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Dave's Place Chapter 4 - Andy

Susan smiled as I began my story, "Andy spends a lot of time...."

.... at the bar. Part of it is he likes the camaraderie, but the truth of the matter is he'd rather be with his family. He's the most devoted family man I know. Andy is always ready to lend a hand to anyone, and he's loyal as they come. Unfortunately, his ex-wife didn't seem to appreciate him as much as his friends do.

Not only did she leave him, but also she poisoned the kids. He hasn't seen his daughter in ages, and his son totally ignored him last time they coincidentally met at a family friend’s house. I've suspected there is more to the story, but I used to watch him and his son together on poker nights. There was genuine affection, and I detected no tension whatsoever. I know he stays involved with texts and emails. I know he tries to keep up with them on all the assorted social media. It's definitely not any lack of time or interest for which they are rejecting him. He spends a lot of his time now with my kids, sort of adopting them as his own. 

But of course, this bar is not for the weak. We've given him a hard time about his love life for years now. Let me back up. We've given him a hard time about his LACK of love life for years now.

"By the way, Susan. I asked him what he thought of you and the reply was "WOW." I gave Susan a wink.

She devilishly said, "Are you trying to fix me up?"

"No, no. I'm just glad I have his approval." I gave her my most charming smile. She returned it, clearly flattered.

Sorry, back to the story....

One night most of the crew was there. Janet was having a Stella, Rick was drinking bad Mexican beer, and Tim had a Blanton's. Despite my constant harping, he insisted on putting it over ice. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

Out of the blue and much to our surprise he told us he was thinking about asking Maria out. Maria was a co-worker of his. Normally Andy is very reserved and that would have seemed to be way, way off limits, so this must be serious. "Is that really a good idea?" Janet asked.

"Well, I'm not going to do it at work. She mentioned she'd be interested in the poker game, so I'll do it there," Andy replied.

I busied myself with some glassware, letting Janet speak my thoughts.

"But a co-worker, Andy? That has bad idea written all over it."

"Yes. I know. And she's twenty years younger than me."

I did the quick math. "Half your age, plus seven. You're in the clear."

At the same time Rick said, "That seems like like a huge positive in your favor." Janet rolled her eyes.

"Just be careful," Janet said. Rick and I nodded.

"Aren't I always?" Andy replied. Rick and I nodded again. Janet remained skeptical.

I didn't make that poker game, but I heard about it later when Andy came in alone, looking quite pleased with himself.

"She came over an hour early and helped me set up. We talked the whole time and she was interested in everything, especially my pictures of family."

"That sounds good," I offered. "Where are you taking her?"

"I wasn't so bold. Maybe next time."

I stopped the barkeeping and gave him a sincere look. "Don't be down on yourself. We give you crap, but co-workers are a whole different ballgame. Cautious is the right approach." He didn't look convinced.

"She coming to the next game?" He nodded, seeming very introspective. I let him be, and went back to work.

I attended the next game, and Maria was there. I could see why Andy was interested. I hadn't recognized the name, but she had been in the bar a few times. She was cute and friendly. There were times I thought she was flirting with me, but at the time I figured it was just for free drinks. But then, she never asked about my family either.

As it got late, Maria decided it was time to leave, and Andy went out to her car with her. We played a couple hands and he came back looking very confused. With the extra company, Rick and I pretended not to notice. Nobody else brought it up either.

One by one, everybody left, leaving the three gambling degenerates. Andy took that opportunity to address Rick and I, "She said ‘no,’ she was seeing someone."

"Wasn't she the first one here?" I had arrived next since I was the one without a day job.

"Yes. An hour early again and just as interested in ... well I guess not me." Andy looked wounded.

"That's really bizarre. I'm sorry." Andy just dealt the cards.

We never did find out what happened. Rick said he saw Maria at the company Christmas party with a woman, but he didn't know if they were together. Surprisingly, he didn't ask, and we didn't take the opportunity to harass Andy further. He still seemed a little raw about the whole incident.

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