I did have some dates but inevitably the guy would eventually realize I wasn’t normal and we’d just be friends. My prom date gave me the speech before the prom. Probably just as well – he was making eyes at Cynthia Travis well before the stupid goblins showed up. He took Cynthia home while I slaughtered a half dozen really annoying goblins in the gym rafters. Honestly, I wasn’t all that upset – the goblins were more fun than he was.
I planned to enroll at UCLA – California being far enough from Mississippi that I might at least have a chance of more than three dates before the ‘let’s be friends’ speech. But I got an offer from NYU the same day Daddy got a new job offer from a record company in New York. Kismet or just the usual slayer type weirdness that results in us being where we’re needed – I didn’t know or care. I just knew New York was the place to be.
Daddy passed up a lot of job offers over the years. He didn’t want to move – he always said because he liked the country but the real reason was me. It was hard enough in Tyler where we knew everyone and were close enough for the Mistress to visit but elsewhere it would have been harder on me, at least Daddy thought so. It took me a few days to convince him that it was okay – having my parents in the same huge town as my school was not going to cramp my style.
I wanted to get away from Tyler so I might have a chance at a dating life – I didn’t feel the need to get away from my parents. Sure, they have their hang ups and stuff – who doesn’t? But I’ve always known they love me no matter how weird they get sometimes.
Five weeks later, I got my acceptance letter. Mama and Daddy were in New York finding a place and I was staying with Aunt Belle so I could finish my finals. Two months after that, we closed up the house, climbed in the van and drove away, heading for New York.
It was a Friday morning when we pulled up to the three story brownstone that would be our new home. Daddy bought it with the idea of converting the two upper floors into apartment space, one for me and the other to rent out. I looked at it through the windshield and felt anxious for the first time. It was really happening – and I was now a long way from home.
I climbed out of the van and followed my parents up the steps. The door was old and in need of a few coats of paint. The little foyer was dark but the inside was newly painted, bright and airy. Mama showed me where my temporary room would be. It was nice, a light shade of pink and facing the east with a window that would catch the morning sun. I liked it.
Having dumped what we’d brought in, we started back outside to haul the rest of the stuff in. The moving van pulled up just as we got the next load. Mama and I took things in while Daddy talked to the movers. Then it was just a matter of getting everything in.
I was on my fifth or sixth load when a guy walked across the street and introduced himself. He was tall with sandy blond hair and a thick New York accent. He was dressed nicely – like a man who takes pride in his appearance. He reminded me of a character in an old movie I saw once – a smooth talking detective that worked for some genius guy. He said his name was Jack Scarlotti and that he lived across the street. Next thing I knew, he was helping us unload. And he definitely was a smooth talker – he talked more than I did!
Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely cute and I wouldn’t have minded him asking me out. But Daddy had him pegged instantly. I realized that when Daddy asked for his ‘help’ with something in the back. I stifled a sigh and went to get another box figuring that was going to be the last I’d see of Mr. Jack Scarlotti.
If I’d liked him before, I liked him a lot more when he came back out and kept right on helping with the move and talking to me. Most guys scare off when they meet Daddy but Jack took it in stride. I’d thought he was cute before; now I found him impressive.
He had to leave around 3 that afternoon. It was his birthday and his mom was having a family thing for him. I think he considered asking me – he seemed like he was gonna say something but Mama broke in and announced that we had reservations at some restaurant. I was kinda disappointed but honestly, I was exhausted by then.
We got back late from the restaurant. – too late, it turned out.