Here is Chapter 2 of Rapt. Hope you enjoy the story through the eyes of Ryan Golden. Love, Tami.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
There’s just somethin’ magical about Saturday mornin’ in the Ozarks, somethin’ peaceful and serene, sittin’ by your lonesome in the middle of Beaver Lake, waitin’ for a bite to hit your line. There’s nothin’ quite like it in all the world, I’m sure. Not that I’d been many places.
I enjoyed watchin’ the sun rise up over the Brillo of dark-green trees, the sky turnin’ the color of salmon eggs. And the world seemed quiet, like I was the only one in it. Like I could scream and scream at the top of my lungs and only the birds might answer back.
Again, I cast my line into the middle of the lake, and reeled it in slowly, hopin’ for a bite. The sun bounced of the water and into my eyes. I lowered my ball-cap to block it out. I would miss these easy Ozark mornings.
My bait had seen better days. The pot goin’ off like a reekin’ alarm clock, sendin’ out rottin’ fumes. “Slippery little suckers. Next time maybe,” I said to no-one in particular. I pulled my line in and started the engine of my little aluminum yacht. It hummed its way back to shore where folks were startin’ to gather for a day at the lake.
I hauled my junk outta the boat and leaned in, loadin’ my tackle box and poles into the bed of my ol’ Chevy pick-up.
“Well, I’ll be, if isn’t Ryan Golden,” said the familiar voice of Peyton Bailey, behind me.
I adjusted my ball-cap, spun around and grabbed my girl around the waist, pulling her in close. “What’re you doin’ out here so early?” I kissed the tip of her upturned nose. It seemed more outta habit than desire. No girl had ever really been able to capture my heart.
“Lookin’ for you,” she said, all sweet like. “Your momma sent me. Says she needs help with things over at your place, and I volunteered.” She fluttered her eyelashes, givin’ her best effort to drive me crazy.
“Geez all mighty, that woman’s gonna drive me batty. She knows I don’t stay out here past sunrise. What’s she got her panties in a wad over now?” I let go of Peyton, and moved to open the passenger door for her. “You drive? Or you wanna ride back with me?”
She slipped onto the threadbare seat of my truck. “I got a ride down here and figured I could hitch one back with you.” Leanin’ toward me, she kissed me hard on the mouth.
“Mmm, mmm, mmm,” I muttered, hurrying around toward the driver side. I hopped in the truck next to her. The key had broken off in the ignition years ago, so I had no need to carry one, which was fine by me. I turned the ignition and the engine roared to life.
“So what’s the damage?” I asked her, turning down the tree lined street toward home.
“Oh y’know, same shit different day. Your mamma’s puttin’ on the Nelson wedding at your place. And I’m pretty sure she wants somethin’ special done with the rose garden. You know how Janey can be.” She shrugged. It was typical for momma to reorganize and do special things for guests, but we all knew how particular Janey Hannigan could be. And seein’ since she was marryin’ Mayor Nelson’s son, Mamma must be havin’ a dickens of a time dealin’ with her.
I took a deep breath, exhaling in a huff. I had my work cut out for me for sure.
The Golden family had owned the Brownstone Inn for generations. Grammy and Grampy left it to momma and me when they passed. I remember the way Grammy looked all serious at momma when she said, “Evelyn Golden, the Brownstone has been in our family longer than Beaver Lake has been housin’ the fishes. You best take care of her right and proper.”
I missed that wrinkly old woman. She’d puff on flavored tobacca outta the pipe Grampy had whittled for her, blowin’ smoke rings so I could try and put my hand up through ‘em. Course she died of the cancer from smokin’ that pipe, and Grampy soon followed. Momma said he died of a broken heart.
I never did tell momma that Grammy told me all ‘bout my daddy. She said he played the banjo for a blue-grass band, and momma and he had one of them lickety-split sorta relationships. Anyway, she said he never knew nothin’ ‘bout my comin’ into the world. But I was okay with that too. Momma did a fine job raisin’ me up on her own.
“Are you goin’ to the ball game tonight?” Peyton asked, breaking me outta my distraction.
“Yeah, pretty sure I am. Phil’s gonna come with me. Sure is crazy to think Reid will be headin’ off to Arizona next year.”
Phil Evans, Reid Jarret and me had been the best of friends since I could remember. Phil was headin’ off to Harvard to study law, which was reasonable since his daddy and momma had met there, studyin’ the same sorta thing. Reid had gotten a baseball scholarship for the University of Arizona. I don’t think my momma ever expected to have her only son headin’ off to Yale University with a full ride. I knew she sure didn’t get my obsession with history. She liked the romance of ancient Egypt, but couldn’t reckon why I’d wanna spend my life diggin’ around in the sand, tryin’ to unearth dead folk and their junk.
“Melody’s comin’ too and Jaime, I think. We’ll meet up at the bleachers?”
I winked at her. “Sounds good, sugar,” I said, pulling into the long driveway of the Brownstone. It was flanked on both sides by enormous hardwoods.
She scooted close to me and laid her head on my shoulder. “I’m sure gonna miss you when you go away. I wish you’d consider goin’ to Little Rock with me.”
I kissed her forehead. “Now how’d you know I was thinkin’ ‘bout school?”
“Every time you do, you get this faraway look in your eyes. It’s like you’re not even here.” She sounded sad.
“Come now, baby, you don’t have to worry ‘bout that for awhile. We have all summer together.” I touched the tip of her nose then kissed it. “We have all summer.”