Tina was in the flower garden clipping fresh blooms for the cafe tables. It was a task she thoroughly enjoyed. Tina was snipping some black-eyed Susans when she saw Bud walk by.
“Hi there, Bud!”
“Hello,” he waved and approached her, careful not to step on anything living.
“You look rather pensive,” she observed. A stray curl was sitting on her forehead.
“Yeah, well, I was just thinking.”
She smiled broadly.
“Thinking is good.”
Bud thrust his large hands in his pockets and looked at his feet. Tina put her basket down.
“What’s on your mind?”
Bud wasn’t the talkative type that unloaded all his thoughts and problems on anyone who asked. He knew most people who asked, didn’t really want to know. Tina was different. When she inquired of your mental state, she was genuinely interested.
“You know that there have been a few women that I’ve liked and dated and…..”
“They suddenly became idiots and let a good man go.”
“Uh, no, that’s not what I—-you DO know I’m talking about myself, right?”
“Of course, I know who we’re talking about. What brought this up now?”
Bud looked skyward, nervously rocking.
“OH!” Tina shrieked. “Is there someone new? Someone here? Who is she? When did you meet her?”
“This might not have been a good idea,” Bud thought. “She’s really freaking out.”
Tina grabbed Bud’s arm and fairly dragged him to a nearby bench.
“Come on, spit it out! Tell me everything!”
“There’s really not much to tell…”
“Is everything okay over here?” Bud and Tina looked up to see John standing near the rose bushes, his brow furrowed with concern. Nothing looked out of order. “Didn’t I hear you scream?” he asked Tina.
“Yes! Good news! Bud has a new girl!”
“Well, uh, no, I don’t have anything yet—” Bud looked at the ground, dearly hoping for some sort of black hole to appear.
John Biebe beamed. He was very fond of Bud. This was good news.
“Who is she?” John saw the uncomfortable look on his brother’s face. “Now, Tina, why don’t you get off his lap and let him talk.”
Tina looked at Bud and laughed, slapping her knees.
“I guess I AM getting a little carried away! Sorry!”
“He knows you mean well, darlin’. Just give him some air.”
“I met her this afternoon. Her name is Natalia. That’s all I know.”
Tina bounced off the bench as though propelled by a spring.
“And you want me to see what else I can find out?”
“Actually, I was going to ask if you thought it was foolish of me to start another relationship.” He heard John snort. “But I guess you’ve already answered that question.”
Tina looked from John to Bud, surprise written all over her face.
“Why on earth would I think it foolish?”
John and Bud exchanged a grin.
“John, why would I? You know I’m all for romance.”
“Tina, we know that. But sometimes a guy feels foolish for no reason.”
“Yes,” Bud chimed in. “And we just need reassurance that we aren’t being silly.”
John picked up the basket of flowers and handed it to Tina. He winked at Bud as he walked her to the hotel. She sensed the men were teasing her–lovingly, of course. They ought to have known nothing would put her off the scent.
“Natalia? Let’s see what I can do to bring them together!” she thought, smiling.