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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2253645-Small-Old-Town
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2253645
Just a story not sure where it is going yet
Year 1943, Drakestown,
I walk out to the hotel pool in my swimsuit feeling light and joyful after a long day of sitting waiting for the publisher to tell me if he would publish my first book or not. A mother and her two children play in the shallow water. A girl sits in a chair reading a book tanning. A few teens sit laughing at the edge of the pool, another girl resting her arms on the edge listening to the laughing teens. I drop my towel on a seat and pull on my swim cap. I dive into the pool swimming to the other side in less than a few moments. As my head breaks the water I hear someone clapping and yell, “beautiful form.” A boy of about 17 walks over to the edge of the pool and crouches. “I’ve never seen someone break the water so gracefully,” he says. I blush.
“Thank you.” His stormy gray eyes twinkle with laughter as he stands.
“I’m in room 220, you?” he asks.
“325,” I reply, kicking myself for blurting that out. I should know better than to tell a stranger where I’m staying while I’m away from home for the first time by myself.
“How long are you staying,” I ask.
“As long as it takes to find the right subject.” Confused, I ask him what he means. He answers with a short.
“I don’t know, give me a few days and maybe I’ll know then. How about you? How long will you be here? What are you here for?”
I climb out of the pool and sit on the edge beside him.
“I just had a book published and having expected it to take longer, a friend paid for the hotel for the next few days, so I’ll be here a week and then I’m on my way home.”
“That’s awesome. What is the book about?”
“Well----(I tell him all about it but if I would have known what I know now I would have walked away then.)

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“Sounds amazing I’ll have to find one. You said it’s being sold at the Dawn Bell bookstore, right?”
“Yes,” I answer, surprised that this stranger was so interested in my book.
“Would you meet me at the hotel diner tonight?”
“I- Sure.”

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I search the diner for the nameless boy with mysterious stormy grey eyes. I find him off in the corner waving me over. I smile and wave back grabbing a plate of food as I make my way to him.
“I never did get your name.” I say as he pulls out my chair.
“Fletcher, what’s yours?”
“Leetu Valkin.”
“That’s a pretty name. Do you mind if I call you Leetie?”
“Sure, no one has ever called me Leetie, it's always been Leet.” I laugh.
“I was planning to go to the museum in town tomorrow, would you join me?”
“I would love to. I had been planning to go at some point. Since I have so much free time now.”
We end up sitting in the lounge and talking late into the night
.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I climb out of bed and slip into my blue dress which just falls below my knees. I clinch the waist and pull my hair down, pinning it out of my face. I head down to the lobby. The mother from the pool with her children and husband are checking out, the little boy annoying his sister as they run out the door.
I stop by the desk and wait for the receptionist as she listens to someone fussing on the phone. She holds up a finger and smiles at me apologetically. Smiling back I glance around the lobby spotting the candies on the desk. Treating myself to one I watch another group lug their belongings to a waiting automobile .
“I’m so sorry. How can I help you Leet?” the receptionist asks.
“Oh don’t apologize I’m in no hurry. Manager?”
“No,” she laughs, “that was the owner.”
“Oh that’s no fun.”
“Oh sure it is,” she teases. “Well how can I help?”
“I just need the phone in my room connected, so I can call my family and let them know how everything went yesterday.”
“Of course. How did it go, I thought it was going to take all week?”
“Me too. The publisher loved the book so much he said he would gladly overview my writing in the future.”
“That’s awesome Leet! I’m so happy for you!”
“Thank you Emery. Well I’ll see you later then.”
“I’ll be here. Oh, I’m off early tomorrow wanna go have lunch then go for a swim?”
“Sure”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I hurry up to my room and jump onto my bed grabbing my phone
I dial home.
“Hi momma, it’s Leet.”
“Leet, how are you. Did he accept your book?”
“He did and he wants everything I write in the future too.” I squeal.
“That’s awesome! It’s Leet the publisher accepted her work and wants more.” She yells on the other end of the phone. I hear my sister squeal with excitement and my brothers yelling their congratulations.
“Leet, you coming home early?” my dad asks.
“No daddy. Rey paid for the whole week and when I told her what happened she told me to stay the rest of the week.”
“Oh,” he says, sounding disappointed.
“Oh hush,” my mom says taking the phone back. “Leet, I’m so happy for you. It was very kind of Rey to do that. Enjoy the sites of the town for me.”
“I will,” I laugh staring at the ceiling.
“Don’t get lost Leets,” Ian calls.
“Wow Ian it’s a small town.”
“Well we don’t know what you could get yourself into as the baby of the family, Leet.” Laden says.
“Yall are terrible,” I laugh.
“It’s alright Leet I have faith in you, just don’t fall into too many fountains .” my sister says giggling.
“It was only one time Illy! One time!”
“Yeah Illyian she only tripped into a fountain once, everyone does that.” Laden teases. I roll my eyes and laugh.
“I knew the twins were bad but I didn’t know you could be so mean Laden.” He laughs.
“How do you think they know what they do? It’s not like they're that funny.”
“Hey,” the twins yell. I hear a tap on my door.
“Hey guys one sec someone is knocking.” I say and set the phone on the bed as Illy says.
“Don’t get kidnapped.” I laugh and open the door.
“Miss we have been told to send the guests to a new,” before the man at the door finishes Carterruns over interrupting.
“Hey Leetie wanna go to the museum?” The man looks at Carterand back at me.
“I’m sorry, wrong room.” He says hurrying away. I watch him with a frown.
“Leetie?” Carterasks.
“Oh sorry. Well I’m on the phone with my family. So if you give me a few minutes I can get off and be ready.”
“Sure, I’ll be in the lobby,” he says, walking back the way he’d come.
I pick up the phone, “Yall still there?”
“Yeah, next time set the phone on the bed cause that was loud.” Laden says.
“Um I did put it on the bed.”
“Odd it sounded like you slammed the phone on a desk.”
“That is odd. Well I’m going to the museum so I’ll talk to yall later. Bye love you all.”
“Bye hunny,”
“Have fun,”
“Later Leet,”
“Love you.” I hang up and grab my mothers old hand purse; which now holds my money. Oh, I didn’t even tell them about Emery or Fletcher. I hurry to the lobby to find Fletcher, Emery meets me at the bottom of the stairs.
“Leet, Cartersent me to tell you a friend in town just rushed to the hospital with their son so he wouldn’t be able to go to the museum.”
“Oh that’s terrible I hope the son is alright?”
“The boy’s mom, a friend of mine just called to say he would be alright. But Cartersaid he didn’t want to leave the boy alone all day and apologizes for not being able to go to the museum.”
“No worries.” I laugh. “Any suggestions on places I should visit?”
“You could catch a ride out to Lars Orchard. It’s the perfect time of year they’ll be picking the fruits and having all kinds of fun.”
“Sounds like fun. What’s the best way to get there and back?”
“Oh just ask the man at the general store if anyone from the Lars Orchard is in town and he’ll get you a ride there and someone at the orchard will gladly bring you back. I’ll even call ahead so you don’t have to search for a ride back, it will find you.”
“Thank you Emery.” I walk out into the beautiful morning happy to have the day to myself. I walk into the general store and look around. A big man standing behind the counter smiles at me.
“How can I help you today, lass?”
“Emery told me to ask you, if anyone from the Lars Orchard was in town. I was wanting to go for the harvest?” I say blushing embarrassed at how it came out.
“I have someone who can take you. Reden,” He yells into the back.
A boy of 18 hurries into the room, “Sir?”
“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off, this pretty little lass here needs a ride to your Pa’s Ranch for the Orchard harvest.” The boy looks over at me.
“And who are you?”
“I’m Leetu, I’m staying at the,”
“She’s the girl staying at Drakes hotel,” the man behind his desk interrupts.
“How did you know?” I ask.
“Word spreads fast in a small town lass,” the man replies.
“I’ll take you to pa’s ranch let me collect my things,” Reden says untying his work apron as he walks into the back. I walk over to the hats as I wait, trying on the one that caught my attention. Someone touches my lower back startling me.
“It looks pretty on you why don’t you get it.” the boy says.
“Oh I really don’t need it,” I say hanging it back on its peg.
“Well then it’s a gift,” he says picking it up and clipping it into my hair. My face growing hot I turn away to admire the hat in the reflection of the glass.
“Thank you,” I say wholeheartedly.
“Put that on my account,” he says to the man behind the desk as he leads me out. He shows me to his old black Chevrolet Pickup. He helps me in and climbs into the driver seat. Reden cranks the truck and jumps in. We ride along in silence. He breaks it, noticing how uncomfortable I am.
“So what got a city gal like you wanting to go to the orchard?” he asks, glancing at my dress. I blush looking out over the passing trees and watch the birds fluttering in the sky. Staling as long as I can. I sigh.
“Reden, right”
“Call me Reed ever’one does.”
“Of course. Reed, Emery told me about the orchard actually and I like the country. It’s so quiet and gorgeous.” He laughs, shaking his head at my dreamy voice.
“You shur are a city gal,” he says.
“Why’s that?” I ask, feeling embarrassed.
“You city gals all talk like you're writing a letter.” My mouth drops.
“I do not.” He just smiles ignoring me. Do I? We hit a bump and I stick my hand against the ceiling keeping myself from falling off the seat and holding my skirt in place with the other. His smile gets wider when I squeak as we hit a bump sending me in the air. I yank my skirt down and hold onto my purse for dear life as the truck jerks along. The truck bumps to a hult and Reed comes around helping me from the car.
“I’ll show you to my ma, she’ll be in the kitchen.” I follow him past a few groups and into the house.
“Ma Jake sent me home early cause she needed a ride,” Reed says, gesturing at me to a sweet rosy cheeked lady. Reeds ma sticks a wood spoon in my face.
“Darlin come with me, you need different clothes if you gone be out here lass.”
“Leave the lass be,” a man calls following two little boys off the porch. Reed laughs and pulls me to his side.
“Ya ma listen to pa and leave the fancy lass be.”
“Well you best hide her then or that rotten town boy’ll have his pa take ‘er off yer hands in a jiffy,” she says going back to her mixing. Leetu tries to escape Reed’s grip but he pulls her into another room after him.
“Ma said Leetu needs something to wear,” he says, pushing me into a group of girls. The girl’s look at me with disgust before a girl breaks through the group and takes my hand.
“Leet’s, right?” the girl asks.
“Yeah.”
“Em told me about you, we’re close friends. We can find you something in her things.”
“This is Emery’s house?”
“Yeah, she’s the baby girl with the two lil boy’s after her, five older siblings. Reed’s one of ‘em. Here we are, Em’s room.” she says pushing into a room with two beds. One side of the room looks almost unused and the other has dresses and all kinds of city things.
“She shares a room with Tilly, Mrs. Hills oldest.” the girl crosses to the side which looks close to vacant and digs into the dresser. She pulls out a plaid shirt and breaches. She tosses them to me and unbuttons my dress pushing me behind a small changing screen. I change and step out. She laughs at my expression.
“Drakes boys ‘ould do well to stay far from you.” she giggles pushing me out the door barefoot.
“What about shoes,” I squeak. She laughs.
“No need,” she sticks her feet out in front of me, “see,” she says as if that were enough explanation. She runs off leaving me out on the back lawn embarrassed and humiliated. How could the girl be so rude. What if a boy sees me like this?”{i/} I panic and run back towards the house. I run straight into Reed.
“Woah, careful there.” he says, steadying me. “Are you alright?”
“No some girl had me change into these, these things and I-I have no shoes. What if a boy were to-oh.” I stop short as he puts his finger over my mouth shushing me. He takes my hand and pulls me behind a tree.
“No-,” I start.
“Hush, listen.” he says covering my mouth. I nod and listen. At first all I hear is laughing, but then I notice a voice I recognize, Fletcher. Reed lets me go and we sneak away out into the orchard. Reed shows me all the ways to collect the variety of fruits and we eat tons, wishing later; as we watch the clouds from our tree perch, that we wouldn’t have eaten quite so many. Reed leans over blocking my view of the clouds.
“Hey, watch out,” I laugh, Pushing him. He shakes his head and brushes my hair from my face. An apple hits him in the side. He jerks back catching a branch so he won’t fall.
“Hey, Reed,” Cartercalls climbing into the tree, “been looking all over for you.”
“Howdy, Fletcher,” Reed says, sounding annoyed. Carternotices me and he stops and looks at Reed a moment connecting the dots.
“Ah you look like a county gal in those old things. Want a ride back?” Cartersays gesturing at the clothes. My face flairs hot.
“Well I like these old things. You should get on somewhere, I won’t ride back with you.” He laughs.
“Whatever did I do to deserve this? All I’ve been is kind to you. And how will you get back?”
“What doesn’t matter. And as for getting back, I’d rather walk than ride with you.”
“I think you’ve been here long enough.” He says climbing down before grabbing my foot. I grab the tree tightly.
“Carterlet my foot go.”
“If you climb down.” I try to kick him with my other foot and he catches it. I dangle over the branch Carterholding my feet.
“Let me go.” I cry feeling like I’m slipping. He grabs me below the waist and tugs me out of the tree. It scrapes up my arms and stomach. The cuts burn terribly. Reed jumps out of the tree and punches Carterin the jaw. Carterlets me go and stumbles back a few steps before he recovers and snaps out of his daze. He rubs his jaw angrily and looks at me; scratched up hiding behind Reed.
“I see how it is. You’ll wish you stuck to the rules before this is over.” Carterstrides away knowing he is out manned on the ranch. Reed watches him, his fists clenched tight. When Carteris out of sight Reed turns to me and bends down checking the scrapes.
“I’m sorry about that. Maybe you should stay at the ranch with us tonight.”
“I’ll be fine. I’d really like to go to the hotel and get into my own clothes.” I say. (not understanding the danger I was in.) Reed takes me back to the house and I change back into my clothes and climb into the truck waiting for him. He comes out with a few other boys needing a ride into town for one reason or another. They climb into the bed of the truck and one jumps in the cab making me have to scoot over into Reed. We ride along in awkward silence until the boy beside me breaks it.
“Reed, I heard you hit Carteris that right?”
“Yeah,” Reed says, not sounding too happy.
“Does that mean,”
“Yes,” Reed says, cutting him short. I glance at the boy and he is staring at his shoes looking upset and Reed watches the road intently, his hands holding the steering wheel tightly. The pickup pulls to a stop in front of the hotel. Reed turns and looks me straight in the eyes.
“Leetu if someone knocks on your door tonight do not open it no matter who is outside the door. You understand?”
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