So far things had been fairly quiet for Larry Max--and he definitely wanted that to change. So on the next Saturday night he gussied up and headed to the Fabulous 50's Diner in Crystal Creek.
He loved the atmosphere and the food wasn't bad either--not as good as that of his cafe, but, hey, how could it be?
From there he went to the Lucky Cuss Shack; he'd heard it was a laid back gambling place and he hadn't played poker in a long time. He started a game with Bob Blackford and Josh Burb.
After he'd won a decent amount of money--not a killing, but not that bad--he went to the bar to get another drink. The bartender was an attractive woman who seemed to know her way around and flirted with him a bit. Soon a woman he'd noticed earlier sat down at the bar and introduced herself as Chris Hiatt.They talked about this and that; just small talk.
"I'd like to try that singing machine; but I have no idea how to do it," Larry Max remarked. His easy southern drawl seemed to charm Chris. Actually he'd lost a lot of his accent, but it was still noticeable.
"Well, I know how; let's give it a shot," she smiled and led him over to the karaoke machine.
So they tried singing a duet.
"At least nobody threw rocks," Larry Max grinned.
He was feeling an attraction to Chris and evidently she felt the same way so he asked her to dance. And then he shocked himself by dipping her back and grabbing a kiss. He'd actually never kissed anyone but his ex-wife Jenny until that moment. Except for a girl he'd had a crush on when he was ten and you could hardly count that. After he'd begun romancing Jenny no one else had mattered. They were both just teenagers then and when Jenny got pregnant their parents had signed permission for them to marry. But that was so very long ago. Four children ago; children who were now grown and living their own lives. That was all before he'd caught Jenny in flagrante delicto with Lonnie Hammond--who was now her husband. That was long ago, too.
He jotted down Chris's phone number saying he'd call her and bid her goodnight. Going on to The Flow, Larry Max reflected that the evening was getting on, but he wanted to check this place out. He had barely sat down at the bar and ordered a drink when Chris plopped down on the stool next to him. Of course, it was a free world, but had she followed him here? Suddenly she did not appear as charming and he fought that feeling. After all, she could have been planning to come to The Flow next anyway, just like him. But when he'd left The Shack she had not said anything about it. On the other hand, he'd intimated he was on his way home, so he'd been rather disingenuous himself. At any rate he put up with her yammering at him but had no plans to encourage her. Then who should show up but his daughter-in-law, Lucy.
"Hey, hon! What are you doing here?"
"Oh, Mike wanted to have an evening out; he's parking the car. So, Dad, are you becoming 'a rake and a ramblin' man'?" she grinned as she hugged him.
He grinned right back,
"Well...not yet. But I'm determined to kick up my heels a bit."
His oldest son, Mike, came in then and Larry Max stood up as they began to laugh and joke. Lucy called his daughter, Chelsea, who came up to join them. Trey had a meeting that night so he wasn't with her. Larry Max realized Chris was hovering at his elbow angling to get in on the conversation, which he resented so he pointedly ignored her. When she left the lounge at last Larry Max felt nothing but relief. So much for calling her; she was just too pushy.
Still not ready for the evening to end and determined to meet as many women as possible as long as he was out, Larry Max tried to talk his kids into going with him to an after-hours place called Red's Hideout, but they declined. Chelsea was going back home since Trey would be there soon. Mike and Lucy had been dancing romantically and now they said they were also heading home. Probably for some loving time, Larry Max conceded and was happy that their marriage was going so well. So he went to the Hideout alone.
He'd barely arrived when his gaze met that of a beautiful, sexy blonde and his love meter went into overdrive. Or maybe it was his lust meter. She obviously felt the same way and they began to dance. Soon they were lost in each other's arms.
"My name's Nadine," she told him in her smoky voice and before she left she wrote down her phone number.
"Call me," she said as she went out the door, "Just anytime."
Va-va-voom! Larry thought as he soaked in his tub once he got home. It was four in the morning; what a night.
The next day was Sunday, fortunately, but even at that he didn't get much sleep. He went out to get the paper and met a neighbor, Scott Ferguson. He hadn't seen him in quite some time so he invited him in for lunch. Scott was a relaxed and upbeat family man who shared a lot of the same interests as Larry Max, like fishing and cooking. After he left Larry Max took a long enjoyable nap. Later he spent some time with his new parrot, Sinbad. He talked to the bird and enjoyed his responses. Now if he could just remain patient while he taught Sinbad to talk it might not take too long; Larry Max was a patient man as a rule. But he was extremely anxious to experience the dating scene; a social life was something he'd never really had and now craved.
Monday morning Larry Max woke long before dawn and headed to the cafe. The hours were 6 am to 3 pm, Monday through Saturday; he wanted the breakfast and lunch working crowd, but Saturday mornings at the cafe were busy, too. Perhaps he'd open it for evenings later but that would mean very long hours and probably a second shift. Too much work for now.
He was feeling cheerful as he acted as host, even though he'd had some trouble with an obstreperous server and a strange elderly gentleman who was evidently interested in becoming the chef. He wouldn't leave, wouldn't talk and stayed right at Chef Jenna's elbow until in aggravation she cussed him out. It had no effect. Larry Max finally physically ousted him, but he walked right back in as though he had no recollection of being thrown out. He should have called the police, but he was in too good a mood.
He'd brought a change of clothes with him and after he closed the restaurant and drank a protein drink Larry Max showered quickly and changed, dousing himself liberally with an after shave labeled "Stud". Then he headed downtown to Lulu's Lounge. Ordering a drink at the bar he said to the bartender,
"Well, I heard this place was wild but it's sure dead tonight. I guess because it's Monday."
"Nah, you're just a little early. Give it 20 minutes and we'll be busy. This place is crowded every night," the bartender looked at his watch, "Yeah, just about 20 minutes."
Larry Max waited and, sure enough, the place began to fill up. Then in walked a girl he'd seen around town, but never been introduced to; Belinda Candeloro. She had long, lustrous black hair and china blue eyes surrounded by thick sooty eyelashes; not beautiful but attractive in an off-beat way. Which was about how he would have described his ex-wife, Jenny, except for the black hair. A woman did not have to be classically beautiful to trip his trigger.
He asked her to dance out on the terrace and she was most receptive. Since dipping and kissing had worked before he decided to give it a try now. Belinda's big blue eyes widened and her soft lips parted easily. The kiss from this girl got to him the most of all. Both Chris and Nadine's faces faded away. Evidently she felt the same, going by the way her heart was beating. He asked for her phone number having no idea that she shared her house with a friend who was actually her foster sister. And that friend was Chris Hiatt; the girl he'd met two nights ago at the Lucky Cuss Shack and who'd then followed him to The Flow. Did unknown conflicts lie ahead? If they did Larry Max was blissfully unaware of them.
Next blog update: Lomax Family Ch. 12 Mike and Lucy's New Addition