I heard the car horn, took a second to make sure I had my wallet (yup, thin but enough,) and sprinted for the road.
“Hi, Christy!” I jumped in beside her and pulled the door shut. She had the heater blasting and I rubbed my hands together in front of the vent. “Thanks for picking me up. I appreciate it.”
Christy stared at my clothes. “Why are you wearing Mr. Lubomir’s suit?”
I looked down at my new clothes. Except, not exactly new. George had given me a tour of the racks in the store basement, telling me that the store sometimes sold, for small change, used clothes. Clean, he insisted. The stuff might be a little dusty, but it’s all been laundered.
I held up an arm and smoothed the sleeve. “There are a lot of good clothes, very cheap, in the store basement. George showed me around. This only cost me two fifty.”
“Two and a half simoleons?”
“That’s right. A good bargain, don‘t you think?”
“Worth every penny.” She turned the car around and headed for One Fried Egg. She didn‘t say anything for a few minutes, then, “So, Gerry, how was your date with Tamara?”
“Great. She’s nice. I like her.”
“How much? She called all of us last night after you left for work. Her boyfriend is not too happy.”
“Boyfriend? I didn’t know she had a boyfriend. She mentioned a name--Ben--but she didn’t talk about him like she cared one way or the other. Is it Ben?”
“It’s Ben. Tamara, however, is looking for true love like she sees in the movies. Once upon a time, Ben was her true love, but not anymore. She’s bored. You, Gerry, are the new lead in her love story.”
“Me? It was just one date.”
“Come on, Gerry. You grabbed her and kissed her like…” Christy grinned, “…like Milo kissed Eliza. Poor, dim-witted, little Tamara. She compared you to Milo, of all things. I’m glad Ben took her down to the resort today. You lit a fire under his lazy ass, and that’s probably a good thing.”
“Who’s Milo? Another boyfriend?”
“Milo Panaderez and Eliza Stone in the Veronaville TV series. It’s been running for a couple of years. How could you not know who they are?”
“Can’t afford a TV.”
“Ah,” she sighed. “That’s tough. You could stand to learn a few things from that show.”
I didn’t think so, but I didn’t say anything. Instead, I considered my mental list of possible wives and drew a line through Tamara’s name. Yes, I like Tamara. I had enjoyed the date. I would have enjoyed several dates, but if I’m going to be wrestling with boyfriends, I only wanted to wrestle with one, and that one was Tina’s boyfriend, Joe.
I studied Christy’s profile. She was pretty, and probably had at least one boyfriend. “What about you?” I said. “Do you have any boyfriends who are going to get angry about your date with me?”
“You go first. I am not going to answer questions about myself until I’ve heard all about you, including girlfriends. And wives. You and I are going to get some dinner at Arlo’s, play a little pool, and,” she glanced at me, smiling, “chat.”
Yuck, I thought. Chat. Her idea of a chat was probably not the same as mine. I had a feeling that what she planned was more along the lines of an interrogation. But she probably didn’t realize that she had just thrown a challenge in my face. It was too much to resist. “I’m all for dinner and a game of pool. I hoped we might go down to the Windmill…”
“Nope. No dancing. Just pool.”
“OK. I’m fine with that.” I figured she was a little riled up at the moment. Maybe later she’d relax and be more open to the idea of a little dancing. If chatting is what it took, then chatting is what I would do.
We pulled into One Fried Egg.
Christy had told me already that Tamara was not going to be there because of her date with Ben. But Tina wasn’t there either. I stopped myself from asking where she was. Probably just a night off from work.
As usual, all three tables were empty and we had our pick. We both ordered fried chicken. Christy ate more slowly than Tamara, cutting carefully at the chicken with her knife.
“Where are you from, Gerry?”
“Doesn’t the whole town know that already? I’m from Pleasantview. It’s quite a ways up…”
“Oh, I know where it is. I’ve been there.”
“And you came back? I got the impression from Roberta that nobody comes back.”
Christy shrugged, “That’s generally true, but not entirely. People do return home, you know. Will you?”
I chewed up a big mouthful of chicken and swallowed, “That depends.”
“On my wife.”