Scooting Off by Jennifer Anthony
Episode # 490
Noelle returned home from a long day at work feeling frazzled and rather ugly. She scrambled up the stairs toward her apartment, intent on taking a shower. But as she reached the doorknob, she heard a rumbling behind her.
She turned to see a shiny red Vespa rolling up to the curb across the street. Candy apple red and retro fabulous, it was the exact color and model she’d coveted for years. As she toyed with the idea of heading over to drill for more information, the driver pried off his helmet.
Noelle ducked and turned to dash inside the apartment before he could see her in her bedraggled state. As she closed the door behind her, her anxiety morphed into curiosity – and the tiniest twinge of anger. She had just spent the previous night at his apartment, and he’d made no mention of this upcoming purchase. And while they still hadn’t officially made themselves exclusive, wasn’t this the sort of thing you might share as pillow talk?
She shook off the ire, knowing that a warm shower would make her feel – and look – better. She would talk to him about his new purchase after she felt primped and polished.
But no sooner had she showered and dressed, than she heard the rumbling again. She glanced out her window to see Lance back atop the Vespa, revving the engine. She dashed down the stairs to grab him before he could scoot off but when she reached the door, he was already tootling down the street.
Noelle hailed a taxi and dove into the backseat.
“Follow that scooter!” she said.
The chase didn’t prove to be too difficult, as Lance’s scooter seemed to top out at 35 miles per hour. The only thing tricky about the ride was keeping low enough in the seat to avoid detection.
The cabbie, sour from having to drive so slowly, brightened considerably when Lance turned off the West Side Highway and parked among countless other scooters before the Meatpacking District’s Brass Monkey.
Although the cabbie was cheerful, it was Noelle’s turn to sour. For it seemed that Lance had not only bought a new scooter, but the purchase was part of a larger plan. And Noelle, the culture vulture who had once ridden on the back of a Parisian boy’s Vespa for a week, was arriving at this clandestine event in – gasp – a taxi!
By the time Noelle had paid the taxi driver and pulled herself together, Lance had parked his scoot, said some hellos to the brave souls shivering outside, and slipped indoors.
Noelle was grateful for the darkness as she slithered out of the cab and into the Brass Monkey’s bar area. The wood-paneled room was dark and crowded, with little more than votive candles illuminating the faces of its beaming customers. In the flicker of light, she saw that the woman to her left, a twenty-something donning a messenger bag and two teeny ponytails, was wearing a hoodie that read New York Scooter Club.
Noelle felt like an old curmudgeon.
A cotton-topped man tapped her right shoulder. “Hey there,” he said. “This your first time?”
Noelle nodded. As she looked around, she realized that people of all ages and backgrounds filled the bar.
“Well, if you have a scooter, you’re in the club,” he said, beaming. “What kind do you have?”
“Oh – a Vespa,” Noelle stammered.
The hipster to her right turned to join in the conversation. “Sweet,” she said. “I’ve got a vintage two-stroke. What’s yours?”
Noelle was having flashbacks of high school science, when nothing had made sense. Except they were now in a bar, and she was sober.
“Oh, it’s just a Vespa,” Noelle managed.
A thirty-something had sauntered over to join their conversation and help make Noelle’s life even more miserable. “Yes, a Vespa, but what year? And how many CCs?
“It’s a 2008. 150 CCs,” came a voice behind her.
Lance appeared, clutching a beer to his chest. “And dragon red,” he added.
“Nice work,” the hipster said, with an approving nod. “You’re really going to love it.”
“That beer looks good,” the thirty-something said. “How about a round on me?”
“No thanks,” Noelle said, watching as the threesome sauntered away toward the bar.
“What are you doing here?” Lance asked. “I thought you were working late tonight?”
“Slow day,” Noelle said. “And I think you should be the one explaining.”
Lance took a swig of his beer. “I bought a Vespa today. Thought I’d save some money. And tonight I wanted to check out this scooter club.”
“I see that,” Noelle said. “But why wouldn’t you tell me?”
“Lance?” came a woman’s voice, soft and sexy.
Noelle and Lance turned to find Becky standing behind them. She wore a long-sleeved black shirt with the New York Scooter Club logo on the front.
“And that is apparently why you wouldn’t tell me,” Noelle said. Without waiting for an explanation, she turned and stormed out the door.
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