“I haven’t been happy at home, much less happy during the holidays. It just seems so much more stressful, now,” she said.
“No, I guess not. I mean, when we were dating and still in college we used to do all sorts of things for the holidays. Sometimes it was tense at my parents or his, but we always made time to enjoy ourselves. It wasn’t even always romantic. We just got along so much better. I don’t know.”
I didn’t have anything to say, and it was one of the awkward silences that stretched too long. She looked blankly at the seat in front of her as she continued twisting the ring on her finger. I opened my mouth, unsure of what I was going to say, when Amanda interrupted.
“Excuse me, Mr. Allen. You’ve been asked for.”
“Um, okay. Be right back,” I said to the woman.
“Really, Matthew? You have yet to ask the woman her name? It is getting quite tedious simply referring to her as the woman.”
“Her name is Ellie, but I didn’t find that out until later, okay. Didn’t think you wanted me breaking the sequence of the story for convenience.”
“I wanted you to ask her name long ago. How hard is it to introduce yourself to someone?”
“Today? It’s a real pain. Cassie wants me to get on these social networks and make friends with her and people from high school, and who knows who else is out there.”
“You were engaged in an intimate and personal conversation, but you didn’t think to ask for her name?”
I shrugged. “I don’t like to intrude.”
“You are a private detective! It’s your job to intrude!”
“You’ve been doing this deliberately.”
“I don’t think you have enough proof for that.”
“I will get you back for this, Matthew.”