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Me And Roger MAG
The doorbell rang. Rebecca ignored it, and continued her valiant effort to become immersed in the perfect world of "The Brady Bunch." She knew who was at the door; it was Roger, Mom's latest boyfriend. A particularly funny scene began, where Cindy and Bobby were arguing over a game of checkers, when Mom yelled down the stairs, "Becky dear, could you get that please? Tell Roger I'll be down in a minute!"
Rebecca pushed out her lower lip at Bobby and Cindy, who were having a wild time throwing checkers at each other and were completely oblivious to Rebecca's problem. The doorbell rang again, and Rebecca found the soft bell tones to be annoyingly cheerful. She leaned over and turned off the T.V., deriving some satisfaction from watching Mrs. Brady shrink into a pinpoint of light in the center of the screen, then vanish. Pulling her lips into a smile, Rebecca rose and opened the door.
Roger was dressed in a dark gray three-piece suit and held a bouquet of red roses in his hand. She would've been impressed by his attire if it hadn't seemed so pretentious to wear a three-piece suit in the heat of an August evening. He didn't look remarkably different from any of Mom's other boyfriends who had stood on this doorstep in the past year, clutching their bouquets nervously while feigning ease.
"Come in. My mom'll be down in a few minutes," Rebecca said, striving to sound pleasant but not really minding if she failed.
Roger gave a winning smile as he thanked her and entered the house. He took a seat on the couch, rising in surprise when he felt an uncomfortable lump beneath him. Rebecca laughed, but quickly composed herself and removed the remote control from Roger's seat.
"Thanks. You must be Rebecca," he said. Rebecca felt vaguely annoyed that he had such a pleasant voice. She nodded noncommittally and glanced up the stairs, wishing her mother would appear. Roger sighed agreeably and nodded as he looked around the room, rubbing his hands together. Rebecca revelled in his discomfort. She could almost see him wracking his brain for something to say. He looked at his watch, glanced up the stairs, looked at his watch again, and looked at Rebecca. He smiled again. "So, how old are you?" he asked. Oh brilliant, thought Rebecca, there's a topic that will lead somewhere.
"Nine and a half," she replied, not bothering to hide a bored tone.
"Wow, nine and a half, huh. You look much older," he said. Rebecca was flattered in spite of herself, but she just shrugged in response.
"So," he said again, seemingly unaware of the repetition. "So, do you just stay here by yourself when your mom goes out?"
"Sure. She goes out all the time." She looked at him closely to make sure that he began asking himself, Who does she go out with all the time? It was her subtle retaliation for his implication that she wasn't old enough to stay home by herself. He looked sufficiently rattled. They both glanced up the stairs again, Roger again checking his watch. He was beginning to look desperate.
"Do you, like, eat t.v. dinners or something? When your mother goes out to eat, I mean." Yeah, he was pretty desperate. He might have even blushed then, but she couldn't quite tell because his face was so tanned.
"No," she answered, not deigning to add that her mother cooked for her before she left.
Sighing noisily, Roger's patience was evidently beginning to wear thin. "I am, you know, trying to strike up a conversation. I wouldn't mind a little help," he finally said.
Rebecca was surprised. He was the first of her mother's dates to actually confront her with such a statement. She felt a twinge of guilt for her horrid hospitality, and reached up a hand to fiddle with a pig-tail. "My mom cooks dinner for me before she leaves," she said. It was the only thing in her mind. Roger smiled with such relief that Rebecca felt even guiltier.
"What does she cook?"
"She's a great cook. She cooks Chinese food for me sometimes, or spaghetti."
"I'll have to eat over sometime." Rebecca grinned at him, surprised that she liked the idea. "What do you think could be taking your mother so long?"
"Oh, she spends ages on her make-up. Sometimes she asks me to pick out a perfume for her." She warmed to the conversation, liking the way Roger smiled with genuine interest.
"What's her favorite perfume?" he asked.
"She likes Tabu, but I always tell her that Chanel No. 5 smells prettier. More like flowers, you know?"
He smiled with agreement and amusement. Rebecca was almost disappointed when her mother entered with the words, "Rog, we'd better hurry or we'll be late." As she walked by, a flowery scent drifted over them. Roger raised an eyebrow as he said, "Chanel No. 5?" Rebecca's mother looked startled but impressed, and asked, "How did you know?"
"Oh, I can always recognize a lovely scent," he replied charmingly. He winked at Rebecca, and she didn't give him away. Maybe there was some hope for this one after all. n