Teaser 017: Is She a Little Girl or a Woman?

Serena sat up straight and I could feel her gaze upon me so I turned to face her. “You don't have to do it, Gregory. It is personal, and that's why I asked you out there, so I could hear your answer privately. I think I know what your full answer will be anyway and I'm satisfied. You don't have to say anything about it to any one else, if you don't want to, because...”

“No, I do, Serena. Everyone should know, because most already suspect something and are wondering both what it is and what effect it may have on this movie, this project, going forward, so it's best everyone know or at least be convinced it's not going to be a problem. If I don't address their suspicion, it will become an issue, I guarantee you. So, dear lady, do I have your permission?”

“It's more embarrassing to you, you know,” Serena advised, wearing an expression which told me, you don't really need to do this, Gregory.

“I know, but when you see the picture and hear the explanation, you'll like it even more than what I said out there, and I didn't do too bad out there, did I?”

Serena's smile returned as she agreed, “Yes, you did pretty good out there, I admit.”

“Good. So I'll go out and get my computer after dinner. We are having dinner, aren't we?”

“Of course.”

“Excellent! I am saved a trip to a fast food joint.”

“And you're staying here tonight. No sleeping at a rest stop on I-5.”

“I'm gonna sleep in a bed?”

“Of course.”

“In my own private bedroom?”

“Yes, and you have your pick from several.”

“And there's one with an adjoining bathroom?”

“No.” Serena's smile was infectious.

“There's the end of my dream! I would have thought, in your quest to keep up with the movie industry Joneses, Serena, you would have put an adjoining bathroom in every bedroom. Now that would have been impressive!”

She immediately nudged my right shoulder. “Be nice to your hostess, little boy.”

“You keep calling me that and I'm going to start calling you 'little girl,' and we'll all watch the fireworks explode then! And we'll all be thinking, hey! Wasn't the Fourth of July two weeks ago? Serena has some left over?

Once everyone, including Serena, finished laughing, she asked, “Oh! So if I call you 'little boy,' you get all offended?”

“Nope. So if I call you 'little girl,' you're gonna get all offended?”

Serena twisted her mouth into a thin half-smile while she pressed part of the left side of her mouth between her teeth. It was a look I had already seen before, a look which told me she was thinking about something, some course of action, and whether it was wise or not to pursue it. The best way I can describe the look is it was her 'how do I want to handle this speed bump?' expression. “I am a woman, Gregory, not a little girl,” she delivered flatly, devoid of anger, resentment, disappointment, merely a statement of fact.

With an exaggerated sense of relief, I responded, “I am so glad we got that out in the open, Serena, because as long as I've been here to gaze upon your lovely countenance, I've been wondering how I would describe you. Is she a little girl or a woman? I can't decide!”

- Just Desserts, Segment TwoDog Grooming” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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