Monday, February 18, 2013

Wouldn't Dream Of It

Pulling up in front of the Mill, I glance around the property, checking it out to see what's changed.

Sam's right. It's a beautiful house. Two stories, red clapboard with a wrap around porch. The once white shutters are now a cream color with flecks of paint missing.

Looking over to my right, I see the old barn. It looms over the landscape as if in defiance of time and the elements. Reminds me of all of the bonfires and volleyball games shared here.

Reaching into the trunk, Sam says, "Go on ahead. I know you are excited about seeing everyone." He starts pulling out one of the coolers.

Grinning ear to ear, I say, "Are you sure? I don't mind giving you a hand."

He waves me off. "Nah." he says, "You're like a kid in a candy store. It's written all over your face you are so excited. Go ahead."

Pulling my hair back into a messy knot, I scamper over to the barn. I pass the two giant front doors that look like they are scowling at me. As I circle towards the back of the barn where the creek is, I pull up short.

I see Michael, Quinn and Molly sitting around the table. They look to be in a heated discussion with Molly gesturing wildly. Michael and Quinn seem to be arguing opposing points, as always but I think Molly is siding with Quinn.

And then I see Jake. 

He is standing beside the table, his head thrown back in laughter. I notice his bicep muscles filling out his t-shirt. His t-shirt has a picture of Van Gogh with the words "No Ear". His brown hair looks a little long, curling down to touch the collar of his shirt.  

Jake. He looks the same, except with a maybe a touch more maturity. He has such a nice laugh. I remember that laugh.

No one notices me yet.

While I am lost in my reverie, Jake lowers his head and his eyes find mine. Oops. Caught oogling. Real smooth, Maddie. 

"Maddie Andrews." Jake says, taking a pull off his beer and placing his right hand in his front jean pocket.

Smiling, I give him a quick nod and say, "Jake Whitfield." He remembers me. He actually remembers me. Get a grip, Maddie! You did have a few classes with him.

"As I live and breathe." he says. I can feel the heat flush my face.

"Maddie!" Molly squeals. Running over to give me a hug, she says, "I've missed you so much! It's so great to see you!" Oh Molly! Perfect timing! Way to save me from dying from embarrassment. 

Laughing, I give my best friend a hug. "I've missed you too, Mols." I say.

Michael and Quinn walk over and Quinn picks me off the ground in a bear hug, saying, "Maddie! How are you, girl? How's life in the big city?"

Michael comes over, puts an arm around my shoulder and squeezes. "Yes. Do tell us how the other half lives?"

Playfully slapping Michael's arm away, I answer, "Oh you know. The streets are paved with gold. We eat ambrosia for every meal. We have servants to cater to our every whim." I sigh. "It's a hard life." I grin.

Quinn playfully scoffs and says, "Well, you don't have to rub it in. Some of us had to stay here and go to state. We were not as lucky as you."

Sam rounds the corner in time to catch Quinn's comment. Placing the cooler on the ground beside the table, he says, "Well, not everyone can ace their ACT's like Maddie can."

"Oh please." I respond.

"Well, then what's your excuse? How did you weasel in Sam?" Molly chides.

Sam responds, "It involved lots of bribery. And groveling. Never underestimate the power of groveling." He winks at Molly.

Michael warmly says, "It's good to see you, Maddie. It's been a long time."

This whole time, I am aware of Jake looking at me. Shaking his head, he grins that lop-sided grin of his. Jake says, "You look good, Maddie." I feel warmth flood though me at his compliment. I manage to keep my face neutral.

Sam stops mid-organizing the cooler contents, to lift his head up. Sam chuckles and says, "Jake, you're not trying to hit on Maddie, are you?"

Tilting his head to the side, he voice is teasing but his stare is intense as he answers, "Wouldn't dream of it." 

Another fiction piece. This time with Jake, Maddie and Sam. Are you enjoying this as much as I am? Back to writing...


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