“Hey, Niles, Charley.”
“What’s up, Charley?” Niles said.
“How many folks have had you over for a meal since you’ve been here?”
“Lute has had me over a couple times,” Niles said.
“We close our dinning room at 6:30,” Charley said. “Shelley and I usually have a supper around 7:30, we’d like to have you come down for some homemade pizza.”
“That sounds great,” Niles said. “What do you guys like to drink with pizza?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Charley said. “Shelly likes wine and I like beer, between those two we got it covered and we have a frig full of soda, we got it covered.”
At 7:25 Niles strolled happily toward the Harbor Inn amidst a light drizzle to the Harbor Inn with a package in his hand. He opened the unlocked door and walked past the lobby desk and into the dinning room. Shelly moved around busy setting the table. Charley stood at the window to the harbor watching the small islands beyond the harbor disappear into the drizzle and dark..
Niles walked softly into the room.
“Oh, Charley,” Shelly said, “it’s Niles.”
They dropped what they were doing or what thought occupied them and seemed to swoop in on Niles with a warm welcome.
Charley handed a bottle of wine. “It’s Chateau Rauzan-Segla, it’s supposed to be good. I don’t know for nothing; I still think Boone’s Farm Strawberry is one of the best wines made.”
“You and a lot of others,” Charley said.
“Thank you Niles, that’s thoughtful. I’ll get some glasses and we’ll have this with the pizza,” Shelly said.
“This smell just like this pizza joint I used to go to in Brooklyn,” Niles said. “My buddies and I used to take the subway over there, we’d order the pizza and we’d see how few mouth fulls it took to down the whole thing. We could get a whole slice in our mouth.”
“Boys,” Shelly said.
“We did it for the girls,” Niles said.
“And I repeat, boys,” Shelly said.
The meal spanned an hour of laughter and sharing their pasts.
“So, Niles,” Charley said. “has is ever crossed your mind to marry again?”
“Of course,” Niles said. “but if I’m catching the drift of this conversation, Lucinda is completely out of the question.”
“I thought so,” Charley said.
“Yeah me too,” Shelly said, “to be honest, I was secretly hoping she might lasso you; she’s made more than one play for Charley.”
“If I were to marry Lucinda that wouldn’t stop her from Charley,” Niles said. “She’s a woman with no boundaries.”
“She comes across the street for coffee a couple times a week,” Shelly said. “She lets on like you two are a number.”
“I’m going to have to put a halt to that,” Niles said.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Shelly said. “Not to burst your bubble, but you’re only the flavor of the month; the next new pair of pants in town and you’re yesterday’s news. Besides, no one takes her serious. We’re new and town and we already see the pattern.”
“Yeah,” Niles said, “a lot of people don’t care for police just because they are police, there’s no reason to give them a reason.”
“Well that’s settle,” Charley said.
“I hope that’s not the only reason you invited me,” Niles said.
“Yep, goodbye,” Charley joked.
“Charley,” Shelly said, “that’s not funny.”
“They guy used to stuff his mouth with pizza to impress girls,” Charley said, “his sense of humor and good manners is already confused. He won’t know the difference between a compliment or an insult.”
“Yeah,” Niles said, “what he said.”
“Point proven,” Shelly said.
They all helped in clearing the table and taking the used dishes, glasses, and silverware to the kitchen.
“It’s been a nice evening,” Niles said as they walked from the kitchen and back into the dinning room.
“Could you stay a bit longer?” Shelley said.
“Sure,” Niles said.
“It’s a little too cool for the deck,” Charley said, “but we can watch from the window.”
They arranged the chairs to watch the moonlit harbor.
They talked about the harbor, yet the harbor was not on the Liston’s mind.
“There is something on our minds,” Charley said.
“It has been troubling us for some time,” Shelly said.
“What’s wrong?” Niles said. “Have I said something or done something to offend you guys?”
“Oh, no,” Shelly said, “we really enjoy your company and you have so many funny stories about New York. Charley, maybe it’s best you say something.”