Midnight Music

Chapter Four

Neil took off out the door. He was 63 ” and did feel a little guilty. Sally couldn have been more than 54 ”, and knew shed struggle to keep up without a run. Somehow she managed to speed walk her way right behind him. The moment he was out the door, he lit up a cigarette.

”Neil. ” He turned to find Roland following Sally. ”Do you mind if I catch a ride as well? I loaned my car to Clarence tonight. ” Clarence White was the actor that lived in Rolands apartment with him. He mostly acted in local theater.

”Fine. Get in. ” much to Neils annoyance, Roland opened the front passenger door, and gestured for Sally to get into the car. She looked at him and shook her head.

”You always this much of a sourpuss? ”

”Only to naïve little kids who try to fit adult shoes. ” Neil snapped.

”Do not let him fool you. I have known him sense the war; he is always this surly. ” Sally seemed surprised by the notion, but she didn pry. ”You…you guys think hes going to be okay? ” Roland smiled.

”He should be. ” Neil was gruff, but Roland recognized the doctor side coming out a little. ”It didn hit anything major or important, and while hes old and itll take some time to recover, I think hes going to be just fine. God willing. ” Sally nodded, and Neil recognized that she seemed very reassured by that but was still tense. ”I don sugar coat, if I thought he was going to die Id outright tell you. ”

”He is correct about this. ” Sally turned to Roland.

”So, what brought you to America? ”

”A boat, ” he said drily. Sally laughed.

”Okay, wise guy…why get on the boat? ”

”I wanted a change. ” Sally smiled at him, and for some stupid **ing reason, Neils heart fluttered. Why is she so pretty? Shut up, Dunn.

”So, you guys met in the war? ”

”Yes… due to me being an idiot. ” Neil snorted.

”He fell in a river in January in northern France on his way to fight off some Germans. Our unit picked him out, patched him up, and ended up keeping him on after his unit was killed. ”

”You…fell in a river? ”

”It was very slippery, no? I was…otherwise preoccupied. ” At the look of confusion on her face, Roland said, ”I was, if you will excuse my vulgarity, in need of…relief. ” Sally didn seem phased by the idea.

”Were you both doctors? ”

”No, I was a soldier. ”

”No, patching him up was my job. ” Neil spoke bitterly. Roland noted that Neil seemed…tense. The war was hard for them to discuss, so Roland asked, ”What about you, Sally? Did you say…s-s-secret…I cannot say this word. College? ” Sally laughed, and said, ”Secretarial? Yeah, I graduated within the last year. Was working for my Papa, he owns a warehouse where he makes furniture. Then he hired on a boy my age that I went to church and school with and…well he started making his move, and papa wasn so keen. Then he started inviting me to parties, and Id sneak out and wed go, and…mama read me the riot act more than once. ” Neil remembered being a teenager once. Sneaking out and meeting a girl, him and Carlton pranking the bullys house. Well…Neil kept watch, but hed certainly got into his teenage fun. ”I guess they aren so forgiving once you
e not a teenager anymore. ” That surprised Neil.

”How old are you? ”

”Old enough to find my own trouble. ”

”But not old enough to get out of it? ” Sally was surprised to hear him say that. ”Ive got a sister thats the same age. ”

”She would like Sally. ” Neil couldn argue that. ”How old is old enough? ”

”Well… ” She blushed a little.

”I assume you know how old I am, as it appears you know something about me. ”

”No, actually. I mean, occasionally I read those magazines for fun, but not really like some girls. ”

”I bet you couldn guess. ” Neil seemed to enjoy this game; he knew Roland, while far from vein, didn talk about being in his mid-thirties.

”You can be older than thirty. ” Neil snorted.

”Kiss his ass, sure, thatll get you in his good graces. ”

”No, Im serious. Twenty eight? ”

”Oh, I like you. ” Neil rolled his eyes. ”Twenty-one. ”

”You
e good, ” she said.

”You
e 21 and getting into teenage trouble? ”

”There ain nothing else to do in Kentucky. ” Sally admitted. ”You gotta have some kind of fun. And apparently, dancing ain one of those things. ” Roland laughed.

”How did I know dancing is what would get you into trouble? ”

”Im not bad, I don think. You dance? ”

”I do. ” Neil was still bothered. Who was she like? Why was he so enamored to her, and what was it that he found similar in someone else?

”What about you doctor? ” Roland laughed again. Sally giggled. ”Oh, the good doctor does not dance. ”

”No? Not even a waltz? ” Neil snorted.

”Do I seem like the dancing type? ”

”Oh, I don know. Maybe not, but I know your type. ”

”My type? ”

”Grew up in high society right? ” Neil raised an eyebrow at her. ”Let me guess…violin lessons, foreign language tutors…got into a pretty impressive medical college. I bet your mama forced you to have proper dance etiquette. ”

”Youve mistaken me with Dubois back there. ”

”Your father has the same job mine did. ” Neil was surprised Roland even mentioned his parents. ”Of course, you grew up that way. Although I was forced into piano lessons. ”

They pulled up outside of Stews house, and Neil pinched the bridge of his nose as Roland got out of the car and opened Sallys door. ”Oh, well at least one of you is a gentleman. ”

”You have a good night. ”

”Thank you, Mr. Dubois. ”

”Roland, please. ” She smiled, and as Roland got into the front seat, she knelt down to look at Neil. He glared straight ahead.

”What time am I supposed to expect you tomorrow? ”

”You don . Im not a chauffeur, call a cab. ” Neil snapped. As soon as the door was closed, he drove off, speeding down the street with all the force and anger he could.

”What is your deal? She is trying to get you to do the job Stew asked of you. ” Roland looked at Neil.

”Something about her grinds my gears. I don know what it is. ”

”I do. She looks like May. ” That name made it temporarily hard for Neil to breathe.

”Thats not…no she doesn . ”

”Yes, she does look like her, with red hair. She has similar mannerisms as well. The sass and the sweet all in one. ”

”How would you know? ”

”Remember our leave, just after Carlton was killed? ” That name made a knot in Neils chest. He white-knuckled the steering wheel. ”I met her all of one time and told you she was perfect for you. Sally is no different. ”

”Sally is a child. May was only four years younger than me. ”

”She is not a child. She is an adult. ”

”Im a thirty-five year old man, what would she want with me? ” Neil snapped. ”Besides, its not happening. Even if I wanted, shes the bosses niece, he would murder me. ”

”This is also a truth. ” Roland sighed. ”I think you two would work well. She has fire and can keep up with your attitude. ” Neil scoffed.

”Some friend you are, hooking me up with a kid barely old enough to get married. ”

”Shes in her twenties, much like Elizabeth. ” Neil shifted uncomfortably at the mention of his sister. ”Besides, it was only a month ago you took that eighteen year old home. ”

”That…was a mistake. She outright lied to me. ”

”You believed her. ”

”She didn look eighteen. It wasn until after Id bedded her I found out she was only eighteen, but that was probably a lie too. ”

”Then why the hell are you upset about Sally? ”

”You want me to date her? Okay, for me, that comes with sex. You think shed done that yet? That comes with shell shock and nightmares, which comes with foul moods and cynical world views. Shes, despite her naïve outlook and attitude to life, shes a nice girl. I would break her. ”

”So, you break other women by sleeping with them once and never getting involved. ” Roland had always been critical of this. Sex, Roland believed, was cherished with someone you loved.

”Youve never done it? ”

”No. I do not do the midnight tango before weve established our relationship. ”

”So how long have you been **ing Clarence? ” The shocked tension filled the car as Neil pulled into the parking lot outside of his apartment building. Roland shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

”Who says I am- ”

”Don play stupid with me. ” Roland looked nearly ill. ”I don really care if you swing that direction or not. ”

”It is not so simple. ”

”Then tell me. ” Roland went white, then red.

”I cannot. It is as if…it is the way your father looks at your mother. ” Neil had seen the way his parents looked at each other. They adored each other. ”I cannot explain this, but… ”

”No need. ” Neil wasn sure how to think about the fact that best friend was a homosexual. But as far as Neil was concerned, there was also far worse things out there to be. ”Look, you aren creeping on children, and you don beat the snot out of women. ”

”This is criteria for being a good man? ”

”Its a start. You aren my grandfather, certainly. ” Roland snorted.

”Or my father. ”

”Nobody is your father, Roland. ” That earned a cold, humorless laugh. ”Get up there and go…do whatever it is you do with Clarence at night. ”

”The same I suspect any average couple would. Only my penis goes in a different hole. ”

”I didn need to know that. ” Roland grinned wickedly, and said, ”Good night, doctor. ”

”Goodnight, Roland. ” Roland stepped out of the car, and greeted Clarence, whod only just pulled in. Clarence waved at Neil, who waved back.

On his drive him, Neil thought about what Roland had said, and came to one conclusion as he pulled up to his apartment building.

”That **er was right. ”

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