Almost Married(6)

By: Kylie Gilmore


Steph sipped her tea and went on. “I just never met anyone that mattered enough to really push the issue of a divorce until—”

“Dave.”

“Dave.” She sighed.

Jaz shook her head with a smile. “Could Dave be any more different from Griffin?”

The two men were like Ashley Wilkes to Rhett Butler. Then who was Scarlett? Definitely not her. Griff sure liked attention like that Southern belle, and he had long black hair. She giggled, picturing her tattooed ex as the beautiful Scarlett.

“Maybe that's why it works between us,” Steph finally said.

“You've got to be the squeaky wheel and keep following up with Griffin’s manager. That's the only way this'll happen.” Jaz looked her in the eye. “You can't leave Dave in the dark either. That’s not fair to him. Tell him right away.”

She was right. Steph knew she was right.

“Call Griffin's manager first,” Jaz said. “Then tell Dave you want to see him tonight, and you’ll tell him in person.”

“Yes, Bossy Pants.”

Jaz smiled. “That's Miss Bossy Pants to you.”

~ ~ ~

Dave arrived at the brownstone in Brooklyn he'd grown up in and bent to kiss his grandmother on the cheek. “Happy birthday, Nonna.” He handed her a card. Inside was a gift card to her favorite restaurant, Nathan’s Famous (Famous for hot dogs).

“Thank you, sweetie. Are you hungry?”

His Italian grandmother felt it was her life's mission to feed him and his older sister, Christina. Only Chris refused to stuff herself on their grandmother's behalf. His sister was petite like their mother's Italian side while he was tall and lean like his father's Norwegian ancestors.

“Always,” he said.

“There he is, my genius,” his mom said, coming in from the kitchen and hugging him.

Dave winced. “Ma, I'm not a genius.”

She ruffled his hair. “Some would say differently.”

Dave smoothed his hair back into its side part. “Where's Dad?”

“He stopped by your Aunt Helen's house to see why her car keeps stalling.”

His dad was a master mechanic, a skill he'd passed on to Dave from the age of five when he could first hold a wrench. Dave had considered following in his dad’s footsteps, but his mom was adamant that he and his sister be the first in their family to go to college. He’d started out in mechanical engineering because of his affinity for machines, but was soon lured in by the beauty and elegance of mathematics. He’d gotten sidetracked after his master’s degree by a two-year stint in Teach for America, teaching math to inner-city middle schoolers. He loved teaching—felt like he was making a real difference—and never looked back.

“There you are, Waldo,” Chris said, coming down the stairs. She wore a purple velvet jogging suit, her usual attire when she wasn't working as a nurse.

He ignored her teasing about his glasses because he wanted to talk to her later about Steph. “Hey. After I eat, let's go for a drive.” They still had a couple of hours before they had his grandmother’s birthday dinner and cake.

“I'd love to get out of this place,” Chris said.

“I heard that,” their mom said from the sofa where she’d picked up her crochet—another blanket. He hoped it wasn't for him. He already had three in his closet.

“I've been here for two days.” Chris threw up her hands. “I'm starting to feel like a shut-in.”

Chris was thirty-two and had recently gone through a bitter divorce. Since then, she frequently spent her weekends off back home.

Their mom gestured to the door with her crochet needle. “So go, what do I care?”

“Ma, don't be like that,” Chris said, throwing an arm around him. “It's just sibling bonding time.”

Their mom smiled. “You two are close now that you're grown up. Didn't I tell you he wouldn't always be an annoying little twerp?”

“Yeah, you did.” Chris reached up to ruffle his hair, and he smoothed it back in place. “Now he's just an annoying big twerp.”

He scooped her up and turned her upside down.

“Aah! Put me down!”

“Not unless you call me King Dave for the rest of the day.”

“Never!”

“I can stand here all day.” He glanced down. Her face was turning an interesting shade of red.

“Okay! Put me down, King Dave!”

He set her back upright on the floor. She immediately kicked him in the shin. “Ow!”

“Children!” his mom said.

He limped into the kitchen. Nonna piled a plate with leftover roast beef and a side of ziti and put it in the microwave. He dug in a few minutes later at the small kitchen table.

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