Teaser 026: What’s Wrong With You Today, Gregory?

[H]ere's what clinched the deal. I read a while later, because I'm always curious about her, he inherited the family fortune, and the business empire with it, worth twelve billion dollars. When I read it, Drake, my immediate thought was, oh, I'm sure it didn't make any difference. After all, if I married a woman worth twelve billion dollars, and anyone asked me, I'd say, 'I didn't marry her for money. I'm madly in love with her.' You wouldn't think I would do that, would you, Drake, knowing me as well as you do? You would take me at my word, because, gosh, I wouldn't marry someone for twelve billion dollars so even if I divorced I'm set for life. No, everyone knows me. I'm not that way. I'd give those billions to charity and sit on the sidewalk at my beggar's table for the rest of my life because...that's me!”

I could tell from the tension in Serena's face she was fuming. Calmly, though, she said, “Are you saying-”

I cut her off. “I'm saying something to you, Serena, because you're going to have say something which comes from your heart, and I will even provoke you so there's no doubt your feeling comes from your heart. Ultimately, not any of them,” I waved at the group, “nor I have anything to say about this. Only you do. If you think I'm going to be a problem for this movie, I'm going to be a distraction for you, somebody you cannot trust in your presence, all you have to do is give the word, tonight, and I walk right out the door. I'll never look back—well, yeah I will, because I had a lot of fun today and it's how I'll always remember it—but I'll have no hard feelings, no ill will, because I want this movie made. I think it would be a damn good movie and if the only thing holding it back is me, I'm jeopardizing the making of this movie, I can't accept it. If it can only be made when I'm not involved so be it. Say the word, Serena, just say the word and I will walk right out the door.”

When I cut her off, I never stopped staring into her black pearls and I noticed her lose her lock on mine twice. Every time she lost it, she looked down. Now, though, it was her turn, finally. I was sure she was relieved she could put this behind her, one way or the other. In a very soft tone, Serena said, “You're not walking out my door.”

“I'll have to walk out your door, eventually.

“I know that! But you're not walking out my door tonight.”

“Oh, I'll have to walk out your door tonight.”

“You do not have to walk out my door tonight!”

“I'll have to walk out your door very soon.” I held my serious expression. I knew what was coming.

“You will not walk out my door, tonight. Period!” She may have placed her fists on her hips for emphasis, though I can't recall with certainty.

“Yes I will.”

“No you won't.”

“Yes I will.”

No you won't!

“I have to walk out your door some time soon to get my stuff if I'm going to stay here tonight. You know, clothes, toiletries, that kind of stuff. Why? What were you thinking?”

Serena smiled big and wide but her tone was weary. “You're going to be like this forever, aren't you, Gregory?”

“If I wasn't, the first thing you'd say to me is, 'What's wrong with you today, Gregory?'”

Still more exasperated but smiling as widely, she stood from her chair and commanded, “Cumon! Let's get your stuff and be done with it. I thought you had already brought it in.”

“Merely a clever diversion,” I advised as I walked around the chairs and sofa to catch up with her, “books and a computer, this sort of thing. None of it fits around my waist very well. It would be kind of embarrassing to wear a computer as I walk down the hall to the bathroom. Not that anyone would see anything. You have to use an electron microscope to see it. You don't have one handy do you?”

She stopped briefly. “An electron microscope? Really?”

“Yeah, they're usually pretty big, not exactly portable like you could carry in your hip pocket.” I turned back as we reached the edge of the Great Room. “Oh, hey kids, I know the hostess didn't really excuse herself, so talk amongst yourselves for a few minutes and we'll be right back.”

- Just Desserts, Segment ThreeA Taste of Mexican Hospitality” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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