Hana stopped chewing again. Her aunt didn’t know her lack of sexual experience. How much did she want to reveal to Jasper? Some men were terrified of virgins, others couldn’t leave them alone. He didn’t look like he’d scare easily, nor did he look like a lech, but she was suddenly embarrassed by her status.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that, but it certainly is a close second.” It sounded diplomatic enough, but got a curiously penetrating look from her aunt.
Hana was saved from making any further comment by the band starting to play again. Jasper’s father was once again on vocals. They sang a couple Willie Nelson songs, then the strains of Blue Bayou started. Stan took up the vocals once more.
“Come dance with me again, please?” Jasper held out his hand. His expression was almost pleading, she couldn’t refuse.
He swept her onto the dance floor, spinning her around easily as if she’d been dancing forever. His hips moved sinuously against hers as he held her. She felt a blush start at her neckline and was glad the lights had been dimmed after dinner. Jasper sang harmony with his uncle while they danced. Softly at first, then more loudly. Stan laughed while he played the guitar solo.
“Next verse is yours.”
The solo finished and Jasper took up the vocal. On the last Blue Bayou he launched into a falsetto worthy of Queen. It was an amazing note and Hana knew she could never have hit it.
“You’re a man of many talents,” she said as they went back to the table. “You ride bucking horses, put their shoes back on, dance and sing. What can’t you do?”
He chuckled, blushing slightly. “I don’t know. I’ve never found anything I couldn’t do.”
“I’ve never tried, not much inclination to do that, but I can sew on a button.”
“Can you cook?”
“Pretty well, simple stuff.”
“I hate to keep asking.”
“Because sooner or later, I’m going to find something you can’t do, and I’ll be disappointed.”
“Never disappoint a lady,” he told her honestly. “Believe me, I’ll never do it on purpose.”
They sat back down by Aunt Enid. Her head lolled and she appeared to be asleep. She roused slightly when they sat down.
“Hana, dear, I think I need to go to bed. The day’s drive really took it out of me.”
“Sure, Auntie. I’ll take you back right away.”
“No, you stay. Janine said she’d help me get settled. It will be nice to have the chance to see her without everyone around.”
“You have the phone in case you need me?”
“Of course, dear. But I’ll be fine. You stay and enjoy yourself.”
Jasper leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Sleep well, Miss E. I expect you here for breakfast. I’m cooking.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” she told him honestly. “Are you making your specialty?”
“Mile high Belgian waffles with strawberries. Yes, ma’am!”
“Goodnight, kids,” she told them as Janine Jacobs walked up.
“Night, Auntie!” Hana kissed her and thanked Janine for taking her aunt to her room.
“Glad to help! It’s not often I’ve got her as a captive audience. I intend to talk her ear off, until I bore her to sleep.”
They went off talking happily. Hana watched them go with an astonished look on her face.
“You can’t imagine how odd it is for me to see her this way,” she admitted to Jasper. “She’s never like this at home. It’s wonderful for her here. Everyone is so nice!”
She realized she was babbling and drifted to a close. Jasper took her hand, acting as if he wanted to say something, then changed his mind.
“Would you like another drink?”
“Yes, I would. Thanks.”
Hana blushed, not sure she could say the name to him. “Jimmy knows,” she said quickly.
“Okay. Another Jimmy Knows coming up.”
He winked at her and walked over the bar. He spoke briefly to Jimmy, chuckled and glanced at Hana.
“Great,” she thought. “Now I’m a prude.”
She reddened again, wondering if she was ever going to pull herself out of this mire she’d gotten into. She was trying to make a good impression, not make him think she was peculiar.
Jasper returned a few minutes later carrying their drinks. “I see why you didn’t want to tell me what you’re drinking. Great drink, awful name. I won’t order them from anyone but Jimmy because I hate saying that to a stranger.”
© Dellani Oakes 2022