Andrews spent the morning with Ruth. They ate breakfast and then they took a long walk around the Doric House grounds. Just after noon, he and Wright left and flew to Bloomington, Minnesota to go over the security at the Metropolitan Stadium. That evening’s concert went off, like the one two nights before in Atlanta, without any major problems. Afterwards the band returned to Doric House for one more night.
Having been, for the most part, too busy for dinner, Andrews was just beginning to think about ordering a snack from the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. He opened it, half expecting Ruth with another hot fudge sundae. Instead he found Ep!phanee, still in her costume from the concert.
“Hey lover, what’s up?”
“Good evening. I was just thinking of ordering something from the kitchen. Are you hungry?”
“I could eat.”
Picking up the house phone and asking for a connection, he ordered sandwiches and hot chocolate.
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing you,” Piffy said, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her body against his.
“Really? You didn’t look particularly anxious.”
“I had to let Ruth have a chance to get to know you. And she did… finally.”
“Now you’re back with me?”
“Only for today. Tomorrow, you spend with Penny.”
“I’ve already been with Penny.”
“Yes, I know she snuck into your room for a quickie, but you need to spend some time getting to know her. Relationships aren’t just about sex, you know.”
“Really? So far, that has not been my experience.”
“You sound a little testy about it,” she said, leaning back and looking him in the face. “Most guys would give anything to be in the position you’re in.”
“Maybe. I think it’s one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ situations. I just get to know you. I like you. I want to spend more time with you, but I can’t because I have to be with Ruth. Now I want to spend more time with her and I can’t. I suspected that this type of relationship would be too much for me and I’m finding out that I’m right.”
“It will get easier once you know all of us and we can work out a schedule.”
“This just isn’t natural. I think men are wired so that they are in love with one woman at a time.”
“Well, of course it’s not natural. It’s not natural that men are almost extinct either. But that’s the way it is. We have to make due the best we can with what we have.”
They spent the remainder of the evening talking about less weighty matters—what life was like in the Virgin Islands, favorite places to visit in Europe, and what the weather was going to be like on the west coast. They spent the night together, and for the first time in his life, Andrews shared a bed with a woman without having sex.
The next morning Andrews left Piffy sleeping in his bed while he shaved and showered, but she was gone when he came out of the bathroom. He met briefly with Wright but there was little to discuss. The entire group was treated to a champagne breakfast. Then it was off to the airport again. The dirigible was fueled and supplied and waiting to go. It lifted off as soon as everyone was aboard, flying directly north.
Andrews made a quick inspection of the ship after seeing that his few personal possessions had been carefully stowed back in his cabin. He then went to the bridge and watched the crew at work until he was called away to answer a telephone call. It was from Evan Larkin, the man he had met in Bolingbrook. Larkin wanted nothing more than to talk for a few minutes. Andrews let him ramble on for a while and then confirmed that he had heard the news regarding the arrest of his former fiancé.
“Yes, the poor girl. Elke and Inga are going to see if we can’t get her accepted into a mental health facility.”
“That would probably be for the best. Well, goodbye Larkin.”
“If you’re ever in the Chicago area, give me a call. We could have dinner.”
“Thank you, I will. Goodbye.”
He started back toward his cabin, but was intercepted along the way by Penny.
“Hello beautiful,” she said.
“Hi. How are you?”
“I’m feeling fine. We’d like you to come back to the port side lounge for a minute. The band has something they want to run by you.”
She led him to the lounge where the other three Ladybugs were seated, as well as Alexa Rothman. When he stepped in the room, they all looked up and smiled. He sat down on one of the overstuffed couches, as Penny took the spot beside him, tucking her legs up under her.
“We have something we wanted to share with you,” said Piffy, “before anyone else knows.”
“We have the Asia tour coming up in two months,” explained Alexa. “It should really be called the Asia-Australia tour, since after Singapore; we’re going south to hit Melbourne and then Sydney.”
“But then we’re going to the enclaves,” Steffie spouted.
“That’s right,” said Ruth. “After Sydney, we’re going to Tasmania, South Island, and then Cape Horn.”
“We were going to wait until the South American tour to do the Cape Horn enclave,” continued Alexa, “but we might as well do it at the same time as the others.”
“That’s very exciting.”