic. The aspects that challenged me were the colour, pink and white as opposed to my usual navy and white stripe preference, and the length which at mid-thigh made me feel very exposed. Still at least she hadn't made me wear the type of body-con navy thing she had on. The colour may have been sedate but the style definitely wasn't. It wasn't hard to see that Cathy had recovered her figure remarkably well after Harper's birth.

Harper was adorable in a navy and white spotted dress with a white collar and white piping. Cathy had confided that she fully expected her demon child to trash the dress within the first thirty minutes considering that Val and Matt had two boys. Harper may have been a cute as button little girl but she was most definitely a troublemaking ring leader. Jeff looked exactly what he was in his khakis and button down shirt, a respectable family doctor and all round good guy. The chocolate hand print on his thigh courtesy of Harper drove that point home.

The front door had opened to an enthusiastic Val when we arrived. I'd introduced her to Cathy and Jeff and we followed her through to the living room where Matt waited with two little boys clinging to his legs. Harper had given them an assessing look before marching up to them and demanding they show her where they kept their toys. They'd given her a wide eyed look of awe before following meekly in her wake to do her bidding.

"Sucks to be you man," Matt said to Jeff by way of greeting.

"I've already looked into getting a gun licence," Jeff said with a fatalistic sigh. Matt gave him a sympathetic slap on the arm. I was faintly disappointed that it wasn't a bro-hug.

We'd followed Val into the kitchen, which smelled amazing, and she was proudly displaying her patio to Cathy as Matt distributed drinks.

"Hello? Where is everyone?" A voice called through the house. A stampede of tiny feet was followed by childish shrieks of joy.

"Uncle Brian! Uncle Brian! Mommy! Daddy! Uncle Brian's here!" One of the small Matt mini-me's dragged Brian into the kitchen proclaiming his delight at an ear splitting decibel. Mini-me one's counterpart trailed behind them skipping in barely contained delight, Harper's hand firmly clutched in his.

God damn Brian looked good. He'd topped off a pair of black trousers with a black self-stripe button down shirt. He greeted Val with a peck to the cheek and Matt with a bro-hug much to my internal delight. "Cathy, Jeff," he offered them a smile each. He approached me, his tiny fan club bringing up the rear, and leaned in to kiss my cheek. "Good evening Ace," he said out loud before murmuring in my ear, "you look gorgeous." I felt my cheeks heat with a blush.

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