This is part five of David’s story, a short fiction series I began in June. To read the other parts, visit my First Friday Fiction page and click on the links.
“Okay, I’ve been here a week and you still haven’t told me your idea.” David and Sarah were in his red sports car, driving home after a hiking trip to Indian Lake. After a chilly start that morning, the bright sunshine brought warmth to the October afternoon.
“After I lost my job, you said you might know of something.”
“Oh, that.” Sarah looked down and ran her hand across the smooth leather upholstery. “So, tell me about this car.”
“The car? What does it have to do with anything?”
“Nothing. It just doesn’t suit you.”
“Well I sort of let someone—“
“Yes?” Sarah arched her eyebrow.
“I allowed someone to talk me into buying it.”
“Is she still in the picture?”
“No. She left me for a rich surgeon.”
“And stuck you with the car.”
“Yeah. The truth is I wish I still had my Jeep.” David didn’t add that he had enjoyed the times he and Cassie spent together. Not to mention the looks he got from other women when he showed up at the latest social function in the red convertible.
“Well, about my idea, the retreat center where I work is expanding to include camping for children and families. They need a camp director.”
“A camp director? I’m not qualified.”
“Why not? You love the outdoors and you have a degree in business management. I think you’d be great. If you’re interested, I could arrange an interview for you right away.”
A week later, David sat in the office of James Thompson, owner of Ridgecrest Retreat Center and Campground.
“Sarah speaks highly of you,” James said, “Although you’ve never managed a camp, you have administrative experience.”
“Yes, in my last job.”
“What made you leave that? Legally, you don’t have to answer, but…”
This is it. Whatever chance I might have had is gone. But no matter, I’m going to be honest.
David straightened in the chair and said, “I don’t mind. I’d rather put the truth out on the table. I was fired.”
David told him everything—the stress, the long hours, the constant demand to do more. “I didn’t have a personal life. When I took a weekend away, the boss said I wasn’t loyal and decided to ‘make a change.’”
“I appreciate your honesty and I’ll be truthful with you. During summer, you’ll put in some long hours, but we are a family oriented business. We believe it’s important for our staff to have personal and family time. Although there is a certain amount of stress involved, it wouldn’t be like your last job.”
“I can understand that. It wouldn’t be a problem.”
“David, I like you. I think you have what it takes. We have a couple of more interviews, but I’ll be in touch.”
“I’m so excited for you,” Sarah said. “I told James I thought you were right for the job.” She sat across from David at River’s Edge, a popular local restaurant. He had asked her there to celebrate James offering him the camp director’s job.
“He gave me a few days to think it over. I’ll be moving here of course, provided I take the job.”
“And aren’t you?”
David grinned, “What do you think? It’s perfect. And I have you to thank.”
“I only told the truth. You were the one interviewed.”
“Well, I am grateful. It occurred to me that we’d never done anything together except hikes to Indian Lake.”
“How is this different? We’re two friends out together for a little entertainment.”
“You don’t make it easy on a guy. The truth is, Sarah, I enjoy being with you.”
“So, this is a date?”
He smiled and raised his glass in a toast. “To friendship…and maybe more?”
David had been reluctant to leave Canaan, but after accepting the job offer, he had to go back to the city. He looked around his apartment. Packing and moving was not something he enjoyed. Most of the furniture in his apartment wasn’t suitable for the cabin where he would live at the camp. Contemporary and rustic didn’t mix.
Cassie had chosen most of the furnishings. He still had six months on his lease, but if he could arrange to sub-lease, he would leave the furnishings and only take his personal belongings.
It was time to start a new life—one without the trappings of high society. One that better suited his minimalist views. One that started with selling the car and finding a used SUV. One with Sarah, not the narcissistic temptress Cassie.
Sarah had proven to be a surprise. Yes, she flirted with him on occasion, but she was genuine. Wholesome. Real. She didn’t care about the money in his bank account. Or, for that matter, whether he had any. A life with Sarah would be one without pretense.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t pay attention to the doorbell. When it rang a second time, accompanied by a loud knock, he rushed to open the door.
She stood there, her long tanned legs visible beneath the short black dress. She looked good. Very good. A cloud of expensive perfume hung in the air.