Monday, November 1, 2010

Harter Union: Part Eight, Chapter 3

Aaron, Wendy and I were sitting around a table in a coffee shop in Overland Park. “Sorry we couldn’t have dinner or anything Jeff,” Wendy apologized.

“Oh, no I understand. You’re all busy with work and that’s fine. I’m happy with my job at the moment and I’ll probably look more into jobs with writing if I ever want something new,” I said rubbing my thumb on the side of my Styrofoam cup.

“As long as you’re happy,” Wendy said.

“So what’s everybody been doing since I left?” I asked. “Like Kepler, Sam, Heather and Wanda.”

“Sam and Wanda still work at Baker; Kepler has actually become a professional bum and has been living in his parent’s basement for the last four months or so,” Aaron explained.

“Heather’s the big one,” Wendy began but she was interrupted by a curly-haired blond girl who looked in her early twenties.

She came up to the table very nervously and giggling. “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt,” she said.

“No, that’s perfectly all right,” I said.

“Are you Jeff Franklin?” she asked.

I glanced at Aaron and Wendy’s reaction and smiled. “Yes, I am.”

“You wrote this?” she showed a copy of my book and I looked at it and then back at Aaron and Wendy.

“Yes, I did. I hope you enjoyed it.”

“I’m still reading it but it’s wonderful. Could you do me a favor and sign my copy?” she sat the book down on the table and took a pen from her purse.

“Certainly. What’s your name?” I asked.

“Meghyn. M-e-g-h-y-n.”

I signed the book on the first page: To Meghyn – Thanx, Jeff Franklin and bordered it in a box shaped like Kansas. “There you go, Meghyn and thanks for stopping by.” Meghyn continued giggling and walked away.

“So what about Heather?” I asked toward Aaron and Wendy.

“What the hell was that?” Wendy shouted.

“A fan,” I smiled smugly.

“You wrote a book?” Aaron asked.

“Sure. Hasn’t everybody?” I shrugged.

“Jeff?” Wendy began sternly.

“Alright. Yes, I wrote a book, The Amazing Brayton Arnaz. I started writing it as soon as I arrived in New York. It was released a few months ago to good reviews after a five-city book tour and a five minute interview with Katie Couric on The Today Show,” I revealed.

“Katie Couric?” Aaron asked who a sound of skepticism.

I nodded with my smug smile. “Now what about Heather?”

“You really should see her for yourself but she is really trudging her way back up after hitting rock bottom,” Wendy said.

“What happened?” I asked with a worried look on my face.

“She should really tell you. She lives in the same apartment in Baldwin. She works at the Kwik Shop,” Wendy sighed.

“I’ll go see her sometime this week,” I said and drank the last of my coffee.

“I got to go,” Aaron said. “I have to catch a flight to Chicago early in the morning.”

“Ah, the life of an executive administrator,” I said. “Anyway, thank you guys for coming. It meant a lot to me. I’ve never told anyone this but after Randy died I never really had any friends but I still keep that photo of you two, and Heather and Kepler framed on my desk next to my New York friends. Thank you for being my friends even though I may not have been the best one.”

“You have been a perfect friend, Jeff and nothing can change our opinion of that,” Wendy said. “Except you should’ve told us that you wrote a book.”

“I’ll see you guys later. I’ll call you from Chicago, Jeff,” Aaron said and got up to leave.

“Okay, I’ll see you,” I watched Aaron walk off and looked back at Wendy. “All right, and now for my serious question,” I said ominously.

“I thought Heather was your serious question,” Wendy smiled.

“No. Do you know how Melissa is doing?”

Wendy’s eyes looked away from me and darted around at the various people in the shop. “For about a week, Melissa was all mopey and down but then she started working in a doctor’s office—just doing billing and things like that—and she began dating one of the doctor’s, they fell in love and married. He brings in the money and she spends it so you know that marriage won’t last but she says that’s what she wants,” Wendy revealed.

“If she would’ve stayed with me then she would have the same thing only love would be involved,” I mumbled.

“I honestly think you dodged a bullet with Melissa, Jeff. You are much too good for her,” Wendy said.

“Thanks.”

“Now for my serious question,” Wendy began. “Have you ever thought about us?”

“Yes…”

“And…?”

“Progression. See how it goes from there,” I smiled and took Wendy’s hand. She smiled and looked longingly at me.

Next:
Harter Union comes to an end as Jeff reunites with Heather.

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