Loving Fiona

A high school boy has a crush on an older woman who identifies with Molly Bloom.

An excerpt:

Art's parents threw a big party every Saturday night. Actually, the first one was on a Tuesday, when his father was elected mayor, which also happened to be Art's eighth birthday. But since then they'd been held every Saturday.

He enjoyed the parties vicariously. When he was young, he'd sit at the top of stairs and listen to all the noise the grownups were making, all the fun they were having. Now, at fourteen, he was allowed to stay up until eleven and he often managed to stretch that to midnight or close to it before his parents noticed he was still there and insisted that he go to bed.

Even downstairs with the grownups, he was mostly an observer. By the time the party got going and they'd consumed enough alcohol, they pretty much forgot he was there and he heard a lot of dirty words and even some dirty jokes told by grownups oblivious to his presence.

Six couples, including his parents, were the core group. The other men all worked for his father and one of the women was the City Hall switchboard operator. Art thought most of the people were about his parents' age, mid-thirties to mid-forties. And he thought most of them were nice people, at least as far as he could tell.

He didn't like Charlie, though. Charlie was his father's chief assistant. He was big, balding, red-faced, and loud. Art thought he might be fifty or maybe even older. He told a lot of jokes but they weren't very good jokes and he didn't tell them well. Of course, people laughed anyway but that was only because he was a notch or two above them.

Art had never liked Charlie but now he disliked him even more because Charlie was married to Fiona. She was the youngest and newest of the group. Charlie had been married before but his wife disappeared from the parties and Art heard that they were divorced. About a year later, he heard that Charlie had remarried and Fiona appeared.

He had read the name but he had never before known, or even expected to know, someone with that name. He thought she might not be that much older than he, like maybe twenty or twenty-one or something like that, but probably she was a little older than that.

She was very pretty, even beautiful, he sometimes thought. She reminded him a little of Sharon because her body was like Sharon's, round and soft-looking. Fiona had big brown eyes and short brown hair with bangs that almost touched her eyebrows. The other women always wore bright colored dresses but she just wore a blouse and skirt, like a high school girl. She was usually very quiet among the other grownups, watching and listening to them much as Art did.

Fiona always sat quietly, a little apart from the others, on the loveseat in the living room or the wicker bench in the dining room while Charlie roamed around the house, mixing drinks at the bar in the kitchen or holding forth to a captive audience. She always had a glass of amber liquid that he knew was called a highball, a mixture of whiskey and something bubbly.

Art didn't want to be caught staring but it was hard not to look at her. Now and then, she met his eyes and smiled, showing deep dimples. When their eyes met during her fourth or fifth party, Fiona not only smiled, she beckoned to Art and patted the vacant area beside her on the loveseat. He quickly joined her. "I know you're David's son. Art, isn't it?"


"I'm Fiona."

"I know." Without thinking, he quickly added, "It's a beautiful name."

"Thank you."

"I never knew anybody named Fiona before."

"Everybody should know at least one Fiona." She gave a little laugh and he joined her.

"I know you're in high school. What's your favorite subject?"

He usually hated to talk about school with grownups, but Fiona seemed to be genuinely interested. "Well, science, I guess," he answered. "I liked general science last year and I'm looking forward to chemistry next year and then physics, but this year it's biology, which isn't as interesting."

That little laugh again. "A high school boy who's not interested in biology. That's one for the books."

He didn't understand. Was she making fun of him?

"Sorry for the flippancy," she said. "How about math? Do you like math?"

"Yeah, I really liked ninth-grade algebra. This year it's plane geometry, which is kind of interesting, but I liked algebra better."

"Math was my favorite," Fiona said. "When I started college, I planned to major in math."

"But you didn't?"

"No, I switched to English."

"How come?"

"Well, honestly, I was the only girl in my math classes and the guys made it clear that they didn't think a girl should be majoring in math. Even the profs made me feel unwelcome."

"That's stupid!"

"I'm glad you think so," with a big smile. "But it turned out okay, really. I got to read a lot of good books."

Buy Love, Sex, and Other Calamities as a paperback or Kindle e-book.

Next: The Anchor of a Love