The office moved downtown, to one of the five-story buildings that are as close to skyscrapers as Reedville is likely to get in the next hundred years. The sign on their 'penthouse' suite reads 'WVS Innovations' which explains why I had so much trouble finding the new address — Ame made partner while I was gone and they changed the company name. I'm not complaining 'cause I think the fact that she's a partner is cool. I grin at the sign for a minute before going in.
I greet the perky receptionist, ask for Amelia Wilson and admit that I do not have an appointment. She calls Ame and I watch her face as she announces me. Whatever Ame said must have caught little miss perky off her game because her eyes nearly pop out and she gives me the same smile you give when you find out that the murderer is standing next to you.
"I'm sorry Ms. Wilson is tied up at the moment. She's asked if you would make an appointment and come back on another day."
I lean on the desk and smile at the girl, "Tell Ms. Wilson if-n she don't get'er lil' round ass out here in five, Ima come back an' get it." She pales a bit. "Go on back an' tell 'er. I'll wait right here fo' ya." She gets up and briskly scoots into the back office. Three minutes later, she and a pissed off Ame enter the room.
Her hair is twisted into a bun on top of her head and held there with a chopstick. It exaggerates how slender her neck is. She is the picture of a conservative executive. She's already launching in on me about how dare I barge in to her place of business or some similar bullshit but I couldn't care less. I completely ignore her. I grab her arm, pull her up to me and kiss her. I pull her hair down letting the sticks fall where they may and let go of her arm in favor of holding her head. I have been waiting — dying — for this since I left her.
When she crushes my nuts, I let her go. She squeezes so hard and so unexpectedly I nearly blackout. She asks, "Are you listening yet?" a couple times before I can answer. "Good. You may go home. When I call you, if — if I stress — if I call you, it will be there. Do not come in to my office without permission again."
I watch her high heels exit the room and will myself to calm down. The pain was excruciating but I want to go, grab her and screw her on her desk. It's a couple minutes before I can pick myself up off the floor. The receptionist is stunned, terrified. I shake my head. Already I can feel transfer from pain to pleasure.
"Thank you." I manage to say to her — from out of reach of her desk, so that she's not worried that I'll attack her. "If Ms. Wilson asks, tell her that I'm staying with my Grandfather until I've made more permanent arrangements. I believe she has the number." I can't help groaning as I turn to the door.
"Umm, do you need some help? A doctor, maybe?" She seems torn between genuine concern and utter fear. I love southern girls.
"No, I'm fine." I give her a half smile, "Believe it or not, that went better than I expected."
"Oh, yeah. She threatened to cut 'em off. With a razor. I figured she wouldn't have one handy here, but you never know with that one. You take care now, here?" I take the elevator down because the stairs would be just a little more than I'm ready to face. I figure she won't call today. Maybe next week. If she really missed me, she'll call the day after tomorrow.
It's a month.
I come home from the dock. Granddad is on the porch chatting with one of the neighbors, which is a good thing because I was beginning to think he was becoming a hermit.
"Hey, Mr. Hodges. Hey, Granddad; you take yo' meds on time t'day?" Always have to ask him that.
"You aughta know." He sneers at Mr. Hodges, "Sent his little barracuda ova ta' check up on me."
"Sent who?" Usually, if I send anyone, it's Beth or Gracie since they're in the office and close by. I didn't send either today.
"That little witch you was seein' up north. The little oriental one. I don't know her name. Hell boy, need a god damned database t'keep up with all yor wimen."
I stare at him for a moment. Granddad's a bit off his game, but he's not senile. "She was here? You sure?"
His eyes narrow at me, "I look senile ta ya, boy? Woman was here, checked ma meds, watched me take 'em, said you kin call her, an' left. You'd think George'd raise the boy with some respect." He grumbled to Mr. Hodges.
"It not you, Granddad. I just didn't think she'd visit. I'm a bit surprised."
"Me too. Thought you'd rid yo'self uh that one." He shook his head, "Never liked her. Cruel. You know the type, Ed, you ain't never sure if-n the knife in her hand is for you o' the fish." They both laugh.
I clap him on the shoulder, "Yeah, she's kinda like that. You ok out here?"
"Yeah, boy, I'm fine. Junior may be ova fer a spell this evenin'."
"Ok. I'll be back in a minute. I, uh, need ta make a phone call." I drift inside.
She came by. She checked his meds. I take the steps two at a time.
When she picks up, all my smooth, planned greetings go flying out the window. It's actually a couple seconds before I can even say hi.
"Pick me up. We have dinner reservations and we're already running late." She hangs up before I can respond.
It's another minute before I realize that I need to get moving, shower, change and get to her place. I hope she hasn't moved otherwise I'm sunk. Granddad laughs at me as I run past him. I stop just before I start the car and get out again.
"Uh..." I hate leaving him alone all night.
"If-n you plannin' on doin' yo' business with that one, you'd best get a move on." He says chortling.
What can I say about Granddad? "You the best!" I call out and break a speed law or twelve getting' to Ame's. She hasn't moved. She doesn't speak but then she rarely speaks in the car. The reservations are at Nam Tran — the only Vietnamese restaurant in town. She's dressed to kill making me doubly glad to took the time to change clothes. After she places our drink orders, she looks at me and I find myself lost in those beautiful, hypnotic eyes.
"If you're going to moon, you can leave right now." Her tone is acidic and I snap to attention.
"Now. You're Grandfather looks well." She sips her wine. "Charming as ever."
"Yeah, he's holdin' up pretty well, all things considered."
"I trust your parents are doing well also?"
"Oh, yeah. Mom's retired but Dad's still at the Fishery. Actually, my cousin, Jean — you remember Jean an' Joan? — anyway, Jean's gone into Accounting too an' she's working with him now." I talk about the family for a few minutes until I realize that she isn't even vaguely interested. "Yeah. Ok. How's Amanda?"
"Well, I'm sure."
"Good. Good." I look at the menu. After she orders for us, we sit in silence until she's ready to tell me why we're there.
"I wanted to tell you first, how absolutely inappropriate your behavior in my office was. It was vulgar and rude and intolerable."
"Yes, Ma'am." I say softly, keeping my eyes on my plate. I love it when she berates me in public — it makes me all tingly.
"Secondly, you seem to have forgotten that you may not touch me without my express consent. I trust you were reminded of that?"
"Oh, yes Ma'am." The thought makes me twitch and I sip my wine to cover the grin that threatens to break out.
"Finally, you should know that I am seeing someone."
I nearly choke on the wine and barely avoid spewing all over the table. I get my napkin over my mouth in time and cough violently for almost a full minute. She waits patiently while I recover. When I find my voice again I only want to know one thing, "Who?"
"I cannot imagine why that should be any of your concern."
"I wanna know who."
"None of your concern. Lower your voice."
I take a deep breath and flex. I can already feel the tension creeping along my shoulder and around my neck. "Why?" I ask again in a quieter voice.
"When you announced this football thing, did I not tell you that if you chose football over me, I would consider our relationship at an end?"
"Ame," I gasp, frustrated to have this discussion again, "Do you know how many guys get a chance to play NFL ball? What was I supposed ta do — throw that away without trying? I didn't choose football over you; you could have come with me."
"Uproot my life to follow you around the country like a puppy with no purpose of my own?"
"It wouldn't have been like that." I say weakly. But I know, for her, it would have been exactly like that.
"Was I not clear?"
"You were clear." I can feel the tension in my jaw now. Most likely she can see it in my face by now.
"Are you then upset because you've spent the last twenty-four months thinking of no one but me?"
"As a matter uh damn fact, I have."
I look back at my plate. I though of her nightly. But not alone.
"I knew there was no earthly way you could be trusted out of my sight to be anything approaching faithful, so I didn't ask you to try. Why should I?"
I start to answer that but I catch myself before anything stupid comes out of my mouth.
"I thought I at least owed it to you to tell you in person." She pauses as the waiter serves our meal. "That's all. You may leave when you're ready. Tonight I will cover the check."
.... There is more of this story ...