Friday, April 6, 2012

Small Towns and Snow Cones

A 'Sweet' Story for the Sweet and Spicy Short Story Event. Not an Entry {I can't win my own prize ;-P}

Samantha pulled off the interstate and started the last leg of her journey home. This 20 mile stretch of highway was deserted, and it felt like the longest part of the five hour journey. After living in Atlanta for six years, miles of pasture with the occasional ranch house made for a long drive.

When she'd lost her job two months ago, she didn't even entertain the idea of moving home. It wasn't until her on again off again boyfriend of three years announced that he'd met someone and "it had been fun" but he was done with what they had, that she decided that moving home might be better for her. It wasn't like she couldn't find an accounting job, there were plenty of them. So she sold off her furniture, and packed up her belongings. Most of her things she'd shipped ahead of her, but her clothes and valuables were making the journey in the back of her Jeep Wrangler.

She slowed her speed to the posted 45 mph and rolled the windows down. It was a beautiful day, so she turned up the radio and sang along with the local country music station. She was surprised at how quickly she reached the first redlight in town.

She sat behind an old pick-up that made a much noise as a riding mower and read the marquee over the high school. PTO Tuesday 7:00. Seeing the high school always made her nostalgic. She'd loved those years with Friday night football and Thursday afternoon pep rallies. She hadn't been a cheerleader, she'd opted for tennis. Still, she had loved every minute of it.

She still remembered dancing with Tyler Martin at her senior prom. She'd had a date, some guy her friend Celia had set her up with a few weeks earlier because he had a cool car (part of prom was how you got there). Tyler had a date too, Cindy Taylor. She was listed as Most Popular in the yearbooks that had been passed out earlier in the week. Who knew where either of them were when "Faithfully" came pouring out of the speakers, but bodies flooded the dance floor and Tyler and Samantha seemed to be the only ones not out there. He'd grinned and tipped his head, so she'd danced with him. 

For Tyler, it was a dance. A popular song and a girl he'd known for years. For Samantha though, it was real life dream come true. She'd been so wrapped up in that dance, she didn't even notice when their dates reappeared. In fact it wasn't until Cindy tapped her on the shoulder that she'd put any space between them to see her date sitting at a nearby table looking bored.

She drove pass the feed and seed store, and the only two gas stations in town. She was sitting at the last red light before she pulled out to the other side of town. She noticed the Snow Cone stand on the opposite side of the intersection. The open sign was on and Samantha remembered how much she'd loved them in school. She pulled over and hopped out of the jeep, admiring the Silver F250 parked behind the stand. She walked up to the window and attempted to hide her surprise when no one other than Tyler Martin smiled at her from the other side of the window.

"Hey Samantha! How are you doing?" That bright smile was mesmerizing, and completely contagious. Samantha smiled back.

"Hey Tyler, what are you doing working here?"

"It's my cousin's stand, I'm filling in today cause his kid had a ballgame. What can I get for you?"

"Small cone, half grape, half cherry." Samantha smiled as she quickly rambled off her high school favorite.

"Done!" Tyler turned and made the cone and Samantha enjoyed the view of his backside. When he brought the cone back she smiled.

"How much do I owe you?" She asked

"I'll make you a deal. This one is on the house if you let me join you."

Samantha agreed and walked around to the small picnic table beside the stand. She felt her heart racing and took a few deep breaths, wishing she'd thought to fix her hair or freshen her make-up before getting out of the jeep. She sat at the weathered table as Tyler emerged from the side door of the stand with a blue cone.

"So what have you been doing for the past eight years?" Tyler asked.

"Well, I've been in Atlanta, but I've decided to come back home for a while. So the near future includes job hunting for me. How about you?"

"Well," Tyler took another bite of the blue ice, "I came back after college and got a job at the plant as a manager, now I'm working as a project manager at Headquarters. I like it, and there is a future in it."

Samantha nibbled at her cone and smiled. They talked until they'd finished the cones, Tyler slipped away twice to help a few customers and brought back waters for the two of them. Once they'd finished their cones they talked for another hour about their lives, about high school, and their plans. Samantha noticed the time and knew her mother would be worrying about where she was. She finished the water and stood.

"This has been really nice, Tyler. We need to do it again sometime." Tyler stood with her and waked her to her car.

"Maybe we can grab dinner tomorrow night?" He asked.

Samantha smiled, "I'd really like that."

Tyler tucked a hair behind her ear. "I'll pick you up from your mom's around eight o'clock?"

Samantha nodded. Tyler smiled and ducked down to kiss her. It was an easy kiss, a soft brush of his lips. Samantha wanted more though, and decided to take it. As Tyler began to back away Samantha pressed forward and caught his mouth again. This time the kiss was smoldering. She brought a hand to his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tight against him. Samantha gasped and Tyler deepened the kiss and backed her against the Jeep. She sighed a little mewl and melted into his arms. The kiss was over too soon. Samantha felt suddenly vulnerable without Tyler's arms around her.

She had no need though. Tyler opened her door and let her climb into the jeep. Once she was inside he leaned in and kissed her again.

"Tomorrow." He smiled.

"Tomorrow." Samantha agreed.

As Samantha pulled out into the road she saw Tyler waving in her rearview. She laughed when she realized that "Faithfully" was playing on the radio.

No comments: