1998 Saab 9-5

“So,” Glen said as Molly got into the car.  He had cajoled a fellow editor out of the Saab 9-5 press car that had just arrived at the offices, remembering how much she said she liked her Saab, but she didn’t seem to notice.  “What sounds good for dinner?”

“No preference,” she said brightly. 

“Well, ah, what’s your new deadline schedule like?”

“You are terrible at hiding when you’ve got something to say,” she said.  “Just spit it out, I hate suspense.”

That was actually a relief, as he hadn’t had the slightest idea of a romantic or charming way to spill the beans.  “Lexi’s got to move those cars she found,” he said.  “She’s asked some of the Road Associates to go to Ile du Soleil and help, and that includes me.  And,” he added quickly, before she could spool up and get militant about staying behind.  “Dobie Cassarell’s buying, which means you get a ticket, too.  In a perfect world I suppose I’d be playing host for you, and whisking you off on one of my ‘typical’ world tours, but…”

She beamed.  “Yes, I’ll go.  When do we leave?”

She was apparently familiar with Lexi’s lightning-quick changes of pace.  Glen tried to concentrate on his driving, aware that she was staring at him.  “As soon as possible.  Tomorrow, if we can.”

“Does he know you’re bringing me down?”

“No, they just told me to contact his captive travel agency for as many flights as I needed.”

Molly nodded.  “Good.  I might have a few things to say to him.  And I think I need to move.”

“Already?”

“I’ll explain later, on the plane maybe.  I can’t keep the condo in good conscience, though.  I’m having significant guilt issues, and a crisis of loyalty.  There are some things I need to do on my own terms.”  At long last, she looked out the window.  “If we’re leaving tomorrow, perhaps we should eat in, so I can pack my bags for a tropical paradise.”  She said the last sarcastically and with a two-handed hula wave.

He felt a twinge of disappointment as she nodded, and was surprised–he had procrastinated about leaving the office because he wasn’t sure he was in the mood to make conversation.  Then again, it seemed like he never was.  Talking to Molly was easy, once he got started, but he was always apprehensive beforehand.  It seemed to be impossible to convince himself to relax, that it would be okay, pleasant even.

More than pleasant, most of the time.  Glen wasn’t sure how it was possible to look forward to something and fear it at the same time, and he devoted as little time as possible to thinking about it.

He started to turn the car around.  “Sorry I didn’t just call and ask,” he said. 

“Don’t be.  It’s good to see you.  Come inside; we’ll use my phone and grab our reservations.  If we do it quick, and I don’t spend too much time agonizing over luggage, we’ll still be able to have dinner.  Unless of course you were hoping to ditch me again,” she added with a wink.  “How long is the flight to Ile du Soleil?”

“I’ve never been.  I’d imagine it’s over fifteen hours.”

“Well, that’s something to look forward to.  Guess I’d better bring a really dull book or two.”

“I could recommend some,” he offered.  “I always seem to pick up long, wordy character studies about blue-collar workers in the Midwest.  I find myself longing for a drug deal or an international conspiracy.”

That made her laugh.  “What do you like to read?”

Glen shrugged as they pulled back into the driveway they’d vacated not five minutes before.  “Guy stuff, I guess.  I don’t read much fiction.  I like biographies.  And history books.  Especially automotive history, of course,” he added.

“I couldn’t tell from your library,” she said.  Glen had well over a hundred large hardcover books lining the walls of his study, each one an in-depth look at a car company or corporate innovator.  Molly was already thinking of Christmas presents for him, which was more than a bit premature, but hey, what else did she have to do?  Determined as she was to not over-think this relationship into an early grave, she had the distinct feeling she wasn’t succeeding.  He didn’t have a response to her comment about his books, and she added, “Not that I think it’s a bad thing, of course.”  She stopped at the door, turned, and looked at him.  “Do I bother you too much, about the car thing?”

“Of course not,” he replied immediately.

Molly tilted her head.  “You sure?”

“Are you trying to bother me about it?”

Now it was her turn to say, “Of course not!”

“Then it’s okay.  Don’t worry about it.”

“Would you speak up if it did bother you?”

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug.  “I’m pretty good at playing turtle when it comes to things like that.”

“I can see that,” she said.  They pulled back into her driveway, which they’d left only a few minutes before.

“Do you have a passport?” Glen asked as they got out of the car.

“Lucky for you, I do.  I got it to remind me of that trip to the Mediterranean I’ve been promising myself I was going to take for the past ten years.”  She smiled.  “Ile du Soleil’s close enough for now, though.  Let’s get some plane tickets.”