That Friday Lisa, her friend Gina, and I went on a Girl’s Night Out (GNO). I was a bit unsettled when I realized that if I said or did anything stupid, which I sometimes do when I drink, Conner would hear about it, because Lisa was Conner’s best friend. But Gina & Lisa were so easy to get along with that I soon forgot my fears. We talked about Gina’s husband, my two kids, and everything else. Lisa had also dated Mike, for 2-3 months, so we had that in common.
GNO started out at Saba’s (a bar) and moved to Malaga’s (another bar) where we ordered Portobello mushrooms and artichoke heart dip on crostini. The fact that we all loved these foods brought us closer together and we drank and giggled over more life stories. Polly Ester’s was our next stop: an 80’s themed night club where the hardcore dress the part. We danced, played Ms. Pac Man, and sang Karaoke. Our song was “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.
“I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away. Ya, I’ll be ok. I’m not big on social graces, think I’ll slip on down—to the O-asis! Oh ya, I’ve got Friends! In low places!”
I thought it was fitting. Lisa had a sore throat, so she didn’t sing, and Gina didn’t know the song too well, but we had fun.
This is part 2 of the Conner story. I wrote most of it in 2002, while in the thrall of infatuation. OMG I’m such a dork when I’m in love! Enjoy!
Conner called to check on us (what a sweetie!). Well, actually he called Lisa. Gina pointed out that they had been friends for six years. After Lisa talked for a few minutes, she passed me the phone.
I told him, “I miss you terribly.” I couldn’t believe how true that was. I had seen him the morning before, but I still missed him. The feeling was made worse by the realization that I didn’t know when we’d see each other again. He was working all weekend.
He said, “I miss you, too.” We discussed his visit and soon said goodbye.
I went back to the girls and had a few sips of my drink, then excused myself. The margaritas were hitting me hard. I called Conner back and said, “I still miss you.”
He said, “I miss you, too. Tell you what, we’ll do something tomorrow night, okay?”
Okay?! I was overjoyed! I meekly answered, “Okay. Sweet dreams.” I was smiling as I rejoined my friends.
Later Gina went home, but that didn’t faze Lisa or me. We continued dancing. Since none of the guys were approaching us, I asked Lisa if she wanted to attract some attention. She said, “Yea!” so I dirty danced with her. She happens to be a very good dancer. The guys were all over us in two seconds flat. Lisa met James, and I tried dancing with his friend Arnold, but the guy kept getting too close. I brushed him off and went to get another drink. I had to let down five more guys on the way to the bar!
I knew beyond a doubt that I liked Conner. Even when I was married, I’d flirt with the guys and even get their numbers. I never called them, but it was fun to pretend. If I was unwilling to play that game, I must really like my guy!
I was finally able to drag Lisa out the door. We went through the Whataburger drive thru (yep, I was drunk enough that I ate a burger AND fries). Then I crashed in her bed for a few hours before driving myself home.
After waking up early Saturday afternoon, I called Conner to see what time he was coming over.
“When do you want me?” he asked.
It was about 2 p.m. “Right now,” I said playfully.
He said, “I’m going to take a shower & I’ll be right over.”
“I was joking! Don’t you have work to do?” I said, laughing.
“It can wait until Monday,” he replied.
“Alright, then, can you be here at 4?” I said. I needed to shower, change, and make a mad dash around the living room picking up kids’ toys and laundry.
He said he’d try. He was here at 3:40; he was eager to see me! And he had grabbed McDonald’s hamburgers on the way over. He remembered that I didn’t eat fried foods, but everything at Mickey Dees is fried, so he took a chance and got me a cheeseburger. It was so sweet of him that I hated to admit that I hated ALL fast food! I ate part of one anyway, and promised myself that I’d run an extra mile or two the next day.
We snuggled up on my couch to watch movies. I had been watching “Hercules” and sang along to Meg’s “No chance, no way, I won’t say it, no, no; it’s too cliché, I won’t say I’m in love.” Then I turned it off so that we could watch an adult movie. “Monkey Bone” was funny and sweet.
Afterward I announced that I was hungry, so I took Conner to the Texas Land & Cattle Company. I wore a little hot pink tank top dress and we were very affectionate with each other in the car: stroking each other’s thighs, kissing at red lights. I popped in my Garth Brook’s CD and sang “Wrapped up in you” to him. He smiled at my animated singing and was even bopping along with me by the end of it.
At the restaurant I told Conner about my academic history. “I attended a high school for gifted and talented students in Louisiana; THE state school for the gifted. There I earned a full scholarship to LSU, but instead accepted a partial academic scholarship to TCU. I attended TCU for only a year before meeting and falling in love with my first husband.” Since my relationship wasn’t the point of the conversation, I kept talking. “I didn’t return to school for two years, and that was only to take some secretarial classes. After another marriage, baby, and divorce, I returned to school. I’ve been in school part-time for a year and a half now, working toward a degree in engineering.”
“Why?” Conner asked.
“Because I can, because I am capable of so much more. Secretarial duties are boring, repetitive.” I answered.
“Engineering can be, too!” Conner said.
I was shocked. I didn’t know what he based his answer on, but I didn’t ask. “Engineering also pays more. I’d rather be bored making twice as much money.” I said, disappointed that he didn’t admire or support that goal. “But if I decide that it takes too long to get an engineering degree, time spent away from my kids, I can take two classes and have a ‘consolation prize’ of an associate degree in foreign languages (French). I signed up for the classes and planned to go to school half-days, but that was while I working at my last job, where my boss was understanding and flexible with my schedule. I may have to drop the classes so that I can work a full-time job. I don’t know if another employer would let me go to school half-days.” I had mixed feeling about this; I really wanted a degree, but I needed to provide for my family, too. “An associate degree isn’t going to help me get a job, but after going to school for so long, I want a diploma.”
Conner was obviously uncomfortable with the discussion. He changed the subject. “If this deal goes through, my business can put some money in the bank—to fall back on—and reinvest the other half into equipment.”
While I was interested in his business and appreciated the fact that he confided in me, I felt like we missed something. He hadn’t appreciated my feelings about school and hadn’t really understood the depth of my feelings. He didn’t care enough to give me advice or offer support; he just changed the subject. I felt deflated. Suddenly, my food lost its taste, and I picked at it as Conner continued to share his business plan.
After dinner we returned to my house and started another movie.
He told me, out of the blue, “I decided where to put ALF.”
“Oh really? Where?”
“On top of my desk hutch, so I can see him all the time while I work.” He smiled at me, pleased as can be. I was thrilled that he liked that old puppet so much!
I asked him his middle name, to which he replied, “Conner.”
“Well then what is your first name?” I asked.
He hesitated. It was obvious that he didn’t care for it, but he begrudgingly said, “Charles.” What a fine name! Charles Conner Jeffers.
“My brother’s middle name was Conner. As a matter of fact, you and he have similar noses & face shapes & body types (tall & skinny) & both wear glasses,” I said, surprised that I was just now realizing this.
“Oh really? So you’re telling me that I remind you of your BROTHER?!” Conner asked, amused.
“Uh, not really. My brother is an officer in the Air Force, extremely quiet, and very pure. He speaks Spanish, some German, and Russian; he doesn’t want anyone to understand him. You, on the other hand, are very communicative, which was one of the many things I love about you,” said, kissing him.
Charles Conner and I were back at the house attempting to watch “Training Day,” a movie that wasn’t very good, when we paused it so that he could take a smoke break. I called Lisa to check on her first date with James, the guy we had met the night before. She said it was okay, then asked us to meet them for drinks.
We were the first to arrive at the dive bar near Conner’s house. One of the waitresses, Holly, was way drunk and regaled us with stories about her and her boyfriend Ray. “He doesn’t treat me right,” was the summary.
After she left, Conner confided, “Ray is married; Holly is his mistress.”
I replied, “If (heaven forbid) if doesn’t work out between you and me, I’m not dating one of your friends.”
“Thank goodness; we have enough soap opera drama around here,” he said.
Lisa showed up first, wearing a sexy short black skirt. We had a few minutes to catch up before her date arrived. James brought his friend Arnold Johnson. James called him “Johnson,” but the man introduced himself as “Arnold.” That didn’t faze James a bit; he still called him Johnson all night. I recognized the man, but he didn’t seem to recognize me; he was one of the guys I had rejected at Polly Esters!
James talked about himself, the police academy, and his future as a small-town police officer the whole time. Lisa was not impressed. She and I had some side conversations while the boys talked. At the end of the night (she later told us) James expected to go home with her. She set him straight.
Jules Rules: If a girl invites her friends to join you on a first date, it’s probably not going well. If she talks to her girlfriend more than she talks to you, then it’s REALLY not going well!
Back at my house that night, Conner and I snuggled. We can never get enough of touching each other.
He looked at me seriously and said, “I want something serious. I enjoy the sex, but I want more.”
I was very touched, because the implication was that he wanted something serious with me. I answered, “Just take it slow, okay?” I was surprised, nervous, excited. I had just finalized my divorce in October; I wasn’t sure if I ready for a really serious relationship. Not sure how to verbalize my complex feelings, I changed the subject. “You’re so handsome,” I said.
“You think I’m handsome?” he asked, rather taken aback.
“Yes.” He eyed me skeptically, then thoughtfully. Apparently the thought had never occurred to him before. Maybe he was realizing just how nearsighted I really was.
Click here for part 3, the last part of the Conner story, where I leave some crazy voicemails and I have a great non-date with a married man. Expect to see a lot more of Lisa!