Danielle Steel: Dating Game

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Danielle Steel Dating Game
  • Название:
    Dating Game
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    Random House, Inc.
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    Старинная литература / на английском языке
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Dating Game: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Paris was slim and lithe and athletic. Once the children were older and she had more free time, she played tennis almost every day, and was in terrific shape. She wore her straight blond hair long, and most of the time wore it pulled back in a braid. She had classic Grace Kelly good looks, and green eyes. Her figure was noteworthy, her laughter easy, and her sense of humor quick to ignite, much to the delight of her friends. She used to love playing practical jokes, which never failed to amuse her children. Peter was far quieter by nature, and always had been. By the time he came home at night after a long day and the commute on the train, more often than not, he was too tired to do much more than listen to her, and make the occasional comment. He came to life more on the weekends, but even then he was quiet and somewhat reserved. And in the last year he had been consumed with work. This was, in fact, the first dinner party they had given in three months. He had worked late every Friday night, and gone back into town some Saturdays, to clear things off his desk, or meet with clients. But Paris was always patient about it. She made few demands on him, and had a profound respect for his diligence about his work. It was what made him so good at what he did, and so highly admired in business and legal circles. She couldn't fault him for being conscientious, although she missed spending more time with him. Particularly now, with Meg gone for the past six months, and Wim busy with his own life and friends in the final weeks of his senior year. Peter's heavy workload in recent months reminded her yet again that she was going to have to find something to occupy her time in September. She had even thought of starting a catering business, or investing in a nursery, since she enjoyed her garden so much. But the catering business, she knew, would interfere with her time with Peter on the weekends, and she wanted to be available to him whenever he was home, which was seldom enough these days.

She took a shower and dressed after checking the table and cruising through the kitchen to check on the caterers, and everything seemed in good order. They were having five couples for dinner, all of them good friends. She was looking forward to it, and hoped Peter would get home in time to unwind before the guests arrived. She was thinking of him, when Wim stuck his head in her bedroom door while she was getting dressed. He wanted to tell her his plans, a house rule she rigidly enforced even at his age. She wanted to know where her children were at all times, and with whom. Paris was the consummate responsible mother and devoted wife. Everything in her life was in perfect order, and relatively good control.

“I'm going over to the Johnsons' with Matt,” Wim said, glancing at her, as she pulled up the side zipper of a white lace skirt. She was already wearing a strapless tube top to match, and high-heeled silver sandals.

“Are you staying there, or going somewhere else afterward?” She smiled at him. He was a handsome boy, and looked like his father. Wim had been six foot three by the time he reached fifteen, and had grown another inch since. He had his father's dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes, and he smiled as he looked at his mother. Wim thought she always looked pretty, when she got dressed up, and he watched as she wound her long blond hair into a bun as they talked. He always thought his mother had a simple elegance about her, and he was as proud of her as she was of him. He was not only a good student, but had been a star athlete all through high school. “Are you going to a party tonight?” Paris asked wisely. For the past month at least, if not two, the seniors had been kicking up their heels, and Wim was always in the thick of things. Girls were crazy about him, and drawn to him like a magnet, although he had been going out with the same girl since Christmas, and Paris liked her. She was a nice girl from a wholesome family in Greenwich. Her mother was a teacher, and her father a doctor.

“Yeah, we might go to a party later.” He looked momentarily sheepish. She knew him too well. He had been thinking of not telling her about it. She always asked so many questions. He and his sister both complained about it, but in another sense, they liked it. There was never any question about how much she loved them.

“Whose house?” she asked, as she finished her hair and put on just a dash of blush and lipstick.

“The Steins',” Wim said with a grin. She always asked. Always. And he knew before she said it what the next question would be.

“Will the parents be there?” Even at eighteen, she didn't want him at unsupervised parties. It was an invitation to trouble, and when they were younger, she had called to verify it herself. In the past year, she had finally relented, and was willing to take Wim's word. But there were still incidents now and then when he tried to pull the wool over her eyes. As she said, it was his job to try and put one over on her, and hers to figure it out when he did. She was pretty good about sussing things out, and most of the time he was honest, and she was comfortable about where he went.

“Yes, the parents will be there,” he said, rolling his eyes.

“They'd better be.” She looked meaningfully at him, and then laughed. “I'm going to flatten your tires and put your car keys in the trash compactor, William Armstrong, if you lie to me.”

“Yeah, yeah, Mom. I know. They'll be there.”

“Okay. What time will you be home?” Curfews were still a standard at their house, even at eighteen. Until he left for college, Paris said, he had to follow their rules, and Peter agreed. He heartily approved of the boundaries she set for their kids, and always had. They stood united on that, as on all else. They had never disagreed about how they raised their children, or much of anything in fact. Theirs had been a relatively trouble-free marriage, with the exception of the usual minor arguments that were almost always about silly things like leaving the garage door open, forgetting to put gas in the car, or not sending a tux shirt out to be cleaned in time for a black tie event. But she rarely made those mistakes, and was organized to a fault. Peter had always relied on her.

“Three?” Wim asked cautiously about the curfew question, trying it on for size, and his mother instantly shook her head.

“No way. This isn't a graduation party, Wim. It's an ordinary Friday night.” She knew that if she agreed to three now, he would be wanting to come home at four or five during the graduation celebrations, and that was way too late. She thought it was dangerous for him to be driving around at those hours. “Two. Max. And that's a gift. Don't push!” she warned, and he nodded and looked pleased. The negotiations were complete, and he started to back out of her room, as she headed toward him with a purposeful look. “Not so fast …I want a hug.”

He smiled at her then, looking like a big goofy kid, and more a boy than the nearly grown man he was. And he obliged her with a hug, as she leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Have fun tonight, and drive carefully, please.” He was a good driver, and a responsible boy, but she worried anyway. So far at least there had been no drunken incidents, and the few times he had had something to drink at parties, he had left his car and driven home with friends. He also knew that if things got out of hand, he could call his parents. They had established that agreement years before. If he ever got drunk, he could call them, and there would be an “amnesty.” But under no condition, in those circumstances, did they want him to drive home.

She heard Wim go out and the front door close moments after they had exchanged the hug. And Paris was just coming down the stairs herself, as Peter walked in, with his briefcase in his hand, looking exhausted. It struck her as she looked at him how much he looked like Wim. It was like seeing the same person thirty-three years later, and noticing that made her smile warmly at him.

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