5 – Natalia

Natalia walked back to the hotel slowly.   She couldn’t believe Bud didn’t have a girl friend.    As much as she had wanted to stay and chat with Bud, she sensed he’d get more work done with her gone.   Besides, she did have a few emails to send out.   And her mother would want a phone call.
Natalia sat on the edge of her bed and swung her legs like she did when she had been a child.   It made her feel good.  This whole resort and everyone in it made her feel good.   She picked up her cell phone to call her mother; but put it back down.   There would be so many questions…..Maybe after lunch she’d deal with it.
She jumped when her cell phone rang.  It was Bud.
“Hello!   Are you finished painting the court?” .
“Yes.   I’m going to clean up and change.  It’s 12:15 now.   Would it be okay to pick you up around 1:00?”
“That would be great!   I’ll be here waiting.”
Even though she just met Bud, she liked him a lot.   He seemed very sweet and laid back.   Not like……  She shook her head,  hoping to rid it of old memories.  Bud had a very kind voice, too.   Natalia went to her closet and found a pretty blue dress with tiny pink flowers and pockets.   It was casual enough, but feminine.
She opened up her laptop and prepared to answer some emails.
Bud got out of the shower and put on a clean pair of jeans and a dark blue shirt.    He checked his watch; it was 12:35.   There was plenty of time.   Bud decided to head towards the hotel early.   Maybe they could take a slow walk to the restaurant.
Bud was about five minutes from his cabin when he saw Colin approaching.
“Whereya off to?” Colin asked cheerfully.
“I’m meeting Natalia for lunch,” Bud replied.
“Great….”   Something seemed to be bothering Colin.   He looked at Bud’s feet.   “That’s a nice touch.”
Bud looked down and almost screamed.   On his right foot was a black dress shoe.   On his left foot was a blue sneaker.
“Oh, NO!”
“It’s not a big deal, Bud!   You aren’t far from your cabin.”
Bud couldn’t believe he had done such a crazy thing.   How did he not feel the difference walking in the two shoes?
“You’re right, Colin.  Thank goodness you saw that.”
Colin grinned broadly.
“Couldn’t miss it if I tried!”
“Funny.”   Bud turned and sprinted to his cabin.    The first thing he saw when he got inside was the second blue sneaker.   “Alright, let’s get back on track,” he said, checking his shoes and socks three times.
As he hurried down the path towards the hotel, it occurred to him he should text Natalia to let her know he might be a few minutes late.   Texting while driving wasn’t a good idea, texting while walking wasn’t any better.  Bud soon found himself standing in a puddle of muddy water.   He thought his head was going to explode.  What was he going to do now?   He looked up to see Andy heading his direction.
“Hey, Andy!   Come here, quick!”
Andy ran over.
“What’s up?”
“I need your shoes!   I’m meeting Natalia for lunch and stepped in some mud.”
“Uh, okay…but I have to tell….”
“No time for talk, I need your shoes.   Mine aren’t real wet; but I can’t show up with mud on them.”
Andy sat on a bench and started unlacing his shoes.
“Don’t bother with that,” Bud said impatiently.   “Just hand them to me.”
Bud grabbed Andy’s shoes, dropped his at Andy’s feet, and ran off.   Andy watched him disappear up the trail.

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