Today I’m honored to share a story from my friend, and one of my favorite WordPress bloggers R James Turley.
by R James Turley
When Suzy Night was introduced on stage, Ron’s mouth dropped open. She had a walk made for a run-way, and a body that just wouldn’t quit. Ron knew Kathy was going to hire a new singer, but didn’t know who. He did now. Those legs, that long dark hair stretched down her back. Ron stared at her, wondering what it’d be like to kiss those lushes lips.
“What do you think of our new singer?” Kathy sat down beside him at the table, two rows from the stage.
“She’s gorgeous,” he poured wine in both of their glasses. “Where did you find her?”
“She came in on open MIC night, and just started singing,” Kathy lifted her glass toward the stage.
Why couldn’t Ron be here that night? Then he would’ve met her. Maybe it’s a good thing he wasn’t. He might have just made a fool out of himself trying to impress her.
Suzy’s voice was as stunning as she was; soft and smoky. It carried throughout the room in perfect pitch. Ron just had to get to know her. He almost couldn’t stand not being able to touch her now.
He poured another glass of wine for Kathy, “Is she from around here? How old is she? Does she have a boyfriend?”
“Easy there, lover boy. I got the impression she’s seeing somebody,” Kathy sipped her wine. “Besides, she’s half your age.”
Ron didn’t care at the moment. He was enjoying fantasizing about him and Suzy. He wished he could rise up out of that wheelchair, and go on stage to sing with her. What he wouldn’t give for that.
“You are going to introduce me, aren’t you?” Ron looked at Kathy with a cryptic smile.
“After she’s done, but get rid of your google eyes.”
“Yes mother,” he laughed.
“Funny,” she said, shaking her head and rolling her eyes. “You should write comedy.”
In a lot of ways, Ron did think of her as a mother figure. Kathy was always there for him when he needed her. She’d helped his mother take care of him when Ron’s father was out of town on business. And, she helped him get through that rough time when Ron’s parents died three months apart. Kathy meant a lot to Ron, and he didn’t know what he would do without her.
The scattered Sunday night crowed stood up and applauded after Suzy finished her two songs. Ron leaned over to tell Kathy something, but she was already headed toward the backstage door.
“She’ll be out in a minute,” Kathy said, sitting back down at the table. “You want some scotch”
“Please,” Ron nodded. “Neat.”
“Ah, what is it with you and no ice?” Kathy waved over the waitress.
“I don’t know,” Ron shrugged his shoulders. “Never that fond of ice, I guess, plus it waters it down.”
“Hi Kath, how you doing?” The chipper waitress asked.
“Irene, did you meet Ron?” She cocked her head toward him.
“Not yet,” she stuck her hand out to shake. “How you doin?
Taking her hand, “Nice to meet you.”
“Can I have some Ice-water, and Ron would like some Scotch without ice.”
“Scotch neat,” Irene said. “That’s the way my pappy used to drink it.”
Ron noticed the backstage door open. Suzy was walking toward the table. She was wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt, with her hair pulled up in two pig tails. If Ron was standing, he would have fallen over her beauty. She stopped at the table next to his, and hugged the guy sitting there. Ron felt a spark of jealousy, then he felt guilty for it. Why should he be jealous? He didn’t even know her.
Suzy walked over to the table, with her friend right behind her. “Hi miss Oden,” she kissed Kathy on the cheek. “How’d I do?”
“I told you Suzy, call me Kathy,” she got up and hugged Suzy. “You were fabulous. Suzy, this is Ron, he’s my business partner.”
“Hi,” she smiled at Ron. “This is…”
“Danny Alm,” Ron said in amazement. “You were rookie of the year with Portland.”
“I guess you do know who he is,” Suzy giggled.
Ron shook Danny’s hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“You a basketball fan?” Danny asked, looking at the wheelchair.
“A huge one.” Ron tapped his hand on the arm of his wheelchair, “Play too.”
“Sit down,” Kathy said, pulling out a chair.
As the crowd got smaller, and it got closer to closing time, the four of them just sat and talked, and got more acquainted with one another. Ron was even more impressed with Suzy, how intelligent and well-spoken she was.
At three-AM Suzy finally said, “We have to go. I have to take Danny to the airport.”
“You’re flying now?” Kathy asked, in a voice two octaves higher than she normally sounds.
“I’ve got to be back in Portland tomorrow night. We had today off, so I just came in to see Suzy,” Danny said, getting out of the chair. “It was nice meeting you guys,” he through a twenty-dollar bill on the table.
“I’ll see you on TV,” Ron said with a chuckle.
Ron waited for Kathy while she helped Irene clean up, and then walked her to her car. He watched her drive off, wheeled around the corner to his two-story apartment building where he lived on the first floor.
Ron didn’t do much of anything, and tried to conserve his energy, on game days. Even though he was reduced to playing about twelve minutes a game, he wanted to be able to leave it all on the court when called on. The players respected, and looked up to Ron for what he has done for wheelchair basketball. Both on the court and off, Ron has been an ambassador for the game. He traveled across the country with the U.S.A. Paralympic team showing off his skills, and talking about the game.
Normally Ron’s focus would be totally on the up-coming game, but he couldn’t keep Suzy from his thoughts. He turned on the news channel to get his mind off Suzy.
A gentle knock at the door caught his attention. He wheeled over and looked out the peep hole. He had to look a second time to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. He opened the door to see Suzy, and all her loveliness, standing there.
“I hope you don’t mind. Kathy told me where you lived.”
“Not at all,” he said in delight, trying to control his emotions. “Come on in,” inside, Ron was jumping for joy. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Soda, if you have it,” she smiled.
Ron nodded, offered Suzy a seat and wheeled into the kitchen. When he came back Suzy was in the recliner that was facing the TV in the living room, her tote bag on the floor beside her. Ron couldn’t believe Suzy Night was in his apartment. He felt like a school kid.
Suzy watched him wheel toward her with a can of Coke and a glass in his lap, and a bottle of fruit juice nestled between his leg and the side of the chair. He opened the can, and poured it in the glass for her.
“Thank you,” she said, accepting the glass. She took a sip and said, “I have something for you.”
“You do,” his voice rose with surprise and excitement. He opened the bottle of fruit juice, hoping he wasn’t blushing.
She pulled out a manila envelope from her bag, “Danny wanted you to have this.”
“He did?” He opened the envelope, “Wow!” pulling out an autograph picture of Danny dunking a basketball. “This is great. Tell him thank you.”
“He was impressed when you said you played,” she poured the rest of the soda into the glass. “How long have you played?”
“Since I was a kid, my mom got me into it. I guess she wanted me to have something to do,” he chuckled and took a drink of juice. He realized that the anniversary of her death is quickly approaching. Could it be sixteen years? “I also got a chance to play with the US Paralympic team.”
“Really!” her eyes grew bigger as she gazed into his. “You played in other countries?”
“A few,” he tossed his empty bottle into the recycle bin.
“How often do you play now?”
“A couple times a week. I have a game tonight, actually,” he pointed to his game jersey hanging on the bedroom door knob.
Finishing her drink, “I’d like to come and watch sometime.”
He was glad to hear that. “Come with Kathy sometime, she comes to a lot.”
Looking at her watch, “Thanks for the Coke,” she stood up, “but I got to go. I have some running around to do before I meet my mother for her birthday.”
“Okay, let me get the door.” Wheeling over and opening the door, “Thanks for the picture. Hope you have fun with your mother.”
“Thanks, I will.” She gave him a friendly hug. “Good luck tonight.”
He looked into her brown eyes, “I’ll see you at the club,” and watched her walk away.
The team bus came to pick Ron up at five for their game in Tampa at eight. Ron was one of the last ones to be picked up. His teammates were lost in thought or listening to music. After Ron got his chair locked in, the coach looked back at him to tell Ron that he was starting tonight.
Ron hasn’t started a game since the last game of last season, and hadn’t been a full time starter for three years. He had to fight to make the team this year. He played the game smart, and the coach liked that. Something must be wrong with Tim, the starting Point Guard.
Kathy and Suzy were in the stands when the team came out of the locker room. Now Ron was nervous. He didn’t expect to see Suzy at a game so soon. Ron missed most of the practice shots he took before the game. He had to calm himself.
He drank some water, and took a deep breath before taking the court for the start of the game. The tip-off came straight to him, and all his nervousness vanished. He ran the first play flawlessly, and played like he had been starting all season. It was Ron’s best game in almost four years with seven points, and twelve assists, in their nineteenth win of the season.
Ron took his gym bag to his room, switched chairs, and wheeled over to Last Call. Kathy and Suzy were at the bar sharing a bottle of wine at the end of the bar when he came in. He wheeled up to where the bar was low enough for his wheelchair. Irene poured a scotch and set it in front of him.
“I heard about tonight, congratulations!” She bumped her fist against his. “You want something to eat?
“Just a salad, please,” he said, after sipping his drink.
Kathy picked up the bottle, and her and Suzy walked to the beat of the music toward Ron. Kathy kissed him on the cheek, and Suzy, from behind him, put her arms around his shoulders. They sat down on either side of him. Ron didn’t know what he was more excited about, the game, or the fact the Suzy saw it.
“Great game Ron,” Kathy said, empting the wine bottle into her glass. “Where’d that come from?”
Ron shrugged his shoulders, “Don’t know, must’ve been bottled up.”
Ron caught Suzy watching him eat. He wanted to ask her out, but not in front of Kathy. He didn’t want to hear her say that it was a bad idea. Besides, it’s none of her business who he asked out. She went to the office to check on the beer orders for tomorrow. Now was his chance.
“Suzy,” he nervously said. “Would you like to have dinner sometime?” He took the last bite of his salad.
She grinned ear to ear, nodding her head, and said, “I’d love to.”
“I’m free tomorrow,” she said, looking into his eyes.
“Great! How about around seven? I’ll cook,” he said, before finishing his drink.
“I’ll be there.”
Ron yelled into the office saying goodbye to Kathy, gave Suzy a hug and wheeled off. Excited about his date tomorrow, he couldn’t sleep. He wondered what to serve. Damn, I should’ve asked her. He finally decided on Chicken Parmesan. With that settled, he slowly drifted off to sleep.
Suzy arrived a little before seven dressed to kill. Wearing a short royal blue cocktail dress hugging her body with spaghetti straps on the shoulder, and her hair was pulled up in the back with a white bow. Ron’s jaw dropped open when he saw her.
“Come on in,” he said, waving her in. “Make yourself at home. You want some wine?”
“Yes,” she nodded, and smiled at him. “Let me help you.”
He wasn’t going to say no, he followed her into the kitchen, enjoying the view. She got the glasses from the cupboard while he opened the fridge.
“Is white alright? That’s all I have.”
“Yes. Dinner smells good”
“Thanks. I hope you like chicken parmesan.”
“Yum, I love it,” she said, rubbing her belly.
The dinner started with a fresh garden salad, which Ron ate at least three times a week. He might not be as fit as he once was, but he was in the habit of eating healthy.
After dinner, they shifted to the couch where the conversation was very nice. Ron talked mostly about his basketball career, and shared some pictures with Suzy. They talked until almost midnight, and then Suzy got ready to leave.
“I had a nice time,” she said, staring into his eyes. “I’m glad you asked me.”
Ron was happy to hear that. “I had fun too,” he gazed back at her.
“Are you coming to the bar tomorrow night,” she opened the door.
“I’ll be over after my game. We play at home tomorrow so it won’t be that late.”
She kissed him on his cheek, hugged him tightly, and walked out the door. Ron watched her until she disappeared into to lobby of the building. He was scolding himself for not taking a chance to kiss her the way he dreamed of doing since the first time he saw her. It will happen in time, he thought. I don’t want to push her away.
Ron got to Last Call in time to hear Suzy sing. He had another good game after his second straight start. Ron was starting to feel that Suzy was his good luck charm, and he was feeling like he used to on the basketball court.
Looking around the room that was half full, he noticed Kathy sitting with Danny Alm. Danny must have flown in to see Suzy. Ron wheeled over to the table.
“Hey Ron. How was the game?” Kathy moved a chair out of the way.
“We won,” Ron said, proudly. “I started again.”
“How’d you do?” Kathy asked while waving over Irene.
“I had a few points, a couple assists. I’m getting my game back,” Ron said, locking his chair into place. He looked at Danny, “Thanks for the picture, I love it! You fly in for the night?”
“Hi Ron,” Irene said. “Some scotch?”
“Please,” he smiled at her.
“Coming right up,” Irene turned and headed toward the bar
“We play in Orlando tomorrow so I figured I’d drive down for a few hours,” Danny said, looking at Ron.
Ron saw Suzy come out the back stage door. Right away he noticed something different, in her face, from last night. Danny stood up from the table, took Suzy in his arms, and kissed her passionately. Ron felt sick, like someone punched him in the stomach. He looked at Kathy, told her he’d be back, and wheeled toward the men’s room.
After he splashed some water on his face, he headed back toward the table. Kathy was waiting for him at the bar.
“Are you alright?” She handed his drink to him. “I didn’t know you two had dinner last night.”
“Yes. We had a nice time. I thought it could lead somewhere.” Ron took a big gulp of his drink. “What happened?”
“Danny happened. They decided to be a couple again, I’m sorry.”
Kathy put her arms around his shoulders, kissed his forehead, and hugged him tightly. Ron asked Kathy to make up an excuse and he left, feeling rejected. A jubilant night turned into a nightmare.
The next afternoon, still feeling depressed, Ron waited for Kathy to bring him lunch. He was going to try to eat even though his appetite wasn’t there. Kathy always knew what to say to make Ron feel better. But there wasn’t a way to take the pain of a lonely heart away.
A knock at the door interrupted the constant image of Danny kissing Suzy. He wheeled over and opened the door, not bothering to look through the peep hole.
“Can I come in?” Suzy stood there with tears in her eyes.
“Sure,” he said, backing up to let her pass.
Even with bloodshot eyes and makeup trickling down her cheeks, she was the most beautiful woman Ron had ever seen. He hated to see any woman cry, but he’d do anything to make Suzy stop. But, he also wanted answers.
“Why you here, Suzy?” He mustered up the courage to ask.
“I had to,” she sobbed.
“Had to what?” rubbing his forehead.
“Say yes,” she took a deep breath, and held her left hand out.
Ron opened his eyes wide, “You’re getting married?”
She looked him in the eye, tears watering her cheeks, nose running, and nodded her head. “No one else knows,” she put her head down, staring at the floor, as if she were shameful.
“Suzy,” he said, coming from the kitchen with a can of Coke and a box of tissues. “Explain this to me.”
She blew her nose and took a sip of soda, “My mother said I had to or she would disown me,” Suzy whispered.
“I don’t get it Suz. Why would your mother say that?”
“I don’t know, but she always makes good on her threats.” She looked at her watch, stood up, and said, “I have to go. We’re going to see Danny play tonight.”
He watched her walk out the door, and maybe, out of his life. Over before it started. Was she telling me everything? He had a sneaky suspicion she wasn’t, but why?
A knock on the door startled him. “It’s me,” Kathy said, letting herself in. “I brought hoagies.”
“Set them on the table,” Ron said, sounding serious.
“What’s wrong?” She looked at Ron with her eyes as big as saucers.
He couldn’t hide anything from her. “Suzy was just here.”
“I’m not sure I got the whole story, but she told me her and Danny are getting married.”
Kathy looked up from the table with a shocked look on her face, “When did this happen?”
“I guess yesterday before she went to the bar,” he said, wheeling over to the table. “She said nobody knew, and that she had too.”
“Had too? Why?”
“Or her mother would disown her. I don’t know?” Ron cut his sandwich in half, “She didn’t seem real happy about it, crying the whole time she was here.”
Kathy swallowed the piece of hoagie, “Now that you mention it, Suzy did seem a little distracted last night. And she kept rambling on about how happy she was.”
“Maybe she was trying to convince herself,” Ron wheeled into the kitchen for two bottled waters. Coming out of the kitchen he added, “She went over to Orlando tonight to see Danny play.”
“I know,” Kathy took the water from his hand. “Her and her mother are staying over, they’ll be back tomorrow afternoon.”
Ron didn’t feel like going to the bar that night, and stayed home, no matter how much Kathy tried to talk him into going. Every time he would’ve looked on stage he’d be reminded that Suzy was in Orlando watching her future husband play basketball. He couldn’t take the pain. He spent the night reading a spy novel. His new found hobby, temporary as it might be.
The next afternoon Ron got a phone call from Kathy asking him to come over to the bar to talk. He figured it was going to be a business conversation. Irene was already there setting up for that evening. Kathy came out from the office and they sat at a table next to the bar. Irene joined them.
“I think we may know why Suzy agreed to marry Danny,” Kathy said, looking at Ron. She looked at Irene and said, “Tell him what you told me.”
Irene stared into Ron’s eyes, “I heard them arguing a couple of days ago when he was here. They were outside the ladies room. It wasn’t busy yet, and I guess they thought no one would hear. But I heard him say if she didn’t marry him, that he was going to hurt her mother.”
Ron felt a twinge of rage build up inside of him that if he stood up, he could walk. He looked at Kathy, “We have to talk to her mother. See if she knows why they got engaged.”
Kathy’s gaze shifted between Ron and Irene. “I think she’s coming to hear Suzy sing tonight. I’ll make up an excuse to take to her in the office, see what I can find out.”
Ron went back to Last Call before it opened for the evening. He wanted to be there when Kathy talked to Suzy’s mother, Grace. He was at the bar talking with Irene when Suzy and Grace walked in. Kathy quickly came out of the office to great them. Suzy went backstage right away, she was the first act that night. Grace followed Kathy into the office. Kathy put her hands in front of her so Ron could see them as to say stay there.
Ron made his way to an empty table closer to the stage. Not close enough to where Suzy would be able to see him from the stage. Kathy and Grace joined him after about half-hour.
“This is my business partner, Ron,” Kathy said, as her and Grace sat down.
“So you’re Ron,” Grace shook his hand. “Suzy went on and on about you the other day.”
Ron smiled at her, “It’s very nice to meet you. Did you enjoy your birthday?”
“Thank you, yes. We had a lovely lunch,” she gazed into his eyes. “I hear you play basketball, and done some traveling.”
“He’s played all over Europe,” Kathy said, raising her eyebrows toward Ron.
“That’s wonderful,” Grace put her hand on top of his resting on the table.
“Did you have a good time at the game last night?” He took a sip of Scotch.
She sat back in her chair, “I went more for Suzy.” She folded her arms and added, “I don’t really care for that Danny. He may seem all nice and sweet, but he thinks he’s God’s gift to the world.”
Kathy sat up in her seat, “Why do you say that?”
“He thinks he’s entitled to everything. He’s so sure he’s going to marry Suzy,” she leaned forward. “She has told him they’re only friends so many times I lost count,” she waved her hand toward the floor and stood up. “Excuse me, where’s the ladies room?”
“Around the bar,” Kathy pointed towards the restrooms. “You want a drink?”
“Screwdriver, please,” she said, before turning toward the restrooms.
Ron raised his eyebrows, “She doesn’t know. What did you talk about in the office?”
“Nothing, just small talk,” she said, motioning at Irene to come over. “Talked mostly about how Suzy always loved to sing.”
“If she doesn’t know then why the hell would Suzy say her mother would disown her?” Ron angrily said, and gulped the rest of his Scotch. “Should we tell her?”
“No,” Kathy shook her head. “Let me talk to Suzy. Find out what’s going on.”
Suzy came out of the back stage door and sat with Ron after the show. She wasn’t her usual bubbly self after a performance. Ron had more drinks than he normally had, but was still in control. Grace had been gone for over an hour, and Kathy was in the office doing paper work. Ron had enough Scotch in him to ask Suzy about her engagement. He figured he better put some alcohol into her if he wanted some answers.
“Ron,” she said, on her third screwdriver loaded heavily with Vodka. “Even though I haven’t know you long, I wish Danny was more like you.”
“How do you mean?” He asked, resting his chin on his fist.
“Well,” she set her empty glass on the table. “You’re so sweet, and don’t seem demanding like Danny is sometimes.”
“Demanding how?” He set back and folded his arms.
“He just is. He didn’t really ask me. He just said let’s get married,” she took a deep breath.
Ron put his hand on top of hers and wrapped his fingers around hers. “Why’d you agree?”
“Because,” she swallowed. “I didn’t want him to get my mother in trouble,” she said as clearly as she could. “She has a little bit of a gambling problem.”
Ron noticed Kathy walking toward the table, “How’d Danny find out?”
Shrugging her shoulders, “I don’t know,” Suzy slurred.
“You don’t look like you can drive home,” Kathy rubbed Suzy’s back. “Come on, I have an extra bed.”
“Okay,” Suzy nodded. “I have to pee first.”
Kathy watched her walk out of sight, turned toward Ron, “What did you do?”
Ron put his arms out to the side, “What? I got her to talk.”
“What’d she say?”
“That Danny threatened her mother,” he saw Suzy come around the corner and nodded toward her. “I’ll fill you in later if she doesn’t.”
Lying in bed, that night, Ron got madder the more he thought about what Danny was doing. He was also relieved Suzy didn’t really want to marry him. He needed to find out how Danny found out about Grace. If possible, without Danny knowing.
The phone woke Ron just after noon. He didn’t fall asleep until around six in the morning. Thinking about how he could help Suzy wouldn’t let him sleep. He opened his unfocused eyes and searched with his hand until he found the phone.
He hung up the receiver. He almost forgot about the game tonight. His coach called to tell him that Tim would be out the rest of the season, and Ron would be starting the rest of the year. He was wavering all year about retiring from basketball after the season. Now he was having second thoughts, especially after the last two games.
After a quick shower and something to eat, he called Kathy to remind her about his game. He also wanted to find out if Suzy said anything more to her.
She had taken Suzy home and was at the club, and asked Ron to come over.
“What’s up?” he said, wheeling into Kathy’s office.
She looked up from reading the newspaper, “I know someone up in Holiday, his name is Bill, who owns a strip club. He also runs a gambling ring. How big, I don’t know. I’ve got a message for him to call me back”
“A lot of sleazy clubs up there, I’m sure some have gambling ties.”
“I know,” she said, as she came around the desk. “But you never know, he could be the one, or someone he knows. You want some coffee?”
“Always can use coffee,” he flashed silly grin.
She chuckled as she walked out of the office. “Where you play tonight?” she said walking back in.
“St Pete,” taking a mug from her. “I’m starting the rest of the year.”
She looked at him like a proud mother would and clinked her mug against his, “That must feel good?”
He bashfully smiled, “Yeah.”
Ron got to the club a little before twelve, not long after Kathy. Right before he was to be picked up she called to say she was going to the game. Their third win in a row, and forth in the last five games. Ron couldn’t remember the last time he felt so comfortable on the court.
“You looked good out there,” Kathy said, as Ron wheeled in.
He rolled up to the bar. Irene poured him a Scotch and got him a salad. Kathy walked up beside him, and he asked, “Did your friend call you back?”
She took a drink of her bottled water and said, “He did, and he doesn’t know her. But something interesting; he knows Tony, the guy who runs a strip joint called The Play Pen. He handles bets for one Danny Alm.”
“That’s probably how he knows about Grace to,” he said, as he stabbed the last cucumber with his fork. He bit it off his fork and added, “I’m betting Suzy doesn’t know about him.”
“That would be my guess,” she picked up a bite size pretzel out of the bowl on the bar, and popped it in her mouth.
Ron did some research, the next day, on Danny’s back ground. He was reprimanded at Florida State for betting on college and NFL football games, but not to the point of being suspended. Ron wondered if he also bet on basketball and it got covered up.
He started to dial Kathy’s number when he heard a knock and Kathy’s voice, “Ron, you there?”
“Yeah Kath, come on in.”
She walked in the door, gave him a peck on the lips, and said, “I think I found out that Danny bets on basketball.”
“How’d you do that?”
She sat at the table after getting a soda from the fridge, and said, “I went to see Bill to bet on Portland to win their game tonight. Wouldn’t you know it, Tony was there. I guess Tony took a shine to me, cause he tried to warn me how they were going lose to the Brooklynn. Saying he’s got a source from the team saying they’re too tired. I figured that source has to be Danny.”
Ron looked at her with a boyish grin, raised his eyebrows, “He also bet on football when he was in school. Ask Suzy when he’s coming into town again. I’ll confront him about it.”
“I don’t think that’s a real good idea, Ron,” she sat up and put her hands on her hips.”
“Why not?” he mocked her movement.
Resisting a smile, she said, “Cause you don’t know the kind of people he might know. It could be dangerous.”
“Yeah, I know. He put is arms on the table, “But we have to do something.”
“I know,” she got up and put her arms around him. “I have to go. I’ll think of something. You coming later? Suzy’s singing.”
“I’ll be there,” he held the door open watching her leave.
Ron waited about a half hour, and called Suzy. Twenty minutes later she was knocking on his door. He opened the door and his heart skipped a beat.
“Come in,” he said. She bent down and hugged him. It was only a day, but it seemed like years since he saw her. Ron didn’t want to let go of the embrace.
“How you doing?” she said, smoothing his hair.
“I’m good. Come in, sit down,” he motioned toward the couch. “You want something to drink?”
She shook her head, “I’m good,” and smiled at him.
“I have something to tell you.” He swallowed hard, “I know how Danny knows about your mother’s problem.”
A confused look came over her face, “How?”
“Because your mom and Danny have the same bookie. Kathy met him this morning,” he leaned forward in his chair. “I don’t think he actually threated Grace. Did you know that Danny Gambled?”
She shook her head, “I had no idea. Do you know how long?”
“I was checking that earlier and found out he bet on football in college. It didn’t say if he bet on basketball, but I wonder.”
“If he did, wouldn’t that be, like, cheating?”
“Yes. We suspect he might be betting on basketball, or cheating now,” he said in a low whisper.
Suzy stood up, let out a deep breath, and walked to the bathroom. She emerged five minutes later, her eyes glassy. It was obvious she was crying. He wanted so much to hold her, but wasn’t sure if he should. He was surprised when she hugged him tightly.
“Thank you for telling me,” she said, gazing into his eyes. “Are you coming tonight?”
“Honey, wild horses couldn’t keep me away,” he smiled at her. “What are you going to do?”
“When he calls later I’ll tell him we’re not getting married,” she playfully yanked on his hair. “If he asks why, I’ll say I found someone else,” she slipped the ring off of her finger. “And if that doesn’t work, I’ll say I know about the gambling.” She leaned in and gave him a soft kiss on the lips.
Ron got to Last Call before that evenings show. He wanted a chance to talk to Suzy before it began. He stopped at the bar to say hi to Kathy and Irene before he continued to a table. He saw Suzy peek out of the back stage door, and smiled at her.
“Hi,” she motioned with her mouth, walking to the table.
Ron was awe struck. She was wearing a purple evening gown with just the right amount of glitter to make it shine, and wavy curls in her hair. “Hi,” he said, studying her up and down. “You look fantastic.”
She sat down, leaned over and kissed him, “Thank you. You look wonderful too,” she whispered in his ear as she was hugging him.
“Did you talk to Danny?”
“Yes. We came to an understanding.”
“He going to leave me alone, and I’m going to keep his little secret,” she smiled, and kissed him hard.
“What the hell did I miss?” Kathy said, standing over them.
“When did you show up,” Ron shockingly said.
“Just in time to see the kiss.” Kathy put her hands on her hips, and tried to hide a smile, “What is going on?”
“She’s with me, I’m with her,” Ron pointed between him and Suzy, and cackling like a teenager.
Ron made a decision that night. He was going to play his last five game of the year, and hang up his jersey, no matter how well he was playing, and was going to take more of an interest in Last Call.
R James Turley started writing poetry in his thirties. Soon after he wrote short stories with a head full of characters. His work has been published by Yahoo! Voices, and the WPaD anthology’s, Creepies 2: Thing that go Bump in the Closet, Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe, Escape from the Planet of the Deviants, Weirder Tales and Creepies 3.
R James writes from Florida where the sun sets into the Gulf of Mexico.
Come back for more great fiction from other guest writers. I’ll be featuring a variety of short stories from many genres. Seriously folks, these are some of the best fiction writers currently producing work.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman