“So let me get this straight. Your initials spell MSN?” she laughed a little and stabbed randomly at her ice cream. “I bet the kids in middle school had a lot of fun with that one.” They didn’t, actually. No one had ever bothered to make that connection, even when it was cool…relatively so, I guess. I’d always wondered if my parents did that on purpose, you know as a joke, or if they were just as oblivious as everyone else.
“Yeah, well what about you?” I asked, semi-accusingly. “You’ve gotta have something I could work with.” She laughed at that and tried to bury her head into her side of the table. She looked back up at me and grinned widely. “Close guess,” she said, scooping some more ice cream. “It’s nothing to do with my initials, but it’s something alright.”
“Well what is it?” I asked and she stretched her hand out to me for a handshake. I took it. “My name,” she paused for dramatic effect. “Is Nicole Thomas Bouvier. Very nice to make your acquaintance.” She said. It took all I had not to drive my head straight into my ice cream to keep from laughing.
Her grinning eyes slowly started to narrow, so I put on my best poker face. I’d always sucked at poker, so it probably wasn’t helping my situation. “You uh…your middle name is Thomas. Is there a story behind it? Miscommunication error perhaps?”
She tilted her head to the side and some of her hair dropped along with it. “Not so much an error, actually.” She poured some syrup onto her spoon and swirled it around in the ice cream. “See, my dad almost missed my birth because he was out drinking with his work buddies. My uncle had managed to get a hold of him last minute.”
“Uh-huh.” I nodded patiently as she added in even more syrup.
“So, my dad barges in, takes one look at me and something in his drunken haze tells him I came out as a boy, probably because he’d spent all three trimesters expecting a son, and he just blurted out Thomas and nodded to himself. Of course, he wouldn’t listen to anybody, so Thomas was inscribed on my birth certificate. My mom though, she was thoughtful enough to have them set it as my middle name, and she named me Nicole, after her favorite aunt.”
I opened my mouth to speak and she pointed her spoon at me. “Now Shawn, you have to listen because what I’m about to tell you is very important.” She was still smiling at me, but her eyes looked deadly serious. I nodded slowly. “Nobody; and I do mean nobody knows about my middle name. Not my siblings, or my extended family, not even my best friend Darcy. So if I hear this little story anywhere, at any given time in the future, I will hunt you down and sew you into an airfield. Got it?”
I nodded vigorously, partly to let her know that I meant it, and partly because her glare had become mildly intimidating.
“Well good.” She grinned again. “So, what else did you have planned?”