I was going to the coast, she was going to the coast, and then things got complicated ...
This is a guy-meets-girl love story set in present-day Oregon, USA.
Four parts included. Novella length, approximately 37500 words.
I was in line to get through the four-way stop in Dundee, a little wine-tourism town between Portland and the coast. After that intersection it would be smooth sailing to Lincoln City, if your idea of smooth sailing is 55 miles an hour for the next hour, in an endless line of vacationers. With three cars ahead of me at the intersection, I spotted this couple standing at the corner, a guy and a girl, him with curly brown hair gathered in a ponytail and toting a backpack and with his thumb stuck out, and her, short blondish hair hanging under a baseball cap, holding a piece of cardboard by her side. I figured that brown cardboard had their destination written on it, but she’s wasn’t showing it, she was just watching the cars, or more precisely, she was looking in through the window of each car, checking out each driver.
Fine. Two kids headed for the coast, I figured. Nothing unusual, and nothing to do with me. Even when the girl turned to look at me and looked straight through the windshield of my pickup and into my eyes, it meant nothing, and anyway it’s not like we really made eye contact, because I couldn’t see her eyes in the shadow of her ball cap.
The car ahead of me, a Buick, rolled up to the stop sign, and the guy inside motioned to them, beckoning them to his car. The kid with the ponytail started toward him, but the girl reached for his arm and pulled him back. She waved the Buick through – just waved him through with a languid sweep of her cardboard sign.
Okay, so she didn’t like the looks of Mr. Buick. Fine. I’m all okay with being careful. Hitchhiking in Oregon is not a problem most of the time, but you can’t be too careful, and sometimes you gotta trust your instincts.
So it was my turn at the stop sign, and I turned my eyes on the girl again, because I’m single and that’s what guys do, okay? So sue me. Anyway, I looked at this girl, and there was enough light under her cap now, and I could see she’s looking right at me, inspecting me, and she held up her brown cardboard sign for me, and it says “Ride” in big, friendly, red magic marker letters. That’s all, just “Ride.”
I made my obligatory stop and went on through and I thought to myself, She didn’t like the guy ahead of me, and for some reason I passed inspection, and Mr. Ponytail didn’t look dangerous, he looked more like a tofu-and-hummus kind of guy, which we got a lot of up here in Oregon, and they needed a ride, so I pulled to the shoulder in front of a former gas station turned coffee bar and put the shifter in neutral and turned around to see if they’re coming.
Well, she’d picked up the cloth bag that was laying at her feet and she was running across the intersection and he was running to catch up to her. I reached across the cab to unlatch the door for them and she pulled it open and climbed in and he followed and pulled it shut and he said, “Thank you, man! Blessings on you for picking us up,” and he started to buckle up.
“No problem,” I said automatically, but what I was really thinking was, if we’re going to get anywhere I need room to shift the the gears, because this truck’s got a floor shift, and the girl’s legs were in the way, and she was wearing a knee-length summer print dress, and how do I politely ask her to move her knees out of the way of my stick shift?
She saw my hand reaching for the shifter, and she turned her head toward me and looked into my eyes and I looked into hers. Hazel! I like hazel eyes.
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About the Author
Peyton Reese writes Science Fiction, Present-day, and Historical fiction. Each story includes a strong romantic element.
For more information, visit the author's web site at www.PeytonReese.com
Peyton is also co-author (with Jessica Willowby) of the Marguerite series of historical love stories. You can learn more about the Marguerite Series at the official web site, www.JessicaWillowby.com