This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
After all the fuss I made in the post about hating romance here, I realized that I had to post another chapter before we get to the one I talk about in that post. Apparently, I’m a chapter behind in posting. Sorry about that.
This is the chapter entitled “The Love Duck,” which has little to no romantical tension, also, very few ducks.
When I walk into the office, Bets is on the phone. She covers the receiver with her hand and mouths the word Macky at me, which produces an autonomic eye roll. When she hangs up, she tells me, “He says that there were a couple of big dudes messing up the bookstore. He didn’t stick around to find out who they were.”
“I assume he’s going home to do his homework now? Spulling is herd.” Another eye roll, but not mine. I’m looking at McGinty’s invoice that I got from Dixon, but it’s all Greek to me, or rather, Latin. “Bets, can you get Nora over here at some point? I have a Grandpa and or Latin related question.”
“Sure,” she says and starts walking towards my apartment.
For the ninetieth time today, I’m confused. “Where are you going?”
“She’s in your living room.”
What the ever-lovin’ spacegoat is she doing in my living room? I told you to take care of her, not put her in my living room!”
“What did you think I’d do with her? Put her in some seedy no-tell motel on Hollywood all by herself? No way. She’s safer here. Besides, Shamus loves her.”
“Oh. Well, if Shamus loves her, by all means, go ahead and give her my bank account details and my car keys, too! I also have a respectable record collection and half a sandwich in the fridge…”
“You’re being unreasonable.”
“Yes, because it’s entirely unreasonable to think that when I tell you to take care of someone–someone who isn’t even our client, by the way; our actual clients are dead and a lawyer respectively–I don’t expect you to take care of them in my living room!” By the time I’m done with my tirade, Bets has already gone into my apartment.
She returns a minute later with Shamus and a sleepy looking Nora who’s wearing my clothes no less. Now she really looks like a little girl playing dress up in my grown up man clothes. And by grown up man clothes, I mean my Damned t-shirt that I purposely hid in the bottom drawer, because Macky’s been trying to steal it from me ever since he saw it. I shoot Bets a look that she normally gives to me.
“Really? My clothes, too?” Bets just shrugs her shoulders. I’ve already lost the battle. I ignore her and turn to Nora. “Nora, you’re a smart girl. Do you know Latin at all?”
“Not fluently, but enough to get by. Why?”
What’s aurum anatis mean?
“Aurum means gold.” Oooh, gold! Now we’re getting somewhere! “And what was the second word? Anatis? A-N-A?” I check the paperwork again and nod. “Well, I’m not so good with biology, but I’m pretty sure that the root ‘anas’ is duck.”
“Duck as in quack quack? Or duck as in there’s an object on a trajectory to your head so you might want to adjust your course in a downward manner with great haste?”
“That can’t be right.”
“May I see it, please?” I hand her the invoice. “Oh, this is my grandfather’s writing. I see the problem. I think that’s an M, not an N, so it’s amatis, not anatis.”
“Oh, well, that certainly clears things up then. Of course, it’s amatis. What’s an amatis?”
“I think amatis is from the root ‘amor,’ which means love, affection or infatuation, depending on how it’s used.”
“Uh huh. So, gold infatuation or gold love? That doesn’t make much more sense than a duck. Any idea what that means, you know, in a larger sense, or hell, even in a small one?”
“Well, there you have it. A clue! Any idea what the love duck has to do with your grandpa’s book business?”
“No, I’ve never seen that title before. He didn’t mention it to me.”
“Did he mention anything to you about anything ever?”
“Sorry?” Fortunately, she didn’t seem to entirely hear my snippy remark.
“Never mind, you can go back to bed now. Thanks.” I watch as Nora totters off back to my apartment. When she’s gone, “Really, Bets? Really? I’m a bed and breakfast now?”
“I can’t have her out there all on her own. She’s really safer here. That’s my only concern.”
“Your only concern is her safety, not my rights to privacy and half a sandwich? What about my right not to be looted or have my damned Damned t-shirt stolen right under my nose without my permission? Has Parliament passed the Quartering Act of 1765 again? You didn’t even tell me, let alone ask first.”
She puts her head down, “Sorry.” Ha! I got a sorry out of her! “It’s just for a day or two until we figure this out.”
Bets knows she’s wrong, so I decide not to rub her nose in the carpet anymore. Besides, our record is now one million, three hundred fifty-eight thousand, five hundred twenty-five to two. I am gruntled with my victory and decide not to gloat about it. “I take no responsibility for her even if she is wearing my shirt and sleeping on my sofa. She’s all yours. ”
“Oh, and see if you can get some money out of her. She hasn’t even paid for our regular services, let alone my gracious bed and breakfast hospitality. At least get a retainer or something if she’s going to be hanging around.”
“Honestly, Cump. You’re an ass.”