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Chapter 13

“Mom this is Coach. Coach, this is my Mom,” an excited Ned exclaimed.

Not knowing exactly how Peggy wanted to play this, Ken extended his hand. Peggy, as always, opted for honesty.

“Actually, Ned, Ken and I have met. He’s one of our bank customers. Nice game Coach.”

“Nice game Coach? Don’t you mean nice game Buzz? He pitched his arm off out there. I am so proud of him.”

“Coach, his name is Ned.”

Ned interjected, “Aw, Mom. Buzz is his special name for me. He named me Buzz because of my new haircut. I kind of like being called Buzz.”

Peggy made a face, but no other comment.

All the parents had left with their children by this time. Ken decided to take a risk. “Any chance we could all three go out for a pizza dinner? I think Buzz er a Ned needs to celebrate his first official save.”

“Can we Mom, can we?”

Peggy gave Ken a serious look. He didn’t know her well enough to be able to read her look, but he sensed it wasn’t favorable. However, she decided, “I think that would be fun, Ned, but not till you’ve had a shower. You’re soaking wet from sweat and I don’t want you catching cold.”

“I’ll pick you up in one hour. Will that work?” Ken hesitantly asked.

Peggy looked at her watch. “OK, 6:30, we live at 211 Maple Street. Maple runs off of 4th Street.”

Ned ran for Peggy’s car. Peggy stared at Ken, then muttered loud enough that he could hear easily, “Employing my child to get a date is just a tad below the belt, Mr. Lister.”

Before Ken could formulate a reply Peggy turned, following her son.

Ken rushed back to the motel, took a quick shower, shaved, and splashed on some shaving lotion. Then he donned a light blue short sleeved shirt, his best jeans and a pair of loafers.

After Ned climbed out of the shower, Peggy jumped in. The shower was quick, it was deciding what to wear that caused her delay. First she put on a white blouse and a dark blue skirt. After a look in the mirror she rejected that choice. Next she put on some pink capri pants and a yellow tee shirt. That too was quickly rejected. Finally she opted for a light brown blouse, a pair of dark brown slacks and brown loafers. A glance in the long mirror gave her confidence in her choices.

Ned came into her room dressed clean clothes. He looked good. He glanced around his mother’s bedroom. There were clothes strewn everywhere. On the bed, on the chair, on the floor. “What are you doing Mom? It’s just pizza!”

The doorbell rang. “That’ll be Coach. I’ll get it,” Ned cried as he fled down the stairs.

Peggy finished making up her face. Checked the mirror again. All was well. She looked around her bedroom. I’ll straighten this up later. I wonder why I was so fussy about my appearance? As Ned said, “It’s just Pizza.”

They found a booth in the corner of the local Pizzeria. After ordering a large cheese pizza, to be cut in three pieces, Ned happened to glance around the restaurant. “Oh oh. Glenn Gleener is over there. He’s got a mean streak a mile wide.”

“Ned, what an awful thing to say,” his embarrassed mother admonished.

Ken took Ned’s side. “Actually, Buzz, ’er Ned is right. I’ve noticed Glenn has a rather nasty streak. On the good side he can really hit. He makes a great leadoff batter. In fact, he got two hits today.”

In the silence that followed Ken added, “I’ve been meaning to talk with him about his attitude. But I wanted to establish some rapport with him first.”

“Can I go play the pin ball machine ’till the pizza comes?” Ned asked.

Coach found some quarters, handing them to Ned. The boy quickly vanished.

Peggy mumbled quietly, “If you’re lucky, Ken, you’ll get to meet Glenn Gleener’s mother, Gloria. She’s Hamilton’s most available divorcee. Yep, just as I suspected, they are heading this way.

Ken stood politely as Glenn approached with his mother. “Mom this is our coach,” muttered the boy.

Gloria Gleener wore her dyed blonde hair in a cascade of curls. She had a shapely figure which she managed to accentuate by revealing a mile of breast above her top. Giving Ken a huge smile, she extended her hand shaking his rather limply. She gave a slight nod to acknowledge Peggy’s presence, but offered no greeting.

Gloria didn’t talk, she gushed. “Oh Coach, I’ve been dying to meet you. Glenn thinks the world of you! After looking you over I can see why. I don’t mean to interrupt. I just wanted to say Hi and to give you my card. If you ever need car insurance, house insurance or anything else, please don’t hesitate to call.”

Peggy’s ears lit up at the way Gloria pronounced or anything else. She could feel her face color, but Gloria’s face looked totally innocent.

They left. Ken sat back down. After a considerable silence, Peggy said. “I can’t believe she put the make on you like that. Right in front of me, too.”

Ken looked puzzled. “I don’t understand.”

“Are you really that naïve, Ken? What do you think she was offering when she said or anything else?

“Oh. That can’t be right, Peggy. She was just peddling insurance.”

Peggy thought, I may have to accept a date with Ken just to keep sluts like Gloria away from him.

The pizza arrived. Peggy cut it into three portions serving everyone. Ned and Ken reviewed Buzz’s pitching that day pitch by pitch. The food helped everyone relax. Peggy realized, I’m having a good time. I haven’t had this much fun since……well since. And Ned! He is simply captivated by Ken. He truly likes him!

When they returned to Peggy’s house, Ned scrambled out of the car. He yelled, “Thanks Coach,” as he flew into the house.

As Peggy started to climb out of the car, Ken asked, “May we talk a minute?”

Peggy settled back in the seat. Ken said, “I know the ten minute date rules forbid me to making another try, Peggy. But I just want you to know I had a really good time tonight. Your son is one great kid. And his mother is really special.”

Peggy never understood what happened next. From out of nowhere she heard herself saying, “I’ve done everything I could to discourage you. If you still want to persist, I’ve decided that whatever happens will be because of your obstinate nature. Therefore, you’ll just have to suffer the consequences. That is, assuming your offer of a dinner is still open?”

“Of course the offer is still open!”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this. But going to Warsaw is a good idea. It will have to be, not tomorrow, but the next Saturday night.

“I’ll get Mother to come over to stay with Ned. To further the secrecy, I’ll meet you at the bank parking lot, as you suggested earlier. Meeting there will avoid issues with Ned, which would occur if you came to my house. Now remember, you are the one pursuing this. Whatever happens will be entirely your fault.”

“I don’t understand. Why can’t I pick you up at your house?”

“I guess I better make this crystal clear.. Ned is very taken with you. I don’t want him getting any ideas until, or unless, I am the one taken with you. I’m sorry Ken, but that boy received a very deep hurt when he lost his father. I simply can’t risk his being hurt again.”

“Thank you for explaining. You’re absolutely right, of course. I’ll meet you at the bank parking lot next Saturday at 1800. We’ll find a place in Warsaw for dinner and maybe a movie.”

“What time is 1800?”

“Six P.M.”

“OK. It’s a date. Oh, if you call the bank Monday afternoon, I should have the Board’s answer on your loan application.”

“Peggy, have you been practicing the magic wink?”

“Of course not. As I hope I made perfectly clear on our 10 minute date, I’m not looking for Mr. Wonderful.”

“Is it because Mr. Wonderful has already found you?”

She laughed. “You’re impossible.”

On the way to baseball practice Monday, Ken stopped by the bank. Standing in Peggy’s line, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Shortly, his turn came.

“Oh Mr. Lister,” Peggy smiled, “are you here regarding your loan application?”

“Yes Ma’am.”

She whispered, “Why didn’t you phone?”

Ken whispered back, “Because this way I get to look at you!”

Her expression was an amazing mixture of annoyance and delight.

“Well I’m happy to tell you everything has been approved. All you have to do is let us know your date of closing. We’ll be there with the necessary funds.”

She looked at Ken and winked! Then she puckered her lips into a silent kiss. She’d given him the ’magic wink!!!!! No one had ever done that before! He was completely flummoxed.

“Mrs. Waldren,” he grinned, “I don’t think everything’s going to be my fault.”

He left her laughing.

As was her usual habit, the next morning, Peggy got up at 5:00 in order to hit the books. For some reason, she found herself staring at the page. Absolutely nothing was happening as far as her studying went. She was in Oz or somewhere.

I have a date with a womanizer. Why did I ever agree to that? First, I see him holding hands with Sue Ann Hennessy. Next, Gloria Gleener literally throws herself at him. The guy attracts every single woman in this town. I would guess the reason is he’s really good looking, in a rugged sort of way.

I need to keep my bearings with him. So far I’ve been very careful. Except for the magic wink I gave him at the bank. Why did I do such an impulsive thing? I did it for a ‘spur of the moment’ joke, to make some fun. Certainly I didn’t do it to flirt? Or did I? What is going on in my life?

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