Sheila took a deep breath and thought of what to tell Josh.

Josh guided his six year-old F-150 up the curving macadam driveway and crunched to a halt before an imposing front porch which looked to cost more than his whole house; the only thing it lacked were huge white columns big enough to support Mount Olympus, but those were probably on back-order and would no doubt be erected before the Fourth of July. Beyond that was a set of massive and ornate double doors made from some dark wood Josh didn't recognize but surmised was probably imported from the rainforest and was heavy enough to be bulletproof. A twinge of worry tickled behind his eyes when he noticed there was no light inside. Had Sheila gone somewhere? He was early, he knew, but not by much. He stood at the bottom step with his hands in his pockets, and chewed his bottom lip in thought as he looked up at the upstairs windows. Those too were dark.

Oh well, he'd feel like an ass if he went home without trying, especially if she really WAS inside, maybe at the rear of the house. He hopped up the steps and strode to the front door. He was just about to knock when something caught his ears' attention, so he froze, his knuckle in mid-air, eight inches from the door, about to rap. Was something rustling around in the bushes? A skunk perhaps?

He snorted sharply, Not in this neighborhood! Vermin were no doubt eradicated on sight by laser beams imbedded in the lawn. He smiled at his internal, private wit, but still watched the corners of the house.

After another minute, he decided his ears were just tripping, and he rapped on the exotic wood of the front doors. By golly, that wood really WAS hard enough to stop a bullet. No sooner had he pulled his fist away from the door when Sheila burst from around the side of the house, smiling but out of breath.

“Hey!” she said – with way too much exuberance, “change of plans. I was thinking we should go out tonight; say... dinner and a movie?”

“Oh,” he looked forlornly at the big empty house before he acquiesced, “okay.”

Sheila took Josh's hand and led him away from the house, to where his truck gently ticked in the cool evening air.

“Hey, you should wear a jacket or something.”

“I'll be all right. We'll just stay inside.”

“Well,” he opened the door for her and closed it behind her, then circled the hood and opened the driver's side door, “there's this restaurant out by the water that's supposed to be nice. It'd be romantic.”

Sheila shook her head, “Someplace public would be better.”



The End

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