Feeling the wind slip through my fingers, I let myself relax and enjoy driving out to The Mill. I used to love that place when I was younger. I have so many great memories of that place.
Pulling into the gravel parking lot, taking in the old red barn and the farmhouse, I realize I have really missed this place. It’s like a good friend or my favorite grey sweatshirt. After parking the car, I grab my backpack and hop out.
I think I will sit on one of the picnic tables to read. No wait! Maybe down by the creek. I did bring a blanket after all.
Rounding the corner of the barn, I head towards the back and run into Jake. Well, this is interesting…
“Jake, what are you doing here?” I ask.
Grinning at me, he answers, “Hello to you too, Maddie.” There it is. That lopsided grin with that dimple. What is a girl to do when the boy smiles at you like that?
“Hello Jake.” I say. Okay, now I’m grinning like an idiot. “Are you painting?”
Bending down and grabbing his roller, he says, “Yep, painting the old barn.”
Glancing at all of his painting equipment, I state, “Wouldn’t a sprayer be easier?”
After rolling the roller in paint, he winks at me and says, “What? And miss all the fun?”
“Yeah, that looks like tons of fun, Jake”, I quip.
“Want to help?” he asks.
Without giving my new must-read novel a second thought, I say, “Sure. Why not?! Where should I start?”
Pointing to a lower section in the back of the barn, he says, “You start here and I finish over here.” His section is a little above me and to the left.
Jake shows me how to dip the roller in the paint with just the right amount, and then we get to work. We paint in amicable silence for a while, enjoying each other’s company as well as the warm weather.
After around 20 minutes, I can feel him staring at me. Glancing up, I meet his eyes. He smirks at me and my heart flutters. Geez! I am such a girl.
Wondering what’s so amusing, I say, “What?!”
Shaking his head, Jake says, “I never thought I would be here with you painting. I didn’t know it was your ‘thing’.”
Shrugging, I reply, “It’s not really but I thought I would try something new. It looked like fun.”
Turning his head to look at me, he says, “It’s good to try new things, Maddie. You might find that you really like it. Maybe even love it.”
Suddenly, I know he is not talking about painting anymore. I feel this is going into territory I am not ready to visit. He is looking at me like he wants me to take the bait.
Clearing my throat, I say, “Do you like painting? Or fixing things?” Filling my roller with more paint, I get back to work.
Jake says, “Yeah, I enjoy working with my hands. Growing up, my brother and I used to help Dad around the house with stuff.”
I say, “With just my mom and me, we always called my uncle to come and fix things. He was always happy to help. But he did show me a few things.”
Stopping mid-stride, he stares at me, mouth agape. He recovers quickly and questions, “Really? Like what?”
The look on his face was priceless. I can’t help but chuckle.
I reply, “Hmm, let’s see. He taught me how to change the oil in my car, install a new dishwasher and shoot a bow and arrow.”
I can by the look on his face that I surprised him with my response. This makes me smile even more. Can you BE more of a dork, Maddie?!
“Wow. I’m impressed,” he says.
Placing my hand on my hip, I say, “Not quite the damsel in distress you thought. Am I?”
He stands up to his full height, places his roller on the paint can and walks over to stand directly in front of me.
“Maddie,” he says. “There is nothing helpless about you. It’s one of the things I love about you.”
Swallowing nervously, I try to laugh it off. “Yes, I have many wonderful qualities.”
Reaching up, he puts his hand under my chin and says, “Yes, Maddie. You do. You are intelligent, loyal, witty and beautiful.”
Beautiful. Did he just say beautiful? Now, I am the one staring at him, mouth agape. Way to keep it extra cool, Maddie.
Jake whispers, “Maddie?”
“Yes, Jake,” I manage to say.
Taking his thumb, he rubs a small circle on my cheek. He says, “I’m going to kiss you now.”
Squee! It's more good stuff with Maddie and Jake. It's the in-between stuff. Which let's face it?! Is the great stuff. Just ask an Oreo.
New to Jake and Maddie! Start with "I Choose You".
More on the way....