11. Philosopher's Stone

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I'm looking for the silver lining - Van Morrison

4:42 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Her bum looks amazing in yoga pants, and Harry finds that at times he is distracted from whatever pose they should be doing. Patrick nudges him twice, and Harry vows to maintain his focus, but his resolve slips again when his eye catches Michele's bottom.

His mind strays to what Michele had whispered. Who thinks they're a couple? And why would anyone think that? It's not like they have done anything to feed such a rumor....except maybe singing together last Friday. And jogging together in the early morning on Saturday. And playing table tennis at Ballz. And sitting together in church on Sunday -- after which he walked her home. Crud. There was evidence, especially taking into account that they had gone out to Kale Me Now together. And to dinner last night. After which he'd stayed at her townhouse.

Blimey. No wonder people think they're dating.


5:27 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021

There's no way Harry can leave with the family. Michele needs to be seen taking Patrick and Phoenix home for dinner, and Harry should go eat somewhere else. Rumors in small towns have a way of ramping up once people are talking about them. They should squash this one right away. After all, Harry is leaving in a little over a week. The residents of Nowhere need to chill until then.

On the trail of the thought comes sadness. The last few days have been fun hanging out with Harry. Having to give that up because of some stupid gossip is unfair. Maybe they should feed the scandal until he leaves. Might spice things up in her world. On the other hand, did she really need everyone's eyes on her these days just as she's trying to get settled into something that resembles normal?

Rolling up her yoga mat, Michele tries to signal to Harry that he should leave separately from the Moore family. Glaring at him doesn't work, though. Nor does "accidentally" kicking him. Standing next to Patrick, Harry smiles at everyone, nodding to a few people he recognizes and shaking hands with those who are new to him. Michele tilts her head back, examining the ceiling as she blows air from her lungs in exasperation.

"Well, we better get home now," she begins. "Patrick, I've got lettuce wraps to prepare tonight if you want to join us."

"I love those, Aunt Chele! Harry, you should come try them. They're amazing!"

Michele wants to scream at Patrick's very polite invitation. No. No. No. They do not need to add more fuel to the fire.

"They're not vegetarian," she pounces on the excuse, relieved to have found a way out of everything.

"I thought you bought tofu. You could use that in his version," Phoenix chimes in.

Grrr....Yet she doesn't know how to be cruel, so when Harry says, "That sounds delicious. Do you mind?", she responds as she's been raised.

"Of course you're welcome to join us, Harry." Inside, she's screaming at him to make other plans. Her telepathy skills aren't working apparently, as Harry pulls on his coat and stands with his hands in his pockets, waiting patiently.


5:39 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Patrick is on the phone with his mom, and it doesn't sound positive to Michele's ears. "Yes. I know we said we would do more as a family now that you and Dad are back. You didn't want to go to yoga though." There's a pause, and Michele eavesdrops, trying to discern her sister-in-law's tone from the muffled sounds she can hear. "But Aunt Chele is making dinner. Can't we stay?" Patrick's frustration comes through in a whine.

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