“Habanero fried pickles?” questioned Lance. “Really now, Elle.”

    “Fine. Shredded onion rings, then,” she said. “If that will make you happy.”

    “Now, children,” admonished Cal.

    Elle and Lance turned in unison and looked at him.

    “We’re going with the truffle ’n’ parmesan non-gmo fries,” he said with authority.

    Elle looked at the waitress. “Bring all three,” she said. “And I’ve decided I will have a beer after all. Blue Moon draft.”

    “You’re looking good, Elle,” commented Lance once the waitress had gone. “Oh, and thanks for the Le Vian commission.”

    “Fair is fair.” She held up her hands and wiggled them in a reverse jazz hands motion.   “What do you think?”

    “Careful, you’ll give Shellie Matheson a run for her money,” said Lance.

    “I’ll never have that many Le Vian rings,” she said.

    After dinner, Cal walked Elle to her Cadillac.

    “Saw Sarah today,” she said.

    “How’d it go?”

    “Not bad. I’ve got another appointment next week.”

    “John visited me last Thursday morning,” he said, changing the subject.

    “He showed up with a friend at the Copper Canyon in Miami that night.”

    “Elle . . . you were––.”

    “I know, Cal. Don’t worry about it.”

    “His friend seemed like a nice guy.”

    “Yeah, he does.”

    “Does,’ not did?” he questioned her word choice. “Is he still in town?”

    “No, but he’ll be back tomorrow.”

    “And you know this because . . .?”

    “Don’t pry, Cal. It’s not attractive.”

    “Elle’s got a date with tall, dark and handsome.”

    “Don’t know about the dark part. His hair is light brown, and his eyes are blue.”

    Cal gave a hearty laugh.

    “Oh, shut up and go home. Don’t you have to get up early in the morning or something?”

    He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Have a good time with tall and whatever,” he said.

Painting by international selling artist, Bryan Sanders of Springfield, MO. This painting is part of Bryan's Silly Selphie Project. 

With friends, Jonathan Starr (L) and Bryan Sanders (R) at Black Sheep in Springfield, Missouri, doing 'research' for a scene from Whispers. Jonathan lent his name for the main male character in Almost Home.