A repost from last year you might not have read…
Why can’t life be easier? Why can’t things just work out? Trisha shook her head sadly as she boarded the bus, glad to be out of the chilly November air and happy to see that a seat was open near her. She sank down gratefully, pulling her coat in around her and grasping her bag closely on her lap.
The scruffy young man on her right moved his legs together guiltily, apparently realizing he was taking up more than half the seat. “Oh, sorry,” he said in a deeper voice than she’d expected. Trisha glanced up quickly into soft blue gray eyes that really did look apologetic. She couldn’t help but return his smile. “No problem,” she said. “I’m exhausted, is all, and just glad to find an empty seat.”
“Long day, I’d guess?” That voice of his just rumbled and as her eyes met his again she noticed the wrinkles around the corners of those eyes and the touches of gray in his beard. Not so young, maybe. “Long week, and its only Wednesday.”
“Ah, well, maybe things will be looking up soon.” How did he manage to look so appealing and sympathetic at the same time?
“Maybe. I guess. Sure.” She could feel her cheeks heating. “Sorry, I haven’t any idea, really. My job was just downsized today. Such a nice way of saying you’re fired without really saying it.”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that! Perhaps I could buy you dinner?” Now he had the grace to look slightly uncomfortable. “Jeez, you must think me an idiot. My name is Grant Thomas and I’m getting off at the Peterson Avenue stop unless you’d go to dinner with me, in which case we can get off the bus wherever your stop is?”
“Trisha James,” she said extending her hand. “Peterson is my stop, too, and there’s a little Italian restaurant right there on the corner.” “Brunettis,” they said together, laughing.
“So, Trisha James, what do you say? Join me for a glass of wine and some incredibly good pasta?”
Closing her eyes briefly against all the reasons she shouldn’t trust this rather scruffy looking stranger she’d just met on a city bus, Trisha glanced up into those very kind eyes and decided. “I’d like that, Grant,” she smiled.
“Wonderful and here’s our stop now,” he said, guiding her down the aisle toward the door, nodding to the driver. “Good night, Lillian.”
“Night, Dr. Thomas. See you tomorrow.”
Oh, my, Trisha thought, appearances certainly could be deceiving…
Picture from Pixabay
You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here
“Brian, I do understand, but Casey’s what, 18, 19? And she is going to be out from under her parents’ roofs pretty soon anyway. You won’t have a lot of say so when she’s away at school, especially what she’s doing at night or on the weekends. It sounds like you did a great job raising her and now you’ll have to trust her to make good choices.“
Whoops, she knew she’d really stepped into it when his smile thinned and his eyes narrowed. “And you know this from your vast experience with child rearing?”
“Wow, sorry, of course not. No kids here. I didn’t mean to overstep. I haven’t even seen you in years and here I am giving you advice on your teenager –“
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry. I just apologized for how I treated you years ago and I’m being an ass again. Of course you’ve got opinions about how teenaged girls act. You were one. Your ideas are probably worth more than mine.” He looked up at her and she could see the sadness in his eyes. “It seems like Casey’s gone from being Daddy’s little girl to this almost grown up overnight and I hate it. I mean, she used to care what I thought and talk to me about everything!”
“Oh, Brian, I’m sure she still cares. Maybe it’s different for girls, this breaking away from being someone’s child and learning to live on their own. I know it was like some huge declaration of independence for me. It’s why I wanted to go out of state to college – get as far away from the little town and my parents as I could. Otherwise, I’d always just be mom and dad’s little girl.”
He looked down at his dinner plate and struggled to regain his composure. Just thinking about the recent issues with Casey was enough to drive him crazy. And here at dinner with Jen was not the place. He should be focusing on her.
“Forget I said anything about it. I’m sure she’ll come around.” With an effort, he changed the subject. “So tell me what you did after you went away to school.”
And Jen proceeded to tell him about how his not taking her to prom was actually a good thing because it had served as a catalyst to get her to change her life, come out of her shell, take care of herself by eating better and exercising and caring about her appearance. And that led to a boyfriend and then another whom she married after graduation and lived with in the Chicago area. But the marriage only lasted four years and even though she dated now on and off, it seemed as though she’d not found anyone she wanted to keep seeing.
“So it’s just you and Jack now?” he asked, his eyes teasing.
“Oh, yeah, and he’s a sweetheart for sure. And the perfect speed, too. He’ll do walks around the block or the neighborhood, but then he’s more than happy to snooze next to me on the couch while we watch a movie. He’s a real snuggler.”
“A real snagger is more the word I was thinking,” Brian laughed. “I still can’t believe he stole my underwear while I was coming out of the shower.”
“He does love a good game of chase!” Jen laughed. And when she saw the glint in Brian’s eyes her breath caught. Apparently he wasn’t upset with her anymore.
“Well, who doesn’t love a good game of chase?” he leaned forward and casually picked up one of her hands, running his fingers over hers. She was aware of how much larger and harder his fingers were, a little roughened from the carpentry work, obviously stronger than hers. Now that she thought about it, everything about him was larger and stronger than she remembered.
“Hey, that’s my machine!” Ursula had just run back up to her apartment for a minute and this ass took her underwear out of the washer?
“Geez, sorry.” At least he had the decency to look contrite. “Nobody was here and that machine was done. I’m in kind of a hurry. I leave in the a.m.”
“Oh, yeah, where you headed that’s so important?”
“U.S. Navy Base Charleston, ma’am,” he grinned. “Ensign Rick Jordan.”
“Ursula,” she said. He was cute, short hair, dimples. Definitely military.
“Hey, Ursula, you hungry? Can I buy you a burger?”
Head tilted, she smiled. “Okay, sailor.”
My theme this year is 100 word fiction. (So, no, don’t count this line!)
She stood at the stove carefully sauteing minced garlic in olive oil till the garlic was golden, adding finely chopped onions, cans of tomatoes, a dab of tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano and basil, deeply inhaling the fragrance of homemade marinara sauce. After all, nothing was better than filling the kitchen with smells of cooking to fill his head with thoughts of love…
She stirred and tasted once more, then slid the pot lid on, turned the heat to low and set the timer to allow her sauce to simmer undisturbed while she ran upstairs to shower and and change. She luxuriated in the feel of shampoo and conditioner, soaping on body wash to shave her legs smooth.
He’d been out of town on business and she’d missed his fun-filled ocean blue eyes, his warm smiles and most of all his warm body spooned against hers at night. She knew he’d missed her, too, from all the texts and phone calls where they had exchanged loving, then suggestive and then increasingly x-rated ideas as their time apart grew longer. But tonight he’d be home and she’d planned a cozy evening for two with scrumptious pasta and wine.
Pulling on a long silky top over leggings, she went back to the kitchen to check the sauce, adding pancetta, vodka and heavy cream and stirring penne noodles into the rapidly boiling salted water. Quickly draining the noodles when they were al dente, she added them to the sauce for her delectable Vodka Sauce alla Pasta, just as she felt his arms slide around her waist and turn her toward him.
Deep, dark eyes met blue eyes smoky with desire as the wonderful smells of dinner engulfed them and his lips captured hers in a kiss that spoke of longing and promises yet unfulfilled. Kisses became more demanding, clothes were deemed unnecessary and the kitchen table was put to new purpose. Wine and pasta would wait until later…
She typed the last line with satisfaction, then jumped up as she realized her pasta was boiling over in the pot, hissing as water splashed into the flames.
I had rushed home from work and hurriedly jumped in the shower to be sure I had time to redo my make up and pick out just the right outfit to wear. First official date with a new older guy and I wanted him to sit up and take notice, but not assume I was more experienced than I was. That’s expecting a lot from clothes, I know, but I wanted to look just right! Because I took the train to and from the city, it was past 6:30 before I got home and he was picking me up at 8. And I still had to feed the cats and blow dry my hair…
He got there right on time and since it was early November, I’d finally decided to wear dark brown velvet slacks, a clingy coral scoop neck top and brown boots. The look on his face when I opened my apartment door assured me that I had made the right choice. We went to a club that had live music and he found us a quiet table and ordered drinks.
I was starving, but I didn’t want to seem like I expected him to buy me dinner, so I drank my drink, we talked and danced some slow dances and talked and laughed and, after awhile, had another drink.
Now I’m the first to admit I’ve always been kind of a lightweight with alcohol, but this was a Friday night, I’d been up since 6 a.m. and the last time I’d eaten was probably around noon. I’m not sure if I actually ate or had a diet soda and a cigarette, which was sometimes lunch, I’m ashamed to say.
After two or three VO and 7UPs I was feeling a little lightheaded. My sweet date noticed that I might have been getting a little woozy and asked me if I was feeling all right. I sheepishly admitted I hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch and wasn’t much of a drinker.
He felt terrible because he assumed when I told him not to pick me up until 8 p.m. that I’d already eaten dinner and just wanted to get drinks. He kept apologizing and suggesting places to go eat, but I was so flustered that I told him it was late and I didn’t think I could eat anything.
By the time he got me home, I was feeling better and we ended up steaming up the car windows a little bit, until somehow he got his watchband caught on the waistband of my velvet pants. Setting me carefully back in my own seat, he told me sternly that was it, he was walking me upstairs before things went any farther that night.
And a little less than seven months later, we got married on a beautiful day in May, 35 years ago today! We still laugh about our first date and I promised Minaxi at Gameplan Happily Ever After that I’d write a post about it.
So thanks for all the wonderful memories, sweetheart, and all the great ones we still have to make! (He’s taking me to dinner tonight to celebrate and I just might have a whiskey and 7UP for old time’s sake…)
~ Diane D.