Fearing the Flames, p. 5

The first few nights went famously.  She quickly made friends with the bar patrons.  She loved making love matches with the singles, keeping the music in the old style juke box rocking, and she impressed the patrons with her knowledge of newer drink mixes and names.  Deep down she knew she had learned all the names the hard way, with long nights she barely remembered around people whose names she couldn’t recall, but it was working to her benefit now. Bill’s bar was well stocked, and she even enjoyed making up a few new names to add to the drink menu.

When things slowed down, she quickly cleaned – she washed the tables well, she left the dishes spic and span, and the bar was always organized.  She tried her best to leave things better than when she found them, but without overstepping her bounds, a task that sometimes she couldn’t get right.

Bill didn’t seem to mind.  Her let her keep all her tips, even those left in wake of the food orders, and at the end of each shift he had a plate of food waiting for her.  He didn’t ask too many questions, and she appreciated that.  She did learn that he was married to his wife of nearly thirty years, and that all three of their children were about her age.  They doted on their young grandkids, and nearly everyone else in the saloon liked him as well.

She was shocked to learn that the saloon was closed on Sundays.  So after her Saturday night shift, she fretted about what she was going to do with so much time on her hands.  One of her new friends, Loretta, had invited her to their little church, and that seemed appealing.

She was still hiding out by the river each night after her late shift at the bar ended.  So far she had gone unnoticed, something she appreciated each morning with the sun peeking through the windows. Sleeping in her car was miserable.  If she opened the windows, the mosquitoes swarmed.  If she shut them, it got unbearable inside.  She couldn’t wait to have enough saved to rent a real place with a real bed.

Sunday morning rolled around so incredibly early, and she cleaned up quickly, trying to wash away the smell of spilled alcohol and greasy French fries off her body. She dressed a bit more modestly than normal and made her way into town, hoping she understood Loretta’s directions well enough to find the little white country church.

She was ultra relieved when Loretta met her in the gravel parking lot and showed her into the white church.  It looked to be about a hundred years old, with the paint peeling off the old boards, and the beat up wooden floors inside, but it seemed to hold a history that can’t be reproduced.  In a nutshell, it felt good to be here.  God was always so good, in every situation.  Even in the predicament she was in now.

She didn’t have too much time to overthink it.  Just before the service started, she heard the familiar boot clicks down the wooden floors, but what she saw was so far from ordinary.  This man had the physique of a hard working cowboy, each muscle flexing with nonchalant moves.  Pick up a hymnal, look sexy, greet the family sitting beside him, gorgeous, stretch his warm over the pew, delicious.  She hadn’t heard more than a few sentences from the preacher because her brain was thinking hot, sinful thoughts.

After the service was over, Loretta introduced her to nearly everyone in the congregation.  Loretta made friends as easily as Sarah, and Sarah felt right at home.  She did feel awful lying about her name, though, especially in a church, but it was for all of their benefit.  If she was found, who knew what her crazy ex would do to those within her circle.

One introduction that she was most excited to make was for Tyler Johnson.  She had watched him come in earlier, just a second before service was to start, and ogled him the rest of the service.  He had taken ff his cowboy hat and sat in the pew just ahead of her.  It was more that she felt his presence before she even saw him.  She turned and there he was, in all his God given glory.  She had to be careful not to stare.  He was glorious.

She wasn’t one to get shy, but when Loretta made the introduction, she seemed at a loss for words.  She even momentarily forgot the name she had been giving all week as her own.  His eyes looked down on her, only because he was nearly six inches taller, and had that twinkle of knowing in them.  He knew the effect he had on her, and he enjoyed watching her squirm.  He probably had that effect on every female she thought to herself.  Next time she would be ready for him and show him she’s no dandy to be toyed with…

***
Fearing the Flames, p. 1

Fearing the Flames, p. 2

Fearing the Flames, p. 3

Fearing the Flames, p. 4

Fearing the Flames, p. 5

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