Franny woke up late the next morning. That’s not completely true. Franny woke up early, about two hours after she fell into bed, sweaty from crying. She dozed and woke a half-dozen times before getting up to take some Tylenol and returning to bed, where she slept another hour or two before rising at nearly eleven o’clock in the morning.
Her plan had been to get back to Marilyn’s house by nine, in order to take Precious for a walk and let Douglas rest. Blown out of the water like most of my plans, she thought as she brushed her teeth.
Brushing your teeth is one of the top three ways to restore yourself to feeling human again. A cup of good, strong coffee is up there, too. A long hot shower is always number one, so Franny decided to give herself all three. She set the coffee to brew while warming up the water in her shower, then stepped in.
When she was nearly done, she turned the water to cool to help herself wake up. Stepping out, she caught a glimpse of her face in the bathroom mirror.
She looked away.
Dressed in a t-shirt and yoga pants, Franny curled up in her chair and sipped her coffee. She picked up her phone to check for messages.
Franny wondered. Do I hope for a message from Leo? Or do I hope there’s nothing?
There was nothing. At least, not from Leo. A text from Douglas, thanking her. A voice mail from a number she didn’t recognize, which turned out to be Marilyn’s friend Penelope (she of the dark red wine and musical birthday party, which seemed decades ago). Franny wondered how Penelope had gotten her number. The message was even stranger: Penelope wanted to start a vegan diet, had heard Franny was a vegetarian, so wanted a cook book recommendation.
But nothing from Leo.
By now it was nearly noon, and Franny considered it could be considered reasonable to check on Douglas and Marilyn, to offer to take Precious for a walk, as if she’d planned to do so at lunchtime all along. She popped bread in her toaster to stave off some hunger pangs.
As she started to reply to Douglas’s text, her phone buzzed. Leo’s number.
Franny sent it to voice mail, finished her text, ate her toast, put on her shoes, and left to walk over to Marilyn’s house.