Welcome to another edition of Tuesday Tales, and more White Moon, Yellow Leaves, an M/F contemporary romance.
Last week we met our leading lady, Dana, her son, Rhett, and her great-aunt, Josephine. This week the threesome have arrived at the tiny cabin on Mud Puppy Lake, and we meet our leading man. (He still makes my heart flutter and it`s been nigh onto two years since I penned this tale!)
Our word this week is 'Sea'. As always, all comments are greatly appreciated. Make sure to check out all the Tuesday Tales authors great contributions.
White Moon, Yellow Leaves
“Wait until you walk the grouse path,” Aunt Jo-Jo said, her enthusiasm catching apparently because Leopold began to bark shrilly as we neared our cabin. It was the last one in the line, nearly hidden by tall green pines and crimson oaks. We pulled into a small gravel drive beside the bungalow. Leopold was nearly turned inside-out so great was his need to get out of the car. My son was in a similar state.
“I`m gonna go walk the grouse path right now!” Rhett announced, fumbling to free himself from the seat-belt.
“You don`t even know where the grouse path is,” I laughed, his ebullient mood chipping away at my dour disposition. The doors front and back flew open. Lad and dachshund escaped their confines. “Stay away from the water!” I shouted as I slid from the car with a popping spine.
Aunt Jo-Jo`s cane was already on the ground by the time I got around to helping her from the rear. Her silver head came to my chin when she got her feet under her properly. None of the women in my family are particularly tall. And most tend to be on the round side. Think Hobbits in babushkas. I blame that on the Polish cooking. Not being short, being round. I grew up eating pierogies, halupkies, and kielbasa. My size sixteen ass is a direct result of dough stuffed with mashed potatoes, stuffed cabbage, and spicy sausage, as well as divorcing a cheating husband. Let`s not forget all those nights spent making love to pints of mint chocolate chip.
“Looks like Andy has gotten the cabins all opened up,” Jo-Jo noted, her eyes roaming over the other smaller homes used for hunting camps. The summer folks wouldn`t be here until Memorial Day weekend of next year. A brisk wind blew over the lake, carrying the smell of rotting leaves and mineral rich water. Aunt Jo tugged her bright pink sweater under her chin then toddled towards her cabin, her steps muted by the blanket of wet leaves.
“I thought Andy had fallen down and broke his hip,” I called over the yips of boy and wiener dog racing around tree trunks.
“Maybe one of his kids stepped in,” she shouted to be heard over the ruckus.
I nodded and began the chore of toting in a week`s worth of food, clothes, and kid stuff. Knowing Andy Big Deer as I did, he probably gimped down from his house to tend to the cabins as he`s been doing for fifty years. Andy is one stubbornly proud caretaker. Arms filled with duffle bags and suitcases, I turned to look at Hans and Jo-Jo`s retreat. It was a simple home, quite small in comparison to a couple other houses along the lake, but well-loved. I always thought it looked like it should rest beside the sea in Maine instead of a New York State lake.
The sides of the little bungalow were cedar shake shingles, baked slate grey by years of sun and fog. Many were ragged on the edges. I made a mental note to talk to Andy`s son and see about getting some shingle replacement done next spring. A porch sat waiting for someone to sweep the leaves off the flagstones and knock the cobwebs from the corners of the slightly bowed roof. A tendril of wood smoke wafted past, tickling my nose.
Rhett and Herr Poopbottom tore past me, each with a stick, then disappeared around the side of the cabin. The standard mother warning about running with sticks bubbled up from behind the mound of crap in my arms. I heard the front door squeaking open and Aunt Jo pattering on about how nice it had been of Joe`s boy to get the wood stove going. Turned sideways to try to force my rump and the mountain of bags through the narrow doorway, I paused when I heard Rhett shout. I listened, my biceps straining under the load, to see if a wail of pain or a laugh would follow. What came next was a dachshund kicking up twigs and leaves in his wake with a six year old boy on his whippet of a brown tail.
Rhett tripped over his sneakers, a common occurrence when the lad was nearing mach, and crashed into me. The heavy load teetered precariously. Herr Poopbottom went between my legs like a rocket hound. I danced to avoid stepping on the dog and the entire unstable load as well as its bearer fell into the cabin. Bags and suitcases tumbled down over me. Rhett stumbled over his mother lying buried under the debris then raced to throw his arms around Aunt Jo-Jo`s round waist. I kicked at a Spider-Man duffel bag and caught a peek at a pair of big work boots stepping onto the porch. They were worn brown leather and well scuffed on the toes. The boots were exposed up to the ankle where they then gave way to light blue denim that hugged muscular thighs as thick as a New York pine, or so it seemed from the planks of the floor.
I didn`t know if I should look any higher since my ears and nose were beet red already. I decided to roll with it then blew a strand of dirty blonde hair from my face with panache. The jeans climbed up and up and up, the lean waistband hidden behind beech and ironwood chunks freshly split for the stove. All I could see were well-corded forearms the color of sienna. The man stepped over me splayed so gracefully on the floor, dropped his armload into the rack by the door then turned to gaze down on me. Plump lips were tugged up in a bemused smile, a white splash of perfect teeth set into a face crafted by the Seneca gods themselves. High cheek bones set off a nose that was a bit too wide to be considered Hollywood perfect. It was the nose of Andy Big Deer. It fit his face perfectly.
His eyes were obsidian. His hair, black as a raven`s breast, was pulled back into a thick ponytail. He folded his arms over a New York Rangers XXXL hoodie that was littered with chips of bark, moss, and dirt.
“Andy always says that Dana Prescott makes grand entrances,” he chuckled. One dark eyebrow moved up his smooth brow. He then did the gentlemanly thing by uncrossing his arms and extending a hubcap-sized hand down to me.
“Good Lord, is that really you, Jonah Big Deer?” Jo-Jo exclaimed with a frightened boy still buried in her belly. He pulled me to my feet with ease. His hand was warm and calloused and lingered in mine for a second too long. “I haven`t seen you since your mother came down with Joe. It was that time I ate that bad mushroom and got so sick. Hell, what was that? Twenty years ago?”
I slid my suddenly damp palm from Jonah`s then tipped my head back to look at the young man. He smiled widely at my aunt. Something sinful began to sizzle deep inside my stomach.
“Yes, Ma`am, it probably was,” he replied politely, those dark eyes roaming over my child snuggled up to my great-aunt. “I was probably his age, maybe younger.”
“I don`t remember making any grand—you`re only twenty-six?” fell from me before I could stop it. Jonah glanced back at me.
“Actually, I`m only twenty-five.” He winked. “I best get the rest of that wood in for the other cabins. Sorry about scaring the boy.” Jonah bent to pick up a duffel bag, place it in my hands, then exit with much more poise than I had displayed.
“He`s twenty-five,” I muttered, a duffel bag dangling from my fingers absently. Well, so much for that hot flapjack of attraction on the griddle of love. “Who wants pancakes for dinner?”
Copyright 2012 ©by V.L. Locey
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