Chapter 3 ~ We Go Together
“What is it this time bro? You need to know how to wash skid marks out of your ginch?”
“Ha ha, very funny Jarhead, just put Mom on the phone,” I mumble, trying to ignore my youngest brother’s remarks. We’ll see how good he is at looking after himself next year when it comes time for him to be doing his own laundry and cooking his own food.
“Hey honey, what’s up?” my Mother’s bright and cheerful voice on the other end of the line makes me smile. I admit, albeit grudgingly, that I’m a Momma’s boy. I’ll also admit that yes, maybe I should have paid a little bit closer attention when it came to every day things back at home, but at least I know my Mom won’t ever rub that in even if my brothers will- endlessly. Tapping my credit card against my desk, I scroll down the list of shows as I try to figure out the best way of asking this question without getting the full Mom treatment.
“I was thinking of going to a show, a Broadway show, and I just wondered which one you think would be good?” As soon as I get the words out I can hear the wheels turning in my Mother’s brain. If any of her sons were to go to a Broadway show, it would probably be Eric and then only because Tanya made him do it.
“Are you going with some of the guys?” my Mom finally asks, but I can tell just by the tone of her voice that she knows better but she’s just looking for confirmation.
“No.” Not that I need to give her that confirmation.
“Well if it’s for a date Marc, I need to know a little bit about the girl,” she begins and I can hear the smile in her voice. My Mom just loves this. She can’t wait for us all to be married off and supplying her with a never ending source of grandbabies.
“Just…which is a good one Mom? I mean if you were coming to town, which one would you make dad go to?” I ask, tapping my card a little more impatiently on my desk, wishing that I’d phoned Tanya instead. I still would have had the third degree but I might not have felt quite so…embarrassed. The only problem with that idea is I knew damn well it would get back to my Mom anyway and then she would have been pissed that I hadn’t asked her. Jordy’s right, sometimes you just can’t win with women.
“Well that sort of depends Markie. I mean, does she like musicals? Or would she rather see a play? That’s something you should know up front. Tanya and I were thinking about seeing Momma Mia the next time you were both playing but this girl might not like that type of music. Maybe you could tell me a little more about her?” There it is. The trap and she’s sprung it on me. Not that I didn’t expect it, I just am still undecided about what, exactly to say about Tippi, and that’s a problem, because even thinking about her name, well her nick-name, makes me smile and if I let on about that, my Mom will be on the next plane out of Thunder Bay with a list of baby names under her arm.
“I don’t know Mom. She’s just a girl I met. I don’t really know too much about her yet but I thought a show would be, you know, a good thing to do on a date.” There. That’s my planned speech, and none of it a lie, exactly. I’ve actually done a little research on Natalie Tang, but for now I’m keeping that to myself.
“Well where did you meet her? What does she do? You must know something about her Marc. I didn’t raise any of you to just go out with just anyone.” I have to bite down on the inside of my cheek to stop myself from telling her if that’s what she thinks she had better do a better job of looking out for Jordan, and her youngest Jared, but I don’t say that out loud. You don’t rat on your brother, not even to your mom.
“I don’t know Mom, like I said, I don’t really know a lot. She works at a law firm in Manhattan, she’s Canadian, and I like her.” I don’t need to actually see her to know that my Mom is grinning at the other end of the line. The one thing my Mom is worried about is a gold digger getting a hold of her precious little boys and just letting her know that Tippi is a professional with a good job and better yet that she works in Manhattan which means it’s a very well paying job, will put her mind at ease.
“Well you could just ask her you know Marc. If she’s got a nice job in the city, she probably has her own mind.” I roll my eyes and shake my head but am careful not to take a deep breath or give away my frustration in a way that my Mom will hear it. I didn’t call to pick a fight. “Or you could pick a comedy. If you don’t know much about her, that’s good neutral territory.” Breathing a sigh of relief I look over my own short list which contains Rock of Ages, an 80s Prom and My First Time. I’ve decided against the SpiderMan one, which I think would be okay to go to with Jared but definitely doesn’t look like a date night type of show to me. “Oh but I did see something on Oprah today, let me just look at that again.” I can hear my Mom sorting through papers and try to ignore it, deciding against My First Time as too much for a second date and seriously considering Rock of Ages. “There’s an Addams Family show with Nathan Lane, that’s supposed to be very good. You should try that, although now it’s been on Oprah….”
“I’ll figure it out. Thanks Mom. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” I promise, although I probably don’t have to. After this, she’s going to check in with me as early as she dares tomorrow, probably just to make sure I’m in my own bed and as tempting as the thought is, unlike Jared and Jordan, I take after Eric when it comes to women. I respect them too much to just turn everything into a one night stand.
“Love you honey,” she says, just like she does every time I leave her or say good bye. It’s comforting, like getting tucked in with a favorite teddy bear, although I’d never admit it to anyone, least of all Jordan. He laughs every time she does it around him, as though it’s just the biggest joke, her making a fuss over all of us now that we all four tower over our parents.
“Love you too Mom,” I reply, and hang up the phone, aiming the mouse and clicking on buy tickets.
“Oh my god that was so good!” Tippi hisses, clutching at my arm as we weave our way through the crowd heading back out to the street. I’d agree with her, but I missed most of the show. I was too preoccupied with watching her. She was like a kid as soon as the lights went down in the theatre, all eager and sitting at the edge of her seat, her eyes glued to the stage. Which was a good thing because she’s totally unlike a kid in her low cut black dress that swings enticingly around her knees when she walks but rides up her milky white thighs when she sits. I’m glad I decided to wear a suit tonight as well, or I’d be feeling very under dressed around her. Even now, while we’re just walking out of the theatre, she turns heads, but hardly seems to notice it. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I can’t stop looking at her and the big infectious grin she’s wearing on her face.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I reply honestly, knowing I’ll have to thank my mother for helping me choose the show tomorrow.
“Nathan Lane is so funny and Bebe Neworth was perfect don’t you think? She looked great in that slinky black dress,” she gushes, steering me towards one of the posters in the foyer. I glance at the poster but I know I’ll be having dreams later about Tippi in that particular costume, and out of it.
“Do you want to get some coffee?” I ask, reaching for her hand, feeling a certain amount of satisfaction when her long fingers lace easily with mine.
“I don’t really drink coffee,” she whispers, like it’s a state secret, her lips close enough to my ear that I can feel her breath warm on my cheek, “but I’ll take a hot chocolate.” I nod, smiling to myself as I steer her out onto the street. I like that she doesn’t try and pretend she doesn’t eat, and even better that she isn’t one of those girls that says she isn’t hungry, doesn’t order anything and then picks at your food because she’s hungry. I didn’t really notice it the other night, but tonight, when she was eating the foie gras she’d ordered, she actually was enjoying it so much that the women at the other tables around us were shooting us dirty looks, like maybe I was doing something to her under the table to make her make those noises. I kind of wish I had been but at least I know she likes her food, and she likes her wine and now, it turns out, she likes chocolate too.
What a girl.
Maybe I’m too busy thinking about the way her body sort of tucks into mine that I don’t think about where we end up, but I know it’s a mistake the minute we walk in the door and I hear a chorus of ‘hey Marc’ and ‘hey Staalsie’. I groan a little, wincing at the recognition so near the rink, the Rangers favorite Starbucks on the way to and from the game, but Tippi only looks up at me with this sort of wide eyed look before she giggles behind her hand and mutters something about Norm.
Yeah, well, there is something to be said for going somewhere where everybody knows your name and you don’t have to even order your drink, by the time you get to the head of the line, it’s waiting for you.
I add her venti supreme hot chocolate with whip and then steer her to a table, one of the ones with the comfy overstuffed chairs before I turn back to gather our drinks and pay for them, ignoring the sharp looks from one of the baristas, my one mistake. I was new in town, she was pretty…pretty stupid as it turned out and there’s a reason she’ll never be anything better than a good barista.
“She’s new,” Alison chimes in as I hand over a twenty. I don’t meet her gaze. I find that it’s a tactic that works with rapid dogs and angry mother raccoons as well.
“Just the change Aly,” I mutter. The last thing I want to have happen tonight is some kind of cat fight. I can hear the chanting in my head already, my brothers urging them on, but that’s not me. I don’t want a scene, I don’t want to draw more attention to myself and besides that, I’ve seen Tippi’s guns. I’m pretty sure she’d make short work of her.
“What is she? Some kind of halfer? Oh no wait, that’s heifer, my mistake. Did you run home and get yourself an overfed milk maid? Did us New York gals scare the shit out of the little ginger boy?” I cringe at the sarcastic comment only because it lands too close to home. There is definitely something to be said for her being as impressed and scared of the Big Apple as I am.
“Fuck it, keep the fucking change,” I snap, taking the drinks and the two brownies I’ve ordered and heading for the table. “We should probably go somewhere else…,” I explain, with a meaningful glance over my shoulder to where I know Alison is still standing making faces at my back.
“Oh don’t you worry about a thing,” Tippi smiles up at me, a million dollar all teeth smile that sends chills down my spine. She’s seen everything and isn’t the least bit worried. In fact, as I put the drinks down, she sheds her jacket and leans forward capturing my face in her hands and laying a long, wet kiss on me that leaves me weak kneed and blinking with surprise. “Mmm chocolate,” she adds, her voice pitched so they’ll hear as she breaks off a piece of the brownie and closes her eyes and starts those same noises she was making back at the restaurant that make me shift uneasily in my chair across from her. “Oh my god Marc, these are so good, you have to try one,” she adds, getting up from her chair and crossing in front of the table before climbing into my lap, sliding her arm around my neck and offering a piece of the dark chocolate treat between her long, ivory fingers. I look up into her dark eyes and she winks, as if to say she knows exactly what she’s doing, but I can’t help thinking ‘does she know what she’s doing to me’?
She feeds me the treat, piece by piece, encouraging me to lick her fingers clean each time and bending to kiss away any crumbs, although I’m sure there’s none considering her fingers seem to get inside my mouth each time and I’m having to think about cold days on the ice rink at home and Jordy’s stinking shoulder pads, Eric’s genormous wedgies and my mother’s disapproving face, anything but the way her round little ass feels pressed against the boys.
“Mmm wasn’t that good?” she asks finally, leaning in to run her tongue along my bottom lip, as if I’ve missed a bit or maybe just to drive me insane. Then she climbs off of me and grabs her cup, draping her jacket over her arm. “We can finish these at home Markie baby.” I must look like a baby owl, looking up at her with wide, unblinking eyes, but she only looks back at me, her soft red lips pursed, as if to say ‘I’m waiting’ and I find myself scrambling to my feet, almost knocking over my own half fat latte in the process.
It’s only when we’re back out in the hustle and bustle of the street that she starts to laugh and I realize that I’m not actually going to be taking her home tonight. Far enough away from the coffee shop that we won’t be seen, Tippi practically doubles over laughing and has to hand me her drink, which leaves me standing there with two cups in my hand while she howls at her own acting ability.
“Oh my god, you should have seen her face! Steam was practically coming out of her ears. Oh fuck, that was fun,” she snorts, reaching for her drink again before hooking her arm through mine.
“I’d say that was a little mean, but…I guess you caught what she said,” I add to which she covers her mouth again as she nods and lets her drink settle.
“She won’t be calling me a heifer again soon, little bitch,” she says, smiling up at me and tipping her head so her cheek falls on my shoulder. “You don’t mind do you? I just…couldn’t resist.”
“No, it’s fine. It was funny,” I add, slipping my arm from around hers to put it around her tiny waist as we walk along, noticing how people watch us, how they give me that approving smile, like we look like a couple, which is good, because I’m starting to feel like we are one.