Tony gives, and finds, consolation.
Back at the house, the new college year had brought in a rush of renters, and we were soon bustling with people seemingly everywhere. Morrie found a job as a long distance lorry driver, so he was away for extended periods of time, and Betty and I started to hang out more together.
One morning I came down to find Betty with papers all over the kitchen table, seemingly close to tears. I asked her what was wrong, and that opened the floodgates. She was crying so much I could hardly understand her, but it seemed that the electric company was threatening to cut us off. “I really thought I’d paid the bill, I really did!” she said between sobs. “But I’ve searched through all these papers, and I see the bill’s still here. What am I going to do? Dad will be so ashamed of me.”
While I don’t know much about finance, I did know that the best way to deal with a problem was head on, so I told her that we should call the company, explain what had happened and that we could pay the bill today. Just having someone suggest a plan seemed to calm Betty, and she took a deep breath and called them. They said that as long as we paid the bill within the next 48 hours it would be OK, and so I offered to take it to their office right away.
It only took me a short while to go there, pay the money and come back, and Betty greeted me like a hero when I returned. “Oh, Tony I’m so grateful. Not just for taking that round for me, but just for being here and everything. It’s hard being alone sometimes, isn’t it.”
I looked at her tear stained face and red eyes. She saw my look and went to pull away. “I must look a sight,” she said. At that moment, I thought she looked the most beautiful person in the whole world, and all I wanted to do was to take care of her. So that is what I told her.
Betty stared up at me for a long moment and I leaned down to kiss her. She tensed, but then I felt her body relax into mine. As we broke from that first kiss, she looked up at me and said: “are we really going to do this?”
Sometimes actions are better than words, so I just kissed her again, and soon we were together in her bed. The next day I moved my meager possessions into her room.