Yes, I did that on purpose.
As the mother of a household of Patriots fans, we’re really not in the mood to talk about the Super Bowl. But if pressed, we’ll admit we’re a little torn. We like Ray Lewis, but can’t stand the rest of the Ravens. We like the quarterback for the ’49ers, but they beat us. Sigh. Our only consolation is that no Manning, neither Eli nor Peyton, will be in uniform either.
But I digress. In this household we believe that moderate amounts of sports are important. I’d like to suggest that real gentlemen put their priorities straight too. Games and entertainments should never be more important that relationships. And that goes for women too.
So, what do you think? Have you ever been in a situation where football or that other kind of football or video games or golf got in the way? How did you deal with that? What did it tell you about the character of the people involved? Have you ever had to set something aside for a relationship?
Also, just for fun, I’d like to share with you a scene from Falling For Your Madness in which Laura and her roommate, Ruby, are hosting a party to watch a football game. David, Laura’s new sweetheart, has come early to help prepare the Tex-Mex feast. In this scene, Ruby and her boyfriend, Russ, react to David’s obsessions with chivalry. Enjoy!
I realized that it was 4:21. The game had started. Russ had already flopped on the couch and turned on the TV. His feet were propped on the coffee table, far too close to the clean plates. I didn’t want to correct him. Ruby would do a much better job at it than me.
David was talking to her. “Laura told me about Russ. He’s your sweetheart?”
Ruby quickly rolled a tortilla into a perfectly round shape. “Not exactly.”
“Then, he’s your friend?”
“More than that. Call him my significant other.”
“Oh. I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but that term, significant other, is not very clear. I could not refer to Laura as that. I never find ambiguity to be helpful. But if it works for you, then I shouldn’t criticize.”
“Yeah. Well, I’m not sure it works, but it’s all I’ve got.”
There were more people to buzz in. Everyone filtered through the open door, past the kitchen and into the living room. David warmly greeted all of my friends. He congratulated Katie and Ryan on their engagement. He did it without realizing that he still had the apron on and that his face and hair were covered in flour. It wasn’t until everyone was in, seated around the coffee table and filling their plates, that I had a chance to tell him.
“Oh, dear, Laura.” He dusted the flour off his arms and rolled down his shirtsleeves. Flour dust floated away from him. I hoped his embarrassment left him just as easily. “I’m terribly sorry I’m such a disgrace.”
“You’re fine.” I gave him his jacket. When he put it on, I could tell he instantly felt at ease. “Let’s eat.”
There was no place to sit. All of my friends had taken over the couch and the chairs. Jessie hopped up and said, “Here, Laura, take my spot.” Then she went over to her boyfriend and sat in his lap. “I’m happier here anyway.”
I sat on the couch, and David sat next to me, cross-legged, on the floor. He looked uncomfortable. “Are you okay?”
“I’m next to you. I’m perfectly fine.”
I filled his plate for him, since he couldn’t quite reach the coffee table. On the freshly cooked tortilla, I put shredded chicken, refried beans, cheese, and salsa. “Here. Wrap this up like a burrito. You’ll love it. The salsa’s homemade.”
“Could you show me? It would be frightfully decent of you.”
I did. Then I got distracted by the game. Welker had caught Brady’s pass and had gained over thirty yards.
David had wrapped up his tortilla and held it up to his mouth. “Oh no!”
“The tortilla has torn apart. There’s food on my trousers. I’m getting napkins.” David handed his plate to me, stood, and left the room.
Now the Broncos had the ball. “There he is! There he is! There’s our boyfriend!” Katie, Jessie, Erin, and Ruby squealed. All the guys groaned.
David came back to the living room. “Who’s whose boyfriend?”
I explained. “The quarterback for the Broncos is Peyton Manning. We all kind of have a crush on him.”
“A crush? For the other side?” He laughed. He teased me, “How could you betray the Patriots this way? What does this Manning gentleman have that Mr. Brady doesn’t?”
Ruby piped up. “I’ll tell you. He’s tall. He’s funny. And he’s got that cute accent. Oh, honey!”
David laughed. “So, tall, funny men with cute accents get noticed by women? Very interesting. I’m so glad Laura doesn’t know anyone like that. If she did, I’d be worried.”
Russ snapped. “You girls never do shut up about this, do you? I’d rather watch Manning than that Tebow guy.”
“Tebow?” David looked interested. “I’ve heard of him. I heard he was a gentleman.”
Russ interjected. “I think he’s a show off. He’s weird. He makes such a big deal over what he believes. There isn’t a need for that. Hey, Rube! Get me a beer, will you?”
David continued. “I’d have to disagree with you. I think there’s always a need for men to step up and be chivalrous. Mr. Tebow is doing a decent job of it in the world of football, from what I hear. Oh dear, now I have salsa on my tie.” He handed me his plate again and stood up.
“That’s your M.O. then? Chivalry? Sounds kind of corny, but then if gets you … ”
Ruby leaned over the couch and gave a drink to Russ. “Here’s your beer.”
“What is this? It’s warm!”
Ruby snapped back. “You didn’t put it in the fridge.”
“Do I have to do everything around here?”
“You couldn’t have put it in the fridge, even for a minute?”
“I suppose I could have, but I didn’t because I was busy making your food and getting this apartment ready so your fat butt would have a place to sit and watch my TV. So yeah, I dropped the ball here. Here’s the beer. Take it warm or don’t take it at all.”
All of us were startled by this. The only sound came from the television. The Patriots had the ball. Everyone stared at the game in silence.
David returned to the room carrying one of our kitchen chairs. He placed it right next to the coffee table and sat down, taking his plate from me.
“Hey Dave! We can’t see!”
“Terribly sorry.” He gave his plate back to me, stood up, and picked the chair up, carrying it back to the kitchen. Then he returned, just as the television camera showed the pained expression of Tom Brady on the sidelines.
“I know him. That gentleman lives on my block.”
Everyone stared at David. Jessie asked, “You know Tom Brady?”
“I see him occasionally. Once, he and my driver Merle got into a heated and amusing discussion over a parking space. They both said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ Merle wanted me to fight him in a duel, but he was with his lady and I …”
Brady threw a pass to Gronkowski who ran for forty yards. We all cheered. By the time the play was over and the game had gone to a commercial, I realized that David had taken his plate from me again. He wasn’t in the living room.
I found David in the kitchen, sitting at the table, with the apron on, eating his food with a knife and a fork.
He stood when I entered the room. “I’m so very sorry, Laura. If you don’t mind, I’ll finish my meal in here and join you in a minute. The battle between me and this food is still raging, and I’ve decided a fork and flat surface is the best strategy for victory. You don’t mind, do you?”
He looked very funny. He still had the flour in his hair and now the apron was on over his jacket. “No. I don’t mind. But I don’t want you to miss too much. You have to root for the Pats with me.”
“I’ll do anything you ask.”
Russ came into the kitchen and rummaged through the refrigerator. David finished and brought his plate to the sink. “Russ? Do you know where I might find a broom and dustpan?”
“Don’t bother. Let the girls handle it.”
“I should at least sweep the floor. I made quite a mess.”
“Sit down. Enjoy the game. Dude, you’re making me look bad.”
“I’m afraid I can’t help that. I had a great deal of trouble controlling the flour.”
Ruby entered the kitchen. “If he wants to help, let him. Who made you the boss?”
Russ slammed the refrigerator door. “I’m so sorry that I’m not as perfect as Mr. Wonderful over here.”
“He’s not perfect, but he tries. That’s more than I can say for you.”
Ruby and Russ were in each other’s faces. They were blocking David in. He was trapped at the sink, and he looked panicked, as if he were required to make more tortillas.
Russ yelled. “What do you want from me? You said come over and watch the game and you’d cook. So I came over to watch the game and you cooked. I brought beer. I didn’t have to. You didn’t ask me to. But I did.”
Ruby yelled back. “Why is it always about doing the bare minimum? Why can’t you surprise with a little extra something?”
“I can’t read your mind. What do you want? Flowers? I thought we were past that flower stage.”
Their argument was so loud it drowned out the television. I wanted David out of there, but I knew that he was too much of a gentleman to interrupt. All of my friends stared in disbelief at Ruby’s and Russ’s behavior.
Ruby shrieked. “There’s a stage? Really? Clear indicators of where we are? I didn’t know this. I didn’t get a memo.”
“Cute. Real cute. You want me to tell you, again, where we are. We’re here. Together. Isn’t that enough?”
“No! It’s not. Maybe it was a month ago, but it’s not anymore.”
“You want to be my girlfriend, then you know what to do.”
“It always comes down to that for you. Doesn’t it?”
“What’s so wrong with that?”
“Everything! Is that how you see me? Is that what you think I’m around here for? I don’t want a boyfriend who has conditions. You know what? I don’t want a boyfriend who thinks it’s beneath him to be a gentleman. You know, I don’t want a boyfriend who can’t come out and say what I am to him. You know …”
“Conditions? Really? That’s your argument here? You want me to be a gentleman, and you don’t want me to tell you what to do? You’re a hypocrite. Maybe I’d be gentleman if I thought you deserved it.”
Ruby seemed to grow a foot taller. “Oh I deserve it. Believe me I do. I deserved it long before you entered my life, and I’ll deserve it long after you’re gone.”
“Let me cut you off right there. You better choose now, baby. You either get this chivalry garbage out of your head or I’m leaving.”
Ruby flung open the apartment door. “Here’s the door.”
“You shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t have to think about it.”
“I just thought …”
“That’s what you get for thinking.”
“Can I stay and watch the game?”
“Get my beer?”
“Fine. Have it your way.” Russ picked up his jacket and left. Ruby slammed the door behind him.
It was so quiet you could hear everyone breathing.
I didn’t know what to do. I looked to David.
David took three steps toward Ruby. “I’m very sorry. I hope that I didn’t …”
She snapped at him. “Just get out of my face.”
I gasped. “Ruby, David’s just trying to …”
“Just shut up. I don’t need you either. In fact, I don’t want to hear it. Keep your perfect little romance to yourselves. Do you understand me?”
I felt a chill. “Yes, but I …”
“Shut up! I don’t want to hear another word from you ever again.” Ruby stomped to her bedroom and slammed the door shut behind her.
You can win your own signed paperback of Falling For Your Madness on Goodreads. Giveaway ends February 14.