Small Town Stories

2-Need To Thank Doug

Peter Bennet loved pie. It didn’t matter what kind of pie. All flavors of pie, ranging from fruit to pies with meat and gravy, enticed his taste buds to try them. As long as it had a flaky crust on the top and the bottom, he was a happy man. So he should have been glad that the pie festival was three days away. But he wasn’t. 

His sister and her husband had gone out of town.  Rob, his usual festival buddy, had found his new girlfriend Eliza more entertaining. 

Whatever, Peter thought, it’ll end when football season starts

In the meantime, he had the uncomfortable choice. Attend the pie festival alone, or forgo the event altogether.  Neither option appealed to him.

He eyed the pecan pie on the counter behind RaeAnne. RaeAnne looked young, but she had baking skills that made grandmothers look like newbie bakers. Sometimes she carved the crust into little leaves. Every piece she cut had the perfect fruit to crust ratio. Men would go to war for a slice of RaeAnne’s pies. 

She slid one of the three remaining pieces onto a plate. Ray counted the people and his gut tightened.  Four people were ahead of him. 

The door opened. A shadow stepped into the ray of light and closed the door behind him. He nodded to greet Doug Parsenell, the other guy on the crew. All the guys from the garbage truck crew stopped for coffee around this time. 

Doug approached the counter. He didn’t ask if anyone minded. He just cut to the front of the line. If they were any place other than the coffee shop, Peter would have called him out. “Hey,  come stand in line like the rest of us civilized people.” It toasted Peter’s pecans when people didn’t do the right things. Peter only had ten minutes left of his break, and then he’d have to go back to his truck. 

He turned away to distract himself. Maybe he had jumped to a conclusion, and when he turned around, Doug would go to a table. Or perhaps he was asking to use the facilities. But if Doug was there, when Peter turned around, Peter was prepared to tell him a thing or two. 

Peter’s eyes landed on the most beautiful woman in Three Creeks, Lizbeth Perlow. His heart flipped and he swallowed hard to keep it from jumping into his throat.  Lizbeth was as beautiful in spirit as she was in appearances. Every time he drove by, she waved at him. Whenever they bumped into each other at the store, Lizbeth always had a kind word.  “Oh, hi, Lizbeth. I didn’t know you were behind me.” 

The woman who always smiled had a frown that was so deep it could have been used as a sled trail. “Did you see that?” she whispered. 

Her displeasure was so deep; Peter turned back to see what he could have missed. Everything was as he remembered seconds prior. 

“What?”  

“Doug cut to the front of the line.” 

Peter, who was notorious for being gruff, did something entirely out of character. “I’m sure there’s a good reason. Let’s just wait and see what happens.” Although he suspected Lizbeth was correct. And with this awareness, he worried for Doug. Especially when Lizbeth enunciated every word when she said, “If he takes the last piece of pie, I will have to say something.” She did that when she was really angry. 

Peter stepped back so he could stand beside Lizbeth. It was almost like they were there together. He liked the feeling. “I didn’t know you had such a strong inclination for pie.” 

“Normally, I don’t,” she replied. “Maybe it’s just because I need that pie and coffee. I’m having a day, and I so looked forward to having a treat to change the tone.” 

“You know there are better ways to improve your day,” Peter tried to sound cheerful. His encouragement was also for himself. He understood the want of a good piece of pie and the way things were looking; he might not get his slice either. And the pie was the only reason why he was in line. 

The barista took out the last piece of pie and handed the plate to the person in front of them. Lizbeth whimpered. “I’m not so sure.” 

“How about this. I’ll take you to the pie festival. Then we can live like royalty for the day.”

“Royalty? Don’t you think that’s a bit extreme?” Lizbeth arched her brow in disbelief, but the quirk of her lip expressed playfulness.   

Peter shoved his hands in his pocket. “Well, I’d feel like a king if you were there with me.” 

The brow dropped and Lizbeth’s lips stretched into a shy smile. “That is the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

Confidence expanded in Peter’s chest. He had a chance. This was the time to take it. “Only if you say you’ll go.” 

Lizbeth blinked, and a smile took over her face. “You did it.” 

 Peter didn’t know what he had done, but if the expression on Lizbeth’s face was any indication, he knew it was good. He asked, “What?” because he wanted to know. Mostly so he could do it again. 

My day is better. Thank you. 

“So that means Yes, we’re going to the pie festival together?” 

“Yes.”

It was their turn to order their coffee. Peter let Lizbeth go first. Peter almost didn’t hear the barista ask him what he wanted because he was deep in thought— he needed to thank Doug.

🌼. 🌼. 🌼

So we have two characters in our saga and an upcoming pie festival. Next week we’ll add a fundraiser and some rivalry to make things interesting in our character’s piece of the world.

To help with the next story, could you drop some of your favorite cookies in the comments? Please and Thank you 🙂

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