Dellani Oakes

Making People Fall in Love One Couple at a Time

Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 5

“No, baby, I’m from Mizzippi.”

“No! Really?”

I watched Bernie glower and fade into the background, her dark eyes blazing as she watched the interchange between Jake and Rowena.

“Pass Christian,” she added with a grin. “You ain’t from around here, neither!”

Jake laughed loudly. It was the most comfortable sound he’s ever made. “Nope, true enough. I’m from around Natchez.”

“How’d you end up here?” she asked.

“Was gonna ask the same thing.”

“I go where they send me.”

“Me too.” He nodded, shuffling his feet. “Get ya a bite? Or a coffee?”

“A black coffee, please.” She handed him cash and stuffed more in the jar.

Jake made a cup for each of us and we sat out at the same table, talking and drinking.

“Natchez?” Rowena said after a pause.

“Just outside. Ever heard of Miracle?”

“My granddaddy was from there. Name’s Len Barrett. Got a son named Elijah.”

“I know the Eli Barrett well. I went to school with his younger boy, Roddy.”

“Well, then, Jake, I do believe we’re practically kin.”

That settled, my friend excused himself and headed up the sidewalk, hands in his pockets. Rowena watched him go, her smile fading.

“He’s damaged, isn’t he. The war?”

“Yeah. He’s a good man, but like you said, damaged.”

“Poor, tender heart.” She fiddled with her coffee cup.

“Would you like to do something tonight? We won’t stay late. I know you’ve got to work tomorrow.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Dinner? More good coffee?” I chuckled, saluting her with my cup. “I’d like to cook for you, more than a salad and pie.”

“Don’t you get tired of cooking, after being at it all day?”

I shook my head, shrugging. “Nope. I love to cook, just preparing a meal for one is a let down after the huddled masses. I usually eat leftovers from the special, but it’s all gone. Besides, I’d really like to cook for you.”

“Okay. Where and what time?”

“I’ll come to you. Seven o’clock good?”

“That would be great. You’re sure?”

“Positive.”

“I’m not sleeping with you tonight,” she declared firmly.

“Got it. Hadn’t expected it.” But the fact she mentioned it meant she’d at least thought of it. I remained hopeful that although I wouldn’t get laid tonight, which I hadn’t expected, I’d get laid soon.

She gave me her address, a moderately priced apartment complex, just a few blocks from downtown.

“I’ll see you at seven,” I said, taking her hand in mine. My lips fluttered across her knuckles, lingering between the ring and middle fingers.

Rowena blushed, smiling at me. “I’ll be waiting and ready.”

“See you then.”

She threw her cup in the trash and headed to the parking garage. A few minutes later, I saw her drive out in a new, red Taurus. She waved before turning into traffic. I returned it, adding a salute. After securing the outer flap and lowering the awning, I pulled up the step and locked the back door before easing the big truck into the flow of traffic.

Once back home, also not far from downtown, I relaxed and went inside for a shower. Everything I needed for the meal was in the truck. I figured I’d drive over and park at the curb. Somehow, that seemed to make me hesitate. The food truck is great for convenience, but not romance. I might not be getting laid, but I couldn’t foresee Rowena ever humping on the counter, or the floor, of my truck.

Instead, I loaded what I would need in bins in my pickup, with the idea of cooking in her kitchen. Since I can’t be sure someone else will have acceptable pots, pans, knives, I brought my own. I’ve done this before, acting as a personal chef for hire. It helps pay the bills, taking me places I wouldn’t normally get to go.

Arriving at Rowena’s, I gathered my things on a small trolley and went up to her apartment. When she answered the door, I was leaning casually against the trolley handle. In that pose, the entire expanse of long, lean body was displayed to perfection. I’m not averse to showing off my physique, I work hard to maintain it. Every crunch, push up, and lap I swim, paid off in that one moment. Her eyes bugged out, her jaw dropped, and she couldn’t stop staring long enough to ask me in. It took her almost half a minute of staring, before she spoke. It had been a while since a woman looked me over like I was on the menu, and I liked it.

“Sorry! Please come in. I wasn’t expecting you to bring it all yourself.” She stepped back, ushering me in.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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