Episode 17: Back to School

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The mainstream media won’t play the interview Bettina did with the band.  Too hot for them to touch.  –Simon.  Channel Five news gets a blizzard of angry emails and requests for the footage.  They put it on their website.  And the news that the band is playing that weekend starts the pilgrimage of fans heading for New Orleans.


Sam parks behind Lana’s Scion and walks up to the large doors of Rolf’s house. She knocks and Rolf opens the door twenty seconds later.  Yes?  Where’s Lana?  She’s on the phone with a client.  Are you going to invite me in?  No.  Is there something I can help you with?  How about a glass of water?  There’s a faucet on the side of the house, help yourself.

Sam frowns.  I want to talk to Lana.  She’s in the middle of an important call, Sam.  I’ll wait, Sam says, and crosses her arms.  Rolf closes the door.  Three minutes later, Lana comes out with a glass of water and gives it to Sam.  Hello, Sam.  I cannot visit long; I’ve got to leave for class soon, Lana tells her, as she sits down on the front steps.  He’s very rude, Sam declares.  No, he’s not.  This is his home; not his place of business.  Lana replies.  He’s not obligated to accept your imposition on his privacy.

So what’s up?  Lana asks.  Do have time to eat and talk?  It’s a two hour class; I’ll fall asleep if I have a full stomach.  Can I come?  Sam asks.  I suppose.   Sam takes a sip of the water, then pitches the rest on the lawn, and hands the glass to Lana.  Who goes back inside.  Sam calls Toni.  What?  I need a favor.  What?  I’m going to night school with Lana.  My car is over at Rolf’s.  Would you see that it gets home?  Alright, bye.

Lana comes out with her satchel, and Sam follows her. It’s unlocked, Lana tells her.  Why are you back in town?  I’ll tell you – after you tell me what you think about Raul.  Lana thinks about this.  He told Bettina that you and Ramon hit it off when you went to Mexico, Lana replies.  He’s a charmer, that one.  Sam says with a smile.  Which would you choose?  she asks Lana.  I’m waiting, Sam chimes impatiently.  What would you do if you were me, Lana?  Defer.

Not an option.  Shotgun wedding is going to happen.  I get to choose.  Well, I think you could be happy with either, Lana says.  You sound like Jon: attitude determines outcome, right?  To an extent.  What do you mean?  Well, let’s reverse the objective.  What steps would you take if you wanted your marriage to fail?  I’d cheat.  That’s facile, Lana responds.  No it’s not.  Adultery would be the quickest way to end it.  Sam says.  How do you get there, Sam?  Uh, hello?  Sam replies.

I’d have close male friends and confidants, Lana says.  When Jax and I got into a fight, I’d go straight to Simon and tell him all about it.  And I’d keep working out of Rolf’s house.  Okay, I get this approach.  Why else do marriages end?  Money problems, Lana responds.  Not going to be an issue for us.  It will always be an issue, Lana insists.  Yes, you won’t have to live on a budget like the rest of us, but why did Kostamo break up with Toni?  I’ll blow our household finances on frivolous expenses, Sam declares.  You’ll never guess what I just ordered on the home shopping network.  Lana chuckles.  But Lana, what if it’s him that’s the spendthrift?  Then you chose wrong; you should know that going in.  Sam nods.

Why else do marriages fail?  Sam muses.  Raul told you one huge reason – differing religious beliefs.  But Jax isn’t Catholic like you, Sam declares.  My dad told him the score.  What if he just goes through the motions?  Sam asks.  That doesn’t make sense to me…Jax could get any girl he wanted.  If he doesn’t want to convert, then he should find someone else.  But he loves you, Lana.  And I love him.  But I’m not going to fully give him my heart until we’re married.  I can walk away anytime before I say my vows.

Why else do marriages fail, Sam?  Boredom.  I’m going to wear my sweatpants around the house, and watch soap operas and read romance novels all day.  Lana laughs.  And when he gets home, I’ll say, take me out to dinner, Lana adds.  Sam shrieks with laughter and adds, Can’t you see I’m busy?  There’s a Hungryman in the freezer; throw it in the microwave.  Both girls laugh hard.

Why else do marriages fail?  Sam asks.  In-laws.  Lana replies.  When Jax and I have a fight, I’m going to stay at my parent’s until he apologizes.  And I’m going to side with my dad against Jax.  He’s so much older and wiser than you are, Jax.  And when Jax decides to move us to Portland, well, I’m staying close to my parents.  See you on the weekends.  And when my mother tells me how wicked Jax’s music is, I’m going to let her keep right on talking.  What would you do?  Sam asks Lana.  I’m not going to speak to you anymore until you learn to respect my husband.  There are boundaries.  You always side with your husband, not your parents.

What else?  Sam asks Lana.  I’m not going to have any kids.  I’m not going to ruin my figure and be a stay at home mom.  I’m working full time; I’ve got my career.

What else?  I’m going to call my husband by his nickname.  Hey, Boozer, supper’s ready.  Sam breaks down laughing.  And I’m going to sit him off in the corner and put Greyson at the head of the table, and serve our little darling first.

And I am going to be the one to pray over our meals, and read the Scripture to our family.  And I’m going to talk to him like a child: get in here, those stock research reports will still be there, we need to have some family time now.

You are such a throwback, Lana, Sam says laughing.  I’m not a feminist, Sam.  I’m going to be submissive and obedient and respectful to my husband.  What if he beats and abuses you?  Sam asks seriously.  God forbid, Lana replies, but I made my bed, and I’ll lay in it.  That’s why they’re called wedding vows.

Sam is silent for a long time.

If I were in your shoes, shotgun wedding, I’d go for Kostamo.  Lana tells her.

What do you think about Raul?  Sam asks again.  I wish him every happiness, Lana says quickly.  That’s a Hallmark card sentiment, Sam says disgustedly.  Doesn’t make it any less true.  And that’s why you’re nudging me toward Kostamo?  Let’s talk about something else, Lana says.


Well, how was night school?  Simon asks Sam as the guys plus Toni sit around the den watching an old episode of Friends.  Not what I expected; I enjoyed the class.  Did you meet Deluca?  Jax asks.  Sam looks over at Jax astonished.  How in the world do you know about Deluca?  That would reveal sources and methods, Sam.  She gives him a hard look.  Stay out of my world, Jax.  You don’t belong there.

How did you and Lana get along?  Really good.  She had me laughing so hard on the drive there.  About me?  Toni asks.  No.  Well?  I wanted to pick her brain about this problem I have, and she got me to see it differently by reversing the objective.  How does that work?  Jon asks, giving Sam a quick glance, then looking back down.  We were talking about marriage, and I used your skepticism on her, Jon.  So attitude determines outcome?  And she said not exactly, or something to that effect.  And she asked me what steps I would take if I want my marriage to fail.

Cheat, Simon says.  That’s exactly what I said, Sam agrees, and she told me not to be facile.  So what was her answer?  Jax asks.  I want my marriage to fail, so I’m going to have close male friends as confidants.  When Jax and I get into a fight, I’m going straight to Simon to tell him everything because he understands me, and I’m going to keep working at Rolf’s house.  That’s so weird, Toni says.  Who thinks like that?  She’s so, I don’t know what’s the best word, old-fashioned, but in a good way that makes me want to be like her too.  Get this, she’s going to seat her little darling Greyson at the head of the table and serve him dinner first.  That’s awesome, Simon says after a moment’s consideration to turn it around in his head.  Lana’s so cool, Simon says.  What were the others?  You guys can make your own assessment.  Private conversation.  Tell me the ground you covered, and I will, Mike says.  Alright.  Sam and Lana on why marriages fail.  Money problems.  Diverging religious beliefs.  Boredom, In-laws, No kids, and a catch-all, disrespect.  Your girlfriend has a head on her shoulders, Jax.  I’d add unrealistic expectations to that list, Jon says.  Toni covers her mouth with her hand, and starts giggling.  Sam puts her hands on her hips.  You’re quite the wit.  He looks up and gives her a shy grin.  I dare you to say that to Lana.  Jon looks down and shakes his head no.  Sam goes over and rubs his head.

What did she say about Jax not being Catholic like her?  Toni asks.  Sam winces.  Private conversation.  She repeats.  Sam, that’s not going to fly.  Mike tells her.  Sam looks at Simon.  Fine, I’ll do a Bettina Andrews impression.  She loves Jax butt.  Jon bursts out into loud guffaws, and everyone chuckles.  That was so lame, Sam.  Simon tells her, shaking his head.  Sam grins at him.

C’mon, Sam.  Jax intones.  She said that she knows better than to fully give you her heart until you’re married.  And that she could walk away anytime before she says her vows.  That’s cold, Simon says.  It wasn’t like that, Sam protests.  It was really mature.

I asked her what she’d do if her husband beat and abused her.  And she said God forbid.  But I made my bed, so I’ll lay in it.  Why would you ask her that?  Mike wonders.  Make your own assessment, Sam snaps and stares him down.

What about Rolf?  Jax asks.  He was really rude to me.  He wouldn’t let me in his house, and closed the door on me.  Jax shakes his head no.  You’re leaving something out; that doesn’t sound like Rolf.  Sam frowns.  Give us a play-by-play, Simon says, and suddenly leans forward, arms on knees.  So I knock on the door, and like a minute later, Rolf opens it.  Yes?  Is Lana here?  Of course, I know she is because I’m parked right behind Barney.  Barney?  Jon asks.  The purple dinosaur that kids watch on TV, Sam responds.  Everyone bursts out laughing.  She’s on the phone with a client.  Are you going to invite me in?  No.  The guys burst out laughing.  Is there something I can help you with?  How about a glass of water?  The faucet is on the side of the house, help yourself.  Simon slaps his leg as he laughs.  I can see him saying that.  I want to talk to Lana.  She’s in the middle of an important call, Sam.  I’ll wait.  And he closed the door on me.  So what happened?

Lana came out like five minutes later with a glass of water for me, closed the door behind her, and told me that she couldn’t visit long because she had to get to class.  I asked her if she had time to eat and talk, and she said that she didn’t want to go to class on a full stomach because she’d fall asleep.  So I asked if I could go with her, and she said, I suppose.

So did Rolf come back out?  Mike asks.  No.  I told Lana that he was really rude, and she stood up for him.  No, he’s not.  She tells me in a quiet firm voice.  This is his home, not his place of business.  He’s not obligated to accept your imposition on his privacy.  That’s a really good answer, Simon tells Jax.

Do you still think he’s rude?  Jax asks.  He wasn’t nice, that’s for sure.  Toni says.  Why is he answering the door, if Lana is his doorman?  Rolf is a limited partner in her PI firm; they were probably discussing a case when you stopped by, Simon says.  And he’s wearing his bathrobe?  The guys look at Jax, horrified.  Gotcha!  Sam yells, and Toni gives her a high five, as the girls laugh.