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Today we have the next chapter for Wind in White Birch and our word prompt is "Speak". Don`t forget to visit the other talented Tuesday Tales authors. Thanks for stopping by!
Heating pads and Heavenly Hash work wonders. It had been a God-awful day, made even worse by the blade-like stabs of my grandmother about my "So-Called-Relationship" with Jonah. Lying on the couch, my belly cramp-free and full of ice cream, I stared at Sheldon explaining how to play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock. Rhett was in his room sound asleep after a hot bath and a long story. I ran my left foot –fuzzy warm in a purple sock – over my right calf. I was too blasé to reach down to scratch the itch. A perfectly arranged crocheted blanket laid over my legs and torso. The TV was set on the perfect volume with the perfect show to make me forget my increasing misgivings.
I knew how terrible this long distance thing Jonah and I are trying to have looks to others. It didn`t look to good to me either at the moment. Maybe I should have kindly declined when he suggested this. How can you build a relationship when you never see each other? I swallowed more ice cream.
For all her gruff ways, I know my grandmother is just trying to protect me. I am and always will be her little Pee-Pee. I mean, this is the woman that used to rap on the bathroom door to check that I hadn`t drowned in the tub when I was seventeen. She had suffered with me when Rhick and I had split. Now, here I was, putting all my hope onto another man who seemed to want to spend more time on his career than on me. I crammed another spoonful of ice cream into my mouth. Maybe I should start playing for the other team. At least if I were a lesbian I would understand what was going on in the other person`s head.
I had no clue why Jonah wanted to try to make us work when he knew that damned lodge would ruin things. Another spoonful slid down my throat. Then the phone rang. I glared at it. Not wanting it to wake Rhett, I kicked off the afghan and lunged for the ringing nuisance. I said hello, my eyes locked on the carton of ice cream and spoon that had tumbled to the floor when I got up.
“Hey,” Jonah said. He sounded tired. I plopped back down; phone pinned between shoulder and ear, and patted around blindly searching for the spoon on the carpet.
“Hey,” I replied cautiously. Maybe I should start distancing myself now, that way when the inevitable happened, I wouldn`t be crushed too badly. I found the spoon, wiped it off on my pajama pants leg then scooped out another glob. All aboard the seven ten to Love Handle Junction! Woo-Woo! “How`s things?” I asked around a mouthful of ice cream.
“Good, exhausting, but good.” He exhaled as if he had dropped into a chair. “That lodge needs a lot of work, Dana. I`m conning my family into helping strip and re-varnish the wood floors this weekend."
“Oh.” I stared at Penny and Leonard. “That`s nice.” I heard him shuffling on the other end. Probably I just froze his ear solid. I hadn`t meant to sound so cold, honestly.
“Is there something – Shit, it`s Valentine`s Day this weekend, isn`t it?” he asked, although he obviously knew the answer. “Dana, I am so sorry. Look, why don`t I just push the floor off until next weekend?”
“No, don`t put your work aside for me. I`ll just go to the Moose with my grandmother and dance with Peter Robinson from McKeesport.”
Yuck. That was horribly catty even for a purported cougar. There was a long moment when neither of us seemed able to speak. We both said ‘I`m sorry’ at the same time, then we chuckled uncomfortably. I hurried to shovel in another heaping spoonful of marshmallow and chopped almond.
“Dana,” Jonah sighed. I could picture him squeezing the bridge of that wide nose of his. I wanted to cry. “Please, I know this is hard, and I probably deserved that for letting us slide to the back burner. I really want to see you. I`ll be down Friday night and we`ll go out. Make reservations at the fanciest place you can find.”
“I didn`t mean to be such a bitch,” I said, my throat suddenly thick. “I understand that you need to get the lodge ready for spring. I really do,” I added because Logical Dana really did understand. “I`m scared of drifting apart if we don`t make time for us to be a priority, you know?”
“You`re right, and I agree. Dana, I know this sucks. I hate being up here knowing that you`re sitting there expecting me to be wooing you like a good suitor should.”
“Wooing would be nice,” I admitted, sliding my feet back under the blanket Aunt Zizzy had made many years ago. Her fingers were too bent and painful with arthritis to crochet anymore. I flicked my gaze from the well-washed afghan to the television. A commercial for laundry soap was on. “You`ll wear a suit and tie, right?”
A grumble rolled down from New York State. I had to smile.
“Yeah, sure, I said I would,” the man said. “Listen, not to sound pushy or anything, but do you think I could crash at your place after the wining and dining? I`ll sleep on the couch, I just don`t want to make that drive back up here alone after being with you all night. That`s like some sort of cruel and unusual punishment.”
“That`ll be fine,” I coolly responded, a flash of carnal excitement beginning to glow in the pit of my belly. “Will you stay all weekend?” I inquired, trying to sound as if it didn`t make two hills of beans to me one-way or another.
“Yeah, I`d like to. I mean, if it`s okay with you. We`ll set aside one weekend for just us every month, how does that sound?”
“That sounds really wonderful.” My toes curled up. “We can do some fun city stuff while you`re here.”
“I don`t care what we do, as long you`re happy. Bear with me here, babe, I`m trying to do this right.”
“Do you mean the lodge or our relationship?”
“Both,” he admitted candidly. “Fixing the lodge up, finding clients, that`s all pretty cut and dry. But man, this relationship thing is tough. I keep thinking I know what to do, and then I talk to you and I find out I`m screwing things up. You older women are hard to keep placated,” he teased. It was nice to be past the ugliness.
“Maybe this weekend you can work on learning how to make an older woman happy,” I said in a low, smoky voice that did not match my clothes or unwashed hair.
“Oh, I think I can figure out how to make a cougar purr.”
The phone slid from my shoulder into the ice cream tub on my lap.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
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