It had its start in high school. If it had happened a few years later it probably wouldn’t have amounted to much, but when you are a teenager you don’t look ahead to the possible consequences of your actions.
Sue Ellen and I had been going steady for a little over a year and we had actually been talking marriage when we got out of college. Looking back I could see where it was probably silly of us. I mean we still had to graduate from high school and God only knew what would or could happen before we even graduated from college. As it was we never even made it out of high school.
Two weeks before senior prom Sue Ellen broke a date with me. She said she had to go somewhere with her parents. Those things did happen and I accepted it and found something else to do. Later that evening I stopped in at Harry’s Malt Shack. I was sitting there when Bill Neubert came in, saw me and came over to join me. He ordered a burger, fries and a strawberry milk shake and then said:
“I didn’t know that you and Sue Ellen broke up. What happened?”
“Why do you think we broke up?”
“I just saw her and Harry Short necking in the parking lot behind the movie.”
“When was this?”
“About ten minutes ago.”
I guess I must have surprised him when I jumped up and hurried out. It took me less than four minutes to get to the Rialto and sure enough Sue Ellen and Harry were parked in the back of the lot making out. They were in a clinch and didn’t even notice me when I walked up. I watched for about a minute and then I knocked on the window. They pulled apart and both sets of eyes went wide when they saw me. I looked at Sue Ellen and said “Goodbye.” I don’t know if she heard me through the window glass, but I emphasized it by waving goodbye to her. I walked away from the car and went home.
The next day was Saturday and I went to my part-time job at Boysen’s Super Market. When I got home my mother told me that Sue Ellen had called several times trying to get in touch with me.
“You should probably give her a call.”
“Don’t think so. We broke up last night and I really don’t think we have anything to say to each other.”
I went on to my room and worked on a paper that was due on Wednesday. I was typing it when the phone rang and my mother called out;
“It’s for you Rob.”
I went out to the kitchen, took the phone from mom and said “Hello?”
“Can I come over Robbie” Sue Ellen asked.
“No need to. We have nothing to talk about. I said all that I needed to say when I waved goodbye to you last night. You lied to me when you broke our date and so as far as I am concerned you were cheating on me with Harry. Nothing you can say is going to change any of that. Goodbye” and I hung up on her.
Sunday was another work day for me, but I only worked four hours. If you were under eighteen you could only work part-time and were limited to twenty hours a week and the way it was scheduled I worked eight on Saturday and four on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. I was actually eighteen, but I never told them that I’d had a birthday because then they would have scheduled me for more hours and I didn’t want that. It would pretty much have meant my life would be nothing but school and work and I wasn’t anywhere near ready for that. Part-time gave me enough money to put gas in my car and give me some spending money.
Sue Ellen was waiting for me at the front door when I got to school on Monday. I started to walk by her, but she stepped in front of me and said:
“We have to talk Robbie.”
I couldn’t see making a scene in front of everybody so I said “At lunch” and gently pushed her out of my way. She was already at a table and waiting for me when I got to the school cafeteria at lunch time. I sat down in a chair opposite her and before she could say a word I said:
“You broke our date because you said you had to go someplace with your mom and dad. Unless they were in the trunk of Harry’s car that means that you lied to me. What you were doing with Harry when I knocked on the window was cheating on me. That’s cut and dried. So what do we have to talk about?”
“It didn’t mean anything Robbie.”
“Of course it meant something.”
“No it didn’t. It was just me trying to satisfy my curiosity.”
“You know you are the only boy I’ve ever kissed. I just wondered what another boy would be like.”
“As far as I know I’m the only boy you have ever made love with. Was that going to be the next curiosity you were going to satisfy?”
“Of course not! How can you even think something like that of me?”
“Given what I caught you doing it is pretty easy for me to think something like that. You weren’t doing a damned thing to keep his hands off of your tits and I sure didn’t see you trying to stop the hand that was on your leg and moving up. You broke a date with me and lied about it. That’s the bottom line Sue Ellen. You should have been up front with me. If you had I might have been able to get by tour going on a date with another guy, but the way you did it ended our relationship.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way Robbie.”
“Maybe not as far as you are concerned Sue Ellen, but it does have to be that way as far as I’m concerned. Goodbye Sue Ellen.”
I got up from the table and walked away from her.
I suppose there are some who might say I was being a bit of an asshole for taking a stance like that given that I was only a teenager, but then they might not have grown up in a home with a single mom because of a father who cheated on her and then skipped town when he found out home much alimony and child support he was ordered to pay. It might not have been according to our legal system, but as far as I was concerned cheating was a criminal offense. Whatever! What I have just described set up the event that was going to have far reaching consequences.
My breaking up with Sue Ellen left me without a date to the senior prom. The only girls I knew well enough to ask were already spoken for so I was either going to have to go stag or skip it. The more I thought about it the surer I was that I wouldn’t enjoy it going stag so I made the decision not to go.
It was a Tuesday and I’d just gotten home from work and was sitting at the kitchen table studying when the doorbell rang and mom called out and said there was someone here to see me. I went out to the living room and found Pauline French sitting there and talking to my mom. Mom got up and said she would leave the room to give us some privacy.
I’d known Pauline since the third grade and at one time, before I met Sue Ellen, I’d had a bit of a crush on Paulie.
“What brings you over here tonight” I asked.
“I heard that you and Sue Ellen broke up. Is it true?”
“What are you going to do as far as the prom is concerned?”
“Not going. Why are you asking?”
“Because I want to go, but I don’t want to go by myself.”
“Why? Did something happen to Bert?”
“You might say that. I caught him making out with Bev Abbeg at Nancy Wilde’s birthday party and broke up with him. Could I possibly interest you in being my prom date?”
It was a no-brainer for me. I wanted to go, but wasn’t because I didn’t have a date so of course I said:
“I’d love to take you to the prom.”
We discussed the details and then I walked her to the door. She surprised me when she threw her arms around me and kissed me.
“You won’t be sorry Rob; I promise you that you won’t be sorry.”
That was open to interpretation. The part about my not being sorry. Word gets around fast in high school and when I walked up to my car after class the next day I found Bert Ellsworth leaning on my left front fender.
“What’s this shit I’m hearing that you are taking Pauline to the prom?”
“No you aren’t motherfucker. Pauline is my bitch and you aren’t going anywhere with her.”
“She says otherwise. She said she broke up with you.”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what she said. She’s mine until I say she isn’t.”
“No problem. Have her call me and tell me that, but until I hear from her she’s my prom date.”
I reached for the door handle and he grabbed my shoulder and started to spin me around to face him. Knowing Bert and his reputation as a hothead I expected that as soon as I turned he was going to send a fist at my face so instead of fighting his attempt to turn me I quickly spun around and as I turned I clenched my fist, raised my right arm and by the time I was facing him my fist was already on its way to his head. He wasn’t expecting it and it crashed into his jaw. It stunned and staggered him. I got myself set for a charge and said:
“Bring it asshole.”
He shook his head a couple of times to clear it, took a long look at me and must have decided to let it go.
“This ain’t over motherfucker” and he turned and walked away.
I got in my car and headed in to work.
On prom night I had a great time with Pauline. I did have to share her as far as dancing went, but I also danced with some other girls. The only sore spot was that Sue Ellen was there with Bobby Holbrook and she spent the night throwing nasty glances at me and Pauline, but we ignored her.
We attended two after prom parties. There was alcohol at both parties and while I did have one beer at each it was my limit. I had no intension of getting smashed, but Pauline was in a party mood and she did make several trips to the punch bowl that had the alcoholic punch in it.
When we left the second party and I was pulling away from the curb Pauline said “I don’t want to do it on a back seat.”
“I said I don’t want to do it on your back seat. Have you some place where we can go?”
Suddenly it hit me! She wanted to make love, just not in the car. I did have a place we could go. My mom was spending the weekend with my Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth had fallen and had broken a wrist and mom was going to help her.
As we undressed in my bedroom Pauline said “I told you that you wouldn’t be sorry if you took me to the prom” and she was right. I wasn’t sorry at all. Pauline was a little more adventurous than Sue Ellen had been. Sue Ellen didn’t like oral and only wanted to do it in the missionary position. She wanted a lot, but only in the missionary.
Pauline gave me my first blowjob and had me do her doggie. The second time started out cowgirl and ended up in the missionary. She was surprised to find out that I’d never eaten pussy and she corrected that problem right away. She taught me how to do it the way she liked it and by the time the weekend was over she gave me high marks on my ability to get her off with just my mouth.
That’s right. I said weekend. I did have to have her home by six in the morning on Saturday, but I had arranged to have the weekend off from work so I picked her up at noon and we spent the next ten hours in my bedroom. I had her home by eleven and then picked her up again at ten on Sunday and spent the following six hours in my room. Well yeah; it wasn’t all just sex. We did stop to eat and take a shower or two, but by and large it was basically your average sex-filled weekend. At six when mom got home from Aunt Ruth’s we were dressed and in the kitchen eating chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Paulie and I became a couple after that weekend. We lasted till the middle of our second year in college and then Paulie told me she wanted to date other guys. She wanted to keep seeing me, but didn’t want us to be exclusive. I told her I was sorry but that wouldn’t work for me. I wished her good luck and we parted ways.
For the rest of my sophomore year I dated some, got laid enough to keep from going nuts and concentrated on my studies.
Junior year is when my life got interesting again. The class was Production Management and halfway through the tern the instructor broke the class up into groups of four and assigned each group a project. We were told that the project would account for half the grade we received for the course. My group was made up of three guys and one girl. The girl was Kathy Winters and she was a knockout. She was the girl you would NEVER take home to meet mom and dad because dad would take a shot at her and mom would kill him.
I’d seen her around campus since my first year and she was always on the arm of some jock. I’d even been in a couple of classes with her so I knew her enough to nod a hello whenever we passed each other in the halls or out and about around campus.
In my opinion the other two guys were meatheads. Jocks taking the class as a requirement of their athletic scholarships. I knew from past experience that they were only interested in getting a grade that would allow them to stay on their team. All they were really interested in was using college sports as a springboard to the pros.
We had our first joint meeting at the library and when it was over and we were heading out Kathy asked if she could buy me a cup of coffee. Once we were seated in the cafeteria Kathy asked me what I hoped to get out of the class.
“Is it just a box that needs to be checked marked to get another three credit hours toward your degree? A class you will just settle for a passing grade on?”
“Not at all. When I start sending out resumes I want them to contain the highest GPA I can get. As far as the class itself goes I expect that what I’ll learn will be useful in real life situations.”
“Then you do realize to get a good grade you and I are going to have to do it all right? Chad and Spence don’t give beans about the class. All they want to do is the bare minimum to get at least a C to maintain their sports eligibility. If we get a good grade, and I want an A, it means that we will have to do their parts as well as our own.”
I sat there and listened to her and I agreed with her on all of it. What I was having trouble getting my head around was her seemingly low opinion of jocks when they were all I saw her with. When she stopped talking I told her I totally agreed with her and then we divided up Chad and Spence’s tasks between us. That meant we would be spending more time together until we got the class out of the way.
Class was on Tuesday and Friday and after every class the group got together at the library and went over the project. As expected Chad and Spence did no more than we expected. Since Tuesday was a work day for me I sat in on the meeting just long enough to go over what I’d done and then I hurried off to work. Kathy and I would usually meet once a week, to go over things and work on the project. The meetings were businesslike and nothing but the project was discussed.
We turned the project in on time and we did get an A on it. The day the paper was returned to us with the grade on it Kathy asked me to meet her for coffee. We sat down and as I took my first sip Kathy said:
“I want to thank you for helping me get a good grade.”
“No thanks necessary. It was in my best interests to get it done.”
She looked at me for several seconds and then hit me with “How come you haven’t ever made a pass at me? Why haven’t you ever asked me out?”
That caught me by surprise and I didn’t know what to say. When I didn’t respond right away she said:
“It can’t be because you have a girlfriend because you don’t. At least not one who has ever been seen with you.”
I finally got myself together enough to say “No one has seen me with one because I don’t have one, but I have seen you with other guys.”
“So what? There is no ring on my finger. I’m not married, engaged, or going steady.”
“Maybe not, but all the guys I’ve seen you with are jocks. Figuring that they were the type you preferred and I’m not that type of guy I just didn’t bother wasting my time.”
“I date those types because they are the only ones who ask me out. I’m not dumb Rob. I know what I look like. I’ve had guys sniffing after me since I was twelve. There are a lot of guys I would have liked to get to know better but never got the chance to because they would look at me and say to themselves that someone like them would never have a chance with me.
“Jocks are a different breed of cat. Being good at sports apparently gives them confidence in themselves and they tend to go after what they want. Tell me this; did you ever see me with any one of them for a long period?”
“Can’t say that I noticed Kathy. All I noticed was that you were always with someone and I’m not a guy who poaches on someone else’s territory.”
“Well I’m not dating anyone at the present time.”
That was as clear an invitation as any I had ever received and I immediately asked her out.
After a month of dating we made love for the first time. After that we made love as often as we could. It helped a lot that Kathy came from a fairly well to do family and had an apartment just off campus. Our relationship reached a point (at least in my mind) where I was considering making us permanent. Nothing had been said, but I had a feeling that Kathy felt the same way.
The good times ended at summer break when Kathy went home to Ohio for the summer. She asked me to go with her so I could meet her family, but it just wasn’t possible. I was NOT from a well to do family and I had to work. I was attending school on scholarships and I had to work to earn money for the extras. Things like putting gas in the car, paying for dates with Kathy and so on.
I was still working at Boysen’s, but had moved from stock boy at a store to working in the main distribution warehouse. I took as many hours as I could and saved money to buy Kathy a ring. I intended to propose as soon as she came back to school at the end of August.
A week before she was due back (and after making sure it was returnable if she said no) I bought a ring. Kathy called me to let me know when her flight would get in so I could pick her up. My plan was to drop to my knee and propose as soon as I saw her, but I chickened out. I had a sudden picture in my mind or being on my knees in the airport surround by people and having Kathy say no.
Not doing it at the airport turned out to be a good move on my part because when I did ask her to marry me she did say no.
I picked her up at the airport where she gave me an extremely passionate kiss and then I drove her to her apartment. Once in the car she told me she was as horny as a billy goat and for me to plan on a long night. Luckily for me the next day was Sunday and I didn’t have to work because Kathy didn’t leave me with enough energy to get my butt out of bed in the morning.
We did manage to get up around eleven and went out for breakfast. When we got back to her apartment I made my move. I dropped to a knee, held up the ring and asked her to marry me. I know I had a big smile on my face when I did it, but the smile quickly disappeared when she said:
“This is just so sweet of you Rob and I’m touched that you think so much of me, but I’m afraid I have to say no.”
Talk about suddenly having an ice cold bucket of water dumped on your head. As I slowly got back to my feet I muttered:
“At least the ring is returnable.”
I turned and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“No! Get your ass back here Robert!”
I turned to face her and said “Why? There isn’t anything here for me anymore. I thought we had something going. I thought we were more than just a college shack job that would end when we graduated. Sorry Kat, but I need more than that” and I turned and walked out of her apartment.
I was bummed and it showed. I hadn’t been home five minutes when my mom asked me what was wrong.
“I asked Kathy to marry me and she turned me down.”
“She tell you why?”
“I didn’t stick around to find out. Besides, it wouldn’t matter. I’m one of the few guys that accept that no means no.”
“She might have had a good reason.”
“Good for her maybe, but not for me. Excuse me; I’m going up to my room to sulk.”
I laid down on my bed, stared up at the ceiling and ran my relationship with Kathy through my mind. I tried to pin point something – anything – that would have shown me that Kathy didn’t feel the way about me that I felt about her, but I couldn’t see it. Maybe it was true. Maybe love was blind.
The next day was the first day of class and luckily, at least for the first semester, I had no shared classes with Kathy. All my classes were morning classes and I’d taken them so I could work a full afternoon shift at the warehouse. That meant that I wouldn’t be having lunch at the Student Union and if I stuck to my schedule and got the hell off campus as soon as classes were over I could avoid Kathy.
I’m sure that by now almost everyone has heard the saying that “Man plans and the Gods laugh.” When my last class was over I beat feet to the parking lot only to find Kathy sitting in my car. I’d forgotten that I’d given her a set of keys so she could use the car while I was at work. I got in and said:
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“You ran away before I could explain myself to you and I didn’t want to talk about it on the phone. You probably wouldn’t have taken my call anyway. This seemed like the best way to get to you.”
I was tempted to say “Why bother” but I kept my mouth shut.
“Just hear me out okay?’
I just sat there and silently looked at her.
“I don’t want to get married now baby. I’m not saying no to you; I’m saying no to marriage. I haven’t busted my butt to get a degree just to toss it into the trash can and become a wife and mother. I fully intend to use my degree Rob, but right now I have no idea where. When I start sending out resumes I have no idea what I might be offered. It could be east coast, west coast or down south somewhere. I couldn’t just pack up and go if I were married.
“Think about it Rob. We get married, I get offered my dream job, but it is in New York, Boston or maybe Los Angeles and you say that you aren’t going to move there. You already know what you will be doing. You are going to stay right here and go full-time at Boysen’s. I might get a job in this area or I might not.
“Then there is the fact that I know you too well baby. I know you are going to want a family and you will start pressing me to give you kids and I’m going to have to tell you no. Again baby; I didn’t bust my ass to get a degree and then not use it.”
I sat, listened, and by the time she was done I could see where she was coming from and accept it, but it changed nothing. Whether our relationship had ended last night or would end with our graduation the fact remained that our relationship was over.
“Say something baby?”
“What’s to say? You covered it all. We have no future.”
I started the car, put it in gear and as soon as we started moving Kathy asked “What are you doing?”
“Since you are already in the car I’m giving you a ride to your apartment.”
We drove in silence for a minute or two and then she said “We still have till schools over Rob.”
“Right; and I can wake up every morning and know I’m one day closer to losing you. No thanks. Bottom line here is that I loved you enough to ask you to marry me and you don’t care enough about me to choose me over a career. I have no interest in being second place in my lady’s life.”
She didn’t say anything to that and that in itself said more than words could have. I pulled up in front of her apartment and waited for her to get out. She hesitated a bit and then said:
“I’m sorry Rob; I really am.”
I said nothing and just waited for her to get out of the car. When she got out I drove away without looking back.
For the next month my life consisted of nothing but school and work. I did occasionally see Kathy around the campus, but never did talk with her. A couple of times she saw me and started to head towards me, but then caught herself and moved in another direction.
I passed up several chances to date because, quite frankly, I was tired of investing my time in girls that would either leave me hanging or hang me out to dry. Then one day I saw something that must have flipped a switch in my head and I started looking at girls again. The something? I saw Kathy walking with a guy and they were talking and laughing together. It was like a voice in my head said:
“She can move on so why can’t you?”
For the rest of the term I dated some and got laid a time or two. At the start of my last semester my class in Management Decision Analysis was broken up into groups for another project. The group consisted of me, one other guy and three girls. I’d dated two of them the previous semester, but even though I’d seen the third around campus I didn’t know her. Her name was Nancy, but she preferred to be called Nan. The group met twice a week after class in the library and after the third meeting the three girls and I started stopping at the Village Inn for coffee. For some reason or other Hank, the other guy, could never join us or maybe never wanted to).
One night Cyndi and Cora didn’t join us and it was just Nan and me at VI. We had been talking about some stupid so called ‘reality show’ when suddenly Nan said:
“Both Cora and Cyndi say you are a fun date. When do I get my chance?”
I was sipping my coffee when she said it and I almost spit it out. I put the cup down and said “I beg your pardon?”
“Simple enough. I want to go out with you and I don’t want to wait around for you to ask so I’m just putting it out there.”
She as a good looking girl and I hadn’t been out on a date in a while so I said “What time and where?”
I had a good time on our first two dates, but the third date is when things got interesting. The first two dates I received a goodnight kiss on the cheek, but on the third Nan hit me with:
“Every girl I’ve talked with who knows you says you are a pretty nice guy. Cora says you are pretty good between the sheets. Cyndi says “I’ll never tell” but she is smiling when she says it. Samantha Stark (the first girl I dated after my break with Kathy) said she wished she could have kept you, but you were too leery of a relationship at the time. What I am getting at is that I’m a healthy female and I have certain needs I am looking for a friends with benefits relationship until the term is over. I have no interest in marriage. I just need to get laid on a regular basis. No strings attached. Your choice. If you are in let’s do it. If you aren’t this is our last date.”
She loved it all. She gave great head, liked it in any position you could think of and a session couldn’t end without doing anal at least once. Nan was the perfect woman for me at that stage of my life. I liked her a lot, but I didn’t love her. We had some good times together and she never failed to drain me dry when we got together. I was almost sorry when graduation day came. We had one last night together the day we walked across the stage and got our sheepskins and then she left for Atlanta and I never heard from her again.
At Boysen’s I had been being groomed to take over from my boss when he retired. It was expected that he would retire the year after I graduated and that I would have that year to work with him before taking over. It didn’t work out that way. I came in to work one Wednesday morning and found him dead on the floor of his office. He’d had a massive heart attack.
Suddenly I was up to my ears in a job I was only half prepared for. I was putting in ten or twelve hours a day for six and sometime seven days a week. All I was able to do was eat, sleep and go to work. It took a little over six months before I got it to where I was only putting in about fifty hours a week.
I started going out and meeting people and I met a few ladies that I got to know really well. One of those ladies was Nadia Spellman. We dated for a month before we fell into a rather torrid affair. The woman was a fuck Goddess. She wanted to make love all the time and I was going to say no? I was thinking of asking her to marry me when it was taken out of my hands.
“We have to talk Rob.”
“Why Nadia? What’s wrong?”
A week later I carried my bride over the threshold of my apartment. The next six months were pure bliss. I had the life I wanted. A good job, a gorgeous wife, a sex life that would tire out a satyr and a child on the way. All that was missing was the house with a yard and a dog and cat, but we were working on that and had looked at a couple that were for sale.
In her seventh month Nadia fell down some stairs at work and it caused her to miscarry. Things were glum for a while with her and then she seemed to come out of it. The doctors had told us there didn’t seem to be a reason why we couldn’t try again, but Nadia let me know in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t be ready to try again any time soon.
When the doctor cleared her to have sex again she was back to her usual insatiable self. Another six months went by and then one afternoon I decided to surprise Nadia at work and take her to lunch. There was surprise and it was for both of us. When I walked unannounced into her office she was surprised to see me. I was surprised to see her on her knees sucking off one of her coworkers while he sat on the edge her desk.
“Excuse me; I should have knocked” I said and I turned and left.
The divorce was hassle free. I didn’t want her anymore after seeing her on her knees and she obviously didn’t want me. Turns out they had been fucking for months and she had intended to leave me anyway. I never asked any of the questions most guys would ask like “Why” and “What did I do wrong” because I really didn’t care. Wages were comparable so no alimony. No assets to speak off except some savings that were split and we both kept our own cars. After we split it didn’t take me long to decide that I probably wasn’t the one who got her pregnant in the first place.
One day my boss called me into his office and asked if I would be interested in taking a promotion and transferring to Dayton. I had nothing holding me back so I said yes.
The first month was spent in getting acclimated to the job and the area. It was when I started checking out the night life that things got interesting. It was a Saturday night and I had been told the Starlight Lounge was ‘a happening place’ so I decided to check it out.
I’d been there about an hour and I’d dance with a few unescorted ladies and was considering making a move on the redhead when four girls came in and took a table near the back of the room. I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of them was Kathy. What were the odds on that happening?
At the same time I recognized her she glanced my way and I saw the look of recognition come over her face. She turned, said something to the other three and then I had four sets of eyes looking over at me.
The polite thing for me to do would be to get up, go over and say hi, but the truth of the matter was that seeing Kathy instantly brought back the hurt she had laid on me way back when. I decided that my night was shot and I got up to leave. I was almost to the door when a hand grabbed my arm and a woman’s voice said:
“Hey! Where are you going?”
I turned and saw one of the girls who had come in with Kathy.
“Need to get out of here” I said.
“She told us you would probably cut and run as soon as you saw her, but we want you to stay.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Because Kat has told us so much about you over the last couple of years that we all feel we know you and we would like to get to know you better.”
“Kathy talking about me? I doubt that.”
“It’s true. We’ve all heard about how she had the perfect guy and then got stupid and let him get away.”
“She said that? Sure doesn’t sound like the Kathy I knew.”
“Believe it. So how about it? Stick around; it might be fun.”
I had to admit to some curiosity so I said “Lead on sweetie.”
“Sweetie?” she said as she pulled me towards her table. “She didn’t tell us you had a silver tongue.”
They had grabbed a chair from another table and made room for me. They must have had a lot of confidence in the girl they sent after me. Her name was Jaime by the way. She introduced me to the others at the table. There was Meg, Jan, “And of course you know Kathy.” I shook hands with the first two, but only nodded at Kathy. They had arranged my seating to be between Jaime and Meg and directly across from Kathy. Kathy smiled at me and said:
“You’re looking well Rob.”
Then Jaime said “We are in here quite often, but I don’t believe we’ve ever seen you in here before.”
“This is my first time. I only moved here two months ago.”
Then they wanted to know why I’d moved there and I explained it. While I was speaking I noticed Jaime looking at the dance floor and drumming her fingers on the table in time to the music so I took her arm and asked:
“Should we give the floor a shot?”
She smiled at me and fed my line back to me.
“Lead on sweetie.”
We stayed out on the floor for two numbers and in the pause between the two Jaime said “I know all the girls at the table really well and I know that Meg is going to take a shot at you. Kathy will want to, but I think she will wait to see what you will do.”
“Why is that?”
“She’ll want to see some indication that you still have an interest. She won’t take a chance at being rebuffed.”
“Why won’t Jan?”
“She has a fiancé, but you can never tell; she might just want to trade up.”
The band started the next song and it was a slow waltz so Jaime was able to continue.
“The reason I brought it up is that knowing what the others are likely to do I want to get there first. If you are even half of what Kathy made you out to be I want to get to know you.”
“I have no idea of what she has been saying, but believe me; I’m nothing special and I know it.”
“What do you have to lose in letting me find that out for myself?”
She had me there so I said “All I need is a number to call and the best time to do it.”
“I’ll see that you get it before we leave.”
The song ended and the lead singer announced that it was time for the band to take a break and that they would be back in fifteen minutes. When we got back to the table the girls pumped me for information about my job, where I was living, how did I like the area and so on. Kathy just sat there and listened, but made no effort to get in on the conversation.
The band came back and Meg said “My turn” and got up and took my arm. I got up and we moved out onto the floor. It didn’t take me long to figure out that if Jaime was right and Meg was going to take a shot at me Meg would be wasting her time. It was readily apparent that she was a heavy smoker. Her hair, clothes and breath stunk of cigarette smoke and that was a major turn off for me.
She did make a stab at it and asked me if I’d met any girls that I might like to date since moving to Dayton. It was an open invitation and I knew it, but she didn’t get the response she was looking for. I told her I had no time for that and that most of my time was going to be spent learning my new job and I didn’t expect to have any spare time for at least a couple of months.
We went back to the table and I had another drink before asking Jan to dance. She said yes and once on the floor she asked:
“Are you going to ask Kathy to dance?”
“Why ask me that? Aren’t you going to throw yourself at me?”
“I probably would have if I didn’t already have Jeff, but what about asking Kathy?”
“I don’t know. She was pretty definite when she kicked me to the curb.”
“That was then. She realized it was a big mistake and she has regretted it. I know that for a fact because for years I’ve heard her whine about throwing the best thing that ever happened to her away.”
“I don’t know if I can. It has been years and I’ve finally gotten over it. Don’t think I want to go there again.”
“I’m not suggesting that you get back together with her although I’d bet my life that is what she wants. It won’t hurt to extend an olive branch to her. If you can’t do that you might not want to come in here anymore since she is in here two or three times a week.”
“Has she turned into an alcoholic?”
“Not at all. We work just down the street and a bunch of us usually top in here to wind down. Gives us a chance to blow off steam and disparage management.”
As I walked Jan back to the table I was asking myself if I really wanted to take the chance of opening old wounds. Voices in my head were going back and forth on the idea with one voice saying “You are over it; it won’t hurt you to be polite” and another voice was saying “Don’t do it; you’ll just get sucked in again.”
I hadn’t made up my mind as to what to do where Kathy was concerned, but it turned out not to matter. As soon as Jan took her seat Kathy stood up and said “Next dance is mine.” I couldn’t say “No thank you” without seeming like an asshole to the other girls and I didn’t want that to happen. Not if I expected Jaime to say yes to a date.
Once we were on the dance floor Kathy said “I didn’t wait for you to ask me, because you weren’t going to ask me were you?”
“There was a debate taking place in my head on whether or not I should. Hadn’t made up my mind yet when you stood up.”
“Any chance you might have dinner with me sometime soon? I’d love to talk with you.”
“Don’t know about that Kathy. It took me a while to get over you. Don’t know I want to go back there.”
“I’m not asking for a date type date. Just two old friends sharing a meal and talking.”
“I’ll think some on it, but don’t get your hopes up. I don’t see where any good can come out of it, but I can see the possibility of some hurt and some pain coming for me coming out of us meeting.”