I shared with you last week that I resumed work on a romance novel I started months before Tom died. It is the story of a fifty-seven year old widow who decides to return to the activity of square dancing. It was inspired by a couple Tom and I knew through our own experience in square dancing. During the first lesson my main character meets a rather interesting man. A tall man she refers to as “The Cowboy.” He certainly looks the part. This excerpt takes place a few days later when she accidently runs into The Cowboy at a local market. Let me know what you think.
Excerpt from Courtesy Turn by Rebecca Waters
Jungle Jim’s was crowded with people anxious to stock up on food items before a nasty winter storm made travel impossible. Dottie picked up a loaf of bread and a box of cereal. She put a few bags of chips and jars of salsa in her cart. Love salsa. Oh, cheese and crackers are always nice, too. Dottie grabbed a box of crackers and a small brick of Colby Jack cheese. The meat was packaged in large “family size” quantities. Dottie found a small ham and a package of chicken legs. Four legs? That’s four meals for me.
She had just rounded the corner leading to the fruits and vegetables section of the store when her heart leaped. Turning down the next aisle was The Cowboy. She only caught a glimpse of his back, but it was him. The height, the way he walked, even the hat was distinctive. He was coming down the open aisles on the other side of the squash. What was he picking up? Eggplant? Something purple looking. Between the banners and signs hanging down describing each item and the tables of vegetables themselves, Dottie could see the bottom of The Cowboy’s face and had a clear view of his shopping cart. Three apples, a small hand of green bananas and a couple of baking potatoes. I bet he lives alone.
A plan started forming. If I turn my cart around now, we’ll probably meet at the end of this aisle near the cabbage.
She would look up. He would tip his hat and say something like, “Well hello, again. We met at the Hayloft Barn last Tuesday, remember?” She would smile a slow smile of recognition. “Oh, of course. I remember.” He would give his name and she would offer hers. Maybe they would have a cup of coffee at the Starbuck’s right there in Jungle Jim’s.
Dottie looked over the zucchini. The Cowboy was gone. She looked both ways. He had vanished. What was I thinking? A little laugh escaped.
Grabbing potatoes, some cabbage, and bananas, Dottie made her way through the store, picking up a bag of brown rice, a few canned vegetables and the makings for her famous bean soup. Some milk and eggs and I’m out of here.
The dairy aisle was bottlenecked with shoppers. She sampled a new Greek yogurt offered by a young woman at the end of the aisle. It was good. Dottie mentally added Greek yogurt to her list. She bent over a bin containing two varieties of the creamy yogurt. As she stood up to compare the calories of the two, a corduroy clad arm reached past her.
“Oh, pardon me, Mam. I was tryin’ to get that blueberry yogurt.”
“No problem,” Dottie smiled.
The Cowboy tipped his hat, dropped a blueberry yogurt in the basket and pushed away.
I should say something. Maybe, I could be the one. I could say, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ No. That’s lame. Dottie bit her lower lip.
She could say something like, “Were you at the Hayloft Barn Tuesday?” No. “Pardon me, but did we meet at the Hayloft last Tuesday? Much better. He would say, “Why yes.” Then he would offer his name and she would offer hers. Would we have coffee? I really need to get these groceries home. Maybe exchange phone numbers. No. That would be rushing it.
“Excuse me, mam, but could I reach past you? I need the fat free yogurt.”
Dottie blinked her eyes back to the reality of the grocery store. A young redheaded woman with a redheaded infant in her cart was smiling sweetly at her.
“Oh, yes, I’m sorry. I guess I was blocking the way.” Dottie put both yogurts in her shopping cart and pushed forward.
The Cowboy was gone. She grabbed a quart of milk and a dozen eggs before making her way to the checkout line. No cowboys were anywhere to be seen. “I’m an idiot,” she said to no one in particular. The dark skinned man behind her grinned.
Comments? I’d love to hear from you.