NOTE: The Highway Shooter is now available in all eBook formats through MuseItUp publishers. Beginning April 1, it will also be available through Amazon.
Another of my favorite scenes in The Highway Shooter occurs when Pettrolius telephone operator Ruby Daily, Glennnis’ best friend, and handsome Nordheim banker Norm Heinz, enjoy a secret afternoon rendezvous at the San Antonio River falls outside Pettrolius. Read what happens:
“Have you ever been here, Norm?” Ruby called out as she hoisted the picnic basket onto the table. The calming noise from the falls provided a relaxing backdrop to their afternoon of freedom.
Norm opened the back door of his new Buick Skylark and pulled out a basket of chilled champagne, cheese, and crackers. He padded over and set the basket on the table next to Ruby’s.
“Years ago,” he said. “I guess everyone in this part of the country has been here one time or another.”
“Did you go skinny dippin’?” Ruby asked as she began unloading the basket.
“Didn’t you?” he asked, feeling himself flush.
“A few times,” she said coyly. “I’ve got potato salad, fresh tomatoes, and apple pie.”
“A feast.” He pulled two glasses out of the basket and popped the cork. “Champagne, my dear?”
“Why not?” Ruby said with a smile.
After they had finished eating and had drunk half the champagne, Ruby cuddled in Norm’s arms as they sat facing the waterfall. “It’s so relaxing being here with you,” Ruby cooed.
“It is,” he said, glancing down at her. “I can’t think of a better place to be.”
They sat for a long time watching and listening to the waterfall, at peace with the world, comfortable in the silence, cuddling.
Finally, Norm spoke up, softly. “This must be so different for you.”
“What do you mean, sweetie?”
“The peacefulness. Pettrolius is such a wild little town.”
“It’s strained, for sure,” she said with a sigh. “With the shootings and now the racial unrest.”
“Funny, this was supposed to be Pettrolius’ year.”
She looked at him quizzically. “You mean football?”
“Yes. A lot of people were banking on Pettrolius to win the state championship.”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t keep up with it, anymore. Once my daughter graduated, I lost interest.”
“You have a daughter?”
“Yes.” She glanced up at him again. “You? Any kids?”
“We couldn’t have any.” He sighed and met her gaze. “I guess we need to talk about some things, don’t we?”
“Sooner or later.”
He bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips. “I was hoping later.”
“Me, too. I didn’t want to spoil anything.” She gazed silently at the waterfall. “How long have you been married?”
“Almost twenty years. You?”
“Close to the same.”
“Do you think less of me?” he asked, as if bracing for rejection.
“I already knew.” They locked gazes again. “What about you? Do you think less of me?”
“No,” he said, kissing her again. “Not at all.”
“What are we going to do about it?” she asked in a small voice as they broke apart.
His gaze darted toward the waterfall. “Do we have to do anything? Can’t we just enjoy, for a while, at least?”
“Fine with me,” she said, nuzzling up to him again.