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I set my tray on the table and slid into the booth across from Clara.
"So, tell me ... what is the latest on Eb's uncle Brad?" she asked.
I lifted the lid off my coffee so it would cool more quickly. "Not much change ... he seems to be a little more aware ... his eyes are following noises and movements ... but he is still not showing any signs of recognition."
Clara frowned. "That's terrible ... Mary must be beside herself."
"She is ... it's a tough thing to go through." I picked up my cup and blew gently on the surface of the coffee.
"And how is Eb taking it?" she asked.
I took a sip of coffee before answering. "He's pretty upset ... he was pretty close with Brad."
Clara shook her head gently. "That's what I heard."
I took another sip, then asked, "Speaking of Eb, has Uncle Billy mentioned anything about his and Becky's wedding to you?"
Now Clara paused to take a sip of her coffee. "No, he hasn't."
"Hmmmm ...." I unwrapped my breakfast sandwich.
"Why would you expect him to?" Clara asked.
"Oh ... no reason ... I was just wondering." I took a bite of my sandwich.
Clara looked at me suspiciously. "You're wondering who he is going to ask to go with him, aren't you?"
I chewed slowly and swallowed. "Oh ... no ... I just thought he might have mentioned it to you, that's all."
"Look, Chris, I don't care if he asks me or Alma Beeler or anyone else ... it makes no difference to me ... I just hope Eb and Becky have a lovely wedding."
I flushed slightly at the mention of Alma Beeler. "Honestly, Clara, I don't even know if Billy is going to the wedding ... I just thought that maybe he might have said something to you about it."
Clara took a sip of her coffee and glanced out the window. "Well, speaking of the devil ..."
I followed her gaze and saw Uncle Billy crossing the street on his way to the restaurant. "He said he might stop by when I told him I'd be here for breakfast."
She watched him walk across the parking lot. "Did he know I was going to be here?"
I flushed again. "Ahh ... I don't think I mentioned it ... but I'm sure he'll be glad to see you."
Billy open the door and looked around the restaurant. I waved so he could see me. He nodded and walked to our table. He seemed slightly surprised to see Clara.
"Oh, hi," he said. "I didn't know you were going to be here."
Clara hadn't moved, so I slid over so Billy could sit down.
"I was just finishing my coffee," she said. "I've got some errands to run ... I'll let you two eat in peace."
Billy slid in next to me. "Don't go on my account ... I've got nothing to talk to Wonder Boy about that you can't hear."
"Hey, Uncle, have you heard any news about Eb and Becky's wedding plans?" I asked.
"I'm going to go get some coffee." Billy slid back out of the booth a stood up. "Don't let me keep you from your errands, Clara."