It was the next morning and Brian and his sister, Bridget were at the breakfast table.
“Now Brian you promised me and you won’t forget, right? You’re going to give up that girl."
“I forgot what a nag you are, Bridgie. As soon as I can, I’ll see her one last time and tell her she has to stay away and not call. I’ll be nice, but final.”
“That's good," she sounded relieved, "It’s for the best, if you—“
“I don’t want to hear it all again. I got the point.”
That day, however; Brian stalled. He practiced his guitar, worked out with his punching bag, spent some time in the pool and even called the musicians union to see what prospects were out there. He left his cell in the top drawer of his little bureau. But, the next day around 1 pm he drove to Galaxy Arcades hoping she would just happen to be there or come by. He knew it was a hangout for her friends. He planned to tell her in person and this way he wouldn’t be calling her. He told himself that was the only reason he was going there. When she didn’t show up by 3 he gave in and phoned her. They talked a bit and then he mentioned where he was. He knew she’d want to come there. She’d left eighty-gazillion messages and text messages on his phone. He hadn’t replied to any of them.
She looked so happy when she arrived. It was noisy and somewhat crowded so he suggested they go in one of the semi-private rooms. But once they were sitting there he could not bring himself to do it. After a couple of false starts he gave up and asked her to play a game of darts with him on the other side of the Arcade. He knew, now, he was not going to be able to say anything to her this night. She wanted to take a picture of him with her cell and asked that he take one of her. He said he hated having his picture taken, but he gave in. He asked if could he take one of her with his phone. She seemed happy about that.
“No, it’s all right; I have to go now anyway.”
So Lori told her friends she’d be there waiting. She turned to Brian, her little face alight,
“Will you be coming here tomorrow?”
Why does she have to look so adorable?
“No, I doubt it, big audition tomorrow.”
“Oh, that's right! How exciting for you!”
“I’ll see you,” and he pulled her close to him for a moment, knowing he would not see her at all, not ever again. There was no reason to see her now; if he couldn’t tell her in person then he would have to do it over the phone.
Lori clung to him, but he released her and stepped back; she didn’t seem to notice. She was too joyous about the time they'd spent together. Brian was going to end everything, but she didn't know it.
He caught her chin with his fingers just for a moment and said,
“You’re such a pretty kid.”
“You’re such a pretty kid.”
He’d spoken almost unconsciously and caught himself. Leave, just get away, man. Now.
As he walked out of the arcade he knew he'd let her down. He should have had the guts to tell her in person.
That night he told Bridget about the audition. She was happy for him, but then she asked him,
“Did you see her?”
“I couldn’t tell her. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I’ll have to do it over the phone.”
“If you don't stop seeing her, Brian, I’ll have to ask you to leave,” Bridget looked sad but determined, “I have my job and my own reputation to think of and I won't stand by and watch you ruin your life again.”
“Well maybe it would just be better for everyone if I left town anyway.” He felt like the biggest loser of all time.
“Brian!” she made a frustrated sound, ”I don’t want you to leave, I don't want you to wander around the country again! Just tell her goodbye. You need to meet some women of the right age, that’s part of the problem.”
He said he’d call Lori and end it. Bridget encouraged him to pursue this chance in the music field. Maybe doing what he really wanted to do would help him over this thing, too.
He auditioned for and got the job with a new band, although they had no bookings until next week. Actually, they hoped to get a job as an opening act for another, much more well-known band. They would be trying out for that later in the week, before their booking.
So Bridget invited two of her friends over for dinner, Cassandra Goth and Renesmee Cullen. Perhaps Brian would be charmed by one of them. But Brian brought home a coworker from the insurance company and fouled up her plans. It was Vasil Downey, Bridget could not stand the man—they’d been in some of the same classes in high school. He was boring and as far as she was concerned he was ugly to boot. She usually referred to him as "Vaseline" Downey.
Vaseline got Brian in a game of SSX3 while Renesmee, the gamer of Pleasantview, played pinball, and Bridget was left to keep Cassandra occupied playing chess. Bridget could have pinched Vaseline's oily head off. Unfortunately, Brian didn’t appear to be interested in either of the women. That was odd, too, thought Bridget, because Renesmee always got the men when they went somewhere. When she wasn’t squealing over a pinball machine, that is. Finally Bridget was able to maneuver Brian into playing chess with Cassandra. But then, next door neighbor Beau Broke, who thought he was too sexy for his shoes, invited himself over for dinner (probably saw Renesmee and Cassandra arriving) and the girls were hanging on his every word at dinner instead of paying attention to Brian. She did manage to get rid of Vaseline before dinner. Darned if she was going to feed that bore. By the time the evening ended Bridget was so exasperated she wanted to scream. Nothing had gone the way she planned.
The next day, without any scheming from Bridget, Brian happened to meet someone new. Jenny Lomax was at Danny’s Market buying a phone and it got stuck in the machine. Brian helped her out. She claimed she was totally inept with electronic and mechanical things and pretty soon they were laughing. She was so obviously coming on to him that Brian just went with the flow. She practically invited herself over to his house. Bridget was working, some big meeting that was supposed to go on into the evening, so he had no problem with that.
Instead, the meeting she had was canceled; and Bridget ended up coming home early. She heard Brian fiddling with the synthesizer up on the third floor and was about to go up and let him know she was home when she heard a woman’s laughter. And it was definitely a woman’s voice and not a girl’s. Oh this is good! I’ll just slip out and give him some privacy. Without saying anything, Bridget went uptown to do a little shopping she needed to do anyway. Then she stopped for a meal at a restaurant and headed home. She started to go upstairs to put away her packages and heard a woman’s voice again, this time coming from Brian’s bedroom. Okay, definitely I will be getting too much information if I stay here, Bridget thought. She quickly put on her suit and went to take a swim. It was late afternoon, but still warm.
Meanwhile Jenny was all over Brian. And he wasn't exactly fighting her off.
It was getting dark and Bridget was tired. When the sun went down it got cooler so she stayed in the heated water a bit longer. Come on, Brian, snap it up, Bridget thought, I’m freezing and my fingers are pruning! Then she heard the front door open. She swam over to the corner where she could see Brian and Jenny get into his car and take off. Thank goodness. She hauled herself out of the pool and went in to the house.
It wasn’t long at all before Brian came back in. By that time Bridget was eating a slice of cherry-cheesecake and listening to the cable news station.
“When did you get in? I thought you had to work until late?” Brian looked startled.
“Excuse me, it IS late. Anyway, the meeting got called off.”
“Well, why didn’t you go back to your office?”
“Because I got the day off and I took it. I’m so glad to see you’re interested in a woman closer to your own age, but, Brian, she’s kind of a…”
“Don’t go there.”
He cut himself a slice of cheesecake and sat down at the table.
“This was a one-time thing, anyway,” he told Bridget.
“Okay----but I hope you know she has a really obnoxious laugh!” Bridget got her opinion in there quickly before Brian could stop her.
Next update: The Shep Ferguson Family Ch. 2
Next Brian Ottomas Chapter HERE