"Hey, Babe," I said.
"Oh, Tommy, I'm so glad you called."
"I got something important to talk to you about, something nice," I said. "Can you meet me Friday night at Lucky's? Seven-thirty."
"Sure. But Tommy, there's something I gotta tell you too. I'm--"
"Shhh," I interrupted. "Save it for Friday."
I hung up and took a deep breath. Five days until I popped the question, six days until I popped Pop. I needed to focus.
The week went by in a blur of sparring sessions, sit-ups and on-camera interviews. Finally, the big night before the big fight arrived, and I wasn't sure which ring I was more worried about. The one in my pocket felt like an anchor as I waited in our booth at Lucky's. My gut, sour on a good day--I'd inherited Dad's ugly mug and mom's suspect stomach--bubbled like one of those hot tubs Doggy was always telling me was good for my back. I must have been out of it because I didn't even notice Considine until he sat down across from me, an unlit cigar in his mouth. He ordered a glass of milk, drunk through a straw, as always, and waved away the camera crew, which lurked in the booth behind us.
"Boy, don't you look pretty," he said, appraising my getup, a cheap-black-suit-and-green-tie combination I'd accented with a liberal dousing of Old Spice and a carnation from a local bodega.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, genuinely surprised. I couldn't think of a good reason for him to visit the night before the bout, unless, of course, he knew about Pop's plan. I tried to stay calm.
"Got some good news for you, Kid. The producers love the show so far. They think you're the kind of lug audiences root for, they say you've got great pathos in your life."