Enough politics. The second section of this book is supposed to highlight Mac, so let’s get the camera back where it belongs. Hopefully my RealLife family is back in two days, so I might be busy cleaning up tomorrow. It’s good to be writing again; we’ll see.
She heard his feet in her hallway before he’d knocked on the door and was already standing. In the midst of his first strike on the door she swung it open.
“Oh!” Gil stopped his hand just before tapping her forehead.
Nichole reached up and unfolded his fist, kissing the end of each finger.
“Is that why you wanted me to come over?” he asked, not minding.
“Actually, no,” she replied taking his left hand into her right and making a step across the hall.
“Mac?” he asked.
“Mmm!” She tapped twice on the door. A few moments later the bolt slid and the door opened.
“…an…or…ming…” Gil heard her mutter at their feet. What?
“First! You can do better!” He was surprised at Nichole’s tone.
The head of the grey ghost came up. She struck a pose and let a smile he’d never seen come to her lips.
“Thank you for coming,” she declared, brushing her hair back with her right hand. “And thank you for acting as my model this evening!”
Gil stared at her for a moment before looking a question to Nichole.
“Is she on Xanax?” he asked.
“Nope!” Nichole pushed him in while Mackenzie closed the door behind them.
“Take your clothes off!” his love declared.
All the pencils in Mackenzie’s hand clattered to the ground at once. She whirled about.
“I… I told you! I’m just making some outlines…!”
“You don’t want to see him nude?” she asked with a slight tilt to her head.
Gil saw the artist turn so red he thought she was having a stroke.
“Nichole!” he said, turning to his girlfriend. “What have I tried to teach you about running your mouth?!”
“Well…” Her right finger went to her chin as her left went to his chest and started down. “You do like it when I run my mouth down – ”
“Nichole!” both humans called at once.
Getting them to be friends was easier than I thought!
“In that case, I’m going to work on my man’s dinner! Should be about forty minutes!” she walked into the hall. “Play nice!”
The door closed. Mackenzie jumped as it did.
“We,” Gil ventured at her nervousness, “have the oddest friend in the world!”
“Yeah,” she whispered with a smile. “Could… would you stand just there?”
She indicated a place behind the chair where she’d been sketching Nichole. He took a few steps.
“Did you want me – ”
“Turn just a little to your right… good. Now put your left hand onto the back of the chair. Thank you!”
Gil noted that when she was a totally different girl when an artist.
“Like this?” he asked.
“Good.” She sat and began to sketch.
Minutes passed. Getting a little stiff, Gil rolled his shoulders.
“You… could… if you wanted…” Mackenzie muttered into her sketchbook.
Does she really want my clothes off? He wondered.
“Your shirt…” she looked up. “Just your shirt! Not…!”
“That’s fine, Mac,” he said, unbuttoning it and laying it over the back of the chair he was touching. The change in her breathing was remarkable.
“So different from pictures!”
She switched pencils and drew furiously.
“You’re a swimmer, right?” she asked.
“Yep. Since about twelve.”
Her eyes came up and lingered on him, here and there.
Okay, this is wrong, he thought.
“Was there anything else…?”
There was a sharp thud from the door.
“She’s kicking it why?” Gil asked as he moved to open it.
“Tah-dah! Dinner!” Nichole was carrying a rectangular glass casserole with hot mitts but noted her boyfriend’s state. “Ooo! Did I interrupt something?”
“No!” the two humans again.
“Here, here… excuse me!” she said, setting the dish onto the top of the little stove.
“That smells good!” Mackenzie allowed.
“Did you just sneeze?” Gil asked, putting his shirt back on. It was not lost on him that Mackenzie looked at him, not Nichole.
“No, silly!” she said, seeing what he did. “An Hungarian dish: chopped boiled eggs and sausage in potato matrix! Perfect post-Breakup food!”
No one moved.
“Er. Was that inappropriate?”
“Geez!” Gil took a step toward the kitchenette.
They both turned at Mac’s outburst.
“It… it’s your food, but my home! Let me see to things! You two sit down!” said as she pointed at the little table. Nichole saw a problem.
“Only two chairs! Be right back with a third!”
Gil moved the chair he’d been holding to the table and went to retrieve the other that Mac had been in. She was busy with a spatula and three plates.
“Mackenzie?” he wondered why she flinched at his voice. “I think two plates – ”
“She’s a person! My best friend! Of course I’ll offer her some!” That surprising strength again.
“Of course.” He sat.
“Back now!” Nichole was aware that things were changing moment to moment with her two best friends. She would process it all later.
Mackenzie out down the plates and flatware on the square table in a manner that had Gil at her right and Nichole opposite her. Gil chose to say nothing. Their host poured water into cups and set them out.
“Itadakimasu!” Nichole cried, slapping her hands together. Elbows down onto the table, she folded her hands under her chin. Watching.
“Thank you for the food, Nichole,” Gil said to his right.
“And for your home, Mac.” to his left.
Blinking quickly, she was able to raise her eyes to his and nod with a tiny smile.