A big THANK YOU to Blackrandi for agreeing to clean up my mess.
It was the last thing that I needed at that point in my life, but it was the one thing to which I could not say no. My mother called me and told me that I needed to come home to run the family business because my father had suffered a stroke. Someone needed to keep the business running, and she said she couldn’t do it and still take care of Dad.
Home was six hundred miles away, and I hadn’t been there in almost two years. Frankly, I could have gone another ten or fifteen years without going back. The only immediate family I had back there were Mom, Dad and my sister, Sarah, and so far, their coming out to visit me had worked out fine as far as keeping in touch went.
My original reason for leaving town was to avoid going to jail for the assault and battery that I had committed on Jackson Murphy, an assault severe enough to require hospitalization. I had expected Murphy to take his beating like a man, to accept it as his just due for the sin he committed against me. I was extremely lucky on the day I found out that he wasn’t going to ‘man up’ and accept what I did to him as what he had earned and had coming.
I was home, and my mom didn’t know it when the police came looking for me. They told her that they had a warrant for my arrest, and when Mom told them that I wasn’t at home, they accepted that as the truth. Mom was well known and respected in town, and everyone knew that Ms. Emma wouldn’t lie to save her life. The two officers who came for me had more than likely been her students when they went through the seventh and eighth grades. There was no “Mind if we check and see for ourselves?” because no one who knew her would ever doubt her word.
I had overheard them when they told her what they were there for, so as soon as they were gone I packed up the bare essentials and two hours later, I drove past the city limit sign. I stopped once I was a hundred miles away and called home to let Mom know I was gone and didn’t expect that I would be back in the foreseeable future. Then, of course, I had to tell her why I was running away.
“You must be wrong, Brad. Susan would never do that to you.”
Problem was that Susan did do it and couldn’t deny it because I’d caught her red handed. Susan and I had been an off and on couple since the seventh grade. I say off and on because we would argue and break up and then eventually get back together. By the middle of the twelfth grade, we were a steady couple and everyone knew that that we were going to end up married when we graduated from college, and that wasn’t all that far off.
We were both attending the local community college where I was learning metal fabrication and welding, after which I would go to work for my father. Dad was looking forward to the day he would change the sign on the shop from Erickson Welding to Erickson and Son Welding and Fabrication. Susan was taking the courses that would make her a para-legal.
I didn’t know about Susan, but I wasn’t getting a whole lot out of it. I’d been working in Dad’s shop since I was thirteen. As far as the mechanics of it went, I could have taught the class. Working for Dad, I’d learned Tig, Mig, Arc and oxy-acetylene welding. I knew how to use brakes, metal shears and punch-presses. To be honest about it, I thought it was a complete waste of time and money, but Dad insisted that I needed that degree framed and hanging on the wall in the office, and since he was paying for it, I hung in there.
I considered my relationship with Susan to be solid. We had been sexually intimate since her eighteenth birthday (I was a month older), and we were in our last semester and already trying to settle on a date for our wedding.
Then it all came crashing down. My folks and I had left town to attend a family reunion. I had tried to get Susan to go with me so she could meet the rest of the family she would be marrying into, but she said she couldn’t because she had already promised her parents that she would attend some function with them.
The reunion was in Haleyville, which was just seventy miles away. I drove over by myself since I wouldn’t be out of class until a couple of hours after my parents had already gone. The reunion was a two-day affair covering Saturday and Sunday, and we would be staying with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Louie while we were there. I had a good time with all of the relatives on Saturday, but about six o’clock I had the sudden feeling that something wasn’t right with Susan. I can’t explain it. Suddenly it was just there in my mind. It was a strong enough feeling that I left the reunion and drove home.
I got there about a quarter after eight and drove to Susan’s place. It was dark and no one answered when I rang the bell. I remembered that Susan had mentioned the Elks when she told me about her promise to her parents, so I headed for the Elks club. As I was driving down Main Street I saw Susan and Jackson Murphy coming out of the Rialto. It upset me! It upset me greatly because they were holding hands and laughing about something. The girl wearing my engagement ring holding hands with another guy? Damned straight I was upset!
I pulled to the curb and watched them in my side and rearview mirrors as they walked to Susan’s car and got into it. Susan pulled out and drove by me, and I gave her a little distance and then I pulled away from the curb and followed. I left enough distance between us so that she wouldn’t suspect that she was being followed. Not that she would probably even consider it in the first place. All she would see was a pickup truck and in our town, three out of every five vehicles was a pickup truck.
After about five miles and a couple of turns it dawned on me that that the route she was taking would take her out to Steven’s Point. The Point was a favorite make out spot for teens. Once I figured that out, I fell farther back knowing that a car right behind them when they reached the Point would be noticed. When she turned left on the dirt road that took you to the Point, I pulled over, parked on the shoulder and stopped. I gave them five minutes, and then I followed. I stopped, pulled over and parked just before the curve that opened onto the parking area.
I got out and walked the rest of the way. They were the only car parked there, and I quietly walked up to them. Susan and Jackson were making out and I stood there in the dark right next to them and watched. Murphy played with her tits and Susan didn’t stop him. When he put his hand on her leg and started moving it towards her pussy and she didn’t stop him I’d had enough. I saw that the lock button on her door was up and that meant that her door wasn’t locked. I opened the door quickly, grabbed a handful of Susan’s hair and yanked her away from Murphy. I grabbed her left arm and pulled it to where I could get take hold of her left hand. I wrestled the ring I’d given her off of her finger and then I let her go.
While I was trying to get the ring off Susan’s hand, Murphy got out of the car and came charging around the back of the car at me. Bad move on his part, because he was rushing toward a man who was pissed off, angry and full of rage, a rage that needed an outlet. The ring came off Susan’s finger and I turned to meet Murphy. He threw a right, which I blocked, and then I proceeded to stomp his ass. I’ll admit that I got a bit carried away and went farther than I should have. When he was down, I should have just walked away instead of kicking him a couple of times, but that’s the thing about anger and rage; they don’t allow you to think, just react.
When I finally stopped, Murphy was lying there whimpering and clutching his stomach and Susan was sitting in her car and sobbing out “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I walked back to my truck and drove home.
Susan called me several times the next day and as soon as I heard her voice, I hung up on her. Then she decided that since I wouldn’t take her calls she would come over to the house. When she got there, she rang the bell and when I answered it and saw that it was Susan I closed the door in her face. She stood there and rang the bell for another twenty minutes before I’d had enough. I went out the back door, crossed through the neighbor’s backyard and went for a long walk. When I came back, Susan was gone. I got in my truck and moved it around the block thinking that if Susan didn’t see the truck there she would figure that I wasn’t home.
It was a move that saved my ass.
I was upstairs in my bedroom when my parents came home. Twenty minutes later the cops showed up and Mom, since she saw that my truck wasn’t in the drive, told them I wasn’t home.
I stopped running when I got to the town of Castle Rock, in Colorado. I had only intended it to be a food and fuel stop, but things changed. I was having breakfast in a small café and the previous occupant of the booth I was in had left a copy of the local paper behind when he left.
While waiting for my order, I started reading it and in the want ad section, I noticed an ad that said, “Experienced welder wanted. Apply in person at 1234 Caprice Court.”
When I finished my breakfast, I asked the cashier if she knew where the place was and she gave me directions. It was less than three minutes away, and it turned out to be a trailer sales and repair business. I walked in and was interviewed by the shop foreman (Mark), and he took me into the shop area and pointed to a Miller 250 and asked me if I knew how to use it on both steel and aluminum. I said yes, and he had me show him. I did, and he hired me.
Three blocks away there was a Super 8 Motel that had weekly and monthly rates, and I took a room until I could find an apartment. It took me two weeks, but I finally found an apartment that I could afford and I settled in and began my new life.
I was sitting on a stool in a country/western bar drinking a Coors and watching people line dancing and two stepping when a cute girl came up to me and said she needed a partner for a Cowboy Cha Cha. I had learned country/western back home and I knew the dance, so I got off my stool, went out onto the floor with her and ended up spending the rest of the evening dancing with her and sitting at her table with her and the two girlfriends she had come with.
Her name was Shelly, and before the night was over I had a date with her for the next night. Five days later, we made love for the first time and from then on we were a couple. I couldn’t get her to move in with me, even though she spent three or four nights staying over.
After a year together, I asked her to marry me and she said no. She said that she just wasn’t ready to get married and then she told me about all the girls she had grown up with and who had gotten married were already divorced.
“I just want to make absolutely sure of what I’m doing before I get married.”
I didn’t push it. I had a good thing going and I saw no sense in doing something that might somehow change it.
Shelly had a favorite aunt who was in an assisted living facility down in Pueblo, and she went down there to visit once a month. While she was gone I usually went to the country/western bar were we had met to listen to the band and do a little line dancing.
One Saturday night about six months after I’d asked Shelly to marry me, I went to the bar and when I walked in I saw that the place was full and that there were no seats at the bar, which is where I usually sat. I saw Bev and Liz, the two girls who had been with Shelly the night I met her, sitting alone at a table. Liz saw me about the same time and she waved me over to join them.
I spent the evening drinking and dancing and talking with the two of them. At one point Liz asked me when I was going to dump Shelly and give either her or Bev a chance.
“I thought that she was your friend.”
“You don’t think it would end your friendship if I took up with you?”
“Why should it? It never has before.”
I just shook my head at that and said “I’d never get her to marry me if I did something like that.”
“Marry you? You know she won’t marry you. She can’t.”
“Why can’t she?”
Liz looked at Bev and Bev shrugged. Liz looked back at me and said “She can’t marry you because she is already married.”
The look on my face when she said that told her. “You didn’t know? You didn’t know that she was married? Surely she told you.”
I just sat there and looked at her too stunned to speak. Liz shook her head in disbelief and then said:
“Shelly is married to Randy Steele. He is in prison in Canyon City for auto theft and robbing a 7-11. He still has a year and a half to go before he will be eligible for parole, and five to go if he can’t get paroled. You have to know. She goes to visit him once a month.”
“She told me that she was visiting her aunt in Pueblo. You aren’t just jerking my chain are you?”
“Not in the least, Brad. I don’t know why she hasn’t told you. She told the others she hooked up with.”
“That’s probably the reason right there” Bev said. “She told the others and they dropped her. She probably didn’t want it to happen again so she never told him.”
Liz sighed and said “I’m sorry that I had to be the one to break it to you.”
“Well I guess that now that the cat is out of the bag and Clueless Brad has been clued in, there isn’t any reason why I can’t give you and Bev a shot. You going to flip a coin?”
“I’ve got a better idea” Liz said.
“Instead of choosing between the two of us, why not take us both?”
“Sure,” Bev said. “Haven’t you ever had two girls play with you at the same time?
“No I haven’t, and I’m not sure that I could handle it. Just taking care of Shelly wears me out.”
“Wouldn’t you like to try it at least once?” Bev asked.
“I don’t know. Finding out about Shelly has pissed me off a bit, but after thinking on it and from what you have just told me, I have at least a year until her man gets out of jail. That means a sure thing for me for at least another year. What if I go for what you are suggesting and it doesn’t work out? I wouldn’t have you guys or Shelly.”
“You would still have Shelly. I know for a fact that she won’t dump you, no matter what. The only way she walks away from you is if you dump her.”
“You say that, but we can’t know that or sure.”
“Yes I can know that for sure” Liz said. “Shelly and I have no secrets from each other. We talk all the time. Just a sample here for you. I know all about how much you like anal; I know that your cock has a slight curve to the left and that you have a birthmark on your left butt cheek.”
Bev jumped in with, “And Shelly said she measured you and your cock is seven and one-eighth inches long.”
“Okay, I’ll give you that you talk with her about personal things, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t get pissed and walk if I take the two of you up on your suggestion.”
“What do you really have to lose here?” Liz asked. “So what if you can’t handle the two of us together. We can flip a coin or do rock, paper, scissors. I won’t speak for Bev, but I’m not the marrying kind. I like my independence too much to give it up, but I could easily see myself in a long term friends with benefits with you.”
“Same goes for me, too,” Bev said. “So you can’t lose on the deal. However it goes, you will end up with at least one of the three of us. And if it is Liz or me you already know that from the talk at this table that we share.”
Liz smiled and said, “Trust me on this, Brad. There is no way that you can come out of this a loser.”
I learned something that night. I discovered that no one man can ever completely satisfy two highly sexed women. It just can’t be done. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot do it. Picture in your mind all of the possible combinations that one man and two women could get into and you will see how that night went. It ended at four in the morning when I just could not answer the call again. The two of them had gotten five times out of me. I was whipped, and I fell into a deep and exhausted sleep.
I woke up at ten the morning between two soft warm bodies and with a hand fondling my cock, but that is all it was doing. The cock was not responding. It got up to about half-mast, but that was all. I opened my eyes to two women looking at me expectantly.
“Get serious,” I groaned. “You two nearly killed me last night. It will be months before I recover.”
“Nonsense,” Bev said. “All we need to do is get some food into you and you will be good to go. Steak and eggs should do the trick.”
We got up, got dressed and went to the B&B Café for breakfast. There were several good restaurants in town, but the B had become my favorite breakfast place. Angie, the owner, had taken a liking to me for some reason, and she made the place feel like a home away from home.
Angie raised her eyebrows when I walked in with Liz and Bev, and she was sharp enough to notice the ‘just fucked’ look on the three of us. We sat down, and Mandy brought us coffee and took our order.
Liz, Bev and I sat there, drank coffee and talked until our food came, and then we dug in. Once I finished eating I got up and went to use the bathroom and on my way back to the table, Angie stopped me.
“Are you sure that you know what you’re doing, stud?”
“Of course I don’t, Ange, but then that isn’t anything new. I sure didn’t know about Shelly, but I’ll bet you do. Why didn’t you clue me in?”
“Why should I? You were happier than a pig in a huge mud puddle and Shel was happy. Why should I have screwed it up for the two of you? All I’m saying here is be careful. I’d hate to see you get hurt.”
After breakfast, we went back to my apartment where both girls tried to kill me again. We were on the bed and Liz was in the doggie position and I was fucking her ass while she munched on Bev’s beaver when I heard:
“What the fuck?!!”
I turned and saw Shelly standing in the bedroom doorway. Since she spent so much time there, she had her own key. Without stopping what I was doing I smiled at her and said:
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Just trying out Liz and Bev to see which one I want for your replacement.”
“My replacement? Just what the hell does that mean?”
“It means that I found out why you won’t marry me.”
“What has that got to do with anything? I’m fucking you, not him.”
“I guess that’s one way of looking at it.”
She didn’t say anything to that; she just stood there watching. Then to my complete surprise, she started undressing. She walked over to the bed and said:
“Hurry it up, slut. That’s my dick and I want it.”
I did as she requested and she was standing there with a washcloth when I pulled out of Liz’s butt. She cleaned my cock while telling Liz and Bev that their services were no longer required and that she would take things from there.
“What if that’s not what I want,” I asked.
“We can talk later about what you want. Right now we are going to do what I want.” Then she started sucking my cock.
Liz and Bev didn’t seem all that upset at being dismissed. They were smiling as they dressed, and then both of them came over and kissed me goodbye before they left.
By the time the two of them were gone Shelly had me up, and she pushed me back on the bed and then mounted me cowgirl.
As she worked, she said, “I’m not giving you up and I’ll do my damn best to make sure that you don’t want to give me up.”
Later, over dinner, I got the full story. She and Randy had been childhood sweethearts and had married just after graduating from high school. She had loved him and because of that, she had been blind to his character flaws. His biggest was that he hated authority. He couldn’t put up with being told what to do and all during their time together she looked at it as him sticking up for himself and she felt proud to be the girl of a guy who took no shit and stuck up for himself.
It wasn’t until after they were married that she finally realized that he had a big problem. He couldn’t hold a job because he couldn’t take orders. If his boss told him to do something and he didn’t want to do it, he just didn’t do it. He lost six jobs in one year, and then word got around and no one would hire him. Shelly was working and paying all the bills, but was having a hard time doing it on her salary alone. They fell behind on the rent and were just days from being evicted. Shelly tore into him for not doing his fair share and he told her to “Eat shit!” and stomped out
He went to his parent’s house, got his father’s pistol, went down to Monument and robbed the 7-11 there. His car quit on him as he made his getaway, so he stole a car and headed back to Castle Rock. The State Police caught him on I-25. He was tried and sent to prison. Shelly told him that she would wait for him, but did not intend to stay celibate while he was locked up.
“I didn’t want the reputation of a slut who did one night and weekend stands, so I looked for guys that I could go long tern with. The problem was that I tried to be honest and I would end up telling them about Randy. Then they would drop me. I decided not to tell you because I didn’t want you to drop me like the others had. How did you find out?”
“From Liz and Bev,” and I told her how it had come about.
“I thought they were my friends.”
“They are. They didn’t think they were ratting on you. They knew you had always told the ones that came before me, so they thought that I already knew.”
“I guess it is my fault then. I probably should have told them. What are you going to do?”
“I’ll worry about that when your hubby gets out. I’ve got at least a year before that happens right?”
“You won’t be sorry, baby; I’ll make damned sure of that.”
I didn’t get that year because of mom calling me and telling me that I had to come home. When she got done telling me what was up, I reminded her that I couldn’t come back because I would end up in jail and wouldn’t be able to take over the shop anyway. That was when I found out that I could have gone home a year earlier. Murphy apparently had a penchant for other guy’s ladies. He had hooked up with some guy’s wife and the guy and one of his five brothers did to Murphy what I had done to him and then told him if he ran to the cops and got them arrested his other four brother’s would see to it that Murphy’s body would never be found. They suggested that he leave town and not come back. Murphey must have believed it, and was gone before the end of the week. Word came back a couple of months later that Murphy had gotten caught with another man’s wife only instead of getting a beating out of it, the guy shot and killed him.
“He can’t testify against you now so it is safe for you to come back.” I, of course, asked why I hadn’t been told that sooner and she said “You were settled down out there and seemed to have a good thing going with Shelly, so I just decided to let sleeping dogs lie.”
Shelly did not take the news that I was leaving very well, but she did understand why I had to go. She tried to fuck me to death my last three days there, and then after a tearful farewell I was on my way home.
My homecoming wasn’t all that joyful. Seeing Dad was a shock to me. When I had last seen him he was a healthy and vibrant man, but the stroke had left partially paralyzed on his right side and his speech was slurred. Mom was worn to a frazzle from trying to run the business and take care of Dad at the same time.
The day after I got home, I opened the shop instead of Mom. Five minutes after I unlocked the door Stan came in. Stan had been with my Dad for years, and it was Stan who taught me a good part of what I knew about welding and fabrication. He came in, grabbed me in a hug that picked me up off the floor (he was 6’7” to my 5’11”), so there I was dangling off the floor when the other two employees came in. I didn’t know either of them, so it was just a tad embarrassing for them to see me that way since I was going to be their new boss. They made a joke of it when one of them said “At least we know how to control him now,” and we all laughed. Larry and Carl had both come to work for Dad about six months after I had left town. They turned out to be good guys and I got along well with both of them.
Being in charge took a bit of getting used to, but I eventually got the hang of it. Business was steady and we always had plenty of work to do. That part of my life was going well, but on the personal side things weren’t all that great. Mom wanted me to live at home with her and Dad, but while I understood her reasons, I knew that I wouldn’t be all that comfortable bringing ladies home with me when I finally got back into the swing of things (which I hoped wouldn’t take too long). Besides, my sister Sarah was still living at home, so she could help out when Mom needed it, and I would always be on call if I was really needed.
I found an apartment close to work and home, got settled in and started hitting my old haunts to see who was still around and what and where the new happening places were. I was only twenty when I left, so I hadn’t been into the bar scene, although I knew where to good ones were and was looking forward to checking them out when I turned twenty-one, which occurred six weeks after I had hurriedly left town.
I hooked up with a couple of guys I’d played ball with in high school, and they turned me on to the places that the guys (and girls) our age usually went to. One of them was a country/western place called the Wild Horse. It hadn’t been around when I’d left, and I decided to give it a look since I’d really gotten into country/western dancing while I was in Colorado.
I stopped in on a Saturday night and took an instant liking to the place. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the barmaid and the three waitresses were stone foxes. All three of them made my tongue (and other parts) hard, but I knew better than to take a run at them. They were no doubt hit on from the start of their shifts until they went home, and all I would be to them was another asshole trying to get lucky.
I took a seat at the bar, ordered a beer and then looked around and checked the place out. I noticed that there wasn’t anyone there that I knew. The band was pretty good, and about the only fault I could find (at least from my perspective) is that there were no unescorted women there. The crowd was all couples and two or three single guys like me. It didn’t kill the night for me because I like to line dance, and so I did spend some time out on the floor.
The high point of the night for me was when the band started playing Black Velvet. They had just come back from a break and I was just walking across the dance floor on my way back to my bar stool following a trip to the restroom. I stopped heading for my seat and stated doing the Rhumba as a line dance (sometimes called the Cowboy Rhumba). I was about eight steps into the dance when I noticed that I was the only one out on the floor. Several people were standing around the edges of the floor watching me, but no one else had come out onto the floor. I wondered what the hell was going on and about halfway through the dance I started feeling a little self-conscience so I quit dancing and headed for my bar stool.
I’d just sat down when two women, a blond and a redhead, came up to me and the redhead asked, “Why did you stop?”
“I felt a little embarrassed at being out there with everyone watching me.”
“We were all trying to figure out what you were doing.”
“Just the line dance rhumba.”
It turned out that I was the only one in the building that night who knew the dance. The redhead asked, “Could you teach us the dance?” and the blond said, “Please? We will make it worth your while. You won’t have to buy another drink tonight.”
“How? Can’t do it with a floor full of people.”
“You can do it when the band takes its next break.”
She called the barmaid over. “Get him another drink, Paula, and put it on our tab.”
Paula brought me a beer and then the blond said, “I’m Grace and this (pointing at the redhead) is Becky,” and then she took my arm and said, “Come on; you’re joining us.”
Paula laughed and said, “Best go along, sport; she can get pretty pissed when she doesn’t get her way.”
I followed them over to where two tables had been put together and was introduces to Glen (Grace’s husband), Chuck (Becky’s fiancé) and Mike and Francine, who were the other couple at the table.
Then the night got busy for me. Just after the introductions, the band started paying George Strait’s “The Chair,” and Becky asked me if I knew the Cowboy Cha Cha. When I said yes she said, “Come on,” and reached for my hand. I looked at Chuck and he smiled and made a ‘go’ motion with his hand. From that point on, I was on the floor line dancing or dancing with Becky. Chuck never danced with her and didn’t seem the least bit upset with her dancing with me.
I found out why when he got up to go to the bathroom. I could tell from the way he was walking that something wasn’t quite right. Grace saw me looking at him and I guess she could read from my face what I was wondering about.
She leaned over next to me and in a whisper said, “He lost his right leg in Iraq and can’t dance, but Becky loves to dance so he sits and quietly drinks while she does her thing.”
“Not the jealous type?”
“Very jealous, so he rarely lets her dance with someone he doesn’t know and trust and quite frankly, I’m surprised that he is letting you dance with her considering he, and for that matter, all of us don’t know a thing about you. But you need to be careful. Becky is a notorious flirt, but that is all that it is; just flirting, so please don’t read anything into her actions, okay?”
Becky did flirt and she was a sexy little lady, and if Grace hadn’t clued me in I probably would have tried to take things farther.
The band took its next break and I found myself playing dance instructor to about twenty people. By the time the band came back it looked like my students had things down pat, so I asked one of the band members if they could do Black Velvet again and he said that they would. They led off the set with the song, and my students did pretty well at it.
I did two more dances with Becky and one more line dance and then it was time for me to go. Becky asked me if I was going to come in again and I told her it was very likely.
“We are here every Saturday night.”
I looked over at Chuck and he just shrugged, so all I said was “We’ll see.”
The next week was a very busy week for me, and I didn’t have time for much except work and sleep. On Friday, Wendell Carson came into the shop needing a repair on his flatbed trailer. Wendell and I had been classmates, and while his trailer was being repaired Wendell and I caught up on things.
The first thing he wanted to know was why I had suddenly disappeared and what I had been doing since. As far as I knew, the only ones who knew why were my parents, Susan and the cops. I figured that it would be best to keep it that way, so I just told him that Susan and I had broken up and I had felt the need to put some distance between us. I told him where I had gone and what I had done, and then he brought me up to date on what was going on with the people we used to hang with. He never mentioned Susan and I didn’t ask. What he did tell me was that a group of them usually got together Friday at Barney’s. They had a band there on Fridays and Saturdays and the drink prices were reasonable. He told me I should show up, since a lot of the old crowd would be there and would like to see me.
I walked into the place at seven-thirty and saw Wendell and several other old classmates already there. They had pushed three tables together and were sitting around them. Wendell saw me, waved me over and I took an empty seat between Marv Pallister and Gail Looms. Then, of course, I had to tell everyone where I’d been, but I avoided telling them why.
While we had been talking, the band had been setting up and when they started playing, several of the group got up and moved out onto the dance floor. That left Marsha Moss, Maria Waterman, Ken Baft, Gail and me at the table. Ken had a cast on his right foot so he wasn’t going to be doing any dancing, so the three girls were looking at me. I knew what all three wanted and I could see that they were all waiting for me to do what they wanted me to do.
The problem was that even though I wanted to get up and dance, I couldn’t make up my mind as to how I should handle the situation. At one time or another I had dated all three during the times that Susan and I had broken up. Which one should I ask? How was I to do it without making the other two feel slighted and leaving them sitting there asking themselves, “Why her and not me?” Fortunately, the problem was solved when Gail got off her chair and said:
“Come on, Brad; let’s dance.”
We stayed out on the floor for the rest of that number and the next one before returning to the table. Gail sat down, but before I could, Marsha stood up and said, “My turn, Brad” and I went back out onto the dance floor. I did two songs with Marsha and by the time we got back to the table, a few more people had shown up, another table had been added and one of the new arrivals had Maria out on the dance floor.
I was just getting into the swing of things when a wet blanket was dropped over me. I was out on the dance floor with Gail when Susan and Chad Reese walked in and took a seat at the tables. When the tune ended, the band announced that they would be taking a break, so I walked Gail back to the table. As I approached, Susan saw me coming and her eyes went wide in surprise and then her face lit up in a smile, but I didn’t see how long the smile lasted. I saw Gail to her seat, thanked her for dancing with me, turned and walked up to the bar, settled my tab and then got the hell out of the place. As I left, I mentally crossed Barney’s off of my list of places to go. If Susan frequented the place, I definitely would avoid it.
It is a truism that actions have consequences. I was having breakfast at the Village Inn on Sunday morning when Gail and Marsha slid into the booth across from me. I’d seen them at a table in the back when I came in, but I didn’t even think about joining them. I hadn’t been back long enough to know their circumstances. Things like, did they have boyfriends and were maybe waiting for their guys to show up. Maybe their guys were already here, but had gone to the bathroom. I decided that it would be best for me to sit myself down somewhere else.
Without even a “Good morning, Brad” Marsha went right to, “What happened on Friday? We were having a great time, you had a big smile on your face and suddenly I was like someone hit a switch, your smile disappeared and then you did.”
I had never intended to tell folks about what had happened between Susan and me, but when Marsha asked the question I knew that realistically it would have come out eventually. Too many people knew Susan and me not to be asking the questions, so I decided that it would be best to get it over with. There was no doubt in my mind that Marsha and Gail would share the information (gossip) with others, and that would lead to fewer people wanting to ask me.
I laid it out for Gail and Marsha and got the expected “You must be wrong! Susan would never do that to you.”
“Ladies; I was standing there watching it happen.”
Suddenly the light bulb over Gail’s head lit up. “That’s why Murphy was in the hospital! You did that to him?”
I nodded a yes and then said, “Can we please drop the subject?”
“We could,” Gail said, “but where would be the fun in that?”
“Yes, Brad, fun. I don’t have any plans for tonight. How about you? Got any plans?”
“I’m not sure on what I plan on doing tonight, but whatever it is I’m sure that I don’t want to do it alone.”
She grabbed a napkin, pulled a pen out of her purse, wrote on the napkin and then handed it to me.
“Pick me up at three. By then I’ll have figured out what we can do.”
Marsha looked at her watch and said, “We need to get going, Gail. I’m supposed to meet Charlie and his parents and try and decided where we want to have the wedding reception.”
The two of them got up to leave and Gail said, “See you at three.”
I stopped by the house to check in with my parents. Dad, of course, wanted to know how things were going on at the shop and I told him we were busy and that I had a handle on it. Mom told me that Susan had called and asked how she could get in touch with me.
“I hope you told her not to bother.”
“I did no such thing. I told her that I would have you call her. You really do need to do it, Brad. As much as the two of you once meant to each other you need to sit down with her. I’m not saying the two of you should get back together, but you should at least let her speak her piece. You need to look at it this way. You don’t talk to her and she will just keep hounding you to get you to talk with her. You talk to her and you put an end to it.”
When she put it that way, I knew she was right. I just had to talk myself into doing it.
“I’ll give it some thought, but it won’t be for a couple of days. I’ll need to work myself up to it.”
I rang Gail’s doorbell right at three. She greeted me with a smile and asked if I had done any country/western dancing while I was in Colorado.
“I did some.”
“What I have in mind, if it is okay with you, is dinner at Three Margaritas and then some two-stepping at The Wild Horse. It’s a new place that opened while you were gone.”
I smiled, told her I’d already been there and said, “I thought they only had bands on Friday and Saturday.”