Pertinent Conversations

This is for Dawning Star, because I promised.

1.    In the bedroom

“Nick, you have to be kidding. I can’t do this, you know that!”

“Sure you can, Starr. You just smile and say hello and trust me, my mom will do the rest. Hell, you’ll be lucky to get a word in edgewise once she AND my dad get going. Where’s my aftershave?”

“Second shelf of the medicine cabinet, and you’re crazy. I mean I’m sure your folks are nice—they made you and all, but I am just not ready to meet them; not all official and like!”

“Starr . . . relax. It’s a brunch in town, they’ll be catching a flight to Miami in a few hours for their cruise. I want them to get to know the woman I love—is that so much to ask?”

“It’s a lot, Nick Stokes. What have you told them, anyway?”

“That I’m in love with the most incredible bartender/anatomy artist in all of Las Vegas. And that I’m serious about you.”

“I’ll give you two minutes to stop kissing my neck, stud. Are you going to tell them?”

“They don’t need to know.”

“Nick; they do. If they can’t accept me for me, it’s all over, baby. I won’t be the reason your family disowns you.”

“Disown me? Now hold on a minute, Starr—for one thing, my folks aren’t the kind to cut me out because I make my own choices, all right? And for another thing, it wouldn’t matter. If it’s a choice of them or you, well the answer’s pretty damn clear to me—got that?”


“Babe, don’t cry, okay? Here’s a Kleenex--“

2.    In the restaurant

“So THIS is the beautiful girl Nick’s been raving about! Call me Natalie dear, oh you’re lovely, just lovely!”

“Thank you Mrs.—I mean Natalie. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure’s all ours, Starr. Phil, look how tall she is! Just like your sister!”

“Pleased to meet you Starr—never mind Natalie; she’s just thrilled to finally meet you. Nick’s told us quite a bit about you.”

“Um, he has?”

“Oh yes. I was impressed with the artist website you have—amazing work on some of those drawings, especially the one of the human eye. Very fine work, young lady.”

“Thank you—it was Nick’s idea to put it up and get the business cards.”

“That’s my boy—smart as a whip, takes after ME of course, but I’ll give his father some credit too. So, Starr, tell me ALL about yourself, dear! Phil, order for me won’t you? You know what I like.”

“Natalie, let the girl breathe once in a while—“

“Oh you—never mind him; Phil’s just annoyed because he forgot to pack a certain recreation medication---“


“Mom! Geez, TMI there--”

“Oh stop it, you two—it’s the twentieth century you know, and never let it be said that Natalie Stokes is a prude.”

“Believe me Mrs.—Natalie-- I’m pretty open-minded myself.”

“That’s lovely dear. I’m sure that makes life with our Nick more interesting, eh?”

“You don’t know the half of it, Mom. Appetizers anyone?”

“Yes—oh Phil stop sulking!”

“I’m not sulking. I’m trying to regain my dignity.”

“Oh pooh! We’re all grownups here, and I’m sure Starr appreciates that we Stokes are upfront about things!”

“Upfront, Natalie, is one thing. Mentioning my Cialis prescription two minutes into meeting Nick’s girlfriend is another.”

“Oh honestly—Starr, does what I said upset YOU?”

“Er, not really. I DO work in a bar . . . “

“There, you see! Let’s have some shrimp cocktail and be nice now, shall we?”

“You win, Nats—just try to keep the questions gentle okay? We promised Nick we weren’t going to interrogate Starr.”

3.    In the car

“They like you.”

“I like them. You’re mom’s a hoot, Nick—man, I thought your dad was going to slide under the table when she cracked that line about medication!”

“Yeah, but after forty years he’s actually used to it. My mom’s always been blunt, and he’s always been there to sorta smooth things over. They’re a team.”

“Yeah, well they’re a good one. I can see how much they love each other.”

“Yep. It’s a Stokes trait—we’re pretty loyal.”

“And cute—you’ve got your mom’s eyes and your dad’s chin.”

“Lucky that way.”

“Mmm. So I guess they like me—“

“Are you kidding? My mom’s already planning the wedding.”

“Whoa! What wedding?”

“Oh come on, Sundance—you knew this was coming, right? The official meet the parents thing is usually the lead into the more serious stuff. And you know how I feel about us.”

“Nick—yeah, I feel about us the same way, but we haven’t talked about this—“

“So we’ll talk. We’re practically living together as it is; everybody at the lab knows I’ve got a girlfriend, and you know I’m crazy about you.”

“The crazy part I don’t doubt. Nick . . . I’ll never be able to have kids.”

“We’ll adopt.”

“Oh just like that, huh?”

“Well no—first we have to get married, and find a nice house . . . I’m thinking Henderson most likely . . . and if you were serious about going for that art degree I could put you through school . . why are you looking at me like that? Starr?”

“Pull over.”


“Pull over!”

“Okay, fine. There. Now what’s wrong?”

“Nick, listen to me—I’m a scarred woman; I have a prostate and an Adam’s apple and screwed up hormones and I’m scared as hell when you start talking like this. I’m not made to be a wife, or a mother—hell, I’m barely making it as a woman, and then you go and talk about happily ever afters like everyone deserves them and I’m just . . . petrified!”

“Oh babe . . . . come here, shhhhhhh. Stop, okay? Listen to me, Starr Jankowitz. I love YOU. Whatever you started out as doesn’t matter to me—the only thing I give a damn about is where we’re going from this point on. And no matter what you say about your body, I love you. Yeah, it took a while for me to figure that out, and I’m not proud of the fact that I was scared too, but you know what? I lucked out, babe. I fell in love with the perfect person for me, and that’s all that matters. “

“Jesus, Nick . . . you’re crazy, but God help me I love you SO!”

“Yeah, well back atcha. Need some Kleenex?”

“Un huh. Thanks.”

“So that’s how it goes, you know? And maybe forty years from now we can embarrass the hell out of OUR kids with comments about ED drugs, right?”

“Like you’d ever need them, Stallion man—“

“Yeah, well the libido’s from Mom’s side of the family too—“


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