kitchen-4Bill would never get used to the idea of being followed, of being watched. He remembered the undercover cop in the paddy wagon, the guy who was let out of the holding cell first, only about a half hour after they were put in, they guy who later tried to sell him weed in the street. Was he being followed then? Now he wondered.

Being followed made him more cautious, but it did not stop him from doing some of the things he’d done before. Or, he was still stupid sometimes. He did not stop smoking weed and sometimes he still had it in his house. He still drank. Every now and then he still took acid.

When Henry Lee’d come in this morning, about nine, he’d sent Bill to the liquor store up Delta Road. Even if the cops saw him buy alcohol, if he didn’t drink it and then didn’t have it in the car when he went home at night, he was relatively safe.

The morning was quite ordinary. Bill knew most of the prep cooking they did at Suburban now. He knew the grill, all the line cooks’ jobs, the pantry, Bea’s job, how to carve a round and prime rib, even how to make Grandma’s fried chicken,  although she never let him.

Bea was still after him. They’d had their moments of teasing, but nothing else. She was even more on his case once she found out he and Mary were fooling around. Robert had smacked Bill upside the head when he’d discovered it. Bill was cheating on the wife he hadn’t even married yet—not a good omen—doing it with Evelyn and one other waitress too. That was not good, but it was allowable. Mary was over the edge. Robert reminded Bill that Mary attended the same church as him, that she sang in the choir he sang in and also directed. He reminded Bill that Mary had a boy just a few years younger than him and sometimes they were all sitting together in the same pew at the church. Lord Have Mercy!

Mary couldn’t help herself. They’d had the time in the meat room Tommy caught him up her dress and a few other times changing clothes downstairs when Bill had taken liberties. Once, in his underwear while they were changing he’d taken Mary’s hand and put it on him inside. Mary hadn’t shied away. She’d lectured him plenty about Eleanor and about being a good partner to the girl he lived with, but she was tired of lecturing and tired of fighting him and tired of not getting any in her own life. She could have had plenty, really, from Drenovis and Henry Lee and others including Alvin, but she wasn’t having that. Bill was different. He wasn’t going to be there forever, she knew that. He was young and wild and crazy and smart. And he was white. She’d never had a white boy and she was curious.

It had only been a matter of time, a matter of finding the right time and the right circumstance. A place was easy. Any of the places they used in the restaurant would do. Sometimes, if she worked at night, Bill drove her home. When he did, all she could think about was him stopping and… She’d close her eyes while he drove and send him vibes. Kiss me, she repeated silently over and over. Lean over and touch me. Kiss me, touch me, feel me.

One time he did kiss her. They’d pulled up at her house and she was about to get out. Bill stopped her, told her wait. “I’m gonna kiss you,” he said. He leaned in and they spent a few minutes at it. They kissed, they touched. Mary sighed and moaned.

“What took you so long?” she asked. She decided that if all else failed, his little Toyota would do. When all was said and done, it did do once.