I apologise for the almost 1 year break away from this fic, complete block with it, and then during these past few days and my day off today it's begun flowing again. Hopefully this will continue and it won't be too long a wait until the next chapter.
Chapter 4: First Date.
It was the middle of June. Earlier in the afternoon the heavens had opened, and unfortunately there was no sign of them closing. Despite the weather Jeff had arrived at our family ranch five minutes early earning him top marks in my book. He had already informed me of the evening activities: Dinner and a trip to a local concert hall which happened to have a Jazz pianist performing. Obviously, my brother had schooled him on my love of that particular art form. Not that he had needed to, seriously, Burger, chips and a milkshake in a local café would have sufficed. Nevertheless, Jeff had obviously put a lot of thought into arranging everything and had spent a lot of money. At this particular time, despite what the public's notions were on what an astronaut was earning, he didn't have huge amounts of cash to splash around. Therefore with that in mind, my own growing anticipation for the evening's activities, and (yes, even though when I first saw Jeff I had assumed he was a player) his intelligence and attractiveness, I decided to go all out. Switching from my usual pants and shirt to a long green dress with shoes to match. (Flats, I don't do heels, no matter the event!) His reaction, absolutely worth it, with his eyes upon greeting me looking like they had popped out of his head. Although, to be fair, he had looked very handsome in the suit he was wearing and my own eyes may have also bulged out, much to the delight of my very annoying brother who was watching us greet each other from the side. Anyway, finally we escaped the grinning loon and chivalrously with umbrella open to protect us both from the storm, Jeff led me to his car, and we set off for the restaurant.
The journey started well with conversation flowing. Jeff, chatting about his love for the stars and how his recent space mission had been a dream come true. Me, talking openly about my master's degree in Art History at Denver and how much I was looking forward to completing the final year. Our tête-à-tête began to naturally change to other varied interests, when a car pulled over on the side of a long stretch of road caught our attention. Normally this wouldn't have been an unusual thing however, most likely due to the atrocious weather, we hadn't yet spotted any other vehicles out that evening. Therefore, with concern for whoever was in the car Jeff slowed down and when spotting it was a young mother with what appeared to be three children in the back he immediately pulled up just in front, grabbed the umbrella and jumped out of the car…
"Flat tyre," he explained on his return, "she changed it but then noticed the back one was also flat."
"Mm… She believes she hit some nails that had been thrown in the road," he sighed sadly, "it's happened before and was attributed to a local gang. Unfortunately, her phone batteries died so she hasn't been able to call for help, because of the little ones she was going to wait it out until the morning then begin walking, but I've offered her my spare. I'll just change it now, shouldn't take me long then we can get on our way again."
Immediately I began unbuckling my seatbelt.
"What are you doing?"
"Helping… You won't be able to keep yourself dry," I answered to his confused look, "so I'll hold the umbrella while you change the tyre, can't have you catching your death."
He nodded his appreciation and within fifteen minutes Jeff was done much to the relief of the mother who was trying to keep her three young children entertained. So, with a heartfelt thanks she attempted to start her car and nothing…
"I'm really not having much look today," she complained, her head resting on the steering wheel in frustration.
"It's alright," I responded, "I'll get it fixed."
"Really?" Jeff queried.
"I'm not just a pretty face you know."
"I can tell!"
I smiled at his response before passing him the umbrella. "This time you can keep me dry."
"My pleasure," he returned, "I have some tools in my car."
"Oh," I blushed slightly at the slip of my tongue, "it's just something silly I used to confirm everything with when I was younger."
"What's it stand for?"
With tools now in my one hand, I popped the hood of the car with the other. "It had two meanings and depended on my mood at the time. One was quite innocent..."
"And the other?"
"Not so much," I raised a cheeky eyebrow at him, "I'll let you know on our second date…" I lifted my head and called over to the woman. "Okay, give it a try now." At the sound of the engine starting, I closed the hood and walked over to the window. "You should be okay now, but I'd get a mechanic to check her over tomorrow."
"I definitely will," she responded, with a quick glance at her three children who were now fast asleep in the back, "how can I ever thank you both."
"No need," Jeff replied, "just make sure you get those kids safely home."
"Oh, I will, and thank you again."
"Well, you've got a lot of hidden talents," Jeff remarked when the woman had driven away.
"Had no choice but to learn," I answered placing the tools back into his car, "enjoyed all my lessons though."
"Lee?" Jeff questioned opening the car door so I could slip back into the passenger seat.
"No, my mother, she could fix anything!"
"Lee mentions her a lot," he replied settling himself into his own seat, "he's always remarked on the impact she made to both of your lives."
"Yes, she did… I hear your own mother also had quite an effect on you as well?"
"Mm… Back in the day she was a doctor for the US air force before taking an appointment at the local hospital, she's a brilliant pilot who taught me everything she knows about flying, now she's working part time while helping run our family farm... The woman is formidable, and certainly gives my father a run for his money… Can't cook to save her life though." Jeff checked his watch before restarting the car. "Unfortunately, we've missed the restaurant, but we can still make the concert… That's if you still want to go?"
"Yes, definitely… And I also believe I promised you a second date."
"Ahh, yes, you did," Jeff responded with a grin, which immediately changed to a frown when a noise we both recognised caught our attention.
A quick check confirmed both of our theories, he was now the one with a flat tyre and unfortunately since Jeff had given away his spare, we were unable to change it. A quick call to roadside assistance, and we were told someone could be with us in an hour. Thankfully, they were there within the half. However, once everything had been fixed, and the mechanic had issued a warning to make sure Jeff carried a spare next time, (despite informing him several times why he hadn't got one) it was too late to head for the concert.
Restarting the car, Jeff pulled away with an apologetic look. "Are you still sure about that second date?"
Jeff raised an eyebrow, "I'm surprised after the way this one's turned out."
"Well, it's certainly different, but simply stopping your car and helping that woman when many others would have driven by shows me what kind of man you are."
"Mm… Generous, helpful… I certainly believe you deserve another shot."
"Good, I will hold you to that."
"Make sure you do!"
"So, back home?"
I thought for a moment, and then smiled. "Andersons will still be open?"
Jeff's face lit up. "The burger joint?"
"Mm… How about it?"
And that was where we continued our first date, and many more afterwards…