Chapter Two, Part 4
Someone waved a cup of coffee under Grania’s nose. She was in the vets’ lounge at the clinic, sleeping on the sofa as usual. “What time is it?” she answered, without opening her eyes.
“Dawn in Texas where you’re going,” Beth answered quietly. “Your owl’s doing great, my coyote’s vitals are stable, and the techs will be here soon to start feeding the rest of the animals. Time for you to wake up so we can spend the day at the spa.”
Grania opened one eye and reached for the coffee. “If I can pay you for it.”
“You can repay me by getting your nails done the first time you go out with a guy in Austin.”
Grania snickered and sat up. “Pink or blood red?” She sipped the perfectly made brew.
Beth sat down facing her and took a sip of her own coffee, her exquisite manicure very much in evidence. “Hmmm, not blood red. Maybe lipstick red?”
“We’re talking both fingers and toes,” Beth pointed out. “How about pink – and I won’t demand you get a bikini wax.”
Grania laughed. “Deal.”
Beth nodded, satisfied. “Have the dating services found you any interesting guys yet?”
“Were they that bad or didn’t you look?”
“Truly dreadful,” Grania admitted. “But I just want to try my hand at dating. Not jump right away into love and marriage and the baby carriage.”
“Try your hand?”
“I’ve only had sex with three guys in my life. Seems to me I should practice, so I know what I’m doing, before I start seriously hunting for Mr. Right. Otherwise, things could go seriously wrong.”
Like they did for my mother when she met my father. If she’d known more about men, she might not have fallen for such a slimeball.
Beth shot her an incredulous look and started to laugh. Grania’s color mounted but she kept her chin up. Dating services seemed so trivial anyway, after those dreams of the love Blanche and her knight had shared.
“Only you,” Beth gulped, “only you, dear friend, would think of dating that way.” She fumbled for a paper towel and wiped away the tears of laughter. “Have you ever been on a date?”
“Not really?” Beth’s voice rose a little. She cast a quick glance around but there were no sounds of anyone else around. “How can you never have been on a date and not be a virgin?”
“There’s lots of guys around while you’re out in the field, surveying owls. But there’s not many places to go on a date out there.”
“True. Plus, who the hell has the time when you’re working sixty to ninety hours a week just to get your degree and keep a roof over your head?”
“Amen. Back at school, dating was impossible. Sleep becomes a luxury, let alone hunting a man.”
“If Steve hadn’t been a cop who understood long hours, I don’t think we would have made it.” Beth’s voice became gentler, as her face softened with memories. “So you’re thinking of taking a lover for some advanced education, before you start husband hunting?”
Grania met her friend’s eyes steadily. “Why not? Good study habits worked in school. They should do just as well in preparing for a stable family.”
Beth giggled suddenly. “Wonder if you’ll meet a real cowboy, if you’re not looking for someone who wants marriage right away. Hope you’ll find somebody really sexy anyway.”
She raised her coffee cup in a toast, which Grania matched. “To cowboys!”
“To cowboys!” Grania echoed.
Excerpt from Bond of Blood by Diane Whiteside
Copyright © 2006 by Diane Whiteside
All rights reserved