26. I Want to Belong to You

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Don't let me lose you/Before there's a chance to begin - Katie Herzig

7:54 p.m. Friday, October 15, 2021

Where had she gone? Why? Is she upset with him? Harry is torn, wanting to chase after her and find out what's happened. Yet the townsfolk have questions.

"How would they make reservations?"

"Who would be in charge?"

"Do we pretend we don't know them?"

"What if a bunch want to come at the same time? We only have four rooms at the All Booked Up."

Harry's head is spinning as he answers as many questions as he can, deferring to Pablo for others. Their hour together had solidified some of the details, but certainly not all of them. Yet the questions keep coming.

"How will we make sure they don't get photographed?"

"More importantly, how will we make sure word doesn't get out? We don't want to become a tourist town with so many people that Sheriff Niki has to hire more deputies."

"Or give out more speeding tickets."

"Or open more fast food restaurants," Bernadette chimes in.

"You mean GOOD QUALITY fast food restaurants," Rosie teases, and the crowd dissolves into laughter as they fold up their chairs to return them to the racks.

After over an hour, the furor dies down, and Harry tries to exit the gym. The need to find Michele has intensified with her continued absence.

"This is awesome, Harry," Ace pats him on the back.

"You'll need to advertise your services better, Ace," Harry comments. "Make sure visitors know you do more than cut hair."

"Of course, H."

"What about the shared baths at the inn, Harry?" Alison inquires.

"I think you could promote it as family-oriented."

The woman grins. "Brilliant!"

"HAWWY!" Paige screams, running to him. Scooping her up, he high fives the girl's father.

Richie shakes his hand, "This will be such a boon to the town, H."

"We really appreciate you," Tam agrees. "It's going to be a change at Ballz."

"You know, Tam," Harry suggests, "Maybe you could put together a regular schedule of events around town. You know, like Monday fencing and Wednesday yoga and of course the bowling leagues. People like to know there are experiences to be had."

"I like that," she hugs him. "I'll do it! We can post it at Brainwash. Oh, and Friday karaoke and poetry slams when there isn't a football game."

"Now you've got it! Plus you might have some different theme nights for Ballz on Saturdays."

"Genius!"

A lumbering Lee wraps his arm around Harry's shoulder and squeezes tightly. "You've got a beautiful soul, my friend." Releasing Harry, Lee grasps Leigh's hand, kissing it gently before leading her away, almost a skip in his step, despite his one metal leg.

"Harry!" Tonya grabs his elbow. "Should Brent and I start to sell other clothing? You know, designer stuff?"

Shaking off his frustration since he recognizes the sincerity of concerns for these people he's come to call friends, Harry patiently answers every question that comes his way, and it's another hour before he's out in the fresh air, waving goodbye to the last of the attendees.

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