Chapter 18: When All Else FailsÖ
"Are you sure this is the right way?" asked Anne.
"Of course," said Badge. "You think Iíd rather stay on the boat for the weekend?"
"Not really," said Anne. "You might want to consider how muchÖ"
"Nah," said Badge. "The line pays for it."
"Oh really?" asked Anne. "Whyís that?"
"They like to keep their captains happy so they donít crash into anything," said Badge. He walked up to the desk and spoke briefly with the clerk. The clerk handed him a key and Anne and Badge walked off to their room.
"Itís not that big a deal," said Julie. "Heís obviously crazy about her, they have been seeing each other for a year and four months, and besidesÖ"
"Itís not that," said Greg. "It just that, sheís our little sister. She shouldnít be getting marriedÖ"
"Who are we to decide that?" asked Julie. "I know itís hard to see her grow up, but it happens."
"Iím just kind of leery about marriage anymore," said Greg.
"Understandably so," said Julie. "You thinking about getting remarried?"
"Not right now," said Greg. "I think that this might take a bit of time to get over."
"Well," said Julie, "donít make it too long."
"Whatís that supposed to mean?" asked Greg.
"Nothing," said Julie. "Just keep your mind open."
"So why this guy?" asked Angie.
"I could ask the same of you," said Carrie. "But I like the way he is. Heís sweet, generous, and he is absolutely crazy about me. He doesnít even look at other women." She took a drink of her soda. "So why are you seeing Greg?"
"He needs someone more than he thinks," said Angie. "He doesnít know how to care about himself."
"Huh?" asked Carrie.
"He was that way when I found him," said Angie.
"Hey," said Carrie, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure," said Angie. "Go ahead."
"Your fur is ahhÖ" she stammered.
"Unique?" said Angie. "My Dad was a fox and mom was a raccoon."
"That would explain it," said Carrie. Bill walked back to the table holding a plate of food and sat down next to Carrie.
"I have no idea if this is a good idea," said Bill, "but I just have to have some garlic bread."
"Iíve always wondered that about you," said Carrie. "Youíre always eating garlic. Youíre not Italian are you?"
"Nope," said Bill, picking up the first piece. "Pure Australian."
"Right," said Carrie. "You know I wonít kiss you with that on your breath." Bill leaned over and gave her a peck on the cheek.
"No, but Iíll still give you one," said Bill.
"You guys make a cute couple," said Angie.
"The same could be said about you and Greg," said Carrie. "Youíre really lucky to have him."
"What do you mean?" asked Angie.
"I mean heíll always be true, and heíll never try to play mind games with you. Heís very straightforward and when he falls for someone, he falls hard."
"Iíll believe it," said Angie. "There they are now." Julie and Greg walked back into the bar shaking their wet fur as they walked in.
"Man," said Greg. "That was horrid."
"Oh yeah," said Julie. "That rain is freezing."
"Itís only going to get worse," said the bartender.
"Anyone remember to bring an umbrella?" asked Bill.
"I donít know what youíre concerned about," said Carrie. "Youíre naturally waterproof."
"Oh yeah," said Bill. "I guess that does come in handy."
"A normal family," said Greg. "Thatís all I ask!"
"Too late for that," said Carrie.
"I suppose that youíre right," said Greg. "Hey Bill," asked Greg, "who was that kangaroo you came in the bar with?"
"Oh thatís Jeff," said Bill. "I think he went back to the hotel, or picked up a girl, or something."
"Knowing Jeff," said Carrie, "heís probably at your hotel room with someone."
"Iím not going back there then," said Bill. "Iíll just stay in your room."
"What about Jen?" asked Julie.
"Hey, where is Jen?" asked Carrie. "You donít suppose..."
"Oh, jeez," said Bill. "I wouldnít doubt it. Iím not even going to go find out."
"Itís probably safer for all of us that way," said Julie.
ĎThis weather is miserable," said Marita.
"True enough," said Geno. "Is that the place?"
"Yes," said Marita. "I need to do something for Greg before I leave for Europe."
"Whatís that?" asked Geno.
"A going away gift," said Marita. She opened her laptop and plugged in the phone line. She began typing and soon her fingers became a flurry.
"It amazes me that you havenít gotten carpal tunnel yet," said Geno.
"Me too," said Marita. She pressed the enter button and waited a few seconds. She then punched a few more buttons and closed the case. "Ready?"
"What did you do?" asked Geno.
"I just left him a bit of change to peddle around with," said Marita.
"Howís that?" asked Geno.
"I just died," said Marita. "And I had a sizable insurance policy in Gregís name."
"Ah," said Geno. "You still going by the same name then?"
"No, its just Marita now," she said. "I donít exist anymore anyway."
"Ah," said Geno. "Iíd enjoy having lunch with a ghost."
"Is that an offer old man?" she asked.
"Yep," said Geno. "I know a good place around here."
"Better make it quick," said Marita. "Itís starting to rain."
"So after we had drank all the Zima," said Bill, "someone yelled really loud ĎHey letís play with these lawn darts!í"
"I can only imagine what happened next," said Greg. "My college was never like that."
"Thatís because you went to a boring college," said Carrie. "I personally had tons of fun being the foreigner."
"You still have another year, girlie," said Greg.
"So does Bill," said Carrie.
"So married after college?" asked Angie. "Good plan."
"It usually is. That way we can see if we can stand each other."
"Such confidence," said Julie. ĎIím sure itíll all work out."
"Mrs. Foxx," said Vince, "Will you please tell me where your daughter is?"
"No, Vince," said Mrs. Foxx, "Iím not telling you. If she wanted you to know, she would have told you."
"Fat lot of help you are," he muttered. Vince turned and stalked out the door. He reached in his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed a few numbers and spoke into it.
"Anthony? This is Vince. I need you to check on something for me..."
"So whatís it like?" asked Julie. Greg shook out his fur again.
"Itís worse now, but it is warmer," he said. "I did manage to grab an umbrella or two from a street vendor, though."
"When you say grab," began Julie.
"I bought them," said Greg. He handed one Bill, another to Julie, and held the last for himself. "Ready?"
"Where are we going?" asked Angie.
"Depends," said Greg. "We can either spend the night on the ship, or we can get a room."
"I already have a room," said Carrie. "My fiancé and I will be sharing it."
"Iím staying on the boat," said Julie. "All my stuff is there anyway."
"Good idea," said Greg. "You guys want us to hail you a cab?"
"Nah," said Bill. "Weíll walk. Itís only a block or two away."
"Okay," said Greg. "Weíll see you later."
"Bye now," said Carrie. "Iíll call you when I get home."
"Dear lord," said Julie, "youíre not going to take him to meet mom and dad are you?"
"Why shouldnít I?" asked Carrie.
"Youíve forgotten about every guy that you brought home?" asked Julie.
"Oh, dadís in his 60ís now, he wouldnít do that. Would he?"
"He would try," said Greg.
"Mind if I ask what?" said Bill.
"Arm wrestling," said Greg.
"Iím up for it," said Bill. "Iíll be sure to wipe the floor with him."
"Right," said Greg, rolling his eyes. "See you guys later."
"Take care," said Carrie, as her and Bill walked of into the rain.
"Nice couple," said Angie. "I wonder where she stores all that perky."
"In her quills," said Greg. "Itís got to be in the quills."
Julie walked down the hall and threw herself at her bed. At least tonight she didnít have to share the room with Anne. She snored anyway. She picked up her book and began reading, only to put it back down again and walk up to the door.
"Donít do anything I wouldnít do!" she cried after Greg and Angie as they walked down the hall.
"What do you suppose she meant by that?" asked Greg.
"I dunno," said Angie. "You taking the couch?"
"Sure," said Greg. "Itís off the floor where you wonít fall on me in the morning."
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