Right Before Her Eyes, p.1Tru Night
Right Before Her Eyes
By Tru Night
Copyright 2012 Trula Wyatt writting as Tru Night
Writers are a close knit family, all working for the best story we can tell. I want to thank my friend Toni Sue for encouraging me and pushing me to keep writing, even when I want to give up. Thank you.
Cindy Adams dressed for the hometown picnic and looked at herself in the mirror. She wanted to look nice, of course, but at least she could go casual. She loved her family, but they coerced her into going every year. Her aunts would eat from overfilled plates, discuss the ‘nice young man’ they knew, and how he would be ‘perfect’ for her. At least they didn’t bring their probable men to the picnics with them. She grimaced. First one with that idea and she’d be sunk.
At the sound of the phone, she glanced at the Caller ID. Her sister was calling. A last minute pep talk, no doubt.
“I’m walking out the door Linda.”
“Just making sure. Did you make your blackberry cobbler?”
“Don’t I always? I should have fixed something different. Something shocking, like the Pink Lady salad.” Cindy fiddled with the phone cord as she spoke. Same cobbler, same rut. Sometimes she wished she would be more daring, if you could call food daring. Maybe Brock wouldn’t have left her for his secretary. A clichéd divorce magnified.
“Everyone loves your cobbler and would be really disappointed if you didn’t make it. Besides, Mark is coming. You know he loves it.”
Cindy smiled when she thought of Mark Frost, a long time friend and best friend to Brian, Linda’s husband.
“I haven’t seen him in ages! We used to sit at Grandma’s table and eat a whole cobbler.” Her grin faded as she thought of Mark’s late wife. “I’m sure it must be hard on him since Melissa died.” They all grew up together and it was hard to imagine a heart condition took someone in their late twenties.
“It’s been over a year now, but he appears to be adjusting. Brian strong-armed him until he agreed to go.”
“Oh, really? Sort of the way you do me, huh?” They both laughed. “I’ll see you in a few.”
Cindy packed the car and drove to the park where they held the town picnic each year. Familiar faces greeted her while she removed the blackberry cobbler from her car.
“Cindy, you made it!” The piercing shout and circling arms nearly made her drop the food. The arms belonged to her plump aunt and she hugged her just the way she did when she was little. She loved her family dearly, minus the matchmaking.
“Always Aunt Stella.” Their greetings were the same every year.
“You looked peaked, are you feeling well? You work too hard, you know! Need to get a man and let him do the working.”
Cindy tried not to groan. She imagined a Commander Heart standing by an open door shouting, “Dive! Dive! Dive!” while little hearts jumped from a plane. A microscope served as their target. Couldn’t she even step away from the car before her love life dove under a microscope?
“Yes, Aunt Stella, I’m sure you’re right.” She smiled and hugged her again, thinking of a fast get-away. “I’d better get this cobbler to the table.”
She walked on and greeted more family and friends. It looked like half the state was there. Southern families were huge and hers was no exception. She took a deep breath and embraced the feeling of continuity when she looked at the generations before and after in her family.
At the head of the table sat her grandmother. She walked straight to her and kissed her cheek.
“Is that my blackberry cobbler you’re carrying?” Grandma taught every female member of the family at least one special dish. She still believed the quickest way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.
“Yes, Grandma, just the way you taught me.” Cindy watched her grandmother’s eyes, and older reflection of her own, dance at the answer. Everyone cooked from scratch as a matter of pride and no one would dare bring store-bought food to the picnic. The bake off would be the grand finale of the day.
“Wonderful! Now when are you going to use those cooking talents and make dinner for a nice young man?” Grandma was up to something. Cindy noticed the twinkling in her eye. She explained before that men were not essential as they once were for women to be happy.
“If I find one that appreciates all you’ve taught me, I’ll let you know…” She trailed off hoping to prevent further discussion on the matter. Her grandmother’s gaze shifted.
“What’s wrong with this young man? He seems nice enough.” She winked at Cindy, “You’ve always gotten along so well too.”
“Hey Mark. You remember my grandmother, don’t you?” His smile could jackknife a rig on a deserted four lane highway.
“Yes. Hello, Elizabeth, how are you?” Mark extended his hand to her.
“I do alright. I’ve not seen you about lately. How are you, Mark?” Cindy thought she saw mischief soar in her grandmother’s eyes. She lived up to the matchmaking queen title because she did it with uncanny success.
“Work keeps me busy. I thought I’d take a break with some good food and company.” He directed toward Cindy. “I hear your blackberry cobbler has arrived on the scene. I’d love some before it disappears.”
“Sure Mark. Just have a seat and I’ll fill you a plate.”
“It’s a deal. Find us a seat and I’ll be right there.” She moved to the table that had been set up for the food. Filling the plates she took time to study him at a distance.
She’d always thought he was a good-looking man, and as the years passed he no longer had the look of the teenager she knew so well in school. He’d filled out well, going from gangly to muscular from head to toe. He was a pleasure to look at with a personality to match.
After she’d placed significant amounts of food on each plate she sat beside him. A cool breeze came off the stream beside them. The creek muffled the sound of others so they could speak privately but close enough to watch the children play and adults mingle.
Mark complimented her on the cobbler. She fought to control the blush that seemed to be creeping up from nowhere. Blushing was silly. They’d known each other forever and were good friends.
“So Brian tells me you’re doing well with an internet business you’ve started.”
“Yeah, I did worry at first since so many sites crash and burn in the first year, but so far it’s successful. I wouldn’t have even tried it without Brian and Linda’s support. They really pushed me to keep going after Melissa died.”
“I’m glad they helped you. Linda is a rock. She made sure I wasn’t lonely after my divorce. She kept me going when I thought my world had fallen apart. Transitions are hard, aren’t they? ”
“Yes they are. Including the blind dates.” He laughed.
“Especially the dates.” She joined in his laughter.
“You, too, huh?” At his nod she continued. “I don’t know how many times I’ve avoided ‘get togethers’ because I was afraid they were fixing me up with someone.”
He was quiet, but his smile sweet. He looked at her in silence for a bit, until it made her fidgety.
“What?” She laughed a bit in spite of trying to avoid her jittery giggle.
“Yeah, I know about that.” He took a deep breath the way someone does before they dive into a lake. Then with a long exhale he said, “You know there was this one girl from school I always wanted to date, yet Linda and Brian could never seem to fix me up with her.” He paused before he looked away, as if considering whether to continue.
“So go on. Who is the mystery lady?” She nudged him like so often before.
The way her heart raced surprised her. Really, it wasn’t her business, but sudde
“You.” He looked solemn while her heart beat a fast new rhythm.
“Me?” She felt her lips smile despite her efforts to control them.
“I asked Brian what nights you dropped by. You never seemed to show up when I could make it. I imagined I was the only one you wouldn’t have dinner with.” His eyes dimmed just a bit.
“I didn’t…” He held his hand up to silence her and continued.
“I told them we’ve been friends for so long you’d never agree to date me. I never want to mess that up, but I always wanted to take you out on a real date.”
“I didn’t know you felt that way, Mark.” She had to take a deep breath. His friendship meant so much to her. Her heart beat faster with him than it did with other friends.
“Ever since we sat in your grandmother’s kitchen eating blackberry cobbler she insisted you learn to make, I’ve thought you were sweeter than any berry that could be picked.” He looked down at his plate, and then lifted a bite to his mouth as if giving her time to think.
“Mark, I don’t know what to say.” She felt so tongue-tied in front of him, someone she’d always been able to speak to freely. He reached for her hand on the table, a warm comforting hand she knew well. She closed her eyes and listened to the creek. The memories they shared flooded her thoughts and her heart.
“Say you’ll go out with me on Friday.” With his other hand, he held out a bite of cobbler for her to taste. She took the bite off his fork thinking; Grandma said the perfect man would be right before my eyes.
About the author:
Tru Night writes short sweet romances for time crunched readers. She also dabbles in graphics and makes her own book covers. Nature walks with her family give her inspiration for both. Whatever she's doing her little dog is stuck like glue to her side. They both enjoy a quiet evening to curl up and read.
Right Before Her Eyes by Tru Night / Romance & Love have rating 4.1 out of 5 / Based on33 votes