“. . .If you change your mind, I’m the first in line, honey I’m still free. . .”
“Please tell me you’re not listening to ABBA,” Richard said, kissing me on the neck.
Smiling, I said, “I’m getting in the mood.”
“Hmm, in the mood for what?” Richard asked, leaning forward, his devilish grin spreading across his face.
“Clarissa is bringing over her Mama Mia DVD for our coffee klatch on Saturday,” I said, winking. “We’re having an ABBA theme until then.”
Leaning back, Richard asked, “Oh, you aren’t going to do that to me are you?”
“I’m sorry my love, Fate, it seems, already set the wheels in motion,” I said, laughing.
“Fannie, I’m begging you, please don’t. I won’t be able to get it out of my head,” he said, rocking his tall lean frame back and forth.
“Richard, I’ve got some Erasure mixed in when we need a break,” I said. The twinkle in my greens eyes gave me away.
“Wait, I don’t trust you,” he said, shaking his head, “You’re pulling a brass kick plate thing, did they do an ABBA album?”
“Maybe,” I said, laughing so hard I snorted.
“Kill me now,” he said, throwing his hands into the air.
He grabbed a cup of coffee and walked back toward the office whistling, Take a Chance on Me. His shoulders slumped, followed by a guttural moan. Shaking his head, he disappeared from sight.
Saturday morning, the sun battled its way through broken clouds over Gig Harbor, Washington. A mild breeze moved the trees carrying the scent of wet cedar, fir and loam. A squirrel ran up a cedar avoiding a flock of crows walking over the moss covered ground.
I closed the bedroom window, humming Waterloo.
Richard groaned and rolled over.
“Good morning, Sunshine,” I said, smiling. The clock read 6:02 a.m.
Richard’s eyes popped open. He studied me for a few moments. “Who are you? And what’ve you done with my wife?”
“Very funny,” I said ruffing his thick brown hair. “You’re welcome to borrow my zombie avatar this morning,” I said, laughing.
He stuck his tongue out. “What time do the girls get here?”
“Ten,” I said, “why don’t you sleep in while I make breakfast.”
Richard walked into the kitchen forty-five minutes later. Super Trouper poured from the speakers of the iPod docking station. The smell of coffee, bacon and eggs filled the kitchen.
Humming along with the music he poured himself a cup of coffee. He stopped mid-pour.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“It’s a disease for which there’s no cure,” he said.
“What is?” I asked, taking the bacon off the stove.
“Music that gets stuck in your head. I have been humming, whistling, and singing ABBA tunes for the last four days,” he said, shaking his head, “couldn’t you have picked AC/DC or Metal Church or something?”
“Oh, but that wouldn’t be as fun for me,” I said, laughing.
Three hours later, I stood at the stove. Shaking my dutch oven back and forth over the hot element, the popcorn kernels fired off like the climax of an action movie. A bit of steam escaped the lid leaving the smell of carmel in the air.
The door bell rang.
“Richard, can you answer that? I asked, “I can’t leave the stove.”
Two minutes later Richard lead Bunny and Clarissa into the kitchen.
“Wow, Fannie, honey, that smell takes me back,” Bunny said, with her refined Texas accent. Her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail behind her head crowning her statuesque figure. “It reminds me of the popcorn balls we got at the county fair when I was a kid.”
“That should be illegal,” Clarissa said, sniffing the air. Her red curls framing her round face. “It’ll go great with the Baklava I picked up yesterday for our Greek themed movie.”
“Greek themed movie?” Richard asked, stealing a handful of popcorn, “I thought this was based on ABBA?”
“Yes, but it’s set in Greece,” I said, smiling.
“What did you bring?” Richard asked Bunny.
“I brought humus, stuffed grape leaves, pita and some tzatziki,” Bunny said, holding up the deli boxes.
Richard’s lower lip slid forward like a little kid. “Can I have some?”
The devil on my shoulder whispered in my ear. I said, “If you watch the movie with us.”
Richard stared at us for a moment. Several emotions rolled across his face. He rubbed the back of his neck. Bunny and Clarissa laughed.
“I’ll make the coffee,” Richard said, rolling his eyes.
With individual bowls of kettle corn on a tray, I led the way into the living room. Clarissa put the DVD into the player.
Following the rules of the sofa pecking order, Richard sat on the far left, I sat next to him and Clarissa and Bunny sat on the other side of the sofa. The movie previews fired up.
“Fannie, you have to promise me you won’t tell my brothers we watched Mama Mia,” Richard said. “It may take years of therapy just to get the songs out of my head.”
“Richard,” I said, smiling, “I promise not to tell your brothers you sold out for Baklava and kettle corn to watch a chick flick with your wife and her friends, although I’d bet dimes to donuts they’d do the same.”
“Richard, honey,” Bunny said, her halo calling an audible, “if it would help, we could save the Barry Manilow love fest for you until the next time we’re over.”
The corners of my lips quivered. Suppressing a laugh, I said, “We could. You know how much of a Fannielow I am for Manilow.”
Richard groaned. “Just start the movie.”
Take it away Meryl. . .