Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty part three


The Cold Inside
Chapter Thirty
part three
By AL BRUNO III

Thursday January 12, 1995

Every Friday Ronnie tried to take Pam to the mall for dinner and a movie. Saturdays were for parties and Sundays were for the occasional family outing but Fridays were their days. There were so few left to them that Pam didn’t want to squander any of them but she was in no mood for a movie tonight. She had a killer headache and was feeling moody.

Luckily Ronnie knew what to do, Pam's favorite restaurant Quintessence was just ten minutes from Blessed Heart's campus. It was an old 1950's style restaurant that doubled as a bar in the evenings. It was cramped and poorly lit but the food was to die for. They didn't go often because the parking could be a nightmare and the wait for one of the few tables wasn't all that great either. Today they had found both relatively quickly.

“Feeling a little more human?” He picked at his spinach fettuccine.

“Much.” She sipped from her tea, a half-eaten plate of chicken teriyaki rested nearby. Dusk had made Quintessence more murky than usual, that and the food seemed to be dimming the ache behind her eyes. “You know the whole school is going crazy.”

Ronnie dropped his fork, “Don’t tell me someone else flipped out.”

“No I mean Kenny… and Linda… and Fred. That's enough isn't it?” Pam looked out the window at the slushy streets, “It's just disturbing.”

“Yeah.” Ronnie grinned, “If they were people we actually liked it might be worse.”

“And of course Tristam thinks it's hilarious. He keeps asking me what I think and what I've heard.” Pam said, “And he's up at all hours in his room, talking to himself and coming and going.”

“He's reveling in it huh? That figures. I mean those guys've been pretty shitty to him you know.”

“He did it to himself.” Pam took another forkful of chicken, “Everytime he gets in trouble I pray that his old man will come and get him but his old man doesn't want anything to do with the little creep either.”

“I dunno. I feel bad for the kid.” Ronnie saw her tense up again and quickly changed the subject, “You know I was thinking about what's been happening.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, because I heard from Yvonne that they found one of Linda's socks stuffed deep down into the toilet. They had to get it out with one of those toilet snake things.”

Pam gave him a look she usually reserved for her brother and freshman that tried to hit on her,
“What? She said the toilet backed up so fast it practically exploded crap and piss all over her.”

“Yeah but now they're saying she did it to herself somehow.”

“Oh please. How did Yvonne hear this?”

“Her Mom works in the office, she's one of the secretaries.”

Pam couldn’t keep herself from giggling, “No way!”

Ronnie took another mouthful of spinach fettuccine. before continuing. “Her mom told her about it and told her not to say anything but they're getting ready to give Linda detention or a suspension.”

“They do and her parents will sue.”

Ronnie leaned across the table, “Here's the thing though, what do they all have in common?”

“I give up.”

“They all get their weed from Evan.”

The waitress came by to refill Pam's teacup and Ronnie's iced tea. “You think Evan gave them bad pot?”

“I think so yeah, maybe it had PCP in or something. Remember that film we saw about it in health class?”

“Evan's an asshole but he wouldn't do something like that.”

“He might not know.”

“God what a mess.”

“Nothing we can do about it.” Ronnie said.
Pam ate a little more chicken, the sauce was delicious and probably fattening as Hell, “I think the only thing I'll miss when this is all over is you.” 

Ronnie finished off his last mouthful of food, “You know you could come with me.”

“What?”

“Come with me to college. My Dad is getting me an apartment off campus, he doesn't want me in a fraternity. He thinks they're trouble. You could take classes with me. You've got the grades.”

The thought made Pam feel warm all over, “I would love that but your parents and my Mom would never let us live together.”

“Fine.” Ronnie stared into her eyes, “Let's get married then.”

“How are you going to party with a wife?” Pam asked.

“I’d rather party with you. We love each other don't we?”

“Yes.”

“Then lets do it. We could elope right after graduation and save your Mom the cost of a wedding.”

Pam's cheeks felt hot, she wasn't sure if she was blushing or panicking, “I can't believe you're asking me to marry you.”

Ronnie smiled, “Say yes.”

For a moment she hesitated, reasons to say no welled up in her mind. Pam reached across the table and took Ronnie's hand, “Are your parents home?”

His eyes got a mischievous gleam, “They went down to the city for the weekend.”

“Pay the check and take me home.” She returned that gleam, feeling terrified and exhilarated all at once, “Then I'll give you my answer. Oh will I ever.”


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