p.7, Fearing the Flames

It was Saturday.  She had made it a full week at her new job, and she had enough saved up that she could start looking for a place to stay.  Somewhere with a real roof over her head, maybe even some AC.  A fridge to keep some fresh milk, and a bed.  A comfy bed with soft sheets, long enough that she could stretch out on.  She couldn’t wait to unfurl her weary body.

She knew of only one other thing she wanted as much, and that would be to unfurl her body next to Tyler’s.  He had been on her mind all week.  She had even dreamt about him; in her dream he had come to her at the beach and she had begged him to stay.  When she awoke, she could have sworn she had literally heard a car door shut and engine roar, but when she investigated, it was only her lonely car sitting in its perfectly hidden spot.

She kept her mind busy replaying the few words he had said, remembering the easy way his body shifted, the elegant ripple of muscle as he shifted in his seat, unknowingly causing Sarah to shift in hers.

She was practically drooling while wiping down a few tables after the lunch crowd.  Bill had let her come in over the noon hours and cover the lunch rush, and she appreciated the extra money earning potential.  The days got long, 16 hour days back to back could wear just about anyone out, but she was so excited to be doing it all herself that she hadn’t minded.  And she knew she had Sunday to recover.  Every Sunday.

Bill broke her thoughts, with no one else in the building at the moment for it to possibly be.
“Hey, Sarah, come have some lunch with me.”  A 3:00 lunch was always better than no lunch.  Between that and the meal he always had waiting for her at the end of the shift, she was sure she would fill her pants back out in no time.  She set down the mop and headed over to the booth he seemed to prefer.

“Eat. It’s gonna get busy quick.”  Always short and to the point.  She liked that.  No pretending.  He surprised her by continuing the conversation.  “My wife Millie was asking about you – wanting to know where you live, where you’re from, why you’re not married yet” he said with a teasing smile.

Trying to avoid this line of questioning, she simply replied with a sly smile on her face, “What did you tell her?”

“I asked her to talk to you herself.  I had no idea,” he said, his face bewildered.

Sarah laughed.  When he looked up with her, asking her more with his eyes than his words, she tried to side step it directly and simply stated, “Well, your timing is impeccable.  It seems things are working out here and I was hoping to find a cheap place to stay.  Know of anything nearby?”

Bill put his food down for a minute and thought it over.  “I’ll keep my ears open” he finally replied before taking another bite of his enormous burger.

And that was that.  Perfect.

Just as she was finishing her last bite of lunch, the bell over the front door rang, indicating a customer had just walked in.  She wiped her mouth and quickly brought her dishes to the kitchen.  Just as Bill had predicted, it got busy quick.  The place was filled to the brim by five, and was bursting at the seams all night long.  The time flew by, and she loved when the regulars stopped in.  She was getting to know more than their first names; she was learning about their spouses, parents and neighbors.  This little saloon was really starting to grow on her, like its own little family, and she looked forward to each shift.

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