"Adonis wasn't his real name. Duh. Amy being stupid again. That was the downside. The upside was, she liked his real name better: Charlie.
Charlie, the e-milkman, had brought her some cream cheese. He had brought it by as a free trial. She explained that she didn't even have an Internet connection. He maintained that a butter knife would work fine."
That's how the third installment of my serial novella begins. For those who are returning readers, just skip down to "C" and read on.
For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a comic story of romantic redemption. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally.
There are 26 short chapters. This is the third. But it's easy to catch up. The chapters just take a few minutes to read.
Here's the first.
And here's the second.
In fact, all the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.
I will post one chapter a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven
Adonis wasn't his real name. Duh. Amy being stupid again. That was the downside. The upside was, she liked his real name better: Charlie.
Charlie, the e-milkman, had brought her some cream cheese. He had brought it by as a free trial. She explained that she didn't even have an Internet connection. He maintained that a butter knife would work fine.
When she smiled, he said she could use the telephone to order anything if she wanted.
All this at the door to her home. Him, looking like his pseudonym. Her, feeling delightfully tingly and thoroughly ill at ease.
"It's a free promotion," he said. He offered the e-cream cheese to her again. It came in a thick foil bag with a scarlet "e" on the front. She took it, and then, in a fit of inspired composure, she asked him if he was thirsty. She had not blushed. And he may not have noticed her eyelids fluttering from nervousness like butterfly wings.
It was his time to waver. He looked at his watch, which was enormous - with enough dials and numbers to be NASA standard equipment. He looked at the clipboard he carried in his other hand.
Clearly, he had a schedule to keep.
"It's a free invitation," she said.
He smiled and said he would love a quick coffee.
Of course, it was strange to invite a strange man in for coffee, particularly when the kids were home. But then, they were always home.
And Charlie didn't seem strange: more comfortable than anything else; straight; honest; open; trustworthy. Hell, Bart spent time with the kids and he was none of those things.
So she introduced him to her children and sat him down in the living room. Then picking up baby Bartlette, she retreated gracefully to the kitchen, leaving the door open to watch how things developed in the living room.
Charlie kneeled down to the kids' blocks and immediately started asking them about what they were building. Mmmm, impressive. In reality, most men were children, but not so many would get down on the floor to play when they themselves were in a hurry. Charlie seemed to have some other orientation - an inner dimension to go with his outer ones.
She spread the cream cheese on a toasted bagel and then held the knife out and stared at it. It seemed a waste to leave the cream cheese there. So she imagined licking it off his shoulder, right where all the smooth bands of muscle joined together like tracks running into a central train station. Shifting baby Bartlette to her high chair, she opened the fridge to put away the cream cheese. Then, using the fridge door as a screen to the living room, she put her tongue to the spreading knife and slowly ran it from shank to point. With her eyes shut. The cream cheese was rich and tangy.
But her four-and-a-half-year-old, Carmen, had slipped away from the blocks and sneaked up under the fridge door to observe.
"Bad manners, Mommy," she said. "No licking the knife." Amy reassured her eldest daughter. Mommy had forgotten. Mommy would not lick a sharp thing like that again. It was dangerous.
When she emerged with her bagels, a plunger of coffee (just like the French) and a pitcher of fresh cream, she hit her first obstacle. Charlie refused to eat the cream cheese. He scraped it off. He was on a diet, he said. And this milkman took his coffee black.
She watched his stomach muscles ridge and disappear through the figure-hugging lycra of his shirt as he sat up to take the steaming cup.
Amy thanked god she wasn't wearing lycra. She felt her extra pounds bulge at her side - like stuffing escaping from a worn out sofa. The breast-feeding hadn't slimmed her down like after the other two pregnancies.
Amy tried to sit straight and sylph-like. Posture mattered. The outer semblance of the inner-self.
Alas, she looked down and caught a glimpse of her thick ankles which led to her sturdy (big) legs and her sturdier (bigger) hips. Hippo, she thought. From the waist down - I'm a hippo.
She was exaggerating. Accentuating the negative.
She wasn't anything like a hippo. However.
She lowered her bagel. The poisoned chalice. Suddenly, she didn't feel hungry.
Charlie sensed her hesitance. He smiled like sunshine. "Eat up," he said.
In the years BC (Before Children), her figure had been one of her best physical attributes. That was when she was Amy Dellaconta, not Amy Franklin. Then, she made an appealing female landscape - valleys to go with her hills. Then, she had a waist.
At age 21, even on a bad day, she looked Rubenesque. On a good day, with the right light, she could rise up out of a sea shell right alongside the Venus de Milo.
Her number one attribute was her hair. Thick, with lazy curls. The color of maple syrup. Down the middle of her back. Bart said he used to get hard just running his hands though her hair. But now she was going gray. She plucked out five offending hairs yesterday.
"You're healthy and you've certainly got a glossy coat," said Charlie, reading her mind and easing it all at once. "But you still need your calcium."
The kids edged higher on her like an incoming tide. Bartlette whimpered and reached for her ample breast. Amy knew she didn't look great, but at that moment it ceased to matter so much. Charlie had noticed her hair. A small thing. Insignificant to the point of being unrecognizably trivial to someone else. After all, she was under no illusions here. As usual, ultimate defeat was expected. However.
She took a bite of the cream cheese.
Charlie nodded to Bartlette and winked at Amy. "Go ahead. I don't mind."
She hesitated. She explained she normally waited till Carmen and Ferguson were down for their naps. Otherwise, it was too hard, too many distractions.
He told her to go for it. He said he would take care of the kids. He said he had a lullaby.
He pulled a CD from his delivery bag and stuck it in the stereo. Hot, fast Salsa music. Some lullaby. But he winked at Amy and turned down the volume in deference to her imminent breast-feeding.
Then he took off his shirt.
She tried to remain the picture of calm, but her eyes probably told another story.
He shrugged and explained that being an e-milkman was just a day job. He was in career transition. He used to be an X-ray technician. Good money, bad vibes, he said. He sighed and smiled at the same time. His real dream was to become a dancer-choreographer. An exotic dancer-choreographer. He waited for her to laugh or to ask if he was serious. She did neither.
So he began to gyrate and undulate his abdomen to the music. He began to parry and thrust. The kids, including Bartlette, were fascinated. Charlie's abs could do the wave in sequence just like the fans at Dodger Stadium.
After a while, Bartlette's hunger took control and she tugged at her mother's shirt. Amy shot a glance at Charlie as she positioned Bartlette on her breast, to see if he had caught a glimpse of her own milk delivery system. But he was dancing. So Bartlette clamped on, and the rest of the family watched the Charlie show.
Ferguson was especially taken with Charlie. Of course, Amy was aware that the three year-old was sorely lacking in male role models. She watched her little boy. She watched him stand up and try to move his hips in the same outlandish orbit that Charlie's circumscribed. She wondered if promiscuity was genetic or learned.
(more to come)