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Chapter Twenty-Four

David sat in his bedroom, at his desk, reading through the archives of Rachel's food blogs. He loved her writing and her photography. He had been reading for an hour straight, not wanting to stop. But some of the food pictures made him want to eat. So he was going to stop after reading this last page of entries and go grab something at the little Italian restaurant downstairs. But maybe then eat while reading. That would work.
He headed toward the closet to get his shoes, and the phone rang. Although he wished it were Rachel, he knew it wouldn't be. First, he couldn't imagine her having the guts to call him. She had seemed so terrified and nervous the last time they had talked on the phone. Second, he knew Saturday was the time for his mother's traditional call.
"I bet I know who this is," he said.
 "Well, my psychic son," she said cheerfully. "Not my gay son."
"So you heard the news."
"Yeah. Of course I didn't believe it for a second. You wouldn't do that to me."
For a moment, David almost wished he were gay. Maybe just to prove a point. Make a stand. "Mom, that's--"
"Oh, I know the whole genetic thing and you can't help it. I wasn't being serious."
 "I hope not," David said.
"It's just I have had enough trouble in my life. Your dad. Billy. Not sure I could handle anything else."
David didn't know if he felt sympathy for his mother, or if he was bothered by her attitude.
"But you're not gay," she said. "Right?"
"What if I was?" he demanded.
"I'd still love you," she said dutifully. "But you're not gay."
She gave a small laugh. "Sorry. It's just I want grandchildren."
"I could still give you grandchildren."
"Well, I want biological grandchildren."
"What's wrong with adoption?" David asked.
"Nothing," she said after a moment's hesitation. "But anyway, is that an environment for a kid to grow up in?"
"Sorry," she said sheepishly. "You know let's talk about something else. You know before I say something so shocking and offensive, next thing we know we haven't spoken in twenty years."
He laughed. "Good idea."
"Kind of related to that subject--" she said and David, although not psychic, could guess they were going to a place not much better than the previous. "What's going on with you and Cassandra. Together or not?"
 "I don't want to talk about that,"
"She's a really sweet girl," His mom loved her from the beginning.
"Things are just not working between us," he said.
"Everyone goes through rough patches."

"I don't think I love her anymore," he explained.
 "Spice up the relationship," his mom said. "I'm your mother, so I won't give you specific advice. But you can be creative."
 "But I don't love her. I don't want to spice up the relationship."
"You think you don't love her. You're not sure. There's still hope."
"Okay," David said. "I know I don't love her. I feel nothing toward her."
"People don't just fall out of love," Shelly said. "Even with your father; even when he was at his worst, I still loved him. I still love him."
That surprised David. He thought for sure his mother had stopped loving his father a long time ago. Even way before his death.
"Maybe there's something wrong with me," David said. And he actually meant it. He had once been madly in love with Cassandra, and now felt absolutely nothing for her. How do you go from one extreme to another like that? Was he abnormal? Incapable of lasting love?
"Well, at least you're not gay."
"I'm joking!"

 Rachel looked at her stack of pancakes. Beautiful. If she had to say so herself.
"Can we eat yet?" her mom asked. "By the time you finish with that, they’re going to be cold."
"Sorry," she said rather frantically. "I'll be done in a second."
She snapped three pictures.
"What are you doing?" her dad asked.
"It's for my blog."
"Oh that," he said. Not in a mean tone. But not in an I'm-so-interested-tell-me-more tone either. Rachel vowed if she didn't end up being a fifty year old virgin and ended up having children of her own, she'd be extremely interested in all their hobbies. If they had a blog, she'd read every single entry. 
“Are we ready to eat?" her mom said.
"Sure." She brought the food to the table. She felt like a waitress.
"Thank you," her mom said.
And her mom and dad ate. Rachel ate too. She noticed the lack of compliments on her cooking. Although they did eat most of it, so they couldn't have hated it. And to be fair, she didn't usually comment on her mother's cooking. Well, though to be unfair, her mother's cooking usually involved pre-packaged boxed dinners and frozen stuff that just needed to be defrosted.
"Since you cooked, we'll clean," her mother offered. Then to her father. "Both of us."
"Thanks!" This was nice. Rachel had to admit that.
She went upstairs to upload the pictures. Saw her last entry had been on April 18. She wanted to update it just in case David actually decided to look at the blog. Although she wondered if it would look more pathetic to him that she was now updating after all this time.
After the photos were uploaded and posted, Rachel wrote down the recipe and her experiences cooking. Unfortunately not too exciting. It hadn't mattered in the past. From what she could tell, she didn't have a lot of readers. But now David might read it. Not just any David, but David. David! She wished she had something clever to say. But what could one say about pancakes?


Six hours later, David had read Rachel's whole site. Every single entry. Including the one that had just appeared this morning. He knew she had written it just in case he decided to check out her blog. And he liked that. The girl amused him. Her shyness. He liked that she was a fan of his, but had tried to hide it.
Rachel was adorable...in her own little way. He knew, of course, she had no idea about this. But maybe that was part of her charm.  She was so far from being narcissistic.
The blog had made him hungry, and he had never made it down to the Italian restaurant. The bag of stale Veggie Booty just hadn't done the trick. He decided he needed a trip to City Bakery.  Kind of foolish since it was on the same street as the studio.  But it seemed he never got a chance to eat there when he was working.  And he always wanted to.
So he headed there, and ate a late lunch.  Or maybe it was an early dinner.  He ate some kind of tofu things, a salad, and lots of chocolate chip cookies. 
Afterwards, he walked aimlessly. Or so he thought. But then he found himself in front of the Occult shop. This time he noticed the name: Eddie and Lynn's Shop of Wonders.
David walked in. The shop was empty of people, except for a young man. He didn't look up from his Star Wars novel. He fidn't seem to care if he had any customers or not.
David walked around. He wasn't sure exactly what he was looking for. Some kind of answer to everything?
He went over to some crystals. Picked one up. Noticed the sign: You break. You Pay.
"You're David Tirlson." the young man said. So finally he had looked up from his book.
"That's me," David said.
"Can I have your autograph?" the man said with an odd lack of interest.  It was almost as if he asked out of obligation...as if it was required to ask.
"Sure," He signed the autograph book the man held out. The man put it away without thanking him. Then went back to reading his book.
"Who is Eddie?"
"My dad."
Was it the same Eddie?
"Is he here?" And David's heart started pounding when he said that. Anticipation? Fear? What would it be like meeting Eddie in real life?
"He's dead."
Of course. "Do you have a picture of him?" David asked, knowing it was a very strange question. He was probably going to
freak the kid out.
Not here." the man answered as if this had been a totally normal question.  He didn't weirded-out that some actor wanted to see a picture of his dead dad.   
"Last time I came here, there was a woman--"
"My mom. She's not here. Getting her nails done."  The man went back to reading. David didn't know how to proceed, so he figured maybe he'd come back another time. Maybe when he knew what questions to ask. Right now his mind was just muddled.

Subpages (1): Chapter Twenty-Five