46. The Answer

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TEN MINUTES AGO

Sarah had been working at the back of her uncle's house when she heard him talking to someone out front. Although she hardly considered it work, polishing her 1909 Model Thor motorcycle. Gold body, blue trim. A sweet seven-horsepower V-twin engine thing of beauty. She'd finished restoring it last night with the addition of a longer seat that would allow a passenger to ride behind her. The thought of Nella cruising the town with her, holding on for dear life, gave her the giggles.

Sarah smiled and tossed those thoughts aside. Tossed the polishing cloth over the handle bar of the motorbike. Regardless who Uncle Albert was talking to, Sarah wanted to make sure he was okay. With the latest surge of violence circulating through Hester, you just couldn't play it too safe.

Inside the house, Sara stood over the nicked-up kitchen table, rinsing the waxy polish off her hands in a pail of cold water before drying them with a small white towel. From the sound of his voice, she could tell her uncle was starting to get upset even if she couldn't make out the words.

Sarah folded the towel and set it on the table beside the pail. She removed the brown work apron over her regular clothes, a simple white cotton blouse and navy slacks. Then she made her way across the sparse living room, past the old recliner, a newspaper tossed haphazardly on the floor.

She stood at the window, peeking out from behind the curtain. Her hair was combed back into a loose bun with several curls spilling out over her forehead. She half-expected to see her uncle confronting a band of hoodlums in the yard. But no!

It was Henry! Looking around, holding a large bouquet of the most beautiful yellow roses she'd ever seen.

Through the thin pane of glass, Sarah could hear everything.

Flowers for me?

She'd already guessed as much and still her heart fluttered in her ribcage.

A date?

For once, Sarah was glad she wasn't wearing her greasy mechanic's uniform. She had gone to the matinee earlier with Nella and strolled about the market district. Sarah was lucky she'd made those plans; otherwise she wouldn't have put such care into her appearance. It embarrassed Nella to no end when Sarah accompanied her around town, dressed in an old faded and blotchy uniform. And while "women wearing slacks" wasn't the popular fashion trend either, Sarah didn't much care about trying to fit into someone else's standards of what was popular or not.

Sarah smiled to herself, chewing her bottom lip, at the thought of a date with Henry.

Until Albert's next words. "You aren't taking my niece anywhere!"

Sarah huffed in disbelief. She figured Uncle Albert might give Henry a hard time about asking her out. But she wasn't expecting an all-out refusal! After all, she was an adult. And he hardly had any right to refuse a date on her behalf.

That was enough! Sarah couldn't stand by and let Uncle Albert take such liberties any longer. She loved her uncle, and she knew he'd done a great deal for her, but this was her life. He didn't have the right to make those types of decisions for her.

Sarah banged through the front door and the clatter was enough to send the wide-eyed stares of both men swiveling in her direction.

Sarah fixed such a glare on Uncle Albert that his mouth fell open.

"What did you -," Albert said.

"I heard everything!" Sarah said before he could finish. "Uncle Albert, please repeat the answer you just gave to Henry."

Albert frowned, lips pursed for a while before Sarah shot him a stern look, and he turned back to Henry.

"As I was saying, you aren't taking my niece anywhere ... on such short notice." Albert inhaled a deep breath and then released it with a half-hearted invitation. "But you're welcome to stay for supper tonight."

Sarah gave her uncle a big squeeze of a hug, and he just kept his hands at his side.

A huge smile exploded across Henry's face.

And Sarah had a smile too. On her lips ... and in her heart.


Author's Note

Okay, the romance between Henry and Sarah is about to get underway!

Will it be smooth trails or rocky roads?

Will Edward Benedict make a return?

And what about Sarah's opportunity to write a poetry column for the Hester Gazette?

These questions and others -- coming soon to a chapter near you!

One question for you: Did the end of the chapter (those last 3 lines) end too abruptly? Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks again! And take care.

Tom

P.S. The chapter image - Two paths converging as one, representing Henry and Sarah.

P.S.S. In the next chapter, Frank finds out about Jake's plan to have Henry voted off the Pioneers, and he's not happy about it. Then we'll return to see how this dinner invitation turns out.

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