Continued from last week's story 'And That's How It Started'
I nonchalantly slurped on my Sonic Route 44 Root Beer as the mail jeep came to a sudden stop in front of the late Sam Tolbert's residence. Dust from the caliche road engulfed the vehicle, literally hiding it from my view. Momentarily, just as one might expect at a Victoria's Secret modeling event, Leslie the mail lady emerged from the grit, her brunette hair flowing in the breeze. She flashed a warm smile as she made her way up the old, broken sidewalk toward me.
"What are you doing sitting on poor old Sam Tolbert's porch?"
"Waiting on you!" I replied, adjusting my straw hat to shield me from the sunlight.
"No, really...because that's kinda creepy." Her eyes narrowed as she gazed cautiously at me.
"Sam's son T-Roy is out of town and he's expecting a life insurance check any day. He asked me to check the mailbox until he got back."
"Um," she pursed her lips as her eyes dropped to the two pieces of mail she held in her hand, "Here's an electric bill and looks like a Get Well card, maybe. Oops, maybe the post office didn't get that one delivered in a timely manner."
I held my hand out for the mail and she grinned, "Not so fast, mister! I have to put these in the mailbox...postal policy."
I let her dingyness slip by unnoticed as I thoughtfully glanced at her long legs standing before me.
"Well, sit down for a minute!" I scooted over a couple of inches to make room for her tiny hiney.
"This is my last stop. I suppose I could."
Just as I had envisioned, she slid down onto the old boards besides me, mere inches separating us.
"So Leslie, how long have you worked for the post office?" I questioned as I sipped another shot of root beer.
"About six months."
"Are you a single girl?" I knew of no other tactful way to approach the subject.
"Yes...for about six months. And I'm hardly a girl. I have five children!"
"Oh wow. And I suppose they all attend school in Sunup" This was a trick question which I hoped would give a reasonable idea of this beautiful woman's age.
"No, not hardly!" she laughed, "One is a pharmacist, one is a football coach. My oldest daughter is married with two little ones. And then I have a twelve-year-old and a six-year-old."
"Hum," I replied as my rusty brain began trying to calculate her age, "you must have gotten an early start. You don't look to be um...I'd guess, thirty-five."
"Haha," she laughed as she slapped my leg, "you missed it by ten years!"
"No way you're that old! Want a drink of my root beer?" I offered the cup to her.
She placed her lips on my straw, her eyes focused on the road. I felt my heart quiver as her lips puckered around the straw. She was a true work of art, I thought to myself.
"I best go, I suppose," Leslie rose as faced me, "I still have some work at the post office before quitting time."
Oh okay," I stood up, "Guess I'll meet you here tomorrow! Maybe that check will show up."
The mail lady smiled and turned toward her Jeep then spun around.
"I have a great idea! Why don't you give me your number and I can text you if the check comes in." she whipped out a very large phone from where I did not know.
I eagerly shared my number, watching over her shoulder as she saved the number on her phone.
"Got it! Bye!" she gave me a sultry look as she flung her hair and retreated to her little white mail jeep.
Old Sam Tolnert's life insurance check would show up the following day, but that didn't stop Leslie the mail lady from texting me daily and often right at bedtime every night. For the next few weeks we'd meet down at the Dairy Queen and share a root beer or an ice cream cone with some good conversation sprinkled in. It was a Wednesday that I decided to make my move. The two of us were working our way toward the middle of a banana split and I thought to myself, 'How can you get more intimate than this?'
I scooped a maraschino cherry into my spoon and placed it against her lips. She giggled and opened her mouth, allowing me to gingerly lay the cherry on her tongue. Her eyes sparkled as she chewed the fruit, a tuft of whipped cream adorning her upper lip.
"Leslie," I began, "I'm not much of a drinker but I do like to scoot a boot now and then. Would you like to go dancing with me Friday night up in the city?"
The girl froze in mid-chew. Her eyes grew dark, almost black as a sinister look came over her face.
"What? What did you say? Say it again 'cause I surely didn't hear you right the first time!"
I in return froze, my eyes glued to that patch of whipped cream beneath her nose. My mind frantically replayed my last sentence...I got nothing out of the ordinary the second time around.
I gasped a breath and cleared my throat. With a quiver in my voice, I responded, "I could be wrong, but here's what I thought I said..."