Saturday, November 24, 2012
White Moon, Yellow Leaves - Chapter 4
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey and it is an honor to be a guest author on Storytime Trysts for the month of November. I generally write romantic/comedies but for this special outing we`ll have a straight up contemporary romance. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-one years, my daughter who is sixteen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, three dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree.
At the end of this issue I`ll link you up to various places where you can purchase my work if you`re so inclined, or just stop in and say howdy! Enough about me now, let`s dive into some holiday romance, shall we?
White Moon, Yellow Leaves
Not to sound like a braggart, but Aunt Jo-Jo and I really outdid ourselves. The meal was delicious. The desserts afterwards were mouth-watering. Those I can`t take credit for. The two apple pies were all Aunt Jo and her baking skills. It was such an enjoyable time, no rush or hurry to eat. We all slowly ate and talked, taking small dabs of scalloped corn, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Even Rhett ate well, proclaiming that he had lots of room since he had used the bathroom.
“Don`t look at me, I didn`t teach him to say that,” Aunt Jo had said when the boy flopped down in his seat between his great-great aunt and Andy Big Deer.
“It sounds like something my grandson would say,” Andy winked as he ladled gravy over his mound of potatoes. Andy looked much as I had remembered him. A huge bear of a man with a voice that sounded much like a bruin in depth and tone. His hair was all silver now, not a strand of ebony to be found upon his neatly trimmed head. He was using two crutches which were placed directly behind his chair. His skin was deep sienna and covered with laugh lines. I chuckled and peeked to my left. It did not escape my notice that Aunt Jo-Jo had placed me next to Jonah. Bless the old gal’s heart.
“Hey now,” Jonah countered pausing in his roll buttering.
“See how he assumes it`s him I`m talking about?” Andy said as he tucked a napkin into the front of his dress shirt, “I got ten grandsons and thirteen granddaughters, and yet Jonah,” he waved his fork at the man beside me, “Jumps right up and figures it’s him.”
“More than likely it generally is” Jonah admitted, giving me a wink before we took a moment to say grace: one version in German and another in Seneca.
Conversation flowed easily. The Big Deer men were gregarious and ate like grizzly bears just coming out of hibernation. Rhett asked question after question. I grew a bit ill at ease about him being so blatant until Jonah leaned to the right while Andy was answering Rhett`s latest query about the Seneca.
“It`s better for him to learn the right things from the right people than go through life thinking the wrongs things told to him by the wrong people,” Jonah patted my thigh under the table.
He was right. I tried to stop worrying about my son offending our dinner guests.
By the time I placed two pies and a freshly brewed pot of coffee on the table our tiny group moaned in agony. It didn`t stop any of us from having a slice of pie topped with vanilla ice cream though. Rhett excused himself and wobbled to the couch beside the wood stove after dessert. We adults, and Herr Poopbottom, who had been fed enough under the table to placate an Irish wolfhound, remained in the cramped kitchen area and talked. We chatted about old times and those who no longer came to Mud Puppy Lake. Aunt Jo-Jo asked Jonah what his line of work was. I stirred sugar into my cup as he explained that he had taken the training he had gotten in the National Guard and was now working at a large trucking company as a diesel mechanic. Aunt Jo raised her wild eyebrows at me. I stirred faster.
“Dana works in a bookstore,” my aunt said. I nodded and popped my spoon out of my mouth.
“Maybe you can find a book for me?” Andy asked, dabbing at his mouth with the napkin that was still hanging from his shirt collar.
“Sure, I`ll try. What are you looking for?” I asked, leaning back into my chair. My arm brushed Jonah`s. Flames erupted at my elbow then spread to the tips of my fingers and toes. I stared at Andy across the table, not daring to look at Jonah lest I toss my cup of coffee aside and leap on him like a starving puma.
“Oh man,” Jonah murmured then put his cup to the table beside his dirty pie plate. Andy Big Deer ignored his grandson and requested a copy of that book his sister told him about.
“It`s something to do with this Viking and this woman and it`s really dirty,” the elder Big Deer stated. I smiled into my coffee. I had a strong suspicion of what he was asking for. It was called ‘Norse Desires’ and had been flying off the shelves for the past month. Everyone was talking about it. A thud to my side drew my attention from Joe. Jonah had dropped his head to the table in front of him. Aunt Jo-Jo was giggling and patting his thick dark hair across the table.
“It`s okay,” she cackled with mischief, “We`ll keep the dark dirty secret that the Big Deer men like romance novels to ourselves.”
“Only him!” Jonah quickly pointed out, sitting straight up and giving me a long, desperate look. “I read good books.”
“Are you saying that romance novels aren`t good books?” I asked curtly, crossing one leg over the other and slapping a dour look on him.
“No, of course not, I just meant that – Uhm, yeah, how about those Mets?” Jonah muttered.
“Oh no you don`t! You`re not shifting the discussion to hockey Mister Big Deer,” I countered and the rest of the guests burst into laughter. “Well basketball then!”
The next outburst of hilarity nearly woke up Herr Poopbottom. I gave up on my defense of romance novels and drank my coffee. By the time Rhett threw Pictionary on the table we had all refilled our mugs. Another hour raced past. I learned that while Jonah Big Deer may possess many fine qualities, drawing is not one of them. He, Rhett, and I were on one team, Aunt Jo and Andy on another.
“It`s a horse? Really?” I asked, squinting to try to make out how the thing with legs Jonah had drawn was supposed to resemble anything equine.
“Yes it`s a horse. See the long tail?” he huffed, pointing at the mentioned part scribbled on a blank piece of paper.
“I thought it was a wolf. That`s why I said ‘Dances with Wolves’,” I explained.
“I thought it was a cat,” Rhett admitted with a shrug.
“That`s why I put him on your team. He couldn`t draw himself through a straw,” Andy chortled. Jonah mumbled something that only Andy understood. By the tone of the quick sentence it wasn`t anything a six year old should hear. Sadly, after a few rounds of game-play the inevitable could be put off no longer. Dishes had to be washed.
I sent Andy and Aunt Jo into the tiny living-room to listen to the radio and chat. Rhett, Jonah and I began the seemingly overwhelming clean-up. Another hour crept past as we washed, dried, and put away dishes, pots, and pans. Rhett was getting pretty sleeping looking, so I handed him some crayons and a pad we had used for our game, and he joined the pair talking about summers past.
“Care to join me for a stroll around the lake?” Jonah asked, rubbing his slightly rounded stomach.”Maybe walk off a few calories?”
“Sure,” I smiled. I`d need to walk back to Pittsburgh to work off all I had eaten today, but a stroll around Mud Puppy Lake was better than the nap I would usually have taken. We bundled up, told the stove huggers where we were headed, and then stepped into the night. The temperature had dropped sharply while we had feasted.
“I bet there`ll be ice on the lake in the morning,” I blew into my hands as I stepped off the porch.
“Thin layer,” Jonah reached out and placed his hands over mine, keeping them cupped. He raised them to his lips and blew. “You want to go back for gloves?” he asked, each word steaming my palms. I shook my head dully. “Okay,” he smiled and released one hand. The other hand he held onto and led me to the worn path circling the water. We walked in silence for a few minutes, the grass and dead leaves brittle with frost under foot.
“So, you good with all this?” he asked after we stopped to listen to two barred owls hooting back and forth to each other.
“Good with all what?” I asked.
“Me and you,” he said as we resumed walking off the stuffing.
“Is there a ‘me and you’?” I inquired. “I`m not trying to be catty or coy,” I explained, trying to peek around the blanket of black hair hiding his profile. “I`m just not sure we should take this past a pleasant flirtation.”
“So you`re looking for something short and superficial,” he said stiffly.
“I didn`t say that! I just assumed you`d be looking for something short and superficial.”
He stopped and turned to look down at me, his fingers still clasping mine. “And why is that? Wait,” he interjected when my mouth opened. I wished I could see his face but his back was to the full moon. “It`s because I`m younger than you, right?”
“Partly,” I told him honestly. He tsked rather angrily. “Okay, so you`re telling me that you want to date a woman that`s ten years older than you, has a child, and lives in another state?”
“The only impediment I see to us going out is the distance and your hang-ups. I told you I don`t care if you`re older or had a kid or are white. I like you. I think you`re funny, smart, hotter than hell, and a good mother. I want to get to know you better. End of story, or it would be if you`d stop throwing all that other bullshit in the way.”
I grew a bit defensive and tugged my hand from his. “Those are real concerns, Jonah! Life isn`t as simple as you`re trying to make it out to be,” I stalked off, keeping a good foot from the reeds that swayed at the edge of the lake.
“It can be,” he argued coming up on my left. “It can be as simple as two people who are attracted to each other wanting to get together. You`re heaping all your baggage onto the tracks, trying to derail a really good possible thing, because you`re concerned about the size of your caboose. Or, what your ex thinks of the size of your ass, I guess I should say.”
“You need to stop talking to Josephine behind my back!” I spit at him and sped up. How dare she tell Jonah all those things I said to her in confidence?! “The size of my ass has nothing to do with it.”
He grabbed my bicep bringing me to dead stop.
“Listen, she didn`t tell me anything that I didn`t already know. Do I look like your ex? Do I sound like him?” the man demanded. I shook my head. The moon was bright and shone on the side of our faces. I could see now that he was growing quite angry. “That`s because I`m not him. Now, care to give me a damned chance at the least?”
“But how are we going to work out the logistics?” I insisted. It was so cold and still clouds of breath lingered in front of our faces.
“I don`t know, but we will. I can drive down some weekend.”
I gaped at him. “Drive down to Pittsburgh? That`s a long way to go to see a movie with a woman.”
“Depends on the movie and the woman,” he replied smoother than the surface of Mud Puppy Lake. Oh yeah, Jonah Big Deer was very good. I wanted to come back with something flip but my lips just formed a smile. His head slid to the left, his hair flowing off his shoulder to block out the moonlight.
“Are you smiling?” he teased, moving the hand that had been holding my arm downward until his fingers were tickling my wrist. “Is that a yes?”
“It`s a ‘You`re crazy, but if you drive down I`ll go out with you’ as opposed to a yes.”
“Damn, you are one tough woman to woo,” he chuckled, turning us both back to the path then placing his arm around my neck. It was heavy and warmed me better than any scarf ever knitted.
“Are you wooing me?” I asked coquettishly.
“I`d like to think I am,” he admitted as we rounded the far side of the water. We walked out onto the rickety boat launch. Four canoes and a johnboat were overturned, waiting for the snowfall that would bury them until next spring. “What kind of wooing do you prefer? Flowers? Candy?”
“God, no candy,” I groaned. Jonah pulled me closer to his side. I went willingly, my arguments against this new affair of the heart soundly beaten down by his honesty. “Teach me something in Seneca.”
I caught him glancing down at me. It was hard to judge what he was thinking as he looked over the nearby woods then stared at the sky.
“Kakë:'ët Ë:ní'ta:'” he said, reaching out to tip my chin upward. “White moon,” he translated. I tried to repeat the words but they got tangled on my tongue.
“That was pretty horrible,” he winced as I mangled a lovely language. “You work on those and when I come down next, I`ll try to teach you a few more.”
I nodded then followed the two owls we had heard moments ago as they left the trees on silent wings. They crossed across the white moon. Their departure shook some yellow leaves free.
Jonah dropped his head to kiss me. It was a soft kiss at first, tentative and unsure. I rose to my toes for more. Then the kiss deepened. My hands moved under his hair to find the back of his neck. We were both breathless when the kiss ended.
“I hope it doesn`t snow a lot this winter,” I confessed, his hands resting on my waist.
“Those Inuit’s aren`t the only natives that can be mushers,” he informed me slanting his mouth over mine for another taste.
Care to read about Jonah and Dana`s first date? Good! We`ll have a special Christmas two issue short to show us just how things go for this new couple in December. Look for their special holiday issues titled Blue & Silver Bows December 8th and December 15th.
If you`re interested in my novels, you can find the first of my trilogy Of Gods & Goats in print here at my website-
For you eReaders fans, Of Gods & Goats is also available at Smashwords-
And if you`re hungry for a zombie apocalypse story with some M/M heat, keep an eye peeled over at Torquere Press, where my short story will be offered in the anthology He Loves Me For My Brainssss available 1/2/13—
Yours in romance and laughter-