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The Blonde Leading the Blind

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The Blonde Leading the Blind

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It's a couple of Thursdays ago, and while most of the people in the Bar are watching the Yankees walk all over the Kansas City Royals, I've got one television tuned to college hockey. It's not even really for me, though I'm watching when I have the chance; it's for Will. It's the first time he's been back here since Samantha died, and we're all naturally worried about him. But for the moment, he's sitting at the bar talking to Mario, and Maya - Samantha's friend, and the reason she started coming here and met Will in the first place - is mostly just standing there and listening to him. Simone and I are taking up the slack willingly.

Notre Dame is playing Michigan in the national men's hockey semifinals, and they've jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Will has said in the past that he doesn't really care that much about Michigan's hockey team, even though he played on their football team, but it's the reason he's supposedly here, and he keeps shaking his head as things look bleaker and bleaker. During the second intermission, after Michigan has finally made a game of it by scoring two in a row, Will asks me a question I'd sort of been hoping wouldn't come up. But I suppose if it was to come up at all, it's best coming from him, because the main reason I wasn't going to talk about it was not to rub it in his face. "How's things with you and Jenny?"

"They're good, thanks. We've been spending a lot of nights together." Maya slips off to serve some customers so that I can stick around and talk for a while.

"Is it love?" he asks, the second reason I was going to avoid the subject.

"I have no idea, Will." And that's the honest truth. "But whatever it is, it feels very good."

"Okay, I'm - listen, I'm only going to say this once, but I'm sorry, there's just no way I can let it go without saying it at all, it's just who I am... can I, uh... please come over and watch it feeling good sometime?" Will finishes by smiling the most innocent smile. If it were anybody else but him, I might actually be a little angry, but with Will I have to laugh - and I have to be relieved that he's in a good mood.

"I'll make you a deal - as soon as New Hampshire wins the Frozen Four, you can videotape Jenny and me having sex."

Mario laughs, but Will just sticks his hand out for a shake. "You've got a deal, Debra. And you've made a brand-new New Hampshire fan." I wonder, for a moment, what I've gotten myself into... and then I wonder for a few more moments whether Jenny and I will still be together when next year's Frozen Four arrives, much less whenever my alma mater finally wins one. We've never really talked long-term.

Will sips from his Anchor Steam. "So how did you and Jenny meet, anyway?"

"Oh, it was a blind date. It's all her fault," I say, pointing to Simone, who's a few yards away trying to convince a customer that she doesn't really want to order a tall glass of Goldschläger on the rocks. "We road-tripped up to New Hampshire for a few days in mid-December. I met her family, we hung out at their brewpub in Portsmouth, then she came with me to see UNH play hockey against Maine... we got totally socked in by a snowstorm that weekend, and ended up raiding her Dad's wine cellar. She was bitching about the pressure she was feeling to get a boob job, I was bitching about the online dating thing, and suddenly she said, 'Hey, you and this lawyer I know would totally hit it off.' So she gave Jenny my e-mail and here we are."

"Wait," says Mario, "how did Simone know Jenny in the first place?"

"Oh, I think Simone used to be a Starbucks barista across from the courthouse in Brooklyn Heights, and Jenny used to come in a lot, or something."

"Nice," nods Will. "You really never know how you're going to..." He can't seem to finish the sentence, and looks away as he drinks more of his beer. Mario puts his arm around Will's shoulders. I really don't know what to do except reach for his hand on the bar, and give it a squeeze before I go back to serving drinks. When Michigan finally loses to Notre Dame in overtime, 5-4, Will has long since left for home.

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