Tony's hand rested on the small of Angela's back as they walked toward the exit of the bar. To onlookers bustling both to and fro, this silent gesture was indicative of their exclusiveness, or as they termed it, their "irregularity." Angela pushed the swinging door open to once again admit Joan Powell, the professor Tony had conferenced with just minutes before.
"Well, if it isn't the barstool blond and the guy with the boyish grin." Tony's hand dropped from Angela's back and she stiffened; his hand no longer guiding or protecting her. At the professor's ever slight mention of 'barstool blond' she bristled; eyebrow raised, "Excuse me?" she countered; "I don't believe we've been formally introduced; I'm Angela, Tony's uh,..."
"I see." "You know, I've never gotten more reacquainted with intransitive verbs, adjectives, and the like since meeting Tony here." Angela's brow furrowed; perplexity written all over her face. Although Angela knew exactly with whom she was speaking and being sized up by, she didn't think Tony's use of intransitive verbs should be discussed without the simplest of greetings predicating them. 'Any well versed professor should know that,' Angela said knowingly to herself. As she studied the petite blond opposite her, Angela surmised that civility was the furthest thing from her mind. A small smile formed on her lips as she pieced together what she understood to be the reason behind this woman's---there was no other word for it---cattiness. The smile turned saccharine sweet as she tried to elicit an introduction from the professor once more. "And you are...?" Angela prompted.
"I'm Joan; Dr. Joan Powell, Tony's Western Civ professor." "Now where were we?"
"Intransitive verbs," Angela said; interrupting her train of thought.
"Ah yes," Professor Powell replied. "Those verbs that are intangible, don't profess anything, and are in short, undefined. His response as to why he stood me up was full of them too, so full in fact that if I had strung enough of them together I could've woven a tangled web."
Angela laughed lightly to offset Joan's terse tone. "You don't say," she returned. "Tony's intransitiveness has never eluded me," she said; her statement simple yet pointed.
Joan looked past Angela to see Tony's hands resting instinctively on her shoulders.
Although years of settling minor standoffs between Mona and Angela told Tony not intrude on the estrogen-fueled confrontation between the two blondes before him, innate Italianess weighed heavily on his decision to muscle in on the conversation. Peeking over Angela's shoulder he offered, "She's my 'witness;' I know that's not the definitive answer you were hopin' for, but at least it's not what you'd call intransitive," he said, looking at Joan.
"And now I see the comment I made to you earlier couldn't been more fitting." The professor said; chuckling at Angela for the first time that evening. "Of all the women at Stromboli's I could've singled out..." She paused; contemplatively tapping her finger against her chin before averring, "In retrospect, now that I've met you, I could be mistaken but I think Tony wanted me to meet you; unwittingly perhaps, but..." She stopped; the smile that erupted across Angela's face being the only proof she needed.
"And you," she said, nodding at Tony. "Why couldn't you have just told me about Angela.
"Uh, well..." Tony started to say.
"Here come those verbs again; they just trip off your tongue, don't they?"
"All's well that ends well, I suppose." "After all, love is surely the most intransitive; when it's used as a verb, that is." The professor concluded.
She scanned the restaurant, spying a tailored blazer draped over the back of the chair she'd been sitting in when faced with an agitated Tony no more than ten minutes ago. Excusing herself, she said, "I'd better go grab that before it fits someone else better than it does me."
Offering her hand to Angela she added, "It's been educational." "And Tony, your midterm is in two weeks; this time, she emphasized, I expect an 'A.'
"Yes, Joan, uh I mean, Dr. Powell." Tony quickly corrected.
Tony hugged Angela to his side as they exited the bar. "She's not wrong, you know," he said; his voice low against her ear. "I'm kinda glad we ran into her again so she could see, you know, that I'm not...unattached."
Peewee said I lived a 'shallow life' last night, Ang." His forehead creased, voice elevated as though he had something to defend. "That bothered me somehow...I mean, I'm livin' my life with you." As her eyes met his, he averted them, flustered. "I'm not attracted to every woman I meet either, Angela." "That's somethin' I need you to know." "Yeah, I"m charismatic, sometimes to a fault." "What's so special about us though, Ang, is that I know you know that. "I'm proud to be beside you, behind you, it doesn't matter where, as long as I'm with you."
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. "You've told me so many stories, Ang, about being an awkward teen. My 'charms," as you'd call them, are my way of making the best out of awkward situations. I use 'em to disarm rather than charm, ya know?" I'm tryin' Angela; I'm tryin to be less---charming. He looks at her wide-eyed and as she knows he is willing her to believe his words, it takes all her willpower not to burst into laughter and tell him how absolutely adorable he is.
She need not say anything though; her bright smile outlined and heightened in the moonlight tells him all he needs to know. His eyes leave the line of her lips to focus on those pools; those pools that have darkened now. What is she hiding behind those eyes? He senses she has something she wants to divulge but she won't tell him; not unless he asks. He approaches the question objectively at first by saying, "You never answered the professor's question, Ang..."
"What question was that, Tony?"
"Don't toy with me, Angela..."
"Toy with you; why would I ever do that?" Her intransitiveness coupled with the teasing tone in her voice tantalizingly torments him. This woman drives him crazy, he thinks. And yet, here he stands loving every minute of it. "You have no idea what this coyness is doing to me, Angela." Coerced by her coquettishness he bluntly asks, "Do you want me?"
They had been strolling side by side in quiet contentment, making their way to the late showing of "Casablanca" at Ridgemont's Revival Theatre when Tony abruptly quickened his pace, effectually turning about to stand directly in front of her, his hands on her shoulders. His warm brown eyes looked at her, bewildered.
"Are you sayin' that you don't want---"
They are standing face to face; so close that he can feel her words settle on his lips.
"I'm saying I don't want to 'profess' anything," she drawled; her eyes alight with pleasure.
After a moment he steps back, transfixed, grinning at her like a goon in the light of the moon.
Falling into step beside her once more, he relaxes as her arm encirles his waist; her head coming to rest on his shoulder.
"Ya know, Angela, I hope one day we'll be able to profess everything to each other," he says, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. "And I'm thinkin' this profession oughta be in the form of a vow," he continues, taking delight in the dimples that have formed on her cheeks.
"You do?" Her voice resounds like a bell as it wafts through the night air.
"You bet your life I do!" He emphatically avows.