Nan's Story

Nan's Story by Paige Farmer Page A

Book: Nan's Story by Paige Farmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paige Farmer
the sleeves of his shirt. Regardless of his relaxed dress, Buddy’s lips were tight and unsmiling. Overcome by a sudden wave of anger, Nan narrowed her eyes at him, mutely warning him to back off. She shook his hand from her shoulder as Charlie noticed him.
    “Hey Buddy!” Charlie exclaimed, jumping up and clapping her brother’s arm. “How are you man?”
    “Good,” Buddy replied, shaking Charlie’s hand, but still not smiling. “I been good. Long time, no see, huh?”
    “At least ten years my friend. Still down at the docks?”
    “You kidding me? I’ll take my last breath down there, mark my words. So what about you? Uncle Sam still got his hooks in you?”
    “Yeah, but just for a few more months. I’m thinking about hanging out here in the old stomping ground for a while. You know, old time’s sake and all that?”
    “Hmm,” Buddy replied. “Portsmouth ain’t quite the same Charlie boy, not by a long shot.”
    Nan wanted to smack her brother.
    “Arthur know you’re here yet?” Buddy asked.
    When Charlie said no, Buddy insisted he come with him and say hello. Nan knew without being told that she should stay put, but cast Buddy one more warning look before they walked away.
    “Later,” Buddy mouthed as he turned and led Charlie to find Arthur and John.
    You betcha’, Nan thought.
    “Charlie looks wonderful,” Elsie said once the two men were out of earshot. “Obviously, you’ve noticed.”
    “Mama, don’t start,” Nan warned.
    “What?” Elsie said with feigned innocence. “I’m not trying to start anything. I’m just making an observation, that’s all.”
    “Well, just don’t, okay?”
    “Nan, I’m not sure why it would seem so unusual to you that I have some interest in how your life turns out.”
    “I know you do, but what you see as best for me and what I see are sometimes two very different things,” Nan warily replied.
    “Believe it or not,” Elsie started. “I am an impeccable judge of character, and all I’m saying is that Charlie has character.”
    Nan knew her mother was right about Charlie, but given the people Elsie surrounded herself with, character didn’t seem to account for much.
    “Don’t look at me that way Nancy,” her mother quipped. “I never said it was required for my acquaintance. Simply that I can spot it a mile away.”
    How does she do that ? Nan wondered. Elsie could read Nan’s face like a book and there apparently was a whole novel flashing across it right now.
    Nan looked over at her brothers standing across the tent as they saw and welcomed Charlie. Unlike Buddy’s stiff greeting, Arthur and John each gave their friend a bear hug. She kept her eyes on Charlie and smiled in spite of herself, wondering what if. It was a dangerous game, one that would send Buddy through the roof if he knew she was playing it, but as long as she limited it to her imagination, what harm could it cause?
    “Alright now, by special request…Uncle Louie, raise your hand out there….where are you…ah, there you are…we’ve got Chubby Checker doing ‘The Twist’ right here for you. Can the rest of you keep up?” the disc jockey dared and sent the vinyl spinning.
    “Oh, I don’t know CJ,” Nan heard Elsie say.
    “C’mon Grandmama, pleeease ?”
    Despite CJ’s usual calm, the music seemed to have wound something up in him.
    “ C’mon Grandmama,” he insisted.
    “Okay, okay sweetheart,” Elsie finally relented. “But if grandma can’t leave for Bar Harbor tomorrow because of her back, some little boy is going to be very sorry.”
    Nan watched her son lead her mother into the dancing throng and begin rocking his little hips back and forth. CJ laughed as he moved his chubby hands in a window washing motion and the sight of him so lively was touching. Was he starting to feel safe? Was he starting to relax? Nan prayed yes.
    Charlie waved to her from across the tent, motioning for her to join him on the dance floor. She paused a moment. It was going to

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