Part 45: Dressed For The Party
Inside the house we fixed up some sandwiches and sat down at the kitchen island to eat. After taking a few bites, Summer set down her Turkey and Swiss and looked over at me. “How did he know where to find us?” she asked.
“Earl. How did he know we were here?”
She made a good point. We didn’t tell him where we were staying that day we went to see him, so how did he know? My only guess was the fact this was a small community and people talk. As intrusive as it may sound, everybody knows everybody’s business, and in the case of two strangers loving all over the place, I’m sure news gets around. I conveyed this to Summer and she seemed to accept this.
“I don’t like it,“ she muttered. “I don’t mind being talk of the town, but I don’t like him waiting on our doorstep. The next person that does that I’m liable to slug them.”
I laughed and she gave me a look to say that she was serious, which made me laugh more. I could just see her now punching out a milkman or postal employee. When I said so, she couldn’t help but grin with an added, “Hope the girl scouts aren’t out selling cookies…”
After we finished up our sandwiches, Summer went up to her room to change. “A girl can’t be looking like she just got in from picking taters when she’s dancing.”
I stepped into my designated room to try to upgrade my jeans and t-shirt as well. Changing into dark khakis and a button up ruffled white shirt, I threw on the only thing I had that looked formal, a black dinner jacket that was missing half of its buttons. Why in the world I even packed such a thing I didn’t know. I guess it had sentimental feeling as it was the same jacket I had worn at my parent’s funeral. Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to wear it to a happy party afterwards, but I wanted to look halfway nice for my lady. I made sure the ruffled cuffs of my shirt hung out from the jacket sleeves and wondered what my brother would think of me now, dressing up to go out with a girl to a party. Ashley had always wanted to party, but I was never happy at those kinds of things. With her, I felt like a poor excuse for a wallflower, but here and now with Summer, I didn’t feel like a drab piece of the scenery. I was the focal point of the room, or at least of her vision. This proved to be true when I heard her go, “Wow, not bad,” in the doorway. I turned to her voice and soon lost mine.
She was wearing a dress that seemed like she had painted it on. A low cut V dominated the bodice, revealing the shapely swell of her breasts with just enough tease without being trashy. The dress hugged her hips before flowering out so her legs would have room to move. The hem stopped at just above the knee giving one a great view of her smooth legs down to the matching red shoes she wore. It didn’t matter that the shoes were chucks; she still looked elegant and beautiful. With very little makeup and just a light curl to her hair, her natural beauty came shining through so much I felt she would be the envy of both men and women alike tonight. I was in such awe of her, it took awhile for my voice to come back.
“Wow doesn’t quite describe you, but it’s all I got right now,” I said.
She spun around so that I could see the outfit fully. “You like?”
“I adore,” I replied. “I am the luckiest man that ever lived.”
She smiled and put her arms around my neck. “I’m the luckiest girl.”
She kissed me lightly on the lips and I tasted vanilla. “I am going to be so jealous every time someone looks at you,” I confessed.
“Mmmm, don’t be, though a girl does like to know her man wants her all to himself.”
“Oh I do. But I feel as I’m just a little under dressed.” I stepped back to admire her again. “You look amazing, Summer.”
“Thank you. You look very nice too. I love the ruffled shirt.”
I nervously tugged at the sleeve. “Yeah this was part of my…” I stopped. I couldn’t go dancing with her in a jacket missing half its buttons or even dark drab khakis I had worn so many times. This was a special occasion, a coming out party so to speak, our first day stepping out as lovers who were not afraid to say the words that went along with the feeling. Summer looked absolutely ravishing and tonight she would catch every man’s eye whether she intended to or not. Every guy would look at me and ask, what’s she doing with this clown? He can’t even dress properly. Every girl would be thinking, she could do better. This wouldn’t do at all.
“Give me a minute,” I said, and she gave me a strange look as I led her out in the hall. “I’ll be just a minute, okay?”
I closed the door on her worried face and went over to my closet, taking off the poor excuse of a jacket as I went. Flinging open the doors, I looked inside and pulled out the ensemble that would tell everyone I was more than worthy of Summer. Every man would feel underdressed, and every girl would be like wow, why can’t my man look that good tonight? I stared at the outfit on the hanger, wondering why I had even brought it along. It’s not like I thought I would ever need it. I don’t know why I never turned it back in. At the time I thought I needed a memento of just how messed up things had gotten. Now however, it seemed to be a reminder of what could be someday.
When I came out of the bedroom, Summer was pacing the hallway. She was all the way at the other end with her back to me, and when she turned at the sound of the opening door, she stopped. It only took a second for her face to light up and smile in a way that said she more than approved. She was now in awe of me, too.
“Now I’m underdressed,” she happily sighed.
I turned so she could see the full ensemble down to the black wingtip shoes.
“Wow, wow, and more wow,” she said, taking in my attire. “I feel like a construction worker getting ready to make catcalls as the sexy thing walks by.”
“It’s not too much?” I knew it was, but I didn’t care. People were going to know we were at the party tonight, over dressed and on fire. I straightened my tie and made sure my cuff links were fixed right. I picked a piece of lint off the red vest.
“I have to ask.” Summer said. “Is this your tux from the wedding?”
“Yeah,” I admitted. “I kind of failed to return it on time.”
“Man, that girl is so stupid. If I was her, I would fling myself off the nearest cliff for not wanting you.”
I smiled. “Well, she doesn’t matter now. You’re all that matters to me.”
She wrapped her arms around my waist. “Really?”
“I don’t want anyone but you, Summer. And I want you to want no one but me.”
“No worries there, boyfriend.” She put her lips to mine. “I love you so much,” she breathed. As her lips pressed fully upon my own, and I clutched her tightly to me, I found myself wishing we could just skip the party and dance alone in the comforts of Orchard House.
We watched from the safety of the living room window as all the people started arriving for the street party. The music hadn’t begun as of yet, but the road was lined with cars, and people filled the dirt road, mingling with friends and strangers alike. It was hard to believe there were so many people in this area, but I guess it was known among surrounding environs too, and so party goers were arriving from other towns. We could see vendors setting up, and the artist village was expanding to allow other craftsmen and women to set up their handmade wares. Not wanting to be the first at the party, we had purposely hung back, preferring to wait until the music began. We were already getting nervous jitters from the realization we were going to be majorly overdressed. So, we sat on the couch like two kids waiting for their ride to the prom. Finally, we heard the tuning of guitars as the band in the amphitheater prepared to let it rip. There was a whine of feedback and then the band kicked off things with a rousing burst of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “The House is a-rocking.”
I looked to Summer. “You ready for a party?”
Nervously she laughed. “I’m not sure.”
I leaned over and kissed her. “Now or never?”
She grinned and stood up, straightening her dress. “Now.”
“Let’s do it, before I chicken out.” I got up to join her. “Hope you don’t expect me to dance.”
She grabbed my hand. “I sure do.”
“Great,” I mumbled as she pulled me out the door to head down the hill.
“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.