Okay I did get involved with Greg, but totally in a platonic sort of way that’s what I kept telling myself. We would go out together to see a movie, or dinner. I let him know way up front that I would not tolerate him putting any moves on me. I thought that alone would be enough for him to drop me but he proved me wrong. He either thought that I was joking, bidding his time, or desperately needed friends. I don’t know but I had stopped guessing.
Shannon was just glad that I was out with someone and not sneaking out of town to have sexual encounters with Ned. My mom sided with her.
My romantic side, on the other hand, was just not satisfied with the situation. It made me even more restless, as if to say, “No, you are not going to settle for this guy, he doesn’t make your heart flutter.” My cynical side was also ganging up on me, leaving only my fragile practical mind to vote for Greg.
Work was picking up though. Melvin had announced that he would be retiring in February, and said he planned to put in a good word for me with the editor and chief. The Chief decided that I was the best one for the news editor job, so he agreed. He just didn’t feel like going through all the applications and resumes. While it would mean higher pay and better benefits, it would also mean longer hours and maybe giving up my reporting for awhile. Which I was fine with. I was tired of interviewing odd people and making a fuss over holiday rituals gone wrong. Melvin gave me the title of assistant news editor until I learned the ropes and he retired. I was satisfied with that.
Melvin assigned me to the city council meeting. I don’t know if it was Melvin’s rare humor poking through, or if it was some sort of penance, but I did it without a word. Melvin did allot me more space than usual so I could say something about Harry retiring, and his career. Which I was happy to do.
Greg gave me a ride to the meeting, which was nice because I didn’t have to park in the parking garage, but behind City hall, which was reserved for the mayor and council members. I saw Harry drive his black caddy into the small parking lot, parking beside Greg’s Jeep. He gave me a stern look which told me he wanted to speak to me after the meeting, and not just for a smoke.
The meeting progressed in the usual fashion with Greg instead of Harry doing most of the mayoral duties. After the meeting adjourned I took Harry’s arm, and we took a stroll out to the back parking lot. I could tell that something was bothering Harry.
“What’s up Harry?” I asked him, as I took the camels out of my purse and lit one for myself.
“I hear you are dating Greg.” He said bluntly, as he took the pack of cigarettes.
“We aren’t dating, we just see each other occasionally.” I couldn’t see the point in lying to Harry.
“Are ya sleepin with him?” This from the mouth of my elder. I would have laughed if the look on his face wasn’t completely serious.”
“No, and I wouldn’t. To tell you the truth Greg isn’t my type Harry. He is just okay to hang out with. Nothing wrong with that.” I told him. He relaxed greatly.
“That’s great, don’t get me wrong Randy-girl, I like the boy, I wouldn’t have supported him if I didn’t, I just don’t want you hurtin’ that’s all.”
I gave him one of my genuine smiles, “Thanks Harry.” I kissed him on the cheek.
“We’d better get back inside, I want you to meet someone.” Harry said sort of excitedly. I then began to wonder what the old codger was up to. I didn’t have to wait long. Greg was standing close to the meeting room doors hotly debating something with a dark haired man. Before I could figure out who the man was, Greg spotted me, He could tell instantly that I had been smoking, which was something he disagreed with totally. This didn’t make for Greg’s good mood, which is probably why he made a grand mistake, and said, “I’m ready to go Miranda.”
Let me pause for a moment to discuss my name. I like my name, Miranda Olivia James. I don’t like being called my name. Everyone, besides my dear grandmother, calls me Randy, and I could forgive her because I was named after her, but it really irked me when someone besides my Grandmother Miranda called me Miranda.
So when Greg issued his order calling me by my formal name and grabbing my arm like an errant child, I suddenly and rather fiercely protested. “Well I’m not Gregory.” I said hotly. “If you are in such an all fire mood to leave, I can get a ride with Harry.” it was Greg’s turn to looked shocked. In the month that we had been seeing each other I had never lost my temper, but right now it was all I could do to control it.
“Fine, get a ride with Harry.” Greg stomped off leaving me with Harry and the man Greg had been arguing with. Harry looked pleased at my spunk, as he introduced, or should I say reintroduced me to Evan Johanson. Evan looked even more pleased with the drama he had just witnessed. I would have said something to wipe the smile off of his face but suddenly words evaded me. There standing before me was the most perfect representative of the males species, or at least that is what my romantic side said at once. Let me just say, that Evan had always had fiercely handsome good looks which made every teenage girl have fantasies, but his looks had only greatened in the last 9 years. His gray green eyes had that twinkle of mischief I knew would be there, and his dark hair which was in a kind of short spiky hairstyle giving him a sophisticated appearance about him, but didn’t overpower his chiseled features. I felt a white hot heat in the pit of my stomach and it started to spread. I now understood, why I had such a huge crush on him way back when.
Harry suddenly found his voice, as he watched my reaction, “Evan, you know Miranda James don’t you? But please call her Randy.” Harry had picked up on why I had snapped at Greg, “Randy-girl, you know the Johanson kid.” Harry’s informal introduction made me smile even brighter.
Evan offered his hand for a causal handshake, but somehow he made it seem like much more. “it’s been a long time Randy.” He said. I swallowed hard, but offered him my sweaty palm. My palms never sweat, oh he was making a mess of me, and I knew I would become a mass of giggles in a minute. This was worse than high school. Where was Shannon when I needed her. At home, waiting for Noel Roberts, the council man to call. She would bust a gut when she found out about the incident with Greg, but it would be all right when I told her about meeting Evan Johanson again.
“I was going to take Evan out to dinner but you can tag along,” Harry said. He then turned to Evan and I heard him say, “See I told you she’s turned into a spitfire, and nice to look at.”
“Yes our hot tempered Randy better watch herself around Greg though, Greg bites back.” I heard Evan say back. I didn’t know what to take of it then, but I passed it off as a stupid comment.
Harry treated us to a good local restaurant, not one of those high priced chain ones, but the quality family owned restaurant with real linen table cloths and napkins. The type of place you could see you face in the silverware. Okay okay, you probably think I don’t get out much, which is pretty much true up until this point. Rick didn’t take me out to a restaurant when we got together or at least since we broke up I should say. Greg, for all that he was worth, spoiled me over the last month. Now this with Harry and Evan was just icing on the cake. I admit it, I got a spot for good food.
The maitre-d put us at a cozy quite table, I assume it was the best, because it seemed Harry frequented this place a lot. Our table was located in a small nook which over looked the rest of the restaurant. I was placed at the with my back against the wall, and was handed a very large very foreign menu, and of course it had no prices on it. I ordered a martini, again hoping for the same effects Tequila had with Greg. Only this time, it was going to have to be much much stronger. Harry and Evan seemed to chat naturally about different things, and I joined in when I knew what they were talking about. Finally Harry excused himself from the table saying that he needed to call Aunt Lindy. I screamed inside my head, why did Harry have to leave me alone with Evan. I probably was part of his master plan, I realized later.
We sat there, pretty much in silence, I didn’t know what to say, after my stomach plummeted to the floor. Evan seemed to be eyeing me up as if trying to decide the best method of conquering me. “So...” I began, not knowing what the hell to say, and I felt stupid because of it, “Why are you home?”
“Holidays, and business.” he said briefly taking a large swallow from his drink. “Visiting the folks.”
I nodded at him. Yup we were out to just a wonderful start. Yes my cynical side was showing it’s ugly head. My romantic side was suddenly tongue tied.
“So what’s it like shacking up with Greg Phillips.” Evan said with out any preamble, and a smirk on his gorgeous mouth.
I realized then why Evan was flirting with me the whole evening, he somehow saw me as one of Greg’s possessions, one in which he wanted. “I’m not shacking up with Greg.” I was very adamant on that point. Greg and I might have shared a few kisses mostly on that first night while I was drunk, but that was it. “We are just friends.”
“Oh really,” He said in mock sincerity. Harry came back to the table cutting off any further conversation on the topic of Greg or our “sex” life. Harry motioned for the waiter to bring the dessert menu, and my mind was occupied with choosing from the German chocolate cake and the tarimisu. But soon my thoughts traveled back to Evan and his insinuations. I felt myself getting very angry very quickly. How dare he assume that Greg and I were an item, and that he could try to make Greg jealous by flirting with me. Suddenly everything he said made me angry, and for the second time that evening I had to reign in my temper.
Harry dropped me off at my apartment, and I thanked him, but didn’t say anything to Evan. Harry could tell I was pissed but didn’t comment on it. I silently thanked him for it. For the love of God why couldn’t I find the right man. If only Harry were 50 years younger my romantic side pleaded, the cynical side told it to shut the hell up.