Liza woke up this morning with her head resting on Bruce’s chest. His arms were wrapped around her. She lay there with her eyes closed, not wanting to get up, thinking about everything: sitting in the garden before econ class, the parchment paper, Casey’s story, the econ paper, her escape from Brad, the past few days. When she’d finally opened her eyes and peeked up a Bruce, she saw that he was watching her out of the corner of his eye. His stare was intense. Liza didn’t know how to interpret it.
Just then, Michael had stomped into the living room. A little cigar dangled from the corner of his mouth. He was wearing her mom’s old powder blue apron. A lobster claw oven mitt covered each hand and he was holding a sizzling frying pan. “Come on and eat. You two can lay on the floor all you want later. I need to clean up so I can start Christmas dinner, Liza needs to go to the supermarket before it closes, and you need to go invite Jake and Heath,” he said.
“It’s Sam,” said Liza. “Jake and Sam.”
Michael stared at her from behind a haze of smoke. He shook his head and stomped back to the kitchen.
“Oh, I get it. Haha. Real cute,” she said to his retreating back. “Ask me some time what I nicknamed you.”
Liza tore through the supermarket and liquor store. At home she deposited the groceries and four bottles of Bird Dog on the kitchen counter and went to find Bruce. He was sitting at the desk in her drawing-room. The crumbled papers had been flattened out and placed in a neat pile on the corner of the desk. At the top of the pile was one of the many unfinished sketches of Bruce. Liza cringed. He sat bent over a yellow notepad, writing furiously with her fountain pen. As she rounded the desk to stand next to him, he flipped the page and continued to write. Then he sat back and slid the notepad toward her.