The following excerpt is fm Chapter Two of Sandy Pearl and the Blades
Thane faced Addie. "You see?"
"Addie wondered if you had become wiser in the ways of the world, if you..."
The two women simultaneously finished the sentence for Thane. "...know what I mean!"
I felt my cheeks growing hot and that's how I knew I was blushing. "I'm not sure I understand."
Morgan and Addie clinked their glasses together and Addie announced a toast "to universal understanding and also to finding my long lost cousin again, resurrected and returning home from a losing cause."
I glanced at Addie and she winked at me. She was still very beautiful but I also remembered her as a tee-totaler, buoyant without need of balloons. Morgan had disengaged midway through the toast as she began to delicately build a proper, rolled fajita. Thane too seemed to be drawn to his plate. He saw me looking at him.
"So," Thane started, "Addie tells this story about you when you were younger..." Thane glanced at Addie and Addie shook her head at him but he continued anyway.
"Oh come on," Thane went on, "it's a perfectly charming story."
I was uncertain which embarrassing calamity from the past Addie had witnessed and revealed to her husband, but it must have been a dozy. I braced myself as Thane continued. Since Addie already knew the story and I was the butt of the unfolding tale, Thane directed his exposition to Morgan who listened with a smile as she sampled her fajita.
"Back in high school, senior year for young Conrad Snow, promising candidate for Mr. All-Around or something like that..."
"It was Mr. Richland High. There was a Miss Richland High as well."
"I know, Addie told me. Don't ruin the story. Anyway, Conrad had a girlfriend, met her in church, stole his heart, first love sort of deal. Went with her for a year, never had sex..."
"We got pretty close a couple of times."
"Whatever, Addie said you never did the deed. True or not?"
I shrugged. "Well, yeah."
Thane turned back to Morgan. "Is that it?" Morgan asked. "Is that the story? Because if it is, you gotta work on your closing pitch, Thane."
"I'm not done yet."
"I think it's romantic," said Addie.
"But there's more to the story."
"There is always more," replied Addie.
"Is there a punchline or something?" Morgan looked from Thane to Addie and finally to me.
"Yes," I said, "I suppose there's some kind of punchline. She went to
Thane considered his own fajita before asking, "Uh, show biz?"
I looked at Addie. We were friends back in those days. I was two years older than her but adding in a couple of negative years for my native immaturity, we were virtually the same age. I told her everything. When I found out Caryn was in
Thane chuckled and Morgan turned to look at me. I'm sure I was blushing again because Morgan assured me it was all right. "I think it's sweet," she said.
Addie came alive, agreeing with Morgan. "I think so too." She suddenly took my hand from across the table right in front of everyone and said she was sorry she had revealed my secret and would I ever forgive her?
"It's not necessary. Already forgotten."
She squeezed my hand once and let go.
Thane even apologized but added, "You've got to admit, it's a revealing story."
What, exactly, it revealed about me seemed to be different for everyone at the table.