Chapter 4

© Copyright 2005 by Diana Mylek

Eric went inside the store to get the boat cover while the women waited outside in the parking lot. Lacey watched him go and clutched her sister by the arms and squealed.

“So! What did you think?” Lacey exclaimed.

“I think he likes you, Lacey. A lot. His face must hurt from smiling so much.”

“Me too! His father seems to think we’re a good match. Look at this note.”

Emily laughed as she read. “He sure does. How are you going to arrange to see him again?”

“I don’t know. It’s not like I can come here too often; it will look like I’m chasing him…I’ll pray about it. God will show me.”

“I hope in a less expensive way,” Emily said, running her hand over the boat hull.

A man pulled up in a pickup truck that was more bondo than steel. Next to him on the passenger side was a hound dog that howled as the truck stopped.

“Shut up, dawg,” the man drawled and leaned out the window. “That’s some boat, Ma’am!”

“Thanks, I just bought it,” Lacey replied. “I took it out on the lake for the first time today.”

The man stared at her, then the boat, and finally back to her, his eyes wide. “A gift for your husband?”

“No, I’m single,” Lacey said, nudging her sister.

The man jumped out of his truck. “I’m Darryl, and this is my dog, Dawg.”

“Hi Dawg.” Lacey let the hound lick her hand. Darryl took off his cap and combed his hair with his fingers, then straightened his shirt. Holding his hat in his hand, he said in his most formal voice,” Would you do me the honor of having dinner with me tonight? I clean up real well, and I’ll take you to the nicest steakhouse in Baymont.”

Lacey was skeptical. “Did Al put you up to this?”

Darryl looked confused. “Who’s Al?”

“Never mind,” Lacey smiled. “Thanks for the offer, but I’ve had a long day already.”

“Tomorrow? Monday? I’m free all week,” the man volunteered.

“That’s because you’re unemployed, Darryl,” Eric said as he approached the women. “You can barely afford to feed your dog. Or your wife and kids.”

“Wife and kids!” gasped Lacey.

“I ain’t really married, you know that,” Darryl said to Eric.

“That’s not how Janie sees things.” Eric indicated that he should move on. Darryl grumbled but got into the truck and left.

“One,” laughed Emily. “Four more to go.”

Eric scowled, and put the tarp in Lacey’s back seat. “Make them give you a financial statement before you say yes. There’s plenty of Darryls living along the lake.”

Lacey smiled demurely. “I will. Tell your dad he was right.”

Eric didn’t like to admit it, but it was true; the next guy could be real competition. He opened Lacey’s car door for her.

“Thanks, Eric for your patient instruction. You were the best teacher I could have hoped for. Sorry about your sign.”

He shrugged. “Dad didn’t even notice.” He let her sit, then closed the door, and leaned in the open window. “Remember, wide turns, and to back up the trailer slowly. Call me if you need help.”

“I had a great time, Eric. I’d love to do it again.”

He grinned. “Me too. Whenever you’re free.”

She wanted to tell him every day after five and all day weekends, but she merely smiled instead. “Call me and we’ll see what we can work out.”

He said he would, and stepped back. Another pick-up truck circled the boat, the men staring at Lacey. She rolled her eyes and laughed, then waved as she pulled away. Eric watched her until he couldn’t see her anymore, and went inside to finish his shift.

Lacey pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex and maneuvered the boat into a parking space. She disconnected the trailer, then she and Emily covered the boat with the tarp, pulling it tight. Satisfied the boat was secured, they went inside to warm themselves.

An hour later, the apartment manager sent roses and an invitation for dinner to Lacey.

HEY! and don't forget to e-mail Diana Mylek to thank her for submitting her piece or if you have a comment! She would really like to hear from you.

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