Later that week Ken’s office phone rang.
“Is this the moving man?”
“Sue Ann, is that you?”
“Bingo! Mr. Lister, you win a cookie.”
“How do you like your new apartment?”
“It’s really great. I want to give you a complete tour.”
“Are you all settled in then?”
“Just about, I have a few pictures to hang and that’ll be it.”
“What else is going on in your life?”
“Your question should be what’s going off in my life?”
“Are you talking about your weight?”
“Did you forget your promise?”
“No, I didn’t. You said if you got down to a size 12 dress, I could take you to the college staff dance.”
“Right you are. Well, I am down to a size 14 right now, which means by October 17th, the night of the dance, I’ll be able to get into my killer dress and be your date.”
“Sue Ann, that’s great news! I’ll bet you are really proud of what you’ve accomplished. I know I’d be if the situation were reversed.”
“Thank you, Ken. I just called to remind you to save the 17th. I’m definitely going to make it! I’m ecstatic thinking about dancing with you.”
“Trust me, Sue Ann, when you see how badly I dance you’ll not be ecstatic.”
There was no way Ken could wiggle out of his commitment. Luckily, the 17th was a Friday. Which meant taking Sue Ann to the dance would not conflict with his date on Saturday with Peggy.
“What time do you want me to pick you up?”
“Well, the dance starts at eight, so pick me up at seven forty five.”
“Ok, Sue Ann, will do. Congratulations again for losing all that weight.”
Well, I’m not quite down enough, but my goal’s in sight. See you the 17th.”
After she hung up, Ken was back to facing the problem he began to sense after they’d helped Sue Ann move. If I encourage her in any way, she may wind up heartbroken again. She might go back to the candy box and put on all that weight she’s lost. This is going to be a very sticky wicket.
That’s not the only question. Do I tell Peggy I have a date with Sue Ann? Since the dance is on a Friday night, maybe I don’t have to. No sense rocking the boat with Peggy. There’s no way Peggy will be at a college staff only dance. Besides I’m still ‘under cover’ so who would think to tell her if they saw me with Sue Ann?
After the evening with Glenn, Gloria and the boys, Peggy’s spirits seemed to lift a little. Was it the weather??? Be honest with yourself, Peggy. Your uplifted spirit has much more to do with Ken Lister than it does with the weather. He has been doing exactly what I asked. Paying attention to me without getting intimate.
I am totally in awe of how Ken salvaged the Glenn Gleener affair. Ned tells me Glenn is a changed person ever since that night.
I’m anxious to share with Ken how I had to twist arms in my car to get those boys to go along with Ken’s idea. Maybe on our Saturday night date I’ll get to share my side of that evening with him.
That same night Peggy’s phone rang about seven in the evening. Too early for Ken, she thought as she picked up the receiver.
“Hi Peggy. This is Jeb”
“Hi Jeb. How is my CPA doing? Are you calling to tell my money has doubled or something?”
“Ah. . …. No this is not a business call. Ah…. . Peggy, as I think you know, I do a lot of the accounting work for the college. Every fall, they hold a dance for the staff and the faculty. No students permitted. Well, this year they asked me to attend. I was hoping you would agree to be my date.”
“Why Jeb, I’m flattered. Of course I would be proud to accompany you.”
“No, Peggy, I want you to consider yourself my date. There’s been more than a decent interval since Peter’s death. I want you to begin to think of me as more than your financial adviser.”
Peggy was stunned……. “Jeb, you’re very sweet. When’s the dance?”
“A week from Friday, October 17th.”
“I’m sure I can get mother to sit with Ned. Sounds like fun.”
“I’ll pick you up at seven forty five.”
“Jeb, it’s not black tie is it?”
“No, I’ll wear a suit, I think the ladies wear cocktail dresses.”
“Ok, I can handle that. See you on the seventeenth.”
After Jeb hung up, Peggy considered Ken. This was a Friday night. I guess there’s no need to share with him about my date with Jeb. Ken couldn’t ask me to the dance because he’s still under cover. Since he won’t be at the dance; he’ll never know I attended with Jeb.
On Saturday night Peggy and Ken went out for dinner in Warsaw. Over dinner Peggy shared the struggle she’d had in the car with the boys. “Convincing them to give your idea a try to save Glenn was a major undertaking.
“Those boys all hate Glenn. They were elated Ned had smashed his face. They were not at all happy when I told them to be friendly and to go along with whatever you suggested. In fact, they were so hostile to the idea, I had to stop the car and let them vent for a few minutes. Finally they agreed to try. The only reason they did, Ken, was because they like you.
“That’s very nice to hear, Peggy. Thanks for all the help.”
“The best part was on the way home.”
“Yes, they admitted it was the right thing to do. They felt good about helping Glenn out.”
“You’re making my head swell.”
“It deserves to swell, Ken. You did a remarkable job!”
After dinner they took in a movie. It was a good comedy and they both laughed a lot.
The trouble began as the date ended in the parking lot at the bank.
Peggy announced, “Ken, I’m going to have to break our date for next weekend. My studying is piling up so badly, I don’t dare get any further behind. I’ve decided to study next Saturday night. I hope you understand.”
“Of course, Peggy,” Ken agreed.
Driving home, Ken began to think. This is the first time in our relationship things don’t seem to be on track. From our first real date everything between us has moved forward. Slowly forward, I have to admit, but every week things seem to improve a little. Lately I felt sure we began to feel closer to each other. Now, she breaks a date. Is this a harbinger of trouble?........ Or could it be she is feeling too close to me?
Peggy hated to break her Saturday night date with Ken. He’s been so wonderfully honest and nice to me. But the studies are piling up and a huge paper is due next week. Because of my date with Jeb Friday night, a second date on a weekend would put me way too far behind.
I wonder if I should have told Ken I had a date with Jeb for the faculty/staff dance? I really didn’t think seriously about it because the odds of Ken showing up at the dance are slim and none…….The way he feels about me he’d never ask someone else… I’m sure I did the right thing by not telling him. No sense getting him all upset over Jeb.
On Friday night, Ken put on his only suit, picked out a blue tie and headed for Sue Ann’s house. He still couldn’t imagine she’d lost enough weight to get into a size twelve dress. He wondered if she’d had it altered.
When she opened her apartment door Ken was stunned. “Sue Ann, you look stunning!”
“Oh Ken I’m so glad you think so. I told you I had a killer dress. What do you think of it?”
His first reaction was that there wasn’t much dress to have an opinion about. It had a red skirt. The bottom of the skirt was well above her knees and the hem line was cut in layered sharp pointed curves so it sort of moved up and down as Sue Ann moved.
From the top of the skirt two wide ribbons were supposed to form the bodice of the dress. The ribbon’s endeavor to cover Sue Ann’s breasts was basically, a failed attempt. An abundance of white softness appeared on each side of the ribbons. The two wide ribbons were tied at the back of her neck in a bow. Sue Ann did love to show off her anatomy.
Then she turned around. Ken almost keeled over. There was literally no back! Ken could see Sue Ann’s back, every bit of it. The dress didn’t begin until her hips. Ken wondered if he could see the top of her panties it was cut so low. Then he wondered if she had on any panties at all!
Ken managed to mutter, “Sue Ann, it leaves me breathless.”
“I told you it was a killer dress.”
“Calling it a killer dress is understating the situation by about five miles!”
Driving to the dance Ken observed, “Something else about you is different.”
“You’re not very observant are you? I died my hair blonde. Tonight I’m going to find out if blondes truly do have more fun!”
“You got me. Obviously my historical powers of observation are lacking. However my current powers of observation tell me you make a fabulous blonde!’
She slid over on the seat placing her hand on his leg. That was his cue to have a serious conversation. He pulled the car over to the curb so he could look her right in the eyes.
“Sue Ann, we need to talk. You’ve worked so hard to get that weight off; I need to be sure your expectations don’t get dashed by something I might do. I want you to promise me that however this evening turns out, you will not return to the chocolate bin and put on all that weight again.”
“Ken, I sweated and worked so hard to lose the weight, I’m never going to put it back on. You can be assured of that.”
“It makes me happy to hear you say that because…. Well…. over the past few months I’ve become involved with a very nice woman.”
He could hear the disappointment in her voice as she responded, “Is it serious, Ken?”
“As far as I am concerned it’s very serious.”
“Here’s what I’m going to suggest for this evening. Whenever you see a single male that interests you, I’ll dance you over and find a way to get you introduced. That way a lot of guys will see what a truly wonderful person you are. Trust me, Sue Ann, when any single guy sees you in that dress……You’ll make a million friends.”
“Do you really think so?”
“I’m sure of it.”
“Ken…. By any chance you didn’t just make up that other woman, did you?
“No, Sue Ann. I wouldn’t do that. She exists. And frankly, I’m deeply in love with her.”
Ken started the car. An awkward silence reigned in the car as they drove the rest of the way to the dance. When they arrived, Sue Ann took a deep breath, put a big smile on her face and announced, “Single men watch out!”
Ned wasn’t too happy Peggy had a date. He sat on her bed watching his mother put on makeup and slip into a blue cocktail dress. The dress was modest. The top portion fit high around her neck. However the skirt flounced nicely when she walked.
It’s a proper dress for a widow. I want to make a nice impression on Jeb’s friends. After all, he only asked me for business reasons…. . or did he have other reasons? …. I wonder how serious he was when he told me he wanted me to think of him as his date?
Looking into the mirror, she realized her earrings were too simple. She needed something that dangled. As she rummaged around in her jewelry bag the doorbell rang. Peggy was sure that would be Jeb, so she sent Ned down to let him in. It might be a good idea if I allowed those two to talk for a few minutes. She decided to dawdle. Besides, her mom hadn’t arrived to sit with Ned as yet.
When Jeb and Peggy finally got in the car together, they were fifteen minutes late.
“Peggy, you look amazing tonight.”
“Thank you Jeb, I’m looking forward to the evening.”