Being a novel, all characters, events, dialogue and representations are fictional ... and in no way are meant to represent any real or living persons or events... except the few annual events that are used to move me through time. The opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my author. And the story is copyrighted, by my author of course. Oh, and from time to time I may include some real time events to keep the blog more authentic. Comments and suggestions will be appreciated and seriously considered as the story moves along.

If you are just joining us, start with the Prologue and Chapter One on March 1, 2011, in the Archives.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Part II ~ Hearts to Be Broken Chapter 38

     Working carefully, I have so far managed to avoid further explosive encounters with Boyle. He sent up two more news releases ostensively from President Parker, each badly written and poorly constructed. My staff dutifully sent them out with discreet apologies, and newspapers across the state dutifully ignored them. I then dutifully documented every directive from Boyle and every action by the staff–except the apologies. 
      And I waited patiently for my chance to turn things around. I am too committed to quality communications to allow someone like Boyle to do harm to the university I love. With a good staff, with supportive friends, and an increasingly interesting personal life, I can afford to bide my time.  

When our busy schedules permitted, Colin and I are seeing each other at least once a week, for dinner or a movie or a trip to the Cactus Theatre downtown to take in a live show. One night last week I invited him for a light supper and a rented movie. He’d laughed heartily when I put on James Cagney in G-Men, a 1936 black and white film. 
Often we have met just to talk about our days, enjoying each others’ company, as two old friends might. It is all casual and comfortable.
A favorite place to meet is the J&B Coffeehouse, 26th Street and Boston. With the typical mishmash of furniture in small intimate seating groups, free Wi-Fi, and great coffee, it’s a comfortable hangout for students as well as professors. 
Last Friday night, I sipped honey-almond tea as I waited for him. Normally punctual, he was running about 20 minutes late. Had I gotten the time or place wrong? My cell rang and it was Colin apologizing, saying he’d gotten caught up in his work at the shop. Would I like to meet him there? He still wasn’t finished for the evening, and I could see his latest project. So I took my tea to go as well as his usual coffee with cream and drove to the west side of campus.
   I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d expected, but this well-lit workshop was huge, the smell of fresh-cut wood mixed pleasantly with aromas of coffee, glue and sweat. Three students were in their respective workstations, concentrating on drawings or fitting pieces together on their latest projects. Colin, his back to me, was in the far corner next to a large drawing board and tacked-up blueprints. And a half-completed dresser, which he was sanding by hand. He was covered in sweat and sawdust, even though the air-conditioning seemed to be working fine. 
   I admit without any shame, I stood there and watched him work a few minutes, not wanting to disturb his intense concentration—(yeah, right—he was just good to look at.)
Finally, he stopped and ran a hand over the corner he’d been working on, moving around to the other side of the piece, seemingly satisfied that those three square inches were smooth enough. 
   He saw me and smiled, “Hi,” he said, walking toward me and placing a light kiss on my cheek, raising eyebrows from his students. If he noticed their interest, it didn’t show.
   “Sorry about this, but I couldn’t get myself to a stopping point and lost track of the time. Oh. You brought coffee. Thanks,” he said as he took it, tasting.
   “Not a problem, Murphy. This is beautiful work,” I said admiring the craftsmanship of the five-foot high oak dresser with multiple drawer openings. “You’re making yourself furniture?”
   “No. It’s ... it’s not for me.” When I raised questioning eyes, he shrugged, “My mom asked me to make it for dad, for his birthday in December, so I’m taking the opportunity to do it here while using it for demonstration purposes for my students. I buy all the wood, and most of the tools are my personal ones, so it’s kosher to use the space. 
   “Anyway, I need to get it finished and sent to Chicago, but it’ll take me until Thanksgiving at least to get it done. I’m way behind. Haven’t even started on the drawers yet. Was planning on doing most of it those two weeks in July, but ... well, you know.” 
   “It’s beautiful. I’m sure he’ll love it.” I walked around it admiringly and then noticed the drawings on the wall next to the drafting table. “These the plans for it?”
   “They are,” he said, taking another sip of coffee. “I make the kids create complete blueprints for their projects, so thought I needed to do that myself ...” 
   “They’re quite accomplished drawings, Murphy. The perspective, the detail. It’s remarkable for someone without a degree in art or design. Maybe you should’ve majored in design in college instead of law?” I asked in all seriousness. How could he have ignored this talent when he was younger? Then realized I’d done exactly the same thing ... ignored my art to raise a family. 
   “And miss all the fun of hunting down the bad guys?” he laughed but then turned serious. “No, I’m content to do this now — at this stage in my life. I needed those years of adventure and movement. I don’t think I would’ve been happy teaching and staying in one place when I was younger. There’s so much of the country and the world to see. I needed to see it, and I did.”
   I smiled at this new insight. Wow, is this what blogging is for? To let the world know your innermost thoughts? Not sure I’m ready to tell everything I’m thinking. But, here goes some of it. Now don’t laugh.
He is indeed an interesting man, and I am enjoying the new friendship. It is a friendship, isn’t it? It certainly isn’t a romantic relationship. He’s never offered more than a quick soft kiss goodnight — and for now that suited me just fine. I’m not sure what I would do if it headed to something less platonic. Yet, the desire is certainly there. It’s just pushed to the side while I get to know more about him ... and about myself. It is comfortable, and I like comfortable almost as much as Colin.

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