A FIRESIDE CHAT: WHERE'S THE BEEF (Part 5)
I went upstairs as quietly as possible and put on a pot of coffee. Why, I asked myself, did I ever mention breakfast to Clint? It was bad enough having to make coffee and risk waking up everyone, but the smell of English Muffins in the toaster, is hard to disguise.
Using the kitchen after ten and before seven in the morning was frowned upon and could be considered a violation of "quiet time" rules. I was in enough trouble already with the bitch from hell that lived above me. I didn't need any more.
As I was about to leave the kitchen, Jon, the JFK School of Government student on the fourth floor, stuck his head around the kitchen door.
"I thought I smelled something good, what's this?"" Raising one eyebrow, he said, "Hmm. A carafe of coffee, 2 mugs, English Muffins, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Smuckers Preserves, and Reese's Peanut Butter. Looks like YOU'VE got company."
"Yeah," I kidded, "you know how it is. Once and awhile you get lucky. Now if I can just wake him up . . . "
Looking me up and down he said, "That shouldn't be difficult . . . too much to drink?"
"Something like that."
"Here, let me carry that my suite-mate . . ."
Jon loved the double entendre. He was a relief from all the dorm's usual stuffiness--the kinda of guy you felt you could say anything around and it's be okay.
Making it down the stairs without spilling anything, he waited for me to unlock my door before handing me the tray. "See you around," he whispered peeking in at Clint on my sofa, "have fun. and if you don't, come up and see me."
* * * * * * *
"I wondered where you went," Clint said looking relieved.
"Our kitchen is on the second floor."
"Yes. Lived in dorm like that once . . . found your bathroom out in the hall. Saw the keys behind the door and helped myself. Hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. Now come. Let's have some breakfast."
Pulling the fireside chair up to the table he reached across and took my hand. "This is so nice Kate. Not used to all the drinking. It took its toll. Tell me I'm not imposing."
I assured him he wasn't and watched his eyes scan the room, as he took a bite of his toast and a sip of coffee.
"Damn Kate, I can't get over this place. It's beautiful!"
"Thanks. It's really only one big living room and a tiny spare room, but because of the tall ceilings and all the built-in's, it was easy to decorate in a style I like . . . everything was recently done in white, so I only had to paint the floor to match. After draping the windows in yards of cranberry silk, I knew I was on the right track. It popped."
"It's perfect. Your lighting is too."
"Glad you like it. I almost didn't bring any furnishings, but now I'm glad I did. Between them, my books, the jeweled oriental rug, and a few Boston Ferns, it's starting to feel like a home."
"It's a nice fit for the time period of the building . . . it fits you. Me too. Being here with you like this in your little castle."
"Actually, it's not so little. Because of the shared areas plus the laundry and storage rooms that run below, there's lots of room. Especially below. 'Lover's Tunnel' it's called. It connects all the buildings that have suites. Let's say you wanted to leave my place undetected, you could use the tunnel to emerge from an entirely different building down the street."
He burst out laughing. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind . . . "
"Another thing that's neat about this place is the working fireplaces. While you were taking a cat nap, I put half a dura-log in just for you--so we could have a fireside chat."
"Yeah," he said chuckling, "Me and Franklin D."
"Don't laugh Clint. He may have stood where you're sitting. George Washington too."
* * * * * * *
Although Clint appeared to be enjoying our fireside chat, our hots for each other had cooled down considerably and been replaced by chatter. Now I wondered how we could seamlessly jump back on the romance track, or even if we would.
* * * * * * *
Pouring himself another cup of coffee, Clint thumbed through my books and CD's. Finding a favorite, he put it on.
"Do you dance Kate?"
"Only with men I like . . ."
Taking me in his arms he drew me close and waltzed me around the floor. "Do I qualify?" he murmured.
Diana Krawl was singing "The Nearness Of You" and I felt myself melt.
"Clint, In my opinion, you're overqualified."
"Not. I'm perfect for the job. Exactly what you need."
"How would you convince me of that?"
"By staying the night."
Nodding, I walked across the room to fax the school's maintenance and security crew.
"Hey Guys, I need a favor. There's a Hunter Green MG Roadster parked out back under my window that needs a visitor sticker. Do me a favor and put one on it for forty-eight hours. It belongs to a friend of mine."
To Be Continued: Part 6