I had no intention of going out that night. I never did when I came home for the summer break. Who would remember me and much less, I could hardly recognize the people I grew up with anymore. Iâ€™d left this town behind when I was seventeen. In my opinion, there never was anything here for me.
So why I had a change of heart, Iâ€™ll never know but as my brother headed out the door I heard myself saying. â€œMind if I come, too?â€
For the next few hours I stood in a smoky bar wondering what on earth had provoked me to be here when instead I could have been curled up in bed with a good romance. I was totally bored and totally right about my decision to move away.
He doesnâ€™t look like heâ€™s from here, I thought as I watched three men walk in. There was just something about the way he carried himself that caught my eye. Thatâ€™s the only way I can explain why an evening that was moving in painful slow motion, suddenly wasnâ€™t nearly long enough. Through the smoke, and the people jammed together like herring in a net, I wondered, would I get to meet him?
Our eyes touched for just an instant. It was a start. With a little squirming through the crowd, just maybe. He was speaking to my brotherâ€™s friend the next time our eyes connected. I had found my opportunity. The band was blasting. Far too loud for such a small bar. Our conversation was reduced to snippets. Brief sound bites that left me wishing I had one of those fresh breath strips.
(From here, really?!) â€œYears ago.â€
â€œDentist. Stop by. Need some marketing.â€
What often seems like a great plan the night before, just isnâ€™t in the morning. To do or not to do. That is the question. Drive by. Have a look. And keeping driving. Go for a skate on your blades and just kind of show up. Tussled and casual.
â€œThereâ€™s a hole in my schedule, it hardly ever happens but I have a few minutes. Come on.â€
Ohmigod. He wears shirts and ties and the way those pants drape. Was that a giggle? Are those girls laughing at me? Heâ€™s done this before. Iâ€™m such a bimbo.
â€œWhat do you think?â€ He passed me a photo of a case.
(Does it matter?) â€œLovely. Great smile.â€ My fingers brushed his as I passed it back.
I floated out, my baggy shorts drooping behind me. He had said he was going to the Salmon Dinner, hadnâ€™t he? I had tickets and time. Time to clean up, do my hair, apply my make-up and go with my family to the dinner. My family? What could I be thinking? Theyâ€™d watch my every move. Impossible!
Try eating over-cooked salmon when your throat is dry and your heart is pounding like a jack-hammer and there are seven hundred people eating with you, none of whom the one youâ€™re looking for. Until youâ€™re on the way out the door and you see him.
A meeting of the eyes.
â€œHow was dinner?â€
â€œLong. The speeches, I mean.â€ Such a nice, warm laugh.
â€œI didnâ€™t think you were here.â€
â€œMe, either. You, I mean. I knew I was here. I didnâ€™t think you were.â€ Oh boy.
â€œWeâ€™re going across the street, thereâ€™s a band. See you there?â€
Maybe it was the way he held my hand that night. Maybe it was the way his warm, brown eyes sent tremors of anticipation through my body. And just maybe it was because I had red-hair and he had a soft spot for red-heads.
Itâ€™s really hard to say.
But one thing I do know. There are times in your life when moving home is the right thing to do. The only thing to do.
â€œWhat are you doing, hon?â€
â€œReading my horoscope,â€ I said.
â€œWhat? You believe that stuff?â€ He took my hand and gently brushed his fingers over the platinum band accenting my lightly tanned skin.
â€œNah. If I believed that stuff, Iâ€™d be incredibly wealthy and living on an exotic island by now.â€
â€œCome here.â€ He laughed again, deep and rumbly, and held me in his arms.
â€œHow stupid is that?â€ I said as I tossed the book into the trash.
Paris Taylor currently lives in Grand Falls-Windsor, on the exotic island of Newfoundland, Canada, where she manages a busy, dental office by day and writes romance by night. She considers herself terribly fortunate to have such a bountiful life. http://www.paristaylor.ca/index.php