Sometimes Trey checked in with Lori just to see how she was doing. The twins had been very close as children, now they mostly saw each other on Thanksgiving and Christmas when they visited their folks. So it was nice to have him drop by one morning late in their senior year. Trey and Andy Lomax were renting a nice little house over by Horrible House. The boys were unhappy that they did not get to see Chelsea and Holly more often. It was just so hard to get their schedules to dovetail to permit visits.
Trey told Lori that Andy was very serious about Holly. Every time Andy was able to spend an evening over at Holly’s, Trey kept expecting Andy to tell him they were engaged. He couldn’t stay long but said if nothing else he’d see Lori again after graduation. Let's see Corky and Elle were engaged, possibly Andy and Holly next, and she and Harvey hoped to marry six to eight months after they finished school...they were starting already to go their separate ways. Exciting, but sad, too.
One rare day when she didn’t have a class scheduled until 7 pm, Lori decided to take a run to Goth’s Apparel in Pleasantview. Her mother had called to remind her that there was a huge sale on there. The drive there was enjoyable and Lori was in a good mood. She made her purchases and laid the shopping bag on the counter a minute so she could put her credit card back in her handbag.
There were lots of people there because of the sale. A cacophony of voices was going on behind her, but one voice suddenly stood out though she couldn’t place it at that moment. She turned from the counter and there was Brian Ottomas. She hadn’t seen him in person since she was 16 on that night he left Pleasantview. He was standing there with his arms crossed, just like the old picture she had of him and he didn’t see her for a second. Then his gazed turned toward her and it was as though a bomb had hit her.
When she talked to Melanie about it the next day she told her,
“It was so strange; remember how I talked mainly about his pretty eyes and his smile? Well, when I looked at him yesterday the first thing that hit me—and it hit me like a blow-- was his masculinity.”
“Of course, Lori, he’s a man.”
“No, I mean, his just overwhelming maleness,” she couldn’t explain it very well evidently,
“It was just like when you walk out of the house in July and the heat just smites your body. I don’t know how to explain it; maybe too much testosterone?”
“Well, why? Was he leering at you or making remarks?”
“No, of course not, he was just friendly. He said, ‘Hello Princess, finding any good bargains?’ and smiled that lazy smile of his. I just stood there stuttering. It was all I could do to get out ‘hi, Brian’. Honestly, Mel, I felt like a 12 year old.”
“Or maybe a sixteen year old?” Melanie said softly.
“He just talked in the quiet way he has and I started to relax.”
“What did he say?”
“Oh, he asked me about school, told me he was visiting his folks for a week between bookings. I finally could talk and asked him about why he was at Goth’s, like a dummy; obviously he was there to buy clothes. He said a sale was about the only time he bought new clothes. He laughed and said, ‘Jeans, of course, and vests, my basic uniform’, or something like that. We talked about his band and how they were doing. He asked me about school and was I dating anyone.”
Lori shook her head, “No it wasn’t like that. You’re always so suspicious of him. I told him about Harvey and asked him if he was dating too. He said not regularly, and I got the impression there was no one special at the moment. Mel, I keep thinking, how was I not terrified of him years ago with this machismo thing of his going on? I mean I was only 16. I don’t even remember that about him from then. You’d think I would have run the other way. It affected me so strongly yesterday that I almost ran away, in fact,” she laughed.
“I don’t know, I never could understand back then why you weren’t terrified of an adult man, super maleness or not.”
“I just must not have picked up on it at the time,”
“Anyway, even though I could finally talk I was getting more and more panicky again for some reason, so we said our goodbyes and hugged and I beat it out of there. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I’d left all my stuff sitting on the counter. I called Goth’s but with the crowd that had been there I knew it would be gone and it was. I could cry; there were 4 blouses and 2 pair of cargo pants, plus some really pretty sandals, at 50% off.”
“Okay but now tell me what happened with Harvey.
Lori shook her head, “I don’t know why I was so unnerved about the whole thing.”
“Hey, he was your childhood crush and you haven’t seen him in the flesh in nearly five years. Perfectly natural,” Melanie said, “Don’t beat up on yourself so much.”
“Anyway, I’d been getting worse all the way home so I called Harvey in full panic mode. He was outside I guess, so I left a text saying, please call me, it’s urgent. And he called me back after about 30 minutes”….....
“What’s up, my beautiful Brat?” Harvey’s voice in her ear radiated calm, “Your text said Urgent”
Lori was trying to find a way not to sound like a frantic idiot.
“Um, do you have a late class tonight?”
“No, I’m free the rest of today”
“I know we planned on you coming tomorrow night, but can you come now?” Lori was starting to get a little tearful.
“Sure, now what’s going on?”
“I just want to see you…can you stay the night?”
There was a second’s pause,
“Yes, I don’t have an early class tomorrow. What about Melanie?”
“Oh, good! Come over as soon as you can and I’ll make dinner for you,” the relief in Lori’s voice was evident to Harvey, "Melanie is on her way over to your place to fix dinner for Gareth. She has an early morning class--she won't be back tonight."
“Honey, can’t you tell me what’s wrong? Are you hurt? Haven you been in an accident?”
“Nothing’s wrong, but I need to talk to you as soon as possible.”
“I’m walking out the door.”
When Harvey got here Lori threw her arms around his neck she was so happy to see him. He laughed and swung her around, but then he put her down and touched her cheek tenderly. He could see she was close to tears.
“Now what is so urgent?” he asked as he pulled her down on his lap.
She decided to tell him everything from the time she met Brian up until that day.
“I have to tell you something, but it’s a long story,” Lori said.
“Well, try to give me the short version.”
She took a deep breath and blurted it out in a couple of huge run-on sentences,
“A guy I used to know and thought I was in love with when I was 16 and he was an adult, well he left town years ago but then he came back and I saw him in town today. My parents hated him and he really didn’t do anything it was only a couple weeks we knew each other, he was very nice, not a pervert or anything. But today,” she slowed down finally, “Well, it just shocked me because I hadn’t seen him since then at all.”
Harvey looked at her for few seconds and then he said,
“Maybe you’d better give me the long version.”
“What did he say?” Melanie asked, fascinated by this soap opera unfolding practically under her nose.
"You know Harvey; he asked very few questions while I told him everything but he made a face of skepticism a couple times, like when I got to the part about talking and texting with Brian, when I met him at the Arcade and when I mentioned going to dinner at his house. But at the end he only said, 'Well, so what? Honey, it all happened years ago, ancient history.' He was more worried about how agitated I had become while I talked.".....
“I want you to take one of your pills,” Harvey said suddenly.
“I hate taking those,” Lori pouted.
“I know. So take half a pill, or even a quarter of a pill, but you need to calm down you’re going to hyperventilate. Where are they?”
“Upstairs bathroom,” Lori gave in. Harvey got the anti-anxiety medication and brought her a glass of water.
"I don’t quite understand about today. Did this Brian guy say something nasty or scary?” he asked her.
“No, he was friendly and polite. We just talked about college and his band.”
“Then why are you so upset about it?”
“I don’t know,” she faltered, “I just knew I had to see you and now I feel better.”
Harvey hugged her,
“That’s what I’m here for, Brat. Now, what’s all this that you suddenly want me to stay all night. You never have before. Why are you breaking your own rule?”
“I just want to be as close to you as I can be, Harvey,”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining, but I want to be sure you’ve thought it through.”
“I have,” she buried her face in his neck, “I want you to stay with me.”
“All right, you got me for the night. What kind of feast are we having for dinner?” he grinned.
“What would you say to Orange glazed pork chops with cherry cheesecake for dessert?” Lori laughed.
“I’d say ‘when do we eat’?”
“By that time, Melanie, I was completely over it; I felt guilty for making him rush over and wished I hadn’t got so carried away,” Lori admitted,
“Well are you saying you wish you hadn’t…”
“Oh, no, I’m glad Harvey stayed with me, I wasn’t sorry about that at all,” she smiled a little Mona Lisa smile, ”In fact, it was the best night of my life.”
It was time for their “final” finals. Just before they left to take them, Melanie and Lori had one last game in their pretty little house.
They both made the dean’s list again and got their degrees. They ran around picking up and cleaning one last time and readied themselves to leave the collegiate world. Then it was “poof!” and Lori was suddenly wearing one of those old lady polo shirts she hated in a color of blue she detested.
“Help. Help.” fashionista Lori whispered, her face a shocked blank.
Melanie hurried toward her as if to aid her somehow and “poof!” Melanie was wearing a gray felt dog of a dress.
“I’ve seen that dress at Family Dollar!” Lori cried, “It makes absolutely everyone look thick through the middle. Let’s hurry home and change clothes!”
“We’re outta here!” Melanie agreed.
Harvey said later, “What are you two complaining about? I ended up in a green flowered kimono.”
Harvey said later, “What are you two complaining about? I ended up in a green flowered kimono.”
Next update: Sim State U Ch. 7 This'n'That Pt. 1