By P. Berman
There he is. Where has he been?
Claire had a good day at work. One child after another sat in her chair, laughed at her jokes and hugged her on the way out. She felt so good that she was looking up at the clouds as the bus pulled in. She walked up the steps and smiled at the driver as she put her money in. What a perfect day. Then, she saw him. Craig was sitting in her usual row and smiling up at her as she walked his way. Her heart skipped a beat as she smiled back. She knew she should be cautious but, his smile just made her perfect day feel even more wonderful. “Hello,” she said shyly, as she sat down next to him.
She is so beautiful. I can’t scare her again.
Skipping the bus had been the right choice- her look of fear was gone and that open look in her eyes was back. There was something about Claire that drew him in. She looked so fragile somehow, so perfect. He had wondered what she would do if he picked her row to sit in. How perfect it was that she had sat down next to him – things were going as planned.
“I have missed you Claire. Have you missed me?” Claire nodded without meaning too. His smile got bigger. It was time to take another chance. “Would you like to go out with me this weekend?” he asked softly. Claire looked away as she blushed, looking back she said, “I would like that.”
Wow. That was easy. Now what?
Craig had thought she would be more standoffish. He didn’t have any plan for a date in mind. He could handle it. “How about we do something on Saturday?” Claire nodded. “What would you like to do Claire?” Her heart skipped a beat. What was it about the way he was saying her name? It made it sound so beautiful. Claire’s heart skipped a beat. Larry never gave her a choice of what they did. This was a good sign. If he really meant it, he shouldn’t get mad if she suggested something.
I am so glad I talked to Mrs. Carson. I actually know what to say.
“I would love to meet your dog. Could we walk with him in Kendrick park?” That was the park she always took Davy to. Lots of children went there. It would be easy to see Craig’s reaction to them.
Craig had this weird expression on his face. He seemed to be startled by her suggestion. But then, he started to laugh.
What does this mean. I guess it’s a good thing. He didn’t look or sound mad.
Claire waited a minute before asking him if he disliked her idea. He took her hand, her heart started beating so fast. “I guess I don’t have to worry about you taking advantage of me because I work at a bank,” Craig said with a smile. “I gave you free choice and you picked a free walk in the park.” Claire looked down. She didn’t know what to say.
I have spooked her again. Where is my brain?
“Claire, would you like see my newest picture of my dog Max?” Claire laughed as she said, “Yes, of course, I can’t wait to meet him.” Claire looked at the picture of the dog and smiled at him, “I will be meeting you Saturday!” Claire looked out the window and saw her stop. “I have to go.” “We can plan Saturday on the bus tomorrow….if you will be on my bus Claire.” She smiled and said, “I have to run, see you tomorrow.”
Claire got off the bus and just stood there at the stop. Craig noticed it and nodded in satisfaction. She was thinking about him. The plan was on. He would have to give tomorrow some serious thought.
Something is bothering me. What is it?
Claire was feeling uneasy. She couldn’t put her finger on it until she started walking home. Then all of a sudden, she remembered him showing her his dog the first time. He had called him Butch. Now, he was calling him Max.
Mrs. Carson had told Claire to follow her instincts. Her gut told her something was very wrong.
Do you agree?
What explanations might you have for Craig changing the name of his dog?
Do any of them scare you?
Are you just feeling mad?