Standing in the middle of the floor, it took a moment for Lesli to recover from Keith ordering her out of his apartment. She cocked her head to one side, looking at him curiously. “I’m not walking out of here in the same clothes. You don’t mind if I borrow a pair of your pants?”
She pulled off a hanger what she knew was one of his favorites, a well broken-in pair of jet black 501’s. She shrugged her hips into his jeans. He was fit to be tied.
“Keith,” she said, “do you really think, after how you hurt me, all it’d take is giving me some love to bring me back? Not that it’s not good love, but did you figure that’s all it’d take? You took your sweet time committing. And for all I know, you’re still not serious.
“I’ll tell you this,” she continued as she zipped up his jeans, “I’m not going to just pick up where we left off, all happy and glad as hell to have you no matter what. Frankly, I’m not so sure anymore how much I want a man who couldn’t make up his mind about me. But, can’t we at least still be friends? Start from there?”
She had the nerve to hand him a transparent kiss-off. “Lesli,” he quietly said, “go to hell.”
“Suit yourself.” She took a Mets t-shirt out of the top dresser drawer. “Be a sweetie, will you? Drop my suit off at the cleaners and have them deliver it?”
You just want me to do something to you, Keith fumed to himself, and said, “If you don’t leave this minute, I will put you out in that hallway myself. Am I clear?”
“Oh, Keith. Don’t be like that, baby.”
He glared. With that she was out of the bedroom, down the corridor and on the other side of the door in no time flat. When the door closed, he threw the drink against the wall after all. Got ready to grab something else and throw it when Butch came scrambling out from wherever, wondering what was wrong.
“Where’s your brother?” As if on cue, Sundance sauntered in, gave Keith a passing glance and went to grooming Butch. Keith grabbed a guitar, sat down in the living room and put the television on. Hadn’t the first idea what was playing and didn’t give a damn. He just sat there, fingering the strings and glaring at the screen.
At length, he got it together enough to throw himself into housework. Washed every surface he could find, then went back over it with Lestoil. Opened the windows and let air flow. Swept, vacuumed. All while cussing out Lesli Hall to beyond her whole family’s next generation.
Finally he just sat there, still fuming. He shut his eyes. And saw a vision of Lesli. He opened his eyes. “Damnation!” Leaped to his feet and began prowling the place. “I am so sick and tired of thinking about that woman.”
He stopped. Where the hell had he put Kisa’s phone number? He looked so hard for it he found everything else but the damned business card. He consoled himself: “It’ll turn up.”
He fed Butch and Sundance. Poured them fresh water. Drew back his fist to punch the refrigerator door and saw the card, held on the door by a Mr. Met magnet. Thinking, Stupid, had you hit this fridge and broke your wrist, how long would you be out of work? Lesli Hall may turn out to be the best thing that had ever happened to him, but he’d be damned if he was going to ruin his career over her. She’d got in her last tag. Okay, fine. He snatched the card down. Dialed.
Her assistant answered: “Ms. Mathews’ line. May I help you?”
“Hi. Please ask Kisa to call me?”
“Yes, sir. Your name?”
“Keith Jackson. I’m sorry. Tell her it was Keith.”
“Would you hold?”
He held. Kisa came on the line. “Hi!”
“Hi back atcha. There’s this nice spot down in Chinatown. They cook a mean plate of hot and spicy. Sound good?”
“When’s the next time you’re free?”
He heard her catch her breath. Hard. She played it off. “Sometime around the 32nd of Juvember. Keith, is this a booty call?”
“Which would work. Just tell me. Which evening?”
“What you doing tomorrow afternoon?”
“Having a late lunch with you. Just tell me where.”
He told her.
Next week: Lesli meets Kisa and the chemistry’s not good.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.
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