Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sharon/Sam: Firework (3/13)

E – Effortless

He felt Sherry's eyes on him as he cast his line out for the third time. He had already brought in and released two fish while her line was still bobbing untouched in the water.

"How do you do that?" she finally spoke up.

He glanced at her as he kept his eye on the line, waiting to see or feel a tug on it. "Do what?"

"Make everything seem so easy, so effortless," she said. "Even fishing comes so naturally to you, it seems."

"Well I've been doing it for a really long time. My father used to take me out every weekend and teach me. At first I couldn't catch anything at all and then I got the brilliant idea to use marshmallows and they started biting then."

"I am using a marshmallow now and haven't caught anything," she pointed out. "Not that I really want to because I don't want to hurt the fishes, not even for a second. It's just you make everything seem so … easy."

He shrugged and glanced at her again, noted the way the sun danced on the locks of her brunette hair. She looked so beautiful framed in that light but still so sad. He didn't know if he would ever look at her and not see that expression of pain in her eyes; pain that said she had been through the trenches of hell itself.

He started to speak, started to break his own vow not to ask her any personal questions, when she began to squeal with almost-delight. "What is it?"

"Something, something's … tugging," Sherry said with something almost a kin to a smile. "On the line …" Sure enough the line was bobbing now and Sam quickly scooted over to her and helped her reel it in, giving her enough room that she would feel she had done most of the work herself.

Soon enough a silver-skinned minnow was on her line. Sam quickly took the pliers and unhooked it before gently settling it back into the pond. It immediately zipped far away and then delved under the blue-green water.

"Great job, Sherry," he said and he realized then he was still holding her hand. He quickly let go and she offered him a shrug.

"He wasn't very big."

"For a minnow, that was big!" Sam laughed.

"You think he'll be alright?" Sherry asked. "I didn't hurt him too bad, I hope."

"Nah, he'll be just fine. You did good. You're a good person."

"I don't believe that. I know it's not true but well, thanks for saying it anyway," she murmured and he nodded. She was a good person, a great person. Sam was a good judge of character and no matter what was dogging her steps, he knew Sherry was salt of the earth and had a good heart. She was far too hard on herself and he hoped one day she would be able to stop punishing herself for past misdeeds.


F - Fireworks

June came and went as they settled down into a more concrete routine. July came rolling around and Sam decided he wanted to ask Sherry to watch the fireworks with him on the lake at Old El Paso where many of the town's members would be gathering for the holiday celebration. He hesitated though because he didn't want to scare her off, didn't want to send her off running the way he had a few months before. Most of all, he was deathly afraid she would say "no".

It wasn't until the very morning of the Fourth that he could bring himself to ask her about it. He walked into the barn to find her already cleaning out the stalls. He got a good look at her jean-clad rear-end and flushed before quickly looking away.

She turned to see him standing there but if she noticed the heated look on his face, she didn't say so. "Hey, Sam," she said. "Happy Independence Day." She offered him her best attempt at a full smile.

"Same to you," Sam said, jamming his hands in his pockets and leaning his back against the wooden frame of the big stall. "So … uh, do you have any plans for tonight?"

Sherry sighed. "Do I ever?"

"Ahh … Well, I was thinking. With it being Independence Day and all … Well, there's this gathering down at the docks tonight. Food and dancing … Not that we would you know, have to dance … But there's food and fireworks and …"

Sherry put down the rake and moved around to face him. "You mentioned food. Twice actually."

"Yeah, are you hungry?" he asked and felt so stupid for asking that he could have kicked himself.

"Well not right now. I already had breakfast … Its just … You seem nervous."

"Nervous? Me?" He shook his head. "No. I just – I know you and big crowds don't mix. Plus I don't want you to think I'm hitting on you or –"

"Are you asking me on a date?"

Sam started to say "no" but then sighed. "Well, it could be just two friends watching the fireworks together or … Actually, for sure, just two friends …"

Sherry seemed to be thinking it over and nodded. "Okay. I actually need to get out of the barn for a bit any way. The Fourth of July used to be a big thing with my family and my daughter so –" Her voice trailed off. "I just don't want to be alone with my thoughts, I guess."

"You're sure you're okay with this?"

"Do you want me not to come after all?" she asked, biting her lip.

"No of course I want you to come. I just want you to be comfortable."

Sherry nodded. "I am comfortable. With you, I really am."

Sam nodded and smiled though he wasn't sure he liked the idea of Sherry being just comfortable with him. Comfortable was like an old shoe and as much as he would like to deny it, he wanted her to want him at least half as much as he did her. It was getting harder and harder to stay just employee and employer, or even tentative friends. More and more each day, he realized he was falling in love with this woman.


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