Chapter 25

“Say what?  What did you just mumble Charlie?”

She closed the fridge door where she had gone to get more half & half for our coffee.

“I missed what you said.  Cream?”

Abby added a little roll to the butter on her plate.  And she doesn’t ever gain one ounce.  Her and Stella.  Two of a kind.  I gain weight buying butter!

“I said, that’s when the night got complicated.  Someone last night, someone at Doyle’s knows my real name.  Someone said ‘Good-by Charlie’ or ‘Take it easy, Charlie’ or something like that.  Hanah and I were starting to leave.  Then I waved a huge good-by to everyone around me.

You know the wave.  One of those very tipsy waves that includes the whole room.  It was just before last call.

How the hell does anyone at Doyle’s know my name?  Hanah and I have been so careful.”

Abby was still standing with the half & half container in one hand.  She sat down,  added cream to her coffee and took a thoughtful sip.  Then she took a more thoughtful bite of her eclair.

“How ‘happy’ were you and Hanah last night on a scale of one to ten.  Ten being really, really happy but still conscious.”

She gave me one of those piercing “I am not in the mood for BS looks that is going to work so well for her when she has kids.  Her mom could do the same look.  So could mine.  A gift.

“Well.  Hanah was driving, so she was only around a one.  I was a definite eight.  Earlier Hanah was singing a lot.  She really got carried away.  She was trying to impress the band.  Prepping for tonight’s amateur night.”

“So.”  Abby got up to get some juice from the fridge.  “Is it possible that Hanah may have said your real name at some point, maybe as she was singing, as in ‘C’mon Charlie, sing with me.”?

She sat down and looked at Stella who had suddenly paused during one of her mini baths to look at me as if  she was waiting to hear what I was going to say.

“I can’t wait to hear this story,” mumbled Stella.

“Why is Stella looking at you like that? sputtered Abby.  “Honest to God, Charlie, I think that cat understands everything we say.”

I ignored her comment.

“Are you really expecting me to remember if Hanah used my real name last night?” I answered.

I was flat-out drunk and that’s being charitable.  Of course she could have used my real name.  Hell, I could have used my real name.”  I reached over and scratched  Stella under her chin.

“Good answer.”