Neither of us woke up with a hangover, thankfully, although Eve uncharacteristically (albeit playfully) told me to "shove it" when I chided her for not getting out of bed as soon as I did.
I checked my clothes in the bathroom. My t-shirt, socks, and underwear were dry. My shirt and pants were still a bit damp, but dry enough for me to throw on. I also checked Eve's clothes. Her skirt, made out of some seasonally-appropriate heavy fabric (wool?), was still soaked; the rest of her stuff was wearable. I got dressed quickly and exited the bathroom, walking across the room to the closet, from which I withdrew my coat.
"Where are you going?" asked Eve from the bed.
"I'll be right back, " I said, not really answering her.
I walked out into the morning air. It was still cold, but there was no snow in the sky. The motel's driveways had all been plowed, the tenants' cars all cleaned off and shoveled out, and all the walkways to the various rooms were spotless. I assumed that the never-seen "Lenny" had done all or most of the work.
A couple of minutes later, I returned from the parking lot, clutching my canvas mini-duffel bag, which I'd taken from Julie's car.
"Ooh," said Eve, perhaps thinking of last night's "surprises" from Art (and Millie?), "More presents?"
"Yeah," I agreed, "from me!" Eve was sitting up in the bed, but I noticed that she now held the remote control for the TV in her right hand. "I've got three or four shirts, and some t-shirts, and a couple of pairs of pants. If worse comes to worse, they ought to fit you, too. A little bulky, sure, but just in case you need something besides that one outfit of yours..."
Her face broke into a grin so wide she practically beamed. "Oh, Dan! That is so sweet!"
"I checked your skirt. It's pretty wet, even now." I tossed the duffel bag onto the bed next to Eve. "So help yourself, doll."
"That is so sweet," she repeated "You're the doll here!" I looked at her fondly, keeping my thoughts to myself. After several seconds of rummaging through the bag's contents, Eve looked up at me. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"I'm... I guess I'm just waiting for you to get up." She nodded and smiled, but didn't budge. "Well?"
"Are you going to get up, or not?"
"Nope. In fact..." She unceremoniously pushed my duffel bag onto the floor and patted the space which she'd cleared on the bed beside her. "Why don't you come back to bed, and we can watch those movies we didn't have the energy for last night?" Without waiting for my reply, she pushed the "power" button on the remote control unit and the TV clicked on. "I love this channel! Nothing but wall-to-wall classic movies!"
Not wanting to look too eager to join her, I slowly removed my shirt and shoes. "Any idea what's playing?"
"I don't know, and I don't care!" she exclaimed cheerfully. "I'm more interested in the company, truth be told!" Eve's enthusiasm was encouraging in a way, but a bit perplexing as well. I sat down on the bed and slid toward her, but she sighed loudly and said "Under the covers, you big goof!" I glanced over at her, my eyes somewhat narrowed, and moved back to the far side of the bed from her. I reached to remove my socks and then lifted the covers. "Pants, too, silly!" she said, before giggling and adding (more to herself than to me) "Wow, I can't believe I just said that!" Yeah, neither can I, I thought.
"I won't look," she promised, turning away to face toward the bathroom as I removed my jeans and threw them onto the same chair which held my shirt. She didn't look my way again until I'd rejoined her on the bed. Then she surprised me yet again by putting her arms around me and resting her head on my shoulder.
"I don't suppose you thought to bring my bra in, along with all of your clothes, did you?" she asked. I replied truthfully that I hadn't, otherwise she would have seen it in the bag. "Oh. I don't exactly like the thought of... What is it they say? 'Letting it all hang out?' "
I chuckled. "Well, that's how they said it twenty years or more ago, but the way you dress, it's not really noticeable anyway. It's not like you run around in halter tops, bouncing all over the place."
"So, you've... noticed me, then?"
"Ah-hah!" She was being playful again. "Checked me out once or twice, have you, Woody?"
"Well, sure." I repeated. A lot more than once or twice, I admitted... but only to myself. "You've got a really great..." I paused, trying to think of something a little less suggestive than "body," and finished instead with "...figure."
She totally misinterpreted my pause. "You were going to say I have a really nice figure for a woman my age, weren't you?"
"That's not what I was going to say at all, Eve! Besides, you say that as if you're sixty-five instead of thirty-five. But frankly, you look good for any age."
That seemed to appease her, thankfully. She hugged me more tightly. I added "And by the way, I didn't say you had a nice figure; I said you had a great figure." (And I left out a few remarks I could have easily made about her sexy legs.)
She hugged me even more tightly.
I sat there with my eyes glued to the TV screen, but I can tell you with all honesty that I don't recall anything about the movie which we supposedly "watched." All I could think about was Eve's new attitude toward me, and her closeness, and her warmth...
No, wait. I do remember one thing about the movie. It starred William Powell, and somewhere during the film, Eve commented, "Russ resembles William Powell, a bit."
"Oh, really. Right after we met, you told me that I look like William Powell!"
"Well, you do. A little, anyway."
"So you're saying that I remind you of the guy you're considering leaving?"
"I didn't say you were like Russ, I just said that you and he look similar."
Anyway, to continue... I didn't know what to expect from one moment to the next. I mean, no, I certainly didn't expect her to do anything boldly sexual, like suddenly groping me beneath the blankets -- this is Eve we're talking about, here -- but the way she was snuggling against me was as disconcerting as it was welcome, and yes, even arousing.
And I was pretty sure it was due to more than the fact that I'd finally taken a shower. Heh.
After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that since Eve and I were in a little "time capsule" of sorts -- we'd spent virtually all of the last thirty-odd hours together at this point, except for my little one-on-one conversation with Art -- I was winning her over at a much faster pace than I would have ordinarily.
Yeah, I know how that sounds. I have been accused of being self-centered by some, and of being egotistical by others. In fact, a quick glance upward shows that several of the last few paragraphs began with the word "I," and I'd hate to see how many others in this story have started the same way. Granted, this is a story about myself -- and Eve -- but maybe there is a small justification for the accusations about my being self-centered. But I digress!
Anyway, I'll admit that saying I was "winning Eve over" might lead you to believe that one or the other "charge" is true, but really, what else could it be? Eve had inspired a whole new level of "niceness" in me -- not that I was ever that much of a bastard to begin with -- and even a tendency to avoid most of the profanities I usually included in my day-to-day speech! So it wasn't that much of a self-serving stretch to think that maybe she'd tallied up my thoughtful little gestures and come up with...
Come up with what? I wondered.
But somewhere in the back of my mind was that old quote about "Be careful what you ask for..."
Yeah, I was definitely in love with her. That "thunderbolt" theory of Art's had a lot of merit. And it helped explain a lot, mainly... Well, let's put it this way: I've never been the type to fall in love in a motel room, if you catch my drift. So I was perfectly willing to accept that I'd fallen for Eve well before we ever checked in to this one.
But I wasn't sure what direction her feelings for me were taking. Hell, as convenient as it would have been for me to believe that she was in some horrible, loveless marriage, what facts I'd learned up until now didn't even bear that out. She and Russ seemed to have a good marriage, admittedly... just one which was currently going through some strain.
The question was, did I want to be the one to take advantage of their current difficulties, and play a part in breaking them up? Would it be the right choice for her if she left Russ for good? It seemed to be the right choice for my sake, certainly...
Sometimes, having a conscience can be a real bitch, you know that?