Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chapter 49

It is November 1, 2007. That means that National Novel Writing Month 2007 has kicked off. I'm participating this year, sort of, by writing more of Tricia's story. I will commit to writing 50,000 words of it this month. It will be a challenge. I'll be on the road a couple of days of the month. I'll also be in Orlando about half the month and Missippippi half the month. I can do this though. I just hope you all like the further adventures of Tricia in it's new home here. Let me know what you think...

Monday morning came early for Tricia and she woke before her alarm would have gone off at 5:30. She was excited about going to her second tournament series and a little apprehensive about leaving Matty again. Also sleeping in a strange bed at Mary Beth’s house had something to do with it. She got up, got dressed and on the way to the kitchen picked up the bag she’d brought in by the front door. Then she went into the kitchen and started some coffee. When it was ready she sat at the kitchen table enjoying the quiet and trying not to be nervous.

Thinking about Matty made her smile. He’d seemed fine last night when she’d said goodbye, reminding him it was only for a week this time. Matt had seemed more agitated this time than the last time but she could not tell why. He had made absolutely no cracks about her behaving herself and no references to her indiscretion with Jaime years ago as he had before she had left for the WSOP Circuit Event in Indiana a few months before. She’d mentioned it to her mom who had said that maybe he knew he was going to miss her. Tricia supposed that was possible but it didn’t feel right.

On the other hand Matt was paying more attention to Matty it seemed like to her. Not as much as she’d like and he still tended to come home from work and ignore both of them much more than she’d like. Still there were some nights that Matt would get home before Matty’s bedtime and would be willing to spend some time with him. In fact Tricia thought guiltily, there had been a few times when she’d been a little jealous. After Matty got Matt’s attention and then went to bed Matt would then go sit in his chair and resume vegging in front of the TV and Tricia was left on her own.

Tricia’s thoughts were jumping from one place to another. The next thing that popped into her mind was the card that had come a few days ago. It was the same one, or the same kind, that had come before she’d gone to Indiana that had thrown her into such a panic at the time. It was also the same one, the only one, that Jaime had ever sent her so even though it was unsigned she had known who it was from. And before the Indiana trip while she’d had no doubt who it came from she hadn’t been able to figure out why until after she was there. Enclosed with it had been a schedule for the tournament in Indiana. She had wondered if Jaime had broken his vow not to contact her again to tell her he was going to be there and was looking forward to seeing her or if it was to warn her that he would be there and she might want to steer clear.

As it had turned out it had been a little of both. Tricia had been terribly nervous about seeing him again after all those years. As it turned out when she saw him all her feelings came rushing back. She had, she could admit now, made it hard on Jaime who had felt very bad when they’d been caught and Tricia had been made to go through Hell by a justifiably jealous Matt. When she’d told him she needed to cut off all contact Jaime had promised to do just that and until he sent that card he had abided by it scrupulously even though there were many times when Tricia had wished he wouldn’t.

When they met again he made it clear he still felt bad about what happened between Tricia and Matt because of him and that he couldn’t see it happen again. Tricia had somewhat embarrassed herself a time or two testing Jaime. Not that it was a test, the feelings and desires were real. Mostly she was glad that Jaime had stuck to his promise. They’d had a good time as friends at the tournament and through him she’d met Kevin and Caroline and others who she was very glad she had met.

That made Tricia think of Rick and what had happened and almost happened. That, Tricia vowed, was not going to happen this time. She was going to play poker, not to fool around, or almost fool around, or mostly fool around, or whatever exactly you’d call what happened, or maybe didn’t happen between her and Rick.

She was snapped out of her daydreams and into reality when Dutch came into the kitchen dressed for work and looking, Tricia thought, obscenely awake for just past 5:30 in the morning. He’d been making all sorts of snide comments the night before about this trip that Tricia and Mary Beth were making and Tricia braced herself for it to resume.

He started off good though by just saying good morning, looking eagerly and gratefully at the coffee pot and thanking her for making it.

Then he sat at the other end of the table with his coffee cup in his hands, sipping slowly, eyes closed. Ok, Tricia thought, maybe he’s not as disgustingly awake as I thought.

Then he opened his eyes and looked at her. “You’re going to make sure Mary Beth behaves herself right?”

“I’m not going as a chaperone Dutch,” Tricia said, trying not to get angry. Lately Dutch had been grating on her nerves like a dull knife. He’d never been that bad before. It had been making her avoid Mary Beth which she hated. She really wanted to get along with him.

“Well I figure you learned your lesson so you’ll just go and play poker. I’m not so sure about Mary Beth.” Dutch said with a shrug. “Keep an eye on her.”

Tricia bristled at the reference to her brief affair with Jaime all those years ago. “She’s a grown woman Dutch. You either trust her to go or you don’t. As far as I know she’s never given you any reason to make you doubt her as you so eloquently pointed out that I did Matt. She hasn’t has she?”

Dutch shrugged. “There’s a first time for everything and I still don’t know what this shit with her wanting her own business is about. Maybe she’s got something lined up and is fixing to split.”

Tricia opened her mouth to reply angrily about the absurdity of that statement based on no evidence that she was aware of.

Before she could say anything Mary Beth did from behind her.

“Dutch for Christ’s sake don’t start on that crap. Tricia is going to play those tournaments and I’m going with her as a friend and for a little vacation. God knows I deserve one. You don’t want me to work, the kids don’t need mom hanging around all the time, what the hell else am I supposed to do? I’m lucky that I can go with my friend and watch her in these tournaments. We’re not going to party all the time or anything. You could have come too. Tricia offered several times.”

“You know I can’t get away,” Dutch said.

Tricia hoped this wasn’t going to erupt into another fight. She didn’t want to leave on that note.

“I know you can’t,” Mary Beth said, “and I’m sorry. It might have been a lot of fun if we’d have gone together. We need to go somewhere together Dutch, and soon. Try to make some time for it. God knows I’ve got plenty of time.”

Mary Beth had gone from angry to almost pleading and Dutch visibly softened. “I will MB. You know it’s tough right now the way business is going. I have to ride the wave while it’s here. We both know it’ll slow down and the money I’m making now will help then, and will give us more to take a nice vacation with.”

“I know baby. Just try to see it from my side too please,” Mary Beth said hugging him. “Are you ready to go Tricia? I’m too frigging nervous to eat breakfast right now. Do you mind Dutch?”

“What are you nervous about?” Tricia asked.

“I don’t want to look like an idiot when I play poker with you. You and the others will all be experienced players. I’ll probably do all sorts of stupid things.”

Tricia and Dutch both chuckled at the way she said it.

“Mary Beth you will be fine. You’ve played with the toughest crowd you ever will when my dad and his bunch let you play with them. You survived just fine. You’ve been to casinos with me a few times. You know what to do.”

“I guess but these are going to be better players right? There for that big tournament?”

Tricia smiled. “No. Some will be good, some will be amazingly bad. Also it’s not that big a tournament. The prize pools should be nice but not huge and there are other events going on that the really big names will be playing. That is one reason Kevin, Caroline and … others won’t be there.“ She almost said, “Jaime” but stopped herself just in time and, she thought, lamely substituted others. She still had not told Mary Beth about seeing Jaime at the other tournament.

Dutch stood up and hugged Mary Beth. “Go on baby. You’ll be fine if Tricia says you will.”

They kissed and Tricia stood up.

Dutch followed them to the car carrying Mary Beth’s two bags. He put them in Tricia’s trunk and gave Mary Beth one more kiss.

Just before Mary Beth close the car door he said, “Behave yourself and have fun.”

Mary Beth slammed the door and let out a huge sigh. “Get me the Hell out of here! Now! Honestly that man! Behave and have fun! I’m going to frigging have fun. And I’ll behave enough to not get arrested. Anything else is just not his frigging business.”

Tricia drove off, letting Mary Beth’s rant die down.

Before long Mary Beth looked over at Tricia, pattedher on the arm, and said, “I’m sorry. Maybe you spending the night at our house last night wasn’t a good idea. You could have avoided a lot of Dutch’s crap. It’s not gonna screw up your playing is it?”

“Well I’ve got a nine hour drive to get over it as long as you do,” Tricia pointed out. “Besides you are right. You’re a half hour closer to where we have to go than my house is. I’d have had to get up even earlier.”

“Hey! Don’t start on me on that one. You’re the one who wanted to drive it all in one day and get there in time for dinner tonight so you could play some.” Mary Beth said with a smile. “You know it wasn’t my idea to wake up at oh dark thirty and start driving.”

Tricia laughed, knowing very well how much Mary Beth was not a morning person. “Believe me I know that. It makes me wonder why you’d want a business of your own. You just got the kids where you don’t have to get up with them early and now you’ll have to get up to go to work.”

“Oh no I won’t!” Mary Beth said brightly. “I’m not going to open until 10:00. I won’t have to get up until 9:00.”

“You’ve got it all figured huh?”

“You bet your ass I do!” Mary Beth said.

Tricia smiled. The Mary Beth she knew and loved was back. This was going to be a great trip.


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