In the parking lot, Corey is standing by my car.
“You and Corey are seeing a lot of each other this week,” observes Liz, whose car is parked near mine.
I smile without comment.
Immediately, Father Michael’s catechism lecture when I was eight years old pops into my head: “Children, there are two kinds of lies.” The priest, dressed in black with a stiff white collar clinging tightly to his pink neck, rocked back and forth on his heels with his hands resting on a round belly the way a pregnant woman might. “Children, there are two kinds of lies, aye, those of commission, and those of omission. Either are the work of the devil, and bring tears to your Father in heaven.”
Oh Lord. I shake this memory from my mind.
“Hi Corey. See you later Niki. Thanks for sharing your food tonight.” Liz gets into her car, and drives off.
“How was your shift?”
“Crazy busy. And then Dr. Kearney ate Liz’s potato chips. Kathy and I shared our food with her. Thanks for the cupcake, it was a nice treat. We split it three ways. How was ER?”
“You’re welcome. The usual, ‘I’ve had this terrible pain for two weeks, and randomly decided to come to the ER tonight to find out what it is’ patient, the perennial, ‘I stuck something where I shouldn’t have, and now I can’t get it out’ patient, your garden variety chest pains, and a kid needing a breathing treatment for asthma. It wasn’t too bad.”
We stood next to my car for a few moments in silence.
Giving Corey a hopeful look, I venture, “I still owe you breakfast.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Follow me home?”
“Naw, I’ll meet you there. I know my way.”
After making love, I scramble eggs while Corey fixes toast. I found a forgotten bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge, and combine generous pours with orange juice in a couple champagne flutes.
“Corey, I’m taking Maddie to visit my sister Raquel for the weekend. We’re leaving in the morning. We’ll be back Sunday afternoon.”
“That sounds like fun. Are you going to tell her about us?”
My heart catches in my throat at the thought of this. “You mean Maddie?”
“No, I mean your sister.”
I relax. “If I do, what should I tell her?”
“That there’s an ER nurse who’s crazy about you, and that’s who’s texting you all weekend.”
“Are you crazy about me?”
“Oh yeah, babe.”
I lean over and kiss him, nearly knocking one of the mimosas off the table.
That the afternoon I pick up Maddie from school. In the car I ask her,
“Are you excited about going to see Aunt Raquel and Uncle Grant? Your cousins are looking forward to our visit. Get your things packed tonight so we can leave first thing in the morning, okay? Do you need laundry done?”
“Yeah, I need my skinny jeans washed. I guess I’m excited. Dad and Amber are taking Wade to the Natural History Museum this weekend. I’ve been there a million times, so it’s okay if I miss it.”
Amber? Who’s Amber? This is the first time I hear her mentioned.
“Who’s Amber and Wade?” I hope I sound nonchalant, not nosy.
“Oh. Miss Greeley. She’s our principal. She used to be Mrs. Greeley, but she’s divorced like you and Dad are. Her name is Amber.”
“And she’s friends with your dad?”
“Yeah. They’re dating.”
“Your Dad’s dating your principal? His boss? Uh, that’s nice. Is Wade her son? How old is Wade?”
“Yeah. He’s four. He’s really cute. I always wanted a little brother.”
This is starting to feel weird. I say, “Well, that’s very special, Maddie.”
We drive the rest of the way home in silence.