The Paperback Edition…
“Say what? What did you just mumble Charlie?”
Abby closed the refrigerator door where she had gone to get more half & half for our coffee.
“I missed what you said.”
“I said… that’s when the night got a tad complicated. Last night…someone said ‘Good-by Charlie’ or ‘Take it easy, Charlie’ or…something like that…I can’t remember exactly…”
“Hannah and I were starting to leave. Then I turned and waved a huge good-by to everyone around me.”
“You know the wave. One of those very tipsy, all encompassing waves that includes the whole room. It was just before last call.”
“How the hell does anyone at Doyle’s know my real name, Abby? Hannah 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, stirred and took a thoughtful sip. Then she took a more thoughtful bite of her eclair.
“Describe how ‘happy’ you and Hannah were 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. It truly was a gift.
“Well…Hannah was driving, so she was a definite one. I was a definite eight.”
“Earlier in the evening, Hannah was singing a lot…along with the band. She really got carried away a couple of times.”
“She was trying to impress the band…prepping for tonight’s amateur night…you know Hannah…”
“Oh…I know…not that practicing will make a difference with that voice. She is persistent though.”
Abby got up to get some tomato juice from the fridge.
“So…is it possible that Hannah may have said your real name at some point…maybe as she was singing, as in c’mon Charlie, sing with me.”?
Abby sat down and looked at Stella who had suddenly paused during one of her many mini baths to look at me. It almost appeared 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 swear that cat understands everything we say.”
I ignored her comment.
“Are you actually expecting me to remember if Hannah used my real name last night?” I answered sarcastically.
“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.