On a sunny and crisp Autumn Thursday morning, Everette Mullen was walking through Downtown Lake Morgan, on a mission to shop for items he needed for his newly purchased home.
One of his new neighbors had dropped him off at the edge of their neighborhood and he walked the next few blocks until he was coming upon Donna’s Discount Electronics and Housewares. He recognized the design of the building that it was a former Family Dollar.
Just as Everette was about to cross the tracks and enter the store freight train came moving through.
The crossing lights flashed, and the crossing bells tolled then the engineer sounded her train’s whistle. The conductor waved his signal lantern as Everette watched them pass. The train was a local freight job that had originated out of the yard on the industrialized northeast side of Lake Morgan. The crew was a young husband and younger wife team that had worked this train for a few years after the two men on the former crew had retired a few months ago. They were headed west to exchange some freight cars and return to the yard that evening.
Everette noticed the excessive amount of graffiti that seemed to have a presence on just about every freight car. Some of it was disgusting to him, some of it somehow provoked deep thought and even some more of it brought out laughter.
Finally, the train cleared the crossing and continued westbound. Cautiously, Everette crossed the tracks then the city’s main street, and entered the store.
A buzzer sounded and Everette began to browse around.
He saw some custom-made, limited edition replica models of vintage stereo systems and began to study them in detail until he heard the voice of a young lady.
“Hi,” She said sheepishly.
Everette turned around and saw a pleasantly plump young lady sitting on the floor with an Android tablet in her hands. She was dressed in a knee-length red plaid skirt with a creme colored blouse. Her skin was quite pale and dotted with freckles. Her eyes were crystal blue, enhanced by her wire-rimmed glasses. Her hair was Auburn and flowed down to her shoulder blades. She was wearing grey crew socks and light blue tennis shoes.
Everette smiled brightly and replied, “Hello,” As he looked upon the young lady with great admiration.
She then awkwardly stood up and as she did so, Everette caught a brief view of her creamy white thighs and hot pink modesty shorts.
He blushed at the sight of it but was also powerfully attracted to her.
The young lady smiled from ear to ear and giggled uncontrollably until she was completely standing up.
She then walked up to Everette, choked a little on her words but then managed to say, “I read your blog faithfully and I love your work. I cannot believe you are shopping in my mom’s store.”
Sweetly Everette hugged her and said, “Thank you. I am honored that you read my blog. Actually, I have never come across one of my readers in public before, most of them are far away from me. How did you find my blog?”
The young lady replied, blushing, “I had been reading your work since I was eleven going on twelve and you were like sixteen. I came across it by accident while having a sleepover and using a friend’s family computer. Those were the days. I was so excited when you launched your current blog and I check it every day for new posts.”
“Wow! I am amazed and humbled at the same time. Can I have your name?”
“Of course; it’s Hailee Bainbridge.”
“That’s a beautiful name.”
“Aw, thanks,” Hailee paused and then continued, “Do you believe at all in fate?”
“Sometimes,” Everette replied.
“Well, I believe there is a reason that you walked into my mom’s store today and it is more than just to buy whatever you are going to buy. I’ll say that I have crushed on you for a long time, it’s just I didn’t want to mess with a married man. However, when you publicly announced that you were divorced, I felt excited and thought that you could somehow be mine one day. And when I found out that you were moving to Lake Morgan, I prayed continuously that we would somehow cross paths.”
Everette smiled warmly and then tightly embraced Hailee after she spoke those words to him.
As he hugged her she continued, “I hope you’re not weirded out or anything by me telling you all this.”
Everette looked Hailee in the eyes and said, “Not at all. If anything I’m very touched. I tried talking to other young ladies, but most of them won’t even acknowledge me. You obviously have a very good heart not to mention in my eyes you’re a perfect solid ten!”
“I know when I first started reading your work it would have been illegal for us to see each other but now I am twenty-one and I know you are twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six and I hope I’m not too young for you anymore.”
“Not at all. My ex-wife is the same age as me and that relationship was a train wreck. Anyway, I think an age difference brings some understanding to a relationship, so you are perfect for me!”
“Then you will be my boyfriend?”
“As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!”
Hailee covered her mouth, then strongly hugged Everette for the third time.
Subsequently, they exchanged phone numbers and residential addresses.
She then planted a kiss on his mouth and said, “Sorry if that was too much.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for. Your kiss is lovely!” Everette replied as he played with her hair, “Just for the record, I want many more kisses from you!”
Hailee beamed then buried her face in Everette’s chest as he kissed the top of her head.
Donna Bainbridge, the owner, and Hailee’s mother interrupted their embrace and said, “Young man, what are you doing with my daughter?”
Everette had a deer in headlights look on his face.
Hailee interjected, “Mom, remember the blogger that I like to read so much and I had a crush on him for years? This is him, right here in your store.”
Everette collected himself and said, “I do apologize, but I have never met anyone else who has followed my online work for so long. Furthermore, I think Hailee is the most beautiful young lady I have ever seen and I think she has a really good heart.”
“Why did you come into my store?”
“I just moved to Lake Morgan and I need some supplies to stock my new house. I was looking at your stereo systems when Hailee greeted me.”
“Where are you staying on Lake Morgan?”
Everette stated his address.
Donna replied, “If you’re a blogger, why are you living on the southeast side? That is the poor section of the city.”
“My main source of income is a disability pension. I don’t make any money from my blog. I have been writing for almost ten years and yet never earned a single red cent for it.”
“Momma, if you would read his work, you would see that he is a good man,” Hailee added in.
“If you’re the same blogger I think you are, aren’t you married?”
“I was. To an abusive and unfaithful woman. She got us evicted from the place we were staying, with all of her temper tantrums, so I divorced her and while waiting on the courts, I repaired my credit. After everything was final, I bought a house in Lake Morgan. And here I am.”
“I know I have a past, but I think Hailee is beautiful and sweet and I promise to treat her right. And not only that but also to honor her and cherish her.”
“I have a past too, momma, because of what my gym teacher did to me.”
“He’s probably had a lot of girls, though,” Donna remarked, “After all, he is a writer.”
“I assure you, just my ex-wife.”
“And I’ve only been with one, though it wasn’t my choice, so our pasts are almost equivalent. Besides, I have wanted him for about ten years, so don’t ruin this for me, momma,” Hailee pleaded.
“All right, for now, y’all have my blessing. Y’all just make sure to be committed to each other and only each other.”
“Thank you,” Everette replied.
“Yes, thank you momma!” Hailee added in.
Donna then looked at Everette and said, “If you ever mistreat her, I know people who will make your life a living hell.”
“Trust me, I have no intention to mistreat Hailee.”
“I’m holding you to that.”
“Now, I do have a large purchase to make, so hopefully you can assist me.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Well, first of all, I would like one of those replica stereo systems. They remind me of my early teenage years.”
“Excellent choice,” Donna said as she added it to her handheld computer.
“Yes, I was wondering if you had any bathroom accessories that were seafoam green in color?”
“What do you mean by bathroom accessories?”
“Soap dish, toothbrush holder, rugs, towels.”
“Why seafoam green?”
“I like a nautical theme and it also reminds me of my childhood bathroom.”
Donna added more items to her handheld computer, then asked, “Anything else?”
“Yes. I would like two weather radios, one for my kitchen table and one for next to my bed. After seeing that tornado in the railroad yard the other day, I feel the need to be prepared how I once was before I lost many possession during the eviction. If you have any portable models, that would be great too.”
“How about a Midland WR120 for your bedside, a Midland WR400 for your kitchen, and a Midland HH50B for traveling?”
“Yes, a fellow blogger recommended the one for my bedroom and traveling and since he says Midland is a good brand, I’ll get the other one for my kitchen.”
“I was suggesting the WR400 for your kitchen because it also gets AM and FM, so you can listen to news talk or music while cooking and eating.”
“Great minds think alike, Miss Donna!”
“Yes. I need an aerial antenna for my television set and an amplifier if you have one.”
“I will have to special order those, but I can have them in by tomorrow evening.”
“Is there any way you can have the rest of my items delivered to my home? I am on foot.”
“That can be arranged.”
“Now, does your store offer any financing?”
“We do. I will need to see your government ID.”
“Right here,” Everette said as he pulled out his wallet and handed his ID to her.
Donna entered the information on her handheld computer and then was shocked to see Everette with a credit score of 724.
“I must admit I was wrong about you, Everette. You are approved and because of your score you get a much better interest rate.”
“Thank you, Miss Donna. And I will say now that my intentions with Hailee are 100% pure. To me, she is wife material.”
“She indeed is, so treat her as such.”
“Believe me I will.”
“Now I will get your order ready and most of your items should be delivered later today.”
“Awesome. Would it be all right if I took Hailee to get some lunch?”
“Sure. There is a really nice sandwich shop next door if y’all want to go there.”
“Yes ma’am, we will!”
“Y’all be good.”
Holding hands, Hailee and Everette walked out of Donna’s Discount Electronics and then, began walking to the sandwich shop.
As they were holding on to each other while walking on the sidewalk, two middle-aged working-class men approached Everette and knocked him down. They then kicked him as Hailee protested, begging them to leave him alone.
One of the men shouted at Everette, “We don’t want you in our city, because of that filthy, seditious material that you write on that blog of yours.”
The other one told Hailee, “Shut the hell up, little girl. Why are you even wasting your time with him?”
“Because I have been in love with him for almost ten years!” Hailee said with tears in her eyes.
“You need a real man, not this subversive piece of trash,” The second man said as he lifted Hailee’s skirt.
Hailee then saw red, having a flashback from what her male gym teacher did to her many years ago. She smacked both of them as hard as she could across their faces, leaving bold marks on them. She then spit on both of them, repetitively, until they fled the scene, leaving Everette severely bruised and slightly bleeding.
Hailee then cradled Everette in her lap and wiped his glasses with the hem of her skirt as she called for an ambulance.
After she hung up, Everette looked up at her and spoke, “I heard what you said about being in love with me for the past ten years. Just know, that even though I just met you today, I am in love with you as well.”
Hailee kissed Everette and said, “Let’s get you some medical attention. May I ride with you to the hospital?”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, sweetheart!”