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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Excerpt and Chance to Win!

Patriotic music bombarded the park as the high school marching band kicked off its farewell concert. Seated cross-legged on an army blanket with Tim, Brandon and one of the tenth-grade English teachers, Theresa, a bleached blonde who kept sneaking glances at Tim’s buddy, Rachel smiled and sipped her cola. The sun had started to set, leaving far corners of the park in slightly strange, shadowed patterns, and Rachel shivered as a chill brushed through her.

Tim noticed, and slipped out of his jacket as she started to protest.

“No, Tim, keep that. It’s my own fault, I wasn’t planning on staying past the barbecue.”

“I insist.” He draped it gently around her shoulders, his woodsy scent enveloping her.

“Thanks,” she said, her voice a whisper as the band paused between songs. “You think they have fireworks?” She couldn’t keep the enthusiasm from her voice. The only fireworks she’d seen the past few years came from Davie when he dropped a soufflĂ© or something equally disastrous.

Tim shrugged. Brandon looked over and shrugged, then managed a smile in Theresa’s direction. The band broke into an ear piercing rendition of “We Will Rock You,” a tune Rachel recognized, although the real title, if it had one, eluded her. Teenagers began a pattern of stomping and clapping in time to the music.

But the name of the song wasn’t as worrisome a question as to when she should leave. She had to make candy for tomorrow’s fellowship refreshments. Even though they wouldn’t necessarily be expecting her, she wanted to show nothing as far as her service had changed. So why was she hanging here, swatting mosquitoes and enjoying sitting with Tim? She decided it must be the fragrance of smoky campfires and toasting marshmallows.

He leaned toward her, to speak gently into her ear. “Have you come up with a solution yet?”

Still staring straight ahead, at the musicians, Rachel didn’t need to see his face to know what he was talking about. An inkling of irritation shot up her spine, ruining the peace of her after-fattening-picnic mood.

He must have taken her silence for lack of response. “I felt so bad seeing that they shot you down at the bank. That must have been really tough.”

Rachel clenched her teeth. What was this, now he had to rub it in?

“If you don’t want to talk about it, just say so. Otherwise I’m going to keep asking questions like “How bad off are you? Will you have the stuff you need for my party next weekend? What if you-”

“Please stop!” Rachel whirled to face him. “You’re right. I don’t want to talk about it.” She yanked his jacket from her shoulders and dropped it in his lap. “Thanks for that, but I have to go.”

She saw Brandon and Theresa eyeing her curiously, but she didn’t care. Could she not have one pleasant afternoon without having to worry about her future? With a glance at Tim as she rose, she answered her own question.

Obviously, no, she could not.


*******

What’s your favorite July 4th memory? Why?

6 comments:

Eileen said...

My favorite 4th of July was when we first moved to a new town. They had a wonderful day at the local park. An all day cookout, games and of course at night a wonderful display of fireworks with a great drum and bugle corp to make it even more spectacular. It really made us feel as if we moved to a wonderful place and that is exactly what we did.
Good day to all Eileen

Robin Bayne said...

Sounds fun Eileen!!

Tessa said...

Although I'm not from USA July 4th brings me lots of great memories, as I've lots of American friends with whom I celebrate that day. Time of good food, friendship, laughter, what better way to celebrare!

robynl said...

For me it's July 1st(Canada); my favorite is the last time my Mom and I went to the fair in the evening(just before she passed away). We walked around and looked at the exhibits of crafts, baking, school work etc. Then we went to the Stockade and visited the many booths of goods for sale. For a break we had coffee/pop and an Elephant ear-deep fried dough with sugar sprinkled on. We then walked the midway a bit and headed home. A great memory that chokes me up just typing about it.

Anonymous said...

I became a mother on the 4th of July. Hard to top that with any other 4th of July memory I have.

~Laura

Robin Bayne said...

Awesome memories you guys!