The perfect match, p.10
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       The Perfect Match, p.10

         Part #2 of Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins
 
Page 10

  Author: Kristan Higgins

  “No. Charming, too. ”

  “So you’ve talked to him on the phone?”

  “No. ”

  “Facebook? Email?”

  “No, Honor. You know I don’t believe in computers. ”

  “Hi there, Honor,” called Mr. Christian from the back of the auditorium. “Heard you were in a girl fight the other day. ”

  “Thanks for bringing it up,” Honor said. “Anyway, Goggy, it sounds like you really don’t know this person at all. ”

  “What’s to know? He’s British. ”

  “That may or may not help his case. If he sounds like Prince Charles, there’s no way in hell I’ll marry him. Does he have those big teeth?”

  “Don’t be so superficial, honey! He’s a professor,” Goggy added. “Electrical engineering or math or something. ”

  An image of Honor’s own math teacher in college, a damp man with onion breath, came to mind.

  “So he needs a green card,” Goggy said, “you’re single, and you two should get married. ”

  “Okay, first of all, sure, I’d love to get married if I met someone great and fell in love, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m fine on my own. ” Oh, the lies. “Secondly, I don’t want to get married just to check it off a list. And thirdly, I’m pretty sure marrying for a green card is illegal. ” She paused. “Why doesn’t he just go back to England?”

  “There was a tragedy. ” Another triumphant look from Goggy.

  “What kind?”

  “I don’t know. Does it matter, Honor? You’re thirty-five. That’s when the eggs start spoiling. That’s when I started menopause. ” Oh, snap. “Besides, if I can stay married to your grandfather for sixty-five years and not have murdered him yet, why can’t you do the same with this boy?”

  “How old is this person? You keep calling him a boy. ”

  “I don’t know. Anyone under sixty is a boy to me. ”

  “So he’s a math teacher and distantly related to an old friend of yours, and that’s all you’ve got on him?”

  Goggy waved to Mrs. Lunqvist. “Young people,” she called. “They’re so fussy!” Mrs. Lunqvist, who used to terrorize the kids in Bible study with tales of fiery devastation of Biblical cities, nodded in agreement. “So you’ll meet him?”

  What have you got to lose? the eggs asked, looking up from their quilting. Didn’t you hear what she said about menopause?

  Honor sighed. “Sure,” she said.

  “I just thought it’d be nice,” Goggy said. “I have a soft spot for his family, that’s all. You’d be surprised at how many times I think of Peter and what my life would be like if he hadn’t died in World War II. Protecting freedom and saving the world. So when I heard his grandnephew was in town, all by himself, lonely, depressed, British—”

  Such a prize. “You can stop now, Goggy, I just said I’ll meet the guy. ”

  “You did?”

  “Yes. ”

  Goggy smiled triumphantly.

  “Don’t go planning any weddings,” Honor warned. “I’m just doing it to be polite. ” An image of a balding man with large, horselike teeth and a love of sharing math theorems popped into her head. “What’s his name?”

  “Tom Barlow. ” A completely ordinary name. Not like Brogan Cain, for example. “I told him you’d meet him tonight at O’Rourke’s. ”

  “What?”

  “And put on lipstick, for heaven’s sake. You’re such a pretty girl. And be nice! It wouldn’t kill you to smile. Oh, there’s Henrietta Blanchette. I heard she got food poisoning from that slop they serve here. I’ll go say hi. ”

  Honor’s mood was soft after the movie. First, the wine had been fantastic, this lovely Tempranillo with hints of strawberries, cherry jam and leather. Then the Rushing Creek residents, who loved Watch and Wine and always had something nice to say (once they’d gotten their kicks out of mentioning her catfight, that was). But in general, whatever barriers seemed to exist between Honor and her peers evaporated with old people, who called her honey and dear and told her about their kidney stones and varicose veins. Also, one couldn’t rule out the movie itself. Keanu Reeves, amen, sister. The kiss in that movie—the kiss, the babymaker—had she ever been kissed like that?

  Er, no.

  Nope, no man had ever been desperate to kiss her. No man had ever kissed her like he’d die if he didn’t. No sirree. Didn’t happen. Didn’t seem like it was going to happen, either, not when a middle-aged British math teacher was her only prospect.

  That could change. She’d update her dating website profiles. Ask Faith to help her out with things like push-up bras and flirting. Maybe some of the men she did business with were single, and maybe they’d notice her. It could happen.

  It’s just that no one was like Brogan.

  Nope, nope. No more thoughts like that. So over him. Almost. Well, getting there. Okay, not at all, really.

  As she walked through Rushing Creek, she heard a familiar laugh.

  Right. Dana cut hair every other Thursday at Rushing Creek’s salon. Honor had recommended her for the gig, actually.

  The sound made Honor stop in her tracks, her stomach suddenly flooded with a cold rush of emotion. Anger, embarrassment, jealousy, loneliness. . .

  Yeah. Loneliness.

  Don’t let her see you.

  Dana looked up and saw. “Honor!” she called. “Do you have a second?”

  Fungus. Feeling her face flush, Honor nodded. She went into the salon, which, though small, was a lot nicer than House of Hair.

  “Mrs. Jenkins, I just need to take out your hearing aid, okay?” Dana asked, slipping it out. “There,” she said to Honor. “Now we can talk. The old bat’s deaf as dirt. ”

  An unexpected yearning swooped through Honor’s chest. For five years, since Dana moved to Manningsport, they’d been friends, the type of friend Honor hadn’t had since college. Hanging out, calling for no reason, commiserating over work, family, men. They’d had a lot of good times together. A lot of laughs.

  Honor didn’t say anything. Then again, she didn’t leave, either.

  “That’s some haircut,” Dana said. “Not bad. Where’d you get it done? Parisian’s?”

  Still, Honor didn’t answer. They were not going to talk about hairstyles (but yes, it was Parisian’s).

  “Look, you gave it your best shot, Honor. Okay?” Dana went on. “He didn’t love you. You’re the one who said you were done with him, and he and I just ran into each other one night at O’Rourke’s, and one thing led to another. It was a complete shock to us both. ”

  “I’m actually surprised you had waited as long as you did, Dana. ”

  Bitter Betty, table for one. But it had only been six weeks since she’d been. . . betrayed. No other word would do.

  “Honor, I’m sorry, I really am. I know you wanted Brogan to love you, but it’s not my fault he didn’t. ”

  “Could you lower your voice, please?” Honor said, her face burning.

  “Oh, please. She hasn’t heard anything since Clinton was president. ” Dana cut her a glance, her face softening. “How many times have you and I talked about just this exact thing? The guy you least expect to fall for and then boom, you’ve fallen. And he happened to fall for me, too. We were just chatting at the bar. ” She gave Honor a small, smug smile. “And all of a sudden, there was this charge in the air. ”

  Dana was gloating. Brogan and she knew each other, of course. Sometimes, the three of them had gone out together. If there’d been any charge in the air, Honor hadn’t noticed.

  D
ana was quiet for a minute. “I know you had a crush on him since the dawn of time. ”

  “It was more than a crush, Dana. Don’t minimize my feelings to make yourself feel less guilty. ”

  “I don’t feel guilty,” she said, turning back to Mrs. Jenkins, her scissors flying in a sinister hiss. She got paid sixty-five dollars a haircut, Honor knew. Sixty-five bucks for taking a millimeter off someone’s hair. “Look, I know you were surprised. But I still think you owe me an apology. ”

  The noise that came out of Honor’s mouth was somewhere between a sputter, a choke and a laugh. “An apology?”

  “Just a little trim around the ears,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “Not too short, dear. ”

  “Got it, Mrs. Jenkins,” Dana barked. “Not too short. ” Her voice lowered, and she looked at Honor. “Yeah, an apology. I don’t appreciate having wine thrown in my face, not to mention being shoved in a restaurant in front of the guy I love. ”

  Honor’s mouth opened and closed a few times. “You have got to be kidding me. ”

  “Listen. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you, but does that mean that both Brogan and I are supposed to ignore what we feel for each other?” Her words might’ve had more impact if her tone hadn’t been as sharp as her scissors. The horrible, beautiful engagement ring flashed as her hands moved over Mrs. Jenkins’s head. “Seriously, we didn’t plan it. It just happened. ”

  Oh, that infuriating phrase! Nothing just happened. Vaginas didn’t just happen to fall on penises. Unspoken words bubbled up like lava. Do I look that stupid? You were supposed to be my friend. You made me a martini that night. I cried on your couch! We watched Shark Week! And a few weeks later, you were sleeping with the guy who broke my heart. For crying out loud, you told me in a bar. Two against one, in a bar.
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