Friday, March 9, 2012

Lalique Flynn Ch. 5 Arlene's Romance

Arlene Jankowski, the nanny, had a secret. She was in love. And the man she loved was somewhat mysterious. As she went through her days caring for Desiree and Adrien, the object of her dreams was never far away from her mind. Lalique had noticed, of course, she'd had to have been blind not to do so. A happy, upbeat person all her life Arlene now went about the house smiling and singing even more than usual. She loved caring for Alain and Desiree but from time to time she got rather day-dreamy and had to remind herself to pay strict attention. Little ones moved fast and she had to be on her toes.

She hadn't yet confided in her employer because she knew how distracted Lalique was with packing up all their things to move. Arlene was going with her to continue as a nanny. With another baby coming Lalique would need her help and, besides--the house was in Bluewater, which was closer to Crystal Creek than Pleasantview was, and Arlene knew her mystery man had a small place in Crystal Creek. She hadn't seen it but he'd told her that.

Finally, on the week they were to leave for the new house Arlene had decided to tell Lalique everything; that she'd met the man she would marry. She wanted to be able to ask him to the house to meet her "family".

The twins had awoken earlier than usual and she'd been tending to Desiree while Lalique was with Alain. Lalique was growing out her daughter's bangs and Arlene loved the way Desiree's hair looked now; it was pure black and pulled back sleekly from her round little face in a thick ponytail, where it fell as a billowy cloud of crimped waves. Alain's was the same color but very straight and shiny like satin. Arlene looked across the playroom where Lalique was reading to her son. Maybe when they went down for naps later Arlene could get some time to talk to Lalique alone.

But soon after the twins were placed in their cribs the unthinkable happened. Lalique rushed out of the bathroom and grabbed her cell phone calling to Arlene.

"Come here! Hurry, Arlene!"

Sensing the panic in Lalique's voice Arlene took the stairs two at a time,

"What's wrong?"

"I'm spotting. It's not bad, but..."

"Oh, no! Do you need me to take you to the hospital?"

The doctor's office had answered and Lalique briefly told them what had happened.  A moment more and Lalique hit the end button and turned to Arlene,

"They said to come right in to the office, I'll call Melanie. I need you to stay right here with the kids."

Next she phoned Melanie who would drive over immediately; she was only a couple blocks away. Lalique tried to stay calm. She knew if she lost the baby this early it would mean something was not right in the pregnancy in the first place. And she knew some would say if she lost it, it would make her life easier, but she didn't care. She wanted this child; she hadn't realized how much much she wanted her until now. Her or him, she reflected, she had been referring to the baby by either pronoun on alternate days. She didn't care whether she had a boy or a girl, she just wanted to have a healthy baby; wanted it badly.

Happily, after examining her and asking questions, her doctor said she could go home, things seemed to be fine once more but she would have to take it easier, not be on her feet so much. Maybe get more help with packing and definitely with moving. When Melanie brought her home she made sure that Arlene knew what the doctor had said. 

"Believe me, I promise I'll be good," Lalique stressed because she knew both Melanie and Arlene were skeptical that she would let people help her, "I don't want to lose this baby. I'll take all the help I can get with boxing up things and moving. The moving company has assured me they can pack everything for me if I want. I didn't want that I wanted to be in control boxing things up but I'm ready to let them do that now."

After being assured of this, and promising she'd help Melanie told Lalique she needed to tell their parents. But Lalique insisted she wanted to be moved first. Melanie drove home. She'd stayed calm while she was with Lalique but her nerves were jangled. She was the only one who knew Lalique was pregnant--and by whom--besides Arlene, that was. She hadn't even told Gareth, but how much longer she could keep silent she didn't know. Gareth was always the one she talked to about everything, it felt like a lie by omission to Melanie. Something had to give.

Arlene had meant to keep silent about her new love but, finally, once she was sure that Lalique was going to be all right she asked her to come in her bedroom one afternoon.

"I have something I need to tell you or, at least, need to talk about, if you don't mind."

Admittedly, Lalique had been curious for some time, but had not wanted to intrude on Arlene's personal life. When she was living in the house with her though, it was hard not to feel involved.

"About 5 or 6 weeks ago I met this guy," Arlene began, "I was supposed to be meeting Marcy downtown. We wanted to check out this place called Red's Hideout."

"Oh, sweetie," Lalique sounded dubious, "Didn't you know that joint has a rather bad reputation? At least for young women to go there unescorted?"

Arlene shook her head,

"No, not then. We just heard a lot of people went there and it was fun and inexpensive. Anyway, at the last minute she called in to work. I think I told you she's in an intern at the hospital, so she was on call. So, like a dummy, I guess, I went there myself--I know, I know," she said when she saw the look on Lalique's face, "I just couldn't stand the thought of going to the movies by myself or coming home to watch TV on my  night off. When I got there I sat at the counter and this really gorgeous man sat down net to me--he sort of looked like a pirate or something so he was beautiful but almost scary. I just kept sipping my drink and didn't talk to him but I could tell he looked over at me a couple times."

"Then, just as this pirate-guy started to say something to me another guy came over and started talking. Well, actually, he pulled me away from where I was sitting and pretty much asked what a nice girl like me was doing in a dump like that," she giggled.

"Oh, no! Not that old line," Lalique groaned.

"No, he wasn't trying to pick me up. He wanted me to leave Red's, and he meant alone. He said I should go back home to my mama. He said it wasn't the 'right place' for me, and I needed to stick to the Arcade or maybe the art museum or the roller rink. Isn't that funny?"

"Well, that was actually good advice."

"I wouldn't leave and I told him so," Arlene flipped her ponytail with her hand; she looked a little rebellious, especially for her, "I wasn't going to let him tell me what to do. So I moved to a different chair on the other side of the counter. He just shook his head and sat back down to finish his supper. But then this old guy with a green shirt came up and tried to dance with me: he kept yelling 'Valinda McCoy!' and I told him 'That is NOT my name'."

Lalique was trying not to laugh; she had an idea who the old guy was, she'd run into him before herself,

"Did his shoes have taps on dance shoes? And did he do a little buck and wing in front of you to impress you?"

"Yes, that's him! How did you know?"

Lalique rolled her eyes, 

"Yeah, old Taps has been around a long time, harmless, but no, you don't want to encourage him."

"Well, anyway, then Ray--that's his name, Raymond Clifford Nolan--he came over and told this guy Taps that he was my date and he pulled me up to dance. After we were dancing he said that he could see I wasn't going to take his advice, so he'd just have to run interference for me. Said I was stubborn and naive. In fact, he said it like he was irritated; like it was a big pain in the butt for him," she still sounded a bit miffed at the insult.

"So what's this Lochinvar-Oscar the Grouch dude look like?"

A dreamy look came over Arlene's face again and she looked off as she recalled. She listed everything as she saw him in her mind.

"He has these beautiful cool green eyes and his hair is honey blonde. It's long, very long, but clean and it's held back in a tail. He has a little mustache and a goatee. Wide shoulders, long legs, and kind of, you know, narrow at the hips," she blushed a little and then looked doubtful for a moment, "I guess he probably looks a little rough around the edges to most people."

"Uh-oh," Lalique had to smile, "A bad boy. Deliver me from bad boys; I must admit I've fallen for one or two. So did he stay grumpy the whole night or what?"

"No. Well, not completely. He would be nice for a couple minutes and then it was like he'd clamp down on that and be all disapproving or cynical. Like there were two of him, you know, an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? He'd hold me close, but gentle, and then he'd back off, almost pushing me away. It was making me kind of crazy. Funny thing is I think it was making him crazy too. He made me promise never to come back to Red's even with Marcy. So I said I would stay away if he would promise to call me and I gave him my cell phone number--I made him give me his, too."

Lalique chuckled,

"You little minx!"

Arlene laughed, too,

"I had to call and leave messages twice threatening to go back to Red's as soon as I was able before he finally called me back. For a week or so that was all that happened, we talked on the phone. Sometimes we'd text but I prefer to hear his voice...mmm. He kept trying to get me to forget him, but I don't think he could forget me either. I've never asked you to let me have him here for two reasons. one, I know how he might look to the average person and, two; I don't think he'll come. He talks like he and I live on different planets or something and he tells me that he's bad for me. But that's so wrong. Underneath the tough guy image he projects, he's a good man, considerate and self-deprecating. He has a lot of friends, too. No matter where we go he knows someone, a lot of times the server or the bartender, but sometimes the owner. He won't bring me by his house; we meet at various places that he thinks will be okay for me, but we hardly ever have any time alone. He says that's best. We've met at Galaxy Arcade, and Sam's Snappy Service. When we meet at Sam's we go to the park from there if it's daylight. It's romantic at the park, don't you think? Last time we went we stayed until dark and we cuddled on the grass while we looked up at the stars. So, Lalique, what do you think?"

"Hmm, well of course, I've never met him, so it's hard to say. I hate to ask this, but what does he do to make a living?" 

"He's looking for a job, but he also does mechanic work at his home. He'd like to own his own restoration shop someday. That's another thing he says; that I went to college and I need a college man. But he went to a tech school, so I don't see what the difference is."

"There isn't any difference except in his mind. do realize that since he will only meet you in public and won't let you even see his place that he could possibly be married."

Arlene looked shocked,

"Really? I guess I never thought of that, I mean he's still in his twenties and he sure doesn't look like the married type."

"They come in all shapes and ages, believe me. You can be involved with a married man if you want to, of course, but I don't recommend it. And you seen what's happened to me. The thing is the man should be up front about being married at the very least. I'm a hot one to be giving advice to the lovelorn so I'll only say you should be aware and cautious if you want to continue to see him. Ask him outright if he's married and see what he says and maybe make him work a little harder to see you."

Tears came to Arlene's eyes,

"I'm afraid if I put any kind of stumbling block in his way he'll disappear completely. Every time he sees me he says it needs to be the last time. I know what you're thinking, but he's not jerking me around; he's totally sincere, if you heard him you'd know. Evidently he really does think he should stay away from me. But if he does I'll just die. He's a perfect gentleman, too. Sometimes," here she whispered, "Sometimes I wish he wouldn't be so much of a gentleman."

Lalique reached over and patted Arlene's knee,

"You've got it bad, don't you, honey? Okay, here's what we'll do. Will it bother you if I ask John to have someone check out Ray? Just to make sure he's not married or on the lam or anything? Then if he checks out we'll have him over to supper here."

"I thought you wanted John to stay away?"

"Yes, I want him to do that, but if I ask him to do this for me and let me know by phone, he will. And believe me, he'll get the information if there's any to get."

"Okay, I guess I should make sure he's not married. I don't know his address but I know he's renting a house in Crystal Creek."

"I'll call John right away, but I don't think we'll be able to have him over until we get to the new house. Everything is half-packed and all over the place here. I have no idea how long it will take John to get me the information either; I'm sorry if it seems nosy and sneaky, Arlene, but after everything you've told me I can't invite him over without knowing he's okay. I have the twins to think about."

"No, I understand completely. I'm so grateful that were willing to listen to me and that you understand."

Lalique prayed that nothing bad would show up on this Nolan character; Arlene was obviously completely hooked on him.



Sovereign Dark said...

Oh Arlene, I fear for you. Well, something sounds dodgy about Ray. For whatever reason, I'm not thinking 'married'...It's something, though. He could be a good guy, of course..certainly possible. In the least, though, he's terribly insecure.

Sim Girl said...

OH goodness.... he does sound a little flaky this blonde guy lol

Oh I hope nothing bad comes of Arlene. Good on Lalique to call on some resources... even if it may cause a little stir in that pot of hers.

Also sounds a bit like Twilight ahahaha, Woman falling for a man bad for her, he tries to stay away, but can not himself xD!

Lorelei said...

Yes, re "Ray", there's more to come on him...little by little. Yep Sim Girl, a bit like Twilight (and every other good romance in fiction) lol The thing is in books (but not always in real life) women are frequently stirred by the dramatic and the forbidden. In real life you have to consider is this guy gonna take out the garbage without me beating him with a stick? Will he support the family emotionally and financially? (Even if a woman works outside the home, not many want to do the job alone if they have a husband, they expect him to do at least half)

Brianne said...

Oh, dear. That guy sounds like bad news of the worst variety. I can't wait to see this unfold, but I hope Arlene's naive self doesn't get her heart broken.

Sonia said...

He sounds bad...but you never know. He has been a perfect gentleman so far. Sounds like he has feelings for her too. It could work out.
Great like always. Can't wait to read more.

Vee L. said...

I, too, am looking forward to reading more about Ray!