Keith settles in back home

Keith-&-LesliMeanwhile, Keith refilled Helen’s glass. Poured himself a round. They gossiped about the gang. Luis, both agreed, was going to one day get his neck in a wringer. If Esme didn’t shoot him first. Sam was coming along as one hell of a talent. But had an almost scary tolerance for partying.

Lola, a refreshing, kindred spirit to whom Helen easily related, was smart, brassy with a sensitive side and, in general, a lot of fun. Sherry was a bit of an enigma, an agreeable soul albeit with a reserved disposition.

Faith, who’d been in good shape to replace Lesli, had a self-sorry streak. Yet she was vibrant with a quick wit, sardonic sense of humor, sharp as a tack. An engineering wiz who, once Richie’d taught her enough, would move on somewhere as head honcho.

His flight was announced. “Darlin’, see y’ soon.” He stood.

She stood and kissed him. “Gonna miss hangin’ with y’.”

“Miss you too, girl. Hell, won’t be that long.”

“Give my love to Lesli.”

“Will do.” She gave him a great big hug. Abruptly broke it, wheeling around when someone tapped her on the shoulder, some stranger holding a pen and pad who didn’t think to respect the fact that she clearly was in the middle of a personal moment.

Helen glared. That glare of hers that would wilt steel. The startled woman quite sensibly stepped back. Uncharacteristic of her, Helen pushed past, grabbing Keith by the arm and walking him to his gate.

They heard behind them, “Stuck up witch.” Helen tried to ignore it, but Keith could see it stung. Without looking back, he flipped the broad the bird. “Yeah,” the woman hollered, “up yours too, buddy!”

They kept going. At the gate she gave him another sweet, squeezing hug, another kiss, and they parted. He’d completely forgot to ask was she married.

He got on the plane, very grateful no one had the first idea he played music with a movie star. And before it even left the ground, the adult soda pop having snuck up on him, he sacked out in his seat.

When he arrived at the apartment, turning his key in the door, Keith had to steel himself. He stepped in and, to his relief, though Lesli wasn’t there he could tell she had been. Her scent was in the air. He breathed it in.

The refrigerator had been raided and, true to form, she wasn’t going shopping until she absolutely had to. If then. Wasn’t much more in there than scraps.

He went into the bedroom and saw what she had done to reclaim her domain. On dresser, beside his Aramis, English Leather, Canoe and Chaz were bottles upon rows of bottles. If there was an ungodly expensive, sexy-sounding smell-good in a cute spray-glass, Lesli Hall had some.

The left top drawer contained a thousand bras if it held one. Below that, he’d never had any idea how many different colors, sizes and shapes panties came in. The bottom drawer was filled with hose and half-slips – her full slips hung in his closet along with dresses, skirts, blouses, suits and such.

Half his clothes were moved to the hall closet. It was a good thing he didn’t go in much for shoes. Couple pair of sneakers, sandals, pair of boots and he was good, prepared for any eventuality.

He looked in the bottom of the closest and wondered how Lesli would ever have time to wear all these shoes. He looked on the closet doors where she had re-hung those shoe storage racks on each. Well, he figured, she won’t never have to worry about going barefoot.

In the living room, a silver urn engraved “Bruno” in stylish cursive script sat in the exact spot where the poor guy had tried to escape Butch and Sundance, balefully staring at them as they cried and whined for him to come down and be tormented.

Speaking of the little devils, they were curled up asleep on the sofa in a rare moment of peaceful repose, resting before getting back to raising as much hell as possible and then some.  He thought of getting his water gun and disturbing them just for the sake of dishing out some of what they gave.

Unless he closed the bedroom door, he counted on having his slumber disrupted by their antics intermittently through the night, a favorite being to run up and down his body like it was a racetrack.


Next week: Back in each other’s arms

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.