They stood at the long service counter. Just a single table in the room had free seats. A dark-haired girl sat at it, and Todd looked her over. She had delicate features in a heart-shaped face and wore the stock student fashion of jeans and short-sleeved sweater. Todd noted embroidery around the sweater’s shiny buttons, and that her long hair was pinned back with a wide silver clip. The girl was simultaneously young and very grown up, poised and alone in the din.
He set down his beer. “Watch the master.”
Donny watched. His buddy claimed the empty captain’s chair beside the stranger. Todd touched her shoulder to get her attention as the musicians returned to the stage for the next set. “I’m Todd Taft.” The band picked up their instruments and began playing, and Donny couldn’t hear the rest.
The girl shook her head as she spoke. Todd’s brow furrowed and he added something. But she laughed as she shook her head again.
The guitarist started to sing.
“Ready?” The man who’d reached the table ignored Todd, eyes only for his date. She got up and they left the bar. She looked great from behind; her escort wore a sports jacket over faded jeans and looked like a preppie out slumming.
Grinning, Donny brought their beers over to the deserted table. “Nice going, cowboy.”
Todd rolled his eyes as he cupped his crotch. “I’m in love!”
Donny laughed and ordered another round. They remained until the bar closed, drinking a few last beers as the band played Eagles cover tunes. Todd drove home with the girl’s brown eyes impressed on the lyrics of Peaceful Easy Feeling.
He kept thinking about her. It was the challenge of being turned down, or maybe it was the boredom when work finished up and he had nowhere to go. Or the way he’d felt inside when she gazed at him. The attraction rolled over him in a gigantic wave, pulling him under with a siren’s lure.
He headed back to Cumberland in the hopes of finding her, the girl who’d refused to tell him her name.
Copyright © 2014 Jadi Campbell. Look for this novel in book and eBook form on Amazon.com in December.