- 3 -
Will Murray hummed along Credence as he drove out of Concrete on his 1970 C10. He recognized Ollie Turner’s F100 coming from Bold Peak down Burpee Hill Road. They traded a honk and a wave as they drove by each other. Ollie was with the youngest Corban. About time they got back together. Murray didn’t remember seeing them together over the last weeks.
He let out a contented sigh. It was such a beautiful September afternoon. He decided he’d grab his stick and go down to the lake the moment he got home, to fish until dinner.
Past Tyee Lake, he took Baker Lake road and turned the music a little louder. It felt almost surreal when Sweet Hitch-Hiker began at the same time he spotted two girls on the shoulder of the road, holding a sign that read, “Bold Peak.” His foot stepped on the brake without consulting with his brain, and he pulled over past them, eyes up on the rearview. They were in their mid-twenties, a pretty blonde with a tight ponytail and a sexy brunette carrying camping rucksacks. Both of them wore daring denim shorts and flannels open on tight tops.
Murray’s arm seemed a propeller as he lowered his window, seeing the brunette circle the old pickup truck to approach it.
“I’m going to Bold Peak, if you guys need the ride,” he said, fighting to keep his eyes on the girl’s face and ignore her revealing collar. “Drop your packs in the back and get in here. There’s plenty of room for three.”
“Cool! Thanks!” replied the brunette, grinning.
A minute later, Murray re-entered the road with the girls sitting by him. He tried to turn the music off, but the blonde rested her hand on his to stop him.
“Let it play. We’re totally into vintage rock,” she said with a nice smile, pressing his fingers softly.
He swallowed and smiled back, waiting for her to remove her hand to take his to the wheel, brushing the brunette’s leg on the way.
“Are you camping here around?” he asked, nailing his eyes to the road.
“Just got here,” the blonde replied. “We need to buy some supplies in town first.”
“D’you know of any campground closer to town than Boulder Creek?” asked the brunette.
“Vincent’s,” Murray replied. “It’s only a mile north of Main Street. Nice place, right by the lake. It even has a small beach.”
“Sounds great!” the blonde said.
“North of town?” the brunette repeated. “Y’know? We camped here before once, like, ages ago. I remember we visited an old friend of Mom’s. They lived in a farm north of town, up the hill in the woods.”
“That would be the Corban farm. Your mother was friends with Rosalind?”
“That’s the name! Corban!”
“We’d like to drop by and say hi. Is it far from that campground you’re talking about?”
“No need to go all the way to the farm. They moved to town years ago. I’m not sure what Alex’s working on right now, but you can always find Claire at the diner. She works the morning shift there. She’s gonna be thrilled to meet someone who knew her mother.”
“Yeah! It’s gonna be so much fun!” said the blond, a candid smile carved in her face.
“And what about you?” asked the brunette. “Where d’you live?”
She turned to Murray and her breast brushed his arm. His heart drummed in his chest. He knew there was no way such a babe would hit on him, but one could always daydream for a little while.
“I live two streets away from Vincent’s, also on the lakefront road.”
“With your kids and wife?”
“Not anymore. My wife passed last year, and my children live in Seattle.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Must get lonely sometimes.”
Murray flashed a shy smile at them, taking the chance to glance down at the brunette’s breast, only half-covered by her top and still brushing his arm.
The sun was setting when Ollie and Claire came back from Concrete, and Claire asked him to drop her at the bookstore, knowing Alex would still be there.
And there she was. She’d finished sorting all the books, and then she’d hanged the curtains, covered the table with a brand new white cloth and placed an empty glass vase on it, to have fresh flowers among the special offers. Claire walked in as she pinned an Artemis Fowl poster by the side window. She’d decided to make that area the children’s corner, with the long bookcase under the window, a foot lamp and cushions on the small area rug, for kids to seat and read.
“Wow!” Claire cried. “It looks ready to open! Everything is just perfect!”
Alex chuckled. “That’s reconciliation mood. Did you make things up with Ollie?”