Last week, Shy agreed to meet Wyatt at the supermarket, but will he make it? Find out in this week's episode of No Way Out. Then don't forget to visit the rest of the Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!
No Way Out #9
Shy thought Randy would never leave. Usually quick out the door, today he lingered over his coffee, giving detailed instructions on his drycleaning. Told a rambling story about his high school days that bore no relevance to anything. Finally, he rose from the table with one last instruction—“Dinner at 8 sharp”—and exited.
Time to get dressed and go. Shy wasn’t sure what to wear on a first date. Why was he even thinking of this rendezvous in this way? This was no date. It was a first and last meeting, nothing more. He hoped at least he’d come away from it with some memories to hold on to; he deserved nothing more. Other guys had first dates and first kisses, hopes and dreams and a future to look forward to.
Shy wasn’t one of those.
He didn’t intend to dress any differently, until he stared at himself in the mirror in surprise. Dark grey slacks, and a lightweight polo shirt in a blue that Randy uncharacteristically said matched his eyes. One thing he could say for Randy, he dressed Shy up pretty on the rare occasions he took him out.
Shy grabbed the list and the car keys, muttered, “Ready or not, here I come,” and locked the house behind him.
* * * *
Wyatt had been sorely tempted to suggest they ride together. Hell, they were right across the street from one another. But common sense dictated that if it was that easy, they wouldn’t be meeting in a grocery store, would they?
He rejected most of his wardrobe as too casual. He had to make a good impression the first time—he suspected he might not get a second chance. So he donned his best gallery outfit, the one he used to wow the patrons that showed up to view his art close up and personal, hopefully to purchase it. Tan slacks and a long-sleeved light blue button-down shirt. He knew he’d pay the price for wearing sleeves in this weather, but it looked good on him and darkened his blue eyes. If that meant suffering a little in the humid St. Louis heat, then so be it.
Shop for Less was a discount supermarket chain, with locations that dotted the Midwest and Northeast. In this economy, people needed to cut corners where they could. When Wyatt shopped for himself, he availed himself of their low prices, so he was very familiar with the nearest store.
As he pulled into the half-empty lot, Wyatt’s heart rose into his throat. There was no sign of the silver luxury sedan. Had Shy backed out on him? He checked his watch. Ten o’clock precisely. He parked Mr. Masterson’s car away from most of the others, near an older car, but not too close. Didn’t want to take a chance on being hit with the door. Then he gathered himself together, grabbed a cart from the corral, and ventured inside.
The secret of the store’s success was a limited selection of items at good prices. Wyatt also appreciated the small snack area where you could sit and enjoy a fountain soda and a sweet or salty snack. That would be a better place to talk than pushing carts about the store, gabbing between pulling down cans of food.
Assuming Shy even showed up. Which at this point looked doubtful. Well, then, he’d just have to march across the street again, and do something more drastic to gain Shy’s attention, although he wasn’t sure what. Or why he wanted to get to know the blonde so badly. Something in his eyes drew Wyatt to him, though. Something Wyatt could not forget. He sensed a soul in distress, and he ached to relieve Shy’s pain.
He had to find out what it was, first.
He carelessly threw more items in his cart. He’d figure out something to do with them later, assuming he actually checked out. Rounding the corner from one aisle to the next, he collided with another cart moving in the opposite direction. As metal hit metal, the jolt sent shock waves running along his arms. Glancing at the other driver, Wyatt bit back his sharp retort, replaced his frown with a smile. He came!
Damn, but he looked good. Looked even better without that silver-haired Simon Legree-type creep standing behind him.
Wyatt’s smile blossomed across his face, growing broader and broader by the second. To his gratification, he got a small smile in return.
That’s a good sign.
Shy peered curiously into Wyatt’s cart, perplexity creasing his blond brow. Then he began to chuckle. Wyatt followed his glance at the objects he’d tossed so mindlessly inside, and had to smile himself. Black olives, anchovies, Italian dressing, canned frosting, and chickpeas sat side by side in discordant splendor.
“That’ll make an interesting dish,” Shy commented in bemusement.
“No doubt,” Wyatt muttered. “Here, let me put this stuff up and I’ll just walk with you. We can get a drink and something to eat. Maybe they have ice cream?”
He watched the expressions play across Shy’s face, and held his breath, wondering which would win out. There was something so very uncertain about Shy, as if he were teetering on the brink between one state and another. As if his very soul were in imbalance.
Finally, Shy nodded and Wyatt hastened to replace everything as quickly as he could, before the blonde changed his mind. He couldn’t help feeling there was a victory in there somewhere, one he planned to hold on to for as long as he could. Once the errant items had been taken back to where they belonged, Wyatt returned to Shy.
“Here, let me push that,” he offered. “That way you can get what you need easier.” Since Shy didn’t object, they switched places and continued down the aisle. Wyatt wasn’t surprised that Shy had a list, one he kept checking.
A lot of low-fat items, he noticed, wondering if Randy was on a diet.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!