Rada Sample has come home to Mississippi from Orlando, Florida, to bury her last relative, her great-grandmother. Unbeknownst to Rada, Granny Sample had quite a fortune amassed. The only child of a long line of only children, Rada is the sole heir to a fortune—as well as a huge Antebellum mansion. She and Max Van Dorn have been dear friends since they were five years old. Though they never quite got together romantically, they still both carry a bit of a torch.
Miss Sally served their meals with a flourish. Both of them had ordered fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and corn on the cob. She waited a moment until Rada took her first bite.
Rolling her eyes with pleasure, Rada chewed and swallowed. She smiled up at the old woman. "Delicious as always, Miss Sally. Your fried chicken is the best in the world."
"Well, aren't you sweet to say so," Sally replied. "You been gone too long, chile."
"I know, Miss Sally. But I'll be here awhile yet."
"You ought to come back for good. Your roots are here, not in Florida." She said the word like it was covered in slime and filth.
Rada grinned. "Well, I've got a good job there. Reckon I'll stay."
Sally sniffed to show her disapproval and stalked off. For a tiny woman, barely five feet tall, she could sure strut like a super model.
"You'll be the talk of the town now," Max said, watching the old lady retreat.
"I've been so before. Why's now any different?"
"'Cause now you're a rich woman. Got a big house and a fortune."
"Much of which I'll have to spend fixing up that old place. I looked at the roof today. Did you see it?"
"Junior Simmons supposedly repaired it," he began.
Rada tried to interrupt. Max held up his hand.
"Didn't say he did a good job. He hammered the damaged shingles down with six penny nails and declared it done. Granny was in no shape to inspect it. I did, but she didn't want to fool with it anymore. I got that first on my long list of things to do."
"How long's that list?"
He held out his arm, then the other. They both laughed.
"Reckon we'll see a lot of each other," she replied.
"Reckon we will."
"How much would it cost to put in air conditioning?"
He puffed out his cheeks and bit his lower lip. "Woof. I dunno. I'm not an a/c man. I got some friends who can come give you some estimates. They're all good men. Just depends on what color you want."
She frowned. "What color?"
He took a sip of his tea, winking at her over the top of the glass. "Blond, brunette or redhead?"
"Any of them as good looking as you?" She immediately regretted what she said. Dropping her gaze, she stared at the table, knife and fork poised by her plate. "I'm so sorry. That wasn't right. I'm real tired."
Max chuckled. "Miss Rada, I take that as a compliment."
"Good. I'm glad. You know me. If it's there to be said wrong, I'll say it. Once again, I embarrass myself." But you are gorgeous. You're handsome, jacked. . . . And it's been a long, long time. . . .
"Lost ya again, baby doll."
Rada shook herself, concentrating on her food. How long had it been since she'd last had a man in her bed? She couldn't remember. She stayed so busy as an executive for a movie company, she hardly had time for a love life. Most of the men she knew were petty and egotistical. They weren't like the men she'd grown up with. They were too concerned with stock portfolios and fancy cars. They were like girls with three piece suits and dicks. The image she'd conjured up made her giggle. Covering her mouth, she tried not to spew her food.
Max frowned, leaning toward her as she started choking. "You okay, baby?"
Rada nodded, eyes watering as she continued laughing. "Sorry," she gasped. She couldn't tell him why she was laughing. Not here. Later, when they were alone, she'd tell him.
"It's official. You're finally plumb out-your mind," he said with a knowing smirk. "But I been saying for years that Rada Sample wasn't quite right."
Purposely copying his accent, she met his gaze with narrowed eyes. "I done said Maxwell Van Dorn ain't right neither."
Max laughed loudly, slapping his knee. "That's what I love about you, Rada. You don't take my shit, you give it right back to me."
"Watch your mouth, young man," Sally called from the kitchen.
Rada laughed when Max blushed. "You ought to know by now, she's got ears like a polecat. She can hear everything you say," she whispered.
"Only when it's something I can completely embarrass myself with." He hesitated a moment, wiping his lips with his napkin. "I've sure missed you, Rada."
"I've missed you too, Max." I live in the Sunshine State and my skies are gray without you. Got to stop thinking like that!
© 2015 Dellani Oakes