Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sample Saturday continued

For those just joining the story the beginning may be found two Saturdays ago . . .

“How well do you know the Reverend?” Derrick asked.

“Reverend Tom? He’s been here for years. Poor man, he’s still considered the new Reverend and constantly compared to his predecessor He’s a little awkward away from his pulpit, but you’ll never find a nicer man.”

A glance showed him the back of Bella’s head, her face turned away from him and toward the passenger window. She hadn’t sounded sarcastic. Nice would not have made his list of adjectives for the Reverend.

After a few seconds, she continued without further prodding. “When he first came he got a cool reception. Nana said if she were too friendly to Reverend Tom, it’d feel disloyal to Reverend Jack. Lots of folks seemed to feel the same way. I felt sorry for him. I know what it’s like being the newcomer. I tried to be extra nice helping out with Sunday school and choir practice.”

“You sing?” He wasn’t touching the Sunday school line.

“Not well.” Bella laughed and he didn’t believe her. Her laughter was music.

“I play the organ. Not as well as Mildred, the organist today. But Mildred takes care of her mother and choir practice is Thursday evenings, it’s hard for her to get away. . .”

Bella babbled on. Nervous.

Derrick added up the pieces – the notes, her tension, the furtive figure behind the church. He didn’t like where this was going. His sweet Sunday school teacher, who looked like an advertisement for sin, had a stalker.

Derrick was nothing like the player she’d imagined. He managed to boost her into the pickup without making her feel clumsy or heavy. He hadn’t panted, patted or pinched. He actually met her eyes when they talked. He even listened to what she said, which had been way too much. The notes had spooked her, especially the second one. When she started talking to Derrick all her worries tumbled out. She’d been talking the poor man’s ears right off. He must think she was a walking trouble magnet.

While he drove the old truck with quiet efficiency, Bella sought for a safe topic of conversation. A good measure of her distress was how long it took her to hit one - work. Jobs were always good. Everyone liked to talk about what he did for a living.

“Merci told me that you’re in construction?”

“Uh huh.”

Great, now he’d regressed to monosyllables. He definitely thought she was trouble and was trying to distance himself. What had possessed her to babble on about the notes?

Bella tried to re-track the conversation.

“What kind of construction? Offices, houses?” She coaxed, trying for charming interest.

“Different kinds, some renovation.”

“Renovations? I’ve just signed a lease on old crumbling wreck of a shop on First Avenue. Restoration is what it needs. Is that the kind of thing your company does?”

“Yeah. About those notes –”

“Forget about the notes. A religious nut, like you said. I overreacted. I do that. A lot. I babble on when I’m nervous too.” She tugged on a chagrined smile.

“The notes made you nervous?”

“No, I didn’t mean –”

“I make you nervous?”

“No. Of course not.” She answered too fast to be convincing. Peeking at him from under her lashes. She checked to see if he bought it.

He was brooding, about her notes. Something deep inside warmed. She dropped subtlety, gazing at him openly. Her mouth curved into an involuntary smile. Derrick was smart and caring and sexy. He was a dangerous man.

She had no business noticing how sexy he was. He wasn’t for her.

But if she kept her head on straight, where was the harm on forgetting her troubles and enjoying his company for a few hours?

Bella made a third effort to turn the conversation back to safe subjects.

“I found a wonderful space for the shop, perfect actually. The only problem is layers of crud covering my dream store.”

“The first note, the virtuous woman thing – that was this past Monday?”

She nodded, and then realized he couldn’t see the gesture.

“Yes.” Darn, he wasn’t letting this go.

Truth was, he did make her nervous, or maybe it was that he made her realize how unsure she was about herself. A restless, itchy feeling infiltrated her body. Every moment spent with him worsened her malady.

He should scare her. He was large, aggressive, bristling with maleness. Yet, something in him pulled at her core whispering insane promises of pleasure and safety.


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