Chapter: Are You Ready?
While we waited, Gomery kneeled on one knee by the pool, causing his tie to fold three times on the other. Fabric folds are a bit sexy and mysterious, given that you can't see inside the fold. Also, when I flashback to particular images from this first book, this is one that usually crosses my mind. Ties folded on corduroy'd knees.
I hadn’t thought of ties and knees before, so I filed that image in my official All the Ways Ties Fold lamedream folder. I have several of my own brain folders going at once. With that in mind, I wanted Fair to have a few, and I think it is right around here that they become a real thing. My tie time got cut short, though, when he reached out to scoop an iridescent insect from the pool’s surface. His extended stretch caused the tip of his tie to fall into the water, but he didn’t notice. If I'd been meaner, I might have made Gomery fall in. Did I consider it. Of course! He was focused on the bug, which looked like it was doing a comical cartoon backstroke.
Then I realized it was sinking. Symbolism, ahoy!
Gomery gently placed it, right-side up, on the pool deck. “Non-paying guests do not have pool privileges.” Monty's the family joker, but Gomery is funny, too. It's around here that he starts to josh a bit more.
“His credit card is probably the size of a. Very. Very tiny credit card.” I had to remember never to start a joke without having a solid, rim-shot-worthy punchline. So true. Learn this, Alysia, and live it. Ahem. Sorry for the self-talk. Back to the commentary...
“We’d have to give him an extra small apron and send him to the back to make club sandwiches.” I honest-to-Betsy always picture the beetle making club sandwiches here, complete with apron, toque, and spatula, though why he's holding a spatula I do not know.
“Are you saying that buggy thingy will learn what’s in the club sandwich before I do?”
“He’s some sort of carabid beetle, looks like. And definitely.” We both stared at the motel lobby again. Another iridescent flash flashed from the pool. Playful denying -- like when Gomery says "and definitely" here -- is one of the strange but effective tenets of flirting. A person who likes someone else doesn't actually really want to deny their prospective paramour something nice, but pretending they will stirs up a tiny if artificially constructed tiff. And tiny, artificial tiffs are fertile ground for sassy sparring. The end.
I bent down to rescue the second unlikely swimmer, then realized I was still wearing satin, elbow-length evening gloves. Of course there had to be a second beetle. Two people having problems over a pool = two beetles struggling in the pool.
I began to remove my glove in the way I always do, by biting the fabric at the end of my middle finger, then pulling with my teeth, long and slow. The rote action was going smoothly until I realized halfway into my glove removal that I was standing five feet from Gomery Overbove, and not in front of my own mirror. I've removed gloves this way, though nothing as long, satiny, and sinewy as an opera glove. And not in one smooth move, either. Yeah. Glove removal via the teeth is best completed in private.
Finishing the act quickly would have been the smarter move, but I stood staring at him with empty satin fingers hanging from my lips for a full three seconds. I then recovered, practically tearing the glove in an effort to get it off. This is one of the last things I wrote in Wilfair. I know, it is near the end, so that's no shocker, but I jumped around a lot even after the book was finished, tweaking and adding stuff. And I wanted something a mite sexy, at least Wilfair-style sexy, right before the book closed. I wanted something a little thrilling to be hanging in the Wilfairverse's ether as readers finished up. This was it. Gomery also loads luggage into the van right after this, too, so that can be considered a romantic ether enhancer, I suppose. Aside: "Romantic ether enhancer" is fun to type.
Employing one’s front teeth to undress is really for one’s own bedroom, and the thought that this attractive person would now think of me as some sort of uncouth dental-undresser made my entire being blushy. Fair Finley really does blush all over. Also, "uncouth" is a favorite word. Also, "dental-undresser" is just almost too weird for Wilfair.
Then the part of me that likes seeing neckties folded on corduroyed knees wondered if there wasn’t a part of him that likes seeing teeth-peeled gloves, and if what had just gone down was now tucked into some newly created “Satin Articles Being Removed by Mouth” brain folder. Things get interesting, in my mind, when I'm reading a story, or watching a film, when a character becomes less self-focused on their own feelings and starts to sense what the other person might be thinking and how they're thinking it.
Sakes. It's a word reader do dah likes, so I think of her now whenever I come across it.
The struggling beetle sank further.
“Oh! Hang on, little thing!” I scooped the other hard-shelled, future club sandwich-maker and set him next to his recently rescued bug bud. There is a lot of use of "former" and "future" in the books, as a way of describing what people have been and what they might be. People and bugs, I mean.
I then stood and shook my wet hand, keeping my glove tucked under an arm. “Huh. That’s the first time I’ve ever been in the pool. Or. Like even touched it.” Hang tight, Fair.
“You should—” Yes, Gomery. She should.
“Hey, Mer,” Monty called, jogging out of the office.
“What’s up? Wait, did you lock it? Patricia’s on her way.”
“Yep yep. The phone rang, but it was static. Maybe?”
“Maybe,” Gomery said. He didn’t look at the stack of bumper stickers in Monty’s hand, but I did.
The cousins are at a funny place in the book. Grown-up enough to be alone for several days -- obviously, they're 20 -- but, more than that, run a business on their own, and a not-easy business at that. But they're still bonded to their mothers and their family and feel a deep ripple when things are out of order or amiss. But I've said before I think 20 is like that, a true betweener age when you can be both kid and adult.
An old child, really.