We made it back to Rosalie's apartment without further incident. Once inside, she unbuttoned my jacket and vest. "You poor kid, let's get you comfortable," she said.
"I need to sit down," I stammered, and flopped down on one of her dining room chairs. I pulled my tie open and unbuttoned my collar.
"How's your head?" she asked.
"Sore. I got the spins and I haven't even had that much to drink."
"You probably have a slight concussion. Come on, let me help you out of your jacket and vest." I took my tie off and tossed it on the table, then let my suit coat and vest slide down my back into her hands. She hung them on the back of the chair, then said, "Go sit over by the window. I'll be with you in a second."
I flopped down on the loveseat and stared out the window, not at the magnificent view, but at the blackness of the sky. It was the only thing I could look at that didn't make me feel dizzy. A few minutes passed, and I was starting to feel calmer and maybe a little sleepy.
Rosalie joined me, carrying two aspirin, a glass of water and an ice bag. She had taken a moment to change into a pink t-shirt and a pair of jeans and to pull her hair back into a ponytail. She looked younger with her hair like that, and I was struck by how pretty she was with her hair pulled away from her face. She set the ice bag on my head and made a silly face, then handed me the aspirin and a glass of water. She waited until I had settled myself before talking.
"I guess you've figured out that I'm not a clerk in a law firm downtown." She sounded like she was apologizing.
"Um, yeah," I said. The cold was starting to sink through my hair and into my scalp. It felt good. "So, what do you do?"
"I'm...for lack of a better way to describe myself, I'm an undercover police officer," she said.
"OK." Sounded plausible. "So, why didn't you tell me that sooner?"
"I was hoping that it wouldn't come up until we were a little further along in our relationship. Lots of guys have trouble with a woman doing what I do."
"Either that, or they have trouble with nearly being mowed down by some crazy person who's trying to kill their date, and them in the process," I said, slipping the ice bag off of my head and setting it on the armrest. I was starting to feel more than a little upset.
"There is that side of it, yes. I wouldn't be surprised if you wanted to get up and walk out and never see me again." She winced slightly when she said that.
It sounded tempting. Here was this woman who had already lied to me about what she did for a living. What else had she lied about? "Would you blame me if I did?"
She bit her lower lip and stared out the window. "No, I guess not." I couldn't tell if she was crying.
Part of me wanted to do just that, to get up and walk out of her apartment and out of her life. That was maybe 51 percent of me. The other 49 percent wanted to sit there and look at her for the rest of my life. My head was telling me to go, my heart was telling me to stay. I moved closer to her on the loveseat and took her hand. "I don't want to go, Rosalie."
She blinked and a tear rolled down each cheek. She put her other hand on top of mine. "I'm glad. You're a special man, Tony. Don't ever change."
Whatever anger I was feeling dissolved when she said that. Everything was all right. We were there together, holding hands and looking out at the night sky, just the two of us. "Rosalie..."
"I'm 31." She turned and smiled.
"That's not what I was going to ask."
"Well, I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh."
"No, I was just going to ask your last name."
"Because I didn't know. I don't know a lot about you."
"I don't know a lot about you, either, sweetheart. That's part of the fun." She looked up at me. Her eyes were beautiful. "Of course, I'm sure that you could make the case that it would have helped to know what you were getting into before tonight..."
That was true. "Yeah. That's true. What time is it?"
"Ten thirty. Do you have to be somewhere?"
"No, I was just thinking that you'd like to get to bed..."
"I would. But that doesn't mean you have to go." She smiled. "Well?"
It was too soon. It was too fast. "You're kidding..." She shook her head slowly, then tipped it inquisitively, raising one eyebrow. We stood and stepped behind the partition.
Had a wonderful Greek dinner at a new restaurant in Roswell. Mary had pastitsio, I had a steak and saganaki (OPAA!).