Friday, March 25, 2016

Stormy Weather

"Who let you in?" I asked, frowning at the young man on the stepladder in the living room. He was hanging a ceiling fan.
"Who are you?" he asked, releasing a beautiful smile that startled me.
He balanced a five-bladed fan on top of the ladder with one hand, a screwdriver clutched in the other.
I stood in the doorway, the keys to this chalet in the north woods jiggling in my hand. "I'm—well, a guest for a time. Mrs. Draper said the place would be empty." I wondered if he sensed my annoyance at his presence—I wanted so desperately to be alone.
"I'm the electrician. You probably didn't see my truck—it's parked around back. Mrs. Draper sent me a key. Putting fans in nearly every room. Been getting hot here in the summer—no air-conditioning. I've worked for her before. She didn't mention a guest."
"Mrs. Draper is my boss. She offered to let me stay for a week or two...or longer..." My voice trailed off.
"She's my aunt." His eyes traveling over me—why did I blush? —he added, "Welcome. My name's Brandon West. Your friendly electrician."
"Shelly Harper."
I hoped I hadn't sounded rude. Saying nothing else, I hauled my suitcases into a bedroom of this marvelous vacation home in the wilderness. I unpacked and lugged in a cooler full of food to stow away in the fridge. My boss, Angela Draper, had suggested I spend some time here. She had inherited the place from her folks. My recent failed marriage and my parents' sudden divorce—after 40 years of marriage—had really rocked me and had shaken my belief in love and happiness and—well, just about everything else. I simply needed to get away for a while, be alone, and clear my head.
"Leaving now!"—Brandon's voice calling from the living room.
I scurried from the bedroom to the front door where Brandon was folding up his ladder. "The key?" I said.
"Nearly forgot." He fished it out of his jeans pocket and dropped it in my hand. "Be back from time to time. More fans to hang. Need to pull some wires for two-twenty in the kitchen. I'll call."
"All right."
"Summer season's just beginning" he said. The village of Lone Wolf will be crowded with sightseers. Fine restaurants and curio shops everywhere. I hope you have a great time." Again, he overwhelmed me with a heart-jolting smile.
"Thank you." I didn't add that I intended to spend my time in this secluded chalet alone.
I didn't sleep well that night. A storm kicked up. Lots of thunder and lightning. Trees creaking in the howling wind. And of all things: Near dawn I heard a wolf's cry, which sent shivers rippling through me. Should I really be here alone?
Brandon didn't show up the next day. The stormy weather persisted, a windy, hard-pounding rain. I sipped ice tea and read all day—no satellite TV during the storm—and wondered if I liked being this alone. But I told myself I did. The stormy weather fit my mood perfectly. It was good for me. Like a companion.
Brandon came by the next day—still raining—to install the last of the ceiling fans. "Sorry about the weather," he said. "It's keeping you holed up here while you should be in town having fun."
"I'm perfectly fine with the weather. I like being alone."
He looked at me curiously. No smile this time. "Something wrong?"
I certainly wasn't going to share my problems with a stranger. "Nothing," I said. "Not a thing."
Now a tiny smile played across his lips. "Instead of hoping for the storm to pass," he said, "you should learn to dance in the rain. My grandmother told me that after I girl I was about to marry jilted me at the altar."
Brandon left me with that thought pounding in my brain. And I wondered, Wouldn't dancing in the rain be much better than wallowing in gloom?
More rain the next day when Brandon came in the afternoon to "pull wires" to the kitchen. After he finished, he smiled that devastating smile—like sunshine—and said, "Rain again tomorrow. Really sorry about that."
The thought that flashed through my mind sent my heart rattling against my rib cage. I swallowed. Okay! Here goes...deep breath. "Would you like to stay for supper? I have tons of food." I bit my bottom lip.
"You sure?" he said. "I mean, I thought—"
"I'm positive."
His head titled. Another smile. "Should take the truck back to the shop. Go home. Shower. But I could be back in an hour."
Now I was smiling. "I'd like that," I said, looking forward to dancing in the rain.
The End
Enjoy reality! Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Don't wait! Visit: