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"Your father and I went on an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon. Most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world."
"Good times," her husband said, a smile playing briefly across his face.
Lyle was looking over the rim of his brandy glass. "I should think so. Buddy was born about nine months later if I recall."
Mary, for probably the first in her life, actually spit out her own drink onto a guest, namely Todd. Reginald's eyes had shot open wide. "Lyle!" he almost shouted.
Most of the crew was trying not chuckle. Lyle was just looking surprised. "What? Does anyone besides me know what goes on during honeymoons?"
Pat smiled a little, realizing her parents were people too in some respects. But it was one of those moments . . . what would Buddy's memory mean to her? Another reason to cry or . . .
It was Benga who first noticed that Pat was smiling from ear to ear. He gulped. She really had an amazing smile.
Gail looked over. "I'm up for Alaska," she said, wiping Mrs. Baker's drink off of Todd's face. Todd just sat there looking indignant.
"I could give you a list of . . . some suggestions on places to go. If you're interested, obviously," Reginald said. He had to keep the idea that he had much less control over his daughter's life than he used to.
"I'd like that," she said, offering him a bit of support. She'd have to give back at some point. "So, who all wants to drive up to Alaska?" Every hand went up, but Pat couldn't help but notice that Keith's went last.
After dinner . . .
With her uncle and father exchanging "Oh yeah, well . . ." war stories to a captivated audience, Pat stepped out onto the veranda. She saw Keith standing over next to the rail, looking up at the moon.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Nothing," he said. He instantly regretted saying it, since they both knew it was a lie.
"Please," she said softly.
He nodded his head. "Why Alaska? I mean, you didn't say anything about it to me."
"I . . . I don't know. I didn't really think it mattered."
"This is probably going to be our last . . . our only summer as a couple. Don't you think you should've check with me first?"
Pat instantly went defensive. "I didn't realize that all my decisions had to be run by you now."
"I'm supposed to have SOME say! That's why it's called a "couple" and not "two singles." No, I don't want to tell you what to do!"
She started to point angrily at him, but no words came to her lips. Then she took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. Where did you want to go?"
"That's not the . . . that isn't the point."
"What IS the point?"
"The point is that I'm the guy who should be the first to know about all your wacky ideas. That's one of the things a boyfriend is for."
"Well excuse me! You are my first boyfriend, so maybe I just don't know all the rules!"
"There are NO rules! Just . . . guidelines. Needing to tell me where you're going shopping . . . too much information. But how you're going to spend you're entire summer . . . that matters. Particularly if I'm supposed to be involved!"
"Maybe I just didn't think it through! I'm just pulling this stuff out of my butt half the time! I know people aren't going to wait for me forever, but I don't have the vaguest idea how I'm supposed to react about ANYTHING!" Pat was actually trembling.
"I'm sorry," Keith said, moving and wrapping his arms around her.
"No," she said, "don't be." She let herself be held for a moment. "It isn't going to work is it? We can't just 'be friends' and be dating?"
Keith held his friend. He actually felt a little teary. He couldn't love Gail, and now Pat had slipped out of his emotional fingers, so to speak. "No. Damn, a week ago, this seemed like such an easy decision."
"We can blame me," Pat said. "You've been too nice . . ."
"This isn't a blame thing." Keith stroked her hair. "Maybe it works for Gail and Todd . . . sex and everything without . . . IT. It doesn't for me."