Chapter Sixty-six

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Two Peanut Buster Parfaits later, I called it a day. What I wanted wouldn't be found in big apartment complexes. Besides, I couldn't afford even a one-bedroom unit in those places. If my great new job went south, I didn't have the rent money. Maybe living with Mom was the right solution for now. I only wished that my boudoir wasn't the living room sofa.

Claudie dropped me at my serviceable Renault and roared off in a peel of tire tread. I drove back to Chez Swede around 4:30 p.m. to get set for my big date.

My mother bustled around in the kitchen. The Swede messed about in the garage. There were no messages for me. Fair enough. I told my mother that I wouldn't be there for dinner and raced into the bathroom for a shower.

By six-thirty I was perfect—or as perfect as my limited wardrobe could make Mrs. Goddard's only daughter. Oops, currently Mrs. Olaf Lampsen. Suddenly, I longed for the polyester panties and bra set that I'd purchased years ago under duress.

Everything I now owned was utilitarian. Nice but not lacy. So, I opted for the bra that Jimmy hadn't yet seen and jungle print panties. Otherwise, I put on jeans, the blue tank top, and the long rayon shirt I'd worn last Sunday. I didn't exactly hang out of the tank top, but my breasts did bulge up a bit in a sexy fashion. Now all I needed was for Prince Charming to show up.

I waited another half hour while I loaded up my little date purse with the condoms Claudie had given me, money, my phone, a little brush, my keys, some lipstick, and breath mints. I may not have known where we were going, but I had a good handle on chick essentials.

It was now 7 p.m., and Jimmy hadn't called. I dialed his cell but he didn't answer. I left a pleasant message. Blah, blah, blah, have I misunderstood?, blah, blah, blah, call me. Two hours later, the telephone rang. My mother and the Swede were watching television together on the couch. I grabbed the extension in the kitchen.

"Hello?" I said.

No immediate answer.

"Hello?" I said again. I was about to hang up when I heard a voice.

"Paulette, is that you?"


"Sorry I didn't call earlier," Jimmy said. "I got a little tied up. Can you meet me?"

"Sure," I said, knowing it would be difficult to get all snuggly together when you drove separate cars, but I didn't argue.

"Why don't you come to the office," he said.

"Where we work?"

"Right," he said. "Only don't park in the lot. The cops check it a couple a times a night."

"Okay," I said. "I'll find a place on the street."

"You've got a key, right?" he said.

"Can't you let me in?"

"It would be more . . . exciting if you let yourself in," he said.

Oh, now I got it. This was a tryst. If no one knew we were downstairs, no one could interrupt us. Hoping the third time really was the charm, I promised to meet him in fifteen minutes and hung up.

My mother called from the living room. "Was that Jimmy?"

I walked to the doorway of the living room.

"Yes," I said. "I'm meeting him at the office. There's something I promised to help him finish." I almost giggled at my own double entendre. "Then we're going out," I said. "Don't wait up."

My mother blew me a kiss. "Have fun," she said.

If everything went the way I hoped, fun was only the beginning.

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