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He turned around and headed toward the back of the store. I followed him. Do you still play a lot of piano? I asked him.

Candles on the table. Pinot Gris in our glasses. Warm bread that I’ve managed to crumb all over the cream-colored tablecloth.And one small, very expensive lobster on the table. Because December is not exactly the high season.

What are we doing? Jesse says to me. He’s sitting across the table, wearing a long-sleeve black shirt and gray chinos. I’m in a red sweater and black jeans. Neither one of us brought nice enough clothes to dine here. The maître d’ was clearly hesitant to even seat us.I don’t know, I say. It seemed like a nice idea, but I just think . . .Jesse stands up and puts his napkin on the table. C’mon, he says.

Now? I’m standing up.I watch as Jesse pulls out a few bills from his pocket, counts out a reasonable figure, and puts it on the table, nestled under his glass. He doesn’t have credit cards or a bank account or any sort of identification. I bet Francine gave him cash and told him she’d take care of getting him everything he needed.

Yeah, Jesse says. Now. Life is too short to be sitting in some restaurant drinking wine we don’t care for, eating a lobster we don’t like.

That is absolutely true."My landlord says the mouse infestation is all cleared up, so I’m going back home," she says.

"I thought it was rats?" I ask."Oh, right. Mice, rats. Same thing." She smiles, but her cheeks flush slightly, knowing she’s been caught in a lie.

I get the sense that she’d only been staying here in my absence to make a move on Colton, and now that I’m back, she knows she’s missed her chance.She tows her suitcases behind her, stopping to stretch up on her tiptoes and to give Colton a quick peck on the cheek. "Thanks for your hospitality. And I’m totally on board with what we talked about in the car."