Chapter Six: Maddie, The Lady in the Red Coat

Posted by Swati on Jun 24, 2010 in Short Stories |

“So I think I’m going to take my daughter to Michigan for a cheap summer break.  What are you planning?  Your son is nine now right?”

“Yes he is – you have such a great memory Holly.  I’m not sure if we will do a vacation with just the two of us or bring my boyfriend along too.  It’s a huge step for me.”

“Well it ain’t easy being a single mom – you and I know that!  I haven’t brought anybody else on our vacations yet – but I really don’t have men beating down my door like you do!”

“Oh Holly, don’t be silly.  Men aren’t beating down my door or anything…but Ben is a wonderful man.  I feel so lucky to have met him in here that day when you got our checks mixed up.  Remember that?”

“Oh that’s your fellah?  I haven’t seem him in here is a long time.  He used to be in here a lot with…oh, that’s your fellah.”

“What is it?”

“Oh nothing.” Holly looked back quickly at the woman with the heavy makeup wearing the sweat suit, who was now sitting very still.  And she seemed to be listening to our conversation very closely.  How strange.

“Well I think he’s ready for more; he’s been talking about marriage.  But I have to really think it through.  Especially with having Michael and all.  And Ben and I only met, what six months ago?  You know how it is.  What would you do Holly?”  Say something Holly, please, tell me what you would do.

“I’d better get back to work honey.  I’m certain you’ll make the right choice though.”

How strange; Holly usually loves chatting it up.  Oh well.  What did I think?  My waitress was going to solve my dilemma?  I’m going nuts.

Now that woman in the sweat suit is just staring at me.  I‘ll just keep looking at my coffee…but I can feel her gaze all over me.  Why is she doing that?  Oh God.  Did she see me glaring at her before, when she was talking so loudly?  I do not need a confrontation.

Ok Ben.  I think you and I could really have something here but you are going to have to slow down.

I think I’ll ask him to come up for just a one day of our summer vacation, not the whole thing; and I’ll ask him to postpone the marriage talks for a while.  I am just not ready.  He’s such a terrific guy.  We have such a great time together.  I hope he’ll understand.  I guess if he doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be.

I just hope he’s mature enough to be thinking about us as well as being a step-parent.  He says he is…but that last relationship he described to me just sounded so…I don’t know…casual for him but so intense for his girlfriend.  I mean, how could they have been in such different places?  He went to get a ring with her and then realized he didn’t have deep feelings for her?!  At least he’s honest with me.  I mean who would make that up?

But how do I know you’re here for the long haul Ben? I have a son to consider.  Yeah, I think we’re going to slow this down a bit.  I have to be sure you are a guy who knows what he wants and doesn’t just sort of flip-flop around.

Oh geez – it looks like that woman is walking towards me!

Coming Next – Chapter Seven:  Vicky, The Lady Staring at Maddie

From the short story, Thoughts and Conversations in a Diner

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