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My Sweet Lisa – Chapter Seven

My Sweet Lisa is Book Seven in the Operation Quickline fiction series – Lisa’s kidnapping spurs a host of changes in both hers and Sid’s lives. Yep, it’s finally Real Love. Now what? You can read Chapter One here, or check out all the episodes so far here.

We ran the next morning. I normally hate running, but it felt so good doing something that was normal. At breakfast, Nick ate quickly, then excused himself to get packed.

Whenever Nick came to visit, either Sid or I would fly back with him to San Jose. Nick’s mother, Rachel, was an emergency room doctor and worked nights. She’d only met us at the gate maybe three or four times in the entire year we’d known Nick and had gotten so mean about us interrupting her rest that it was easier for Sid or me to fly with Nick, then rent a car and drive him to his house. That morning, Sid wanted me to join him and Nick on the flight.

“I can manage here alone,” I told him, although I was not entirely sure I could.

“I know,” said Sid with a sigh. “I’m not sure I can manage being apart from you right now.”

“I hope you’re not getting clingy.”

“I get how that bugs you and I don’t want to be.” He looked away. “On the other hand…”

I sighed, then smiled. “Okay. We’ve probably got a buttload of writing work to deal with, but we can catch up on it next week.”

Sid grinned. “We will. Tell you what. Why don’t we take a little vacation and spend some time in The City?”

“Yeah. That does sound like fun.”

When we got to the San Jose airport, as we expected, Rachel was not there to meet her son. On the other hand, Rachel’s friend, Marlou Parks, was and Nick seemed happy enough to go with her. So, Sid and I let them go.

“I don’t know, Sid,” I grumbled as he drove us in a rental car up to San Francisco. “I think we’re getting to be the lesser of two evils.”

Sid sighed. “We may be. I told Nick that there was a reason why we couldn’t take custody of him, but that I couldn’t tell him what it was.”

“Oh, great. He’s only twelve. We can’t dump our secret on him. That would be cruel.”

“You think I don’t know that?” He glanced at me, then fixed his eyes on the freeway ahead of us. “Lisa, you and I have so many things to work out right now that taking custody of Nick is actually the least of them. He’s a major factor, but not the most important thing.”

I sighed. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Look, why don’t we take these next couple of days and not worry or think about our future. Let’s just enjoy the moment.”

I smiled. “That sounds good.”

At the hotel, Sid compromised and instead of getting us a two-room suite, he got us a room with two beds. We had a lovely time, but by dinner, Friday night, I was a little twitchy. The restaurant we were at was one of the touristy ones on the Fisherman’s Wharf. However, the food there was really good, and Sid had gotten us a table next to the windows overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I don’t know.” I looked out the window at the twinkling lights on the other side of the water. “I’m just feeling weird. Can we go home first thing tomorrow morning? I’ve got stuff to do. I need to work on Kathy’s wedding gown.”

“That’s right. She and Jesse are getting married when? April?” He looked at me. “I didn’t know you were making her gown.”

“I told you about that, didn’t I?”

“No. I mean, there was no reason to, I suppose.”

“Yeah, I guess not. Anyway, last month, Kathy’s dressmaker had a heart attack and forgot to tell Kathy about it until a couple weeks ago. The dressmaker was so backed up from being in the hospital and all that she hadn’t even started on Kathy’s dress.”

“Kathy must have flipped.”

“She didn’t come unglued, but she was pretty upset. So, I said I could do it.”

“You’ve made a wedding dress before?”

“A couple of them. I made Mae’s. Anyway, Kathy’s dress is simple enough, and it’s already cut out. I just have to put it together and…” I swallowed. “I’ve lost a week.” I blinked. “I just want to go home and do something normal.”

He smiled softly at me. “I understand, darling.”

We got home around noon the next day, and I spent the afternoon happily sewing together Kathy’s dress. Well, maybe not perfectly happily.

“Oh, poo-stains!” I yelped as I tried to get some gathers perfectly even yet again.

Sid knocked on the door.

“Come on in,” I sighed, then snarled at the gathers. “Will you bleeping things stay in place?”

Sid stood in the doorway with a puzzled frown. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Fine.” I double checked the gathers, then added a couple more pins.

“It sounded like you were swearing.”

I had to laugh. “As close to it as I get.”

“You sure? You sounded really frustrated.”

“Not any worse than usual. In fact, this is going pretty smoothly.” I sat back in my chair. He looked so befuddled. “Come on. You’ve heard me sewing before.”

He thought about it. “Yeah. I suppose I have, now that I think about it. But I didn’t think you were sewing. You keep saying you like doing it, and you sounded so teed off just now.”

“Well, it can be frustrating, too.” I shrugged.

“Oh.” He smiled. “Well, I was trying to figure out dinner just now. Do you want to go out?”

I winced. “Not really. I was just going to call for a pizza.”

“Huh.” Sid thought for a minute. “Okay if I make chicken parmesan?”

“That sounds good, I guess.”

Sid stayed in the doorway looking a little lost, then he smiled. “I’ll go work on it, then.”

I went back to work and got the wedding dress almost done by the time five-thirty rolled around. I still had the buttons to sew on, but I didn’t want to do that until Kathy had tried it on. I looked over the other projects I had cut out, then Sid knocked on my door.

“I’ve got dinner ready,” he said when I’d opened it.

“Good timing.”

I smiled and went to the breakfast room, where we generally ate our meals. The dining room was for parties and special occasions. It was nice having Sid across the table from me, but…

 I looked at him. “You know, it’s kind of weird having you here on a Saturday night.”

His eyebrows raised. “It’s really weird being here.”

“Do you want to go out by yourself?”

He winced. “Hell, no.” He looked at me. “So, what do you usually do on Saturday nights?”

“Well, if I’m not going out with Frank and Esther, I sew. I read. Maybe rent a video.” I sighed. “It’s really nice having the place to myself.” I stopped. “Not that I don’t want you here. I was just thinking how nice it was eating dinner with you.”

“I really enjoyed it, too.”

As for what we did, I ended up getting one of my knitting projects and sitting in the library with him while he practiced piano.

The next morning, I was nervous about going to mass. I don’t know why. Still, it was Palm Sunday, so I didn’t want to miss and staying home didn’t feel right, either. Sid volunteered to go with me.

“No. I’ve got to do this myself,” I said. “I just do.”

Sid patted my shoulder and nodded. I went and came back quickly, then I drove the two of us out to Mae and Neil’s. We celebrated Ellen’s birthday, which was coming up that Tuesday. She loved the set of math games that Sid gave her and proudly showed off the science apron I’d made for her. All in all, it was a lovely afternoon.

Monday, however, was not a good day. It started right after breakfast.

“You messed with the checkbook?” I hollered at him when I’d seen what he had done.

“I tried to do it exactly like you do.” Sid had a habit of forgetting to record checks in the register. I’d gotten the no carbon required checks so there would at least be copies, but if he happened to forget to put the liner in place and wrote more than one check, you couldn’t read the copies.

“We agreed that I’d take care of it.” I glared at him.

“Cut me some slack, will you? I needed something to do.”

I groaned loudly and took the checkbook back to my desk. [I, on the other hand, was laughing my ass off. I was just so thrilled that you’d gotten the chance to get pissed at me. – SEH]

It was frustrating. I was still dancing around what had happened. I had no idea why. At least, I’d been sleeping through the night without nightmares.

Henry called next to tell Sid and me that the phone line for our side business had been turned on and that I was cleared for duty. He also gave us the name of a psychologist, Dr. Robert Heilland.

“He’s very good,” Henry said through the speakerphone. “And he’s got a clearance to hear anything you want to talk about. Listen, Sid, I think it would be good if you went, too. You were pretty shook, and I’m sure you’re feeling it, too.”

Sid sighed. “I guess I am. Thanks, Henry.”

That surprised me, but I let it go. A few minutes later, Sid showed me the acceptances that had come in the previous week, and I went to work laying out a schedule for catching up on the old stuff from that week, as well as the new stuff coming in. I brought it all into Sid’s office when I was done. I pulled a chair around to the side of his desk and laid the calendar and files out. It felt good and normal until Sid choked over one of the deadlines.

It was for the column he did for a magazine called On Our Own. The magazine was aimed at people who fooled around like Sid did. Or, rather, like Sid used to. The column involved Sid reviewing a different singles hot spot around Southern California and commenting on the swinging lifestyle, in general.

“You okay?” I asked Sid.

“Yeah. I just haven’t done the research for this month’s column and it’s due on the fifteenth.” He looked particularly pained.

I looked at our calendar. “You could go out tonight while I’m at Bible Study.”

“That’s not the problem.” He took a deep breath. “I do not want to go out.”

It suddenly hit me why. “Oh. Afraid you won’t be able to resist temptation?”

“I might be, if there were any real temptation.” He frowned. “I don’t get it. It’s not as though I have anything against that lifestyle, even now. It’s just that…” He looked at me. “Saturday night was one of the most relaxing nights I’ve spent in a long time. Just being in the library with you. It was great and it didn’t matter that there wasn’t going to be any sex. Right now, the last thing I want to do is go into a smoky bar with loud music and people yelling over it to chase down some cheap tail. Especially without the cheap tail. It’s just not fun anymore.”

“Or maybe the cheap sex made the smoke and the loud music worth dealing with.”

“Possibly.” He shrugged. “Probably. Now, what do I do?”

“Try to be objective about a place?”

Sid shook his head. “I’d better call Hattie and give up the column.”

Hattie was the owner of On Our Own, as well as its editor. One of the reasons she’d given Sid the column was so that we had a visible reason to know her since she was also up to her hips in intelligence work.

“Sid, I’m not going to ask you to do that,” I said.

“I want to.” He smiled at me. “Come on. My heart hasn’t been in writing that column for a few months now. You’ve noticed it and so has Hattie.”

“I know.” I sighed. “I just feel guilty that you’re giving it up. I mean, you’re giving up sleeping around because of me.”

Sid chuckled and reached over to stroke my hand. “I gave it up because I want to. I’m tired of that scene and, if I’m honest, I have been for a while. The only reason I stayed with it was for the sex.”

“Oh.” I looked at him. “How long has it been since you last did it?”

“Had sex?” Sid blinked and thought about it. “Huh. A little over a week.”

“And you haven’t been at all grumpy. Wow.”

“No, I haven’t, even with the stress.” He looked bemused, then pulled me into his lap. “Who knew being in love could compensate for carnal pleasure?”

I couldn’t help laughing and we kissed warmly. But then I had to scramble out of his lap because there was work to do and the phone was ringing.

It was on the business line, and I hurried into my office to answer it.

“This is Ivan Danschenko,” the voice said.

“Oh, hello. This is Ms. Wycherly. How can I help you today?”

Sid and I had put together a business partnership that previous winter. On paper, it was clear. In real life, we were still working out where my former role as secretary ended. At that moment, answering the phone and playing gatekeeper was still my job.

“Ah. Is good to speak to you, Ms. Wycherly. And how are you today?”

“I’m fine. Let me see if Mr. Hackbirn is available.”

I put him on hold and went into Sid’s office. He looked up from the desk where he was going over a printout.

“Danschenko is on the line,” I told him.

“Oh.” Sid had an odd look on his face as he put down his fountain pen. “I should probably do that interview after all.”

“I thought you already did that.”

He smiled weakly. “No. I, uh, fibbed to throw you off and get you to the party at the right time. I seem to remember you telling me that you only lied about surprises.”

“Yeah. I did.”

“Did you call Dr. Heilland yet?”

“No. I’ll get on it.”

Sid reached for the phone, and I went back to my desk and found something to distract me from making the call to the psychologist. A minute later, Sid showed up in the doorway between our offices.

“Danschenko can talk tomorrow afternoon,” he said. “Do you mind coming with me?”

I couldn’t help glaring at him. “Getting clingy?”

“Not this time.” His face took on a grim cast. “I’ll explain as soon as I’m done getting the interview set, but we both need to work this one.”

“Okay.” I sighed as Sid went back into his office and finished the call.

By then, it was time for lunch and while Sid and I, as a rule, do not like talking about work while we’re eating, I was really curious why it was going to take two of us to do the interview.

“So, what gives?” I asked as I tucked into a perfectly lovely poached salmon that Conchetta had obviously made as a treat.

Sid sighed. “It’s about your kidnapping.”

“Oh.” My gut wrenched, but I knew I had to face it.

“Look, we don’t have—”

“Yes, we do.” I couldn’t help snarling.

“Alright.” Sid looked at little worried but took a deep breath. “The Company was up to their hips in the kidnapping. They’ve been working with the Medellín cartel, which is why those guys were from Colombia.”

“Why is the CIA working with a drug cartel?”

“According to Henry, it was the paramilitary arm that was protecting U.S. oil interests in the country, and the cartel is anti-communist. The problem is, the KGB may be mixed up in the kidnapping, as well, and Danschenko has been trying to make friends with everyone.”

“Well, we know he’s walking the fence.”

Walking the fence was another way of saying working as a double agent.

“True. Henry’s bugged about him, though.” Sid looked at me a little cautiously. “He says we shouldn’t trust Danschenko, but won’t say why. We do not have Need to Know.”

I got Sid’s caution. I really, really hated not having Need to Know.

“Hmph!”

“Are you okay?”

“Of course, I am,” I said, getting a little irritated. “Why would you ask?”

He looked confused. “Because we’ve both been through—”

“I do not want that hanging over every one of our conversations.” I threw my napkin onto the table and got up. “I’ve got to get back on the horse sometime. Prolonging it will only make it harder. So, just let me do my job, will you?”

“Sure.”

I felt Sid’s eyes on my back as I stomped off to the office. I knew I had over-reacted. It was kind of hard to miss, and part of me felt horrible that I’d been so mean. Sid was just expressing appropriate concern. Somehow, we managed to stay out of each other’s way for the rest of the afternoon.

Sid called Hattie and told me right before dinner that he was going to do the one last column, but he wouldn’t have to go review anyplace. I couldn’t help feeling bad about him dropping the column and almost everything else that was going on.

Dinner was pretty quiet. Sid was still walking on eggshells around me, and I couldn’t blame him. I went to the Teen Bible Study as soon as I’d finished eating. The nice thing about teen-agers is that they are, inherently, self-absorbed. They were still dealing with what happened, but once they saw that I was alright, their own traumas and issues came to the fore, and that’s what we discussed.

I got home around ten, and buzzed Sid’s intercom to let him know only to find that he was already setting up the couch in my sewing room. Part of me wanted to chew him out. Part of me knew we both needed him to be there.

“Thanks,” I finally got out.

“You’re welcome.” He looked up. “Odds on a goodnight kiss?”

I found myself smiling. “That sounds good.”

It was so warm and delicious. As we pulled away, I gazed into his eyes.

“I do love you, Sid.”

“I love you, too, Lisa. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

I’m not sure what I was doing, at first. I was just talking to somebody, then I was in a closet, and I heard the crack of a gunshot. A patch of bright red blossomed against the freshly painted dry wall.

“I didn’t mean to!” I screamed. “It was an accident! He didn’t give me time to aim.”

It was cold-blooded murder of the worst sort, and it was my fault. Only my fault. I could have found another way. But I couldn’t, and I cried because I really couldn’t, and it didn’t help. I was still a murderer and should be punished.

And suddenly, Sid was at my side, rubbing my back, and whispering into my ear.

“It’s okay, honey. It was just a dream.”

I realized that I was awake, and Sid was there. I gasped over and over again.

“It’s alright,” he whispered. “I’m here.”

I burst into tears and leaned against him. He gathered me even closer into his arms and kissed my hair.

“It’s okay. It was just a dream and I’m here,” he said again.

“How did you know?” I gasped.

“You start crying.”

“But you don’t wake up.”

Sid is an incredibly deep sleeper. “That wakes me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. I’ve been there, too. I was wondering when they were going to start.”

We’d already been through a spate of the nightmare before, right after I’d killed someone for the first time. In fact, the nightmare was about that incident.

I pulled away and looked at him. “I was so horrible to you today.”

“Yeah.” He sighed. “I don’t know if I should be giving you a pass or raking you over the coals. But I can’t help being worried. You’re totally avoiding what’s happened and I have never known you to do that.”

“I’m not avoiding it.”

“You haven’t told me what happened. You haven’t opened your birthday presents. You haven’t even made the appointment with the shrink. And the one time I alluded to dealing with it, you bit my head off.”

“I’m sorry about that. I don’t know what came over me. I really don’t.”

“Which is why we need to be talking to Dr. Heilland. Do you want me to set up the appointment?”

I swallowed. “No. I’ll do it.” I blinked, then looked at him. “Just please don’t let me get away without doing it.”

“Even if you bite my head off?”

I started crying again. “Yeah. I’m so sorry.”

“Apology accepted.”

I didn’t realize that we’d both fallen asleep until Sid nudged me awake just before my alarm went off.

“I’ll see you at the front door,” he said, after a quick kiss.

Figures, even his morning mouth was pleasant. [Yet another first from you. Trust me, nobody, but nobody, had ever complimented me on that. – SEH]

I did call Dr. Heilland right after breakfast and felt proud that I had. I set up an appointment for Sid and me at ten in the morning the following Thursday. Then there was lunch with Mr. Danschenko.

We met at a trendy place on Sunset in West Hollywood. I thought the menu was a bit on the pretentious side, but the food turned out to be quite good. Mr. Danschenko was interesting. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of him. In a way, he reminded me of Sid. Sid is, as I have often noted, not a big man. He’s barely three inches taller than me and I’m average. Danschenko was even smaller. There are some small guys who have the whole Napoleon complex. Sid does not. Neither did Danschenko. The funny thing was, even if I hadn’t known about his KGB connections and fence walking, I would have thought something was off about him. He seemed really friendly, and he wasn’t in the least bit malicious. But I could tell he wasn’t very trustworthy, either.

Sid ran the interview. He really is better at that than I am. Danschenko answered directly and was highly informative on the challenges faced by Russian businessmen in the U.S., not to mention the new party leader. I took notes, even though Sid was recording it. As we finished, Sid thanked him for the talk, then paused.

“I’d also like to thank you for your patience about us getting together,” Sid said.

“Is nothing,” Danschenko said. “But that reminds me. I have something for you.”

He pulled out of his briefcase a flat pack of Styrofoam that had been securely taped. It was a little larger than a video cassette.

“That’s very kind of you, Mr. Danschenko,” I said as he put the package on the table. “But it’s really unnecessary.”

“Is nothing,” he said again, then sighed. “With the changes in the Soviet Union, I must make as many friends as I can. I want to stay here. I’ve been here most of my life, since I was twenty years old. I’m forty-three. Here is better. So, I packed a little treat for the two of you. Besides, you’ve had a very traumatic week or so. You deserve something nice.”

He winked at Sid and sauntered out of the restaurant. I smiled, but inside I was steaming. Sid didn’t say anything and finished taking care of the bill. We got the car from the valet and headed back to the house in Beverly Hills.

“You seem annoyed,” Sid said as he drove.

I winced. “I am. He assumed we’re a couple. You know how I hate that.”

“I do, indeed.” Sid checked his blind spot and gunned the Beemer into the next lane.

“The thing is, we are a couple now. Don’t you think?”

“Hm.” He thought it over. “Yeah. I guess we are.” He smiled at me. “That’s, uh, going to take some getting used to.”

“Yeah.” I suddenly realized that it was going to take a lot of getting used to for me.

I decided not to say that, though. As I watched Sid drive, I couldn’t help thinking how much I loved him. The poor thing had been through one very rough time. I didn’t want my ambivalence to hurt his feelings. We’d been waiting months, if not years, for this kind of breakthrough in our relationship, and we finally had it. I just couldn’t figure out for the life of me why it felt so… Weird.

When we got home, we carefully opened the Styrofoam block in Sid’s office. Inside, was a round, flat jar, about four inches in diameter and about three-quarters of an inch deep with a blue lid on top. The writing on the blue label was in Russian and in English. It had been placed between two small ice packs.

“Beluga caviar?” said Sid. He opened the jar. Inside, the tiny dark gray to black balls glistened and the smell of fresh ocean fish filled the office. “This is no little treat. This stuff is the best caviar in the world.”

I couldn’t help laughing. Sid was salivating worse than he did over me. [Not worse than I did over you. But close. – SEH]

“Why would he be giving us that?” I asked.

Sid sighed. “Good question.”

The cats, summoned by the scent of fish, swarmed the office. Sid batted them away, swearing.

“Lisa, can you get a plate? We need to go through it. Damn it, Long John, I am not giving Beluga to a cat!”

I grabbed Blueberry and tried to shoo Fritz out of the office. I fetched the plate from the kitchen, along with a couple spoons. Conchetta took Blueberry, then, when I got back to the office, I got the other two out and shut the door. Given that both Long John and Fritz are hard-core tuna junkies, it was no small task. Sid and I focused on the jar. He spread the fish roe out in a single layer on the plate. There was nothing mixed in. I looked and felt around the bottom of the jar. Nothing. Sid did the same to the inside of the lid.

“Uh-oh. Looks like we’ve got a micro-dot,” he said, pulling the lid’s inner lining away. He looked longingly at the caviar. “We’ll need some bread from the French bakery. I can call Les and see about getting some of that really good vodka.”

“And who gave us the caviar?” I said firmly.

Sid’s sigh went beyond profound. “It’s Beluga, Lisa. The best caviar in the world. You can’t get it here that easily. Cuban cigars are easier to get than this stuff.” He picked up the Styrofoam. “He even packed two bone spoons.”

“He’s KGB, Sid, and Henry said not to trust him. I mean, it smells fabulous, but do you really want to take that chance?”

“No. It’s not worth it.”

I picked up the plate. “I’ll spare you the pain and take care of this.”

“Alright. I’ll get this washed up and the micro-reader out.”

I put the caviar down the garbage disposal and washed the plate. Back in the office, Sid had not only gotten the micro-dot in the reader, which looked like a slide viewer, but with much stronger magnification, but had also set up the camera stand and was taking pictures to make a copy of what was on the dot.

“It’s in code in the English alphabet,” Sid said. “It looks like a list of some sort.”

He took a couple more shots, then turned the viewer off. “I’d better get the dot to Henry. But, first, I think I’m going to get this film developed and take a look at it.”

“Okay. I’ve got racquetball league tonight, then Bible Study.”

“Alright.” Sid smiled. “I’ll probably see you at the gym.”

I turned to go. He caught my arm.

“I wouldn’t mind a little kiss, first, though.” His eyes glittered and I couldn’t resist.

The kissing wasn’t part of the normal I so desperately wanted, but it did feel good.

Fortunately, even though Marlene Ramsey and Karen Jones had been at my birthday party, both had left well before ten. Since Henry had made sure the news didn’t get out, both were blessedly unaware of why I’d missed my game the week before. I played Marlene and lost, as usual. Karen said good night as Marlene and I crashed in the lounge overlooking the challenge courts. I saw Sid playing the club pro Lorna Mornavian in the A-level court, spraying the walls with sweat as he did.

“I was surprised to see Sid at your birthday party,” Marlene said. “I didn’t know you guys knew each other that well.”

Sid and I didn’t really spend time together at the gym, which was probably why.

“We’re business partners.” I fidgeted with my racket.

“Uh, okay.” Marlene looked at me, puzzled.

I took a deep breath. “Okay. We’re slouching our way toward the couple thing.” I shrugged. “There’s a lot to work out.”

“You mean, like, Lorna?”

I looked at the challenge court. Sid and Lorna were standing in the doorway. Lorna looked a little surprised and Sid looked equally bemused, but not unhappy. Lorna patted his shoulder and headed over to the challenge board.

“No.” I frowned. “We’re in a good place that way.”

“But how are you going to handle…?” Marlene blurted out.

“Same way I’ll handle all his other former girlfriends, I guess.” I checked my watch. “Look, I’ve gotta shower and get out of here.”

I was still feeling a little shaky by the time I got to the Bible Study, and it got worse as everyone fussed over me. I left before the final prayer. Sid was in the library, playing something classical that I hadn’t heard before.

“Hi,” I said softly as he paused and frowned at the sheet music in front of him.

He looked up and smiled. “You’re home early.”

“Yeah. They were fussing.” I shrugged, then looked at him. “Marlene asked me something interesting tonight. And then I saw you and Lorna talking after your game.”

“Yeah.” He got that bemused look on his face again. “I told her no thanks. I even said I had given up on sleeping around.” He looked at me and grinned. “It felt good.”

“Oh. Good.” My stomach started doing flip flops, and I had no idea why.

“What did Marlene ask you?”

“How I was going to handle all your former girlfriends.”

“Ah.” Sid took a deep breath and turned around on the piano bench. “And…? Do you want me to cut off contact?”

I snorted. “I don’t think you could continue to function in this city if you did that. Besides, some of them are my friends, too. I think I’ll be okay. It’s just that Marlene’s the first person I’ve told that we’re heading in that direction. It feels weird.”

“It does.”

I smiled at him. “You know. You might want to talk to Angelique about this. She’s given up sleeping around, too.”

“Yeah. She mentioned that. I did offer to take her to lunch. You want to come with us?”

“No. Why don’t you two go ahead? I’ll either hear about it from her or I won’t.”

He looked at me funny. “You trust me?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“I haven’t made any promises.”

“You keep saying you want to. Maybe here’s your chance to find out if you can.”

He lifted one eyebrow. “That’s not a bad idea.”

Please talk to me. I'd love to hear from you.

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