Just Once - Page 19

After four weeks of keeping his vigil, Art finally found out.

He'd decided to stay out particularly late that day since his family, having decided Art's self-imposed isolation from them was a “phase,” had gone to town to do some shopping and catch a movie. The last of the twilight had faded from the sky, and Art was in the process of resigning himself to the futility of trying to keep any further watch for one day, when he saw a lithe figure moving stealthily toward him.

It was Annika, of course, dressed in a black overcoat better suited to Russian winters than an Arkansas summer night. Art presumed she was dressed like that to make the chances of her being discovered less likely, but he couldn't help but wonder how she could stand the heat generated by the bulky garment's embrace. Upon sighting him, Annika favored Art with a smoldering smile as she produced from beneath her coat a chilled bottle of champagne, the glass of the bottle sweating from condensation, and for a moment Art figured he had found his answer.

Art figured wrong though, as Annika proved as she shrugged the overcoat off into the grass, revealing her now completely bare skin sparkling all over with sweat and starlight.

This wasn't exactly the moment Art had been waiting for, in fact, it wasn't even a moment he had even dared to expect . . . but it was undeniably a “call to action.”


“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Caleb interjected. “I thought you said you never talked to her again!”

Art grinned sheepishly. “Well . . .” he began.

“You didn't!” Caleb chortled gleefully. “You really didn't say one word to her, did you?”

“Well . . .” Art began again, his face starting to flush.

Caleb's eyes widened at the sight of his brother's deepening blush. “You dog!” he exclaimed, extending one hand outward for a high five.

Art pointedly ignored him. “It wasn't like that!” he protested. “I mean, yeah, sure it was at first, but then . . .” Art took a deep breath. “Look . . . now we're at the part you're going to have a hard time believing.”

Page 19

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