22. All of Your Life (You Need Love)

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You've been searching for it all of your life. - Backstreet Boys

9:58 a.m. Thursday, October 14, 2021

"I know you aren't open yet," Harry tells Pablo at the door of Luigi's, "but I've got a proposal for you."

The man's eyebrows raise as he stands at the entrance to his restaurant. "What kind of a proposal?"

"Business," Harry states, and the man swings the door open wide, allowing the celebrity entry.

"My office is this way," Pablo makes a sweeping gesture to indicate Harry should proceed him.


10:14 a.m. Thursday, October 14, 2021

The bell rings at the door of Subtext, and Michele looks up from repairing a few of the children's books. Upon spying Tonya, she returns to her project, certain the busty woman seeks Christopher.

The sound of high heels on the wood floor doesn't materialize for several seconds, and when Michele does hear the shoes, they are descending the four steps to the library. Startled, she misaligns the page she's been working on, silently cursing. Whether the sailor talk is about her work or her visitor, she couldn't say. Both are upsetting.

"Michele?" Tonya softly asks, and this time the library/baker takes a deep breath and gives the woman her full attention. "Can we talk for a minute? Or maybe later? You know what? I could buy you lunch if you're okay with that. Luigi's? 11:15?"

"Um....sure. I guess." The words sound meek and timid, but Tonya doesn't pay attention anyway. She's halfway up the steps on her way out of Subtext.

Shaking her head, Michele refocuses her attention on the binding of the next book. Within seconds, she's put the book back down on the counter as she stares at the main door to the library and bookstore. What in the world is this about? No way to tell until lunchtime, so she searches for something less intense to fill her time until the mysterious meal with the other woman.

As she shelves books in the 176s, her mind attempts to tease out the reasons why the owner of the clothing store would want to talk to her, but nothing comes to mind.


11:08 a.m. Thursday, October 14, 2021

"Thanks for your time, Pablo, and for making this happen. I'm not sure what the response will be, but it's worth a try," Harry shakes the man's hand.

"Harry, if anyone can produce the results, it's you," the mayor pats the celebrity on the back. "I'm behind you the whole way."

That's part of what Harry is afraid of. The town needs a bold leader. Can Pablo step out in front so that the plan can take off and grow? Or will he simply fold once Harry leaves town? Only time will tell, but perhaps there's someone who could act as backup? Maybe he could approach Liz? She wants to be mayor. But would that be pitting the two against each other?

It's too much to consider. Not paying attention, Harry runs smack into a soft warm body.

"Oh. Harry! Hi," breathes Tonya. "I didn't expect to see you here today. Otherwise, I would have...." Biting her lip, she stops talking just as the door opens and Michele walks in, nodding to Tonya.

Confusion sweeps through Harry. What's going on here? These two? Together?


11:13 a.m. Thursday, October 14, 2021

"Oh, Harry! I, um, didn't see you there. Are you joining us?" Michele asks, curious as to whether Harry is the planned topic of conversation with the ginger-haired woman.

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