I was meeting Buck for lunch. Something we never did. Something that I wanted to do. Something that I wanted to turn into a regular thing.
Walking into his showroom, I didn’t think about the particulars, the proper way to go about things. I just went straight for his office.
Kari was in there with him.
Over his shoulder. Going over numbers.
Boobs out her blouse. Giggling.
I will admit, Buck looked like he was honed in on the numbers Kari was showing him.
But I wondered.
Did she just press into him?
“Hello!” I said from the door.
Buck looked up. “Hey, baby!”
“Hey! And hello, Kari, so nice to see you again.”
“Mrs. Gentes,” her cool reply.
WHAT THE FUCK was going on here?
Pam was over my shoulder. “Hey, guys. Kari, could I see you? We’ve got some inventory we need to review.”
Then there was just Buck and me. His sirens gone.
I smiled again, working for warm, trying to fight off icy. “Lunch, young man?”
Buck rolled his eyes. “Thought you’d never ask.”
We walked side by side to his truck. Always the gentleman, Buck accompanied me to the passenger side, made sure I was in, and walked to the driver’s side.
I thought about giving him shit. Thought about reaming him for what I just saw. But what did I just see?
A young lady hovering over my husband…
Or was it just a young lady doing her job?
Had I dressed similarly in my day?
Now that was the million-dollar question.
Perhaps not quite so coquettish. Or did I? Did I do it now?
Barbra in my ear so many years ago: “Honey, if you’ve got it, use it.”
Had I used it? Was I still using it?
Shit. I had. I did.
Now who was I to blame the next generation for using the gifts they had?
But with my fucking husband?
I was a boiling sea of conflict as Buck pulled his truck into Mervin’s parking lot.
“What’s the matter, baby?” Buck wanted to know.
“Ah, just some shit back at the bank that’s got me stewing.”
“Ah, gotcha. I get that. There’s always something brewing back at work.”
Brewing. Back at work. Kari. Pam. Fuck.
“I’ve found that a little bit of perspective can be gained during the lunch hour,” Buck chimed in.
He pulled a flask from underneath his bench seat.
“Jameson’s. Takes the edge right off.”
He unscrewed the cap, took two long draws, and handed the container to me.
I didn’t think twice. Put the cap to my lips and swigged. Smooth as fucking silk.
“You’ve got a point, dear.”
“It doesn’t take much. Just a little liquid longitude.”
I thought about the recent liquid lunch with Barbra. Perhaps these two were onto something.
Mervin’s is about what it sounds like.
Cinder block building. Rough paneling on the inside. Tables with plexiglass covering local ads and business cards.
There were specials for every day. Today it was salisbury steak and garlic mashed potatoes.
My mouth began watering as soon as I read it.
I didn’t get out for lunch much from the bank.
Usually it was celery and carrot sticks munched slowly at my desk, not even taking time to get out of the office.
Buck had suggested we try lunch together more often.
He had made the suggestion naked, me in his arms, post coitus.
It was one of the most beautiful things he had ever said to me.
We were only six miles apart during the work day… but a million miles apart otherwise.
His crusty, dusty construction equipment world. My well-dressed, hoity-toity banking world.
I stuck out like a sore thumb rolling up into his parking lot. Black blazer over silky white blouse and flowing black skirt. High heels. Bejeweled.
Buck in his scruffy polo, chinos, and work boots.
What a pair.
“Hey, what can I get you two to drink?” the waitress wanted to know.
“Water with lemon,” I said without looking up from my menu, still looking for something that would trump the salisbury steak.
“Buck! How ya doin’ baby?”…