G – Girlfriend
They had been at the docks for less than two minutes when people began swarming around them, full of prying questions. A lot of admiring looks were placed in Sherry's direction as well. Sam couldn't blame any of them. This was a small-town and new residents always caused quite a stir although this new resident in particular was also incredibly beautiful. Sherry had her chestnut locks gathered up in a loose ponytail, soft tendrils of hair framing her perfect face. She was wearing a blue dress with spaghetti straps that showed off her amazing figure. He couldn't take his eyes off her even as a group of people jostled them apart. To Sherry's credit, she handled it all with dignity and grace. He heard Biff Sanders, an elderly man at eighty-two years, ask Sherry to "cut the rug" (though there wasn't one) with him and she looked at Sam before agreeing. The octogenarian could still move at his age and swept Sherry around the docks, hooting to anyone who would listen that he had the best looking girl there.
It was true.
Sam sighed and pushed through the gawking crowd. He went over to the dessert table and realized he was a bit too anxious to eat so he settled for pouring himself a cup of Sally Rubenstein's famous punch. Sally gave him an approving smile as he took a sip and pronounced it "delicious".
He then found his eyes searching the crowd for Sherry. She was no longer dancing with Biff but instead being chatted up by two local wannabe Romeos named Lou and Butch. He started to head over to them when none other than Edie was approaching him.
"Hey there," he greeted her as she narrowed her dark eyes at him.
"Who's that girl, Sam?" Edie asked. "Are you two … Are you seeing each other?"
Sam shook her head. He could honestly say "No" and he did, adding, "She is just a friend. An employee really. She works at my farm."
"Doing what exactly?" Edie asked.
"Helping me tend to the house and barn. She's great with the animals."
Edie rolled her eyes. "I just bet… So she's not your girlfriend?"
"Would you like her to be?" Edie pressed.
"Sam, let's be honest here. We had some good times together but if you ever looked at me the way you are whatever her name is, we would have been married a long time ago instead of doing the off and on thing for the past seven years."
"I don't want to hurt you, not in a million years would I want that."
Edie sighed. "I know. You're a good man. Salt of the earth and all that. But we should just be friends and nothing but from now on."
"Are you okay with that?"
Edie shrugged. "I have to be. Besides, I want you to be happy and the way you were smiling at her right now … She makes you that way."
"She is just a friend. That's all she wants."
"Don't be too sure," Edie said and gestured to Sherry who was no longer watching Lou and Butch but instead him, though demurely under her long eyelashes.
"Make your move, Sammy boy," Edie said. "Or you'll end up regretting it. I know that much."
Edie then melded back into the crowd and Sam sighed. He finished his punch, tossed the paper cup into the nearest trash can and walked towards Sherry.
"Hey, Lou, Butch," he greeted the guys. "Do you mind if I steal Sherry here away for a minute?"
Lou and Butch sighed and shrugged but ultimately agreed. Sherry smiled at Sam and he offered her his hand. "Dance with me?" Sam asked quietly.
Sherry nodded. "I would like that."
And so they danced to some honkytonk song he didn't know the name of and he held her close, the two of them just being …
H – Heat
“Did you have fun tonight?” Sam asked, as he walked beside Sherry in the moonlight. They were headed back to the farm after a long night of dancing, eating and drinking. Sherry had seemed to loosen up a bit tonight. He’d even seen her smile a few times, especially during the square dance when she’d seen for herself that he had two left feet.
Sam studied her expression and Sherry stared right back at him. This time her gaze was unwavering. “I did, Sam,” she said. “It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to well, just be like that.”
“I’m glad you had fun,” Sam said. He reached out and tugged her to a stop.
“Wh-what is it?” She asked.
“Wait for it,” Sam said.
“Wait for what?”
Sam pointed up into the sky. “The last set of fireworks,” he said. “Ben Wheeler does a pretty spectacular send-off each year. He takes his speed boat out to the middle of the lake and just lets ‘em go.” Fireworks – red, white and blue ones – began popping off in the sky. Sherry threw up her arms like she could reach out and grab them. She laughed.
“They’re so beautiful!” she cried.
“Not as beautiful as you,” Sam said. He wasn’t sure that she had heard him at first but as the booms and pops died down, she turned to look at him. In the darkness, her eyes looked even larger and more luminous than usual.
“Did you just say that I’m –“
“Beautiful.” She nodded. “Yeah, I did. And I could take it back but I don’t want to. It’s the truth. You’re an amazing woman."
Sherry’s eyes gleamed in the darkness then and he could tell that she was tearing up. She clasped her hands and brought them up to her mouth for a moment, as if she didn’t trust herself to speak.
Sam sighed. “I am sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep. I just – I just wanted you to know.”
Sherry nodded. “It’s been a long time since a man said that and I actually believed him,” she whispered hoarsely. In the next moment, she was moving to close the distance between them, grasping his stubbly cheeks between her small, soft fingers. They stared at each other for a long moment and then they were kissing. Sam couldn’t tell who kissed whom first and he didn’t care. All he cared about was this moment.
The first kiss was soft and tentative but each one there after grew in intensity and heat. His fingers tangled in her long, silky tresses as he looped his arm around her waist and tugged her still closer. Her breasts were pressed against his chest and he could feel each ragged breath that she took as they held each other. Her lips were even softer than they had appeared and they felt so damn good on his. He darted his tongue out and lightly traced her plump lips with it. Their tongues soon danced together. They kissed passionately until air exchange became a necessity.
They disentangled but their foreheads rested together for a moment. Sam’s calloused fingers came up to caress the curve of her throat. “That was –“
“It was great,” Sherry said. “Really.”
Sam smiled in agreement. “Should we finish walking back to the farm?”
Sherry nodded. “Yes, yes we should.”
They fell into step beside each other. Sam smiled as after a few quietly charged moments, Sherry reached for his hand and threaded their fingers. They didn’t say anything to each other as they strolled back to the farm. Words weren’t necessary.
TO BE CONTINUED.