Jasper’s eyes sparkled in anticipation. “Well, I reckon you can at that.” He winked. “We’re almost done cleaning up. Just need your dishes. Are you done?”
“I’m full,” Enid said with a small burp. “Hana?”
“Stuffed—” Blushing, she realized what she’d said. “I’m done,” she wanted to melt into the floor.
Jasper leaned over, giving each a kiss on the cheek as he took their plates. “I was gonna say, Not yet, baby, but I remain hopeful,” he whispered as he kissed her.
“I heard that,” Enid pretended to scold. “Good man!”
“You have no idea how good,” Jasper tossed his long, dark hair out of his eyes.
“I’ve got a hell of an imagination,” Enid said after he left. “My dear, there’s a man who knows exactly what he’s doing. A woman could be happy with him forever, and never get bored.”
“How do you know just by looking at him? I don’t know that.”
“I’ve been around a while. I’m not stupid. Ed may have been my one and only lover, but I dated a good bit before I married him. Besides, my friends were very vocal about who was good and who wasn’t, so I learned to pay attention.”
“I sure wish you’d teach me.”
“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” Enid patted her hand. “I’ve a feeling he’ll be happy to teach you himself.” She winked. “Now, let’s find me something to do so I won’t get bored while you’re gone.”
A group of women was setting up to play cards and Mahjong in another room. Hana wheeled Enid in and got her set at one of the tables. She was greeted like a long lost friend, everyone vying for her to be their Bridge partner. As Hana left, one of the women suggested putting their names in a hat and letting Enid draw.
“Just to be fair,” she said with a giggle.
Jasper met Hana in the lobby. He was talking to Marnie and Jeff. He stopped speaking when he saw her, his smile warming as he held out his hand to her. He leaned over, kissing her.
“I’ve been wanting to do that since last night.”
Marnie and Jeff took the opportunity to exchange a kiss or two themselves, thus giving Hana and Jasper a modicum of privacy.
“What’s the game plan, cuz?” Jeff asked him.
“I planned to take Hana for a drive. Show her the sights and so forth.”
Jasper’s pocket vibrated and his phone chirped. He dug it out of his front pocket.
“Jasper?” It was Mitch Singleton, his biggest client.
“Hiya, Mitch. What can I do for you?”
“I’ve got a problem, Jas. I bought a few more mustangs, and they all need new shoes real bad.”
“How many is a few, Mitch?”
He knew the older man’s proclivity for rescuing mustangs in massive numbers. Mitch had retired early, after selling his company at a hefty profit. Bored with that, he’d started a new business, as well as setting up a variety of charitable organizations. He felt he should give back to the land some of which man had stolen. Providing a good home for wild mustangs was one of his pet projects. He already had quite a substantial herd.
“Oh, round a half dozen or so.”
“Mitch,” Jasper’s tone was teasingly dangerous.
“All right, baker’s dozen. By golly, they was all so pretty, I couldn’t pass ’em up.”
Jasper chuckled. “Okay, so you need me to come work my magic, huh?”
“Yee-ep. But listen, I bought me another swatch of land. It ain’t too far from your sister’s place.”
“What? That’s not exactly close, Mitch. Do you need me to come all the way over there?”
“Yee-ep. I’ll pay you for gas and travel, that’s no problem. Plan to stay the night. I don’t want no one but you touching these here. They’re pretty young and mighty green. Job needs your firm hand.”
“That’s gonna get expensive.”
“Hell, can’t take it with you, might as well spend it.”
Jasper laughed, agreeing with him. “Oh, listen, I’ve got a friend I want to bring to visit. I know she’d love to see your herd. Can she tag along?”
“You’ve got a lady friend?”
“Yee-ep,” he copied the older man’s inflection perfectly.
“Bring her along. Does she work with you?”
“No, but damn she’s pretty.”
Mitch laughed loudly and Jasper could picture Mitch’s face in his mind. His dark eyes crinkled, mouth awry, laughing so hard he nearly fell over.
“Fairly new acquisition, eh?”
“How did you guess?”
“Cause when I talked to you last week, you didn’t have her, and now you do. Early on in a relationship, you don’t want to be too far away. Bring her along. I’d like to meet the little lady who stole the big blacksmith’s heart.”
“Cool. Thanks, Mitch.”
© Dellani Oakes 2022