The sob had come from, surprisingly, a woman in the back row, not Lenore at all. She fled the room, and Burbank went after her, catching her by the arm as people filed out. Burbank asked her what was the matter and she confided in him that she was in love with Milo, and Burbank asked her how she knew him, probably feeling defensive over Milo’s choice of Lenore. She said she’d never met Milo before but planned to propose marriage to him tonight in the signing queue. Burbank, baffled by anyone becoming obsessed with someone they barely knew, wanted to know why she thought she was in love with Milo. She said that she’d been reading his blog and thought he was the most amazing person ever. Then she read his books and fell more in love with him.
Burbank told her that he was the one writing the blog and that he was also an author. The woman, whose name was Mali, wiped her eyes on her sleeves and asked hopefully, “Really?”
So they sat on the curb a while and chatted. Burbank was able to make her smile, even laugh. He was convinced she’d forgotten all about Milo until the book signing inside ended and all the people started filing out. Last came Milo and Lenore. They didn’t see Burbank with Mali sitting on the curb in the shadows. Lenore whispered something to Milo under the street light and they kissed. Burbank felt torn between being happy for Milo and shattered for Mali, who’d begun to sob quietly into Burbank’s shoulder.
He stroked her hair and told her it would be all right. He would send her a copy of his book in the mail.