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Chapter Excerpt
Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Discovery

     The dining room was L shaped, with the smaller area being separated by a French door.  In the alcove that was nearly as big as the main room was a vacant table, a sideboard and a hutch.  The furnishings, including china, silverware and linens in the semi-secluded alcove seemed much fancier than the place mats, flatware and stoneware in the main room.

     While he was wondering about the alcove, out of the corner of his eye, he caught the movement of another couple as they entered the dining area through the front door.  The man took the woman’s coat in a gentle but distracted manner.  Raymond noticed an age difference as the man appeared to be about twice the age of the woman.  Even though the woman was young in appearance, she exuded an air of self confidence in her mannerisms and the quality and style of her clothing.

     Raymond felt that even though she dressed and carried herself so eloquently, she did not appear to be conceited or attempting to vainly convince herself of self worth.  Raymond thought he had been sly in his observations until he glanced back at Daryl, whose face appeared ready to burst from the smile he gave Raymond.  Raymond felt his face turning a bright red with embarrassment as he realized his observations were not quite as sly as he had thought. 

     The couple did not wait for the waitress to direct them to their seats but seated themselves in the alcove.  As the French door closed behind them, Raymond could hear the waitress say, “Good evening, Mr. Thomas.  How are you, Miss Victoria?”

     “Good evening Sarah.  I am fine, thank you.  How is your family?”

     “They are fine, thank you.”

     As this exchange took place, another conversation began in a whisper.  “It is not polite to stare.”

     Raymond could not believe that he got caught staring again. After being so obvious and suffering the embarrassment of being caught the first time, he was so easily distracted and staring again. Blushing, he said, “I didn’t think I was so obvious.”

     As the young woman was talking to her father, she casually glanced in Raymond’s direction, noticing that he was a stranger in town.  As her eyes made contact with his, Raymond quickly diverted his stare.  When the waitress sidled up to the table to take their order, Raymond, nonchalantly asked, “Who is the young lady who came in with the gentlemen?”

     Sarah answered, “She is Miss Victoria.  I’d be careful about getting too nosey.  Her daddy, Mr. Thomas, owns this town and he don’t like any strangers asking too many questions – especially about Miss Victoria.”