CHAPTER 7: "A Legacy And A Trip..."

When Michelle got home that night, several messages were waiting on her answering machine. Interesting, she thought, pushing the button. More than I got all last month.

*beep * "Hi Michelle -- it's Kathie! Hadn't heard from you for a few days, just wondering how you're doing. Andreas was kind of a drip, but he's a nice guy...gimme a call. Love you!"

A mild stab of guilt passed through Michelle. She'd almost forgotten about Kathie during the last few days. Gotta call her, she thought.

*beep * "Hello, this is Gary with Danmark Industries with a special offer for Michelle Dever--"

Michelle fast forwarded through that one. Damn telemarketers, she thought.

*beep * "Hi, mija -- just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this afternoon. Can't wait to see you again -- and I have a little proposition for you. Take care -- see you Thursday night."

Michelle sighed contentedly. Can't wait to see you, either, she thought. Her loins tingled slightly remembering that afternoon.

*beep * "Michelle, it's Momma -- I know you usually work late, but call me as soon as you get this message -- it's important."

Hope everything's all right, Michelle thought, suddenly worried. She and her mother were not in touch that often, and were not even particularly close -- but she was, after all, still her mother.

*beep * "Hi, hon -- Kathie here again. Look, Aunt Loraine" (Michelle's mother's name) "called my mom over in Green Valley -- apparently Grandmama left us something in her will -- but didn't want us to have it until she'd been gone awhile. I think it's some writings, or something like that. Anyway, give your mom a call, and let me know what's happening. Bye!"

Really, thought Michelle. My god, I wonder if its -- without finishing the thought, she dialed her mother's number.


"Momma, it's Michelle."

"Oh, hi baby."

"Is everything all right?"

"Oh, yes -- I didn't mean for you to be worried..."

"I's all right. Look, Kathie called tonight and said Grandmama left something to us -- writings of some sort?"

"Yes, that's's her diaries."

"My god, Momma! You mean the private ones that Kathie and I got trouble over when we tried to peek at it?" Grandmama's "private diaries" were something of a legend among the Devereaux women -- Grandmama Katie (for whom Kathie was named) always kept it under lock and key. Naturally, it made the younger girls extremely curious. One day, when Michelle and Kathie were eleven or twelve, they had tried to pick the lock while Grandmama was napping. It was the only time either girl had seen their Grandmama Katie angry.

"That's it. You two were her favorite grandchildren -- "

Michelle rolled her eyes at that. "Momma, Kathie and I were her only grandchildren."

"Yes...well, be that as it may, she wanted each of you to have a copy...but according to the terms of her will, you weren't to have them until at least six months after her death."

At that, Michelle felt a pang of sorrow. It was true, Grandmama had been a very old woman, and had had a very long and full life -- but Michelle still missed her sorely. Somehow -- though she didn't know why -- she thought that Grandmama Katie would have even understood about her relationship with Tammy.

"Anyway," her mother continued "I have the original here, and two copies -- one for each of you. Will you be coming to visit soon?"

Michelle hadn't really planned on it -- but there was no real reason not to, perhaps this coming weekend.

"Uh -- sure, Momma. Either this weekend, or the weekend after. Is that okay?"

"That's fine, baby. I look forward to it. You take care, and don't work too hard at that library, okay?"

"Okay, Momma."

"Momma loves you."

"Bye." With that she hung up the phone. Next, she called Kathie.

"Allo?" said an accented, masculine voice.

"Er -- I'm sorry -- I think I have the wrong number," said Michelle.

"Who did you want?"

"Uh -- Kathleen Norville?"

"Oh, ja, she's right here."

"Who's this?" asked Michelle.

"Oh, I'm just a friend of hers -- Andreas is my name. Who's this?"

"This is her cousin Michelle."

"Oh, you're Cousin Mishi! Kat told me much of you."

Yeah, she mentioned something of you to me as well, Michelle thought dryly. Instead, she said "Could you put her on, please?"

Oh, ja...sure..." Suddenly, Michelle heard a high-pitched giggle on the other end. "Here she is," Andreas said.

"Hi, Mishi?" said Kathie. She sounded slightly out of breath.

"Well, I gather you're having a good time," commented Michelle.

"Oh, yeah -- Andreas, cut that out!" There was another giggle, and a soft smack! "Sorry about that," Kathie said.

"It's alright. I'm just a little confused, after your first message."

"Oh -- ya know, I think we were just having an 'off night.'"

"I see."

"So what's up?"

"I don't know, cousin -- you called me, remember?"

"Oh, I know -- I'm sorry I didn't call over the weekend."

"It's all right -- it was kind of nice to be alone for awhile."

"What's happening on The Young At Heart?"

Michelle gave Kathie a quick synopsis, then said, "Look. I take it you've heard about Grandmama's diaries?"

"Oh, yeah -- that was the other reason I called."

"Okay...I told my mom that I'd come see her in the next a couple of wanna go with?"


"I was thinking this weekend, or the one after."

"Hmmm...well, this weekend, I'm busy at the store...the next weekend...well, would you mind if Andreas tagged along?"

Michelle rolled her eyes. I already know where this is going, she thought. "I don't know, Kathie...I thought -- "

"Oh, c'mon cousin! I'd love to have you meet him! And Aunt Loraine, too!"

Michelle sighed. She hated being a "third wheel." Finally she said, "Sure, Kat. That's fine. We'll make a day of it."

"Sounds wonderful -- " another giggle, then: "Andy, I said stop it! I'm sorry, Mishi -- I gotta go."

"I daresay."

"Look, let's do lunch or lattes at the Cafe Nervosa next week."


"Great. Andreas van der Houten! Sorry, hon. Talk to you soon." With that, she hung up.

Well -- I guess cousin Kathie's had as interesting a weekend as did, Michelle thought. Despite herself, she couldn't help but feel a stab of jealousy thinking about Kathie and this Andreas fellow. Oh well, she thought. Finally, with a sigh, she got undressed, showered, then watched an episode of The Young At Heart while sipping a glass of cabernet before going to bed.

* * * * * *

The remainder of the week passed fairly uneventfully. On Wedensday, Michelle stopped by "Clay Pot Annie's," the plant shop Kathie owned and ran. Naturally, her cousin was delighted to see her.

"Oh, honey -- I'm sorry, I can't go to lunch with you -- I'm expecting a shipment -- but you can hang out here and talk to me if you want."

So, Michelle followed Kathie around and they chatted as Kathie performed mundane duties related to plant care and inventory.

"So I guess it's worked out pretty well for you and Andreas, huh?"

"Oh, I don't know -- it's a little soon to tell." Kathie picked up a box of seeds and read the label, muttering something, then writing on her pad. "I do like him, though -- I'm starting to think there might be some real potential."

Suddenly, Michelle felt a stab of fear in her heart. My god! What if she gets serious about this guy and winds up moving to Holland? Instead, she said, "I seem to remember you said he was a 'bit of a drip.'

Kathie turned with her mouth open. "I never -- when did I say that?"

Michelle shrugged. "That was the message you left on my machine Monday night. I don't think I erased it."

Kathie blushed and grinned sheepishly. "Well...yeah, I admit our first date didn't go all that smoothly. But you know...he called Monday evening and apologized so sweetly...I thought, 'what the hell, Kat...maybe the guy deserves another chance."

Michelle nodded. "But you'd have done that anyway."

"Oh, probably." Now the two women moved into a storeroom wher Kathie started counting boxes. "What about you? What'd you do all weekend?"

"Not much," replied Michelle, nonchalantly. Just had hours of the wildest lovemaking I've ever experienced with someone I barely met -- oh, and did I happen to mention it was another woman? Instead, Michelle said, "I went down to Ashley's Place -- "

"Really? How's Rashi?" Kathie had actually developed a schoolgirl crush on the diminutive Pakistani bartender. Only when Michelle had convinced her that most Middle-Eastern men were "mysogynistic fucks" (like Ahmed ibn-Faisal) did Kathie abandon the idea of pursuing Rashi.

"Oh, he's fine. Anyway, I -- met somebody down there -- "

"Really!?" Kathie exclaimed. "You've been holding out on me, girl. Who is he?"

"Oh, no -- it wasn't anything like that. I just made a new friend, is all -- and incidentally, it's a 'she.'"

"Oh." Kathie sounded a bit disappointed. "Well -- tell me about her."

"Not much to tell. Her name's Tammy, and she sings with a band at a place called the 'Tin Lizzie -- '"

At this, Kathie raised an eyebrow. "The 'Tin Lizzie', you say?"

Michelle nodded. "That's what she said..."

Kathie nodded, then turned back to her inventory. "Well...interesting."

"Kathie, is there something I should know?"

"About what?"

"I don't know -- you tell me."

Kathie shrugged as she turned to leave the storeroom. "Not really." Michelle followed her back out into the store. "Ever been there?"


"The 'Tin Lizzie'."

"No...although Tammy invited me down there to hear her sing sometime. Why?"

Kathie turned and grinned. "I think you'll find it...interesting."

Now Michelle was really mystified. "How so? Have you been there?"

"Once, back when we were in college -- it was one of those nights when you were stressing out over a midterm, so I left you alone -- "

Michelle nodded. "Well...can't wait to see it."

Kathie smiled again. "I look forward to meeting this 'Tammy.'"

* * * * * *

On her way back to the library, Michelle puzzled over Kathie's remarks. The "Tin Lizzie," she thought to herself. Wasn't that the name of some kind of car back in the old days? Now that she thought of it, she remembered Grandmama Katie mention a "Tin Lizzie" from time to time when she told stories of her younger days. Oh well, she decided. I guess I'll find out when I go there.

By Thursday night, Michelle was thoroughly exhausted. It was the twelve to fourteen hour days she put in that allowed her to take off three and four days at a time, but they tended to wear on her. I wonder if I'd be better off just doing the normal 9-5 routine, she sometimes wondered. It was after nine at night before she got home; she had barely enough energy to peel off her clothes, brush her teeth and fall into bed. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

She began having some extremely erotic dreams. In one, she dreamed she was in an old hotel room -- it looked vaguely like the old photos she'd seen of the Port Landers Hotel Royale in its heyday, seventy-five years ago, with a large brass bed, a couple of overstuffed chairs, and a dresser and vanity in what Michelle believed was called the "art-deco" style. She found herself laying on the bed, clad only in a short rose-coloured chemise. Slowly, she got up from the bed, walked over to the vanity and looked at her reflection. It was her -- and yet it wasn't. She had the same curly red hair -- although it was cropped a lot shorter than Michelle had ever been inclined to wear it -- and she still had the same pale, "peaches and cream" complexion. But her eyes, instead of sapphire blue, were a deep brown. She reached up and ran her hand through her bobbed red coiffure. Then she turned as if there had been a knock at the door -- the whole scene was rather like an old silent movie -- except it was in color.

The door opened, and a very attractive black gentleman, clad in a tuxedo, entered the room. He was carrying what appeared to be a small suitcase. Michelle turned back to the mirror, smiling seductively. The black man in the tuxedo came up behind her, put his arms around her and began kissing her neck. Michelle closed her eyes in bliss -- she was very definitely in love with this man.

Michelle turned her head, and allowed the man to kiss her full on the mouth -- this was nothing like Ahmed, Dirk, or Carl -- it was slow, passionate, hot and yet tender, all at the same time. Slowly, they moved over to the bed and began undressing each other. He reminds me of Othello the Moor, Michelle thought in her dream, as they made love. That's who we are...Othello and Desdemona...except Michelle had only the vaguest idea of who "Othello" and "Desdemona" were -- something to do with an English Lit course she'd taken once...

Suddenly the scene dissolved. No, no! thought Michelle in her dream. Please...come back...and then she was in a different room. For some reason, she was feeling a great deal of sadness...something to do with the black gentleman in the tux? Again, she was on a bed, this time with a woman...nobody Michelle had ever seen before, yet she knew this was also somebody with whom she was very close. She had straight black hair (though she had the feeling it was not that way naturally), a deep olive complexion, and startling bluish-grey eyes...she had a rather Mediterranean look about her. Michelle and the other woman were sittiing on the bed together, holding each other, gazing into each other's eyes. Slowly, they began kissing and caressing each other...wake up, mija, the other woman said between kisses...

Wait, Michelle thought. That's not right --

She woke to find Tammy in bed with her, arms around her.

"Tammy!" she said, startled, yet pleasantly surprised at the same time. "What time is it? What are doing here?"

"It's three-thirty in the morning, and I'm here because you asked me here -- remember?"

"Oh yeah...gods, I was having the strangest dreams -- " already, the images were starting to flee from her consciousness.

"Nice ones, I hope."

"I -- I don't quite of them seemed -- I dunno...sad, in a way..."

Tammy moved her face closer to Michelle. "I wouldn't want you ever to be sad, mija," she said softly.

Michelle smiled and shook her head. "It was just a dream."

At that, she and Tammy shared a long, loving kiss.

It was almost two hours before the two women got back to sleep.

* * * * * *

Between Friday morning and Saturday evening, Michelle and Tammy emerged from the bedroom only to eat, drink, bathe and answer "calls of nature." They made love for hours on end, over and over, as if they could not get enought of each other. And, to Michelle's surprise and delight, it was different almost every time. She never knew how many positions there were, or how many different ways two women could intertwine their bodies. And every time Michelle thought she'd experienced as much ecstacy as she could handle, Tammy would take her to the next level.

Michelle got especially aroused in the heat of the afternoon, when their bodies got slick and sweaty -- and afterward, when they took long warm showers together, which invariably turned into more passionate encounters. They made love all though the night Friday, kissing, caressing, climaxing, dozing off in each other's arms. Then, then one would gently awaken the other with more kisses and caresses, and it would start all over again.

By Saturday afternoon, Tammy and Michelle had virtually loved each other to exhaustion, falling asleep with their bodies still entwined for almost five hours.

* * * * * *

Later that evening found Michelle and Tammy sitting in a love-seat on the deck outside her room, sipping cabernet and watching the last of the sunset over Landers Bay while the lights of the city popped on one at a time. They were silent; the two held hands, fingers interlaced. Tammy leaned her head against Michelle's shoulder and sighed contentedly.

"You're so quiet, mija," said Tammy.

"I am totally out of control," murmured Michelle under her breath, eyes still focused on the view below them.

Tammy looked up. "What?"

Michelle looked down at Tammy. "I said, I am totally out of control," she repeated.

"What do you mean?"

Michelle sighed. "I mean...look at us. I have never been intimate with anyone in my life." She looked back out over the city. "When you're around, it's like...something snaps inside me. I can't get enough of you..."

"Nor I you," Tammy smiled.

"But -- but I still hardly know you!" Michelle gave a small laugh. "I mean, I -- I just don't do things like this!"

Tammy nodded. "I don't want you to be unconfortable with us," she said. "Look, if you want me to go -- "

Michelle turned quickly. "Oh god, no -- " she pulled Tammy closer to her. "No, Tammy...I -- "

Tammy put a finger to her lips, then touched Michelle's gently. "I'm glad," she replied.

Michelle smiled. "I have never felt like this before." Tammy nodded again, and Michelle continued: "I -- I don't know what it is about you -- me -- us..."

"But it bothers you?"

Michelle rolled her eyes, and said, "It bothers me that it doesn't bother me -- know what I mean?"

Tammy giggled. "Yes, sweetie...I know. Remember what we agreed after our first night together?"

Michelle thought for a second, then replied: "We weren't going to -- label this, or try to analyze it..."

Tammy nodded, and added, "Just enjoy it for what it is." She turned her face to Michelle's and kissed her again. "I'm glad you don't want me to go. I would miss you."

Michelle put her lips against Tammy's and whispered "I'd miss you, too..."

The two of them sat together "necking" for about a half hour before Michelle finally said, "You know, I could really go for some food about now."

Tammy popped up. "Say no more, mi dolce." With that, she headed straight for the kitchen.

Michelle got up to follow, saying, "hey, I'll give you a hand -- " but Tammy turned, caught Michelle in her arms, and kissed her.

"You just relax, mija. I'm on it."

Michelle watched Tammy leave the bedroom on her way to the kitchen. She really cares about me, she thought. Was that it?

She thought about the last night she'd spent with Dirk -- actually, the last time she'd been with a man at all. He'd been very "put out" that Michelle had insisted on the use of a condom, but when it became clear that Michelle would not have it any other way, he grudgingly gave in. Their "lovemaking" that night had consisted of about five minutes of Dirk's grunting and shoving -- which did nothing for Michelle -- after which he rolled off of her and promptly passed out. Michelle lie awake for a long time after that, staring at the ceiling, feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. She finally dozed off, but a few minutes later, Dirk was shaking her awake, saying, "hey babe, you wanna take care of this hard-on?"

With that, Michelle got out of bed, told him to take care of it himself, got dressed and went out to an all-night espresso stand, where she spent the remainder of the night drinking lattes and eating blueberry bagels with cream cheese and orange marmalade, alternately crying and cursing. The poor guy running the place that night probably thought she was psychotic.

Nonetheless, with Dirk's profuse apology a day later, Michelle allowed the relationship to "drag on" for another month -- up to the night of the NFL playoff game between Green Bay and Dallas.

Being with Tammy was about as different from her last experience as Michelle could ever have imagined...the hours of ecstacy...the tender exploration of each other's bodies...and the endless caressing and kissing, over and over again. Tammy seemed to know instinctively what gave Michelle pleasure, and took her own pleasure in it. In turn, Michelle felt as if she and Tammy were making love from was more like remembering old experiences than learning new "techniques."

That was it...why she was so connected with this girl. Tammy genuinely cared about her...and the mere thought of that sent a wave of desire surging up from between her god, I never realized what a "turn-on" that could be, she thought...still, the unanswered question kept nagging her -- what do you and this girl really know about each other?

Michelle walked into the kitchen where Tammy was busy over the stove. Whatever it was, it smelled wonderful. She slipped her arms around Tammy's waist and nuzzled the back of her neck. "Thank you," she murmured.

"For you, mija, a pleasure," Tammy replied. "Hope you like it."

"What is it?"

"It's called arroz y pollo," Tammy answered.

Michelle sniffed. "'Chicken and rice?'"

Tammy turned and her face lit up. "Tu habla espanol?"

Michelle blushed and grinned. "Uno muy pocito," she answered. "I had two years in high school."

Tammy giggled. "Well, at least you tried. Anyway, I hope you like papa used to make this for us when we lived in Puerto Rico."

"I'd like to hear more about that," said Michelle.

* * * * * *

The conversation over supper went a long way toward addressing Michelle's earlier concern, as Tammy talked about her brothers and sisters (she was the youngest of five), her childhood first at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, then in San Juan, where her father had bought into a resort hotel...then, when she had been twelve, her world fell apart.

"I thought Catholics didn't believe in divorce," said Michelle.

"Practicing Catholics, no," said Tammy. "My papa wasn't what you called 'devout' -- at least, after he met his little whore."

Michelle took Tammy's hand across the table. "It still hurts that much?"

Tammy sighed. "I'm sorry...yes, I'm a little bitter about it, still. I mean, Carlos, he was grown up and on his own...'Sefa and Maria were getting ready to go off to school in the States...but Paolo and me...we weren't ready to lose our papa like that."

"Was it hard after he left?"

"Financially, no -- Papa had gotten very wealthy in the resort business...and Mama took him for almost half of everything...but it's a poor substitute."

Afterward, Tammy's mother had taken her and her brother first to Miami, then New York, New Orleans after that. Finally, they settled on Port Landers.

"So your mother's still here?"

Tammy shook her head. "No...she remarried and went back to Hawaii. Antonio showed up in Port Landers about then -- this was...oh, my sophomore year at St. Monica's."

"'Showed up?'" asked Michelle

"Oh, yes -- I knew Antonio from when we lived in San Juan."

"Oh." Something about that made Michelle slightly nervous, but she decided not to press the matter further. Instead, she asked, "So what happened then?"

"After that, I just 'got a life,' and didn't feel like leaving."

Michelle nodded. "What about your brother...Paolo?"

Tammy smiled. "He's in the army, now. My let's see...Carlos runs my papa's first casino in San sister Josefa is now Sister Josefa Benedicta at St. Bridgitte's convent out in New York, and my other sister Maria is a high school counselor in Miami." She sighed. "Since I got wise and gave Tony the boot, I'm pretty much on my own, here."

Michelle leaned over the table and kissed Tammy tenderly on the lips. "Not so..." she murmured. "Not while you've got me."

Tammy gazed into Michelle's eyes."Gracias, mi dolce," she replied gently, returning Michelle's kiss...

* * * * * *

Tammy and Michelle spent the remainder of the night with their naked bodies entwined in passion, exploring each other more and more, both physically and personally. Between times, they would talk softly about their lives, the people in them, where they'd been before. Michelle began to talk about her family -- her Grandmama Katie, her school days, her cousin Kathie, her Aunt Patrice and being the only child of a single mother --

"What about your father?" Tammy asked. "Did he leave your mother too?"

Michelle shrugged. "You know, I never knew my father," she replied. "My mother always said he died before I was born...and Grandmama never would talk about him."

"It must not have been easy," Tammy said sympathetically.

Michelle nodded. "Well, we were lucky -- Grandmama took care of us, mostly. She always made sure we had food, clothing and a few 'extras.'"

"What about your mother?"

Michelle was silent for a moment, then said, "I don't know -- she was always distant. The way I heard the story, she was in some PhD. program...then my father basically told her to quit so she could be a wife. Then she got pregnant with me...and wound up a widow."

"Wow," said Tammy. They were quiet again, then cuddled up together.

"I'm glad we finally got to talk some," Michelle said.

"Me too," replied Tammy. Another silence. Then: "Do you feel better?"

"About what?" asked Michelle.

"About you and me," answered Tammy.

Michelle turned, moving one leg over Tammy's hip, and started moving her hands over her body. "I've never felt so good about anyone in my life," she whispered, as their mouths met yet again...

The next morning, they were again out on the deck, sipping coffee and breakfasting on Michelle's favorite, blueberry bagels with cream cheese and orange marmalade. Michelle caressed Tammy's leg with her foot playfully. Tammy looked up with a smile.

"What...?" she said, half-giggling.

"When you left me a message Monday night, you said you had a proposition for me."

"Oh, that! Yes, well...remember I told you about my brother Carlos?"

"The one running the resort down in Puerto Rico?"

"Right...well...a few months ago, he bought a beach house down around Quadra Bay." The small town Tammy mentioned was about four hours south of Port Landers on the coast -- and was a truly beautiful area. Michelle had loved going to the beach there as a child.

At the mention of Quadra Bay, Michelle's eyes got bigger. "Really?" she said. "So -- where does this 'propostion' come in?"

"Well," said Tammy, "Carlos wrote to me a few weeks ago, asking me if I would go down there and 'air the place out'. You know -- just check it over, make sure everything's working..."

" when are you going down?"

"We are going down next week -- that is, if you want to come with me."

If anyone of her former boyfriends had asked her to go away with them for a weekend, Michelle would have hesitated, and thought about it long and hard before consenting -- if she agreed to it at all. To Tammy, she said "Oh, I'd love it...! Except -- oh, damn!"

"What's wrong?"

Michelle sighed. "I told my mother I'd go see her next weekend...she has something that my Grandmama Katie left to me...some diaries of hers."

"Oh...well, where does she live?"

"It's only over in Riverton."

Tammy perked up. "That's only about thirty miles out of the way," she said. "We could go there, see your mom, and leave for Quadra Bay from there."

Michelle grinned mischieviously, saying "You sure you want to meet my family?"

"Your family? I thought -- "

"My cousin Kathie's going to be there -- plus the new guy in her life, Andreas van der Something. Aunt Patrice might drop in as well."


"So, I'll ask you again -- you sire you want to meet my family? That's a pretty big step."

Tammy leaned over to give Michelle a tender kiss. "I'd love to meet your family," she said.

Finally, it was time for Tammy to leave. The two women stood in each other's arms inside Michelle's door, giggling and kissing.

"I'm never going to get out of here," Tammy said between kisses.

"Maybe I don't want you to," replied Michelle, smiling.

"I got things to do, sweetie -- ooh, that's nice -- and so do you. Especially -- " suddenly, they were playfully duelling with their tongues, caressing each other's lips. Then Tammy pulled back, took a deep breath and continued: " --Especially if we're taking off together next week."

With a sigh, Michelle pulled away. "You're right, of course," she said, mock-seriously. "Okay. Well -- thank you for a lovely weekend..."

"Thank you, mija," replied Tammy.

They gazed into each other's eyes for a moment. Michelle said softly, "I feel so close to you right now."

"Me too, corazon," said Tammy.

They were silent for a moment more, then burst out giggling again. "You better get out of here," laughed Michelle.

"I better," agreed Tammy.

"Here," said Michelle, taking Tammy's face between her hands for one last loving good-bye kiss. Finally, she pushed her away. "Now g'wan! Beetit! Amscray!" she said playfully.

"I'll call you tomorrow," said Tammy as she opened the door.

"You better," warned Michelle.

* * * * * *

Michelle wandered around her apartment for the remainder of the morning in a bit of a daze -- a wonderful daze. She straightened the place up, made the bed, then put on a favorite sun-dress, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and went out for a walk in Bayview Park. She felt as if she were floating, and went about with what some people might have considered a "dopey" grin on her face. Even when a couple of teenage boys playing "catch" with a football ran into her knocking her down and took off without so much as an apology, it was as if she hardly noticed. An elderly man hurried over.

"Miss, are you all right?" he asked, offering Michelle his arm.

Still in a daze, Michelle looked up. "Huh?"

"I said, are you all right?"

"Oh -- uh, yes, thanks...I'm fine..." she allowed the old man to help her up, gave him a peck on the cheek, then went on her way.

Gradually, a familiar tune began to swirl around in Michelle's brain. It was from the musical she'd been in her senior year of high school (she'd sung in the chorus) -- a charming little tale about a small village in Scotland that appeared only once every hundred years. Michelle began to hum the tune, then finally started singing out loud:

"What a day this has been...what a rare mood I'm in... Why it's almost like being in love..."