Chapter Sixteen: Goodbye!

14 Jul
BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading  TheMapThinker.com

BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading TheMapThinker.com

She picked up a piece of paper, embossed with her employer’s name: Mr. and Mrs. Langlin. It was beautiful paper, the kind they could afford, in fact it was necessary to their social position: As necessary as she was. When you achieved their income level, their social standing, and you had a child, then you had a nanny: Simple as that. And you had ridiculously expensive paper with your name embossed on it. Rocko sat on her lap watching her every move.

She scribbled her name across the paper under her employers name. Her old name and her new name. The name she would have very very soon as her very very own. She grinned, a quiet little dimpled grin. The dimples she inherited from her mother. The grin and the widow’s peak she inherited from her grandmother.

Her new name, her name to be, what would that sound like? She scribbled it one more time, playing with how she would sign it: L C Norman, putting big squirrelly loops on the “L”. Yes, she thought, that would do just right. Lindsey Carol Norman: That would be okay too: Better than Davenport.

She tapped her pen on her cleft chin. The cleft in her chin seemed to be the only thing she inherited from her father. She had started out to make a grocery list. Which brought up one small problem, a possible rain cloud darkening her bright future. Okay, maybe a full fledged thunderstorm.

Raymond Stanhouser. He was not happy with L C He wanted go go out with her. He wanted to marry her. Somehow she had neglected to inform him she was engaged to another man. By rights she should probably avoid both Raymond Stanhouser and his store. But she still liked shopping there.

What the hell, she would shop where she always shopped, why let someone she was not going to marry, or even date again, run her life? Allow him to dictate where she might or might not go just because he could possibly be there? Nah. She would go where she always went, shop as she always had, at Stanhouser’s Market.

She set Rocko down on the floor. “I’m going to leave you here, tough guy,” she told him. She had been undecided what to name him until a pit bull and a German shepherd came around the corner one day, and her silly little chihuahua, no bigger than the head of either dog, decided to launch a full-scale attack. Horrified, she screeched, with no effect. The kamikaze in miniature was in full-scale war mode.

The result amazed L C though it would have come as no surprise to most Chihuahua owners. The two bigger dogs turned and ran.

From then on his name was Rocko, the tough guy.

Slipping her purse over her shoulder L C headed to market.

The vegetable aisle was where she left it, and though she had sworn not to avoid Raymond she was relieved when she did not see him. As she had become accustomed to all the clerks and other workers were ingratiating polite to her but no one was friendly. No one teased or joked with her any more. She had gone from being at home in the store to being a guest.

Perhaps she should stop shopping here.

In front of her was a cucumber who was a near twin to the one she had held when Trevor was joking with her. Somewhat further down was another near twin, this one to the crook necked squash Trevor had been playing with.

There was, however, no Trevor nor near twin to Trevor. No one offered to tease or joke with her.

She was deep in thought and did not notice the tall blond man with the handsome face looking at her with a bemused expression until he was quite close to her.

She gave a small start.

“I’m sorry,” he said. His voice and manner were amused. “I didn’t mean to startle you. That’s not the effect I prefer to have on beautiful women.”

L C smiled automatically.

“What is your name?” He asked.

“L C.”

“Eelllll Ceeeee.” He stretched out the letters of her name carefully. “What an interesting name. Must belong to an interesting person. An exciting person to know.” L C liked his voice.

She laughed. Part of her wanted to encourage him but… “Not that exciting, I’m afraid. I’m engaged.”

His manner became conspiratorial, “Then now is the right time to find out for sure if he is the right he for you. You might not have another chance to be sure. Don’t want to make a mistake, you know.”

L C began taking in details. She doubted he received many indignant rebuffs. He was too charming, too smooth, in his manner and voice. Not to mention he was obviously well off. He hair had been taken care of by a good beautician, his shirt alone ran at least two hundred dollars… He spent at least as much on his shoes. Even her fiance, who had a good job with a computer firm did not dress as well as this when going casual. Even if he had not been good-looking and charming his clothes alone would make many a woman pause and consider him.

“Surely a coffee or a soda won’t hurt. Unless your boyfriend is extremely jealous. Are you afraid of him?”

L C had never been a student of psychology but she did recognize a sudden desire to prove she was not afraid of Nathaniel, and she recognized her new acquaintance had deliberately played on that irrational desire.

She suddenly felt a small pit in the bottom of her stomach. He was manipulating her too well.

He moved in a little closer, “We could have dinner. I know both the chef and the head waiter at the best restaurant in town.” This close she could smell his cologne. He knew how to use it, not splash it on, and it was not cheap either. She suddenly wondered what kind of car he drove then pushed the thought away. She did not need to know that.

“Sorry. I have to be back home. I’m eating with my mother.” She told him that, not because she was scheduled to visit her mother but because she suddenly wanted her mother. The little girl in her was reaching out.

“Perhaps we could meet for lunch tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so.” The pit in her stomach had grown a little larger and she could feel her heart beat slightly.

“But you haven’t told me anything about yourself?” His voice sounded disappointed but his body language and manner were intimate. His pitch of voice turned the statement into a question giving her the urge to answer. She recognized the manipulation and had a grudging admiration for the ploy.

“Right now there is nothing to know about me except that I intend to shop.”

“What is on the dinner list? I’m a bit of a cook, perhaps I can help you out?” He looked up and down the aisle as though about to select something.

She handed him the list, wondering what he might do with it. He read it carefully. Then he set about selecting items and putting them in her basket, discussing his choices in an affable manner. She had to admit he knew what he was doing. When he was done he pocketed the list. “Now do I get invited for dinner?”

“I told you, I am going to my mother’s soon as I am done here. Now I am done.” She turned her basket toward the front of the store.

Do I get an address or a phone number?”

“No.”

He followed her.

“If you persist I will call the store owner. He is a friend of mine.”

He tipped an imaginary hat to her. “As you will. Perhaps another time will be better.” He smiled pleasantly and walked off as though he had done something wonderful.

She watched him leave wondering, “What the hell was that all about?”

Up at the counter she found a young boy who had helped her often. His face held no smile today, only politeness. He had not smiled at her since Trevor had been fired. “Good day, M’am. Find everything okay?” He started to ring up her order.

“Don’t bother to ring that up,” Raymond stepped up beside her from behind another display rack. He spoke to the boy behind the counter. “Just bag it and take it out to her car, pleas.”

“Yessir,” The boy replied neutrally. And efficiently began doing as instructed.

“No.” L C was aghast. “You shouldn’t do that. It is not needed. I don’t want you to do that.” Even as she spoke Raymond had her elbow and was guiding her to the door out of earshot of customers or clerks.

His voice was quiet and hard. “Consider it a farewell gift.”

“A what?”

“Don’t come back. I don’t want your business. And tell your boyfriend to never even step his foot on the block again. If he does he will be sorry.” Firmly, he pushed her out the door.

She started to explain, “That is not my boyfriend,” when he disappeared behind the closing door.

L C stood dazed. She stared at the closed door. By the time she regained possession of herself the kid was piling groceries into the trunk of her car. He must have popped it open from inside, she had left the doors open.

She looked back at the door again. A woman and her young son came out, smiling. They smiled at her as they passed.

There was nothing to be said and the only thing left to do was to get her keys out of her purse and head to the car.

(C) 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

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