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Romance Fiction Drama

“The ex?”.

“I’m 38 and broke up with someone who mind as well be a middleschooler".

“Sounds like my ex girlfriend”.

“Is that the ex you broke up with before moving here?”.

“No. The ex before this ex. The recent ex is a 39-year-old man who lived with me like a child."

“Was that a reason for the breakup?”

“It was. I was raised to believe a relationship should be a partnership.

“Sounds frustrating”.

“It was”.

“So are you bi?”.

“I am.”

“Cool”. We sat eating and chatting.

“ This is heaven”.

“I’m glad.

When we were done eating, set up in his music room.

"Here’s my plan. We can work on a chorus for the song tonight, and an ending to the song. I will come up with the melody."

“Sounds good”. We worked until our eyes were heavy with a need for sleep.

“Want to continue tomorrow?”, He inquired.

"Yes. Say 7?"

"Sure".

“Great. Thanks for dinner”. 

“I had a nice time with you”. This was the perfect time for him to kiss me. I felt a pounding in my heart. He was leaning toward me and then my phone rang.

“It’s probably my friend Mina to update me on her date she went on”.

“Well, I’ll leave you to her, and see you tomorrow, Darlin’”, he said throatily.

“See you tomorrow”, I said blushing and smiling like a high school girl who had been crowned home coming queen. Once I was home, I answered the phone.

“He was about to kiss me, Mina.”

“Well, it sounds like your night has been more romantic than mine. I got stood up”.

“Oh no. I’m sorry”.

“It worked out, because a nice seeming man approached me, and we are going out tomorrow night."

"That's great!"

"I just wanted to update you. I am gonna head to bed. Sleep well." I fell asleep on my couch and woke up to my Mom calling me.

“Hey Mom. How are you?”.

“I’m good. I’m just calling to say hi and see how you are doing.”

“I’m doing well. How about you?"

“Just working my per diem job with DHS and going to the gym.”

“Enjoying retirement still?”.

“Yes. I was thinking to visit your sister and Ryan and the kids in DC with Ron. We were wondering if we can visit you too. We'll stay in a hotel.”

“Nonsense. I have a guest room."

“We are thinking to visit September 11th to 17th”.

“Great. I will be here.”

“We'll see you then. I love you!”.

“Love you, Mom”. We hung up the phone. I went to water the plants. I had on a country and Americana playlist to pass the time. An old spiritual played, Down to The River to Pray. I started singing along to it as I harvested my tomatoes. There was a fence up between me and my neighbors. Luke came to the whitewashed wood fence.

“Is that you are singing?”.

“It is”, I said embarrassed.

“Your voice is angelic”.

“What? You’re a musician, so I know your ear isn’t off”.

“Has no one ever told you how beautiful your voice is”.

“No one ever hears me sing, but thank you.”

" I am going to get to writing. I will see you later. Have a great day!”. I went in and made myself a cup of coffee, as well as a protein powder vegan date shake like I had on a trip to SoCal, and then was inspires to start a poem called I’m Headed to the Dessert. After that, I settled into work. I took a short break and made some lunch and had a snack of hummus and carrots.  When I ended the workday, I went out for a jog. I checked my phone and saw a text.

Hey. Went to lunch with co-workers and ate something that isn’t agreeing with me. Can we reschedule our writing night?

Oh. That stink. I am sorry. Why don’t we just do our writing night on Friday. I have a work thing Wednesday night and my editor, and I are going to a gallery opening Thursday. Do you need anything?

Friday works. Let’s do 6. I just need something to hydrate me and to not feel like garbage.

I have something that is like an all-natural Gatorade powder.

Thank you so much. My sliding back door is unlocked, let yourself in.

I walked next door. He was lying on his couch in front of the tv in a pair of basketball shorts.

“Thank you so much for bringing this over”.

Well, sir, I am going to let you get back to restin’. I’m a text or call away. Feel better.” I’m not sure why I did what I did next. It just felt right. I kissed him on the forehead. He smiled.

“Well. You don’t have a fever, so, I’m going to venture a guess that you have food poising.” Then I hurried out the back door.

As I hurried out, I heard “Thanks for the TLC Nurse Blue”.

The week seemed to drag. The birthday drinks we had at a local bar for my editor were nice. I made friends with a new co-worker and I fended off advances by my bro like co-workers who I was not at all interested in and had nothing in common with except for he was the sportswriter and I like sports. The gallery opening the next night was great, and the artist I had interviewed was there and we talked and exchanged numbers. I was finally starting to make friends after 6 months.

               When Friday rolled around Luke was back to feeling like himself. I knocked on his door and he answered.

“So do you have some new poems for me?”.

“I do”. I showed him the one about going to the dessert where no one knows my name. 

“So. We are finishing The Drought. Then we are going to work on you singing some songs I wrote for a woman to sing. Then, we will start hammering out Going to the Desert.

“Sounds good”. We worked late into the night. There came a point in the night where I fell asleep on the couch while he was strumming his guitar. When I woke up, I was covered with a blanket. I looked at my phone, but it was dead. I got up and walked to the living room to find a clock. Luke was in the kitchen, shirtless in a pair of pajama bottoms with Yankees insignia on them.

“Good morning sunshine!”, He exclaimed. “I made coffee”.

“I will take a cup, please”. I sat down at his kitchen table. “What time is it?”.

“It is 9:00AM”.

“Wow. I slept in.”

“What time do you wake up normally?”

“Anywhere between 7:45 to 8:30”.

“I am only a morning person because working at a school has made me one”.

“That will definitely do it”.

"So, tonight, we are still on for the rodeo right?"

"We are".

"Great". I finished my coffee.

"I am going to head home. I just have some stuff to do before the rodeo tonight."

"I will see you later!" He exclaimed.

I did some writing and started to get ready for the rodeo around 5. I did some makeup and perfumed myself. I put on a pair of denim shorts, and the blouse I had bought on my weekend vintage shopping excursion. I paired the outfit with turquoise jewelry, a straw cowboy hat, and my black cowboy boots, and by the time I was done getting ready it was 5:40. I walked over to Luke’s and he was walking to his truck. He looked like he was ready for a rodeo. He had on a black button up shirt with embroidered roses around the collar with the sleeves rolled up, a pair of black jeans, a black cowboy hat, and black cowboy boots.

“Well look at you he said”.

“Look at you!”, I exclaimed. 

“Are you ready for a night of fun and adventure?”.

“I am”, I replied. He opened the door of his truck and offered a hand to help me in. There were tiger lilies on the passenger seat of the car.

“Are these for me?”

“Well there ain’t no one else around”.

“Well thank you. They are lovely.”

My phone rang at that moment. I looked at the caller ID. It was Mina. “It’s Mina. I hope she didn’t have another bad date”.

“Well get the tea, girl. I want to hear all about it. I feel like I should meet her”.

“We were friends before I moved here. She’s my only friend here.” I answered the phone.

“Laur, how are you? Are you ok?”.

“I’m fine. Why?”.

“You haven’t heard?”.

“Heard what?”.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but I figured hearing it from me might soften the blow”.

“Tell me”.

“Ben got engaged to the kitchen manager from the Union Kitchen”.

“Wow. That was quick”.

“So. Uh. He’d been dating her while he was dating you.”.

“He’d been cheating on me?”

“Yeah Dude. I’m so sorry”.

“Well. I’m cuter.”

“For reals Mamas. Are you ok?”.

“Are you ok?”.

“I’m surprised and my pride is a little hurt but hey, she can be the one to deal with his child like habits now. I am going to get going. I am headed to the rodeo".

"Ok, amiga, talk later!"

“Everything ok”, Luke asked. Something tells me that was not about a bad date.”

“Well, apparently. I was also cheated on and my ex is engaged to the woman he was cheating on me with.”

“I am sorry. Are you feeling ok after that news?”.

“I’m fine. My pride is a little hurt, but I am here going to my first rodeo and she gets to play maid to a 39 year old”.

“He was stupid to let you go and not realize what he had when he had it”.

“Thank you.” Luke turned on the car radio.

“Music is good for when you might be feeling blue”. Heavy eyes by Zack Bryan was playing.

“I saw this guy in concert. I like this song”.

“It’s not bad”. Luke started singing and then I was belting it out too.

“You know. We needed our breaks up. They brought us here,” Luke pointed out.

“This is true”.

“So. I was going to stop along the way for dinner, but I got us a dinner reservation at the rodeo steak house. They have good steak”.

“That sounds good”.

We were to the steak house/rodeo in no time, and we were seated and sent over a complimentary bottle of red wine. 

“There are so many choices here. Do you want to do the steak for two meal?”.

“That looks good. I am going to have it with a salad and the cilantro rice.”

“That sounds good.” When the waiter came along, we ordered. The steak was heavenly. The wine went down easily. When the check came, I tried to pick up the check.

“I know you probably like to pay, but, let me get this”.

“Then I am leaving tip”.

“Ok”. When we were done with dinner, we found our seats for the rodeo.

“Do you want anything to drink?”, Luke asked.

“I’ll have a beer please”. He got us each a beer. He draped his arm around me like we were two teenagers on a date at the movies. I didn’t mind. I looked at him and smiled. The rodeo was intresting. It was not going to become my new favorite sporting event, but it was fun to watch. When the rodeo was over Luke took my hand and led me through the crowd.

“Ready for some line dancing?”.

“This might work better with a drink and I am buying this round”. I took his hand and lead him to the bar where I bought us a lone star and shot of whiskey. He watched me take the shot.

“Are you going to be able to dance. The room ain’t spinin’ is it?”.

“I am part Irish and Italian. My people are accustomed to drinking”.

“Your people may be, but are you?”.

“I’ll be fine”. We went onto the dance floor.

“Follow my lead ok”.

“I will try”. I tried to recall my high school line dancing moves but ended up recalling Samantha Mathis’s character from The Thing Called Love and started jumping around and waving my arms around. Luke smiled and took a picture of me with his camera phone. At that point a Jack Daniel’s representative gave us samples of Jack Fire. An older slow song started to play, Angel Eyes. 

“May I”, Luke asked extending a hand to me. I took his hand. He brought me to the middle of the dance floor. I draped my arms over his shoulders, and we slow danced.

“Can I cut in”, It was Randy the sports reporter. He was asking Luke’s permission.

“Let’s ask Blue what she wants to do”.

“Well, Randy, I’m going to stick with Luke here, and here is some advice. Don’t ask the man to cut in, but, ask the woman. I’ll see you at the office Monday”. Randy looked stunned.

“Yeah. See ya”.

“Ya’ll work together?”.

“He’s our sports reporter”.

“I think he’s sweet on you”.

“I think I pose a challenge to him and he's not at all my type".

“Annoying co-worker aside, are you having a good time?”.

“I am. You have planned a lovely night.”

“Can we head back to one of our places though."

“Yes. Let’s just go back to my place and listen to music”. We drove the 40 mins back to his place. He set a blue tooth speaker up and music played. “Would you like a glass of wine?”.

“Do you have whiskey?”.

“I do. How about a whiskey and seltzer water?”.

“That sounds good”. He poured us both a drink. I downed it. The slow song I Need Your Love was playing.

“I am going to pour myself a glass of water”. I tried to reach myself a glass, but the shelf was high and I couldn’t reach. Luke reached it for me. He was so close I could smell his pine scented cologne. We looked at each other and then our lips found each other’s. The kisses were slow. I was holding him close. He was holding me just as close. He stopped for a minute and smiled.

“I am enjoying this, but, we have been drinking, and I don’t want us to go any further. I want us to be sober”.

“Ok”. This guy was different was different than the other people I dated or spent time with. This guy seemed too good to be true. I had this knack for sabotaging things when they seemed to be going well. I will not sabotage I thought. I will not sabotage. I'd had some pretty crappy partners in the past. He was not going to do the same selfish, dishonest things.

“Will stay here tonight though?”.

“Sure, but I get to be the big spoon”.

“You are so demanding”, He laughed jokingly.

“Oh, just you wait”, I laughed.

“Let’s go to sleep and that’s what we did. We slept and as promised, I got to be the big spoon. When I woke up, Luke was watching me”.

“Were you watching me sleep?”.

“I was”.

“How embarrassing”.

“You look like an angel when you sleep”.

“You are sweet”.

“So, shall I get the coffee on and make us breakfast?”.

“I’ll help”. There was a knock on the door.

“Who could that be at this hour?”.

“I don’t know”. He cracked his door and then someone pushed through.

“Suze, what are you doing here. You have no business just showing up unannounced”. I looked at her and she looked at me. I felt my heart racing and blood pounding in my head. I couldn’t move.

“Who is she”.

“This is Laurissa.”

“What is she doing here”.

“That is none of your business”, He said. 

“I am going to head out.”

“Yeah. You’re not needed here”.

“Honestly, you’re not needed here, honey, but I have a lot to say and I don’t want to say things that I’m going to regret later”, I spat at her.

“Blue, don’t leave”. I rushed out the door, and home, and got in the shower and let the warm water wash over me . I wanted to text him something along the lines of "I get it. You chose her over me. It's been a nice few weeks." I'd had people leave me for past partners and it hurt. I had to have a mantra as a means to come to terms with past hurt, so I could move forward and forge a new healthy relationship.

Please don’t get back together, I thought to myself. Just because I was left by previous partners, didn't mean Luke would do the same. He had shown himself to be different. He would show me again. I got out of the shower and put on a pair of grey yoga sweatpants and a grey v neck t-shirt. I made myself a warm cup of tea. There was a knock on my door. It was Luke. I stood behind the door, hiding from whatever awaited me. I watched him start to walk back to his house. I opened my door.

“Just break it to me”, I said.

“What do you mean?”, He asked.

“Your ex drove all the way here to find you for a reason”.

“Yeah she did. To get the threat of a restraining order, and to be told to leave and forget that I exist.”

“So, you didn’t get back together with her?”.

“Baby, Blue, Isn’t it clear, you are the one I want to be with, to create music with, to dance with. Just you. I want to wake up to you, and have coffee with you”.

“Oh.” I walked over to him. The craziest thing happened. Thunder sounded and it started to rain. He pulled me to him and kissed me. The rain was pouring down. “I guess the drought has finally ended”.

“I guess it has”, He smiled.

I took him by the hand and led him inside. “Come in. Let’s get out of these wet clothes”.

August 30, 2022 15:46

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