Tricia woke when Mary Beth’s phone rang on the bedside table. Mary Beth, grumbling, stretched over to answer it.
“What?” Mary Beth snapped. “Why are you calling so early?”
Tricia got up and went to the bathroom partly out of necessity and partly to miss as much of the phone call as she could. She didn’t want to start the morning hearing Mary Beth fighting with Dutch and that had to be who was calling her for her to have answered that way.
It was not, Tricia noted looking at her cell phone which was charging in the bathroom, all that early. It was right around 9:30. That was the latest she’d slept since the last time she’d been at a poker tournament.
She heard Mary Beth wrap up her call with Dutch and went back out when she was done. It hadn’t been a long call and it hadn’t gone as badly as she thought it might considering the way it started.
When she walked out of the bathroom Mary Beth was wrapped in a sheet.
“Why did I wake up in your bed dressed in this night gown?” Mary Beth asked.
Tricia smiled at her. “You’d have to tell me. You’re the one who put that one on last night while I was in changing into this granny mode sleep shirt. You’re the one who crawled into my bed while we were talking and then fell asleep.”
“I did?” Mary Beth asked. “I didn’t do or say anything I’m going to regret did I?”
“Well I don’t think so,” Tricia said deciding to try to have some fun with Mary Beth. “I’d never even thought of making love to another woman but you were pretty persistent. It wasn’t too bad.”
Mary Beth turned beet red. “Please tell me you’re putting me on. I wouldn’t have done that. Not to you. I hope I wouldn’t have. I know I was horny last night. I remember that but I don’t think I’d do a thing like that.”
Mary Beth looked so shaken that Tricia had to have mercy on her. “I am kidding. You did put that nightie on all on your own and you did crawl into my bed while we were talking but you fell asleep and shortly after you did so did I. I don’t know about you but I slept like a rock until your phone went off.”
Mary Beth looked relieved. “Thank God. You know I’m going to get you back for scaring me like that.”
“No, I owed you that for letting you drag me to have drinks with Ben and his buddies last night.” Tricia countered.
“Oh come on,” Mary Beth said. “You had fun. You looked like you were having fun. You were the one behaving yourself. All you were doing was talking about poker with Josh and Chuck. I was the one acting like a slut I guess.”
“Oh you were not!” Tricia said. “You were having fun. Hell I envy the way you do it. It’s something I’ll never be able to do.”
“You do it in your own way. Everybody is different,” Mary Beth said, then she changed the subject. “I’m hungry. Are you up for some breakfast somewhere?”
“Sure, do you want the first shower or what?” Tricia asked.
Mary Beth let the sheet slide off from around her and smiled, “We could take one together. I’d wash your back and you could wash mine.”
It was Tricia’s turn to blush. Flustered she wasn’t sure what to say. Then Mary Beth picked up the sheet, wrapped it around her again and laughed out loud. “Ok now we’re even. You should have seen the look on your face. I’m not sure I ever saw anybody turn that red. I’ll take the first shower if you don’t mind. I need to pee anyway. You already did.”
Then she went to pick out her clothes for the day, dodging as Tricia threw a pillow at her.
After breakfast Mary Beth wanted to play a slot machine. Tricia was willing to watch but wasn’t going to contribute to the casino that way. Shortly after Mary Beth started Tricia’s phone rang and she saw it was Matt. She’d tried to call him while Mary Beth had been taking her shower but, as usual, she’d gotten his voice mail. She wasn’t sure what to expect from him now. He’d seemed fine with her going but you never knew.
“How are you two doing?” he asked, just making small talk which for Matt, was a little unusual.
“We’re fine,” Tricia told him and gave him a brief capsule of the night, leaving out the drinks with the guys and just saying that after they played they had a couple of drinks in one of the bars to unwind before bed.
“And is Mary Beth behaving herself?” Matt asked.
“Afraid she’s going to lead me astray?” Tricia asked playfully. Yes Mary Beth flirted but as far as Tricia knew she’d never been unfaithful to Dutch. “Or are you afraid I’ll lead her astray?”
“Very funny Tricia,” Matt said, obviously not thinking it was funny at all. “You know I trust you or I wouldn’t have been so willing to have you go. You know how Mary Beth flirts though. Considering the way she and Dutch aren’t getting along that well lately I just think she could get herself into trouble flirting like she does.”
“It’s just fun for her,” Tricia said, wondering why he even cared. It wasn’t like he and Mary Beth had ever even gotten along all that well. On the other hand they had worked together ok putting Tricia’s surprise together while she was at the first tournament.
“I know she means it that way Tricia but I think you should keep an eye on her. Those things can start out innocent but the guy may not take it that way and she is a little vulnerable right now don’t you think?”
Tricia chuckled. “Have you been watching Oprah or Dr. Phil, Matt?”
“Cute Tricia,” Matt said with a chuckle that sounded forced to Tricia.
“Why are you so worried about her?” Tricia asked.
“You should be too,” Matt told her. “She’s your friend. I know Dutch is being a bit of an asshole lately but he and Mary Beth are our friends and it seems to me we owe it to them to help where we can.”
“Well that’s why she’s here with me, to kind of recharge so that maybe things will be better when she gets back.” Tricia pointed out. “Or did you really want her here to keep an eye on me? Maybe you don’t trust me as much as I thought.”
“I don’t deserve that,” Matt said, sounding genuinely hurt to Tricia’s thinking. “I think I’ve shown a great deal of trust.”
“You’re right honey,” Tricia said contritely. “I’m sorry. I’m worried about Mary Beth too. I want her and Dutch to work things out. I promise I’ll do my best to keep her on the straight and narrow here ok?”
“Maybe you could have dinner or something with Dutch. Sort of have some guy talk. Hell I don’t see why you didn’t plan a fishing trip for this weekend coming up. It’s not too late.”
“Well I tried. Dutch said his business is shit and he can’t take time off,” Matt said. “Frankly I don’t see how it can be that bad. I know he’s got plenty of work. He’s fed me enough. He didn’t want to talk about it last time I tried.”
“Mary Beth says he’s been hitting some bar most nights for a couple of hours before he finally comes home. Maybe you can find out which one and have a couple of drinks with him some night.”
“Probably some dive, you know Dutch, northern redneck through and through.”
“Well give it some thought honey. If you’re really worried about him and Mary Beth it’s worth a shot. He’s your fishing buddy after all.”
“Yeah I know. Ok, I’ll see what I can do.”
“Listen Tricia I’ve got another call and I have to take it. I’ll talk to you later. Have fun and good luck. Love you.” Matt said.
He had hung up before he even heard Tricia’s “Love you too.” All in all a strange conversation Tricia thought as she went back to where Mary Beth was still playing her slot machine. It seemed to her that he’d sounded funny when she’d been out of town the last time. She’d since chalked that up to him working on her sun porch with very little time to get it done. Now she wondered. Surely he wasn’t planning another surprise. If it turned out that he was then she was definitely going to have to go to more tournaments. That didn’t feel right to her. She couldn’t put a finger on what seemed off.
“Matt?” Mary Beth asked, seeing Tricia come back.
Tricia nodded. “Yeah and he was acting weird. He didn’t seem worried about me at all. He was mostly worried about you.”
Mary Beth didn’t turn from the slot machine, she just said, “That is weird.”
“Yeah,” Tricia said. “And I don’t think Dutch put him up to it either.”
“He probably did,” Mary Beth said quickly. “I know they’re not best friends but when you hang out camping and hunting and fishing and doing all that guy crap they do I’m sure they cover each other’s backs.”
“Did Dutch ask about me?” Tricia asked.
Mary Beth shook her head. “Nope, just checking on me. I just told him we had drinks, not who with. You didn’t tell Matt about Ben and his buddies did you?”
“Nah, not that it would hurt but I didn’t see any reason to open that can of worms.” Tricia said. “Besides he didn’t push once I said we had drinks. Mostly he just worried you’d get in trouble flirting.”
“Matt said that?” Mary Beth asked, with a look mostly of surprise on her face as she turned around.
“Yeah, weird huh?”
“Yeah,” Mary Beth said distractedly, turning back to her slot machine.
Before Tricia could pursue it further the machine began to bing, bonk and flash wildly.
“Holy shit!” Mary Beth said. “I think I hit the jackpot!”
Tricia looked at it. “Well you hit a jackpot! Good job!”
“I think it’s $4,000!” Mary Beth said, jumping up and grabbing Tricia and doing a kind of happy dance that Tricia was afraid was going to dislocate her shoulders.
“Don’t kill me!” Tricia said with a laugh. And don’t hate me but that is a nickel machine. I think you just won 4,000 nickels.”
“How much is 4,000 nickels?” Mary Beth, not the greatest of math whizzes, asked.
Tricia thought briefly and said, “$200.”
“Well cool!” Mary Beth said. “It’s not as much as you won at poker last night but it’s not bad!”
“Not bad at all,” Tricia agreed, smiling at a giddy Mary Beth.
“How do I get the money?” Mary Beth asked.
“You’re going to quit?”
“Hell yeah! If I keep playing it’ll take it all back. I’m going to take the money and run sister!” Mary Beth said emphatically.
They looked at the machine, found the cash out button and pressed it.
“What the hell?” Mary Beth said taking the ticket that came out of a slot. “You don’t get real money?”
“You really wanted 4,000 nickels?” Tricia asked with a smile.
“Well I remember way back going to a casino and that’s what you got. You put them in those buckets and took them to a cashier. I liked hearing them come out of the machine and liked scooping them into the buckets.”
“Well that’s progress I guess,” Tricia said. “I think you take that ticket to one of those machines they have around to get your money.”
“Oh well,” Mary Beth said. “The coins did get your hands all nasty and you usually had to stand in line to cash them in.”
“True and this will spend just as well.”
“You got that right. Dinner tonight is on me!” Mary Beth said.
Tricia laughed. “Dinner tonight is on the casino. Don’t you remember we got comps when we left last night?”
“Oh yeah!” Mary Beth said. “God I love this. Play a little, win $200, get free food.”
Tricia laughed again as she and Mary Beth went off to cash in Mary Beth’s ticket. “Remember though that you can also lose money, so watch it.”
“Yeah I know,” Mary Beth said. “That’s why I brought a set amount to play with. But I think my luck is hot. I just think this is gonna be a great week. It will be for you too I bet. You just wait and see!”
“Maybe,” Tricia said. “I hope so.”