“How?” Shorty asked. He was a big fan of the willowy, blond dancer, but knew she had certain eccentricities and gave them a wide berth. One of them was that she mauled Hackenbush every chance she got.
“She grabbed my hair at Bart’s Bar and Grill to tell me she liked the way I sang ‘Moonglow’,” Hackenbush said, opening her VW Bug’s door for him. “She could have just told me, but no, she had to bend me nearly backwards to tell me.”
“Well, we are talking about Lola Rae, aren’t we?”
“Yes. Thank God Cody held me up while she did it.” Hackenbush shuddered at the memory. “I might have been snapped like a twig.”
Shorty didn’t comment on Hackenbush’s un-twig-like figure; few twigs of his acquaintance had quite so many curves as she did. He merely smiled, and said he figured Lola was in the Bay Area for good. “She’s knocking them dead up there.”
She dropped him at his new place in Hollywood. It was a nice apartment in a deco building on Bronson. She wondered how he could afford it and she suspected he was being kept, but was too arrogant to ask him. Besides, if he wanted her to know what he was up to, he’d tell her; until then she’d pretend not to give a damn.
Shorty had mixed luck with the men in his life; they were either givers or takers. Hackenbush thought Shorty was a great guy and could never quite figure out why he couldn’t find a man that was a bit more balanced and settle down. “Count your blessings, Hackenbush,” she reminded herself as she merged onto the 101 Freeway south. “Not everyone is as lucky as you and Eddy.”
That night the band played a wedding reception in Marina del Rey. Hackenbush tried to put the idea that she might have one of these one day out of her head.
“You looked nice tonight, Mabel,” Cody told her when they were packing up.
Hackenbush had on her basic-black-combat-casual-job evening gown; legions of waiters had spilled drinks and food on it and it all came out in a cold water wash on delicate. “Thanks, Cody, I do try to look nice at these jobs,” she said. “How’d I sound?”
“You sounded nice, too.”
“It’s just a casual, Mabel, save it for the gigs,” Cody said, zipping his bass cover up. “I hear you lost that bet.”