Not One ClueBy: Lois Greiman
“You’ve no idea,” he said.
I resisted rolling my eyes, mostly because, in actuality, I did have something of an idea. There had been a rather memorable episode involving an overdose of Nyquil and Rivera … in the shower.
“Listen, Rivera, as much fun as this is, I have to work tomorrow.”
“I didn’t think it would take that long, but I’m willing to call in sick if you think it’s necessary.”
“Are you drunk?” I asked.
“That’s not the adjective I’d use.”
“Adjective …” I rolled onto my back, warming to the conversation. “I’m impressed.”
“They’ve been teaching us to read down at the station.”
“Our taxes,” I said, “hard at work.”
“I’m willing to share what I’ve learned.”
“Maybe you can send me a syllabus.”
“I could deliver it in person.”
“I said ‘syllabus,’ not ‘syphilis.’”
He chuckled. I could hear his chair squeak as he leaned back, and imagined him stretching, body arched, cuffs rolled away from well-muscled forearms, black hair teasing his button-down collar. “You always this mean when you’re sleeping alone?”
“Who said I’m alone?”
“Maybe you’re wrong.”
“I’m willing to put money on it.”
I considered swearing at him, but that was the old Chrissy. The new Chrissy was saving the “f” word for major emergencies. And L.A. drivers. Low-fat muffins. And Mondays.
“Unless Elaine’s sleeping with you,” he said.
“I’m not that desperate.”
“Yes you are. But if she’s not doing her fiancé I think I can trust her with you.”
I scowled. He had inadvertently touched on a raw nerve. Brainy Laney Butterfield, beauty personified, and my best friend since the fifth grade, was betrothed to a man I referred to in nothing but four-letter words. The kindest of them was “nerd.”
“So how you doing with that?” he asked, and I wondered in my sleep-deprived brain if that was why he had called in the first place. It didn’t take a genius—or a Homo sapien—to know that I was patently unhappy about the impending nuptials. It wasn’t just because Elaine would forever belong to someone else. It was because she would belong to the geekiest guy on the planet. And that made my skin crawl.
“Of course.” Reaching out, I fiddled with the pad on Harlequin’s left hind paw. I’d learned early on that Great Danes did not necessarily make stupendous watchdogs. He was a gift from Rivera. As was my Mace, the cactus that guarded my yard, and the baseball bat I’d stuck in my hall closet. Rivera had a penchant for things that could inflict pain. “I’m a grown woman.”
I waited for his comeback but he was silent for a moment, then, “He’ll be good to her.”
For a moment I couldn’t say anything. Elaine had been my pillar through every major catastrophe in my life: my first period, zits, and the devastating realization that most guys are like my brothers. That truth can still bring me to tears. But the thought of her wedding looming over me like a gawking gargoyle was almost more than I could bear. The only positive thing to come out of the impending ceremony was the fact that this would be the first time my bridesmaid gown wouldn’t look like a pink train wreck.
“You know that, don’t you?” Rivera asked. “That he’ll be good to her?”
“Sure.” My voice sounded a little strange. I glanced up. The iron knob on the antique bed Laney had given me as a bridesmaid gift gleamed dully. She’d found it at a Hollywood estate sale. Upon examination, I had discovered the initials “A.A.L.” scratched in the metal. With my luck, it probably stood for the forerunner of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“Besides, you can always kick his ass if he isn’t,” Rivera said.
I refrained from sniffling. “It wasn’t his ass I was thinking of.”
He was silent for a moment, then, “Jesus, McMullen, if you’re considering any part of Solberg’s anatomy, it might be too late for me to save you.”