I am not very good at meeting new people. Oh, I can say "hello" and smile and put on a good impression and help you find your copy of
How to Grow Organic Mushrooms On a Shit Budget
, but I am not good at connecting with people. Maybe it's the lack of people skills, maybe it's a low level sociopathy where I just do not care about a stranger's issues, maybe I just put off a vibe that says "I don't want to meet you," I dunno.
This inability shines most during social events. At parties I feel most comfortable walking around and listening to conversations or hanging out with people I already know. Again, I can be funny and maybe even a little charming, but only when I try or have enough drinks in me to be comfortable.
So when Dave asked to have his wedding here at the library, you could say I was a little bit apprehensive.
"David, David, you look so good!," my mother said when Dave and Clara walked into the library.
The two of them hugged, a long embrace. My mom and Dave have always had a special relationship. At first I thought she viewed him as a lost puppy, but after years I saw what she saw. Dave is a good man, always good at his job, just out of his element. Seeing him now, walking back in here with his fiance, I know that for sure.
"And this must be Clara. David, she is a little slice of heaven."
My mother gave Clara the same crushing embrace. Clara gave it right back, a large smile spread across her face.
I walked over and shook Dave's hand and gave Clara a kiss on the cheek. The two of them looked happy. Dave was almost glowing, his skin a healthy tan and a smile in his eyes that had not been there before.
"I want to thank you again, Louise," Dave said, "I hate to impose, but it seems we might need a rush."
Dave put his hand on Clara's stomach.
Mom gave a squeal and began hugging again.
"Well, this is just the best day," Mom said, "And don't you ever worry about imposing. Here's what I was thinking... we were thinking the main service here in the main room, DJ upstairs and then we move the chairs and party..."
The two of them waundered away, my mother's hands moving around the room describing tasteful yet grand designs for the wedding. Clara and I stood in silence. We smiled at each other and I stared at my feet.
Dave broke us out of our shared discomfort.
"Evan, can I talk to you alone for a moment?"
"Sure, Dave. Mom, can we use your office?"
Mom nodded, but I was already through the door. Dave was following me.
"I still can't believe this isn't your sanctuary anymore," Dave said, closing the door.
"Yeah, I guess you've heard about everything, the murder and whatnot."
"And whatnot? Kinda casual, boss."
"Live with it for a while, honestly it gets kind of boring."
Dave nodded, "I guess so. Look, I really appreciate all this help with the wedding. Was wondering if I could bother you a little more."
"Sure. What do you need?"
"Three things. One, you get to come to my bachelor party tomorrow. I would have asked you to be my best man, but..."
I held up a hand, "I'd be delighted to go. Where's it going to be?"
"The Honky Tonk, that redneck place just outside of town."
"Jesus, really? Okay, guess it is the only place to get a beer besides the Mexican place and it beats sitting around my house playing Twister."
"Awesome. Two, I was wondering... Well, see Clara's brother needs a job."
"Uh, Dave... I'm not really in a position to be hiring right now."
"Look, I know you need a tech guy, and Jessie's better than me at it. And you can talk to your Mom, the board will listen to her."
"If this guys so good, how come he needs a job?"
"The economy? He... Jesse has some impulse control problems. He was in the Air Force, where he learned the trade. You know that Skippy's List thing online? He tried to do everything on the list. He'll be at the party and you can meet him then. If no, then no harm no foul."
"Works for me. Third?"
"Third... I invited Natalie to the wedding."
I have to admit that info took me back.
"Wh... How... Do you two even know each other?"
"The circus passed through Baton Rouge last month. We got caught up. Jesus, Evan, what the hell happened there?"
"Something... I don't know. Strange shit. Wasn't myself. Water under the bridge, though. She happy?"
He smiled, "I don't think so, boss. Not like when I saw her here with you. But like you said, water and bridges. Anyway, she'll be here tomorrow. Didn't want you surprised if she walked through the door."
"Is there a fourth? Library's built on a Native Amerian burial ground?"
"How did you know?" Dave laughed, "Worse, an ancient diety trapped under the library."
"Shit, that explains everything."
I clapped him on the back, and Dave opened the door.
"You given a thought about that IT talk you're supposed to give for this wedding/staff day?" I asked.
"Yeah, 'Don't download bad shit.'"
We had to close the door again to until we stopped laughing. It was good to have Dave back home.
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