Wallflower Girl (Chapter 8, page 1 of 4)

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As a week passed, and then another, Anne found it surprisingly easy to slip into this other woman's traditional life. Satisfying too. Nick was a passionate, attentive husband who worked hard and took pride in his labours. She felt equally proud to provide the means by which he sustained his efforts. She's always enjoyed cooking, and making meals for her hardworking husband pleased her. He so appreciated her efforts. The baby blanket took shape under her patient fingers, and the bigger it got, the more time Nick spent trying to create the baby that would one day be wrapped in it. That made the evenings satisfying in a whole different way.

Her little job at the truck stop was fun and easy, and gave her an opportunity to socialize, which was somewhat lacking on the farm. In her other life, fearful of her limp and the pitying glances it engendered, she'd cut herself off from people. But now she found that she rather liked engaging in conversations, even with strangers. They looked at her admiringly, and she drank that up.

On the following Friday, Nick took Anne to the swap meet. For a change, she dressed in a pair of wide-legged jeans and a white sleeveless tunic, and pulled her hair back in a headband. Nick had been tempted into kissing the cleavage revealed by the low keyhole cut into the bodice. They'd arrived at their destination quite a bit later than they'd intended, when the summer sun was already high in the sky.

Hand in hand, they strolled past the little booths set up in the grassy park, looking at vendors selling clothing, food, and other miscellaneous items. Nick bought them each an ice cream cone; one chocolate, one pistachio, and they licked them as they walked along, occasionally trading bites. The refreshing treats didn't last long in the heat.

Tossing their napkins in a trash can, they looked consideringly at a display of rainbow coloured tie-dye tee shirts.

Nick scratched his head. "I don't get it."

"Neither do I," Anne admitted, "but Ethel loves them."

"Don't take this wrong, baby, but Ethel is strange."

"Oh, she is," Anne agreed fervently, touching the string of rose quartz beads. "She'd be the first to admit it too."

"Well there's that, I suppose. I'm tired of this booth. What's next?"

Next was sunglasses, and Nick picked out a pair with elongated white frames, setting them on Anne's nose and holding up a mirror that was sitting out on the little counter. Anne laughed. It was a strange style, but it suited Patricia's face. For himself he found a pair of huge brown ones, in a drooping circular shape, with a heavy band across the top. Paying for the sunglasses, they moved on again.

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