Welcome to the Love World of Reason…
Seeing Louise sends me into a panic so I rush to the backroom. I text Michelle so she can take Louise’s table. “Jerry what the hell was that?” Jonny asks.
“What do you mean?” I say, trying to sound confused.
“You ran in here like someone was chasing you.” Jonny says angrily, “Did you even greet that customer that just walked in?”
“Uh, yeah, yeah I did.” I lie, “Look Jonny, to be honest, I’m really not feeling well. I think it’s probably better if I just hang out back here.”
“Hang out?” Jonny says, “I wasn’t aware this was a hang out spot.”
“I mean, I can help out back here.” I say annoyed, “I just don’t think it would be a good idea if the customers see me coughing and sneezing.”
“But you’re not coughing or sneezing.” Jonny says looking at me strangely.
“Acho.” I say pretending to sneeze, “Yeah it comes and goes.”
Jonny rolls his eyes and walks away.
“Seriously?” Michelle walks into the backroom, “Could you have made that anymore obvious?”
“Did she see me?” I say, “Did she say something?”
“You’re like a little boy who has a crush on his teacher.” Michelle says, “Get it together Jerry.”
“I know, I know.” I say, “Damnit.”
“Just go talk to her.” Michelle says, “Or just pretend like you’re her server and see if she even recognizes you.”
“Or…” I say. “I’ll hang out back here until she leaves… Tell me when she leaves okay.”
“I will do no such thing.” Michelle says as she walks back to the front of the café.
I straighten things up in the backroom and do some of the chores I would normally do before clocking out. All the while peeking to see what Louise is doing. Michelle is right, I need to get a grip. If Louise really has moved to Blanca, I can’t possible hide out here every time she comes into the café.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1!” Louise screams, “Jerry ready or not here I come.”
I can hear Louise running, she giggles as she looks for me. She won’t find me here. I picked the best hiding place. I always do.
“Jerry.” Louise screams, “I give up come out!”
Louise always gives up after a few seconds of not finding me.
“Jerry.” Louise says, “C’mon. No fair come out.”
I wait a few minutes then run out to Louise and say, “Told you, you wouldn’t find me.”
“How come you find all the good hiding places?” Louise asks.
“Cause I’m good at hiding.” I say.
“Louise, Jerry come inside, lunch is ready.” My dad screams to us from inside the house.
“Beat you to the door.” I say as I take off running.
“Hey, no fair.” Louise says, “Wait up.”
“Told you I would beat you to the door.” I say to Louise once we get inside.
“I thought you said you were my boyfriend now.” Louise says.
“Yeah, so?” I say.
“Well boyfriends are supposed to let girlfriends win sometimes.” Louise says pouting.
“Nu huh.” I say, “Who told you that?”
“I just know, okay.” Louise says.
“Well you’re wrong.” I say.
“Oh yeah?” Louise says, “Let’s ask my mom.”
“Mom.” Louise says, “Aren’t boyfriends supposed to let girlfriends win sometimes?”
“Yes that is right Lou Lou.” Louise’s mom, Raina says.
“Told you!” Louise says.
“Dad, mom are boyfriends supposed to let girlfriends win sometimes?” I ask.
“No, sir that isn’t true.” My dad says, but then he looks at my mom and says, “Ah actually son, that, that is true.”
I look at Louise and our moms and they are smiling from ear to ear; my dad and Louise’s dad are shaking their heads and also smiling. “It looks like all the girls think it’s true and all the boys are doing what the girls say.” I say.
“And if you want to be a happy boyfriend you will do the same.” Louise says and we all laugh.
“Hey Jerry, how’s it going?” Mike says.
Mike is a new server, “Hey Mike. What you doing here so early, I thought you were working the evening shift?”
“Jerry, it’s like 4 o’clock.” Mike says laughing, “What are you putting in that coffee of yours huh?”
“Man, I didn’t realize it was so late.” I say.
“Jerry, let’s go.” Michelle says, “Time to clock out.”
“You aren’t allowed to leave until you are finished all your work.” Jonny says rudely.
“Jerry did it all.” Michelle says, “Every last chore, and he even started some of the evening shift chores.”
“You did?” Jonny asks me.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I say looking around.
I must have been really distracted, thinking about Louise. “See, there you go.” Michelle says, “Goodnight everyone. Jerry Let’s go now!”
“What’s the rush?” I say once we get in the car.
“I did some snooping.” Michelle says, “I spoke to Louise, it’s definitely her.”
“What?” I say, “What did she say? How do you know for sure? Did she say something about me?”
“Why don’t we wait till we get home, then we can talk.” Michelle says.
I want to protest, but I can tell by Michelle’s tone she isn’t going to budge. Now I’m thinking all kinds of things. What could Louise have possibly told Michelle? What could Michelle have possible told Louise? I hope she didn’t mention my name. Finally we pull up to the apartment, “Okay.” I say, “We’re home. Tell me.”
“Go take a shower.” Michelle says, “I’ll be right over.”
“Damn Michelle.” I say as I get out of the car. I rush upstairs to take a shower. My nerves are building with each passing moment. After I get out the shower Michelle is waiting for me on the couch. She’s made tea. This can’t be good.
“At first I wasn’t sure if I should ask…” Michelle starts then hesitates, “But she was so friendly so I felt comfortable talking to her.”
“Ohhkkaay” I say trying to be patient.
“First I asked her, what brings her here.” Michelle says, “You know, to Blanca and she says she’s visiting. She’ll be leaving in a couple of months.”
“Okay, that’s good.” I say, but I’m not sure if I really think that’s a good or not.
“She decided to come here, because she’s a writer and she needed a quiet place to get inspiration.” Michelle says.
“A writer?” I say. I never saw that coming. Louise was never good at writing. Science was her best subject. I’ve always imagined her as a doctor or a professor at some fancy university. “What else did she say?”
“I asked what her name was to see if I had heard of any of her books.” Michelle says, “She then told me that her name is Louise, but has a pin name: Liliana Carr.”
“Wait, wait.” I say, “Liliana Carr?”
“When I asked if it had some special meaning, she hesitated then told me her high school sweetheart’s last name was Carr.” Michelle says.
“My last name is Carr.” I say absentmindedly.
“Yeah, I know.” Michelle says sarcastically.
“Oh right.” I say, “So what else happened?”
“I asked her why she decided to use that name and she said it’s because it was after her high school sweetheart broke her heart that she started writing.” Michelle says quietly.
“I don’t understand.” I say.
“The way she described it, you breaking up with her gave her the inspiration to write.” Michelle says, “From the pain of the breakup came a bunch of wonderful works of art. She’s actually really famous. Well, her writing is.”
“I’ve never heard of a Lilian Carr.” I say.
“You don’t read Jerry.” Michelle says, “She’s famous to people who actually read novels and poems.”
“So wait, you know her work then?” I ask.
“I actually own a bunch of her work.” Michelle says, taking out a stack of books and putting them on the table.
“This is all her?” I ask, “Louise?”
“Yeah. There’s a lot more, but this is all I have.” Michelle says. “It’s mostly romance novels.”
“Oh.” I say. I’m not really sure what else to say.
“But Jerry, almost all the novels have a sad ending.” Michelle says, “You really hurt her.”
“Thanks Michelle.” I say.
“Sorry.” Michelle says, “But anyway that’s not all.”
Wonderful, there’s more. “What is it?” I ask.
Michelle whispers, “She’s married Jerry.”
As a refresher I’ve included the links to all the parts to Louise!