“Thanks for meeting me,” Emi’s brother, Chris, says as we set up on the racquetball court early one Saturday morning. “I can’t sit at home and wait any longer.”
“What are you waiting for?”
“I’ve been seeing this woman for a few weeks. I really like her. She, uh, finally stayed over the other night…” I glance at him, and his expression fills in the blanks. “But I haven’t seen her since. She’s all I can think about.”
“Well, Em, here I thought I was spending the morning with your brother.”
“Fuck you,” he tosses the ball to me. “You don’t understand.”
“I don’t understand women?” I serve the ball– hard– and he swats it back at me. “I know women,” I remind him.
“I know. That’s why you’re here and not any of the decent guys I know.”
“Hey, I resent that,” I tell him, rolling my eyes. “You listen to your sister too much.”
“We have better things to talk about than your sex life,” he responds.
“I highly doubt that,” I joke with him. “There’s really nothing better than my sex life.”
“Oh, here we go…” I laugh, continuing our game. “But speaking of which, you still seeing the young blonde?”
“Samantha,” I tell him, “and yes.”
“Emi says she hasn’t seen much of you lately. I’m guessing she’s the reason?”
“I will admit that Sam requires a lot of my attention, yes,” I answer honestly, “but I don’t know if you’ve met the schmo she started seeing…”
“So you’re a fan, are you?”
“You can tell? What’s his name? Carter or Colin or Collie… something like that.”
“Colin. And yes, I’ve met him. Briefly. He was at her place last week when I dropped off some books she had left at my apartment.”
“He’s big. And his shirt was too tight.”
“Yeah, right? He doesn’t seem like her type,” I hint.
“I don’t know, Nate. I honestly don’t know him well enough to say one way or another. Plus, what’s her type, anyway?” He takes a break from the game to take a drink. He looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “The only guy she’s spent any amount of time with is you, and you’re just friends. I was beginning to wonder if guys were her thing.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
He laughs at me defending her. “I just wish she’d find a decent man soon.”
“So you don’t like him, then?”
“I didn’t say that,” he groans, starting the game up again. “I’m not going to shut the door on anyone this soon. I’ll support any man who wants to date her until he gives me reason not to.”
“He’s given me reason. I don’t like him.”
“What? What don’t you like about him?”
“He’s a total dick!” is my first argument… admittedly not a good one. I decide to fill him in on the brief conversation Colin and I had at the basketball game.
“That’s real mature.”
“Just wait. You know we saw the Knicks together a few weeks ago, right?”
“Yeah, that’s where she introduced you two. She told me. What happened?”
“He followed me into the men’s room at the arena,” I start, looking up at Chris, who is now completely interested in the conversation. “I would have punched him if I had the slightest bit of assurance that he wouldn’t break both of my arms off and beat me with them.”
“What’d he do?”
“He didn’t do anything. It’s what he said. Something like, ‘She’s a wild one,’” I begin.
“Yikes, do I want to know more?”
“I’ve never had to defend your sister’s honor before, but I did. I mean, out of all the adjectives in the world, ‘wild’ is not one I would ever use to describe her.”
“So, after I stood up for her, he told me it was obvious that I hadn’t ‘had’ her. I mean, can you believe that?”
“What? Surely you misunderstood.”
I start the game again. “Yeah, I didn’t misunderstand. His meaning was quite clear.”
“How did you respond? Did you tell her?”
“I wanted to, but once we made it back to the suite, he made it a point to stake his claim on her by putting his hands all over her, glaring at me… you know, for the three minutes they stuck around before going off to wherever and… fuck, it just pisses me off.”
He looks at me and laughs, shaking his head. “Don’t tell her.”
“Because I just have a hard time believing–”
“That’s fine, so he’s a little immature. Maybe he felt threatened by you, I don’t know. But let it play out on its own. She hasn’t dated anyone in awhile. And she’s a pretty good judge of character. There’s got to be some redeeming quality about him, right?”
“It’s nothing I can see. Nor do I care to.”
“You two really are ridiculous, you know that?”
I’m sure he can see through me. He’s known me too long and knows me too well. There have been plenty of times that I’ve let my guard down. I have no doubt he knows how I feel about her, but he’ll never say it and he’d never encourage me. I’m sure it’s because she feels nothing for me in return.
“Why do you say that?” I decide to ask him anyway as his phone rings from the back of the court.
“Hold on. That’s Anna.” His smile grows instantly as he sighs, relieved. He runs to his gym bag and answers it. While he’s on the phone, I check my emails. Three from Sam. One from my agent. None from Emi. It’s been so long since she’s dated someone that I don’t remember if this is normal. Do we normally go this long without talking? I send her a text, just a friendly reminder that I’m still alive.
Lost and Found
(C) 2011 Lori L. Otto