Hidden Love – Chapter 13 and 14
The call turned out to be a trash can fire started by a stray cigarette butt; soon enough, they were back at the station and cleaning up the equipment. Becka was thankfully gone, but she left a note on his locker with her cell phone number. Paul grimaced as he removed it and stuck it on the inside of the locker door.
They had gone on a few movie dates in high school, but once he had met his late wife, who transferred to their school in their senior year, he never thought of another woman. He still didn’t; in spite of his promise to himself to keep an open mind, he just wasn’t interested.
However, at the end of shift, the thought of having dinner alone lacked appeal, so after he packed up his gear, he decided to give her a call.
~ ~ ~
Rebecca brushed her hair until it was a smooth waterfall. Her last divorce left her with a pretty good bank account, so she had regular appointments with a local salon. She critically inspected her nails, but did not find any chips. She wanted this date with Paul Walker to go without a hitch; after all, he had been her first love in high school, never mind that they never got past a friendly hug. She was determined to land him this time.
Sliding into a Vera Wang sheath in dark burgundy, she picked up a gold wrist purse, and left her room towards the front door. They were going to meet at a local restaurant, but she hoped at the end of dinner, they would end up together.
When she arrived, the parking lot was more than half full. She found a space to park her small convertible, and carefully walked to the front entrance on her tall pumps.
The maître d led her to a small table near the rear of the restaurant, where Paul was sitting, dressed in a gray vest with a white shirt. His tie, deep plum with dots of sage green, nicely complemented his hazel eyes. He looked yummy.
~ ~ ~
Paul was toying with the edges of the napkin under his drink when the clicking of high heels alerted him to his date’s arrival. He stood up and gestured her to the other chair at the table. She looked great, if a little too dressy for the restaurant. Still, she was a good dinner companion, and the wine and conversation flowed easily until the end.
Outside the restaurant, Paul walked Becka over to her sporty car and opened the driver side door. Before he could react, she linked her arms around his neck and pressed her generous curves against him.
“I had a great time,” she murmured, “Let’s do this again soon.” He reached back and disengaged her hands, taking a step back and putting their arms between them. He nodded and released her hands. He enjoyed dinner, but he didn’t have any intention of taking things further. He nodded his thanks, gave her a small smile, turned and headed to his Pontiac. He never saw her mouth turn down to a mulish pout.
Ned was sipping a cup of coffee with the month’s account reconciliation in front of him. He appeared to be focused on the columns of numbers, but truth to tell his mind was not in the office at all.
He was a little worried about his favorite granddaughter. Over the past week, her work on the Wooten desk had slowed down, and she seemed to spending more time away from the house and workshop. Had she gotten herself a man? Ned tried to remember the last time she had gone out on even a casual date, but there was nothing but a few girl’s outings. And he was sure she would tell him if she had a beau. So what was it?
On impulse, he decided to close up early. Shutting the portfolio close, he slid it into the cabinet, locked it, and left the office. Strolling towards the house, he was surprised to see Gina’s vehicle in front of the house. It was not his nieces’ normal day for their weekly lunch, but maybe she had a rare day off from the hospital.
Walking through the front door, he slipped out of his work boots and slid into a pair of sandals. Gina was conspicuously absent as he wandered through the first floor. An overhead noise brought him upstairs, where he discovered both of his charges in the closet in his bedroom. Bemused, he stopped at the door and watched them, their heads bent together.
“I don’t like that one,” Chris said, “It’s too old-fashioned.” Her sister snorted.
“It’s not like we want him to look twenty. Besides, I bought him that shirt at Christmas, and it suits him.” Ned held in a chuckle as they continued to bicker.
“Well, I think brighter colors look better on him. It’ll make him look sexier.” This time he couldn’t hold back a bubble of mirth, as both girls stopped and turned around, looking guilty.
“What are you girls planning?”
The two women froze for a moment, and then Gina piped up. “I want all of us to go out to The Pier for dinner next week, and Chrissie didn’t think you had appropriate clothing.” The murderous stare the younger woman gave her sibling was not lost on Ned. He raised an eyebrow.
“I’ve never known you two to fight over me before. Is there some special occasion that I’m not aware of?”
Chris headed over to her grandfather and gave him a hard hug. “We just wanted to take you out to a nice restaurant. How often do we have time to do that together nowadays? Especially with Gina’s crazy schedule. And Brett will be back by then, too.” She knew he liked his sister’s boyfriend; it proved effective when he said, “Well, I can’t have some youngster outdress me, right?”
As the girls chattered further, their wily relative kept an eye on them both. Something was definitely up…