I’d ruled out the nasty rooftops and wasn’t about to consider any place that my family could see us. It was too late at night to go anywhere to eat since I didn’t want her father angry at me. The nearest park was five blocks away which was five too far away from home at the moment. My place wasn’t even considered for the same reason I wasn’t running down a list of open restaurants. The movies make this look so easy – where the heck can a guy get a romantic spot when he needs one?
The point became moot when my phone rang. We were halfway down the fire escape but I knew Tim wouldn’t call unless he thought it important.
"Yeah?" I answered the phone.
"Lisa is up and talking about that guy. Not about leaving or anything but you did want to…"
"Yeah, I did." I interrupted. "I’ll be home in five minutes. Don’t let her get any warm milk."
"Roger." Tim ended the call.
I explained to Crystal on the way down. She merely smiled and said good night. I managed a half decent reply and watched her turn to go to the backdoor of her house. Any other girl I’d have walked home, even just that last few yards. With her, I’d have to rescue anything stupid enough to start the fight – and frankly, I wouldn’t be so inclined.
I jogged home. I still had a bad feeling about Lisa’s guy and I wanted to hear as much as she was in the mood to tell me. Crystal could get tons of info in a few minutes but I needed time. Interrogating your sister never ends well for either of you – a fact I learned the hard way over the years.
Lisa was in the kitchen chatting Tim’s ear off. I noticed she had orange juice and not milk. Good. Warm milk puts her out faster than SleepyTime pills. I tried to be as nonchalant as possible as I wandered in and hit the fridge.
If Lisa noticed me, she didn’t say. I got myself a soda and propped up on the counter. It was no surprise that Lisa was chatting to Tim like that, they were twins, after all. I was just glad she didn’t shut up the instant I walked in.
Four hours went by. How the heck do girls manage to have so much to talk about on a guy they literally just met? With Tim guiding the conversation ever so carefully, she told us how they met (on campus, he ‘ran into’ her at the bookstore), his eye color (gee, that was helpful, Tim), his plans for the future (architect), where he grew up (seems he spent a lot of time out west), who his mother was (Imogene Thompkins, an actress), what his favorite color was (blue and at least Tim didn’t ask that one) and every other imaginable bit of trivia about Mr Thompkins. She hadn’t told us why we shouldn’t beat the guy black and blue but neither of us were actually stupid enough to do it although we’d have both liked to.
The bookstore bit was new. Crystal hadn’t asked how they met, evidently. Tim and I had exchanged knowing looks while Lisa was prattling on about it – both of us had ‘met’ girls that way more than once. The guy attends Julliard so why was he on NYU’s campus? Lisa volunteered that one – NYU had a book he needed. Yeah, right – Mr Perfect hasn’t heard of Amazon? Tim and I had both suspected but now we knew – this guy had set out to meet Lisa.
I’m no Olivier but I did a heck of a performance. Every word was making me angrier. Something guys know that girls don’t get: a guy like that doesn’t ‘just meet’ a girl. It’s a careful, planned attack. This wasn’t gonna end well. Oh, he wasn’t going to physically hurt Lisa – she had five brothers to make danged sure of that – but it sounded more and more like this guy was using my little sister. That guaranteed a heart break in her future; one her big brother couldn’t save her from. It took all my self control not to let her see.
Lisa finally wound down and scurried off to bed. Tim and I didn’t bother to talk – we didn’t need to. He set off for his room and I for my apartment. I could still get a couple hours shut eye before work.
The alarm went off much sooner than I felt it should have. It didn’t feel like I’d slept at all. I was gonna have to seriously think about a night job, I realized as I crawled out of bed.