Home > Drunk on Love

Drunk on Love
Author: Jasmine Guillory

 


One

 


   MARGOT NOBLE BIT HER lip so she wouldn’t scream.

   “I know that Uncle Stan never had parties here,” she said to her brother, as calmly as she could. “But I’m suggesting that we do something different this year. Shake it up a little. It’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of Noble Family Vineyards, and I think it’s worthy of celebration. A party for our wine club members and other guests seems like a perfect way to do it.”

   By the look on Elliot’s face it was like she’d suggested turning the vineyard into a corn maze.

   “This sounds like a huge amount of hassle, Margot,” Elliot said. “You want to have this party here? Why would we do something like that?”

   She’d known Elliot would hate this idea.

   “First, like I said, it’s the anniversary—I know we’ve never really celebrated it, but it seems like a great year to do it. Second, a number of our wine club members and other visitors to the winery have asked why we don’t have parties here, especially since we have such a great space, so I think people would be excited to come. Third, it’s excellent marketing for us and our wines—it’ll sell wine, give us some great publicity, get people here who haven’t been to the tasting room before, and keep them coming back. And it’ll add members to our wine club.” She hoped. “And fourth, it might earn us some money—we’ll charge a fee for the party, and parties like this tend to sell a bunch of wine anyway, so it’ll be a win-win.”

   Elliot’s face closed up. She knew what he was thinking. She kept using “we” and “our,” like the first person plural encompassed her, too. But she knew he thought of the winery as his, and his alone. He’d been the one who had worked here for ten years, not her. Well, they’d owned the winery together since their uncle had died and left it to the two of them, almost three years ago. It felt like Elliot would never get used to that.

   “Stan didn’t want to have parties,” Elliot said. “He didn’t want us to become one of those wineries where people would go just to get drunk and make scenes. That’s not who Noble is.”

   Margot made herself take a deep breath.

   “It’s not going to be that kind of party,” she said. “Just a time for people to come, see what we’ve done here, taste the wines, bring their friends along, celebrate with us. It will give us a publicity boost, it’ll sell some wine, it’ll drive more visits to the winery, all good things.”

   Do you remember what a shaky financial situation this place was in when I came on board? she wanted to—but did not—say. Do you see how much better we’re doing now, with all of the changes I’ve instituted? Can you, just once, not argue with me about my ideas? Maybe even trust me?

   Instead she took another deep breath. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity to do some of that landscaping I’ve been wanting to do.”

   They had a lot of outdoor space at the winery, but it was kind of bare. The lawn between the winery building and the barn needed work, and she wanted to add more flowers, herbs, and greenery to the grounds. Maybe even a little garden. She’d mentioned all of this to Elliot before, but he’d mostly ignored her.

   “Seems like you’ve made up your mind to do this, whether I like it or not,” he said. “When will this party be?”

   She wasn’t going to let herself react to that.

   “I wanted to talk to you about it before I decided that.” Well, she also wanted to talk to other people in the area first, see when other wineries had scheduled their parties, check to see when she could get the landscaping done, and catering, and all of those details that Elliot wouldn’t care about.

   “Okay,” he said. “Thanks for letting me know.”

   That sounded irritable, but she wouldn’t take the bait. She looked down at her notepad.

   “That’s it on my agenda. Anything else we need to go over?”

   She’d pulled her brother into an impromptu Sunday-night meeting to go over winery business. She’d been out of town for the past week, and Elliot had been in charge of the winery, so they needed to catch each other up. She already knew a lot of what had been going on at the winery in her absence; she handled all of the social media, so she’d seen all of the posts and tags over the past week, all of them good, thankfully. She’d been down in San Francisco and the East Bay, visiting restaurants and wine stores. Some of her visits had been to sell them on the Noble Family Vineyards wines; some had been to schmooze with people at the places that already sold their wines, so they’d sell more of them. Her trip had been very successful—not that Elliot had congratulated her on that.

   She shook her head at herself. That was unfair. Elliot just didn’t think about things like that. That’s what she was here for. She took care of the business side of things; he handled the wine side.

   He stood up.

   “I don’t have anything.” He stopped, right when he got to her office door. “Oh, wait. I hired someone on Friday. For the tasting room job. I told him to come in tomorrow at ten. William something. Isn’t the other new person starting tomorrow, too?”

   Margot stared at her brother.

   “You hired someone? Without me here?”

   He had the grace to at least look ashamed.

   “I know, I’m sorry. But he came by on Friday and I interviewed him on the spot. I liked him a lot, and I think you will, too.”

   Margot knew she shouldn’t have left her brother in charge at the winery for a whole week.

   “You keep saying we’re short-staffed,” Elliot said, “and I know you wanted to get someone in before summer. And I need plenty of time to train staff on our wines, so when I found a good person, I thought we should hire him right away.”

   Margot took a deep breath. Just as she’d told herself she’d been unfair to Elliot, this happened.

   “I wish you’d waited,” she said. “I’m the one who works closely with the tasting room staff, not you. We aren’t in that much of a rush.”

   They were short-staffed and they did need to get someone hired and trained up quickly. But the wrong person would make her life more difficult, not his.

   Elliot let out a huff.

   “I have his résumé somewhere,” Elliot said. “I can call him, tell him it’s not final, that he has to interview with you tomorrow.”

   Margot sighed. That would just make them look unprofessional.

   “No, that’s okay. I’ll deal with it.”

   Elliot nodded on his way out the door. He’d probably known she would say that.

   “Okay. See you tomorrow.”

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