“Why are you such a jerk?” she said with more than a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“Because you love me better that way.” A boyish grin curled the edges of his mouth, giving his rugged face a hint of light. The light only showed when he was around her.

“I hate you!” She slammed the truck bed closed with all her might. Being only 4 feet 5 inches high and weighting roughly 100 lbs, it really isn’t all that much might. He covered his mouth to stiffle his laugh.

“You sure are cute when you are mad,” he said just before she climbed into the passenger side of his old Chevy.

“UGH!” was her only response. Her door creaked as she pulled it closed. She gave off another angry huff as he got into the driver’s seat. She turned her head toward the window, folded her arms over her chest, and began to pout the way that only cute short girls or children can get away with. The sunlight at this angle made her red head look more like a mane of fire than of hair.

He turned the engine over and reversed out of the feedlot. For the next 15 minutes, there was nothing but engine noises and Patsy Cline on the stereo. He glanced over a few times only to see the back of her head and her bright red hair flapping in the wind. Then out of nowhere there was a squeal of delight from her direction. Before he even slowed the truck, she flung the door open. He grabbed her arm and hit the breaks at the same time. A squelch came up from the tires as he slid through the mud. When he had fully stopped, he let her go. She ran throught the front yard laughing, headed straight for the beautiful bounding puppy waiting there.

He pulled into the drive, careful to never lose sight of the two soon-to-be bestfriends. “Oh, Daddy! I love him!” could be heard between giggles and here boys. As he stepped onto the porch, he heard the the screen door open.

“You spoil her, you know” his mother said as she wiped her hands on a dish towel.

“I know. What can I say? She is my girl.” He stood watching them play until it was time for supper.

©2019 Nancy Lehmann

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