“Thank you. What’s yours?”
The color seemed to drain from her face. “What did you say?”
“Sevin. I know. It’s like the number, but it’s spelled like Kevin with an S. My mother was unconventional, and she had the name picked out before I was even born. I—”
Sienna suddenly got up and straightened her skirt. “I have to go.”
“Did I say something wrong?”
“No. No, no. I just realized it’s getting really late. I have to go before it gets too dark to ride home.”
“Alright, well, it wa—”
She wouldn’t even let me finish. My heart was pounding as she ran to her bike.
I shouted, “Sienna…wait!”
She waved frantically and took off like a bat out of hell. “Bye!”
I didn’t know why it was so hard to let this girl go. It made no sense. But clearly, something freaked her out. I stood dazed, watching her long, black hair flailing in the wind until she disappeared.
As I continued my drive down the dirt road, I wondered if my tired mind had imagined her.
By the end of the two-mile ride, my throat felt raw from gasping for air. Consumed by shock and humiliation, I had cried all the way to Adelaide’s with tears streaming down my face.
Slamming the door behind me, it seemed impossible to catch my breath.
“Oh my word, Vangie. What on Earth has happened to you?” Adelaide had been cooking her famous beer and lentil soup on the stove and dropped the spoon down on the counter to rush toward me.
I shook my head repeatedly, unable to stop crying long enough to form words.
“Did someone hurt you?”
Wiping my nose on my sleeve, I shrieked, “No.”
In Adelaide’s arms, I let the remaining tears empty from me until I could find my voice again. As always, she smelled like a mixture of motor oil and patchouli.
“Sit down. I’m gonna make you some hot tea, and you’re gonna tell me everything. Alright? Everything.”
Adelaide handed me the steaming hot cup of jasmine, and I took a sip. When I finally calmed down, I said, “I don’t even know where to begin.”
“Take your time.”
“I was on my way here. I would have gotten here like an hour and a half ago, but I ran into this guy on the road.”
She wrinkled her forehead. “Guy?”
“I’d fallen off my bike, and he got out to help me. The second I laid eyes on him…it was just…something was there. He was so handsome. It was more than that, though. But God, he was…you know me…I don’t find anyone attractive.”
“I know. You rarely mention the opposite sex. I was starting to wonder if you were one of my kind. Just kidding, Vangie, but you know what I mean.”
“Yes. I do. He was definitely great-looking, tall, black hair, mysterious eyes, big masculine hands. But see…it wasn’t just his looks. It was more the way he looked at me, like he saw inside of me or something. There was a connection. It was indescribable. It was just this…”
“Chemistry.” Adelaide nodded in understanding.
“Sometimes you can’t really explain chemistry. It’s just there from the get go. Keep talking. I’m just gonna go stir the soup,” she said, walking over to the stove.
“Yeah. That’s what it felt like, just this invisible charge or energy in the air. Anyway…at first, I didn’t know how to handle what I was feeling. I just freaked out and left on my bike. But I could hear behind me that his truck wouldn’t start, so I turned back around to help. You would have been so proud of me. I figured out what was wrong with it!”
“Son of a gun. Really?”
“It was one of those old Ford 100s with a flat V-8 engine? Two of the plug head wires came loose, so I reconnected them.”
“That’s my girl. Proud of ya, honey.”
“Thanks. Anyway…after that…we talked for a while, got into some personal stuff, but we hadn’t even exchanged names. He finally asked me for mine, and I told him it was Sienna.”
“Sienna? Now, why would you go and do that?”
“You know I’ve never liked my name, Addy. I just wanted something pretty. And I honestly assumed I’d never see him again.”
“I never understood why you feel that way about your name. Anyway…go on.”
“He told me his name, too.”
“What was it?”
Swallowing hard, I closed my eyes and said the word as it if were painful, “It was Sevin.”
“Sevin…” Adelaide covered her mouth when she figured it out. “Sevin? THE Sevin? The guy who’s coming here to court Elle? The guy who’s moving onto your family’s property? THAT guy? Oh no.”
“I know.” I buried my head in my hands and spoke through them, my voice muffled, “I know! I’m mortified.”
“That’s some crap luck and timing. Had you never seen a picture of him?”
“No. Elle never showed me an actual photo. She described him, but he was nothing like I pictured. She made him sound like a saint. But the guy I met was a little rougher around the edges. It was almost as though maybe she’d painted whatever picture she wanted to of him. I mean, they talk on the phone every day, and she’s head over heels, but he was nothing like I imagined. He’s not straight-laced at all, let’s put it that way. He had this aura about him.”