First date time! Woohoo!! ❤ This section is longer than previous ones. The story has grown tremendously since I first began it at the beginning of the month, and to get it all posted in a timely fashion, I’m going to have to do bigger chunks.
This story began as a one-shot, and is now heading into novella territory. 🙂 I did not run this section through Grammarly, and though a couple friends have looked at it, it has not been beta’d, per se. Please forgive any errors. 🙂
Meetup at MIS, Part 4
Will grinned. “Did you ask your sister?”
“Yes, and we would be happy to go out with you and Charles.”
“Great! Why don’t you come to the motorhome with me while I shower and change, then I’ll drive you out to your car, and we can decide where to go.”
“Sounds good! Lead on!”
Once again, as he had when they were first introduced, Will tucked her hand under his elbow and escorted the ladies to a waiting golf cart, which would take them to his motorhome.
Before they knew it, the cart was pulling up to one of the hundred-thousand-dollar recreational vehicles parked in the infield lot. Charles Bingley stood waiting outside, much to Jane’s delight, and kept them company while Will showered and changed.
“So, what have y’all decided?”
Liz’s heart skipped a beat as she took in the sight of him, hair wet and slicked back, wearing a blue polo shirt with the DRI logo and a pair of well-worn faded blue jeans. The clothes fit his obviously tightly toned body like they were painted on. When combined with the gorgeous blue of his eyes, Will Darcy exuded sex appeal. Liz mentally shook herself. She was not going to be ruled by her feelings, or her hormones. She’d leave that to her youngest sister. Liz intended to be rational and logical and not jump into any kind of a relationship without knowing the man’s character first. She mentally shook herself, forcing her gaze away from Will and toward Bingley.
“The girls thought that wings might be a good idea. There’s one of those buffalo wing places over in Monroe.”
“Monroe’s how far from here?”
Liz spoke up. “About an hour. Our hotel is down the street from the wing place.”
Will nodded. “That is a good idea, then. We could see you to your door after we eat. Tell you what, why don’t Bingley and I drive you out to your car and we can take two vehicles.”
Liz and Jane agreed, and soon they were all climbing into Charles’ F-150 and heading for the parking lot. Since they were in Bingley’s vehicle, Jane rode with him while Will and Liz took Liz’s truck. While they travelled, the couples shared information about their lives and families.
“Is Georgie your only sibling?
“Yes. She’s ten years younger than I am. Our mother died when my sister was two and I was twelve.”
“I’m sorry. That must have been hard.”
“It was. Dad has done his best, but we both really needed a mother. I asked him once why he never remarried. He said he loved Mom too much to think about replacing her.”
“Yeah. I’d like a love like that someday. What about you? Is Jane your only sibling?”
“Nope. We have three younger sisters and no brothers. Jane is the oldest and I’m second, then there are Mary, Kitty, and Lydia.”
“Are you close in ages?”
“Yes, in general, there are two years between each, except in the case of myself and Mary. We are only a year apart. Well, fourteen months.”
“So you’re the closest in age.”
“Yes, but Jane is closest to me in temperament and maturity. Mary is a bit of a nerd, and for nineteen, she’s rather immature. She is the most devout of us and the one most likely to go to church, and she is fond of lecturing the rest of us about our behavior.”
“Not good. Is she in school?”
“College, yes. She’s a freshman, majoring in mathematics. Kitty and Lydia are in high school. Kitty is smart enough, but she’s a follower and Lydia is very much a leader.” Liz shook her head. “I worry about them. Lydia is spoiled and very much a wild child. I fear she will come to a bad end and drag Kitty with her.”
Will nodded. By this time, they were pulling into the restaurant and their conversation had to be put on hold.
The restaurant was packed, but Will had called ahead to reserve a table, and the group was seated immediately. This was not a quiet place. There were probably a dozen large-screen televisions showing the most popular sports, including post-race shows. People crowded the bar area, and filled every available seat. Thankfully, their table was actually a booth in the back of the restaurant, and was far quieter than the rest of the room, though still not peaceful.
After ordering their meal, the couples discussed the race. Liz and Jane were fascinated with the way the men used their hands to talk and passionately declared their opinions on everything from the officials’ calls to the rookie drivers’ mistakes. Will and Charles were impressed with the ladies’ intelligent questions and obvious understanding of the nuances of racing.
“How long have the two of you been race fans?”
Jane looked at Liz with her brows raised and her lips twisted to the side and asked, “Since we were, what…eight and ten?”
Liz nodded. “Yep, I’m pretty sure you’re right. It was the year Uncle Edward moved back from Alabama. You remember how he was all full of stories about the cars and wrecks and stuff? And he brought a video for us to watch?”
“I do! He made it all seem so exciting, and after that, we bugged Daddy until he got a satellite dish installed so we could watch every weekend.”
Liz laughed at the memory. “Poor Daddy. All he wanted was to be left alone. He still does not understand our fascination with racing. If we could get him out to a track, I know we could change his mind!”
“He won’t attend a race with you?” Will, who grew up in a racing family, shook his head, mystified. He glanced at Charles, who was also looking confused.
“My dad didn’t like racing much, but he hauled my butt around all over the south because I wanted to drive cars. I can’t imagine not sharing that with him.”
Jane tilted her head. “Does he still come to your races?”
“No, not now. Says he’s too old, but I think my sister Caroline manipulates him into staying away. The only thing she likes about racing is Will here.” Charles laughed at his friends sour look and rolling eyes.
“She’s never going to get me. I hope you told her that.”
“Oh, I did, but Caro is nothing if not persistent.” He looked at the girls. “I had to ask the sanctioning body to yank her hard card and ban her from attending. She’s positive that she will be the next Mrs. Will Darcy, despite the fact that he runs the other way when she comes near. Not even a restraining order has kept her away!”
Liz and Jane’s eyes grew wide. “Really?” Liz breathed. She was not certain she wanted to be involved with a man who had a stalker.
Will threw a glare at his friend. “Yes, really; however, a week in jail seems to have cured her of violating it. I have not seen her in months.”
Charles blushed, embarrassed at having annoyed his friend and possibly damaging their chances with the Bennet girls. “I’m sorry. I like to tease Will and sometimes I get carried away. Caroline took a trip to Europe when she got out of jail in February. She’s not supposed to be back for at least another year. She took a job with a fashion magazine.”
Liz nodded. “Oh, ok. That’s good.”
“Yes,” Jane seconded her sister. “That’s very good.”
There was an awkward silence for just a minute, until Charles cleared his throat. “Well, then.”
Will shook his head at his friend once again before turning his attention to the waitress, who winked at him and, he would swear, wiggled her chest at him as she served his food. Not wanting Liz to think he would flirt with another woman when he was on a date with her, on top of being uncomfortable with strangers, Will first glared at and then ignored the server, earning himself and Liz a dirty look.
Conversation slowed as the group ate. Looking at Jane’s salad, Liz was glad she ordered the cheeseburger. “Is that even good?”
Jane giggled at the loathing in her sister’s voice. Liz liked salad, but this one did not look particularly appetizing. It was almost as if the kitchen staff had run it through a food processor, lettuce and all, before plating it. “It tastes better than it looks. How’s that greaseball on a bun?”
“It’s actually pretty good. That onion has a kick that will keep me coming back for more!” Laughing at Liz’s imagery, they discussed food and restaurants while they ate.
Meals consumed and bellies full, the large group chat morphed into two small groups. Jane and Charles sat together on one side of the table, having a quiet conversation, while Liz and Will did the same on their side. They talked about themselves—their education, their travels, and their hobbies. A love of racing was not the only thing they had in common, to the relief of both.
For Will, everything about Liz drew him in. Not just her physical beauty, though she had plenty of sex appeal. She was intelligent, with strong opinions. She did not flatter him or agree with every word out of his mouth. One of the drawbacks to dating the famous women he had was that so many of them were either brainless or had some really deep, dysfunctional issues. He had learned to pick up on the clues, and though her younger sisters seemed to be a handful, Liz seemed perfectly normal, as did Jane.
Liz greatly enjoyed the evening, despite the bump in the road that was Charles’ sister. Will was respectful and gentlemanly. He had held opened the car doors for her, and held the door to the restaurant. He made sure she was comfortable in her seat before he took his. He listened to what she had to say, looking her in the eye and treating her with respect. He did not interrupt or speak over her, as so many other dates had. He was confident, to be sure. One could almost call him cocky. But she supposed that, since he was a top-notch professional driver in the most difficult racing series in the world, that was to be expected. She liked him, a lot. A whole lot.
They were interrupted when the waitress returned and handed Will the check. Thanking the woman politely but still refusing to do more than stare haughtily at her, he looked to his left to see Liz pulling out her wallet. “I’ve got it. My father would skin my hide to find out I took a lady out to eat and let her pay for her own meal.”
Liz hesitated. “Are you sure? You’re not getting anything out of this once you drop us off at the hotel.”
“I’m sure, and I don’t expect anything else. I have enjoyed your company. Matter of fact, I’d like to do this again. Can I call you this week, once I have time to sit down and figure out the logistics?”
Relieved that Will was not planning on trying to spend the night with her, Liz readily gave him her cell phone number. Another sign of respect, she thought, very well pleased.
After their respective contact information was exchanged and the waitress had dealt with their bill, the four rose, making their way to the front. The guys decided a pit stop was in order, so Jane and Liz used the restroom, as well. Liz, always quick to do her business and get out, let her sister know that she would wait in the lobby. Knowing as she did that Liz enjoyed watching people, Jane agreed.
Liz stood along the wall as guests came and went. She mostly observed those in her direct vicinity, but after a few minutes, turned her attention to those seated just beyond the hostess center. Her attention was suddenly arrested by the profile of one of the diners. Liz could swear the girl was Will’s sister, but the girl never turned around. The guy she was with appeared to be a lot older than Georgie, though, with a hardened look that Liz didn’t like. She’s old enough to date, if that is her. Surely, her dad wouldn’t allow her to go out with someone that much older. Must not be her. Liz shrugged and looked away, certain the girl could not be Georgie. At that moment, Will, Charles, and Jane all exited the restrooms and Liz’s attention was drawn from her observations.
A few minutes later, Will and Liz stood to one side of the door to the girls’ hotel room, with Charles and Jane on the other side.
“Thanks for going out with me. I had a great time.”
“Thanks for asking. I enjoyed it, too.”
“I’ll be calling in a day or two. We fly back to North Carolina early tomorrow, and Tuesday we’ll have meetings at the shop, but I should know by then what our plans are for the rest of the week.”
“That’s great; I look forward to hearing from you. You know, though, I’m not sure we can get away again next weekend. We have jobs we have to get back to.”
“No problem there. I’m a licensed pilot with access to more than one private plane. I’ll come to you, and I’ll make sure to have you home by midnight so your glass slippers don’t get lost.” Will leaned over Liz, his hand above her head on the wall. “I’m going to kiss you.”
To be continued…
Copyright 2017 by the author
As always, I eagerly await your thoughts! Love it? Hate it? Wish I’d go back to Regency? 😉