Friday night was gonna be my night with sweet Mary. Possibly dinner at the Beacon Hill Bistro, a walk through the Commons, and if I behaved myself, a kiss good-night. But instead it would be an Italian sub, no onions, extra oil and vinegar, from Big Al's and a tub of shrimp salad to share with Boo. And if I played my cards right, Boo would forgo shedding his fur on my pant leg and sleep off the shrimp. Sad, sad, sad.
When I entered the Mallory Arms, I found old Mrs. Templeton armed with her pink watering can doing her self-appointed chore of taking care of the place's plants.
"Hey, Mrs. Templeton, the plants are looking fine and healthy."
She gave me a kindly smile but followed it up with a nod directing my eyes to the two high-back chairs that faced the fireplace. Then she mouthed almost silently to me, "You have company, Mr. MacKenzie."
And so I did. In one of the deep blue Queen Anne chairs sat Margo, my ex, and in the other chair, my Blue-eyed Mary. Margo looked concerned; Mary looked relieved. And I thought the thought all men would think in a moment like that, "Oh, Lord. Why does stuff like this always happen to me?"
Mary ignited the awkward moment by reporting, "MacKenzie, I suppose I should have called but Shirley dropped me off. I wanted to say thanks for clearing up that matter for me." She gave me a hug, but I confess I was preoccupied with dealing with the smug smirk on Margo's face. Then Mary's hands shifted down my back catching my wound. The wince and the jerk was all she and Margo needed to sense that things were not as okay as they had first appeared. It brought Margo to her feet and caused Mary to pull back with an "Oh, Mac, what's wrong?"
"A little work related injury today."
Margo then jumped in, "Ian, what happened?" Margo's use of my first name caught Mary's attention. So I figured introductions were in order.
"Mary, this is Margo, my ex-wife." Margo gave a little wave and an awkward grin; Mary gave me a puzzled, almost panicked look. "Margo, this is Mary McCartney. We were supposed to be going out tonight, but I thought ... I thought that we weren't."
And to my own gut I thought, "Graceful, real graceful, you schmuck."