"You're kind of quiet," Franky said, once the van exited the off-ramp from I-71 and headed down Sackley Road towards the Hyburg-Tabor Heights border.
"Lots to think about." Tommy lifted his head and rubbed at his temples. He had worked himself into a headache. There was something about Natalie that gnawed at him, a sense that they had met before, but he couldn't seem to resurrect the memory or latch onto any detail that would help him pinpoint the time and place. It irritated him.
"What do you think?" He tipped his head to one side, using the rearview mirror of the van to see Franky's face, several feet in front of him. "Didn't you see my act?"
"Umm… no. Sorry. I just needed some fresh air. That place reminded me too much of -- well -- I don't know."
"Where you used to hang?" Tommy guessed. He met Franky's gaze in the mirror. "Sorry, didn't even think of where I was asking you to go."
"No, it's cool. You don't have to worry about that."
"But if doing me a favor puts you back in a place you don't want to be, that's not good."
"It's cool." They slid up to a stoplight and Franky looked over his shoulder. His wide eyes made a lie of his lopsided grin. "I was glad to help you." He glanced forward, then back to Tommy. "So, who's the girl you were talking to?"
"Like I said, a reporter."
He shrugged, his grin wobbling for a few seconds. "Guess I wasn't really listening. Don't know what's wrong with my head."Something about the crackle in Franky's voice -- and now that he thought about it, the forced casualness of his first question -- made Tommy think he was relieved to get that particular answer.