That same night John and Melora talked in the privacy of their room about what had occurred when Lori went to My Muse.
“’You think, okay, we’ve had four kids, we’ve got this child-raising thing down’, then they do something that blows your mind and you’re back to Square Root, one,” John said.
“I don’t know, it was different with Grace, she was very confident, quiet, but confident. So when the boys gathered around, she seemed to just accept it as her due. She was crazy about them, but only to a point,” Melora spoke.
“Yeah, she always had her eye on the prize; a career in medicine. I think that made her even more of a catch, sometimes; her indifference. The boys that hung around here; they followed her like puppies. And she flirted with all of them, but if any of them got too serious, she just shrugged and moved on. ‘Princess Grace’ we called her, remember?”
Melora had to laugh, but then she said,
“But Lori’s so different, she’s a little insecure for some reason. And she has a wonderful imagination, but on the flip side she’s melodramatic and tends to make a mountain out of a molehill,”
“Wonder where she gets that from?” John looked at her.
“Yeah, I know, but that’s why I’m worried about her. She never thinks she’s good enough, even with her music. So when a boy pays attention she’s more vulnerable than Grace was.”
John nodded. Melora pointed out,
“This man may not even have looked at her that way, but she just glommed on to the idea and is making a big romance up about it in her head.”
John disagreed though, “What adult, intelligent man in his right mind would dance with a 16 year old girl? I don’t think she would outright lie and say she danced with him when she didn’t. No, there’s something wrong with him, I don’t know what, but something. Even if Lori never runs into him again; what about the other unsuspecting girls in this community? I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to give Glenn a call tomorrow and see what she can find out. I don’t want him near Lori and I’m going to make sure of it.”
“By doing what?” Melora frowned.
“I don’t know yet, it depends on what Glenn finds out about him. She’s just a child, Melora.”
“I know. I don’t want her hurt in any way either. Do what you have to do, then.”
Lori was up in her room, talking with Melanie about Brian Ottomas. She didn’t have to be too careful if she kept her voice fairly low. She’d first tried texting Melanie, but then realized her cell was dead. Again. Anyway, she wanted to talk. There was just too much drama involved to be able to convey her emotions texting.
“I really don’t know anything about him, Mel,” Lori admitted, “But he was so, well, hot. He had these gray blue eyes and a beard, “ she added hastily, “I know, I usually don’t like boys who try to grow beards, but he’s not a boy. He’s funny, too, really funny.”
“Okay, I gotta get a look at him,” Melanie was fascinated, but somewhat skeptical, “Are you sure he was, you know, coming on to you?”
Lori told her that they had danced to a couple songs, and when he left he hugged her. That was when she knew he must like her for more than just a friend.
They couldn’t figure out exactly how Melanie would be able to get a look at Brian without him knowing it. They could go back up to My Muse, John had said she could go with a friend, but there was no guarantee he would be there.
“I wonder where he lives,” Melanie pondered, then repeated, “Cause I just gotta get a look at him."
They decided they would try to find Brian’s house. He lived somewhere on Professional Row they figured. He had said he lived with his sister.
“What grownup man lives with his sister?” Melanie wrinkled her nose, “Well, I’m going to have to ask around, but I’ll find out somehow.” Melanie loved a mystery.
When she finally found out the address they drove over there on a Saturday afternoon. Nice place, but no one seemed to be at home.
“I guess they work on Saturdays,” Lori said in disappointment.
“We’ll come back tonight,” Melanie said.
“I have to go home for dinner because we’re having my Aunt Glenn over,” Lori fumed. Ordinarily she loved visits from Glenn, who was such a close friend of the family she’d always been ‘Aunt Glenn’. But she was fixated on her almost romance with Brian, so it was a distraction tonight.
“So? I’ll pick you up afterward. Just tell your mom and dad that I’m upset because I broke up with my bf or my parents had a fight or something and you need to be with me.”
Lori looked at her, somewhat astonished.
“What a good liar you are, Mel. You know you’re a terrible person.”
“I know,” Melanie nodded in agreement, “But this is important.”
So she parked outside Lori’s house around 7 that night and honked the horn. She liked Lori’s parents but she didn’t want to go in and joke around with them; all that would take time. Besides, she did not want to talk to them at all when she was helping Lori to do something they would not like.
“Well, if he does come out we’re not going to be able to see him,” Lori complained as she got in Melanie’s car, “But maybe that’s good because I sure don’t want him to see us.”
It was exciting because they could see lights on in the house and once Brian passed by the window in the living room. They had parked across the street in front of an empty lot and hoped no one would notice them and call the police or anything. The empty lot gave them hope that there would be no one to notice them and complain. On the other hand, parking in front of an empty lot made the car stand out like a sore thumb. After about twenty minutes, he crossed back going the other way. It was a warm spring night and their windows were open. Lori thought she heard him call to someone in the house, must have been his sister.
“I can hardly see him,” Melanie squinted, then shook her head in regret, “I should have brought my Dad’s binoculars.”
Lori didn’t reply. She was in rapture over seeing Brian again, even if he did not know it. Seeing him in his house was so much better than just remembering him from My Muse. It made him more real.
"He's at home surrounded by the things he loves," Lori sighed.
Melanie nodded, "Yeah, I know what you mean. Like he's in his natural habitat."Lori was straining her ears to possibly hear his voice again.
"Oh! He’s coming out the front door, duck down!” Melanie whispered furiously.
Lori’s heart was in her throat as she scrunched down in her seat. They heard him coming down the walk. Melanie couldn’t stand it; she popped her head up just far enough to see.
“He’s going down the street! I think he must be going to the store or something.”
Lori sat up then, too, and saw him heading toward Main Street and had to smile a little. Then she took stock, what if he turned around and looked for some reason?
“Let’s get out of here!” she insisted.
“We should see where he goes,” Melanie pointed out, “He might be going to the drugstore for cigarettes and we could just happen to walk in to get something.” Lori had thought that was a close call, though, and she was ready to leave.
“He doesn’t smoke!” she insisted, although she had no idea if he did or not.
“Well, at least I finally saw him,” Melanie commented as she drove off, “Not too bad, I guess, but he’s old, Lori, he looks like he’s 30, at least. I mean how could you kiss a guy that old? Blechhh. You haven’t even kissed anyone your own age yet, so you should kiss a boy, not a man. I thought the way you went on about how hot he was that he was maybe 21 or 22, but he’s older than that, I can tell. He's got too much hair on his face, too, if you ask me. It’s way more than a goatee. It’s like my Dad looks when he comes back from a fishing trip.”
“I didn’t ask you,” Lori said.
“Okay, but doesn’t that tell you something? He has the kind of beard MY DAD grows?”
Lori remained silent and pouted. She knew that Melanie's dad was once a famous movie star and considered a sex symbol in his day, she'd even seen his movies and pictures of him. Melanie was right, though, she could not think of him that way at all. He was just Melanie's dad who made bad jokes sometimes but had taken them sailing when they were children and taught them to cannonball off the diving board. She did not want her cherished dream to be ruined so she told herself that Melanie just didn't understand. Melanie thought many boys at school were cute and Lori never gave her an argument, even though she thought they were frankly too childish to kiss. Anyway, Melanie's dad was as old as her dad and that was really old. Brian was nowhere near that old, even if he was 30 like Mel said.
Then they put in a new CD, went by Sonic and saw some of their friends and she was in a good mood again.
John called Glenn the next day and asked to come over and talk with her. She said fine, no problem. He had not given her many details, he wanted to talk to her in person. But it was evident to Glenn that John was in protective father mode to the max.
When he arrived they talked some and Glenn said she would take care of finding out everything on Brian Ottomas. So John left it in her hands.
It was a couple weeks later when Trey invited Chelsea and her older brother Mike over on a Sunday afternoon; Trey really liked Chelsea. Lori was already good friends with Chelsea, not as close as she was to Melanie, or even Holly and Elle, but they got along well. So if Trey decided to go steady with Chelsea, Lori was okay with that.
Mike was already a Freshman at University, home for the weekend. Lori liked him well enough, but she was not romantic about him. She played pool with his sister and chatted with Mike. At some point she took a few minutes to go into her bedroom to return a call from Elle Broke. It was Elle's considered opinion that Lori should be grateful that Mike even came over. He was almost 19!
“Has he kissed you?”
“No!” Lori laughed.
“I bet he’ll try some time today,” Elle said, “You should kiss him if you get the chance.”
“I don’t care about Mike…or anyone else,” Lori complained, “I mean the boys we know at school are nice, but, you know, kind of backward.”
“Well, at least they’re real,” Elle said and Lori knew what she was hinting about, “You haven’t been kissed yet and you’re not getting any younger! There’s only this summer and if you can’t get kissed then, you’ll be the only senior who hasn’t been kissed.”
“No, I won’t”, Lori sounded triumphant, “Neither have you, Elle.”
“Yeah, it’s tragic, all right,” she was glum. She’d spent hours at her bathroom mirror, practicing how to kiss for over a year now, but so far, no first kiss yet, “Unless you count creepy Ricky Cormier.”
Ricky had kissed Elle on the cheek at recess in the fifth grade and she’d given him quite a smack up the side of his face. He'd cried pretty hard. And his parents had called her mother to complain that Elle had a problem with aggression. Elle didn’t say so, but she thought his parents were ignoring the fact that Ricky had a problem with creepiness. At 16 he was still suffering from it. Evidently it was chronic with him.
“Yeah,” Lori commiserated, “That doesn’t really count, Elle," but she giggled. Elle could always make her laugh, no matter what.
She ended the call and went back out to join the other kids in the game room. It kept her mind off Brian for the time being but as soon as Mike and Chelsea were gone, Lori was thinking about her big secret. She had been invited over to Brian’s the weekend before, and she went. Only Melanie knew about it.
Next update: The Lassiters Ch. 6 the Twins Are Growing Up Pt. 4