Continued from last week's story 'Just Jacy'...
My eyes fixated on the spinning digits on the gas pump, my jaw set in determination. With the speed of a striking diamondback, I popped the trigger on the handle. Uttering a mild curse, I shook my head in defeat.
"Twenty dollars and three cents! I'll never hit on twenty even!"
As I screwed the gas cap on, my eyes raised and fixated themselves on a little mail jeep scooting up to the convenience store, brakes squealing.
"Whoa! I've never seen a mail lady that looks like that!"
I watched as a long, tall filly exited the jeep, her long brunette hair flowing in the west Texas breeze. As she entered the store, I couldn't help but notice her legs were even longer than that ravenous head of hair. I also couldn't help but notice her shorts, which probably were not official post office issued attire, but as I pursed my lips, were very nice fitting shorts nonetheless. I sighed. I had been avoiding Jacy Marrow, the manager of the convenience store, for a couple of weeks, still mortally wounded from her rejection. I decided I could 'man up' and venture inside for a Dr. Pepper...and a closer look at that mail lady.
Jacy's eyes immediately locked onto mine as I stepped inside, a twinkle flashing only briefly as she again turned her attention to the mail lady standing in front of her.
"I have no clue where Baker Road is. Rusty, can you help this...person out? Do you know?"
I dutifully and eagerly stepped toward the two, my fleeting glance turning from Jacy toward the brunette.
"Hi, I swear I've never seen you around town before." I extended my hand and introduced myself.
A warm smile spread across her face, "I'm Leslie. I usually work up the road in Sunup. I'm here covering for Bob Rickett while he recovers from knee replacement surgery. So, could you help me? This is my very last delivery of the day and for the life of me, I can't find Baker Road."
My eyes focused on those beautiful hazel eyes set so delicately into...
"If you two would kindly step aside, I could take care of these other customers!" Jacy brought me back into reality with her sharp command.
"You know, I didn't even know Sunup had a post office, Leslie." I smiled as her face lit up as I gently touched her arm to move the two of us away from the counter.
"Baker Road is right at the end of this side street. It's a dirt road that leads to the edge of town. Not but one house at the end of the road and...say, is that mail for Sam Tolbert, 'cause he died last month. I'm good friends with his son, T-Roy. I could just take the mail to him."
A look of bewilderment passed over her face, "Oh...no. I have to deliver the mail at that address...policy, you know."
I grunted softly under my breath, "Well, think you can find the place? I don't mind letting you follow me over there."
Leslie smiled graciously, "No, I think I can find it now, providing you gave me good directions."
I nodded, 'Left at the end of that street. Can't miss it."
My stare followed her out the door and I watched as the mail jeep pulled away.
"Wipe that drool from the corner of your mouth!" Jacy snapped, "And exactly where have you been the past two weeks. I texted you several times and you never replied. I bet you'd be right on it if that mail chick texted you!"
"Jacy, don't get your panties in a wad. I asked you out, you respectfully declined, and I respect that. I just decided maybe I should just keep moving along."
"Well, you sure give up easy!" Her blue eyes flashed.
"Okay, do you want to go out with me this weekend?"
"No, not right now. I'm pissed at you right now. Come back tomorrow and ask me again! And why did you even come in here anyway?"
"Oh yeah, I...uh needed a Dr. Pepper."
"I'm sure glad you called me. I got called out of town to work and I'm expecting a life insurance check for a substantial amount." T-Roy's voice boomed in my ear.
"How substantial?" I asked as I reached into his dead daddy's mail box.
"Well, I'd rather keep that personal...ten thousand dollars! I called the insurance company and they said the check was in the mail."
I studied the envelope in my hand, "I dunno. It could be an insurance check."
"Open it!" came T-Roy's voice eagerly over the phone.
"Naw, it says 'Your subscription to Maxim has expired."
I heard a sigh on the other end of the phone.
"Could you do me a big favor and check the mailbox every day? Way out there, somebody is liable to abscond with that check. That'd be my luck. I gotta get that funeral paid off!"
"T-Roy, that's what friends are for. I'd be happy to keep an eye out for that check for you."
The following day I eased up in front of old Sam Tolbert's house on the edge of town and sauntered up to the old wooden porch with a Route 44 Sonic Root Beer in hand. I settled onto the warped and worn old boards and kept my eyes peeled on the road. Thirty minutes later I saw a cloud of dust chasing a little white mail jeep...heading my way. A huge grin spread across my face as I gulped my root beer.
And that's how it started...
Continued from last week's story 'Those Blue-eyed Cowgirls'...
She sucked the last drop from the bottom of the cup, the straw making a noisy gurgling sound causing her to giggle out loud. She gave it one last suck for good measure, her blue eyes darting in my direction mischievously.
"All gone, sweetheart!" I said, grinning.
"Chocolate is such an amazing aphrodisiac. I love chocolate!"
"Aphrodisiac. That's a mighty big word for a blonde to be throwing around!"
Jacy Morrow beamed with faux pride, "You don't even know what the word means. It means..."
"I know what it means. Let me order you another chocolate milk shake."
We both laughed as a cute red headed car hop scooted up to the pickup on rollerskates.
"Will y'all be needing anything else? We're fixin' to close."
"Last chance for that milk shake!" I pointed a finger toward Jacy.
She shook her head at the waitress and smiled.
"Now, don't you agree that this is better than getting naked in a hot tub and getting drunk on cheap wine."
'Oh, definitely!" I replied and rolled my eyes.
Out of the three blue-eyed darlings that had vied for my attention at the rodeo earlier that evening, it had been Jacy that came across the finish line. I'd not regretted my choice for a second even though she had opted for a milk shake at the Sonic Drive-in over a romp in my hot tub. We had spent the better part of an hour slurping through our straws and getting to know each other. As the lights flickered out around us, I realized what I had suspected all along...I was extremely attracted to this woman. With a ten year age gap, I knew it was a long shot, but, I thought as I cranked up the pickup...she was sitting right there in my truck, right beside me like a high school cheerleader.
Her Ford Mustang was the only car left sitting in the rodeo grounds parking lot and I eased the truck up beside it.
"That was fun. I enjoyed the night with you." I spoke quietly, glancing at the girl beside me.
"It really was! You are a great guy. Maybe we can do it again sometime."
I cleared my throat, "So Jacy, want to go dancing with me next weekend?"
Her laughter startled me.
My ego crushed like a beer can, I asked, "Is it the age thing, Jacy?"
"Oh...no, not at all. Maybe someday I will go dancing with you."
"That's not a yes..."
"And it's not a no." She winked and darted toward her car.
(The following Friday)
I handed her my debit card to pay for the breath mints.
"Could I get twenty dollars back?"
My gaze focused on the countertop before me.
"So, I take it you're going dancing without me?"
"Yep. I'll just go dancing all my myself!"
She handed me the twenty and responded, "Walk me out to my car. It's going home time for me."
The two of us stepped out into the waning evening light, walking so close that we could feel the electricity radiating from the other's body. I glanced at the blonde and smiled.
She grinned and tossed her ponytail, "I am so sexually frustrated today."
I laughed, "I try not to get that way...all wound up and nowhere to go with it."
The blonde placed her elbows on the hood of my pickup, glancing downward to be sure she was displaying just enough cleavage then eyed me to see if I was noticing. I noticed just long enough to let her know I had, then gazed into what I considered the most beautiful blue eyes on planet Earth.
She ran her fingers through her ponytail, "I have a headache...and I really am sexually frustrated."
I replied, "Well...I don't have an aspirin...."
She stared deep into my eyes, "But you could help me out with the other?" She glanced back at her car, "I guess my back seat might do."
I grinned, "Back seat of my truck has more room."
Neither of us made a move.
"Well, if you have a weak moment and are tempted to fall for some woman at the bar this weekend, call me instead..ok?"
She brushed her fingertips ever so lightly across the top of my hand, sending a tingling sensation through my whole body, then turned and walked to her car.
"Careful going home," I called to her.
"You too." and she blew me a kiss as she shut her car door.
What I didn't know as I watched Jacy Marrow drive off into the sunset was that this was just the beginning of a beautiful...well, I don't believe a word exists for what we would come to be. It would take me some time, years, in fact, to figure out that Jacy...was just Jacy. I pulled the pickup out of the gravel parking lot and headed in the direction of the city. Hells bells, I had plenty of women just waiting to dance with me. I shook the thought of Jacy Morrow from my mind and turned the radio up loud. It would be the next morning before I found the text on my phone that read, 'Think of me when you dance with her...'
Continued from last week's story...
I made my way into the rodeo grandstands, my Ariat boots thumping against the wooden planks of the walkway. As I scanned the bleachers, my heart beat kicked up a notch at the sight of all those pretty women who for just one night a year become full fledged cowgirls with their boots and hats and tight fitting jeans. There were wives and moms, school teachers and bank tellers, Sunday School teachers and beer drinkers scattered throughout the stands. Somewhere amongst the crowd, I was sure there would be a few single women keeping a sharp eye out for a cowboy or two. I strolled the length of the stands, my eyes continuing to scan the crowd as the rodeo announcer's voice boomed through the air.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the seventy-fifth annual rodeo! Let's all stand as our riders present the colors!"
I paused and placed my hat on my chest as what seemed like hundreds of horses and riders entered the arena. Old Glory and the Texas flag took center stage of the dusty arena as the Star Spangled Banner played. A prayer followed and with an 'amen' the announcer boomed,
The grandstand roared as the first gate opened and a bucking bronc lurched into the arena, a helpless cowboy clinging to a rope across the horse's back. I shook my head as the poor boy hit the dirt. I spun on my heel as I felt a pinch against my ribs.
"Jacy! You made it!"
"Yes!" her blue eyes flashing a smile, "This is my Dad."
"Oh, I've seen you down at the co-op," I smiled as I shook the old man's hand, "I never knew you were Jacy's dad!"
The three of us talked through the bareback competition and the calf roping, me finally excusing myself with,
"I hate to think of wading into those restrooms, but..." I tipped my hat to the two and turned toward a very long line at the far end of the stands.
Jacy grinned and hollered, "Look us up later!"
As I stepped out of the men's' room after a ten-minute wait, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"See, I made it. Do I look cowgirl enough for a rodeo?" Her blue eyes glistening in the fading sunlight.
I allowed my eyes to wander the length of her and replied, "Oh yeah, you look like a bona fide cowgirl to me!"
We got caught up in conversation through the barrel races and I even missed the Mutton Busting competition. Vickie finally excused herself with,
"Well, I really, really need to pee! Look me up later!"
I paused at the concession stand, my parched mouth yearning for a bottled water. My mind pondered the prospects of dating Jacy Morrow or even Vickie the waitress as I stood patiently in the long line. Both were promising, I admitted to myself. Lost in my thoughts, I inadvertently brushed against the woman standing in front of me. She turned around and smiled. My eyes widened. The woman from the courthouse! The ravishing, blue-eyed blonde who had read my mind this morning now stood face to face with me. And...well, to make a long story short, I missed the bull riding.
I climbed into my truck and started her up, sitting patiently while the mass of other pickups and horse trailers began fighting for a place in a long line of headlights and dust. A text came:
'Where are you?"
"Waiting for you in my truck."
"There are hundreds of trucks out here!"
'Mine's the only one with the left blinker flashing."
Moments later, the passenger door opened and I smiled as those blue eyes flashed in the darkness.
"Okay, I found you finally! What now Cowboy?"
A full moon illuminated the glimmering water of the pond as we sat on the tailgate of my truck.
"You ever been skinny dipping?" I smiled slyly as I glanced at those blue eyes next to me.
'Not since I was eighteen," she giggled, "What are you suggesting?"
"Well, it is a beautiful night for a swim."
"Ew, in this water with fish and ducks and snakes? No, thanks!"
I laughed, "Can't be scared all your life!"
"I'm more of a hot tub and wine girl these days."
My common sense told me not to say it...don't say it!
"Well, I have a hot tub and there's a bottle of wine in the fridge."
An uncomfortable moment of silence passed as I mentally kicked myself for saying it.
Her blue eyes lit up as a grin flashed across her face.
"You can't be scared all your life, Cowboy!"
As the truck pulled onto the highway, a text came in.
"My goodness, look at all these texts you have on your phone! Popular guy, huh?"
"Aw, it's the cowboy image. Every woman thinks they want a cowboy until they get one!"
I felt her hand slide into mine and a warm, fuzzy feeling flowed through my body. I glanced over at her and smiled.
"You sure have pretty blue eyes. I really like blue-eyed cowgirls!"
As we cruised down the highway beneath the light of the moon, another text came in...and another...and another...
Continued from last week's story
Riding high on the euphoria of a finalized divorce just hours ago, I dribbled spit on my index finger and touched it to the iron. As I pressed my red Wrangler shirt, my mind lingered on the ravishingly beautiful blue eyed woman who had locked her gaze upon me in the courtroom earlier this very day. I exhaled a deep sigh at the prospect that I'd never see her again. Shrugging it off, I reached for my blue jeans and stretched them across the ironing board. Today was Friday and I was now a free man. A celebration of this great event was my goal tonight, and as I dressed and positioned my black cowboy just right on my head, I set my jaw in determination. It was now my duty as a free man to do what free men do...chase women. And the only place I knew to chase women was at the bar up in the city. As I steered my pickup down the dusty road, I decided I was hungry and perhaps a chicken fried steak would be the best way to kick off this celebration.
I stepped into the diner and seated myself at my usual booth. An attractive blue eyed waitress, probably in her mid-forties, named Vickie, scurried to my table with a sweet tea in hand.
"Let me guess...chicken fried steak."
"How'd you know, Vickie?"
"You never order anything else," she replied with a giggle, "You sure are prettied up. Going to the rodeo tonight?"
"Aw, I forgot about the rodeo! I was going dancing but..."
"No, you have to go to the rodeo. Might find yourself a cowgirl!"
She winked and grinned.
"Two questions. Are you a cowgirl and are you going to the rodeo?"
"Well, I can be and yes, just as soon as my shift ends at eight."
"Well, maybe we'll bump into each other at the rodeo!" I replied as I suddenly decided I just celebrate my new found singleness at the rodeo.
After polishing off an extra large chicken fry and leaving a five dollar tip on the table, I pulled out of the gravel parking lot of the diner and whipped into the next parking lot where the only convenience store in town stood. Breath mints were on my mind as the little bell jungled on the door as I entered, but my eyes were immediately drawn to a perfectly formed butt behind the counter. Jacy Marlow glanced over her shoulder as she carefully loaded a basket of burritos into the deep fryer. Turning around, her blue eyes met mine and a smile spread across her face.
"Hi, Cowboy! Rodeoing tonight?"
"Yep, I'm in the bull riding competition." I grinned and winked.
"Don't take this wrong but bull riding is for young cowboys."
"Well then, I'll just go chase cowgirls. My divorce became final today."
"Is that so?"
I detected a glimmer in her blue eyes. "Yes, and I need some breath mints, just in case. You going to the rodeo, Jacy?"
"Um-hum," she responded as she laid the mints on the counter. "I just need to wrap up some loose ends here and then dash home and change."
"Maybe our paths will cross there."
"Maybe..." those blue eyes locking onto mine, "I'm taking my daddy. He's too old to chase cowgirls but he sure likes to look."
I paid for the breath mints and glanced once more into those blue eyes, "Hope to see you there!"
"Watch for me! I'm wearing my neon pink blouse."
My euphoria had become raging giddiness as I pulled the pickup to a stop at the rodeo entrance. A young cowboy sauntered up to my window and smiled.
"Rodeoing all alone tonight?" he questioned as he took my money.
"I may drive through this gate all alone, but I don't intend to leave alone!" I shot back with a guffaw.
"You go, old cowboy! There's plenty of good looking cowgirls in there already. Good luck to you!"
I eased through the gate and slowly drove through the pasture that served as a parking lot to hundreds of pickup trucks and horse trailers. Dust hung in the air as I came to a stop. My eyes darted around and a huge grin spread across my face.
Rodeo queens and tight fittin' jeans everywhere. It was time to saddle up!
This story continues next week!
The judge slammed his gavel sharply and yelled, "I hereby sentence you to fifty years with no possibility of parole!"
I awoke with a start, my body wringing with sweat, staring into the darkness at the alarm clock. Today was D-Day...the day my divorce would become final...
I am and for the most part, have always been a law abiding citizen. However, a few years ago, I found myself fighting to keep myself out of jail. It's a story I will tell in depth someday, but a local justice of the peace determined that I had broken into my own house and was hell-bent to have me jailed for breaking and entering. The incident escalated to the point of my being detained at the Sheriff's Department, having my rights read to me, and after stepping over to close the door of the interrogation room, the sheriff placed his hand on my shoulder and said,
"Boy, go get you a lawyer. I don't know what you did to piss the JP off, but he intends to see to it you get jail time."
That's when I met my lawyer that I had hired to see me through this divorce at hand. He had made the 'breaking and entering' fiasco go away with one simple phone call to the JP, and when I tried to pay him, he waved his hand and said, "No charge." Wow, what a lawyer...get me off and for free! So it was a no brainer that I'd chose him for my divorce, which wasn't free, I might mention.
I arrived at the courthouse twenty minutes early and made my way to the third-floor hall just outside the courtroom where I would become a free man. I sat nervously in a chair in the narrow hallway for an hour or two...it was actually ten minutes...before my lawyer came up the stairs and wandered by me, peeking into the courtroom.
"Looking for me?"
He turned around and laughed, "You clean up pretty good...didn't recognize you! Wonder where the other party is?"
"Oh, my wife? Pretty sure she's not coming to the divorce hearing. Probably passed out drunk by now."
My lawyer glanced at his watch, "It's ten in the morning!"
"Yeah, that's why I'm here," I said nonchalantly.
I laughed nervously and shook his hand, then fiddled with my tie and buttoned my suit coat. We made our way into the empty courtroom and sat for another hour...ten minutes later...the bailiff entered, followed by a frumpy little lady. An attractive woman wearing a fine fitting blue dress, mid-forties, I guessed, came in carrying a laptop and sat at the far end of the judge's bench. The bailiff stepped out and closed the door, then fifteen seconds later, opened the door and announced,
The judge, a god of our society, stepped in and took his place at his throne. He motioned for my lawyer and me to take our places. We stepped into the glaring imaginary spotlight before the judge and the lawyer muttered under his breath,
"Go take the stand."
I froze in the spotlight before the judge...take the what?
He rolled his eyes and said, "Go up there and sit in that chair by the judge."
I took my seat. The judge looked over at me and said, "Raise your right hand."
Ok, I thought, don't mess this up...righty-tighty, lefty-loosey...no that didn't help. Amazingly, my primal instinct kicked in and I raised the right hand. After saying, "I do," (that's what got me in this courtroom) my lawyer began shooting questions at me. "Is your name..." "Are you a legal resident..." and at least twenty more questions. He didn't warn me there would be a test. I answered to the best of my knowledge and apparently passed. The judge leafed through the documents before him.
My gaze focused on the attractive woman sitting on the other side of him, an angel of the god of society. Blonde hair, not one out of place...perfect complexion...the bluest eyes...our eyes met and as she stared into mine, hers became sad. It was as if I could read her mind. She had sat in this very chair at one time. She knew what I was going through and she felt sorry for me. I felt a sparkle light up in my eye...Give me a bottle of wine and an hour in the hot tub with her...oops, she read that. She blushed and looked down at her laptop.
The judge, eventually satisfied the paperwork was in order, declared me a free man. I watched intently as he rose from behind his bench, the blue-eyed angel obediently following him from the courtroom, her laptop tucked under her arm. I paused in the hallway and shook my lawyer's hand.
"See ya next time around!"
He gave me a puzzled looked and I laughed, "I'm sure I'll find something to get into that you can get me out of."
I skipped down the three flights of stairs pondering what I could do to get back into that courtroom. The woman with the laptop had captured my heart right there in the middle of my own divorce hearing.
I stepped out into the bright sunlight a free man. Walking down the sidewalk toward my pickup, I paused and glanced up toward the third story of the courthouse. There in the window stood the woman in the blue dress, her laptop still securely tucked beneath her arm.
'Looking at me?' I wondered as I climbed into my truck. Well, of course she was, I reasoned, glancing around. I certainly didn't see any other suddenly single men loitering around the courthouse square.
"Life...here I come and I'm looking for adventure!" I said out loud as I shot one more glance toward that third story window, "And her. I'm looking for her!"
(Continued from last week's story)
"It's such a beautiful night! A perfect night for a bottle of wine and a hot tub!"
Folks, it just slipped out without thinking...
"I have a hot tub and I'm pretty sure there's a bottle of Boones Farm still in the fridge."
Her eyes met mine and I saw a look that I'd not seen in many years.
"Cool! Okay...I'm in!"
My mouth gaped open as I stood there in the dim light of the parking lot, a stupified look on my face.
"You'd seriously go home with me? You'd throw caution to the wind and take off with some man twenty years older than you in the middle of the night? You'd get in my hot tub? You know what hot tubs lead to?"
She giggled. Her hazel eyes seemed to dance in the neon light as she pursed her lips before replying.
"First off, I am not some easy pickup. But yes, I would totally go home with you. I would get naked and get in your hot tub and drink wine with you until the sun came up. As for anything else, I don't know. So, if you think sex is on the menu..."
She shrugged her shoulders and smiled, lowering her head as if she had embarrassed herself.
A million thoughts whirled through my mind. This wasn't what I came searching for tonight. Not some one night stand, a hook-up, a quickie, or a friend with benefits. Although, my male hormones raged out of control at the prospect of having this beautiful young woman in my hot tub, a healthy dose of common sense stood in my way. If I didn't follow through with this, I'd surely regret it the rest of my life. The seconds ticked by as we stood in silence, her gaze intently focused on my face as if she were trying to read my mind.
I cleared my throat and spoke, "Listen, sweetie, I am beyond flattered. I mean, this is like a historical moment...really. But I really was just joking about the hot tub."
Her eyes widened, "You don't really have a hot tub?"
"Yes, I have one and I have some wine, too. It's not really Boones Farm. Something someone gave me around Christmas...probably pretty good stuff, actually. But I never thought for a minute you'd really get in my hot tub."
I stared at the ground for a moment then leaned against the hood of the car next to her.
"I'm going to do you a big favor and walk over to my pickup and drive away. I have enjoyed this evening with you more than you will ever know. But you don't need to spend another minute with some old goat like me. You, my little friend, deserve a fine young lawyer or some up and coming doctor. A dashing young cowboy or a handsome, studly, preppy type...that's what's waiting for you. I'll not get in the way of that."
I smiled and winked at her. She laid her head against my shoulder and sighed.
"It was a good night. You are a good man, I can feel it and I sort of admire you for turning me down."
She fumbled in her purse for a pen and scratch paper.
"Call me when you want to dance again?"
I grinned as I slipped the phone number into my shirt pocket. Our eyes met and she took my arm and pulled me toward her, kissing me softly on the cheek.
"Thanks for the dances," I whispered and tipped the brim of my hat, turning on my heel and vanishing into the darkness.
As I drove through the night toward my humble little ranch house, my mind spun out of control. Regret it? I'm sure I would until my last breath. But I was on a mission, a mission to find the perfect woman, at least for me. Perfect as this girl seemed to be, she had her whole life ahead of her...kids, a house in the suburbs, a husband to cater to. Me, I already had the thoughts of retirement scurrying through my head. We were generations apart.
But this girl...this night had given me renewed hope. Perhaps I wasn't just some old, washed up wannabe Saturday night cowboy. Maybe, just maybe, I still had it in me. Perhaps there was some woman out there searching for a guy just like me. I'd chalk this night up as a great adventure, the first of many yet to come.
As the yellow stripes flashed by in the headlights of my pickup, I reached for the scratch paper in my pocket. Clenching it tightly between my fingers, I stared at the dainty handwriting in the glow of my dash lights. Rolling the window down, with a heavy heart I extended my arm into the wind...and let it go.