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Arrival

Francisco stepped off the train and looked around.  He had always admired the architecture of old train depots.  They were like echoes of a more elegant time in history.  This station was no different.  It was, of course, much smaller than the grand station he’d visited in Washington, DC—a station so large it had been converted to a shopping mall.  This one was, however, much larger (and much emptier) than the station back home.

He pulled out his cell phone.  Katharine had left him a text, “I’m parked in front of the station.  Dinner?”

The crowded lot belied the hollowness of the train depot.  Still, it was easy to spot Katherine’s bright green New Beetle.  He lugged his suitcase into the trunk and greeted his old with the biggest hug he could muster.

“Frankie!  I’ve missed you!  And you’re going to love Sacramento!”  Katharine was excited that her old college buddy was in town.  She’d not admit to anyone how lonely she’d been since she’d left college.  Despite the air of strength she wore, she missed being somebody important.  Here, she was an insignificant person whom others were distrustful of.  She was thankful for the comforting face of an old friend, even if only for a few days.

“Hopefully!  I’ve run out of other places to go!  It’s either Sacto or back to waiting tables.”  It was true.  Francisco was out of money and nearly out of options.  He’d finished college nearly two months prior but was still unable to find a job.  He had stopped paying rent in December when one of his fraternity brothers took over his room.  Out of brotherly kindness, the two shared the room as winter break ended, school started, and rejection letters followed every resume he emailed.

“What were you thinking for dinner?  I know a great place right next to my house.  I think you’ll like it.”

Francisco responded as he grabbed his stomach “Kate, you know me!  When was the last time I turned down a meal?  It’s my treat for hosting me.”

It was a short car ride to Katharine’s apartment.  The two walked a few blocks to a neighborhood diner.  As they sat in the booth, the two caught up on old friends and the latest gossip from Berkeley.  Katharine was surprised to hear that her ex-boyfriend’s fraternity had been shut down for partying and that her sorority had won Greek Week.

After dinner, the two went back to Katharine’s apartment.

“This is the living room and the bathroom is through there.  The kitchen is on the other side of the bedroom, in the back.” Katharine described the layout of her small apartment.  She and her cat shared the apartment.

Francisco looked around and wondered whether he’d be sharing Katharine’s queen sized bed or sleeping on the couch.  The two had shared a bed on a couple past occasions but had never done anything romantically.  She was a beautiful woman with a resemblance to the actress for whom she was named.  He was overweight and prematurely balding.  He knew she was out of his league and should gladly accept an invitation into Kate’s bed for the night but was relieved when she responded as if she had read his mind.

“This couch is a hide-a-bed.  I’ve already put fresh linens on it for you.  And you can hang your suit in my closet.”

They pulled out the bed.  Bette, Kate’s cat, watched.  She was certain the bed was for her and leaped onto it as soon as the bed appeared.

Katharine walked behind a privacy screen so that she could change out of her clothes and into her nightgown.  Accustomed to living in a fraternity house with a lack of privacy, Francisco stripped to his boxers and a t-shirt in the middle of the room.  He pulled his suit out of his luggage and hung it in the closet.  The suit needed to be sharp tomorrow.  He needed to be sharp tomorrow.

The lights were turned down and the two dozed off.

Bette, sneaked out of Katharine’s bed and found a nice cozy spot in Frank’s luggage.  She slept the best of all.

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