Part Six: You've done that before, and like a fool I came back for more.
"Great news! They just finished rebuilding the house—we can move in tomorrow."
"How did you find out?"
"Peter summoned me down here and brought me to it. He saw it while he was on a walk."
"That's great, I can't wait to get out of this stupid hotel."
"Stupid? I rather like The Four Seasons."
"Fifty dollars a day if you get room service for two meals? That's outrageous."
"I know, but it's a nice hotel nonetheless."
"Alright. Thanks for telling me."
Gianna hung up the telephone. She looked at the calendar. Ooh! It's the third Thursday!
"Peter Halsten Thorkelson, you don't expect me to believe that you sent Micky all the way up to The Four Seasons to get me, and I come all the way down here just to see that my house had been rebuilt—there is another reason I'm here, isn't there?"
"It's Popcorn Night, and it's your job to cook the popcorn—" Autumn groaned and covered her face with her hands. "—and I thought that if you got it done early, we could go out for a little while before the others got here."
"Sounds like fun. You guys have some uncooked popcorn, right?"
"Um . . . it's in that cabinet," Peter said, pointing.
"While I'm making the popcorn, I want Micky in here. It's about time that I yell at him again."
"Okay." Peter cupped his hands around his mouth to amplify his call, but he didn't raise his voice. "Mick?"
"Get in here."
Micky slid down the banister. "Yeah?"
"Autumn needs to yel—talk to you."
"Micky, why is it that both Rachel and Gianna have been led to believe that you and Gia are together?" Autumn asked, imitating curiosity as she poured raw popcorn into eight pots.
"Well . . . I have been talking with Gia, sometimes pretty late at night—and you know how thin those walls at The Four Seasons are."
Autumn whirled around, no longer acting inquisitive. "Okay, that's Rachel. But what about Gia herself?" she snapped.
"I haven't done anything other than spending time with her."
"Eating meals? Giving gifts?" He nodded after both. "Micky, even talking late could lead a girl on. Don't you know that?"
"I made it perfectly clear that I only wanted a friend—nothing more."
Autumn nodded, frowning. "I was afraid of that—Gia's lying to herself."
"I hope she doesn't do anything drastic."
This Popcorn Night had to be the noisiest and messiest yet. Autumn was glad that she cooked the popcorn—then it wasn't her job to clean up.
"Micky's winning," announced Mike.
"I'm gonna get my title back! I'm gonna get my title back!" Micky chanted, cheerfully throwing handfuls of popcorn in the air.
"Toss!" There was a slight lull in which there was a knock at the door.
"I'll get it," Micky said around the kernel of popcorn he'd just caught in his mouth. He got up from the chaise lounge, which sent downpours of popcorn tumbling down on Rachel who'd been sitting next to him.
Micky opened the door. "Micky!" exclaimed Gia. She threw her arms around his neck. She didn't get the reaction she'd hoped for. Quite the opposite. Micky was staring at her aghast. "What?"
"What are you doing here?" There was no mistaking the annoyance in his tone.
"Well, I just came by to see you. . . ."
"You weren't invited."
"I didn't need an invitation before."
"You would now."
Gia's face fell. "I see. I'll just be going now." Micky made no move to stop her.
"What was that about?"
"It was Gia."
That's it, it's officially over. I can't lie to myself anymore. I was so sure that it would be better this time . . . there is no this time. Only yesterday, only regrets. I was so stupid to buy into that . . . I know better! At least I thought I did. Gia continued to beat herself up as tears fell unbidden but unheeded on her way back to the hotel.
Don't Call on Me Part Seven
back to Don't Call on Me Part Five