Stop! This is the twenty-first episode!
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Right after the service ended, Jeff disappeared into the men’s room to change his clothes for the picnic. Even though he had been unsure of the formality of the church setting, he had the good sense to know that suits plus grass and ketchup usually don’t mix well.
Kay paced as she waited for him in the overflow hall, bouncing Destiny gently with each step. She was dying to ask him what had happened during the prayer time, but something inside told her to let Jeff initiate the topic. He was visibly moved when he had returned to his seat and she couldn’t help wonder what he was thinking. Whatever it was, it seemed to be good.
She thought about how very little she really knew about Jeff. Maybe this picnic would be a good chance to get to know him a little better.
The door to the restroom swung open with a squeak and Jeff appeared, looking much more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt.
“Hey, there you are. Jeff, would you mind holding Destiny while I grab my cooler from the car?”
“Not at all.” Jeff reached out and took the baby in his arms, both pleased and terrified at the same time. His big hands dwarfed her little frame, yet he cradled her as if she was made of glass.
“She won’t break, y’know.” Kay smiled encouragingly at him and started for her vehicle.
A few minutes later, the cooler was unpacked, the picnic blanket spread and Jeff was sitting with a happy Destiny cooing on his lap.
The sun was shining down with all its summer glory and a gentle breeze kept it from getting overwhelmingly hot. Kay spun in a slow circle before collapsing contentedly next to them on the checkered blanket. “Ahh, it is just the perfect day! Thanks for holding my little punkin’.” She took Destiny back into her arms and reached for her bottle. “Jeff, just so you know, the burgers and hot dogs are over in the tent towards the back of the church. Each family was supposed to bring their own chips, soda, dessert and such, but the main course is provided. I don’t think the first batch is quite ready yet, but if you want to meet some of the guys, they’ll be hanging out by the grills.”
“Hey, you trying to get rid of me already?” Jeff twisted his face into a playful pout. Kay mock hit his shoulder and made a shooing motion with her free hand. “You bet I am! Skedaddle, mister! I can’t help you meet people if I hog your free nanny services all day.”
Jeff flashed her a grin as he stood. “So, seeing I’ll be over there anyway, what do you eat? Burgers or dogs? Please tell me you aren’t one of those tofu girls…”
Kay snorted. “Tofu? I don’t think so. Give me a dead cow smothered in salty tomato goodness any day!”
“So… does that translate into a burger?”
“Heh, it translates into whatever form of meat is done cooking first. I’m not picky. I’m a true carnivore. Thanks for offering to grab it.”
Kay watched Jeff walk away and sent up a silent prayer that somehow he would connect with the guys. He just seems so different from any other man I’ve ever known… not that I’ve known many well… Kay began mentally ticking off a list of males in her life. Dad, Uncle Mich, Cousin Freddy, Grandpa… Yup, that pretty much sums it up.
Her thought process was suddenly interrupted by a super bubbly female voice.
“Kay! Where DID you find that hunk? So, are you claiming first dibs or is he fair game?” Cassy, the owner of the voice, melodramatically batted her eyes.
Usually, Kay was able to tolerate Cassy fairly well, but suddenly her Barbie doll looks and “Gossip Girl” persona were almost completely unbearable. She gritted her teeth and forced a laugh. “Seriously, Cassy! He’s almost a total stranger, you know nothing about him, and besides, he isn’t some purse to be fought over at a store. He’s a human being with a personality and the ability to choose himself. Maybe he doesn’t WANT a girlfriend!”
Cassy tilted her head to the side, looking confused for a moment. “Wait a second. You’re trying to tell me that he’s gay, aren’t you?” She sighed, her glossy bottom lip protruding in a babydoll pout. “I shoulda known… all the really cute ones are.”
Kay sputtered on her sip of rootbeer, soda fizzing out of her nose in a most unbecoming manner. “NO! I didn’t say he was gay! Cassy!” She dissolved into giggles, the indignant look on Cassy’s face only making it funnier.
Just then, Jeff reappeared, with a plate in each hand. “What’s so funny? Did I miss a joke?” Cassy opened her mouth to respond, but Kay waved her hand to silence her. “Don’t ask, Jeff, just don’t ask.” Kay tried to stifle her amusement, taking the plate from his hand. “Potato chips? Soda?”
At this point, Cassy seemed to recover and tried to make her move. She smiled coyly and held out a daintily manicured hand. “Hi, Jeff. I’m Cassy and Kay and I are just the BEST friends. I’m sure she’s told you ALL about me already. Oh, oh dear. Potato chips? Kay, darling, do you know how unhealthy those are? Not to mention fattening?” She deftly looped her arm around Jeff’s and began to steer him away. “Come with me, Jeffy. I have these organic sun-dried banana chips that are absolutely divine.” She blinked up at him. “I don’t usually share my favorite foods, but for you, I think I’ll have to make an exception.”
To be continued…
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