A Cautionary Tale, cont’d.2

She took the paper-plated omelet from Julie’s outstretched hand, digging into it with the accompanying spork. Realizing just how long it’d been since she last ate, she contemplated ordering another. A quick money check indicated that unless it was on the house, or someone else paid for it, she was going to have to head home for some of that left-over braised beef if she was still hungry.

As she sat enjoying the remainder of her food, her eyes swung around the room. This bar had been the place to see and be seen for a very long time. Now the chain restaurants were moving in; already there was a Bennigan’s and a Friday’s and an El Torito’s within walking distance, and several others were getting ready to open. It was the season of the fern bar, those airy, open places that offered free food at happy hour, created specialty drinks, and held backgammon tournaments on Saturday afternoons. The competition for party dollars was getting stiffer. But those places were attracting a different sort of clientele, not the type she was entirely comfortable hanging with.

She peered through the cigarette smoke toward the bar and saw familiar faces, male and female. How long had she been coming here? It seemed like forever, though it was only six years. She supposed that was a pretty long time in the life cycle of bar denizens.

Nothing appealed to her tonight, not even offers for drink and dance. She realized that she had been thinking about the cute guy for most of the day. What was his name? She searched her memory. Nope, nothing came to mind. Had he even told her his name? She supposed that he must have. She’d just been paying attention to…well, never mind that, she thought. She’d see him soon enough, to work on her car. Not thrilled about spending so much of Friday’s paycheck on her brakes, but the thought of spending a little time with the cute guy would compensate.

Finishing up her drink, she bid an early ‘goodnight’ to her bar cohort and retreated for the car. With the top still down, the evening dew had settled on the seats, making them damp and chilly. But she left it down because Altamonte and longwood had so many orange groves to drive home through. She headed up Douglas Road, taking the back way instead of I4. The air was positively perfumed with orange blossom, alternately filling and clearing her head. What was it about that guy? She never left the bar early.

No one was up when she arrived home. Grabbing pjs from the bag behind the couch, she tiptoed to the bathroom, stepping gingerly over Canus, her parent’s’ Great Dane, who was sprawled across the hallway. A quick change, tooth brushing and washing of her face and she collapsed into…

Nope. She had to pull the couch out, make it up, set her alarm for 9am and finally, she collapsed into bed.

She didn’t actually need to be up at nine a.m. but she wanted some sun time before showering and leaving for work. Today was a short day, just one p.m until five thirty. She wasn’t closing tonight, and she had tomorrow (Saturday!) off. She just wanted to top off her tan with a bit of color before tomorrow. She dropped her pjs on the bathroom floor, pulled on a bikini and headed for the coffeepot. The house was quiet, save for the dog. Everyone else was at work or school.

Fresh coffee in hand, she headed out for the pool deck. One of the perks of living at home was enjoying this water pit in the parent’s back yarn. Shaded from neighbors but open to the Florida sunshine, it was private enough to sun bathe au naturel, though it never seemed like a very good idea to her since brothers and friends could show up unannounced. She settled back, sipping her coffee, calm on the outside, but jittery on the inside.

The phone rang. Jolted upright. It rang again. Pitching out of the chaise, she clambered for the phone on the kitchen wall.

“Hi! This is Scott from the warehouse…””

Silence. She’d forgotten to speak.

“Hello?”

“Oh, hi. You woke me up. I was just lying out by the pool,” she lied. “How are you?” Scott. His name was Scott.

“Great. I wanted to offer to go with you to get the parts, unless you’ve already gotten them? I have a friend who manages an auto parts store.”

“Sure. Can we do it tomorrow morning? I have to work this afternoon.”

“No problem. That will work out fine. But that’s not really why I called.”

“Ummmm. Okay…”

“I wanted to know if I could take you out for a drink this evening?” he faltered. “Maybe when we both get off work?”

“I get home around six thirty,” she said. “I could meet you somewhere.”

“That’s okay,” he responded. “Just give me your address. I’ll pick you up.”

The day took a million hours or fifteen seconds to go by. It was one or the other. Sometimes it was both. She wandered through her work day in a daze. What was this all about?

When he arrived to take her out that evening, she realized that he was much younger than she’d first assessed. She’d figured him closer to her own age…but now she guessed he was more like five years younger than she. That was alright, she reminded herself. If anything was going to happen, it was only going to be a summer thing. She had a fellowship and graduate assistantship waiting for her in the fall. ‘Nobody’s gonna break my stride, nobody’s gonna slow me down,’ had been her mantra as she started and finished university in under three years, and she had plans.

She had NO idea what she was heading for.

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~ by perchance2knit on January 10, 2011.

2 Responses to “A Cautionary Tale, cont’d.2”

  1. :::sigh::: I’m givin’ it away here, but for you…twice what I originally assumed. Thanks, and yep. BA, Economics, minors in Poli Sci and Business, with honors (.01 away from *magna* cum laude.) I didn’t do much else but work and school work.

    More tomorrow!

  2. How much younger? My imagination exaggerates so…thought I’d ask.
    You got through University in 3 yrs?! good on ya!

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