A dozen people were already at the picnic spot when Paula arrived. She started to unload her stuff when a voice behind her asked, “Can I help you carry something?”
It was Brent Waters. Brent with the kinky red hair, faded grey eyes and the joie de vivre of a tortoise. He smiled shyly at her and picked up her lawn chair. “It’s a decent enough day for a picnic, isn’t it?”
Paula glanced around. “Yes, I hope we’ll have a good time.” she answered. And mentally added, If you’d just beat it and Derrick would come to help this damsel in distress.
Right now, however, Derrick was nowhere to be seen––and for once Paula was glad. No point him getting wrong ideas about her and Brent.
Sounds of laughter came from several ladies sitting together beside the picnic table. Brent must have decided that’s where she’d want to be, because he unfolded her chair right beside Melinda.
“Hi,” Paula said as she sat down.
“Hi, Paula. Good to see you. Looks like we’re going to have a great day for our picnic,” said Anne.
They all chatted for awhile, mostly about how the kids did in school last term and workplace woes. Someone fired up the barbecues and started grilling.
Finally Paula couldn’t help herself. She said to Sally, another single lady sitting nearby, “Looks like most of our group is here. I don’t see Derrick, though. I wonder if he’s going to make it?”
Sally grinned at her and she turned red, then was annoyed with herself. ‘Oh, how can you guess?’ she thought with a sigh.
Then Melinda turned to her with a really sober look and said, “You know, I heard…”
“Melinda!” someone shouted. “Tamara needs the bathroom. She’s calling frantically.”
Melinda jumped up and ran toward her toddler, scooped her up, and dashed to the ‘Ladies.’
Paula was almost glad. That look said ‘bad news’ and she wasn’t sure if she could take it. Not right here, with everyone watching her reaction. She’d find Melinda later.
Just then Derrick’s car pulled into the parking lot. Paula glanced at Sally and saw her wink.
Derrick jumped out, his usual dashing self, and the tingles went up and down Paula’s spine again. Then he hurried around to open the passenger door and the most gorgeous blonde Paula had ever seen got out of the car. She and Derrick walked toward the others.
For a second Paula’s mind went blank, then scrambled for a reasonable explanation. Maybe it’s his cousin, in town unexpectedly––and what else could he do but bring her along? At least they’re not holding hands.
He can’t have a girlfriend! Paula inwardly screamed. Not after what he said at the singles’ group the other night. Not after the way he winked at me. He can’t have somebody else!
And now, dear readers, would you like to hazard a guess? Who is this lady?