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Twenty Two of Seventy Six
Second Street
Part Twenty Two

Charlie had some time to get ready and thought long and hard about that close shaving business. He took off his dirty clothes and headed for the shower. He turned on that hot water and just soaked for a time. The water running over him loosened him up and he felt great. He shampooed his hair with something Pam left during one of her visits. He sniffed at the bottle and smiled.

He finished his shower and wrapped a towel around himself. He applied the shave cream and put a brand new blade in his razor. He had kissing on his mind and wanted no beard rash. He shaved twice. Thinking to himself this would be a special night, he laid out a dark charcoal wool suit and a crisp white oxford shirt, finally picking a tie that was subdued but had some character.

He had polished his dress shoes yesterday and they glistened as he held them up to examine. Once he finished dressing he went to the kitchen and got himself a glass of white wine. He proceeded with slicing up some Havarti, celery and carrots placing them on a plate with some crackers along side. He had purchased some Boursin garlic cheese spread and set that next to the plate along with some napkins and a knife. He had even thought to get some shrimp cocktail and placed that alongside the rest.

He had fresh candles at the ready everywhere. Some white, some red and of course green. There were pillars and tapers. He had even found some floating candles having been given the idea from the Peppermill fireplace. He had them placed around the room in small glasses of water. He had placed his poinsettias and greens where he thought they would best be seen. He was excited at the thought of spending time with Pam. She was due anytime and he lit everything, all the candles, the tree and window candles. He was hoping she would like her gift.

His mind wandered to Andy. The look on her face when he handed her packages to her was the best present he could ever have received. Charlie wasn’t much of a materialistic man and received pleasure from the joy of others. He needed little but would give his last dollar to help one that was down. This was probably to be his downfall. He went to his bedroom and took his cologne from the bureau, applying some very sparingly.

Andy had made her way home and was so excited. It had been forever since she had received a gift. She meant what she told Charlie. It could be a dog bone and she would treasure it. She took her gifts and put them right under the tree, not in any way trying to secret them away. She wanted Danny to take notice. To be jealous, to be mad, to feel that anxiety she had experienced all these years. She started to prepare dinner.

They never made a big dinner on Christmas Eve, just a usual supper and dinner would be served the next day. She was thinking meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a vegetable. She set about her work. For the next fifteen minutes the phone did not stop ringing. It was Darla, it was Charlene all asking about tomorrow.

What time, what to bring all spilling their feminine secrets. It was Don asking if he could do or bring something? It was Damion thanking her for her invitation. She finally got dinner under control. Danny wasn’t due for twenty minutes.

She popped open her laptop and looked for Jim. He was there. She was excited and told him of her gifts. Jim told her that was so great but wished he had been the one to gift her for the first time in twelve years. He admitted he was a bit jealous.

Andy had described Charlie to Jim so well, he felt he knew him to the core and felt no threat. No real jealousy. More of a location stumble. They talked a few minutes and satisfied them both. Danny rolled in and she closed the laptop wishing Jim a Merry Christmas, telling him she hoped she could come back later and talk more. Jim was completely alone and told her he hoped so.

The cop friend of Buds showed up at around four thirty and sat at the bar. Bud came right to his side. He poured him a well-aged Bourbon. Hey pal, thanks for the other day I appreciate it greatly. Never think about this again. His name was Phil. I buried that scum for a year and a half at least. He had a piece and forty grams of heroin. Just another dirtbag in the system. So why didn’t you just beat the snot out of him and send him on his way, Phil asked?

He was making comments about Pam and to her new boyfriend. Ahhh, now I see. Well he is gone for awhile. If he comes back, I’ll do him again, won’t be difficult.

Bud poured another large one and joined Phil in a toast. Merry Christmas pal, Bud said as they clinked glasses and downed their drinks. So who is the new guy, Phil asked? His name is Charlie and just a nice guy, a professor I think. Hell, when he cracked that scum across the mouth with that pool cue, shocked the hell out of me. I almost burst out laughing. This guy is so mild mannered. Phil said, I would have liked to have seen that and grinned.

Charlie saw headlights pull into his driveway and went to the door to make sure it was Pam and she would be safe. The door of the BMW opened and Pam grabbed her bag, Charlie joining her and seeing if he could help her with anything.

She smiled and handed him her overnight bag. She grabbed her CD carrier, purse and gifts. Let’s go she said. They walked to the house, Pam leading the way. She opened the door and positioned herself to let Charlie in. The very minute he was in the house she spun him around and slammed him up against the door. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close as she kissed him her mouth open wide and her tongue massaging his ever so sexually.

That kiss ended, she said hello! Charlie caught his breath and said, can we go back to the car and start again? She let out this wonderful laugh, giving him another kiss. Why you’re blushing she said staring him right in the eyes. How cute!

She moved into the room removing her coat. My God she looked fantastic, Charlie thought. She was dressed for the occasion. She had on this below the knee A line wool skirt slit up the left side. Leather boots that were partially covered by the skirt. Her blouse was a cream colored long sleeve silk with large cuffs and open quite provocatively at the neck. The collar was large. She wore a beautiful silk scarf around her neck simply adding to her allure. Her hair was curled just right, her makeup seemed to make her eyes appear so very deep, those full lips shining with lip gloss.

Charlie caught his breath again. Let me get you a glass of wine, he said. Charlie disappeared into the kitchen and Pam looked around, taking in all his decorations and water candles. He returned with her glass and handed it to her. She took it and set it on the table. She took his arms and placed them around her waist. She put her arms around his waist and said, Charlie, you’ve done such a beautiful job, I love it. Did you do all this for lil ol me she said, toying with him?

He started to blush again but regained his composure and looking her straight in the eye, said, yes, I did! Now it was Pam blushing. Honey let’s sit and talk. It feels like I haven’t seen you for so very long, Charlie said, motioning to the sofa. They sat and Pam looked him up and down. You certainly do clean up well she joked. You’re very handsome tonight. He responded, I don’t think I have ever seen you more beautiful! You know I love you in jeans but this was a nice surprise. Why thank you lover she said, lowering her eyes just a bit.

Have some cheese and crackers he asked, pointing to the plates in front of them? They sat and recounted their week to one another, Pam telling Charlie about the would-be thief. Charlie was concerned asking if she was ok? Pam laughed and told him she just about emptied that can of mace in that guys face. He’ll be lucky if he can see next week she said and he may be able to walk about the same time. I kicked him into tomorrow, she laughed.

Charlie told her of his trip to Buds. She suddenly seemed concerned. Her face became tightened, her brow furrowed. Tell me what happened she pleaded with him? He was very open with her, telling her that he had become so lonely and needed to be around people. He explained his trip to the mall and needed a new outlet so Buds was the answer. I had a few shots and beers. I started playing pool with some guys there. It wasn’t long before this creep was talking shit. Finally I just had enough of him and gave him a good crack. What did he say that upset you so, she asked? Nothing special just being a jerk. I guess I had just the right amount of alcohol and this guy had just the correct amount of asshole. Charlie was not about to mention the fact that he had said bad things about Pam. Bud told me I had to leave for the day but was welcomed back so I guess I’m ok with him.

Pam said, are you hungry? Actually, very Charlie replied. What shall we do? What about some Chinese takeout, Pam said? They are about the only restaurant left open tonight. I know a pretty good one that will deliver.

Sounds great, Charlie said. I have plans for our dinner tomorrow he told her. She cocked her head and said, Oh really?

You’ll see he told her; I have enhanced my resume! Pam took her phone from her purse and found the archived number for the restaurant and placed an order. It wasn’t very long and their order arrived. Pam had already paid by credit card but gave the driver a twenty-dollar tip.
Charlie took the bags to the kitchen table and ripped them open. He laid out this massive amount of food. Apparently Pam was very hungry or just wanted to taste everything. As much as he knew of Pam it could be either. Pam retrieved silverware and plates bringing them to the table. Charlie brought wine, napkins and condiments.

There was Sweet and Sour Shrimp, Pineapple Chicken with celery and Pea Pods, Kung Pao Beef, a combination shrimp, beef, chicken and pork fried rice. There was combination Lo Mein of shrimp, beef and chicken. And last but not least Peking Ravioli. Charlie looked at all the food and shook his head. Pam was smiling broadly and looked as though she could have used two forks.
Charlie took a seat at the head of the table and Pam just next to him. Pam took some of each of the dishes and spooned them onto Charlie’s plate and the same for herself. Charlie held up his glass in salute and said Merry Christmas baby. Pam leaned in and kissed him. Let’s eat she said excitedly. Every time he watched her eat he was simply amazed. This slender gorgeous woman just packed away large amounts of food and never put on a pound. She generally ate more than Charlie.
He loved everything about her.

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