Authors: Jamallah Bergman
Pamelia was awestruck with the fact that her Aunt had touched so many people’s lives. She’d already heard stories from several people in town and even those that came to the gift shop.
“Did you find something you liked?” Jeremy asked.
“I was looking at this painting and found out that the lady in it was my Aunt.”
“Wow, that’s amazing and it is a beautiful painting. Are you going to get it?”
“I don’t know, how much is it?”
“Well it’s actually five hundred dollars but since you are Marlene’s niece, I’ll give it to you for just two hundred but don’t tell everyone I did this, because they’ll all end up asking for discounts and I’ll never be able to make any profit.” Lisa giggled.
Pamelia felt so excited that she gave her a hug. “I can’t believe it and now that I look at it, I know exactly where I can put it too, over the fireplace in the living room. It will make a great conversation piece.”
“Well, that’s great,” Lisa told her. “But you’ll have to have someone come and get it for you since it’s so big. The guy I normally use to deliver stuff, well he was totally unreliable and I got complaints about him.”
“No worries, I’ll come by tomorrow and pick it up for you Pamelia, if that’s all right with you.”
Pamelia looked over at Jeremy in shock, “Well, that sounds fine. I mean if it’s okay with you?”
“I don’t mind at all, I have a truck big enough to hold it.”
“Wonderful, well we are all set, oh yeah where do I pay for it?
“Paula, oh Paula,” Lisa shouted towards a woman who was talking with a group of people.
She also was wearing black from head to toe but her hair was done in one of those short blonde bobs. “Yes, Lisa?”
“We got one sold and I need for you to take Pamelia here to pay for it.”
“Come and follow me ma’am.” The two ladies moved over to a table that sat just a few feet away.
Lisa moved on to talk to a couple in the crowd.
“Hey there, what’s going on?” Lily asked, walking over towards Jeremy with Tyler not too far behind her.
“Pamelia bought this painting here. She said that the lady in the picture was her Aunt.”
“Really,” They both looked it over.
Pamelia and the girl came back over and they all watched the woman put a sticker that said ‘SOLD’ on the corner of it. “Congrats on buying the painting by the way Ms. Stewart,”
“Thank you.” Pamelia gave the lady a handshake before looking back at them with a smile. “Can you believe I bought a painting?”
“It’s beautiful, where will you put it at?” Tyler asked.
“Oh, it’s going over my fireplace. I really can’t believe that I was able to find this here. I know my Aunt would be overwhelmed to know that she was immortalized in a painting like this. Were you able to find anything you liked too?”
“Oh no, we’re still looking around. I was just wondering what you guys were up to and I saw you over here.” Lily replied, sipping on her champagne. “When are they going to bring it to you?”
“Well, Jeremy offered to bring it over, since they don’t have anyone to bring it for me. He’s going to deliver it tomorrow for me.” Pamelia told them, gazing over at Jeremy.
He grinned at the group, almost to the point where she could have sworn he was blushing.
“That was nice of you bro, he’s into that handy work and all, so he’ll help you out for sure.”
“You need to come over to the buffet table, they have some really good food there,” Lily told Pamelia.
The women walked away from the two brothers.
o are you going to ask her?” Tyler asked.
“Ask who out, Pamelia? I don’t know.”
“You know you like her man, why are you playing hard to get? Everyone on the farm knows that you like her.”
Jeremy stared at him as if he were crazy.
“Don’t look at me like that because it’s true. Mom and Lily talk about you every single day. How you come into the shop to ask how she is and stuff. How you are constantly eyeballing her even when you don’t talk to her. It’s obvious that you have the hots for her, why not ask her out on an actual date and tomorrow, would be the perfect moment for you to ask her out, little brother. Bring her some flowers and maybe something to eat for lunch or better yet, take her out to lunch and then BAM ask her out.”
Jeremy couldn’t believe he was having this conversation with his brother but he was right though. He’d been making a complete fool out of himself and he needed to remedy this problem right away.
~* * * *~
Jeremy arrived at her house around noon to bring the portrait.
He went along the same familiar road that would take him to the cute, little baby blue bungalow. He thought about last night when he had walked her to her door.
“You didn’t have to walk me you know,” She’s said.
“A gentleman always walks a lady to their door, plus if I didn’t, I would never hear the end of it from Lily.”
As usual, he found her laugh infectious.
“So, you’ll be here when?”
“Would noon be all right for you?”
“Yes, that will be just fine. Maybe I can make us something for lunch if you’d like to stay a little longer after you’ve put it up?”
“Sure, I’d like that. Should I just bring anything with me?”
“Just your appetite, see you tomorrow.”
Now, here he was walking up along the cobblestone walkway and up to the door which was open but the screen door was closed. “Hello?” he shouted.
She appeared right away. “Why hey there,”
Once she opened the door, he brought in the painting and laid it up against the wall. He looked over where the fireplace was at and was thankful that he wouldn’t need a ladder. “I’ll be right back. I’ve got to get my tools from the truck.” He made his way back to the truck, went into the toolbox and got the small hammer he usually had for jobs like this. When he got back into her house, Jeremy noticed she’d already taken off the paper from the framed picture.
“Well, I’ll let you go on and put it up while I finish fixing lunch.” She walked back into the kitchen.
This wouldn’t be a hard job Jeremy thought as he began to figure out where to put the picture nails and hooks into the wall. Once the nails and hooks were in, he went to get the picture and hung it up. “Pamelia, can you come here please?” he called out. He knew he would need a woman’s opinion on whether or not the picture was crooked.
“Can you tell me if the picture looks crooked?” He looked back at her.
Pamelia moved back a bit more to study it. “Um, try pushing it just a little to the left until I tell you to stop.”
He inched the picture over just a little at a time.
“Wait right there. That’s it. No damn, move it a smidge more to the left now, it’s still crooked.”
He inched it over some to the left, looking at her for approval but he never got it, so he continued to until she finally said, “Perfect!”
Jeremy stepped back to where she stood. Yep, he’d done a good job.
She gazed over at him. “Thank you. The colors really brighten up the room. It really feels like home. But wait a sec…it still looks a bit off.”
“What do you mean?” That’s when he felt her grab hold of his arm, then the laughter started and he realized she was joking.
“It looks fine, come on and let’s eat lunch.”
“Where can I wash my hands?”
“Right here at the sink, there’s the soap.” Pamelia pointed out as she went into the fridge and pulled out a pitcher of lemonade. “I’ll meet you out on the back porch.”
He quickly washed his hands, grabbed a piece of paper towel to dry them off. When he walked out the back door, he saw a medium sized round table with a lovely white floral print tablecloth and two lone chairs. The setting was made just for the two of them as he watched her pouring lemonade in the glasses, a small bowl of salad made of mixed greens, tomato slices, olives and red onion slices were visible and appetizing to him along with the roasted chicken breasts. “Everything looks so good.”
“Why, thank you.”
Once he sat down, she began to serve him up some salad and plated a piece of the chicken breast. “I usually like to cook light for lunch. I hope you like the chicken.”
“If you made it, I’ll probably love it,” Jeremy replied taking his plate from her hands.
Soon, they began to eat and while they ate, Jeremy got the chance to learn a bit more about the woman with the sweet smile from the gift shop. She told him about her previous employer, and was completely shocked that she stayed with them for as long as she did. “So, he would really talk about you like that, all the time?”
She nodded while taking a sip of her lemonade.
“That is insane.”
“Yeah, for a while I just didn’t want it to be true, but I can say now, that he was a pompous racist asshole.”
Jeremy laughed out loud.
She did the same. “But the only one I do miss from the office is Mr. Jones. He was kind of like a father figure to me there, always asked me how I was and carried on a conversation that made me feel like he really cared. Sometimes, he would bring me stuff that his wife would make for me. I think that’s why most of the others were jealous of me, because Mr. Jones was the one who got me the job there. Either way, I’m glad I left the job, even my sister was happy when I left there. I don’t know if I could have handled it anymore if I had stayed.”
“Well, I can say no one is happier than I am.” He laughed. “Do you talk with Mr. Jones?”
“Oh yeah, I call and talk with him and his wife every other day. She tells me that they went and got another secretary who is nothing like I was and that the Mr. Dawson has been nothing but an angel, because he was the one who hired her. But she isn’t as efficient as I was in the office though.”
“Well, it’s their loss and our gain.” He took another bite from his salad. “I have to say you are a great cook.”
“Thank you and my mom would thank you if she was still living. My sister and I both got our cooking skills from her and my Aunt.”
“Both of them must have been wonderful ladies,”
“They were. Hold on, I’ll be right back.”
He watched her go back inside as he continued eating more of his salad.
When she did come back, she was holding a leather bound book. It wasn’t until she pulled her chair over next to him and sat down did he realize that it was a photo album. He wiped his mouth as she opened it, flipping a few pages before she came to a picture of two older women, one wearing a red blouse and black slacks, her jet black hair was streaked with grey along her shoulders. Jeremy remembered that smile. It was the same one that he saw when he looked at Pamelia. The other woman sitting next to her had her hair up in a bun that was braided around the bottom of it. She wore a red dress with matching lipstick, along with a beautiful pearl necklace that graced her neck with matching earrings on her ears. Both women he realized had that same magical smile. “Is that your mother?”
“Yeah and this was my Aunt.”
He could tell just by her tone that these two women meant a great deal to her. Of course, they would mean a great deal to her, they were her mother and aunt. But then he saw a cute picture of a little girl wearing a pretty little yellow and white dress, her hair was done up with white and yellow lace bows. She wore black patent leather shoes and those white socks with the lace that little girls always wore. “Who is that?”
She laughed. “That is my sister Veronica when we were at church. My mom would dress us both up for church. We had to get up early in the morning and our Aunt would do my hair because she took her time with mine since it was so curly compared to my sister which my mom always pressed. They would dress us up like dolls with our little dresses, our little hair bows and Mary Jane shoes that we always had to make sure were cleaned and not scuffed. I hated even dealing with putting on all of that stuff because after church I wanted to play. I was ready to get out of my dress into my play clothes then run wild and get dirty.”
“I hear you there, my parents use to make me and my brother wear tie and slacks and a shirt to church. As soon as we got out of Sunday school, it was on. Off went the tie and we were running all over the place.” Jeremy realized that while they talked that they had so much in common. After they finished eating, he helped her take the plates inside to be rinsed off and put into the dishwasher.
“How about dessert,”
“You made dessert too?”
“We can have it out on the front porch. I’ll bring it out.”
Wow, she really was going all the way out for him. He made his way out front to the porch and sat down in one of the rockers. He noticed a man from across the street who was watering his flowers wave at him. Jeremy smiled and waved back.
The screen door opened and she came out onto the porch with two small bowls in her hands. She handed him one of the bowls of cake and some vanilla ice cream. “I hope you like sour cream pound cake?”
“I do, my mom sometimes makes it at home.” He took a spoonful of cake and ice cream.
“Well, I made this one myself, I know it’s probably not as good as your mom’s but it’s my grandma’s recipe. Do you like it?”
“Yes, it’s good and warm.”
“Yeah, I had a few slices warming in the oven, it’s always best to have the cake warm, especially when you eat it with ice cream. I’m glad you like it.”
They continued eating cake and ice cream, carrying on light conversation throughout the afternoon until he had finished off his third bowl of cake and ice cream.
“Man, I’m stuffed.” Jeremy sighed and suddenly burped.
Pamelia looked over at him then she titled her head back with that laugh of hers.
He found himself laughing too. “Sorry about that.”
“Oh no, it just shows me that I made a great meal and you enjoyed it.”
“Listen Pamelia, I wanted to ask you something.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“I wanted to know if you’d like to go out on a date with me.” He watched her smile slowly fade away. Jeremy wondered if what he said was probably NOT the thing to be asking her. “Are you all right?”
“Um…” She adjusted herself in her rocker. “…What did you just ask me?”
“I was asking you out on a date.”
“That’s what I thought you asked me. I don’t know, I mean I’m flattered.”
“But,” Jeremy knew that there was going to be a ‘But’ even though he hoped there wouldn’t be.
“Can I ask you a question? Why do you want to go out on a date with me?”
Usually, whenever he would ask a girl out on a date, they would immediately say yes, mainly because of the fact that most of the girls he knew, already knew a lot about him. But Pamelia was completely different than the girls he’d been around and he had wanted her to know he was more than what meets the eye. “Let’s just say, I’ve wanted to ask you out for the past few weeks but I didn’t know what you would say.”
“I kind of figured that something was up because you constantly kept coming into the shop after you had lunch, just to say hello. How you cornered me in the workroom at the shop that one day. Honestly, I had to smile because I thought it was sweet how you were acting. I haven’t had a guy act that way towards me in forever.”
“So, what do you say? Would you like to go out with me? I know of a perfect restaurant in town, it’s a little out of the way place along the river, they serve some amazing seafood and they have a band that plays every kind of music possible from rock to R&B and we can go tomorrow night.”
“So, that’s why I got the entire weekend off?”
“Well, I do make the schedules you know.” He winked. Then got up from his chair, stretching his arms over his head, Jeremy gazed down at her, still watching him with those soft eyes of hers, studying him as if she was trying to figure him out.
“You know, even though you said all of this, you never did answer my question.”
“I thought I did,” Jeremy replied.
“No, you only gave me a half answer and not the entire thing.”
Damn, he couldn’t stop looking into those eyes, how she seemed to hypnotize him with her stare. He found himself constantly wondering how they would look while in the midst of making love to her. “Do you really want to know?” He leaned down in front of her, his hands gripping hard on the arm rest of the rocker.
The look on her face, which was playfulness, now altered to down right uncomfortable to have him this close. “Of course, I want to know so tell me.”
He watched her gulp as he leaned into her, pushing the rocker back bit by bit, whatever perfume she wore, he found himself inhaling its scent as his cheek brushed hers. He knew he was in trouble for being this close to her. Then seeing that timid ‘deer caught in the headlights’ look when he was only inches from her lips, he tried his best not to laugh. “Are we at a loss for words?” he asked.