Sunset at the Pink Water Café
She woke up late the next morning, slipped out of bed and tip-toed to the window – halfway expecting to see that dog down there, waiting for her, but she saw grass and trees – and no dog – so she showered and dressed quickly for work. She fixed coffee and toast in the kitchen, looking out the window at his house, then walked out the door and down the street, passing his house with her head down, as quickly and as quietly as she could – but the Land Rover was gone, a black Suburban in it’s place now. She saw US Government plates on the back bumper and shook her head, saw a young man inside the house looking at her as she passed and she quickened her pace, made it to the café in record time.
She wrote out the specials on the chalkboard, took the chairs from the tabletops and arranged them just so, swept the floor – again – and went to the kitchen. Darren was working away on today’s soup – a cream of celery with shaved gruyere and scallion garnish – and she heard a commotion out back, just outside the kitchen entry.
“What’s goin’ on out there?” she asked Darren, and he looked up from the cooktop and smiled.
“Permits approved yesterday. Starting the new patio soon. Check it out…”
She went to the door and opened it, looked outside to the land between the back of the building and the water’s edge. A big yellow bulldozer was clearing the site, surveyors were placing stakes and a construction shack was already in place and she nodded her head before going back inside, wondered what this would mean to the future.
“It’s going to double our seating,” Darren said. “Almost all glass, like a greenhouse. In fact, it’s going to be full of plants!”
“What about the kitchen?” she asked. “Aren’t you going to need to expand that too?”
“Yes, we’re going to put a bigger walk-in downstairs, and that’ll free up enough room to add two tops and a huge prep station.”
“So, going from 12 tables to what? Twenty five?”
“Thirty. And we’ll have room to put a little bar up here too.”
“Geez. How many…?”
“Bruce figures we’ll need three girls waiting tables, maybe a barkeep full time if business picks up. He’ll work prep and the bar while I work the kitchen, but we’ll probably need another cook, too.”
“We were thinking, maybe you’d like to move to hostess and being a manager, that type of thing.”
“Yeah, why not,” she said, crestfallen.
“Hey, Tracy…it would be a promotion…”
“I know. I get it. Too old to work tables, I guess.”
“No…that’s not it at all…we just thought you’d like a change, that’s all. Maybe make some more money, ya know?”
“Yeah. Sure, if that’s what you want.”
“Oh, Tracy,” he sighed. “What are we going to do with you?”
She shrugged. “Told you a long time ago, I have zero ambition. I do what I do because I like it.”
“So, how was Prince Charming?” She looked away and he did too. “Well, so it didn’t work out?”
“I have no idea,” she said. “He’s kind of a busy man.”
“I thought you said he was retired?”
“I don’t think he is. Not really. Anyway, I think he’s out of town.”
“I don’t know where he is, okay?”
“Ah. Well it’s time, honey. Better open the door and let the starving masses in.”
She nodded her head, went to the door. “Starving masses. Right.”
She walked home after the café closed for the evening, walked up the hill and by his house, and the black Suburban was still parked out front, the blue Land Rover still gone. She relaxed after that, walked to her house and locked her doors before going upstairs for the night.
She never locked her door anymore, she thought. So why now? She gotten over all that other stuff a long time ago, hadn’t she?
But the Land Rover was back the next morning, and all those feelings seemed close again.
She saw it from her living room, saw Jimmie out in the front yard. Sitting. Looking up the hill, at her. She looked at the dog for a long time, and he never once looked away from her. What was he thinking, she wondered? Or was he thinking about him, and how she might be a threat? Or was he even thinking?
She walked down the hill a few minutes later, saw Jim on the ground, on his back under the Land Rover – swearing at something up under there – and she laughed.
He heard her laughter and turned, looked at her – and she stood as if transfixed. Like a deer in the headlights, tail up and motionless. Waiting to see what would happen next.
“Howya doin’?” he asked.
“Oh, he’s fine,” he said standing up, wiping greasy hands on a coarse, red shop towel. “He doesn’t like it when I leave him like that, but c’est la vie, I guess.”
“Oh? Where’d you go?”
“Down south. Washington.”
“Fancy house-sitters you have. The machine guns are a nice touch, too.”
He looked down, shook his head. “I was gonna fix some coffee. Want some?”
She shook her head, said “I don’t know,” and he looked at her for a moment, at her indecision.
“Well, suit yourself,” he said, turning away.
“Just who the fuck are you, anyway?”
He spun around, his eyes narrow and hard again – but he relaxed again, as quickly. “You want to talk, we can talk inside,” he said, turning and walking inside.
And she followed him. Right up the steps and into the living room. Right through the living room and into the bedroom. He was standing there when she walked in, unbuckling his belt, smiling, then he turned to her. “I took a blue pill this morning. One hundred milligrams. I could drive a nail with this fucker,” he said, grinning – and she walked over and felt it.
“Damn…does that hurt?”
He nodded his head a little. “Pressure seems to be building a little.”
“I take it you could use a hand with that?” she said, slipping her skirt down to the floor.
“My mouth’s dry. Think you have something that could lube it up a little?”
“I’m willing to try, if you are…”
She got on her knees, flicked it with her finger a few times. “Goddamn, Jim, I ain’t never seen anything this hard in my life. It’s not natural,” she said, taking it in her mouth. She went up and down the length of it a few times and withdrew. “Nope, this ain’t right,” she sighed, biting the tip once, watching him flinch and smiling –
And he held her head after that, basically raped her mouth, going at it like a jackhammer…and he felt her fingers encircling his thighs, then creeping up, closing on his ass. She felt his cheeks clinch and she forced her fingers through the cleft…
“And just what the devil do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m going to stick my fingers up your ass.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.”
“Let me repeat. No. As in N-O – you are not.”
She took the head of his cock in her teeth and applied pressure. “Excuse me?” she said, sweetly, once she released him.
“No, thank you.”
“Do you mean to tell me that no one has ever played with your ass?”
“Aside from my internists bi-annual explorations, ditto.”
“Oh, you poor man. I-am-going-to-have-so-much-fun-with-you-tonight…” – and with that she took him all the way down again, then hammered him until she felt him rising on his toes, breathing hard, then she felt it pulsing and slowed, swirled her tongue over the head as it erupted. She felt it filling her mouth and she worked to swallow him as fast as she could – but the poor thing didn’t get in the least soft after that. In fact, it seemed harder and she pulled back, looked at it and bit the head once – causing him to convulse a few times. Liking that response, she bit him a few more times, felt him writhing somewhere between controlled and uncontrollable ecstasy, then she pushed him onto the bed and crawled up on his lap and slipped him inside.
She moved slowly now, all the way up, all the way down, drawing out each motion into a minutes long journey, until she looked down and saw him sweating profusely, trembling uncontrollably. Then she slid all the way up and off him, watched as sudden anxiety filled his eyes, then she positioned him over her anus and slid down again, taking him all the way down in one easy slide.
She clinched down hard as she rode him now, milking him with pressure until he was trembling again, then she went into overdrive until he was lost in searching spasm. They came down together, and she let his breathing ease before she spoke.
“Did you like that?” she asked.
“Yes, but it felt different. What’d you do?”
“You ever fuck a woman up the ass, Jim,” she asked, her voice teasing, almost mocking him now.
“No…uh, you don’t mean…”
She nodded her head slowly, smiled gently, and as slowly. “Uh-huh, you sure did, you horny devil. Now tell me, was it as bad for you, Jimmie-boy, as it was for me?” And she slid off him, put her clothes back on and walked from the house, smiling triumphantly as she skipped down the street.
He skipped lunch, thought he’d let her stew for a while, then he went down a little before five only to find contractors all over the property, and men in suits gesturing pointedly at one another. He walked up, listened and got the gist of things in a moment, then walked inside. She saw him and he pointed at his table in the corner and she nodded her head; Darren stormed through a moment later and disappeared in his kitchen and she brought him a glass of iced tea.
“Blueberry tonight,” she said. “Pretty good, too.”
“Thanks. Could you ask your employer to come here, please?”
“Darren? Sure, but why?”
He shrugged, she walked off and Darren came to his table a moment later and looked at him.
“Yessir? Tracy said you wanted to speak with me?”
“Have a seat, would you?”
The boy sat.
“You want to tell me what’s going on out there?”
“Bankers and lawyers, upset contractors. What’s going on, what went wrong?”
“Oh, the short version is the bank wants more collateral before they’ll release funds to the GC, that’s the…”
“I know what a GC is, son. How much are they sticking you up for?”
“Twenty?” he said, smiling. “Could I see the plans, please?”
Darren excused himself and went back to the office, returned with plans and renderings of the new addition and Taylor looked them over for a minute and asked a few questions about their latest earnings statement, the he leaned back and steepled his fingers. “Sounds like you boys need a silent partner.”
“Oh?” Darren asked. “Know anyone interested?”
“What’s your position right now, today? You down with any suppliers?”
“Yessir. We had a slow winter.”
“So…why expand now? Increase cash flow? Tax write-offs?”
He shook his head, knew they were making a classic blunder but with enough financing to get them over the hump they might make it. “I’ll take a 25% stake in all future earnings for a one hundred K investment right now, tonight.”
Darren ran back to the office; he and his boyfriend returned a minute later and Taylor went over his proposition once again. The boys smiled and, after Taylor stood to shake hands, they leapt into his arms and hugged him.
Tracy watched all this in silence, wondering just what the fuck she’d gotten her boys mixed up in now.
She walked up the hill after the café closed – and walked right up the steps onto the porch – right through the front door – right past a snarling Jimmie and into his bedroom. He was laying on his bed, naked, with a huge grin on his face – waiting.
“What did you do to those boys!” she said, almost screaming.
“Not much. I just saved their collective asses, and yours too, I’d say.”
“I made an investment, and I expect it to pay off handsomely over the years, too.”
“They were pretty glum this afternoon,” she said, “but now, I’ve never seen them so happy.”
“Good. Now, if you’ll focus your attention on the hard thing between my legs, you’ll find it’s cold and lonely, and in need of some close, personal attention.”
She looked at it and smiled, then tossed a small brown paper sack on the bad and watched him pick it up, look inside. “What’s this?” he said, taking the small bottle out of the sack. “Personal lubricant? Whatever for? I thought I slipped inside easily, didn’t you?”
“It ain’t for my asshole, you asshole,” she said, grinning.
“I thought we cleared that up earlier.”
“No, we didn’t.”
“Did you just call me an…?”
“I did, yes,” she said, taking the bottle from him. She got down on the bed, slipped between his legs and popped the top, squeezed a glob all over his penis and began stroking it. Long, slow strokes again. He put his head back and sighed. “Spread your legs a little wider,” she said – and he shook his head. “I said, spread them a little wider,” she repeated, holding the tip of his cock in a fingernail pincer.
“I have an idea. Let’s not, and say we did.”
“Now, Dickweed.” She poured a large glob of lube on him and let it ooze down, then she slipped a finger over his bud and massaged him for a few minutes.
“That’s not so…”
“Shut up,” she said, positioning it over the opening, “and take a little breath in.” She slipped inside and he fought it, clinching for all he was worth, but in the end it didn’t matter. “Let it out now, and relax.” She moved it in and out several times, then felt his prostate. “I’m going to touch it now,” she said, and she took his cock and put it in her mouth – then massaged the gland…
He erupted on her second stroke, catching them both by surprise, and she swallowed all of it, then swirled her tongue over the tip for a few minutes – and he was wracked by spasms when she nibbled the tip again – then she pulled out.
“Was that so bad?” she whispered.
“You’re a devil,” he said quietly, then he rolled on his side and shut his eyes; a minute later he was snoring gently.
“Well, damn,” she said. She got up, slipped out of her clothes and under the sheets, curled up along the contour of his back. A minute later Jimmie jumped up on the bed and she looked at him when she leaned over and to turn off the lamp on the bedside table. He was staring at her, panting gently, but he wasn’t grinning now. He seemed to be measuring her intentions, wondering if she was some kind of threat, perhaps.
She turned off the light and shut her eyes, and she felt the pup circling on then end of the bed, then he curled up behind Jim’s knees, like he was placing himself between his master and an intruder. Perhaps she would have been surprised to know the pup never once slept during the night, never took his eyes off her, never relaxed.
Or perhaps not.
She heard someone in the kitchen, looked up and saw a clock on an unfamiliar dresser across an equally unfamiliar room – a little after seven, she saw, and she sat up, looked around the room and remembered where she was. He walked in a moment later carrying coffee and croissants, some Nutella and orange marmalade, all on a little tray.
“Been to the head yet?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No. And I feel like elephants are dancing around inside my skull,” she added, rubbing her eyes with the backs of her knuckles.
“Well, go do your business and I’ll dig up a few naproxen. That ought to get you going.”
She padded off to the bathroom, washed her face – and he ducked in, handed her a new toothbrush, still in the box, and gently closed the door behind. She scrubbed her teeth, smelled her fingers and scrunched up her nose, turned the water to hot and washed her hands a few times, then went back and crawled up on the bed. He sat on the edge and handed her a coffee and she took a sip, then took the pills he handed her. He asked for her cup then, and for her to turn over on her stomach. He started on the backs of her calves and worked his way up her thighs, massaging her muscles with his elbow, he told her, digging in deeper than fingers or thumbs ever could. He worked his way up her pelvis, then through the deep muscles astride the spine. He sat on the backs of her thighs then, leaned into her upper back and shoulders and, a half hour later, up her neck.
“Why don’t you roll over now,” he said, and she did – if a little groggily – then he looked at her. “About last night. About what you did. Never again, okay. That was not enjoyable, in the least. Clear?”
She nodded her head. “Okay.”
“And I’d just as soon not go there with you. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy, I guess, but that’s always been good enough for me.”
“You always cover up your legs, you know? The way you dress. You shouldn’t. They’re spectacular.”
“Uh-huh. I could nibble on those thighs for a week and never get tired.”
“Okay,” she said, opening her legs to him. “Be my guest.”
He grinned, looked her in the eye. “Got chores to do this morning. You?”
“Nope. I was just planning on screwing your brains out for an hour or so.”
He seemed to grow annoyed at that, took his coffee and went to the study – the door closing behind as he stepped inside his little sanctuary – and she looked at him as he walked away, wondering about all his irregularities and inconsistencies. He acted like a man in conflict, undergoing some inner turmoil, and she thought about Monday night and his secrets, his armed guards in the house next door.
Who the hell was he? What was this all about?
She slipped on her clothes and walked out the door, up to the house, and she showered and changed clothes, then walked back down the hill – to the library.
She walked into the café a few minutes early, walked into the kitchen and found Darren in the back office, talking with Bruce – about their latest good fortune. About Jim Taylor’s investment, and what a godsend he was. Then she handed them the pages she’d just printed up at the library, and they read through the pages and pages slowly, page by bloody page, and Darren looked up at her at one point and sighed.
“That’s him?” he asked.
“That’s him,” she said, her voice stonily cool.
“Holy Mother of God,” Bruce whispered. “He got Gorbachev out? And Yeltsin? Stopped assassination attempts on them both?”
She shrugged, then handed them one last print out, a simple Google search. “The Russians have tried to kill him a half dozen times, twice in Washington, DC, in the last 18 months.”
“So, basically,” Darren sighed, “he’s hiding out up here.”
“Yeah, well, if Putin declared me an enemy of the state,” Bruce added, “I couldn’t think of a better place to hide than here.”
“I could,” she said. “Canada, right across the border. A deserted beach a few hundred yards away. I’d feel exposed as hell here, and he would know that he is, too.” She looked at her friends, perhaps the only friends she had in the world, and she smiled. “So, he’s your partner now? That sinking in now?”
“Yes, I suppose.” Darren said. “Anyway, I deposited his check first thing this morning, and the bank released our funds to the contractor.”
“So, they’re back on track?”
“A-yup, still on schedule. The new addition will open early August.”
“I wish we had a piano,” Bruce said. “Space for a piano bar, ya know?”
“Jim’s got one,” she said, and they both looked at her.
“Does he play?” they asked in unison.
“He hasn’t so far, but I haven’t asked him, either.”
“Think you could?” Bruce pleaded.
She smiled. “Might be able to, but I got to get ready now…”
She marked up their specials, swept the floor and put the chairs on the floor, then unlocked the door and flipped over the ‘OPEN’ sign; a few minutes later she saw Jimmie prancing down the hill – but they passed the café, walked on down the street and into the pharmacy. She shook her head, seated an older couple and was explaining the days specials when Jimmie reappeared, and they both walked in a moment later, went to their corner table and sat.
“Is that a crab-cake Benedict I see on the Specials today?” he asked when she came to the corner.
“A-yup. With Hollandaise and capers, some field greens.”
“Geez. Sign me up. What kind of tea today?”
“Geez, yeah, better bring me one of those, too.”
“Wanted to ask. You play the piano?”
“Badly, but yes.”
She nodded, walked off – stopped off by the office. “He plays,” she said, and Bruce nodded while Darren smiled, then she took him his tea and seated several new groups that had just walked in. ‘Sailors,’ she sighed. ‘Always starving, always in need of a shower…’
He lingered after he finished lunch, and he waited, paid her at the table. She brought him his change then planted a kiss on him – a lingering kiss that garnered catcalls from the other patrons inside – then he and Jimmie walked from the café, his gait a bit unsteady, and they disappeared up the hill.
But he had left his sack from the pharmacy on the table, and she opened it up, peeked inside, saw another bottle of ‘personal lubricant’ inside, along with a card. He’d written ‘sorry for being such an asshole,’ inside, and she took the sack and put it under the counter and finished up the lunch shift, then a couple of the carpenters working out back came in, and she stopped dead in her tracks.
Paul Dooley. Her boyfriend, all through high school. That she had not seen once since.
He walked in, saw her and stopped – dead in his tracks.
“Tracy?” he said, and he smiled, came up to her and took her by the arms. “I heard you were working here…”
“Paul? So nice to…well, this is a surprise…it’s good to see you. Again. Here, let me get you guys a table…”
“You guys got burgers?” one of Paul’s buddies asked.
“Sure do. Fries and beer, too.”
Before they left to go back to work, Paul stopped by the counter…looked like he wanted to talk.
“So, you livin’ at your pop’s place?” he asked.
She nodded her head. “Sometimes, yes. Heard you married Sally Needham.”
“Yeah, we got a divorce a while ago, after the last kid moved out.”
“Oh? Too bad, I always liked Sally.”
“You seein’ someone?”
“Yeah. For a while now.”
“Oh? Well, good for you.”
“So, how long will you be working here?”
“A month or so. We’re out of Eastport, not much work around here these days.”
She smiled, nodded. “Yup. Well, maybe we’ll have a chance to talk every now and then,” she added, holding out her hand. “Sure nice to see you again.”
He looked at her hand, didn’t quite know what to do so he took it. “Yeah. You too,” he said slowly, then he walked out back – and Darren walked over, looked at the man as he left.
“Is that Trouble,” he asked, after the door closed.
She shrugged, sighed. “Could be. He’s the type that wants it, bad, and won’t take no for an answer.”
“Not sure I liked the look in his eyes just then. Looks kind of…unhinged.”
“He’s a big part of the reason why I left after high school. Heard he used to beat up his wife a lot. Glad she got out in one piece.”
“You let me know if he causes you any trouble,” Bruce said, standing in his office door, but he wondered: ‘Did you get out in one piece?’
She turned to him and smiled. “You guys are like my very own kid brothers, ya know.”
Bruce looked at her, went back in his office, but Darren came over and hugged her. “If I’d ever wanted a girlfriend, it would be you, so pardon us if we’re overprotective.”
She kissed him on the cheek, nodded her head and wiped away a tear. “Okay,” she whispered, then she got back to work.
When her break came she walked up to Jim’s house, walked right in, found him on the living room floor, under the piano hooking up speakers to a black box – and she looked at him, then it, not quite knowing what to think.
“Isn’t that kind of, well, I don’t know. I didn’t think pianos needed speakers.”
“Not really a piano. It’s a Yamaha Clavinova. Digital, more of a teaching tool, but hang on, let me finish up and I’ll show you.” He hooked up the second speaker, then a sub-woofer – and left them on the floor – then turned on the piano. She walked over and watched him hook up his iPhone to the piano, pull up a file and press ‘begin’ – and a full orchestra began playing – through the piano.
“A Rachmaninoff piano concerto,” he said, then he pressed pause. I can play along with the orchestra, or I can just let the piano play the part for me. Great for parties, dinners, things like that, or I can just turn all that nonsense off and play by myself. It’s also a great teaching tool.”
“Teaching? What? Like piano lessons?”
“Sure. Do you play?”
“Want to learn?”
“I don’t know – maybe?”
“Here, have a seat,” he said while he opened up the file ‘Pachelbel Canon.’ “Now, when the piano prompts with a light,” he said, pointing to lights ahead of the keys, “you just press the key. Watch…like this…” He pressed begin and a light lit on the piano, and he hit it, then the next note, and the next. He paused the lesson, went back to the beginning and added accompaniment, and he pressed ‘Begin’ again. “Now, you do it.”
The light lit up and she hit the key, and a symphony orchestra began playing with her. Her smile was infectious and he smiled with her as she hit key after key, but after a few minutes of this she grew bored and turned away. “It’s not really playing music, or learning, really,” she said, “but it’s kind of fun.”
“Yes, it’s more a child’s game, like dangling a carrot to stimulate curiosity, but you’re right. Like so many things these days, we need carrots to stimulate the imagination, to stimulate learning, yet little seems to take root.”
“Well, I’ve never wanted to play.”
“Tell that to a piano salesman. A hundred years ago they couldn’t build them fast enough, and most every home had a piano of some sort, yet now that’s a rarity. An even greater rarity, that you’ll find anyone in such homes who knows how to play. The world changed, didn’t it, Tracy?”
“I suppose so. Do you play? I mean, really play?”
He moved over, turned off the computer and took up playing the concerto for a few minutes, then stopped, turned off the instrument and walked to the kitchen, leaned over the sink and looked out the window.
She could feel his despair as he walked away and she went to him. “Tell me what you’re thinking, right now,” she said softly, putting her arms around him, the side of her face on his back.
“Alone,” he said.
“You’re not, you know.”
“No, I suppose not,” he said, turning inside her arms, putting his around her. “We used to play together, sometimes for one another. I thought of a moment when I went inside the music again.”
“Has it been a while…since you played?”
He nodded his head, sighed. “Too long, I think.”
“What about me, Jim…if I was suddenly gone tomorrow, what would remember about me?”
He smiled, deeply: “I would think about you walking in here and pulling me by my belt-loops. I would think about the first time I breathed in your hair, and of how lost I became in that moment.”
“How suddenly everything else felt so far away, so inconsequential. How overpowering lust grew, my lust for you. Nothing else has mattered since, you know? I feel like a blathering teenager again, when you’re here with me, only when I was young I never knew anyone quite like you.”
“You feel lust? For me?”
“Is that a little like love?”
“It is…a little.”
He nodded his head. “I can’t imagine life without you now, yet I…”
She place a single outstretched finger over his lips, made a ‘sh-h-h’ noise and then kissed him, once, gently. “No explanations necessary,” she whispered. “And I love you too.” She let go, went back and got the little paper sack then came for him, grabbed him by the belt loops and pulled him free, led him on…
“What do we need that for?” he asked, pointing at the sack.
“You’ll see,” she said, grinning madly.
Dooley watched her walking back from her break. Never took his eyes off her, as a matter of fact.
In his mind’s eye he saw her then as he remembered her most fondly: spread out on the hay in the barn behind his father’s house, her legs spread, waiting for the final assault. He had hit her, hard, and she was barely conscious when he pulled her legs up and put them over his shoulders, when he put his cock on her anus and pushed in as savagely as he could. She had moaned a little, started to cry and he hit her again, told her to shut up.
She had told him at school earlier that day how she wanted to head south after graduation, to get out into the world and see it, to learn more about people and places and things she’d never even heard of. Then he’d reminded her of their plans. Get married, settle down and have kids. Make a life together. And then she had gone kind of silent, a faraway look in her eyes – and he had nodded to the reality he saw in that moment. When school let out that afternoon he and three of his best friends picked her up as she walked home and they drove out to his father’s place, took her into the barn. They talked about silly things like football and the school play, then Dooley grew serious, took off his jeans and gathered his fists. They took turns, every time up the ass until she was bleeding down there; they picked her up when they were finished with her and carried out to the truck, then down the beach road – and they pushed her out on the side of the road, left her there with blood and semen streaming out her ass, pooling on the asphalt.
Someone found her, carried her to the hospital and in time the county sheriff came and talked to her, but he didn’t fill out a report. He went over to the Dooley farm and talked to the boys, and they told him pretty much what he thought they would. They said they’d been alone here in the house all afternoon, and that Paul and Tracy had broken up a few days before. He talked to the girl’s father and he agreed, there was no reason to put all those families through an investigation and a trial. It would just be better if it all went away.
She was better, her face had healed by the time graduation rolled around, and she walked on that stage and looked at all those good people looking at her, judging her, and she got her diploma, then walked home, alone, after that. Her grandfather had given her five hundred dollars and she took that money, packed her suitcase and walked out the door. She didn’t say goodbye to anyone, and she never once looked back when that bus headed south down the old county road.
But Paul Dooley watched that bus. He watched it leave and he frowned, and after it was gone, after the swirling dust and diesel fumes had settled all around him, he turned and walked back to the barn – smiling, as the memory came back to him.
And as he watched her walk into the café he smiled. He smiled at the memory, and he wondered how it would feel to put on a little repeat performance. When he got off work he called his old friends and told them what he had in mind. Two begged off, but one, Sheldon Vance, said he would be more than up for a little reenactment. They got the old truck out of the barn and he drove it into town while Shel followed in his car, and they parked the old truck right in front of her house, left their calling card for her to see.
They watched her walk up the hill after work, but she turned and went into another house and they wondered what was up with that.
“Maybe we should pay them a little visit,” Vance said.
© 2017 Adrian Leverkühn | abw | adrianleverkuhnwrites.com