Sunday Sample - The Long Game

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Coming in August ...

After a brief stint during their teenage years, Vance and Ayisha called it quits. With one remark, she turns Vance's world upside down and he's suddenly trying to be the man she wants  ... but will she accept his love?

Garth parked the cart, got out, and pulled a club from his bag. Before he walked to his ball, he spoke over his shoulder. "At the rate you go through women, your life will be short. Period."

After hitting a perfect shot that landed on the green, he cleaned the grass from his club and got behind the wheel. 

I didn't think his comment deserved the energy it would take to respond, so I ignored him and watched Ayisha take her stance over the ball. She went still, took her backstroke and hit a smooth shot. Her finishing position was elegant, I grudgingly admitted, but her smart mouth took away from my admiration. I could just bet she'd been yakking it up with Anna-Lise and getting all over my business. Then again, my exploits were common knowledge so they wouldn't spend time talking about what they already knew.

She had no right to suggest there was something wrong with the way I lived my life. I was doing what I chose to do and didn't have anything in my past which caused me not to want to settle down. Although my mother and father were married for years, that wasn't what I chose to do. I was all about living it up and that's what I planned to do as long as I had breath left in my body.

While Anna-Lise took her shot, I shuffled my feet on the floor of the cart, wondering why I couldn't let Ayisha's words go. I had a date this evening and that's where my focus should have been.

She was a fine one to talk anyway. Ayisha didn't have a man, nor did she have a life. If anybody was qualified to talk about relationships and how they worked, it wasn't her. The last time she'd had a man was more than two years ago.

That stopped my mind from running.

I studied her, lean and toned in a long-sleeved golf shirt and a skort that left most of her honey-gold legs on display. From experience, I knew her inky-black hair was soft to the touch and her mouth, pouty and …

"That's more like it," Garth said, breaking into my thoughts. "At least you're not looking like you want to skewer her."

Why I was thinking about Ayisha as if she was dating material, I didn't know. I'd been there and done that and it wasn't pretty. She was the sort of woman guys like me stayed away from, demanding and full of unsolicited opinions. On the other hand, she was amusing, intelligent, and gave as good as she got.

"It's not like she doesn't deserve it," I grumbled.

"Simply because she stated what is?"

"So now you're on her side?"

Slapping me on the shoulder, Garth laughed. "I'm not on anybody's side. Come on, man. You're taking this thing way too seriously. She's said much worse things to you and you never took them this badly. So what if you're not meant to settle down and can't be the kind of man sane women admire?"

His paraphrase of Ayisha's words tickled his funny bone, because he chuckled again.

"Now you're beginning to annoy me," I said.

"You're getting upset for nothing."

"Whatever."

"You're the one who always takes a joke too far and now it seems you can't take a bit of truth from a hundred-and-fifty-pound female. Anna-Lise would give you hell if she knew."

"Don't you dare tell her," I said, hanging on to the side rail. "The two of you are to blame for this anyhow."

"How on earth did we get involved?"

"Well, if you weren't making love over lunch, Ayisha wouldn't have been thinking about everything she doesn't have, which led to her taking out her frustration on me."

"You're full of crap, you know that?"

"It's the truth though."

"So what you're saying is that A has a case of sour grapes?"

"You said it, not me."

"If that were the case, she wouldn't still be friends with you. That woman has the patience of Job to feel the way she does about you and still be hanging around with you."

I put on a tight smile as Anna-Lise and Ayisha shot past us on their cart.

"Hold up, what d'you mean the way she feels about me?"

"Vance, not even you can be that dumb. Anybody with two eyes in their head can see she still has a thing for you."

Frowning, I followed the girls' cart with my eyes. "But that was—"

"Years ago, yes, but we can't choose who we love, so while you've been whoring … "

Garth droned on, but I was stuck at the part where he thought Ayisha was feeling something for me. So we'd hooked up briefly when we were teenagers, but our personalities were too similar for us to survive as a couple. Since then, I'd worked my way through countless women, while she'd been a fixture in my life.

It was hard to believe what Garth was saying, but if I thought about it, Ayisha was more than a friend to me. We spent a lot of time together on the golf course, and not so much off since I was always keeping company elsewhere. Despite that, she counted as one of the most important people in my life. Bryan, Garth, Cathy, Anna-Lise, Ayisha, and I had been a team since high school and though we had many disagreements and some hardship, nothing had separated us since we were teens.

Garth usually made sense, but this time I had to conclude he was way off base. Yet, I couldn't help wondering if there was one grain of truth to the way he saw things. If he was right, I didn't want to think about how the things I'd done must have affected her all this time. She was a strong woman, but still ...

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