Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples! Here’s another excerpt of the story about Sidney and Joshua. I don’t have a title for it yet, but I finally sorted out Joshua’s last name (Hudson) and his dad’s first name (Buck). Maybe someday Sidney will have a last name and I’ll even spell her name the same way through a whole scene. Enjoy!
It was the the top of the eighth and the Tigers were up four to three, when the doorbell rang. Joshua looked over at Dad, hoping he would venture over to the door, but his dad’s head lolled against the pillow of his recliner. His mouth hung open and a snore erupted.
Joshua sighed and braced himself for the tearing pain of standing up. He rolled his shoulders and walked over to the door to answer it. He swung it open and blinked at the sunlight haloing Sidney’s face. It glowed in the soft curls falling about her shoulders. His gaze drifted to the smile on her luscious lips. ‘She’s a sweet girl’ echoed in his head, but the angel on his shoulder tugged his ear and whispered, “She’s engaged.”
“I baked a pie,” she said.
It was still warm. He could smell the cinnamon apple aroma and his mouth watered. She held it up and presented it to him. “I wanted to say thank you for jumping in the canoe. Aunt Penny can be pretty persuasive.”
Joshua grimaced as he reached for the pie, calculating how much of it he would have to share with dad.
“No problem, C’mon in.” He stepped to the side and she breezed by. “Dad fell asleep in front of the game.”
“Tigers? My dad probably did the same thing. My cable’s out, so I didn’t get to watch today.”
Joshua placed the pie on the kitchen counter. Sidney lingered in the doorway to the living room from where the murmur of the sports casters emanated. They weren’t Ernie Harwell, but they did the job.
“You a fan?”
“Not rabid, I mean, I change my underwear during the playoffs, but I do enjoy the games. I miss Ernie Harwell though. What’s the score?”
“It was four-three when you rang—” but Sidney cut him off. “Catch it! Catch it! Oh that’s a triple, easy.”
Joshua darted over to the doorway as fast as his aching muscles would carry him. He made it to the view of the television in time to see the Tigers third basemen catch the ball and stop the runner from advancing to home.
“That was close.” He cast a longing look as the pie. “You want to stay and watch the end of the game?”
“I’d love to.” Then she hesitated. “If you don’t mind?”
“Not at all, but I will be eating a piece of that pie.” He turned back toward the kitchen counter.
“No. No. I’ll get it.” Sidney shooed him back to the couch. “It’s the least I can do.” She slipped into the kitchen and extracted plates, silverware, and whipped topping from the cabinets and refrigerator without hesitation. The pie appeared on the plates with hefty dollops of cream and the plate was in his hand before he had a chance to protest. Not that he planned to protest, but it was disconcerting that Sidney moved around his dad’s kitchen more easily than he did.
He jabbed his fork into the pie and slipped it into his mouth. The crispy crust melted like honey on his tongue. Much better than his cooking, any day of the week.
“You see pretty comfortable around here,” he said as he shifted on the couch.
“I’ve been bringing your dad meals every now and then. It’s easier to cook for two, so I just bring him the extras.” She sat on the couch next to him and it felt like she belonged there. The cinnamony scent of the pie and fresh shampoo washed over him.
“Thank you for that. It’s nice to know people are keeping an eye out for him.”
The television switched to a commercial that was twice as loud as the game had been. Joshua scrambled for the remote and jabbed the mute button. The roaring about detergeant disappeared. Joshua took another bit of pie, forcing himself not to wolf it down in three giant bites.
“How are you holding up after yesterday?” Sidney asked.
Joshua winced. If moving his fork didn’t feel like a curling a fifty pounder, he’d have shrugged it off. “I’ve been better.”
“Sorry, Aunt Penny roped you into the race.”
“No problem. It was fun. I haven’t done anything like that in a while.” He finished off the last bite of pie as the game came back on. He and Sidney both reached for the remote at the same time and their fingers brushed. Electricity shot through his hand. He shoved the feeling away, reminding himself that Sidney was off limits.
Sidney laughed and handed him the remote. Joshua took it and toggled the mute button. The announcers were discussing the pitcher’s stats in the post-season.
His dad grunted and blinked his eyes. “What’s the score?”
“Four-three. Tigers. They’re holding a man on third. Sidney brought some apple pie over. Would you like some?”
Dad’s eyes popped open. “Sounds mighty good.”
Joshua leaned forward to put his plate on the coffee table and lever himself off the couch. He took a deep breath in preparation for the screaming pain, but Sidney grabbed the dish from him and leapt off the couch.
“I’ll get it. You need anything else, Mr. Hudson?” she asked as she slipped by Joshua and into the kitchen.
“A glass of water would be great,” Dad called after her.
She returned a minute later with a slice of pie with a perfect dollop of cream on top and a clinking glass of water. As she handed them both to Dad, she said, “What’s happening with the game?”
Joshua tore his attention away from his new favorite distraction and back to the television. The camera panned a cheering audience. He hadn’t been watching the game because his thoughts were focused on how comfortably, Sidney moved around his dad’s house.
“The Tigers scored again,” Sidney cheered as the replay of the homerun filled the screen. “They’re having a great year.”
Joshua nodded. “If they keep playing like this, they’ll clinch the division with no problems.”
“Delicious as always.” Dad waved his fork at Sidney. “How’s Colin? He wasn’t sick yesterday, was he?”
If Joshua hadn’t been studying Sidney, he wouldn’t have noticed the slight tightening of her lips before she replied, “He had a meeting.”
“On a Saturday? That stinks,” Joshua said.
“He’s trying to move up at work, so he does all these training things.” She closed her mouth before she could say more and Joshua got the feeling there was more to it than that.
He also knew the rest of the story wasn’t any of his business. That didn’t prevent him from having an opinion on Colin. What guy doesn’t call his fiance when he can’t make it somewhere? Not a guy that deserved Sidney, but, he reminded himself, that was none of his business.
Check out the other Sweet Saturday Samples.