As I was walking away from the church away from my mysterious man I couldn’t fathom what was it about him, which was tugging at my heart, wanting to turn and get one more glimpse. Just then Aunt Gretchen said “Angel did you look at that tall stranger?”
“Yes Aunt. Why do you ask?” I replied wondering how did she know I was thinking of him.
“Oh it’s just that I have never seen him here before, but Father Smith seems to know him well enough to cut short our discussion.”
“May be he knows him from before he moved to Shelter Cove”.
“Hmm it’s possible, but I was asking because he seems smitten with you”
“Aunt Gretchen, why would say something like that? For god sake I don’t know him nor have I seen him before today.”
“Oh shush girl, I saw your interest in him and his in you. May be you should go talk to him and go out together. Your life as is very boring. All you do is sit and work on your research”
“Enough Aunt Gretchen. No more jokes. I am perfectly happy the way I am and my research is very important to me. Since I have started it I feel more close to Mom and Dad. I feel as if they are showing me the way.”
“Oh dear, I am sorry. I just want you to be normal and go out like other girls. Get to know people and not just your books. You should understand this old woman’s dilemma too”
“Will it make you happy if I said I will think about it?”
“A little perhaps.” Aunt Gretchen said smiling slyly.
“Good. And you are not old. You just entered the prime of you age. You should be the one out on date with Mr. Ramsay. I know he has been asking you out for long time. I don’t understand why you put him off. He is a nice man.”
“He is a nice man, isn’t he? Just that taking care of you was all I wanted to do.”
“Well I am a big girl now and can take care of myself, so you better go out with him soon.”
“Hahah, I will.”
We walked back home and I decided to make lunch for aunt and her quilt friends as today they would be gathering at the house for their usual Sunday afternoon time. Working on quilts and gossiping. Being small town everyone knew everyone’s business but today would be interesting as the main topic would be the fair, dark haired, tall handsome stranger at church.
I made mashed potatoes Cesar salad, and Chicken for all and started setting the dining table when Mrs. Evans came in along with Mrs. Patrick.
“Angel dear, how are you? When did you come from the city?” Mrs. Evans asked.
“Hello Mrs. Evans, I am good, Thank you. I drove here yesterday. Please come have a seat. Lunch is ready.”
“Thank you dear.”
“Oh Angel, Patricia said she would here soon and needs your help with purchasing few things for the town gathering next weekend” Mrs. Patrick said.
“I would be glad to go with her Mrs. Patrick”.
“Thank you Angel”.
“Martha who was the stranger you were talking to near the church. Is he one of your acquaintances?” Aunt Gretchen asked looking at me as if saying to me telepathically. “I know you were dying to know. You can thank me later.”
I could do nothing but watch her in horror, how did she know I was very much curious about him but shy to ask.
Mrs. Evans was telling all present that the stranger’s name was Ralf Duncan. He had arrived yesterday only. He purchased the house and the property surrounding it from Johnson brothers.
Just then Patricia came in to go shopping. I grabbed my bag to leave and lost rest of the information on Mr. Ralf Duncan.
The drive to town of Ferndale was smooth with me and Patricia catching up on old school days. We both went to high school together here and after graduation I moved to San Francisco for my undergraduate degree.
After purchasing all the necessary items for gathering, we decided to grab a cup of coffee. We entered the bistro and then I saw him at the far end of the table next to the window and intently looking at me. I suddenly felt conscious as if something was wrong with my attire or if I had grown two horns. Suddenly he stood up and started walking towards me, I lost my ground and told Patricia I will be waiting for her in the library across the road and took off so fast, that my physical trainer at high school would have been impressed.
The last glimpse of Ralf before my cowardly retreat showed hurt in his eyes. While waiting for Patricia in Library all I could think of was his hurt and how I can sooth him.