Gardino pulls down the sleeves of his new plaid sports jacket and knocks on the apartment door. The bottle of wine that's dangling from left hand cost more than he'll ever admit so, to compensate, he acts cool. He licks his lips and smoothes his hair, then leans casually against the doorframe.
A short blonde bombshell answers. "Can I help you?" She has a pen in one hand, and looks distracted. Also, she's barefoot.
"Uh, hi," says Louis, thrown. He straightens up and checks the number on the door. Yep, this is the right apartment. He smiles to cover his confusion. "Uh, does Ray Kowalski live here?"
The blonde gives him the once over. It's obvious she's noticed his scuffed shoes, the fact he isn't wearing a tie. She doesn't look at his face, which is just as well. She folds her arms and calls over her shoulder, "Ra-ay! There's some guy here to see you."
Kowalski mooches into view, in tidy jeans and a gray button-down shirt. "Yeah?" He checks out Louis, and yeah, he notices the wine, the awkward expression. His eyes widen, but he hides it real fast. "Louis! Hey, man. Come in. Stell, you remember Louis?"
"We haven't met," says Stell, her lips tight.
"Louis Gardino," says Louis holding out a hand. "Nice to meet you."
Stell's shake is quick and firm, and she still doesn't look at his face. "Listen, Ray, I've gotta study."
"Yeah, I know, babe. It's okay, we'll be quiet." Kowalski throws an arm around her shoulders and squeezes, then lets her go.
Stell looks like she wants to protest, but instead she sighs and disappears stage left. Kowalski jerks his head in the same direction, and Louis, feeling like a jerk, follows him into the lounge. It's a little shabby, but tidier than Louis expects. But then, nothing's quite what he expected. He stands there, clutching his wine, while Stell collects a bunch of law books together, handfuls of paper covered in neat blue writing, and half a dozen pens.
As soon as she leaves the room, Kowalski walks right up to Louis, crowding him against the neat white bookcase, and kisses him quick on the lips.
Louis shoves him back. "You didn't tell me you had a girlfriend," he hisses.
"Wife," says Kowalski. For a moment he looks like James Dean, but then it vanishes just as quick. "Here." He takes the wine. "I'll get a bottle opener."
"I can't stay," says Louis, feeling even less comfortable now his hands are empty. "You're crazy, Kowalski. With your girl— your wife in the next room?"
"Relax," says Kowalski. "We're not gonna do anything. You just came over to watch the game, okay?"
Louis throws his hands in the air. Kowalski's crazy. God help him for finding that sexy.
"Relax," Kowalski repeats, and leans in and licks a stripe up Louis' neck. "And next time, bring beer."