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   Chapter 15 No.15

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 12009

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


At the Riverstation

Paul had called the restaurant and was assured there would be a table for two waiting upon their arrival. As they had plenty of time, they decided to walk. It was a nice almost Summer afternoon. Paul wore a lightweight beige suit with a dark brown shirt and a cheerful tie with yellow dots. Sandy wore a pretty white summer-dress with red roses all over. People stopped as they passed by.

"They are staring at us, " Sandy noticed. She didn't mind. She felt more relaxed than she had done in weeks.

"Let them stare."

Paul's answer surprised her in a good way. The recent change between them was so intense that, had he taken her hand, she would have fainted. They were going out, she realised with some confused but happy feeling of surprise, all dressed up. He was walking next to her and he was proud to be seen with her. She desperately wanted to know what had caused this, but she would have to wait until they had arrived at the restaurant. Paul wanted to talk with her, and he would do it there.

Paul enjoyed the walk as well. The air was soothing, and a little wind blew as they crossed the bridge along Redcliffe Way. "When are you going to colour your hair again?" He had noticed that Sandy had not added any blue along the rim of her hair lately; it had faded and the hairdresser had heartlessly taken away the last traces of it. Suddenly he missed it, a visual victim of the mess they had gotten into.

"I could do it tomorrow evening. If you want." Sandy glanced at him.

"Yes, I'd like that." He looked at her and saw her smile. It made him smile. He took her hand as they turned left onto the Grove, from where it was only a few hundred yards until they reached the Riverstation. Sandy's heart jumped.

From the outside, the Riverstation didn't look anything like the good restaurant is was known to be, but once they stepped inside, the atmosphere was entirely different. The head waiter greeted them and showed them to their table, at a window overlooking the river, and a bit in the back where most people didn't want to sit, as Paul had requested. Sandy surprised him by also ordering a glass of white wine. She hardly ever did that. When the wine was served and the food was ordered, Sandy looked at the man opposite her. She wasn't entirely sure what this talk would amount to, but the fact that they had dressed up and the compliments he had paid her should be an indication that this wasn't going to be bad news. She knew he wouldn't do that.

Paul raised his glass. "I would like to toast to the beautiful woman who wants to go out with me." He had almost said 'girl'. He should no longer regard her as a girl, he told himself. He noticed the hesitation before she held her glass against his, but was also aware of the eagerness in her eyes. "I know that something... went wrong. I am sorry about that, very sorry, and I apologise for that."

Sandy nodded. "Me too. We both screwed this one up pretty badly, I think." Her heart beat a bit faster as she waited for him to go on.

"I'm an old fool, Sandy. I am full of preconceptions, ideas and influences of what's proper. That worked fine until you came into my life. You're a breath of fresh air, and I want only the best for you. When we... what happened that night, on your birthday, pulled the rug from under my convictions. Had you not come into the room, then I would never have touched you."

Sandy nodded again. "I know. That's why I made the first move. I wanted you to touch me." For more reasons than you know, she thought. "And I still want you to."

Her frankness mad

ightly commented at that. "My Spanish is not up to the task. How's the second simulator coming along?"

"Your Spanish is listening to a lecture somewhere now, " Don corrected his friend. "Maybe you can call her so she can pop down for a moment? Simulator's running tests, and so far they look good."

"I'm not sure if I should, Don. She's looking at some seriously engaging pre-exams at the moment. And yes, she's in class. You don't call people who are in class."

Don rolled his chair next to Paul's. "Paul. You are tutoring her almost every evening on the stuff she needs to know. You'll have turned her into a bloomin' astronomy professor before she's twenty. Do you really think that she'd fail because of a phone call?"

Paul did not want to go further than sending Sandy a text message. She replied that she was too busy but would see him in the restaurant. "Juarez will have to wait, " he told Don.

They fed the new data on the anomaly into the simulator and waited for the results as Paul calculated where it should be by hand. "Crikey. It moved two thousand parsecs. That's close to forty-four hundred light years. And it's not slowing down."

Don sat with the monitor of the simulator. "Five branches are now coming off it, P.E. I wish I knew what's holding that thing together."

"And I'd like to know what gives it that speed, " Paul nodded.

"Oh, look at that." Don's amazed voice made Paul walk over to him. "See that? As if one of the five branches has detached from our wobble and is going on by itself. Incredible."

The two men worked on the data, compared their findings with that of the other stations involved, and were interrupted by Sandy, who came to drag Paul and Don to the restaurant. "Someone has to take care of you, " she mock-scolded them as they walked up the stairs. "But that is where draw the line. I'm not going to feed you guys."

As they entered the restaurant, they saw Sherdan Harper walk by. He just looked at them, smiled as if he accepted his fate, and walked on. During lunch, Sandy promised to come down to the lab with them to write a note to Professor Juarez, but by the time they got back there, the man had already sent an e-mail with the dates and flight numbers of the trip to Puerto Rico. Paul was pleased to see that Juarez had also sent the mail on to Professor Sams already. That would save him a lot of paperwork.

***

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