“Pros,” Tish said, folding Shell’s sweaters and tucking them into the rolling carry-on bag lying open on the bed between them. “That awkwardness is out of the way. He’s cute. His kid is cute.”
Shell rummaged in a drawer, pulling out three pairs of wool rag socks.
“Cons,” Tish continued, moving on to Shell’s microfleece-lined leggings with an eloquently raised brow.
Shell shook her head. “It’s going to be cold. For real cold. And don’t pack those. They’re comfy for the flight.”
“Cons,” Tish began again. “He has a kid. Don’t give me that look. It’s a con. Because even if you just date him, you know that he’s got this entire set of other priorities. Maybe you can live with that, maybe you can’t.”
“I’m hardly going to date him.” Shell brought over the last of the clothes she was bringing for her whirlwind jaunt to the northeast corner of Michigan’s palm. “I mean, I was thinking about it after that whole exchange at Twist, but if you’d seen how he looked at me when I put my entire foot in my mouth?”
“Do you plan to bathe while you’re in the bush, because I see no room in this bag for basic beauty supplies…” Tish pressed down on the sweaters, creating a small divot. “So, you didn’t realize the kid was somebody else’s. It was exactly none of your business. And unless the guy makes a habit of enlisting his four? Five? Year-old son to use creepy holiday-themed pick up lines on women he only met while in disguise as an elf-photographer — which, for the record, I doubt — I figure you just appeal to the kid, who’s obviously still got some issues from his parents splitting.”
Tish finished shoving and mashing Shell’s clothes with a flourish, and dropped in the toiletry bag that held Shell’s toothbrush, razor, comb, and favorite lipgloss. Considering she had no plans to leave her parent’s home except to be dragged to midnight Mass, she wasn’t concerned with the rest of it. Anything else, her Mom would have on hand.
“It’s not the Outback, it’s two-hours north of Detroit.”
“Girl,” Tish leveled her stop-it-with-the-nonsense look at Shell. “One and the same.”
Shell giggled. “Not everyone can be from the mean streets of Buckhead, Peach.”
“Why I ever left Atlanta is a mystery. Especially for this godforsaken city.” Tish shrugged. “So, you’re going to find out where he works and go ask him out, right?”
“New Year’s Resolution?” Shell wrinkled her nose. “My last shift is tomorrow, and then I’m leaving first thing in the morning on Christmas Eve. So my brother can come down to Detroit and get me after his all night shift running the saw mill. Because my Dad will be ice fishing.”
Tish shook her head. “Your family is like something out of Fargo.”
“Michigan is nowhere near the Dakotas.” Shell plopped down across the suitcase from her best friend. “And I’ll need time to figure out how to find him, since I doubt he’s going to call me now.”
“One. And. The. Same: Cold, far, cold, 2 hours or more from civilization … Cold.” Tish zipped Shell’s suitcase closed, then swiped open her phone and handed it over. “Thank me later. Gib Walker owns Riddle & Blade, a comic book and cosplay shop at the Macy’s end of the mall.”
“Tish, you are the best.”
“I am.” Tish took her phone back with a big grin, and tapped the screen. “I’ll text you the link for reference.”
To be continued…