Chapter 2: Free Indeed - Chapter 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 239
Comments: 1

Rhonda mused over the day’s events as she drove back to the office, the setting sun at her back.It had been so odd to first see Kent and think it was Larry, and then to actually see Larry.Her stomach was still tense.I wonder why he’s farming, of all things, she thought.Hadn’t he wanted to continue dancing and instructing?Suddenly their first encounter came back into her mind.It wasn’t one she remembered often, for so much had happened that summer it wasn’t an incident that stood out.But he had mentioned farming…

Rhonda had not wanted to learn ballroom dancing, but in order to get away from Ryan for at least a little while, she’d conceded.He was the only other non-staff person at the resort that was close to her in age and he had taken an interest in her the first day that she had arrived with her parents, always hanging around her and her family and generally making a nuisance of himself.It didn’t help that both of her parents thought he was the nicest boy they’d met and encouraged her to get to know him “for who he is, rather than what he looks like”.They didn’t seem to understand that Ryan was the last boy that Rhonda would ever date, simply because he was so awkward and utterly boring.He was also quite ugly, in her opinion—large ears, stringy brown hair and scrawny body that reminded her of the monkeys at the local zoo.Nope, she would do everything in her power to discourage Ryan, without being overly rude.

Rhonda left the cabin right after slipping into a light summer dress in preparation for the dance session.Her parents were acting like fools as they got ready to go, casting each other coy little glances and giggling over some silly joke they shared.Rhonda was embarrassed to be seen with them sometimes—they were too old to be acting like lovesick teenagers, as far as she was concerned.Yet, at the same time she was happy for them—all of her friends’ parents were either unhappy in their marriages or were separated or divorced.Her parents seemed to be the only ones who actually enjoyed being with one another and made an effort to make time to spend with one another.Why this was, or how it had come about had never been considered by Rhonda—she was more concerned about her own love life or lack thereof, rather than anyone else’s.

Rhonda had entered the main lodge behind her parents, hoping that Ryan wouldn’t show up at the dance session.She scanned the large wood-paneled room that served as dance hall in the evening and as breakfast hall in the morning.She had never been in this room before, since she usually only ate lunch and supper, which were served in the much larger main dining hall in the other half of the building.The ceilings were wood paneled as well, with several large fans circulating the cool air from the central air conditioning vents positioned evenly around the upper half of the room.Rhonda crossed her arms in front of her in an effort to warm herself—after the hot, humid air outside, this felt like a refrigerator, and her short-sleeved dress did nothing to help her keep warm.People milled around aimlessly as they waited for the session to begin.

“Don’t worry, you’ll soon warm up.”The deep, smooth voice came from her right and she turned to look at a tall, muscular looking man who was looking at her with an amused smile.“I’m Larry, your dance instructor for the evening.”She stared at the large hand he held out to her before she responded.She found her cold, somewhat clammy hand clasped in his warm one.

“I-I’m Rhonda,” she responded, haltingly.He was so handsome!His blue eyes actually twinkled, and he had an easy, enchanting smile, the whole effect topped by a startlingly blond shock of hair, which was kept well-trimmed but still stood up straight, without aid of any hairstyle product.She tucked her hand back against her body as she continued to look at him, awestruck.He grinned at her then, and gave her upper arm a squeeze.

“We’ll have you warmed up in no time,” he assured her, then turned away to talk to someone else. Rhonda continued to stand there, marveling at the butterflies in her stomach—never before had anyone affected her in such a physical way.She’d seen guys her age that were as good-looking as Larry, but none of them had the self-confident but easy air about them that Larry did.Rhonda, though overwhelmed by his looks, was also made to feel comfortable and welcome at the same time.She smiled and wondered if she’d have the good fortune of dancing with him sometime during the summer.

Ryan bounced up then, eagerness emanating from every fiber.Rhonda sighed and listened rather half-heartedly as he exclaimed about this and that which had happened throughout his day, and what might transpire in the dance class that evening.She conceded rather grudgingly to be his partner and he was so excited, he didn’t even notice her lack of interest in the conversation as he tried to lead her through the steps.Rhonda kept her eyes on Larry and marveled at the grace and strength he displayed simultaneously as he demonstrated all the steps with his dancing partner, Suzanne.Suzanne was a slightly plump but attractive woman who was surprisingly graceful in Larry’s arms.Rhonda didn’t think she was Larry’s wife because he’d simply introduced her as “Suzanne”, but she wondered if she might be his girlfriend—the way they looked at one another while they danced, one was apt to wonder.Rhonda resolved to find out more about Larry before the summer was over—a little more information about him certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Larry eyed Rhonda thoughtfullyas Ryan guided her awkwardly through the steps they had just learned.About 5’9” and slim, she made a striking picture with short, spiky brown hair, mischievous blue eyes and pixie grin.Even from across the room, Larry could see that Rhonda was really not enjoying herself; that she was simply going through the motions.He couldn’t blame her—Ryan simply had no natural talent for dance rhythm.Larry checked to see if Suzanne might need him, then strode across the floor to where Ryan and Rhonda were struggling with one of the evening’s dance steps.

“Here, I’ll show you how it’s done,” Larry suggested to Ryan as Rhonda winced—again.Ryan had stepped on her toes four times already.Rhonda looked at Larry gratefully; Ryan frowned and turned to face him.

“I thought we were doing pretty good, myself,” he answered, sheepishly.“What were we doing wrong?”

“Well, first of all, you two weren’t in the right position—your hand should rest in the middle of Rhonda’s back, not on her waist.”Larry grabbed Ryan’s hand with his left and gently nudged Rhonda forward with his right.“See?When you have your hand here, you can guide her in all directions, not just sideways.Also, Rhonda, you have to look at Ryan’s face, not at your feet—you must trust him to lead you, otherwise you won’t be in sync.”He gently nudged her chin upward with his index finger, and she looked at Larry, uncertainty on her face.He smiled his encouragement, and winked.She glanced down, flustered, then up at Ryan.His brown eyes held hers solemnly as he led her through the first three steps.She noticed that he had beautifully lashed eyes of a deep chocolate brown.

“Hey, you got it,” Larry exclaimed, somewhat amazed.Sure, they still looked very awkward, but they’d actually moved in unison.“Keep practicing all the steps—I’ll be back later to see how you’re doing.”

That very same night, Larry cut in on Ryan in their free dance time after the instruction period was over.He made her feel as graceful as a swan as he swung her around the room to more modern music.His eyes held hers in a gaze, which made the rest of the dancers in the room fade away into obscurity.Finally, she could stand it no longer and had turned her eyes away from his, only to catch the frowning eyes of her father.She’d grinned gaily at him, then, in an effort to assure him that she was just having fun and that nothing serious was happening between her and Larry.The grin had appeased him somewhat, but he vowed to talk to Rhonda the next morning, to ensure that she wouldn’t do anything foolish like get involved with Larry instead of Ryan, who, though admittedly shy and awkward, was a true gentleman who respected both women and his elders.One couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend for a daughter than Ryan.

Larry was thoughtfully serious as he witnessed the exchange between father and daughter.He had no idea what it was like to see your daughter in another man’s arms, but he certainly didn’t like being judged without cause.Oh, well, he thought to himself, that’s his problem, not mine.He smiled down at Rhonda then, thoroughly enchanted by her thoughtful eyes as they gazed back at him.He sighed inwardly, then, as he thought about the resort rule of fraternizing with resort patrons—he could lose his job if he got seriously involved with her.

“Let’s step out for awhile,” he suggested, wondering if her father would have a heart attack if his daughter left the room in his company.“We could go out on the porch for a breather.”Rhonda nodded slightly, and they turned in unison towards the balcony door.The crowd was thinning now and they could actually see across the room.

The night air had cooled somewhat as the evening progressed and now was comfortably warm as they stepped out onto the wooden, wrap-around porch.Larry led her to the porch swing at the far end of the porch, and they settled in, Rhonda ensuring that there was space between them.They sat, then, listening to the night sounds of the forest which surrounded the back of the lodge.Somewhere in the distance an owl hooted, while close by they could hear the soft rustling of the aspen leaves directly above their heads.The swing creaked as they swung gently, the slight breeze breaking the warmth of the night air only slightly.

Rhonda was amazed at Larry’s casual assurance in dealing with her.All the boys she’d ever dated were either loud and brash, with wandering fingers which had to be fought off at practically every turn, or they were shy and awkward, like Ryan, not knowing what to do with themselves in her company.She simply loved the quiet, respectful way Larry was treating her.She remembered her resolve to find out more about him, then, and turned slightly to face him.

“How long have you worked here?” she asked.

"Since I started university—I work every summer to pay for school.How about you—do you work?”

“Yeah, I usually help out on the neighbor’s farm, but this summer my parents decided to vacation here so I’m taking a year off.”

Larry’s eyes widened in surprise.“You’re a farm girl?”He asked, incredulously.“I’ve wanted to farm all my life!”

"You have?”It was Rhonda’s turn to be surprised.“I thought you like dancing!”

“Well, I do, and I plan to continue in it, but there just isn’t enough money in it to make a living at small-town Ontario.I’d have to go to Toronto or New York and I simply can’t stand big cities!If I had a farm I could teach dance throughout the winter months and make money during the summer.How big is the farm where you work?”

“350 acres—250 workable.It’s a dairy farm.”

“Wow—so you’re getting up at 7am every morning to milk cows, then?”

“5:00, actually—we finish milking at around 8:00, before breakfast.”

“You like it?”He studied her face as she answered, noting the mixed emotions that flitted briefly across her face.

“It’s all right.I find it somewhat monotonous, though—every day it’s pretty much the same routine.”

“Oh—I thought that things change as the season progresses—you know, spring planting, summer cultivation, fall harvest—that type of thing.”

“Yeah, you’re right—but I’m in charge of the milking and the calves, and am not involved with the crops at all—the farmer and his son take care of that.”

Larry smiled.“That right, huh?What are they like?”

“The whole family is awesome—they’re really nice and they respect you for who you are.I have to put up with a lot of religious garbage, though, since they’re all Christians, but other than that, I really like them.”

Larry nodded knowingly.“I know what you mean about religious garbage—my mother is a Christian and keeps talking about having to love everyone and forgive them.Meanwhile, my father is a bitter alcoholic who has no use for anyone or anything.Me—I’m in the middle—I don’t go for any of this religious stuff, but I do respect those who respect me and try to get along with everybody.I could never forgive my father for what he’s done to our family, though—never!”

“At least you don’t have to live at home anymore,” Rhonda observed, sympathetically. “That must make it a little easier on you.’

“Yeah, but it just makes it harder on my mom—Dad’s just gotten meaner as he’s gotten older—I don’t know how much more Mom can take.He doesn’t beat her, but he sure yells a lot and is really miserable to live with.Thinks the world revolves around him, he does.”

“Why doesn’t she leave him?”

“Oh, some Christian nonsense about submitting to your husband—she refuses to leave him because she believes God wants her to stay.I’ve actually begged her to leave him, but she simply won’t.”

They sat in silence for awhile, the swing creaking slowly.Rhonda wondered how she could steer the conversation around to Suzanne.The more she got to know Larry, the more she wanted to know more.He beat her to it.

“So, are you involved with anyone back home?”Larry was leaning forward now, his elbows on his knees and his face supported in his cupped hands.He stared out into the darkness as he awaited her answer.

“Nope—how about you?”

“Not at the present,” he turned then, and grinned at her.“Does that mean we can get to know one another better this summer?”

Rhonda wavered.“I guess,” she answered hesitantly.“My father and Ryan won’t be too thrilled, through.”

“Well, let’s cross that mountain when we get to it.For now, let’s just consider ourselves friends and take it from there, okay?”

Rhonda nodded in agreement and shivered with the thrill of it all—this handsome man was actually interested in her!She looked forward to the summer—nothing could spoil it now.Larry put his arm around her shoulder, pulled her close for a quick squeeze, then quickly got to his feet in one fluid motion.

“Come on—we’d better get back inside before your father has a fit and I lose my job.”He pulled her to her feet, and led the way back to the dance area…

Rhonda willed herself to think only of the project as she pulled into the office parking lot.It wouldn’t do to be caught off in la-la land after returning from the biggest farm project the soil conservation office had ever attempted.She must appear confident and in complete control, not revealing her emotional upheaval.She said a quick prayer to God for help and stepped out, just as the parking lot light switched on in the approaching darkness.There was no light on anywhere in the building.Groaning, Rhonda remembered her boss telling her to simply go home after visiting farms, for to go back and forth from the office every day would waste too much time.She was simply supposed to check in every morning at conference time.Rhonda unlocked her car door and climbed in.Had you been thinking about important things on the way home you wouldn’t have made this 20km detour in the first place, she chastised herself, turning the key in the ignition.


Submitted: June 13, 2009

© Copyright 2020 GraciaKingschild. All rights reserved.

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Comments

AlexStanski

I do like it. Intriguing and sweet.

Sat, January 30th, 2010 7:55pm

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