(Last week: Chartan refuses to be unnerved by Elisa.)
Chartan checked the rear view mirror. Even though he was parked a mile from the restaurant, he was on edge about seeing Elisa. He pulled out the limo cell phone.
“Chartan, is everything ok?” asked Gina.
He didn’t want to talk about Elisa.
“ Sorry, I was momentarily distracted. How are you and Jake?
“We’re fine but Brazil isn’t. Julie just called—he has prostate cancer.”
Chartan shook. He hadn’t thought of his friend in weeks and now in a matter of seconds, he had the notion that somehow this neglect made him partly responsible for Brazil’s disease. Regardless, the cancer drove away any angst he had over Elisa. He talked with Julie about small matters, concluding with his pronouncement that he was going to visit Brazil as soon as he was back in Sacramento.
“He’ll like that,” said Gina. “Julie says he’s moping around the house and could use some cheering up.”
A short time later he parked the limo in front of the restaurant. He took a deep breath before he got out. After he positioned himself by the rear passenger door, he began day dreaming about that night on the mountain top when Brazil revealed the horrors of combat to him. Why didn’t I do more to help my friend?
“We’re ready to return to Sacramento,” said one of the women in blue, startling Chartan.
“Of course,” he replied as he opened the rear passenger door. He turned towards the restaurant, expecting to see Elisa. There was no one there.
“Elisa will be here in a minute,” said one of the women who were now seated.
Just as Chartan closed the door, Elisa stepped outside, smiling .
When she was inches from him, she whispered, “I’m going to enjoy the drive home.”
Chartan did not make eye contact. He even blocked out her scent. There was a life to save.
To be continued next Sunday…