The Sister - 1
Why do long, complicated stories always start out with "It was all so simple"? Well, I guess in the grand scheme of things this really was supposed to be simple. You see, I was supposed to keep an eye on my best friend's little sister. I should warn you that her little sister is not just any little sister, but Michelle Nielson. I bet you're asking, "Who is Michelle Nielson?" She is the hottest thing to hit bubblegum pop since Britney Spears, but with real talent the critics like to write. Of course, I know her as the rug rat that always followed her sister around.
"Name," the burly looking doorman said, barely able to cross his arms over his barrel chest.
Moving his arms off his chest, he grabbed a clipboard from his stool and flipped through the pages very quickly.
"Your name is not on the list. Please step away from the entrance," he said, slightly stepping toward me and puffing out his chest even more.
"Look again. I know it's on there."
"I said, step away from the entrance or I will physically remove you."
At eight dollars an hour, it figures he'd be on some kind of pompous power trip. I step back to have a good look at him. He's a caricature, a stereotype I could use in one of my stories.
You see, I write mystery stories, with detectives and all. Most of my characters are women.er, women who like each other.and show it.explicitly. I figure a person's gotta have some kind of entertainment, right? Bet you thought I was talking about my readers, huh?
So, back to the issue at hand - how to get past Brutus to find Michelle. I'm guessing Patsy has no idea that her little sister has this thug working the door, or surely she wouldn't have asked little old me to keep an eye on her. Not that I'm really all that little myself - five feet ten in my stocking feet - but even on my best day, I don't think I could take Surly-Burly here. And I re-fuuuuuse to waste my feminine wiles on an undesirable.
About that time, this catering truck pulls up, you see, and two guys get out and open the back of the van to start taking stuff in. So I pull my hair back in a ponytail and tie my sweater around my waist so I'd look a little different to Jesse Ventura at the door. When they come back out to get a second load, I pitch in to help like I work there at the studio and we all waltz right on in. My guess is that Jesse was probably one of those guys who was fooled by Clark Kent just because he had glasses on.
Now I'm feeling pretty good about my sneaky self, when no sooner do those caterers leave than I'm practically accosted by this tornado of a woman, demanding to know who the hell I am and how I got in there. She's this little hellion, short blonde hair, green eyes - pretty green eyes, in fact - and wearing these faded jeans like a second skin. I tell you, I'm a little distracted by how cute she is, despite the fact that she's spitting fire at me.
But the next thing you know, little Michelle comes flying across the sound stage screaming my name.
"Haley!" I caught all hundred pounds of her on a flying leap.
"Hey yourself, Mimi! Look at you! You used to be such a squirt! Now you're a big star making your own big time music videos." Patsy and I always called her Mimi because she couldn't say her whole name when she was little.
"I asked you a question," that cute little blonde screams at me again, but this time she's in my face - well, my neck, actually - and I can see the little veins popping out on her forehead.
"Relax, Rachel. This is Haley King, Patsy's best friend. We all grew up together back in Charleston." That's West Virginia, in case you're wondering.
"Yeah, but some of us haven't finished with that growing up part," I say, mussing her hair. Even though she's already a big star, Michelle's just barely 19. She's got this long, pretty auburn hair, and these big brown eyes like Patsy's, because their mama is Italian. "Mimi, I didn't know you knew Sigourney Weaver." I'm trying to be sarcastic, but it just flies over Michelle's head. I can tell by the dirty look I get that it doesn't fly past Sigourney.
"Haley, this Rachel Thorpe. Patsy and I hired her to handle security." By now, Rambette's calmed down a little bit, but I can tell she's still kind of piqued about my being there. "We've been having a little trouble lately."
"I don't think you should go into that, Miss Nielson." Like Rachel Thorpe's going to dictate what Michelle and I talk about. Imagine that.
"She's a friend, Rachel. And Patsy thought it would a good idea if she gave us a hand. Haley writes detective stories.mysteries; maybe she can figure out who's doing all this."
"All what? Is somebody making trouble for you?" I've always been sort of protective of Michelle, even when she was a pest. That didn't mean Patsy and I couldn't play tricks on her, but everybody else knew not to.
"A mystery writer? You think she can solve this because she writes who-dunnits? With all due respect, Miss Nielson, this is not fiction. It's real, and potentially very dangerous."
Some people just have to be ignored, so I all but turn my back on the Linda Hamilton wannabe. I say to Mimi, "If you're in some kind of trouble, say the word. You know I'll do whatever I can to help."
I'm really fighting the urge to stick out my tongue at Rachel Thorpe, but instead I give her this big fat wink just for the heck of it! I tell you, her cute little jaw dropped a foot! All of a sudden, I can see the wheels turning in her head, but it's not until later that I understand why. You see.oh, never mind, I'm getting ahead of myself.
"Fine!" The little bully gives Michelle and me permission to talk.as if. "But let's go someplace that's a little more private."
So we go into Michelle's dressing room, just the three of us, and they fill me in on what's happened. It all started when the Michelle Nielson Official Fan Club reported that they'd gotten this note with all these cut out letters that said "I can get close to you." It was kind of spooky, but then one night at a concert, she was shaking hands with people in the crowd and they were handing her stuff. She looked at some of it backstage and found another note in the same block letters that said "I warned you that I could get close." Then if that wasn't enough to get nervous about, she went into her dressing room backstage at the Grammy Awards and found a third note that said "See how close I can get." That's when she hired Rachel Thorpe.
Somehow, they've managed to keep all this a secret. In fact, the only ones who know about it are Michelle and her boyfriend Billy, Patsy, Rachel, and now me.
"So is there a list somewhere of who had access to the dressing rooms?"
"We've been through them. Just the stars and the production crew."
"And the security staff." I throw that in just to be smug.
"Well, that goes without saying."
"And the stars and production crew needed to be said?" I'm still miffed about how she treated me earlier, and I betcha she's the one that marked my name off the list to get inside in the first place.
On that note, Grumpy Gert harrumphs and storms out, and next thing I know, I'm caught in a brown-eyed puppy dog stare.
"Please, Haley. Rachel's really good at what she does. I know if you two work together, you'll find out who's doing this. I'm scared."
"Okay, Mimi. I'll make nice. We're going to get this little monster, and he's going to be sorry he ever messed with you."
So I sit down to have a look at all the evidence and the next day, I try to come back with a new attitude about Rachel Thorpe. I figure if Patsy and Michelle like her, she must have something going for her. And I also should add that it doesn't hurt to see that little pink triangle patch on her hip pocket. I told you already how cute she was, right?
Now Rachel's out talking to one of the guards and I'm hanging out back toward where Michelle's gone to change into this little skimpy number for this stage dance she's doing for the video. All of a sudden, we hear this bloodcurdling scream, and the two of us-Rachel and me-are practically stuck in the door from trying to get through it at the same time.
Michelle's crying her eyes out, holding out her purse. Rachel shuts the door so nobody can see and I take out the envelope inside. It has those same letters, this time saying "Is this close enough?" but there's a bullet in the envelope! I tell you, I nearly pass out myself, so I know little Mimi's terrified.
That's when we decide that it's not safe for Michelle to be alone, and we also agree that she shouldn't go back to her house, so that night, she stays at mine. Of course, that means Rachel comes too, and of course, I've only got two bedrooms, so.. Aw, come on, you didn't think I was going to say we had to share!
But we do sit up late talking in the kitchen, Rachel and I. She asks my opinion about stuff, which I appreciate. I can tell that she's trying to be nice to me, probably because she's figured out that I'm just as interested in finding this creep as she is.
"What do you know about Billy?" Her question tells me that she's already done the first thing I'd do, which was to cross the Grammys list with everybody that's had reasonable access to Michelle at home or at the studio.
"I only met him once. He's a nice young man, and I know she's really crazy about him."
"You stick close to Miss Nielson tomorrow. I think I'm going to go talk to a few of Billy's friends." I try not bristle when she starts giving orders, but I guess my clinched fists and twitching eyebrows give me away, so she throws in a "please" and I let it go.
But boy do we ever get a surprise the next morning on the entertainment news!
"Unidentified sources close to pop star Michelle Nielson report that the singer has recently been targeted by a stalker, who boldly left a taunting calling card among her personal possessions. Entertainment Now talked with others in the celebrity world about their brushes with crazed fans."
Then they show all these "spokespersons" talking about how their star had problems too and they had to hire increased security to screen their mail, act as bodyguards, and pay the occasional visit to "fans" who crossed the line. "It's just a part of the business," they say.
Then they have this little interview with Gerald Brazelton, the head of Brazelton Security Company. He talks about how important it is for people in the public eye to be protected. It's a PR piece, pure and simple.
Now did I say before that there weren't but three people inside that room who saw that envelope? That's right, so Rachel and I are looking at each other sort of suspicious-like, wondering if the other one is this "unidentified source" they're talking about. Then Michelle tells us that she told Billy about it, too, so Rachel's ready to go off on a crusade to nail his ass. But then I - did I mention that I write detective stories? - point out that there's another person who knows all the details about that envelope, and that's the person who put it there.
"So why would a stalker call attention to himself like that?" Michelle asks. "Surely he knows that increases his likelihood of being caught."
"Well," I say, "it could be a matter of simple pride. Or it could also be that he's trying to provoke a response, you know, make you do something or say something to acknowledge him." I can tell that my logic is impressing Rachel, but she's pretty hell-bent on Billy and his friends.
"That's a possibility, Haley," she concedes after Michelle leaves the room, but her humility doesn't last. "I still think it's Billy, or at least that it's somebody Billy told. Come on, if you're dating a girl like Michelle Nielson, don't you want to brag to your friends about everything? It could be that one of his buddies is jealous or something."
By this time, I've concluded that Rachel Thorpe can be positively infuriating when she's stubborn. "I tell you what. You go after Billy. Even if you are barking up the wrong tree, you'll have peace of mind." Never underestimate the putdown potential of patronizing somebody.
So we get into the studio and I decide to phone a couple of those other celebrities on the news who were having similar problems with stalkers. I'm thinking if I can learn a little something about their stalkers, I can start to develop a profile of what we ought to be on the lookout for.
But here's the odd part: By the time I talk to the third one, Trina Suarez's manager, I've uncovered a little pattern. You see, everybody's telling the same sort of tales - a stalker that gets bolder and more frightening each time. Then it stops!
"So you never caught the stalker?" I ask.
"No, we hired Brazelton and they took care of it."
Now I'm perplexed. How did Brazelton take care of it if they never caught anybody? Are they so good that the stalker just moves on to somebody else?
That's it! The stalker moves on when he thinks he's going to get caught! A quick check of when they had all their troubles tells me that it might even be the same person!
That gives me an idea, and pretty soon I'm over a Trina's studio showing her manager the list Rachel compiled of all the people who had access to backstage at the Grammy's and all ones who could have reached Michelle's dressing room yesterday.
Lo and behold, there's a name on the list that she recognizes: Rodney Burgess, a sound technician. A quick call to the other two camps confirms that Burgess worked for them and left soon after Brazelton took over their security.
As you can imagine, I'm feeling really good about my mystery solving skills, and damn smug about outwitting Rachel Thorpe, though in a way, that makes me kind of feel bad because I'm starting to like her even if she is a little pig-headed. She's still awfully cute in those jeans.
I'm headed out to call Rachel when I get a big lesson in the principle difference between being a mystery writer and a security professional. A professional might have used a little more finesse under the circumstances, but I was sort of thinking at the time that the direct approach was the best. Little do I know that I don't quite have the whole picture. See, Trina's security detail is pretty good, and before I know it, two of Brazelton's goons are escorting me out of the studio. Of course, I get all indignant about it; I can't wait to get back to Michelle's studio so I can tell Rachel and Michelle about Burgess and we can call the police. But these guys don't just throw me off the lot - they shove me in the back seat of a long black limousine with tinted windows.
"Good afternoon, Miss King."
"I'm sorry. I don't believe we've met." Now I should interject here that I've never been in the back of a limousine like this one before, and I'm duly impressed with all the little gadgets and buttons for everything. And there was a glass rack with little champagne glasses and martini glasses and.. Never mind, it isn't really important, but like I said, I'm impressed.
Where was I? Oh yeah. The guy in the back is this slick dude, about 45 years old, dressed in a 3-piece designer suit with patent leather shoes. Oh, and he has one of those unibrows; you know, where your eyebrows grow together in the middle. I've never trusted people with those.
"I'm Gerald Brazelton. I hear you've been asking questions about one of my employees."
"Your employee! I should have known! Burgess works for you, scaring up business, so to speak." I'm pretty proud of that little play on words - I'm going to have to use that in one of my stories.
"That's correct. And we were hoping to add Miss Nielson to our list of clients, but she insists on keeping that ruffian, that Rachel Thorpe as her security consultant. As such, I'm afraid we're going to make an example of what happens to stars who choose to go with second rate services."
That's actually the first time it occurs to me that I'm in some pretty deep doo-doo, but then the worst of it dawns on me - this slimy bastard's planning on hurting Michelle. I go to give him a swift kick in the family jewels across the seat so I can grab the door handle and escape by rolling into the street while he groans in agony - I wrote this scene in one of my stories - but he just catches my foot and laughs. Next thing I know, there's this hanky covering up my mouth and that's all I remember for awhile.
When I come to, I'm lying on a bunch of boat cushions and the air smells like fish, so I figure I'm on a boat down at the marina. There's this narrow staircase with a little door at the top, but when I give it a tug, I find that it's locked from the outside. Now I'm just starting to get my bearings when I hear all this commotion.
"Get your hands off me, Pizza Face!" That sounds like Rachel! "I swear if you've harmed one hair on her head, you're going to live just long enough to regret it." Who on earth is she talking about?
All of a sudden, that little door opens and Rachel comes flying through it, landing at my feet like a sack of potatoes.
"Rachel, are you alright?" I go to help her, and we both hear the deadbolt locking into place.
"I'm fine. Did they hurt you?" That's when I start to feel all squishy inside, because I just figured out that I'm the one she was asking about. She actually cares about me.
"No. Got a headache, though. They knocked me out with something in a hanky."
"Probably chloroform," she says.
Both of us press our ears to the door to see if we can figure out what those goons are saying.
"You want me to off 'em, boss?" That's Pizza Face, the guy with all the acne scars who was in the back of the limo.
"Yeah, but wait till it gets dark. Then take 'em out and dump 'em."
We slump back down on the boat cushions. We're in a helluva mess!
"So how did you manage to get captured?" I ask her.
"Uh.I was driving over to see Billy and I got to thinking about what you said, you know, about the stalker being the one that leaked the story. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I was just.being stubborn, not wanting to admit that you were probably right."
By this time, the little cutie is positively endearing. "But how did you know about Brazelton?"
"I didn't. When I got to Trina's studio, they told me you left, but I found your car. Like a fool, I asked one of Brazelton's security guards if he'd seen you and he offered to show me where you went. Instead, he took me out back and shoved me into the trunk of a car and brought me down here."
"So what are we going to do now?"
"Find a way out of this." She sounds confident, and that helps a lot, because frankly, I'm a little unnerved.
We go over that cabin with a fine-toothed comb, looking for anything that might come in handy to help us escape. Unfortunately, about the only thing we're prepared for is a pillow fight.
So with nothing else to do but wait for our fate, we just sit. This is a time that you start to ask yourself questions about the meaning of life, and take stock in all the things you've accomplished. You also can't help but think about that long list of things you wanted to do but didn't get around to. I'm thinking there's a pretty big one at the top of my list.
I figure there's got to be some kind of cosmic reason that my last few hours on earth are being spent with Rachel Thorpe, so I try to get her to talk to me. "What are you thinking about, Rachel?"
She sighs like she doesn't want to tell me, but then I guess she figures there's no point in going to the grave with any secrets.
"I was just.thinking that if I have to die tonight, I'm at least glad that I'm getting to spend my last few hours with somebody." believe me, she has my undivided attention, ".like you. I was just wishing I hadn't been such a jerk. If I hadn't been so.full of myself, maybe we could have teamed up and gotten to the bottom of this without either of us getting hurt. I really like you a lot, Haley."
That just makes me feel all mushy. "What a sweet thing to say. I like you too, Rachel." Actually, I more than like her. I think she's cute as a button and now I've got this urge to just kiss her senseless. What have I got to lose, right?
So I do.
And the next thing I know, she's kissing me back, hard, and her tongue's pushing into my mouth, and.. You know, it's one thing to write about this kind of stuff. It's another thing altogether to be telling somebody. Tell you what.hand me that tablet and a pencil.
I feel her tongue slipping inside my mouth, and I start flicking it with mine. Lord have mercy, I'm so excited I think I'm just going to pop. It just feels so.hot! And she pushes me back on the boat cushions and I feel the weight of her whole body settle on top of me.
She whispers, "I've wanted to touch you like this ever since the first moment I figured out who you were."
"Who I was?"
"Haley King, the woman who writes all those hot detective stories. I always knew she'd be sexy as hell," she says, gasping for breath as she.. Never mind, keep reading.
Her hands make quick work of the buttons on my shirt, and hallelujah for those front hook bras, because now I'm lying here with my breasts out in the open and she's covering them with licks and kisses and I can hardly breathe. Then I feel her hand sliding down my belly to the zipper on my jeans and..
Did I mention that I've never actually done this before? That's what was at the top of my list. That's right, I'm a virgin. I know, you sure can't tell that by the stories I write, but those are just my fantasies. Up to now, I hadn't found anyone that I wanted to share this experience with. But it's pretty clear that Rachel's going to fill that bill, and damn soon.
She's tugging on my jeans and I'm lifting up to help all I can. I'd push them down myself, but by this time I've got my hands inside her shirt and I'm cradling these wonderfully heavy breasts and trying for all I'm worth to get them closer to my face where I can rub my mouth and nose and cheeks all over them.
No sooner does she get my pants to my knees than I feel her running her fingers between my legs. Oh my God! I'm here to tell you, it's just the most exquisite thing I've ever felt. Then she pushes inside me and I'm ready to start singing Puccini!
All of a sudden she drops her head and takes me in her little pink mouth and the next thing I know, I'm shattered in a million pieces and floating on the ceiling!
If I have to die this day, so be it. But I'll be dying happy! It was sure worth the wait, I'll tell you that!
And we're not finished, either!
When I catch my breath, I go right back to what I was doing a minute ago with those beautiful breasts of hers, but by this time I've flipped her over so she's on her back. She's holding my head against her chest so tight that I can hardly breathe, but with those little squeaky sounds she's making, I don't care whether I can breathe or not, so long as I can still hear.
In two seconds flat, I manage to get her jeans open without ripping off either her buttons or my fingernails. She lifts up and I pull them down like she did mine and I catch a look at that little patch of curly blonde hair. I'm a goner! I slip my fingers through the wettest, warmest, softest place I ever could have imagined, and her little squeaky sounds turn into moans and various religious expressions.
By this time, I'm operating on pure instinct, but if I ever had any doubts about what to do, they're gone now. A sex-for-dummies technical manual couldn't have told me near as much as what Rachel's body was screaming. I could see what she wanted and I wanted it too!
I just have to know what that wet tastes like! I finish pulling her jeans off and right away bury my face in the middle of all that sweetness. I feel her legs wrap around my back and before I know it I'm up on my knees and she's practically hanging upside down! My arms are hooked around her thighs and I open my eyes to see her staring right back at me. Her face is turning as red as a beet and I can feel her legs start squeezing together. Then her mouth flies open and her eyes roll back and she just falls limp.
About an hour later, we're snuggling in the cushions and we hear voices again and climb up to the door to listen. Pizza Face tells somebody that it's time and we hear the engine start.
"I'll be back in a couple of hours," he says. We take that to mean that we've only got one thug to deal with, and that's pretty good news.
Rachel takes both my hands and says, "We're only going to have one little window to get out of this mess, Haley. He's probably not going to kill us down here, so we'll have to give it our best shot when he brings us out on deck."
I nod like I understand perfectly, but I don't have a clue what we're going to do. My only little trick was the kick in the groin thing, and that didn't work like it did in my stories.
I don't know what her plan is, but she tells me my part. "On my signal, you distract him - start crying or something - and I'll take him down."
Again, I nod.
Now she gets this sort of shy look about her, you know, where she's really trying to look me in the eye but she can't. "Whatever happens, Haley, this afternoon was one of the nicest things I ever did."
"For me too, Rachel." I mean that.
We sit holding each other until the boat stops and we hear the door being unlocked above us. It's dark now, but we can see from the moonlight that Pizza Face is brandishing a handgun when he starts barking his orders.
"Okay, get up here!"
Rachel goes first and I'm right behind her. We're standing on the deck now and he waves us toward the back of the boat Obviously, he's too lazy to clean up the blood so he expects us just to fall back in the water. Just as we pass him, Rachel nudges me - that's my signal.
I start to wail and Pizza Face is yelling at me to shut up. Rachel lunges at him and they struggle. I rush him too and all three of us are wrestling over the gun. Meanwhile, the boat's bobbing up and down and a wave sends us all flying across the deck. That's when I notice that Pizza Face still has his gun and both Rachel and I are now at the back of the boat, just where he wanted us.
The next part goes by in kind of a blur. He raises his gun and points it at me.
"No!" Rachel yells as she throws her body in front of mine. A shot rings out and she falls.
Right then, the whole boat gets swallowed up in this bright light, and this voice on a loudspeaker tells Pizza Face to drop his gun and stand down. This US Coast Guard Cutter pulls up alongside us and a man and a woman jump onto the deck and slap the handcuffs on him. Two more jump down and come to help Rachel and me. She's bleeding all over the place and hardly making any sense.
"Hold on, Rachel. You'll be alright." I have no idea if what I say is true. I've never seen so much blood in my whole life. They start working on her and ask me to step aside. I don't want to, but I don't want to get in the way of them helping her so I do. Next thing I know, they've got her strapped to a gurney and they're hoisting it onto the deck of the cutter. By the time I get up there, there's a helicopter hovering overhead and she's being lifted up and I'm crying like a baby not knowing if I'll ever see her again. She jumped in front of me to save my life!
On the way back to shore, they fill me in on how they knew where to find us. Before she got picked up by Brazelton's men, Rachel called her crew back at Michelle's studio and told them to keep a close eye on Rodney Burgess. A little while later, they saw him slipping back into Michelle's dressing room and they surrounded the door until the police got there. The police found him in her closet with a knife and he rolled over on Brazelton before they ever said "Boo!"
Well, that's the story. See what I mean about it starting out so simple. All I'm supposed to do is keep an eye on my best friend's sister and I end up finding somebody I'm crazy about, losing my virginity to her, only to see her shot and carried off by a helicopter. Now she's going to be alright, thank goodness. The doctor came out a few minutes ago and said they got her fixed up and she's in recovery. He even said I could go see her if I wanted to, but I have to wait for them to call me.
So what's the problem, you ask? The problem is that when you think you're going to die, you might be inclined to do something you wouldn't otherwise do. I know I did. And I suspect Rachel probably did too.
You see, even though I write all those stories about women meeting and falling into bed together in the first chapter, I'm actually a little more old-fashioned than that. I tend to like the idea of taking time to get to know one another and having a little romance - okay, a lot of romance - before doing the deed. But not many women want to go through all that work - they just want to know if you're any good in the sack. I guess that's why I was still a virgin at 27 years old. Well, that and the fact that I really hadn't met anyone all that interesting until I met Rachel Thorpe.
And that's the problem. Rachel and I just sort of rushed past all that courtship part and went right to the nasty. There we were, prisoners on a boat. You know what they say about any port in a storm. I mean, let's be honest: She didn't say that I was sweet or smart or nice or anything like that. She said I was sexy. I just don't think that's a very big foundation for growing into anything, do you?
So while we might have had a chance, I'm afraid we blew it. Or at least I did. It's not like we can back up or anything at this point. She'd think I was nuts.
"Miss King? Our patient is awake now and she's asking for you."
Well, here goes nothing.. Boy, she looks pretty pitiful, doesn't she? "Rachel?"
"Haley." Gosh I even like the way she says my name.
"They said you were going to be alright."
"It's just a scratch." That brave little grin of hers just melts my heart.
"Rachel, I.." Obviously, I can't keep the emotion from my voice, nor can I stop these tears from running down my face. I can't tell you all the reasons I'm crying now, but mostly I'm just glad she's going to be okay.
"Shhhhh. Don't cry, Haley." She holds out her hand and I take it. "What's wrong?"
"I was just so worried about you." That's part of it. The other part is that I'm figuring that once she's out of the hospital, we're kaput. Either that, or she's going to just assume that we'll have hot monkey sex for a while until one of us moves on to somebody else.
"But it's all okay now," she assures me. "Except.."
She sighs and gives my hand a little squeeze. I feel the brush-off coming on. "Listen, Haley.I need to apologize."
"Apologize? For what?"
"For on the boat. I just got sort of carried away in the moment and all."
Great! Not only was it just sex, she didn't even mean for it to happen.
"It takes two, Rachel" I say. "Well, not always.."
"I know, but.that's just not really me, Haley. In fact, I can't believe we really did that." She looks at me sort of sheepishly, but I'm looking a little perplexed. "Not that it wasn't great! It was. In fact, it was wonderful. It's just that.I wish we'd been able to get to know each other a little better first."
What did she say? "What did you say?"
"Nothing, I just.never mind."
"No, no, no! Let me get this straight. You liked what we did this afternoon but you wish we could have.worked up to it instead of just went for it all."
I'm sitting there shaking my head in disbelief. She feels the same way I do. With that in mind, I decide to take a chance.
"Rachel, what if we sort of pretended - just for the time being - that it didn't happen that way? What if we just backed up and tried to be friends and see where it all goes?"
"I'd like that a lot, Haley."
"Well, we don't have to back up all the way. I mean, we could just back up to the part where we kissed.."
I'm going to be pulling this curtain now. All of you can just skedaddle and give us a little privacy. So long.