Janet agrees to go out for coffee, with Tex. A storm picks up, and he tells her he chases tornadoes, and asks if she has any vices.
She shrugged, tossing her hair. “I don’t give them up easily. A man has to work hard to learn them.”
“I can guess one of them already.”
“Yup. You’re a tease. You get a man all wired up, and tell him flat out no.”
“I’ve never done that.” She glared defiantly.
“A woman with spark. I like that. Where there’s a spark, there’s a fire.”
“I thought that was where there’s smoke….”
“Nope. Not with women. Have dinner with me.”
“Dinner. Tonight. I’ll take you anywhere you want.”
“I can’t tonight.”
“My parents are expecting me home for dinner.”
“Why’s that a big deal?”
She wrinkled her nose, making a face. “My dad takes one night off a week and we have dinner at home. We’re all there, unless it’s a school obligation I can’t get out of.”
“Tell them you have to work.”
“I’d love to, but I work for my dad.”
He chuckled, nodding. “Understood. So, tomorrow? Do you have family night then, too?”
“Tomorrow, I can do.”
“Great. I’ll pick you up at eight o’clock.”
“You don’t know where I live.”
“But you’re going to show me, when I drive you home.”
“You’re right about one thing, Tex.”
“You are persistent.”
“Does that mean you’ll go?”
He whooped, making the other patrons glare at him. “She said she’d go out,” he announced to the room in general.
The women rolled their eyes, the men clapped politely. Tex took her hand, bringing it to his lips.
“You won’t regret it,” he told her. “Not for a second.”
Lubbock, Texas. 2000.
I did regret it. Maybe not right away. But forever. Why did I ever go with him? Because I thought Diego had stopped caring. He didn’t write, he didn’t call, he didn’t send messages through Ramona. I was sure he’d found someone else and forgotten me…. I’m sorry…. I’m so sorry….
But who she apologized to, she couldn’t have said.
Lubbock, Texas. December 1979
Tex moved fast, spinning her around, sweeping her off her feet. Dinner, movies, plays, concerts. He was charming, affable, handsome—there. It had been nearly a year since her last message from Diego. He was busy, she knew that, but he’d always managed to write or call before. She didn’t know where he was stationed, what he was doing. The uncertainty was more than she could handle.
She still loved him desperately. The sound of his voice thrilled her, thoughts of him warmed her. She’d dated very little through high school into college. He’d been her first and, so far, only. No other man excited her the same way, and she wouldn’t settle for second best. She had her memories of their time together, and that saw her through.
But Tex…. There was something hot and exciting about him. He made her feel giddy, alive, loved. His kisses thrilled her nearly as much as Diego’s. He didn’t pressure her, but she knew he wanted to take their relationship further. It was their four month anniversary and she was cooking a nice meal for him at his place. He’d given her a key a month ago. She let herself in and started dinner. She’d brought candles and special dishes and glasses to adorn the table. He arrived with flowers twenty minutes before dinner. His kiss made her tingle from head to foot.
©2020 Dellani Oakes