Our eyes lock and the bargain’s made.
“How long’s he been asleep?”
“Since I found him last night on the porch.”
“He was on the porch?”
“Literally on the doorstep. I had to drag him in here.”
“And he didn’t wake up?”
I shake my head.
“Hm. That’s odd. Is he naked under there?”
I nod. “As a jaybird.”
“Oh, yeah. He’s naked. Look - he’s having a real nice dream.” I point, where a little pup tent is rising at the level of his groin.
Leslie covers her mouth with a little gasp. “Kelly Sabatelli, I just can’t believe you’d actually do something like this.”
“You know, I’ve been thinking,” I say defensively. “All your talk of hijacking and kidnapping - what makes you think he didn’t want to come?”
For a moment Leslie is silent. Then she motions me out of the kitchen. The boys continue their vigil. She puts an arm around my shoulders, and speaks to me in the same tone of voice used to calm frightened children and raving lunatics. “You know, Kelly, he’s not his characters.”
In the hallway, I pause and look at her, and I think how beautiful the colors are swirling in the depths of her eyes and I wonder when the last time was that anyone told her so. Don Juan de Marco was right about that, too. Every woman should be told that the colors in her eyes are beautiful. Every day. But all I say is, “Oh, no, Leslie. See, that’s where I think you’re wrong. I think on some level, he is his characters - every one of them. He has to be, in the same way I’m all mine. Come on. You know what I mean. That’s what’s disturbed you all about my nympho-manical elves story. Don’t you see?”
She shakes her head and the spell is broken. She gives me a little push. “Go call Clarice, and tell her to get her butt over here ASAP.”
“Where’re you going?” I ask.
“I’ll just keep an eye on Mr. Depp while he sleeps.”
“While he dreams,” I say with a smirk and she only answers me with a look that would freeze rain and a blush that would stop traffic.