Here you will experience a potentially tense meeting between a young heiress and a one-armed gardener…two longtime friends possibly set adrift after a night of startling revelations...______________________________
We now take you to the gazebo...
Cheryl Van Der Van observes her longtime friend sitting stoically, only a pair of tossed aside gardening shears for company. His feet are spread evenly apart, his one hand clutching a leg. No discernible expression can be found as he gazes off into the distance.
She gingerly steps closer to the gazebo, unsure of what his response will be. More has changed in the last twenty-four hours than in the four months she had been away.
"Good morning, Dinkel," she nervously greets with a sincere smile.
He responds with caution, unsure if Anapola spoke the truth over her daughter’s concern, "Good morning, Cheryl."
"May I join you?"
"You don't have to ask," Dinkel states, feeling at ease with her politeness. "After all, it is your gazebo."
Cheryl, sensing his comfort, enters the structure. "Technically, it was my father's."
"He built it for you."
"That’s what my mother has always told me." She walks across to where Dinkel is seated. Along the way, a particular area of the wooden floor creaks and gives a bit, but she pays it little mind, "I know that Father would sometimes use this place to meditate."
"I remember seeing him here a few times, all drawn up in thought." Dinkel looks around at the neatly trimmed shrubs, "I can see why. It’s peaceful."
She calmly situates herself beside him. No words are exchanged as they completely absorb the bucolic surroundings. Fresh air carries the pleasant aroma of flowers and the soft songs of faraway birds. The warm sun caresses the shrubs, bringing with it the promise of life.
"Are you mad at me?" Dinkel gently breaks the serenity. He continues looking forward, afraid to see her expression.
"For what?" she asks for clarification, not facing him for the same reason.
Dinkel barely wants an answer, but he needs to know, "For keeping the truth about your father's death from you."
"You were following Mother’s impossibly tyrannical demands. I can't be mad at you for that, Dinkel."
"I just wish I would have handled things better."
She knows precisely what he means. "Are you angry with me for telling Crop the truth?"
“No,” Dinkel shakes his head. “You did what I couldn't."
Silence trickles back in, collecting and reshuffling their thoughts. No more talk of the deception involved in the untimely death of Charles Van Der Van, at least for today. There is something far more current to discuss, even though time already seems to be making the subject irrelevant.
"Why Crop?" Cheryl faces him, needing to see his expression. "Why did you fall in love with him?"
Dinkel turns, not afraid to look at her, "You know how easy he makes it, Cheryl."
She sees it in her friend's blue eyes: a look of adoration for the man. "Why didn't you write to me about the relationship?"
He sees it in his friend's hazel eyes: a glimmer of sadness for her lost first love. "You had been in love with him, Cheryl. I felt like I was betraying you."
"Mother betrayed me with Crop. You were just following your heart."
"It doesn't matter now," he chuckles hollowly. "You and I have both lost him."
"But...are you still in love with him?" Cheryl asks without spite.
"Yes. Are you?"
"No. Crop Hoppins may be suave..."
"Handsome..." Dinkel adds, causing a sedate interpolation.
"But he is my past," Cheryl concludes.
"I guess he's my past, too." Dinkel gazes languidly at nothing specific.
Cheryl follows his gaze, hating to see him so lost. "A friend once told me that regret slowly and silently destroys everything."
"Your friend would be right."
She nods in agreement, "We can't change the past, Dinkel, but we can be strong and diligently face the future."
"Tennis," he states, thinking about tomorrow’s full game.
"My father's company," she avows, contemplating the Van Der Van legacy.
Dinkel holds out his one hand, initiating the old game. Cheryl instinctively reaches out to slap it, but this time he doesn't move away. The friends join hands with a loud clap, praying that neither time nor circumstance will ever tear their bond asunder.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Copyright 2013, John L. Harmon
For further information on this e-book (available for Amazon Kindle and other Kindle App-compatible devices) please click on one of the following Amazon links…
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Don't forget to read Chapters 12 & 32 and excerpts from the fourth set...
Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,
Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,
P.S. Click WHIP to read about the excursion behind Dark Excursions.