Her afternoon meeting with Frank went well, and she was pleased when he complimented her on a job well done, particularly in the Jackson office. She was alarmed, though, when as she started to leave he asked her out to dinner Saturday night to talk about the week’s problems–his week’s problems.
“I can’t. I’m…busy,” was all Lisa could think to say.
“You’re busy?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. Lisa didn’t understand his reaction. Why would he be surprised that she was busy? And why did he ask her out, anyway? Glen left less than a week ago. Hold on! She hadn’t told anyone about her breakup. How could he possibly know?
“Yes…I’m…engaged,” Lisa continued. “Not…engaged engaged…I mean…I’ve got things to do.”
“Okay,” he replied quickly, clearing off his desk. “Maybe another time.”
Lisa couldn’t stand not knowing.
“Look…Frank…who told you…I mean…how did you know…about Glen and me,” she asked, uncertain she really wanted to know the answer.
Frank stared at Lisa for a moment. Yikes. He was sort of handsome, in a staid kind of way.
“Well, actually…,” he started. He looked so contrite Lisa thought he was going to tell her he had been stalking her and observed Glen leaving the house last Sunday night with his car filled with newly-purchased bad clothes and a set of woofers and tweeters that no longer woofed nor tweeted.
“…on Tuesday, when you were in Battle Creek, I just happened to be walking by your desk and the phone rang so I picked it up,” he continued slowly. It was Glen, Lisa thought, calling to admit what a jerk he was and he didn’t bother to notice it was a man’s voice at the other end.
“…and it was the dishwasher repair guy. Said he’d be by your house at five.”
“Oh…you took the message,” Lisa frowned. “But how could you deduce…?”
“…Glen always took care of those things,” he interrupted. “At least that’s what you used to tell me.”
“Not bad,” Lisa thought. She wasn’t used to a guy being so clever about the little things.
“And that’s it?” Lisa asked, suddenly skeptical.
“And you stopped wearing your ring,” he grinned.
Lisa glanced at her naked hands. The ring. The silly little piece of cheap metal she had insisted Glen buy for her. Knowing even as he placed it on her finger it meant nothing to the twit.
Frank resumed clearing his desk.
“Have a good weekend, Lisa.” She watched while Frank stacked several folders and placed them neatly at the corner of his desk.
“You, too.” And Lisa slipped out the door.
THE DRIVE HOME, NORMALLY CLOCKED at a brisk twenty-four minutes, took an outrageous thirty-seven, thanks to construction zones placed strategically along her normal route. When Lisa drove her Accord into the driveway, she was hot and tired. And, well, she was engaged. Her social calendar was jam packed with leisure. Lots of leisure. For the next two days.
“No! Not that way! Put it down! Now!”
Lisa had just reached the side door of her tiny, neat-looking ranch house and was fumbling for her keys when she heard the tirade. Obviously, Sharon Gilbert, her neighbor from across the street, was unhappy yet again.
“You don’t carry it by the penis! How would you like to be handled like that?”
Lisa usually ignored Sharon’s rants, but this was definitely worth investigating. She set down her briefcase and purse and slowly walked toward her car. Across the street, Sharon was standing, hands on hips, glaring at two burly men carrying a huge, brown statue. Lisa walked around the large, clipped boxwood that framed the corner of her house and noticed a moving van parked in the street in front of the Gilbert house. The men suddenly plunked the statue down on the driveway, and even from her distance Lisa saw that it resembled a kneeling, naked man and that the men were trying to suppress their laughter.
Just then Sharon’s husband, Bill, ran from the garage carrying Phoebe, the small, mixed-breed dog he had recently adopted from the local shelter. Lisa had known the dog’s name three full days before Bill had introduced them while she was on her front porch planting some petunias in the cement urn. When Lisa replied that she could now put a face on Phoebe, Bill understood right away.
“I know she digs and chews – she gnawed on one of Sharon’s statues – but she really is a sweet dog,” Bill explained. “Sharon kind of yells before she thinks.”
“She really is a sweet dog.”
Lisa smiled. Bill was being much too kind, but, after all, he was talking to another woman about his wife.
Next: Part 3
Feature image by Tumisu from Pixabay (typography added by kathleenjae.com)
“Boss” image by StockSnap from Pixabay (typography added by kathleenjae.com)
Moving truck image by Nina Garman from Pixabay (typography added by kathleenjae.com)
Adorable dog image by Игорь Мамотенко from Pixabay
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