Saturday, November 17, 2012
White Moon Yellow Leaves - Chapter # 3
White Moon, Yellow Leaves
I was literally stunned. Did the man really just shake his claws at me and call me a cougar? Should I be flattered or offended?
Jonah lowered his necklace, his head tipping to the left to get a better look at me.
“It was a joke. Well,” he frowned, a small morning breeze lifting long black tendrils that had slithered free of his braid, “Not like a funny joke more of a sexy joke. Yeah, this is going well for the red man.” He looked very uncomfortable.
Rhett scampered past, his hat filled with something. The child opened fire, riddling us with acorns. I tossed my arms over my head. Jonah tumbled from the rock as if he were gut-shot moaning and rolling about on the mast at our feet, sending my son into peals of boyish laughter.
“Remember….me….fondly….beautiful,” Jonah gasped dramatically, bits of leaf stuck to his hair. He wheezed theatrically, convulsed, and then died. He just called me beautiful….
Even if I had been mad, my anger would have floated off with the sounds of Rhett`s giggles.
“You really shouldn`t throw acorns at people,” I chastised my boy as he crept up on the good-looking ‘corpse’, “Someone could have been hit in the eye.”
Rhett wasn`t listening. He and his sidekick, Hopalong Poopbottom, were now prodding and sniffling at Jonah. When the man screamed and sat up, both boy and dachshund flew in reverse, Rhett landing on his rump while the dog ran off to hide behind a tree and bark furiously. Jonah ruffled the boys hair then got to his feet.
“You stink!” Rhett sneered, his pride badly dented.
“No, you just fell for an old trick,” Jonah smiled, swatting the forest litter from his backside. I got far too engrossed in the slapping of that taut bottom. My son blowing Jonah a raspberry ripped me from the sight. Just in time too, for the saliva was beginning to pool in my mouth. “Don`t ever approach the dead man. You never watch horror movies?”
I blinked at Jonah to clear my singed eyes.
“No,” Rhett scowled, “Mom won`t let me watch scary stuff.” Hands went into pockets, shoulders slumped, and bottom lip came out. Yep, he had the poor, pitiful child look down pat.
“Well, maybe we can work on her to lighten up a bit,” Jonah patted the boy on the back. “We better get moving. It`ll take about an hour to walk the whole path. I have to get the rest of the water heaters flushed for the influx after the holiday.”
“Jonah?” Rhett inquired, stuffing his hat back onto his head still filled with acorns. Jonah looked down at him. I was on my feet and stretching right then left. “We got a huge turkey. Why don`t you and your grandpa come eat thanksgiving with us? Then I can tell my class about eating Thanksgiving with real Indians!”
I jerked upright and gaped at my son.
“Well, I guess that depends on what your mom and Mrs. Jo say,” Jonah replied tactfully.
“Mom`ll say yes, she likes you!” the child announced then ran off to locate the chipmunk chipping at us rudely. I flushed from my toes to my hairline when Jonah slowly brought those incredible eyes back to me.
Not knowing what, if anything, I should say I opted to giggle like a lake loon and head down the trail, Jonah`s soft chuckles following behind. He caught up with ease and thankfully had enough discretion - or intelligence - not to make my embarrassment worse. We walked in comfortable silence, enjoying the wind coming to life, the soft sound of leaves pattering downward, the sharp barks of grey squirrels and chipmunk as we passed, and the warm calls of chickadees and titmice greeting the bright November sun. Rhett and Leopold stayed slightly ahead of us, the boy stopping frequently to poke amid the leaf litter for treasures, the dog it appeared doing much the same.
As I walked I ruminated. I always found fresh air to be a hell of a mind stimulant. Walking through shifting beams of early morning sunshine I chewed on Jonah. Not literally of course, although if I said I didn`t want to I`d be a bald-faced liar. But, just because I wanted to nibble on him didn`t mean I should. As much as I was shocked about it, he truly did seem to be attracted to me, that ten year gap in ages apparently not a concern to him.
So, if Jonah was willing to overlook my advanced age, my wide ass, my divorced state, and my son as barriers to a possible flirtation why should I be balking? God knows I could use an ego booster, and being courted by a stud ten years my junior certainly qualified. Why was I so conflicted? Fear, I realized with shame. I was afraid to put my heart out there again. Rhick had not only trampled my heart, he had danced the flamenco on it. The man needed a swift kick to his castanets.
I was so engrossed in my internal fritter frying as Aunt Jo calls it, I didn`t realize we were coming back down to Mud Puppy Lake until we stepped from the tree line. I paused, stunned by the sight that greeted us. Fifteen Canadian geese were resting on the water. There was a moment, brief yes, but a single moment of absolute harmony as waterfowl glided gracefully across a living looking glass, their grey, black and white bodies sending ripples of autumn color across the lake. The moment lasted only briefly then the wild birds saw us. Their wings beat the tarn; their honks filled the chilly air. They rose upward noisily then banked south, falling eventually back into a tight V to continue their trip to warmer climes.
Herr Poopbottom found his nerve and raced to the water`s edge, barking at the flock that were now mere specks against a brilliant blue background. I turned to look at Rhett. His cheeks were red from exertion and cold, but his eyes were wide with amazement. Then I looked up at Jonah.
“We`d be pleased to have you and Andy join us Thanksgiving Day,” I stated. He smiled and inclined his head.
“I`ll pass the invitation along,” the man replied. “Looks like we got back just in time,” he noted. Aunt Jo-Jo was toddling along the thin dirt path. She waved and we all waved back, except Leopold, who streaked off to greet his long-lost mistress.
We parted ways then, Jonah heading off to get the hunting cabins ready for their owners, Rhett and I walking the perimeter of Mud Puppy Lake hand in hand.
Over the next two days we saw little of Jonah Big Deer. Not that I was looking for him or anything of course. I just happened to notice his absence as I was washing windows or sweeping the front porch or raking leaves away from the bungalow`s foundation or carrying in wood that he had split. I hoped my wandering eye and thoughts weren`t stalker-like in any way. The two day separation was doing weird things to me. I would peek out hoping to catch a glimpse one moment, a flush of heat pooling in my belly when I would recall how he looked at me. In the following breath I would begin to feel a mild freak-out brewing over inviting him to our holiday meal. One minute I was breathless with anticipation over spotting him, the next I was positive I had made a first-class ass out of myself.
I was sliding into the first-class ass mode early Thursday morning when Aunt Jo brought her mug of coffee out onto the front porch. Dawn had just broken. The sky was purple and pink. I was staring over the rim of my coffee cup at a loon moving across the water slowly. It had been his call at first light that had woke me up.
“I see you got the stuffing made,” Jo-Jo mentioned, her coffee and breath steaming. I nodded silently. “So you want to tell me what`s eating at you?”
Leopold was at the door. I was reluctant to let him out. His whining won though and I cracked the door wide enough for a dachshund. He bolted out and sadly the loon took to wing.
“Nothing`s eating at me. I was just enjoying the lake,” I responded, pulling the door closed.
“Uh-huh,” the woman said placing her backside on the glider we had covered with a plastic tablecloth just yesterday. The cold plastic crinkled. “You worried about this thing with Jonah?”
My head spun to the right. Aunt Jo was staring at me over her black coffee. “There is no ‘thing’ with Jonah!” I denied in a rush. She sat back and gave me a look that said she knew I was full of bullshit.
“Honey, I may be pushing ninety and have cataracts, but even I could see the sparks flying between you and him. Is it because he`s Seneca?”
“That has nothing to do with it,” I quickly clarified. She smiled smugly and sipped. “Damn, you`re a clever old bitty,” I grumbled sitting down beside her. The tablecloth was bitter cold through the thin sleep pants I had on. “Okay, yes, Jonah and I flirted a bit.”
“Flirt schmirt, get to the juicy stuff! I might fall over dead any minute,” she waved her hand in the air to hurry me along. Herr Poopbottom was approaching, done with his morning constitutional. “Did he kiss you? Did you kiss him back? Did you two take a hot roll in the leaves?”
I stared at the woman openly. “You have a dirty, dirty mind,” I scolded playfully. “We didn`t kiss or roll around in the leaves, Rhett was with us for goodness sake! He just….made it clear he was interested.”
“Well that ain`t a bad thing, sweetie,” she cooed patting her lap. Her dog leaped up and draped himself over her left shoulder like a furry sash. “It`s been a year since that shit-bag run off on you. You must be wanting a man beside you in bed.”
“Sure, I want a man but should it be Jonah Big Deer? He`s younger than me,” I began ticking off reasons why we shouldn`t pursue this flirtation. “I don`t know what he does for a living, he lives up here and we live in Pittsburgh, he`s younger than me….”
“Yeah, you said that one already,” Jo-Jo wriggled about beside me. I took a sip of my coffee. “So he`s younger. What`s the big deal? That just means he has more stamina in the sack.”
It took all I had not to spew coffee all over my great aunt and her wiener dog bandolero.
“I worry over you at times,” I coughed. The woman chuckled wickedly before growing solemn.
“Dana, take the advice of a very old woman,” Jo suddenly grew serious. “Don`t ever find excuses not to love. Life is too damned short. Would you go freshen my cup?” she handed me a mug that was half-full yet. I nodded and stood up, leaving her to sit in the cold air and visit with Hans as I knew she wished to. Closing the door gently I leaned my back against it.
Don`t find excuses not to love.
It really is true what they say about wisdom coming with age.
I felt like a teenager waiting for her prom date all Thanksgiving morning. Each sound made me glance at the steamed windows expecting a slamming car door to follow. By the time we had the potatoes peeled Aunt Jo had had enough of my nervous state. She banished me to my room to get ready. Rhett was splayed out over my bed coloring, Herr Poopbottom at his side.
I took a few minutes to sit and compliment how well he had stayed in the lines. Glancing at the wind-up alarm clock I saw it was already past noon. Andy had called yesterday to accept the invitation and inquire as to meal time. It would be at one Jo-Jo had told him. I had less than an hour to get all cougar hot. Roar! Pfft. Shit on the roaring. I was ready to hide under the bed like some fraidy cat headed to the vet. Pushing myself I rose from the bed to find something to wear. I didn`t want to be too sexy, which was good because sexy was not what I had packed for. I tugged the outfit I had planned to wear and eyed it critically. It was a bit wrinkled but those should fall out if I hung the black leggings and white eyelet blouse up while I bathed. The simple yet fey blouse was one of my favorites. It had a square neckline and wide belled sleeves. Grabbing my best underwear along with makeup and blow dryer I left my son to color and walked across the hall to the bathroom.
The process took longer than it should have. I shaved everything that needed shaving and a few parts that really didn`t. I scrubbed and lathered and rinsed and repeated. The floors were icy cold when I stepped from the tub. I danced a bit from foot to foot while shoving my arms into a thick terry robe. Swiping the steam from the mirror I began to pluck at a few stray eyebrows that taunted me. Makeup was carefully applied. My hair short blonde hair was tugged and flipped and blown dry. Perfume was spritzed onto pulse points. Small black hoop earrings were pushed through my earlobes.
The eyelet blouse had lost its wrinkles I was very happy to see. Wriggling into the leggings with skin fresh from a hot bath turned into my cardio for the day. The blouse fluttered down over me, dropping down past my hips, the tips of the sleeves brushing my wrists. I slipped my feet into a pair of black flats. I was done. A knock on the door yanked me from studying myself in the looking glass.
“Mom, I have to use the toilet!” Rhett called urgently from the other side. I opened the door. Steam rushed out into the short hallway. My son looked up at me. His blue eyes widened.
“How do I look?” I asked. He mumbled something and pushed me into the hall, the bathroom door clicking at my back. Jonah Big Deer stood in the kitchen. All manner of coherent speech failed me.
“You look good,” Jonah offered. I mumbled ‘thanks’ and returned the compliment. He did look good. Damned good. Too damned good. He was wearing a pair of ebony jeans, a white shirt with long sleeves, and a georgous hand-beaded black leather vest. His hair was loose and the neatly cut ends brushed his waistband.
Aunt Jo laughed raucously at something Andy had said. The smell of the roasting turkey made my stomach rumble rudely. Knowing I couldn`t stand here in the hall staring at Jonah while the sides of my belly rubbed against each other I moved forward. Seven steps from the bathroom to the doorway leading to the kitchen. Seven of the longest steps I can recall ever making. Passing Jonah I caught a whiff of his cologne. A hint of musk joined with dark spices. It fit the man perfectly.
“I meant you look georgous,” Jonah amended as I passed. I gave him a fleeting look over my shoulder. His obsidian eyes held the promise of what could be. The tiny ember of attraction I had carried inside me since first seeing him ignited, engulfing me in a firestorm of want. One side of his mouth quirked upward. He felt the fire licking at his skin as well.
This promised to be a Thanksgiving dinner I would never forget.
To be concluded....
If you`re interested in my novels, you can find the first of my trilogy Of Gods & Goats in print here at my website—
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