I said, "Hi."
She said, "Hi.
I went around and opened the door to my car on her side. She got in, tucking the skirt of her long coat modestly under as she slid in. I went around and got in my side.
She said, "Do you have a cigarette?"
I said, "No. But I can stop and pick some up. There's a Liggett's on the corner."
She said, "If you would. I'd like to buy some make-up too."
I pulled over and parked in the alley between the parking garage and the drugstore at the corner of Berkeley and Boylston streets. As we got out she said, "I don't have any money, can you lend me some?"
I nodded. We went into the drugstore. It was a big one-a soda fountain down one side, bottles of almost everything on the other three walls, three wide aisles with shelves selling heating pads and baby strollers, paperback books and candy and Christmas lights. Terry bought a package of Eve cigarettes, opened it, took one out, lit it, and inhaled half of it. She let the smoke out slowly through her nose.'t paid. Then we went to the make-up counter. She bought eye liner, eye shadow, make-up base, rouge, lipstick, and face powder. I paid.
I said, "Would you like an ice cream cone?"
She nodded and I bought us two ice cream cones. Vanilla for me, butter pecan for her. Two scoops. We went back out to my car and got in.
"Could we drive around for a little while?" she asked.
I drove on down Berkeley Street and onto Storrow Drive. At Leverett Circle I went over the dam to the Cambridge side and drove back up along the river on Memorial Drive. When we got to Magazine Beach we parked. She used the rearview mirror to put on some of the make-up. I looked across the gray river at the railroad yards. Behind them, half-hidden by the elevated extension of the Mass Turnpike, was Boston University Field, with high-rise dorms built up around the stadium. When I was a kid it had been Braves Field until the Braves moved to Milwaukee and B.U. bought the field. I remembered going there with my father, the excitement building as we went past the ticket taker and up from the dark under stands into the bright green presence of the diamond. The Dodgers and the Giants used to come here then. Dixie Walker, Clint Hartung, Sibbi Sisti, and Tommy Holmes. I wondered if they were still alive.
Terry Orchard finished her make-up and stowed it all away in her shoulder purse.
"What can I say? Thank you seems pretty silly."
"Don't say anything, kid. You know and I know. Let it be."
She leaned forward and held my face in her hands and kissed me hard on the mouth and held it for a long time. The fresh make-up was sweet smelling. When she finished, her lipstick was badly smeared.
"Gotcha," I said. "Let's go home."
We drove on out Soldier's Field Road toward Newton. She slid over in the seat beside me and put her head against my shoulder while I drove, and smoked another cigarette. There was a maroon car in the driveway of her house when we got there.
"My father," she said. "The police must have reached him."
As I pulled up to the curb the front door opened and Terry's mother and father appeared on the porch.
"Shit," she said.
"I'll let you out here and keep going, love," I said. "This is family business."
"Spenser, when am I going to see you again?"
"I don't know. We don't live in the same neighborhood, love. But I'm around. Maybe I'll come by sometime and take you to lunch."
"Or buy me an ice cream," she said.
"Yeah, that too."
She stared at me and her eyes filled up.
She said, "Thank you," and got out of the car and walked up toward her house. I drove back to town, got my side stitched at Boston City by the same doctor, and went home.
It was dark when I got there, and I sat down in my living room and drank bourbon from the bottle without turning on the lights. They'd given me two pills at the hospital and combined with the bourbon they seemed to kill the pain pretty well.
I looked at the luminous dial of my wristwatch. 6:45.
I felt as if I'd wrung out, and was drip-drying. I also felt that spending the night alone would have me screaming incoherently by 3 A.M.
I looked at my watch again. 6:55.
I turned the light on and took off the watch. Inside, it still said Brenda Loring, 555-3676.
I dialed the number. She answered.
I said, "Hello, my name is Spenser; do you remember me?"
She laughed, a terrific laugh, a high-class laugh. "With the shoulders, and the nice eyes, yeah, I remember."
And she laughed again. A good laugh, full of promise. A hell of a laugh when you thought about it.