Rob Jenkins Part III
Chapter 1

After the events of the last year, I needed a summer respite. Grandfather's death and aftermath had taken its toll. Dealing with Brooke's rape had been traumatic. It seemed I had lost most of those close to me. Living in New York seemed to be was mostly having to deal with business affairs much more complex and complicated than I was prepared to handle. I wasn't proud of the way I used women. I had complicated Dorothy's life and fought not to ruin it. In addition to all the business responsibilities, I had to deal with the emotional responsibilities of Dorothy having another child. Most of the women I cared about, like Carolyn, had moved on. I depended far too much on the Lauders and Thornton. I seemed to be grasping at straws.

Saturday, I drove an Impala Super Sport to get Becky Hall for the Junior League event. I figured that if Becky didn't like being picked up in a Chevrolet, she could stay home. Carolyn and Hank were to come from the apartment in the limo. I hadn't been on a real blind date since the DKE Sweetheart Cathryn, had fixed me up during my first year at Alabama. I was a bit nervous. I trusted Nancy Hebb, but some of Brooke's friends were very status and wealth conscious. I didn't want to waste time with people who I couldn't stand.

Don't be stupid, it's a dinner charity event, not an engagement announcement. Loosen up and have a little fun.

Becky lived near Fort Salonga. The house was an older, two story former vacation house with a beautiful view of Long Island Sound. A very attractive woman about Brooke's age opened the door. She had engaging smile.

"Welcome. I'm Becky Hall." She held out her hand.

I took her hand. She reminded me of a younger Carolyn; attractive, but not beautiful. I said, "Rob Jenkins."

Becky said, "Come in. Would you like something to drink before we go?"

"I'm driving. I better skip the drink. Nice place." The hardwood floor gleamed. There were a few oriental carpets, but not much furniture. The interior looked clean and calm, very Billy Baldwin.

Becky said, "It's not like your house, but I like it. It's larger than I need, but I find the water peaceful."

"I know what you mean. My grandfather and I sat on the porch and looked at Mobile Bay a lot of evenings. It was very calming. My house here on Long Island has been in mother's family since before the War Between the States. When I'm there by myself, I really feel very alone." I looked out the large picture window at the Sound. "The sunset across the Sound must really be something."

Becky said, "You're not at all stuffy." She continued as I frowned. "I thought you might be stuffy and too young. I haven't dated in a while. I was afraid I'd look foolish."

"I'm proud to be with you, but I don't want to embarrass you."

She smiled. "We can't disappoint Nancy, can we?"

"I'm not disappointed; as long as you aren't, the others don't much matter!"

Becky said, "Let's go."

We walked to the car, and I opened the door for her. Becky was very nicely built, big breasted with muscular legs. She was dressed very conservatively, but her figure couldn't be hidden. Her dress went to her knees and no cleavage showed.

I smiled and walked around and got in the driver's side. She gave me a hard, questioning look.

I said, "Sorry; you remind me of a woman I work with in Alabama. She's not comfortable with how attractive she is either."

Becky looked offended. "Nancy said you were really nice. I'm not use to someone being so direct and mocking me. What did Nancy say about me?"

"Just that I'd like you. I apologize; I didn't mean to offend, and I certainly wasn't mocking you. Nancy also said she would put fun people at our table, and I got carried away, jumping the gun being playful. Please forgive me."

Becky asked, "I thought it was a company table? The people aren't from your company?"

I was glad she had changed the subject and didn't seem so irritated with me. "I've never met the others. Nancy invited them to be our guests. I know the hosts at the table next to us. Carolyn and Hank are very nice. She works with entertainers' accounts at our bank, and he's an artist's agent. I went with her to a New York City Chapter Junior League function right after I met her. She is a friend of Brooke, my sister in law."

Becky nodded, "I doubt if I know them. Working with artists must be interesting work. I took dance lessons in high school, but I wasn't good enough to go on. I wish I were artistic."

"I kind of know what you mean. Last summer I took classes at Juilliard. I can't carry a tune in a bucket and have almost no instrumental talent. I tried to learn to be a good listener and to appreciate talent. I have a relative who is a full-time student at Juilliard and goes year around. She got me interested in taking a jazz seminar. She invited me to the weekly parties she gave which attracted a wide variety of mostly students, but also included dancers, actors and differing kinds of performers. I enjoyed the people and the jazz seminar, and got to go to events with people I met. It's a lot more fun if you know someone performing. This summer I'm taking a couple of continuing ed broadcast journalism classes at Columbia. It's interesting, but not nearly as much fun as the jazz seminar. Do you play an instrument?"

"I took piano lessons until I finished high school. I don't play much now."

After a lull, she asked, "Do you work in the City?"

"I'm here over the summer. I was in Vietnam, so college was interrupted, now, I'm in college in Alabama."

Becky said, "That must be different. Nancy told me you were related to Brooke. I'm sorry she moved."

I nodded. We arrived at a banquet facility before I found out more about her. We parked and went into the hall where the Junior League event was held. Around the outside of the dining area, silent auction items were on tables. Beside each item was a bid card. Becky and I found our assigned dinner table, got a couple of glasses of wine, and walked toward the auction tables.

I said, "The company has a car and driver here. If you feel uncomfortable with me driving you home, we can get a ride with them."

Becky said, "I'm sure you'll be fine."

We greeted Nancy. I winked at her, "I'm not mad at you at all. We're going to bid on some items."

Nancy said, "The ones with the minimum bid on the card are on consignment. The ones with the minimum bid written in red, I purchased at a nice discount. I hope they all sell."

We left Nancy and walked among the tables. They had some very nice things. I put in bids on a number of the previously un-bid red items. Most of the red items were very nice. Becky bid on a few items. I saw Carolyn and Hank, who were looking at items.

We went to Carolyn. I said, "Carolyn Cappleman, may I introduce Becky Hall."

Carolyn said, "Rob, you know better than that." She looked at Becky, embarrassed by my introduction. She continued, "We're close friends, as well as I work for him. We can talk later, if you want to know about him." Hank joined us. She continued, "This is Hank Minkin."

I said, "You two can talk later. Nancy said they needed bids."

I bid on several cases of wine that had a red figure on the bid card and some items I could give as gifts. There was a lot of wine. It looked like high quality wine from New York State vineyards. I bid on a Gibson Folksinger acoustical guitar and sets of men's and women's Ping golf clubs. I bid ten percent more than the red figure on all the items. It simplified determining an appropriate bid amount.

When we had come in, I noticed a poster that listed donors. Wallingford Bank was listed as paying for the pre-dinner wine. I knew that people bid more after a couple of glasses of wine. Brooke's donation yielded larger donations. Becky and I had a second glass as we looked at the items.

After we finished looking at the items and bidding, we returned to our table and met the others at the table. They were an attractive group, who ranged in ages between my age and Becky's.

One of the women said, "Thank you for inviting us to your table."

"You're most welcome. It's our table now." The people at both tables introduced each other. The husbands at our table were an accountant, an insurance agent, an engineer and a teacher. Three of the women stayed at home with a child. The other woman worked part-time as a librarian. Becky didn't say anything about work. They were a lively group, and we talked about the items up for bid. I liked the people. The accountant knew about Jenkins Bank and the law firm, but he was the only one.

I noticed that Carolyn's table had older women than ours. None were as attractive as Carolyn.

We had an enjoyable dinner. Becky was a skilled hostess. Everyone at our table seemed to have a good time. The food was average banquet fare.

While the hall staff bused and cleared the dinner tables, most people made a last visit to the tables with the items up for bid. I noticed a number of my wine bids were still high. I wasn't high on the golf clubs, but was on the guitar. I bid on the few remaining orphan red items. I didn't bid on any services.

Becky had been outbid on a small sailboat. I said, "We have a place on Martha's Vineyard and a sailboat. If you'd like, we can fly up and take her out sometime."

Becky asked, "You have a plane?"

"An Aero Commander 680 FLP, she is a twin engine, and a very safe plane with all the instruments on her. I love to fly her. Are you a pilot?"

Becky said, "No, and I haven't even sailed much."

I wrote a bid for the small sailboat.

Nancy started the awarding of bids by going to the table farthest from the main table and working toward the main table. The more expensive items were close to the main table. They closed the bidding at the table and announced the winning bids, table by table. You could bid up until the table next to it was closed. Becky and I sat at our dinner table, but some people stood near the items they wanted. A few items were the objects of bidding wars. The atmosphere was fun, and I sensed the competition for items was more playful than serious.

I won the bids on a total of twelve full cases of wine, which drew comments from Nancy every time she called my name for a case. I also got a dozen terrycloth bathrobes and beach towels in early bidding. The guitar was in the middle group of tables, and I was happy when I won the bid. I also won the bids for ten or twelve small items, like Cibas figures and small jewelry items.

Every couple at our tables bought at least a six bottle pack of wine. We laughed and talked about the bid items. One of the items was a weekend at a house in the Hamptons. It went for a nice sum. No one at our tables bid on it, but a couple of people said they would have liked to have won it. After the bid was awarded, I said to the people at our table, "I'd like to invite everyone out for a weekend at Southampton. I'll provide a babysitter there. We have a pool, but no boat. We can cook out on the beach and grill near the pool. It's the best deal here."

One of the women said, "Being your guest here was a nice enough deal. We'd like to go if anyone else is interested. Thank you for the invitation."

When I won the bid on the boat, Becky said, "You have a boat now."

I said, "I think it's probably too small for the ocean. It's more of a dingy. It'd be about right for the Sound though."

Becky said, "I'll buy the boat from you."

"I've raised my price too much to sell her, but you could keep her for me. I'll have her delivered and maybe some time, I can give you sailing lessons."

She smiled and nodded.

I got Carolyn's attention, and she came over to my table. "I've invited the people at our table to come to the Southampton house for a weekend. Would you and Hank like to join us? Invite the people at your table if you wish."

Carolyn said, "Sure. We could come up on a Saturday morning, stay over Saturday night, and leave Sunday afternoon? Is that what you had in mind?"

I looked around; everyone nodded.

Carolyn told the others, "It's a large house on the ocean and very nice. You'll have a good time. I had a couple of get-togethers with old college friends there. Let's find a good weekend." The five women got their calendars together and selected the second weekend in July.

Nancy came over. "Is anyone at this table sober? I noticed wine was a popular bid item at this table." She looked at me. "Thanks for helping out. I appreciate it."

"Glad I could. You picked nice people for the table. I had a good time. We should get a group together at Roselawns some time. It's sad, the house seems so empty."

Nancy said, "Some late fall weekend an event in the greenhouse would be fun? I'll call you."

I nodded. I won't be there in late fall, but I won't go into that now.

I loaded six cases of wine in my car for Roselawns, and Carolyn's driver took the other six cases back to the apartment in the limo. I had a wine stash for Tuscaloosa and could take some to Eunice. Most of my 'gift' items went in the limo for the apartment also. I took the Folksinger and a couple of gifts for Maria and Marietta and put them in the backseat of the Chevrolet.

On the way to Becky's house, she asked, "Did Nancy tell you I was divorced?"

"No, she didn't. I know divorces can be painful and understand if you would prefer not to come to the weekend at the Southampton house. There are enough bedrooms for you to have privacy, but I don't want you to feel uncomfortable."

Becky said, "Let me think about it." We didn't talk more for the few minutes it took to get her home.

At her door, Becky said, "Thank you for a most pleasant evening."

"May I call you?"

Becky hesitated then smiled, "Please do."

She went in the house, and I turned and left. I drove back to Roselawns, took the wine out of the trunk and put it in the garage. The guitar and gifts went into the house.

Maria and Marietta had the lights on in their rooms over the garage. I phoned them, "Are you up? I have something to show you."

Maria said, "We'll be right over."

They came into the family room. Marietta said, "A guitar; wow."

I asked, "Do you play?"

Marietta said, "A little." Maria shook her head. Marietta asked, "You decided to learn to play?"

"I took lessons for a while; not jazz. I thought I'd try a little jazz. You may use her if you like."

Marietta said, "Thanks. Did you have fun tonight?"

"The people were very nice. I invited the people at my table, as well as Carolyn and Hank, to come to the Southampton house on the second weekend in July. I may need some help that weekend."

Maria said, "No problem."

Marietta said, "Are you going to need help this weekend?"

"No, Erin can handle this weekend. You can have your friends over."

Marietta smiled and nodded. "We'll have to teach you a song to play for your friends for the weekend."

"I was thinking that I'd take the guitar in case someone else plays."

I was surprised when Maria asked, "Would you like company tonight?"

I asked, "Marietta, would you mind if Maria stayed with me tonight?"

Marietta shook her head. She asked, "Can I take the guitar to my room?"

"Sure, but first I have something for you both."

I gave them each a Cibas figurine. Marietta got a rabbit, and Maria a burro.

Marietta asked, "These aren't cheap things are they?"

"They're not really expensive, but I like them. I got them at the charity auction."

Marietta kissed my cheek. "You didn't have to do this."

Usually I hooked up with them in their rooms over the garage, most often in Maria's. Her bedroom was larger and had a king size bed. The three of us were usually in bed together. Maria and I went to my bedroom. I tried not to think of Becky.

Maria said, "I could tell you liked the new woman. I thought you might need someone."

"She was interesting. She's about Brooke's age and very nice."

"I'll take care of you tonight. I don't mind you thinking of her." She went down on me and then rode me.

I was asleep a minute after she rolled off me. When I awoke in the morning, I was alone. I showered, dressed, and went downstairs. Maria was cooking sausage and Marietta was juicing oranges on the juicer.

I said, "Good morning. It's a beautiful day. Let's eat together in the sunroom."

Maria handed me a cup of coffee. They always waited to be invited before they ate with me. We ate together about half the time. Maria served scrambled eggs, sausage, Texas toast, honey, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Marietta ate the same things as I did. Maria had regular toast and no honey.

Marietta said, "You look like you slept well."

"Very well" My Spanish vocabulary was still limited, but I was getting better.

We were still at the table when the phone rang and Maria answered it. Then she said something in English to the caller. She brought the phone and asked, "Karen Kell?"

I nodded and took the phone.

"Karen, it's Rob." I thought, How stupid. Who else would it be?

Karen said, "Costa Rica's been a great getaway a sorority sister thought I needed. It was nice of her to invite me. Her house and family have been nice, but I'm getawayed out. I have a ticket on the direct afternoon flight Tuesday."

"Give me the flight information and I can pick you up at the airport. You can stay here when you get in and go to Paterson the next day."

"I'd like that. I'm still a little nervous at the airport, and I don't sleep well on planes." She gave me the flight information, and we disconnected. I called and made sure the limo would be ready to pick up Karen. I'll take her to the apartment. After midnight, it won't take long to get to the apartment. She can sleep in while I go to class, or I can skip class if she gets up early. I won't go to the office Wednesday. We can visit on the ride from the airport.

I called Erin and told her about the July weekend guests at Southampton, then left Roselawns. I took the train and subway to the apartment. I made sure the guest room was ready. I decided we needed a cook, so I called Maria and asked her to come in.

Monday after class, I got the last minute detail information from my classmates for the Southampton house that weekend, mostly food and drink preferences. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the weekend. Since the class was a continuing ed class, most of the students in the class worked full time jobs.

At Carolyn's office, she and I talked. She had talked with Brooke and told me how much Brooke appreciated my help with the dinner and auction. She said they were doing well.

I said, "Karen Kell's coming in after midnight tonight and will stay at the apartment until tomorrow afternoon. She's going to work at the radio station in Paterson again this summer."

Carolyn asked, "Is there anything I can do?"

"I don't think so. The guest room is ready. Maria's coming in to cook. She'll be here when Karen comes in, and tomorrow morning, if Karen wants anything to eat. I'm planning on going to class, but am skipping coming into the office tomorrow."

Carolyn asked, "Speaking of skipping; do you mind if Hank and I skip the Southampton weekend? Hank has a client he would like me to meet that Saturday."

"No problem. Enjoy being with Hank; he's a nice fellow."

Carolyn said, "Yes he is. I'll be around tonight, if you need me. If Karen's uncomfortable, she's welcome to stay with me. I'd like to say hi to her sometime."

"Sure; I'm not pushing her to stay with me. I hope she'll feel comfortable staying in a guest room."

Carolyn smiled. She knew Karen wasn't out of my system.

I stayed late at the office, then went home. Maria was at the apartment when I got in from work. She fixed a small beef fillet for me. After I ate, I took a short nap. Vietnam was good for something; I had learned to take short naps.

When I got up, I noticed that Carolyn had brought cut flowers for the foyer, dining room, and guest room. I had decided to remain understated with Karen, but the flowers brightened up the rooms.

I tried to do a little work but couldn't concentrate. I went down to the exercise room and worked out. Maria had prepared several meal options for Karen. She had beefsteak filets, pasta, salmon, and the things Maria liked to put in omelets. I was to ask Karen what she would like and call Maria from the airport. Maria would have it close to ready when we arrived.

I called and got an ETA of 1 a.m. for Karen's plane. At midnight the driver and I left in the limo for the airport. The plane arrived on time. Karen had been warned to take her important items as carryon luggage. She had a hanging clothes bag, a small suitcase and a large handbag with cosmetics. She had checked two suitcases.

Customs waved her and her suitcases through. She looked thinner and tired, but beautiful. We hugged, and I took her hanging bag and small suitcase. While she went to the restroom, a porter took her things to the airport's outer door, where the driver put them in the car. I waited for her near the restrooms.

At the payphones, I asked, "I have a cook standing by at the apartment. Would you like something to eat? She has steak filets, salmon, or pasta ready to cook, or can fix an omelet."

"We mostly had fish in Costa Rica. A filet would be nice."

I called Maria and gave her Karen's preference. I decided on an omelet. We walked to the car. I had Cokes, bottled water, coffee, wine, and liquor in the back of the limo.

She took water.

I said, "Tell me about Costa Rica."

"Costa Rica was a nice break. Last year was so hectic trying to catch up. J-school classes had me covering some meeting almost every night. I barely had time to turn around. My sorority sister tried to fix me up with her older brother and then it seemed, every eligible man in the country. They were elegant, but I didn't connect with any."

Karen said, "I wasn't around much last year. I heard you had a rough year, and I didn't figure I'd help by intruding. I know you were close to your grandfather and sister-in-law. I'm in a very different place now. I think I'm ready to come out of my shell."

"Will had some problems in the fall," I said, "and we stayed in Baldwin County until Christmas. Grandfather died New Year's. Will reacted very negatively to Grandfather's disposition of his estate, and it wasn't pleasant. We don't communicate, and I don't see them anymore. Will exchanged some things for my share of W& R, then Will and Brooke moved back to Philadelphia. The Lauders and I are doing some things together, but Will and my interests are completed divorced. And I've been accepted to law school at The University. I'll start this fall. That about covers it."

She watched me carefully. "The talk was you were tight with Peggy Williams, a Tri-Delt from Georgia."

"Peggy's high school boyfriend was killed in Vietnam. She transferred to Georgia in January. She likes it there."

I paused and asked, "Have you found someone?"

Karen answered, "No, I'm not seeing anyone. I was very busy and stay tired most of the time. I felt I had to make up for a lot of lost time toward a degree. I would like to have a little fun this summer; maybe go up to Nantucket or the Vineyard. I enjoyed the ocean in Costa Rica."

We got to my apartment a little after two. Karen took a shower and came out to eat in a bathrobe.

Maria fixed her a filet, with twice baked potatoes, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, and a salad.

Karen said, "This looks wonderful, but I can't began to eat all this."

I said, "Eat as much or as little as you want."

Karen tasted the steak. "This is wonderful. It's so tender." She ate the small steak and a little of everything else. She spoke with Maria in Spanish.

I said, "Sleep as late as you want. Maria will fix your breakfast when you get up. I have an eight o'clock class; I'll be back after class."

Even tired, Karen looked stunning. I didn't go to sleep immediately. I debated whether I should try to establish something with Karen. I went to the class the next morning. When I got back, Karen was up and had waited to eat brunch with me. Karen had a small steak. I had a breakfast burrito. Maria made really good burritos.

Karen asked, "How was your year at The University?"

"I dropped out during the first semester to help after Will and Brooke were hurt. It took a while for them to recover. Grandfather had a heart attack when it happened. We stayed in Fairhope while they recovered. Grandfather's heart gave out after Christmas. He had a nice Christmas with his great granddaughter."

Karen asked, "Are Will and Brooke alright?"

"I think they've recovered. Will wanted to go back to Philadelphia because Grandfather left me controlling interest in things here. I'll probably need to be here to take care of things."

Karen said, "I don't think I could live here."

I nodded. "Beau finished the first year of law school at Ole Miss. He's working in Philly with Will for at least part of the summer. Eunice had a boy, and Thornton is a proud papa. They are in Mountain Brook. Carolyn's in charge of the entertainment trust practice at the bank here. She handles New York and Nashville based clients. I'm involved in the jazz part of the practice. It's an interesting area."

Karen asked, "Are you going back to Alabama?"

I responded, "I'm not sure. I'm going to law school in Tuscaloosa, unless I get accepted off the wait list at Columbia Law School. That's unlikely now, but if I get in Columbia, I'll go here. If that happens, I doubt if I'll go back."

Karen asked, "What happened to the veteran's thing, where you never did say, but I knew you thought would be a safe place for me to recover after what happened in New York."

"Summerdale, the former Naval Air Station, is up and running. It's a residential center for people who were in special operations and Special Forces. We are doing EMT/paramedic training there and want to do some additional health care occupational training. We also have veterans' centers planned near all the state colleges and universities in Alabama. We have the one at Auburn up and running. Alabama, Auburn, and Ole Miss have counseling and clinical psychology programs to train people to help veterans. You might find their programs interesting. We also have the old Barin air facility, and it does airplane maintenance, pilot training, and radio/electronics work for aircraft and FCC related transmitter training for our radio stations. Summerdale is underway, but Barin is still in its infancy. Who knows how big they will get."

Karen said, "You have a lot going on. You must've been busy."

"It was an interesting time. I've stayed busy."

I decided to take Karen to Paterson early, so the traffic wouldn't be as bad. I called Carolyn and let her know Karen and I planned to leave early.

She came up and talked while I took Karen's things to the car. I did it so Karen and Carolyn had some time to talk alone. Carolyn and Karen came down together after a few minutes. Karen and I rode in the back of the limo to Paterson.

Karen seemed to look at me differently. She was very tired when she came in last night but looked rested this morning. Karen sat closer to me. She took my hand.

"I really appreciate all you've done for me. I'm sorry about last summer. I think I'm in a better state of mind now. I needed a little time."

"I hope you have a good summer. Last year wasn't a good one for either of us."

Karen said, "Carolyn told me a little bit about what's happened. Brooke's lucky to have you; me too."

I didn't say anything. Karen moved to me and kissed me with a lot of affection.

She pulled back. "It's a good thing I'm going now. Much more of this and I wouldn't want to go at all."

We kissed again and then she hugged me tight. She pressed her breasts against me. We kissed once more and then the limo pulled up to the condo the station had arranged for her this summer.

Why couldn't we have had a lot of traffic today?

I rearranged my pants and got out of the car. I took her hanging bag and small suitcase to the condo. The driver brought her other suitcases.

She said, "I hope we can go out some this summer."

I nodded. I asked, "Do you need anything at the station?"

"I have everything I need."

"I know you'll do well."

Karen said, "I hope you'll like law school."

"I promised Grandfather that I would pass the New York Bar. I hope I like it also, but it doesn't matter how much I like it, because I'm committed. Grandfather's firm does mostly SEC related work. It's more complicated than I thought. They're really good."

Karen asked skeptically, "Do you like that?"

"It's very profitable, though not exciting. We have a strong tax and estate practice, a small bankruptcy section, a small real estate and construction practice, but mostly it's a Wall Street practice."

She walked me back to the limo. I didn't want to leave, but I did.

Carolyn was in the apartment when I got back. I knew she was waiting to see me. From Karen's change of behavior in the limo, I suspected Carolyn had said something to Karen.

Carolyn said, "Karen told me why she couldn't live here. She suspected something might have happened to Brooke, too. I told her she would have to ask Brooke, but she knows."

I wonder how much Carolyn knows. I don't think she suspects that I was involved in the bombings.

Carolyn said, "You have it bad for her."

"I'm afraid it's not mutual."

Carolyn said, "I'm not so sure about that. She told me she hoped you would call. She wants you to take her to the Vineyard."

Wednesday I called Karen, "I've invited four men and their families to spend the weekend at the Southampton beach house. I know it's short notice, but I thought you might like to go; they all work in radio. I'm going out Friday evening and they are coming Saturday morning and staying until Sunday afternoon. I thought I would fly the plane to Suffolk County Airport, which is close, in case we wanted to take the group sightseeing in the plane Saturday evening."

She asked, "How far is it to Martha's Vineyard?"

"About an hour by air."

"Could we go sometime? I really liked when we visited before."

I said, "We could go for a weekend, if you wanted."

"I'd like that. Do you want me to go with you Friday?

"Yes, I do. I'll pick you up at the Lincoln Park Airport at 2. We'll fly to the airport near the house in Southampton. It's about thirty minutes to Southampton by air. Leave your car at the airport, and I'll fly you back Sunday evening."

I went to Carolyn's office. She said, "Slow down, what's going on."

"Karen's agreed to go to Southampton with me this weekend. Some guys are coming up from my broadcast journalism class. Everyone is bringing someone. Karen agreed to go with me."

Carolyn said, "I'm happy for you. I know how much you've wanted her; just be careful. Please."

I nodded. I had a difficult time getting anything done at the office. I finally gave up and went to the apartment. I went to the basement and worked out for an hour. I tried to practice the guitar, but couldn't concentrate enough to do any good. I finally gave up and called Lib.

Lib asked, "What's up? Not that I'm not glad to hear from you."

"Karen's agreed to spend the weekend with me."

Lib didn't say anything.

"You and Carolyn aren't very excited."

"Karen's very beautiful. I just don't know her well. Promise me you'll take it a little slow. You sometimes get too wrapped up and get hurt."

We chatted about ten minutes and then we finished our talk. I so much wanted it to work with Karen. I thought she was the prettiest woman I had ever seen. I couldn't wait for Friday.

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