Just A Friend (Small Town Stories #3)(3)

By: Merri Maywether

Nancy pulled on Pam’s elbow and practically dragged her to the bathroom. As soon as the door closed behind them, she wagged her finger at Pam. “You can look at the pretty man, but you cannot touch.”

“What are you talking about?” Pam tried to hide the obvious by taking an interest in the paper towel dispenser. The man who had kept her attention for most of the evening was even more tempting than one of those dark chocolate squares that came wrapped in gold foil.

“Jorgen Backman is known as Jorgy Porgy in three counties.”

“Jorgy Porgy?” She scrunched her face. The nickname made no sense.

“The nursery rhyme. Georgie Porgy pudding and pie. Kissed the girls and made them cry.” Nancy tilted her hand and waved her fingers towards Pam as though she were trying to summon the ending of the poem out of Pam’s mouth.

“She isn’t kidding.” A woman closed the stall door behind her. “He broke my best friend’s heart.”

Pam’s mouth fell open.

The woman added. “What made it worse was Jorgen knew another guy wanted to go out with her.”

Pam had heard about small towns being hotbeds for drama, but never in a million years did she imagine she’d witness it firsthand. “This sounds like an episode of As the Wheat Spins.”

Just as Pam turned to walk away from the conversation, the woman added, “Oh, Jorgen’s been different ever since. But my theory is a tiger doesn’t ever really lose its stripes. Jorgen knows how to catch a woman but doesn’t know what to do once he gets her.”

Pam had no idea on how to handle the dump of information from a stranger. What was her motive for trashing a man’s reputation?

“By the way, this is Amanda,” Nancy introduced the woman who was quick to join the conversation. “She is cousins with Marianna who works in the intensive living unit of the senior center.”

If things weren’t confusing enough, the women just added a layer to the tapestry of small town life. Pam was friendly with Marianna which meant the odds of her running into Amanda were inevitable. Whether or not she liked it, she was friends by association with the hot guy’s enemies. “Everyone is related here.” Pam was still learning the ins and outs of small town living. How it was possible for any of them to not marry a cousin eluded her.

“Pretty much,” Amanda nodded to confirm her statement.

“So, Jorgen is a no go?” Her heart hurt when she said it. Before she was aware of his background, he seemed like a guy she’d want to spend more time with.

Both women nodded.

“Okay, I won’t talk to him anymore.” It felt like someone pinched her in the middle of her chest. She motioned to go into the stall.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” Both Nancy and Amanda rushed to stop her.

“You can’t be rude to him,” Nancy corrected.

“Well, you can,” Amanda added. She raised her left eyebrow in amusement of the imagined situation. Her facial expression relaxed, and Amanda returned to the position of a neutral person in the matter. “But, you’ll find yourself regretting it the first time he has to help you with something. And, that definitely will happen at some point in time.”

Pam had grown tired of the conversation. She wanted. No, she needed to move on to a more constructive topic.

“Jorgen and I have never been fond of each other, but we respect each other. It goes back to when we were on the playground in elementary school.” Amanda held up her hands like they were scale balances. “Yet, if there is a fire, Jorgen will be at my house with all the other volunteer firefighters trying to save my belongings.” She tilted her hands to demonstrate the shift in power, “And every couple of years, I’ll have one of his cousins in my high school English class.”

It made sense to Pam. Jorgen and Amanda hadn’t seen eye to eye on a lot of things. Jorgen probably had something about Amanda’s history that she knew would come out. So, Amanda was getting her side of the story in first. Pam wouldn’t have approached the situation that way, but she wasn’t the type to judge a person until a situation tested them and proved what they were made of. “Okay, be nice, but not too nice.” It was going to be how she handled both Jorgen and Amanda.