After our early dinner, the interstate rush hour traffic was mostly in the other direction as I pulled onto the interstate, but I-77 is never a picnic and I had to watch what I was doing. I merged into the lane I wanted and relaxed a bit.
Margot was offering some light chat about the dinner and the evening, and I was trying to catch enough syllables in my bad ear to offer coherent responses. Stay in the game, I thought. Then, out of the blue, she said, “This is the fourth time we’ve been out together. Are we in what you might call a relationship?”
“Not sure,” I said. I didn’t know where she was heading with this and figured that deflecting the question was the best stalling tactic. Mistake. She was silent and I sensed her eyes on me, but I had to concentrate on the fast traffic and couldn’t risk a peek at her. Nothing works like silence, though, and I felt that I had to expand on the topic a bit. “I guess I thought that maybe a relationship was defined by maybe some more intimacy or something…” I was botching this badly. Where was Almonrico when I needed him?
“You mean sex,” she said.
“Ah, yes…I guess so.”
“I suppose we could pull into a rest area and consummate it,” she said.
Well, that lowered the level, I thought. I tried to elevate it a bit. “Want to stop at my place for some coffee?”
She did, and we did. We had finished a bottle of wine at the restaurant – three glasses to one in her favor, since I would be driving. I had to catch up, and back at my place I popped the cork on another bottle of Napa’s finest and poured us each a glass.
“I think I am falling in love with you,” I said.
“Well, fall away,” she said. “I won’t stop you.”
“Thanks, but the big question is…will you join me?”
“Ha…nice try, but I’d never make a decision like that while I was half drunk.”
‘Decision’ came out sounding a little bit like ’decishum.’
“I see two strategies for that. I can work to get you all of the way drunk and ask that question again, or…”
“Or what?” she asked.
I got up and headed for the kitchen. “I’m going to put on some coffee,” I said.
Chuck Thurston is the author of two collections of Senior Scribbles available from Amazon or Indigo Sea Press. “The Coroner takes a Ride” – the first book of a Woody Stanton mystery series will be published later this year. Wife Heidi is tackling the followup to her novel “The Duchess, The Knight and the Leprechaun.” She won’t commit to a finish date.