Saturday, October 5, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 10
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Enough about me, let`s get to the romance!
Andy and his new wooden horse were spinning in circles. I fiddled with my tie. I felt overdressed. Hell, I knew I was overdressed. Even the waitress gave me the once-over with a penciled eyebrow when I sat down at the counter. Was it so wrong to want to show Ross Coleman that I was dapper? Shit. I was overdressed. The bells ringing over the door put starch into my spine let me tell you.
I spun around. There in the doorway stood Ross Coleman. We both smiled. He was all sorts of spiffy in a dark blue suit with grey pinstripes and a matching hat. Guess we both wanted to impress. At that moment all I wanted to do was peel that suit off him. Instead, I stood up and walked over to greet him with a handshake.
“Mr. Coleman,” I said his hand hot and firm in mine.
“I thought we got past that, Jon.” He smiled. His cheeks were still pink from the razor and aftershave.
“Sorry, Ross, old habits die hard.” We stood there shaking until an older couple tried to enter the diner. Tossing that warm hand aside, I jumped back, doffing my hat at the woman in apology. “Do you want a seat at the counter or a booth?”
His grey eyes glanced around me. A playful smile moved over his mouth.
“Andrew would be beside himself if we removed him from that stool.”
I turned to see my nephew still going around and around.
“Counter it is then.” I motioned for him to proceed me. He gave me a glance that said that he knew my game. He cut a fine figure from the back as well as the front. The suit added width to shoulders that didn`t need it. He had a slight swagger. My mouth was dry as the Sahara when I sat down on the other side of Andrew, my hand grabbing a skinny arm as the kid whipped past. “Andy, say hello to Mr. Coleman.”
“Hello,” the boy said, listing to the left like a boat in an undertow. Ross ruffled the kid’s already messy hair.
“Hello, Andrew. Name that horse yet?” Ross asked. Andy nodded in silence, the wooden steed clutched to his chest tightly. I prodded the lad a bit to tell Ross his horse`s name.
“Trigger,” Andy whispered. That made Ross smile. I swear my heart danced around inside my chest like Carmen Miranda when Ross Coleman smiled.
“Well, he needs a paint job to really look like Trigger,” Ross said while opening his menu. I did the same, although I knew I`d be getting the meatloaf dinner again. “So, Jon,” Ross said as he perused the choices, “What do you think the damage to my truck door is worth?”
I laid the paper menu down. “Hopefully not more than a few greenbacks,” I said. “What with the funeral and all things are a little tight.”
Ross lowered the menu. I looked over the top of Andy`s sandy head. I got lost in those grey eyes as they churned with emotion.
“What do you do for a living, Jon?” he asked out of the blue. It took me aback for a second.
“I`m an artist,” I told him, nudging my hat over so I could rest my elbow on the counter. The waitress passed by with two cups of chowder for the older couple in the booth. “I have a little studio in Greenwich Village that--”
“Why didn`t you enlist?”
“Heart murmur,” I replied, wondering why I was getting the third degree all of a sudden.
“Good,” he muttered. My left eyebrow climbed up to my hairline.
“That`s the first time anyone was glad to hear I have a defective ticker,” I commented.
“I didn`t mean it like that,” he said quickly, the tips of his ears turning red. “I was just glad to hear that you did try to serve. I was too old.”
Andy slid from his stool to run his horse over the footrest that ran the length of the counter. Oh Nelly, this man was getting better and better all the time. The cutoff to enlist is forty-five, so Ross must be close to fifty now.
“Age is only a number,” I said casually. He nodded.
“It can be a number that some find offensive.” He lifted his coffee for a sip.
Ross nodded, replaced his cup to his saucer, and then looked me right in the eye. “Glad to hear it. So, how about we work out something for the cost of that ding in my door?”
“What did you have in mind?” I asked. The waitress came over. We placed our orders. Andy was enjoying himself at our feet, so I ordered a platter of spaghetti and a glass of milk for the boy. Ross got a ham steak with a side of mashed potatoes. Me, I went with the meatloaf special. I hoped the bill would be under two dollars for the lad and me as that was all I had. Off the waitress went to the kitchen.
“Well, I was thinking of you possibly hanging some of your paintings in my shop,” Ross said, carrying on the conversation as if it had never stalled to order supper. “What do you paint?”
“Cityscapes mostly,” I murmured as I rubbed my smooth chin. “I hate to be a fat-head, but how is hanging my art in your shop going to pay for your door?”
Ross glanced over his shoulder at the couple enjoying their soup. “I`ll keep a small percentage until the damage is paid off. How`s that sound, Jon?” he asked.
“I`m not asking for any freebies,” I countered. He looked directly at me.
“I`m not offering freebies,” he said, his voice dropping slightly, “You said you were strapped. I`m offering you a way to keep that pride of yours intact while paying off a debt,” he informed me flatly.
“You`re welcome,” Ross smiled. “Nothing wrong with pride, Jon, just don`t let it make life harder than it already is. So, think you can paint landscapes instead of cityscapes? The tourists that pass through here aren`t looking for skyscrapers for their walls,” he said, his eyes moving from my mouth to the meal being plunked down in front of him.
I lifted my nephew from the floor. His hands were grimy. Excusing us, I carried the dusty monkey to the men`s room, where he washed up so we could rejoin Mr. Coleman. Andrew did a fine job on his spaghetti and meatball meal. Ross and I made small talk. The diner slowly filled up as we ate. By the time we were done our pie and fourth cups of coffee, the joint was jumping. A small skirmish broke out over who was paying. We went Dutch to avoid more squabbling.
Standing out by our vehicles I couldn`t help but wonder what would come next. Seems that Ross was a step ahead of me. Stepping aside to let a family walk past, we both nodded at the missus as she went by. Hubby placed his hand to her back.
“So, how about we get together so I can see your artwork,” Ross asked, his eyes on the woman`s backside. Damn, but he played the game well. I had been so long gone from Hannity Hills I had forgotten to act straight in public. I missed Greenwich so much I could taste it.
“That sounds good except I don’t have any here.”
That pulled those smoky eyes from the woman`s ass. His handsome face was filled with questions.
“I hadn`t planned on staying here,” I admitted.
“When are you leaving?” he asked his rump on my front fender and his arms folded.
“Well, that`s the snafu,” I said, peeking at Andy inside the car. He was turning the radio knobs. “It`s been a real – well, it`s been a real bitch to be honest.”
“Yes, I can imagine it has been. Would you like to talk about it?” Ross inquired. Boy did I ever. I wanted to talk to him and then take him to bed and get lost in the textures and tastes of his body.
“Maybe later,” I said, turning from him, his eyes, his mouth, and his damned kindness.
“Jon?” he called as I yanked my car door open, “Remember what I said about pride.”
“It goes before a fall, right?”
“That it does.”