a Sultry Land

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Daniel Wayne d'Anise

Twelve-

On New Year’s Eve, a time for Dane to find out if the one true love of his life feel she wanted to be by his side. Little did Meridian know, right away, he wanted her for always, and if she felt alike, the new year would prove special. Legitimately, Enid would have to pull out the old address book again, but Dane will decipher the wedding invitations. If Meridian says yes, they had a wedding to plan, and Dane had good reason for not bringing in all his “family.” In the kitchen, Meridian was stirring a hot pot of chicken soup.

It was Enid’s favorite, and Meridian made it especially for her. Dane, and Ruben were in their offices going about business, and it was Cook’s days off. Enid kept getting better health wise, but faltered full recovery, and so rather than have her miss the town’s festivities, Meridian wanted Enid to drink the soup before Dane gathered them for the town’s New Year’s Eve festival. That late afternoon, the mild weather was typical in the region that time of year, and so they planned the evening at the county fair.

A sweater was all that was needed for that evening, and although Enid Rae suffered back, and forth with her health condition, mostly due to depression, she could use better activity, and fresh air, and that afternoon, and evening was perfect. The faces of townspeople will be celebrating the coming new year will be with excitement, food, drink, and familiarity. No one would know, but festivals bring back Enid’s memories to the time of Denim, and she’d naturally grieve for him.

There was a time when Enid Rae could not get enough carnival activity, and would never pass up cotton candy. Amusement rides excited her too, and she loved riding the Ferris wheel. The outdoor food was aromatic, and delicious, and when they arrived, people were already immensely enjoying themselves. In business that year, Gordon’s ideas for utilizing space Dane was excavating, was super! At the fair, Gordon joined them from wherever he’d been most of the afternoon.

Charles Scott, Enid met in church, kept her company, but Gordon sneaked behind Enid Rae, and almost scared the life out of her.

“Oh, boo, you,” she said. A hypnotic magic act would take place shortly under one of the huge tents. After cruising ground, Gordon found Enid who had taken seats for the show ahead in anticipation. For some time, Charles was looking forward to seeing Miss Enid, and first laid eyes on her a year ago, during a church function. Charles recently lost his wife, and wasn’t quite over her death, so failed his approach until only weeks earlier.

He tried to get as close to Enid as he could back then, but finally sort of ran into her at the festivities, greeted her by name, and finally, she realized him. They had good conversation, mixed with fresh air, spurts of laughter, and seemed to agree on matters they thought amusing. Having a decent time, there was no need to break any ice, and their church affiliation was common ground. It was possible Gordon went cruising for chicks, as well as some old, familiar faces, indulged in cotton candy, and then bought two loaded hotdogs.

A side show started at a tent, so Gordon said hello to a few people that knew him, and watched the show predicted hilarious, and spotted Enid Rae. Gordon knew who Charles was, and made his presence known. Enid introduced Charles, whom Gordon said he knew, and was a friend of Vernon, who was another old friend of the d’Anise. Enid was glad Gordon checked Charles, who was surprised at the familiarity. Gordon thought Enid would be alright with the guy, and mentioned he’d be at the bumper cars, but did not say, Where I could take out frustrations.

He could spend all day in those cars as a child, a beast those days, and owned three hot rods himself, and then decided to beat a video machine; his thing he prides himself on his ability to do so. He missed Charles, and Enid who would say the show was fascinating. He spotted them on a bench nearby, Enid was exhilarated. Hm. She and Charles had a lot in common, as if she could get over her, and Denim, going to all the tri-yearly fairs, and carnivals in town each year, little known, the d'Anise sponsored. Charles' wife was his childhood sweetheart.

Charles, and Enid talked about the things they knew best, could even attest to old times, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the carnival festival. It was exciting for Charles’ old memories too, introduced to his wife at a carnival. Their darkness began to fall, they were an odd sort of couple, Charles, was a dapper man, and had a few years on Enid, medium build, by no means old, neat, well groomed, retired as an insurance agent, served twelve years in the military, and owned his house inside of town.

He acquired a few valuable assets in life, a widower, and his sons were business tycoons whom he loved, but not their ways. One of his sons lives in California, the other lives in New York, and they are good brothers. Charles explained that day, neither of his sons were faithful to their wives, appalled that he rarely sees his grandchildren, and Enid felt for him. Charles was glad he had someone he could say those things to.

He lived simply after his wife died, and it could be hard to say how he got along, missing her as he had. Charles’ wife became very ill, and in the last two years of her life, couldn’t fight the discomfort of her disease. She, and Charles were loyal. He was a decent, and respectful man, who depended on his wife. Gordon did not return until the sun went down, and by that time, Enid put on her heavy sweater. Dane, Meridian, and Gordon wore leather jackets. Charles wore a collared shirt under his sweater, a blazer, and an applejack hat, and a nice new pair of comfortable shoes.

It was slightly brisk, but no one felt ready to leave, and Dane kept his arm wrapped around Meridian’s shoulder, and they stayed warm. They relished the beauty of that sunset, and the outdoors, and that day seemed dedicated. They were in it for each other, together. Dane saw the truth in Meridian. The farther they walked away from the excitement of the carnival’s noise fading, the open outdoors, a peaceful existence, and could almost hear their hearts beating. Together suddenly, the atmosphere became calm, as if nature’s welcome, and as they regrouped, they realized how many people in town noticed Meridian on Dane’s arm.

He nodded back in silence. Catching a second wind, and walking on serene grounds, someone did well kite flying. Dane cared. The anxiety of discovering all her parents were gone was tough. When they walked hand in hand, lakeside, both minds wandered off. Other couples found places of solitude as well. Dane, and Meridian sat on a bench with grass surrounding them, and in love, watched trees romantically sway in swirling breezes, and the night would be beautiful, carnival lit, and full of excitement.

They thought together. Meridian’s feelings for Dane felt strong, and soon, having never felt the way she did when they spent time together, Dane treated her well. Sitting, lakeside, they realized how awkwardly quiet, and so close in love they’ve become, fell out of their own imagery, and leaned toward each other for support. Still saying nothing, they knew they needed each other’s love and affection in their lives. it just so happened, their feelings were true, and not whimsy of their fantasies.

It was no imagination to anyone that Dane loved the woman in Meridian. She had a good sense of direction, humor, innocence, kindness, thoughtfulness, fortitude, ability, strength, and honor. It was no secret she was beautiful, and what more could any man ask? Dane wouldn’t let Meridian want for anything, and could supply her with maximum security, financial, and his love. To Dane, Meridian was witty, playfully flirtatious and the fact she never had an unkind word towards people.

Dane hadn’t witnessed Meridian having misunderstandings with anyone, which made her that much more attractive to him. They would be a dynamic couple, and although they’ve only dated for a few months. Dane was sure he loved her, and wanted to ask her to marry him. At the lake, Dane popped the question, and Meridian accepted his proposal, along with a three, and a half carat beautiful platinum sunburst diamond, engagement ring, she graciously accepted. By nightfall, everything lit up.

Enid, and Gordon were off at different parts of the festival, and by that time, the quantity of people doubled in the cool of the evening, and soon, Gordon sensed that Enid, and Charles would soon have their fill, but whimsically for her, Meridian and Dane returned from the lake as a couple, seriously in love. He nodded to the certain stares he received, as he had a right to represent themselves, and certainly were a handsome couple, and the townspeople paid attention to Dane’s new look.

None had ever known him to hold any woman on his arm, but Sheridan, how gracious. So what used to be his housekeeper, the reason they are, and after they joined Miss Enid, Dane and Meridian had a very playful evening, even though Dane kept things on his mind to himself, besides, he, and Gordon struck a few deals in business, and it looked good. Charles Scott, and Dane, coincidently knew Vernon Shelby. He was a friend of the d’Anise, and Charles was a friend of his; they went to college together.

Vernon came to the fair, spiffy as ever, with everyone congratulating Meridian, and Dane on their wedding engagement. They will ring in the new year with a promise to each other, to last together forever, as the night went on giddily for some time. The townspeople drank free beer, the New Year’s Eve event rang with cheer, and with hopes of happiness, and future successes. Meridian, and Dane looked as if a pillar of love, fortune, and happiness, when the twelve o’clock bell was counted down.

Happy New Year! Charles liked Enid’s ex-hilaration for them, and thought her personality good spirited, and as warm a woman as his late wife. Charles’ wife was simple and sunny. He cared about Enid, because she was faithful to the church in participation of its many functions in which she’d done well, otherwise occupying Enid was good for her soul. He is wise enough to know, she’d been stifled somewhere in her past, and gave her a sense of self. Charles liked seeing Enid Rae open up.

He wanted her to uncover her passions. Enid was so good in church affairs, she seemed to rarely think of herself. She’d discovered her passion for old movies, go figure, and spoke lightly of fashion to a man she just met. The air was fresh, and the excitement carried on for some time, and Gordon was still cruising chicks. He’d not found what he might be looking for, one sign at a time, and managed to dodge a group of teenage girls for the last time, giving braced, and toothy smiles every now and again.

Before the clock struck twelve, and without introduction, one girl pushed another into him, and he almost spit his soda on them. The girls surrounding Gordon the entire time, full of senseless giggling, and thrusts a ga-zillion apologies, and offered two telephone numbers just in case the ginger ale doesn’t come out his Polo shirt, just happy to help. Right. Jailbait. Gordon relocated Enid, and Charles, and asked if she was ready to leave. Enid didn’t answer, but graciously gathered herself together.

She thanked Charles for a nice conversation, smiled, and Charles stood to help Enid to her feet, said the time they spent was his pleasure, and asked Enid if she really didn’t mind him talking so much. She seemed shy, so Charles, a non-offensive person, was happy to give Miss Enid his telephone number, because he thought she was as interesting, as he thought her attractive. With life moving happily forward again, Enid Rae blossomed. She accepted Charles’ compliment, and knew Gordon saw her blush.

Enid could feel Gordon’s teasing smile from a mile away, and knew he would never let her live it down. Charles, handed Enid a business card with his telephone number attached, and thinking fast, had not been Enid’s forte, so she couldn’t back down, when he offered to walk her to Gordon’s car. It was as if Gordon, Enid’s father. Gordon was Enid’s pitbull since she could remember, and so a little reluctant, started walking ahead, as Charles took his pen out of his coat pocket.

Enid recited her telephone number, and he wrote on one of his old business cards, Enid’s telephone number. He asked her to add the spelling of her name, she did so, and he liked her curly-cue penmanship. Charles tore the card in two, and asked Enid if he could phone her? Overhearing, Gordon thought he would puke. Two days later, Charles called to ask if Enid would be attending church the following Sunday, and she said yes. She pulled twelve of her many suits, and nice tailored dresses.

Enid decided to wear the black and white double breasted, brocade skirt suit with gold buttons. Remarkably, the suit still fit, she felt tall, put all the other suits, and dresses away, and picked out a pair of black tee-straps, a purse, neck scarf, and pantyhose. Enid looked especially nice that Sunday, Charles saved a seat. Enid shampooed, and conditioned her hair of henna, soaked in fragrance, and lavished herself in Joy perfume. At the time, Joy perfume was the costliest perfume in the world.

She smelled feminine. Enid Rae smoothed her hair with a dab of hair gel, combed down her bangs, swept them to the side, and brushed her hair into a loose barrette, her hair sat just above her shoulders. Enid added a make up touch of rouge, mascara, and red lipstick which brightened her looks. Her neck scarf was black, white, red, and yellow silk, and she had nice legs, and that day, she changed from wearing bobby socks, low heeled Rockports, or Cobbie Cobbler shoes, into a pair of pumps.

Enid Rae never went in public, or church in any house dresses, or aprons, although Enid Rae, was Enid Rae. She left the house as a well poised women with a touch of elegance, and class, and dressed so well, Gordon, and Meridian complimented her, and didn’t go over the top to make her blush. Dane was familiar with Enid Rae, so he, and Enid glanced. He held a smile upon his face too, as before Meridian, or Gordon could ever know, Enid Rae had always gone looking well.

Dane knew Miss Enid since she was a much younger woman of fashion. At church, Enid met Charles with little hesitation, clutched to her purse, and bible in hand.

“Miss Rae, you are looking as lovely as ever,” Charles whispered. “It’s my pleasure, your company this morning.” Before Enid approached Charles, Gordon turned, and went into another direction. Enid turned to find Gordon gone already, low be it to discover her being in romance. Yuk! Charles had an articulate vernacular, Enid was comfortable with. He took her hand, and she was dumbfounded Gordon had gone, who felt puked.

Charles led Enid next to him in the pew, and they sat faced forward. He didn’t give her lustful look, and must’ve realized long ago how uncomfortable it was for women to experience such forwardness, and will do a better job than Gordon, escorting her after church services, accepted the invitation with Charles for tea, and cleared her plans with Dane. Gordon had no clue they were out for four hours in town, when Charles finally returned Enid to the mansion, but declined staying for a visit. Charles knew when enough was enough and didn’t want to overstay his welcome and could tell Enid was delicate.

She thanked him for saving her a seat at church, and then tea, and from there, Charles called Enid’s telephone very often, and that early New Year’s day, Dane took Meridian home, and they very well kissed good-night. The day dallied, and Enid went to her quarters, and fell asleep. Gordon had just gotten out of the indoor swimming pool that New Year’s day, and spotted the wall alarm go green, and waited. Dane couldn’t creep by Gordon if he wanted to, so he met his approach.

“Did she move her cottage to New Mexico? Ireland? Maybe even the tombs of Morocco?” Dane looked at Gordon all dripping wet.

“For heaven’s sake,” Gordon razzed. He was sarcastic at Dane, who looked at his brother very coolly, smiled, and said, “What’s it to you Bone Head?”

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