From last time ...
"Oh, sure Mom. I understand. You just want to make sure you don't meet him or nuthin'. 'Cause that would be weird."
"Right, Jerry. That would be weird."
And now ...
Sarah sat on the bench across from the Main Entrance to the Presidio, where she could see the traffic coming and going. Actually, she was watching the small side gate, where the soldiers on foot checked in and out of the base.
She was waiting for Private Feller.
It had been weeks since the incident with Jerry. Since then, Jerry had pointed out the man that hit him, and Sarah had managed to meet him and had cultivated a mildly flirtatious relationship with him. And that's why she was waiting for him.
They had a date.
She saw Bert Feller walk up to the gate and hand his pass to the guard, who then handed it back and waved him through. Sarah stood and raised her hand, waved, and when he saw her, she picked up her handbag and walked over to the end of the walkway that crossed the wide intersection in front of the gate.
"Hi, Sarah. How are you?"
"Oh, I'm fine. How are you?"
"I'm great! Say, you wanna go to a movie or somethin'? Or maybe we could go someplace more private."
"No, I think we should get something to eat. In fact, I'm buying. How about we go to that seafood joint at the end of the wharf, across from Ghirardelli's?
"Coippino's? But it's always so crowded in there. Don't you think it's time we spent some time alone?"
"Well ... let's get something to eat first and then we'll see how we feel."
"Okay, Sarah. Whatever you say. I feel too good to argue the point. Let's catch a cab."
After a short cab ride of just a couple of miles or so, the cab stopped at Cioppino's and let the two of them out.
"C'mon, Sarah. Let's get seats while we still can. It doesn't look too crowded."
He pulled her by the hand across the street and up to the door of the long, low ramshackle looking building that was Cioppino's. Sarah nodded to the hostess and she seated them at a table right in the middle of the floor, where the crowd that was sure to come would fill in around them.
"Hey, Miss! Why can't we sit off to the side?"
"It's okay, Bert. I asked her to seat us out here."
Bert looked a bit puzzled. And then a bit angry.
"What's up, Sarah? Why can't we be by ourselves? In fact, how come we're NEVER alone?"
"Aside from the fact that I don't like you very much, I've got a bone to pick with you and I thought a nice public place would suit us best."
"What are you talking about?"
"Several weeks ago you struck my son and gave him a black eye and a bloody nose. I'm here to tell you that that can't ever happen again. I've gotten to know you in the last few weeks and I have confirmed my original suspicions. You're a coward and a bully and if you ever touch my son again you will regret it."
"Regret it? I'm gonna regret it?"
"Yes. And keep your voice down. Don't start a scene."
"Keep my voice down? You're damn right I'll keep my voice down, but I'll speak loud enough to tell you you're damn lucky we're in public, bitch. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?"
"I know exactly who I'm talking to, Private Weller, and I'm telling you, don't ever touch my son or his friends again."
"I do whatever I want, bitch, and you ain't gonna stop me. Now I know why we're here. Now I see it. You want this out in public. You think you're safe out here in public. Well I got news for you, bitch."
"Do you? I didn't bring us here to feel safe, Private Weller. I brought us here to keep YOU safe."
With that, Sarah's hand came up from under the table, high over her head and came down hard, sticking a K-bar knife into the middle of the table.
Bert jumped up, eyes wide as saucers, and stumbled back, almost falling over the chair, turned and fled from the room.
The waitress came up to the table.
"What's up, honey? Your boyfriend sick or sumthin'?"
"I don't know. I thought we'd carve our initials in the table, like everyone else does. He just got scared and left. I mean, it's not like I asked him to sign a marriage license or anything."
"Yeah. Some guys. All they got on their minds is .. well, you know .. and if you even look like you want more than that, they're outta here like a shot."
"Yeah. Hey. How 'bout an order of clams? I'm suddenly feeling a bit peckish."
"Comin' right up, honey. Comin' right up."