It wasn’t so bad, living at home while working full-time. I biked to the garage, or took the bus in bad weather. I was able to put some money aside, even after paying my stepmother’s rent. I didn’t do anything foolish, like buy a car, or a new stereo. The money I saved could be used to go to college next year. Uncle Ray gave me some good advice, too.
My ex-girlfriend, Anne, was showing signs that she might be interested in getting back together. I wasn’t so sure. I mean, she was the one who had broken it off … if we started dating again, how long would it be before she remembered why she had dumped me in the first place?
Besides, I was pursuing a few other options. No, not Sam. Meanwhile, Marty was still ‘courting’ Caroline, at his own glacial pace.
– “I think you need to see her more than once or twice a month, Marty.” I told him. “Have you even been out with her alone, yet?”
– “All in good time.” he said.
He dragged me out with him several more times to see the sisters. We ‘dropped in’ on them again, took in another movie, and – to my horror – an antique auction.
The next time we went over, it was to find that Sam had dyed her hair. Brown.
– “She thought it would make her look smarter!” howled Tanya. She was clutching her stomach, bent over double. “She said she didn’t want to be a dumb blonde anymore! Ah! I’ve been laughing for days – it’s killing me!”
– “I think it looks very nice.” insisted Caroline.
Sam had her arms crossed, but the expression on her face was easy to recognize. She was so vulnerable, at that moment – I could have slaughtered her with a word.
– “You look … so different.” I said. Sam bit her lip.”I never imagined you as a brunette.” I added. “You look good.”
The odd thing was … I couldn’t tell her the truth: somehow, she did look smarter. Maybe it was just because she looked so different from the blonde ditz I had become accustomed to. Or maybe it just highlighted how pretty her face was. Damn – I wasn’t going to say that.
Sam seemed happy enough with my answer.
A few weeks later, Marty persuaded me to invite the sisters to my cousin Ronnie’s Christmas bash. It was guaranteed to be loud, and fun. There would be plenty of opportunity for Marty to be alone with Caroline.