Ch. 14 Attack of the Zombies

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When they reached the hotel, Beth took a quick shower and changed her clothes. Her shoes were destroyed; the soles resembled old bubble-gum that had been pulled apart in a dozen direction, plus the seams were coming undone. Relieved her shoes (and her pride) were the only things damaged, she put on her jean skirt and a halter top that squeezed her breasts together. Perfect. Her hair was still moist, but she twisted it in a loose braid to keep if off her neck.

It was ten at night, but she had asked Russell if he wanted to join her at the restaurant; she still felt faint and could use the sugar. He was already waiting for her at a table, going over some notes on his pad of paper. He put it away as she approached and even stood to help her with her chair.

Beth nearly swooned again.

"Are you feeling better?" he asked her.

"I was after the shower, but the walk here is making my head spin. Let's see if they have some fruit salad or bagels on the menu." She picked up the menu to check, flipping through the few pages to see if they had their drinks listed as well. How could she get Russell drunk if they didn't play a drinking game? "Are you going to eat anything? I see they also have a nice selection of cocktails."

"I think I'll go with a beer," he said.

A beer? It's a start. The server came by and he ordered first. At Beth's turn she asked for a fresh fruit salad with a muffin, and said she couldn't resist trying a zombie tiki cocktail-light and dark rum, orange liqueur and fresh juice.

Then, when she couldn't finish it, she could ask Russell to help her. Phase one, in progress!

"Some water, too, please," Russell said as the server jotted down their order. She hurried to the kitchen. "Beth, what time do you want to get started tomorrow?"

"You want to talk about work at 10:15, in the evening, Russell? Really? Because I don't. I think it's only fair that you tell me something very personal about yourself, besides where you used to surf and hike. I told you all kinds of things that I don't normally tell people, and now we are uneven in our friendship. You see what I'm saying?"

"Well, I agree that we don't have to talk about work," he laughed. "But just what time are we leaving tomorrow morning? I prefer to organize ahead of time."

"Whatever time you want. Bang on the door and wake me up when you want, I'm easy like that," Beth said. She was trying to weave in suggestive words for spending the night together-were words like 'bang' and 'easy' the right ones? Maybe not, but she wasn't talented in making loaded conversation.

"We can do it like that," he said. The server brought them their drinks and Beth's food.

"Your personal information can be about anything. It doesn't have to be hormones or painful breakups," she said. She would not let him off the hook.

"That's good. My hormones seem to be in order and I'm not currently nursing a broken heart. The last big heartbreak I had was during my freshman year of college when my girlfriend left me for, get this, an older woman."

Beth snorted into her zombie. "Are you serious? You have to watch out for those older women, I'm telling you. Was your girlfriend actually a lesbian?"

"After the fact, she told me she was bi. This other woman simply swept her off her feet. She was a weight lifting instructor at the college and she picked my ex-girlfriend up after she fell and twisted her ankle and carried her to the clinic. So my girlfriend left me and that was my first encounter with a broken heart. Does this count as personal enough? Are we even yet?"

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