|Rowena's Page, Rowena Gets a Life.||Rowena Gets A Boyfriend, Part 5|
Rowena opened her door to find her mother standing there. “Just stopped by for a quick visit,” her mother said. “I hope I'm not interrupting anything.”
“I—no, no; come in.”
Rowena's mother settled herself into a chair. “My, look at the time,” she said. “I can't stay long; just wanted to say hello.”
“Hello,” said Rowena. “Can I get you anything? Coffee, a brownie?”
“Oh, thank you, dear; that would be lovely.”
Rowena went into the kitchen. A commotion of some kind brought her back into the living room, where she found her mother rattling the blinds.
“Oh, just looking out,” said her mother quickly. “How is the coffee coming along?”
Rowena eyed her mother suspiciously, then went back to the kitchen. After a moment, the doorbell rang.
“I'll get it!” cried her mother. Rowena hurried into the living room to find her mother opening the door.
There on the landing stood Ferd Frannon.
“Ferd!” cried Rowena. She dropped the knife with which she'd been cutting the brownies.
“Ferd, dear,” said her mother, “what a pleasant surprise.” She opened the door wide. Rowena rushed forward, but Ferd and her mother were too quick for her.
There he was, in the middle of her living room, the closed door behind him.
“Hi, Rowena,” he said. Her mother gave him a nudge and he continued, “You look nice today.”
“Well,” said Rowena's mother, “I must be on my way.”
“Now, dear, I'm sure Ferd will help you eat your brownies. Won't you, Ferd?”
“Brownies?” asked Ferd, looking around. Rowena's mother went to the door.
“Must you leave?” asked Rowena. Even to herself, she did not sound very friendly.
“I'm afraid so. I have so many things to do . . . Goodbye, Rowena. Goodbye, Ferd. So lovely to see you again.”
“'Bye,” mumbled Ferd from the general direction of the brownies.
“I'll walk you to your car,” said Rowena. Her mother tried to outwalk her, but Rowena grabbed her arm.
“What do you think you're doing?” she demanded.
“Now, dear, he just happened by, and—”
“Don't give me that. You arranged this.”
Her mother sighed. “You never will understand about these things, Rowena. I don't know what would come of you, if you didn't have me to help.”
Her mother sighed again. “I am helping you make Sammy jealous,” she said.
“Jealous? Of Ferd Frannon?”
“Now, dear, he may not be Mr. Right—”
“He's a complete moron. He's a creep. I don't want him in my apartment.”
“Now, dear, it's not as if you're in any kind of danger.”
“No? You know what they'll do to me if I kill him?”
“Rowena. Have patience. It'll be worth it. Believe me.”
Rowena leaned on her mother's car. “Mother—”
“I got your father this way.”
“Mom, listen to me.”
“You'll thank me for this one day.” Her mother gave her a peck on the cheek, got in the car, and started the engine.
“And if I don't?” Rowena yelled. Her mother waved and drove off.
Rowena trudged back to her apartment. She hoped Ferd had been too busy eating her food to steal anything.
He was just stuffing down the last brownie when she entered. “H'lo,” he mumbled.
“Were the brownies good?” Rowena asked. Ferd nodded. “I had to ask,” said Rowena, “because I've never used that recipe before, and as they only just came out of the oven, I never got to try any.”
Ferd swallowed. “They're okay,” he said. “The coffee's a bit strong, though.”
“What's the matter?” Rowena asked. “You a wimp or something?”
“Hey, I wouldn't have touched your coffee if you'd had any beer.”
“How awful for you,” said Rowena. “Get out of my apartment, Ferd.”
“Hey, I was only joking.”
“I don't care what you think of my coffee. I don't care how many brownies you ate. At this point, I don't even care if you've gone through my purse.”
“Really?” asked Ferd, looking around.
“All I want,” said Rowena, “is to have a nice quiet day with no Ferd Frannon in it.”
“Come on,” said Ferd. “Jokes like that could hurt somebody's feelings.”
“I just thought you should know,” he said. “You should really try to be more sensitive.”
Rowena took a deep breath. “Ferd,” she said, “I'm very busy. I have to do my laundry. I have to vacuum. I have a lot—”
“Don't let me keep you,” he said. He went to the stereo. “What the hell is this, news?”
He began fiddling with the radio's dial. “Ugh,” he said, stopping at one station. “What's that?”
“What—as in chamber pot?” Ferd laughed. “Chamber pot. See, that's what they used to call—”
“I know what a chamber pot is.”
Ferd twisted the dial again. The voice of Elvis Presley filled Rowena's living room.
“Fantastic!” exclaimed Ferd. He turned to Rowena. “Let's dance,” he said. He began to gyrate. “You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,” he sang, rolling his eyes at her.
Rowena grabbed her purse from the chair on which she kept it, and fled to her bedroom.
She locked the door behind her.
Rowena dug through her purse and extracted her address book. She was glad Ferd had the radio turned up.
“Sammy. Thank God you're home.” The sound of Ferd's singing wafted in through the door. He was very off-key.
“Rowena? What's up?”
“You have to rescue me. That is, somebody has to rescue me, and I don't know any knights in armor.”
“Well, I'll do my best,” said Sammy. “What do you need to be rescued from?”
“Ferd Frannon. My mother let him in and then abandoned me.”
“Ferd Frannon? Isn't that the one you hate?”
“He's the one everybody hates. Right now he's dancing around my living room to Elvis Presley. I think he's trying to be seductive. I'm in the bedroom, using the phone there, and hoping he can't pick locks, though it wouldn't entirely surprise me if he can.”
“Tell me more.”
“He was going to be a shyster—I mean a ‘shyster,’ not a lawyer—only he blew the entrance exam. So he sells used cars.”
“What dealership?” Rowena told him. “I know where that one is.” He sounded thoughtful. “Okay. I can get to your place in ten minutes.”
“Oh, thank you.”
“You going to be okay?”
“Physically,” said Rowena. “Though after you get rid of him, you may have to drive me to the funny farm.”
Sammy laughed. “Hang in there,” he said.
Rowena ventured out into the living room. Ferd was still dancing. He looked disappointed. “I was kind of hoping you were changing into something more comfortable,” he said.
“Not yet,” said Rowena. She looked at the clock, thinking what a long time nine minutes could be.
By the time Sammy arrived, Ferd had taken his shirt off and was showing Rowena his muscles. Rowena was careful to keep a clear path between herself and the bathroom, which also had a lock on the door.
Rowena leaped up at Sammy's knock and threw the door open. There stood Sammy, a single rose in his hand. “Sammy,” she said. “How good to see you. Oh, thank you; how sweet.” She took the rose, sniffed it. “Lovely,” she said. “Come in.”
She turned around to find Ferd buttoning up his shirt. “Ferd, I'd like you to meet my friend Sam.”
“I've known Rowena since we were kids,” said Ferd sullenly.
“I'll go find a vase,” Rowena said. She thought she might enjoy this. She took the rose to the kitchen, looked under the sink for something to put it in. She filled a vase, heard Ferd trying to imply to Sammy that he was just putting on his shirt because he and Rowena had just—
Rowena hastened back.
“Can I get you something, Sammy? I had some brownies, but I'm afraid they're gone now.”
“Just a cup of coffee, thank you, Rowena.” He turned to Ferd. “So, Ferd, what do you do for a living?”
Rowena, hesitating in the doorway, admired the way Sammy's eyebrows rose in creditable surprise when Ferd told him. “Really? I just got the biggest lemon there. What it does, every time you shift gears—”
“Well,” said Ferd hastily, “nice to meet you; I gotta go.”
He didn't wait for Rowena to let him out.
“Thank you, Sammy,” Rowena said.
“You're very welcome.”
“You were very prompt, despite the flower. Believe me, I was watching the clock.”
“Stole it off the neighbor's hedge,” explained Sammy. “Took all of five seconds. It was hanging over on my side anyway.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“Well, now I'm here—how about a cup of coffee elsewhere?”
“Sure.” Rowena fetched her purse back. “You didn't really buy a car from Ferd's dealership, did you?”
“You kidding? Those things are garbage.”
They left. “Why did your mother inflict him on you, anyway?” Sammy asked.
“She was trying to make you jealous.”
Sammy laughed. “But does he get to do this?” he asked, and kissed her.
“Never,” said Rowena.
“So much for jealousy,” Sammy said, opening the door for her.
“The best-laid plans of mice and mothers,” said Rowena, getting in.
Volume I: Rowena Gets A Life.
Book 2: Rowena Gets A Boyfriend.
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