Charlotte and Sean were gone and the circle was trying to adjust. The focus had turned to the new family who had moved in and Patty was ready to welcome them but she missed Charlotte immensely.
Every other week, the circle had a cook-out at Lisa and Pauls’. The juxtaposition of their house made it more conducive to loud chatter and even louder music.
Lisa, Julie and Patty were on the way to get the usual supplies. While driving past Charlotte and Seans’ house, they all turned to take a nostalgic glance. Lisa was known to have a lead foot and being in a neighborhood didn’t seem to change that fact. Suddenly, Lisa slammed on the brakes with such force, they were nearly thrown through the windshield.
While the car was coming to a stop, she was hitting Patty on the arm while saying “did you see him? Did you see him? Did you see him?”
All Patty could manage was a nod. Patty was sure that Julie must be dead because she seemed to be in the final stage of rigor mortis until she was finally able to mutter “oh, my God. Did you see him?”
Once they gathered their senses, Patty told Lisa that she should probably get out of the middle of the road. Lisa looked at her and said “I don’t think I can drive.” Patty got out and as she was walking around the car, noticed the thick black marks left by Lisa’s tires. She opened the drivers’ door and told her to switch. Lisa said “I don’t think I can move.”
“Yes you can” Patty said. Lisa finally managed to get out and wobble to the other side of the car.
Patty pulled the car over and they sat there, looking at each other like they had gone mute. They must have been sitting there for over an hour, saying nothing until the silence was interrupted by a whistle, which was a signal that Lisa was getting a text from Paul. He was asking where they were. Lisa quickly gathered her composure and asked Paul if he and the boys could stop and get the supplies for the barbecue because they had gotten side-tracked.
Patty managed to get them to Lisas’ house but she wasn’t sure how she did it. Julie was still in the back seat and in her zombie-like state sounded like a scratched record as she kept repeating “oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.”
Lisa made margaritas and they sat down and just looked at each other. Finally, Lisa said “we have to get our wits about us girls. He’s probably just an ordinary man, living an ordinary life.”
Patty said “there is nothing ordinary about that man. I know it and you know it.” Lisa sighed and agreed. Julie still looked like a frozen statue.
He may have been an ordinary man with an ordinary life but his looks were anything but ordinary. He had movie star good looks. The kind of looks that leave you breathless and weak in the knees. The kind of looks you only dream about.
He was tall with broad shoulders and slender hips. He had short-cropped black hair, piercing pale green eyes and full, luscious lips.
The girls all agreed that he was the most hauntingly beautiful man they had ever seen but they also reminded each other that they had husbands.
The boys arrived and started firing up the grill and popping open beer cans. Rick was out of town so Julie was flying solo. It might have been for the best, given the fact that she was obviously still in a state of shock because she just sat there with her mouth open. Lisa finally came over and whispered “close your mouth, dear. You’re going to start catching flies.” Julie started laughing as she said “wow! What the hell just happened?”
Lisa and Patty casually walked over to the boys and asked “have any of you guys met the new neighbors?”
Ted answered “yeah. I did.” Lisa asked where. Ted said “at the Clubhouse.” Lisa said “what are they like?” Ted answered “there is no they. It’s just him.”
Lisa said “well, what’s his name? Ted acted annoyed when he said “I think he said his name was Michael but I don’t remember his last name and I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation.”
Everybody knew that if Ted had a bad round of golf, he wasn’t the most congenial person to be around.
Patty got lost in thought for a minute. Michael. A beautiful man with a beautiful name. A Biblical name. The name of an angel. Not a nickname like she had.
She had been call Pat for years before Ted changed it to Patty. He once said “Pat. What kind of name is that?” He said “it sounds like something you would do to the top of a dogs’ head or to somebodys’ back.”
She snapped back into reality and continued the conversation by asking how old he thought Michael was. Ted looked at her and said “why?” Patty said “I was just wondering.” Ted snarled when he said “I don’t know. I didn’t ask the guy. I guess he’s around our age. Why the interest?”
“No interest” said Patty.
She knew to back off when Ted was drinking because he lost his good manners but she hadn’t backed off soon enough. Ted slammed his beer can down and angrily said “what do you think I am? The fucking neighborhood gossip reporter?”
Paul came over, put his hand on Teds’ shoulder and said “come on, buddy. Calm down. You don’t have to talk to her like that. You know how women are. They’re naturally curious.” Ted said “well, Goddamn. She comes over here and starts asking me all these questions. What makes her think I know anything about that asshole?”
Ted walked over to Lisa and said “I apologize.” Lisa looked at him and said “don’t you think you should apologize to Patty?” Ted just dropped his shoulders and sat down but not before lifting his beer can to Patty as if “toasting” her.
Lisa told Patty not to worry about it. Ted was just drunk. They had all seen it before.
Patty wasn’t worried. She wasn’t thinking about Ted or what he said. She was thinking about Michael.
Lisa said “you know, Ted. Maybe we could invite him to the next barbecue.” Ted again, acting annoyed, said “what? You too?”
Lisa said “Ted. It would be the neighborly thing to do, that’s all.” Ted said “he doesn’t look like our type” and started laughing. Puzzled, Lisa asked him what he meant. He said “I saw him coming off the golf course and he wasn’t even sweating.”
Patty took a chance and hoped she wouldn’t anger Ted even more than she already had, when she asked what that had to do with anything. Ted smirked when he said “I don’t trust a man who doesn’t sweat.”
Patty took a deep breath, smiled and whispered to Lisa, “I bet I could make him sweat.”