Wallflower Girl (Chapter 7, page 1 of 3)

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In the morning, Anne cooked again, eggs and ham this time, with coffee and a hot, promising kiss that sent her husband to the field with a big dopy grin on his face. She was wearing a matching one, she saw as she headed into the bathroom to get ready for her morning shift at the truck stop. Pulling on the maroon dress with white trim that was her uniform, she grimaced at the colour. It was unflattering to say the least, though the shape was decent. She brushed her long hair and teased it puffy at the roots before pulling it into a long ponytail. It was the only hairstyle she knew how to make that would fit in here. Besides, Patricia didn't seem to have enough hairspray in the bathroom to be in the habit of elaborate bouffants.

Then she hurried back to the kitchen and made Nick's lunch, covering the plate with a napkin and leaving it in the refrigerator. She stepped outside and found that he was still tinkering with the tractor, not really hard at work yet.

"I'm going to the diner now, honey," she called. He bounded over and scooped her into a tight hug, smooching her mouth with a loud smack. She giggled. "Your lunch is in the refrigerator. I'll be home at five."

He tugged at the end of her pony tail. "This looks pretty," he said, lowering his face to her bare neck and nibbling. She laughed and squirmed at the ticklish sensation, and then he nipped her sharply.

"Nick! What are you doing?"

"Reminding all those truckers that you belong to me."

"Doesn't this ring do that?" She held up her hand in front of her face. He kissed her finger.

"It tells them we're married. This," he touched the mark he'd made on her neck, "tells them we're happy and not to waste their time. You are happy, right?"

She took his face in her hands and drew him down, kissing his lips. "So happy words can't express it, Nick. I love you so much."

One corner of his mouth turned upwards. "I love you too. Have a good day."

They kissed once more and she hurried to the truck, not wanting to be late.

At the truck stop, Anne made coffee and served steaks and sandwiches to lonely looking men with flabby bodies. They tried to flirt, but Anne was not tempted. Her friendly smile was decidedly impersonal. Just part of the job.

After the lunch rush, the bell over the door dinged and a new customer entered, a young woman in bell bottoms embroidered with birds and flowers, with a scarf tied around her head and round sunglasses. Her long, light brown hair hung, frizzy and unkempt, though clean, down her back

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