The Meeting

 

“I cannot believe that I’ve only been in town for a half-hour and I’ve already been side-swiped,” Jim Frayne grumbled as he cautiously drove his damaged vehicle down Main Street.  The crazy old codger who’d hit him and the police officer who’d responded to the 911 call had both recommended he take his SUV to a particular garage on Main.

 

“Finally!” he barked, turning the damaged vehicle into the drive.  The SUV shuddered and shook through the turn and continued to do so as he pulled in front of the only empty work bay and then to a quaking stop.  “This can’t be good,” he growled, turning off the ignition and exiting the vehicle.

 

Staring at the garage building, he noted that it was an old 1930’s vintage Sinclair Service Station that had been restored to perfection.  The building had two work bays and it was painted white with the distinctive green trim.  The super-sized green dinosaur just to the left of the building was another clue.

 

Sighing loudly, he turned back to assess the damage to his SUV.  He cringed as he ran his hand over the crumpled fender, hood, and bumper. The SUV was only a year old and he’d taken excellent care of it.

 

He sighed again before trudging his way to the garage office and pushing open the door.  Two things hit him at once.  One was the shock of flashback 50’s décor and the other was the loud music that made it feel like he was in the front row of a Beach Boys concert and right in front of the speaker.

 

Glancing around, he found the source of the music.  A retro-style CD jukebox sat on a shelf behind the desk.  The volume knob was all the way up.  Stepping to it, he dialed the volume down to a level where he could hear himself think.   

 

“Hey!” a husky voice yelled from the garage bays.  “Who’s there? Can I help you?”

 

Jim walked into the garage area, looking around but not seeing anyone.  “Where are you?”

 

“Under the Bel Air.  What can I do for you?”  The voice seemed to get huskier.

 

“Some crazy old coot that drives like the mailman in Funny Farm and looks like Gabby Johnson from Blazing Saddles turned out of a parking lot and side-swiped my SUV.  I’m not sure it’s safe to drive,” he explained. 

 

A noise, suspiciously sounding like a pig snort, was heard from the cherry red ’56 Chevy.

 

“Are you laughing or having a stroke?” Jim asked gruffly, placing his fists on his narrow hips.

 

“Cracker croaker.”

 

“What?  Seriously, are you having a stroke?”

 

Sideswipin' bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker.”  A chuckle sounded from under the Chevy.  “A take on Gabby Johnson’s speech at the town hall meeting.”  Another laugh was interrupted by a heavy cough. 

 

“Are you okay down there?” Jim asked, worried that the mechanic was going to hurt himself.

 

“Yeah, thanks.  I’ve had a cold and severe bronchitis.  I still don’t have my voice back,” came the reply, as a wrench plopped out from under the front end of the car.  “Hey, are your hands clean?”

 

Jim automatically checked his hands.  Shaking his head, he answered, “Yes.”

 

“Do me a favor and get in and start her up so I can check for leaks and problems.  Then we’ll look at your car.”

 

“All right.”  He moved to the driver’s seat and sat down.  Running his hands over the steering wheel, he advised, “Ready when you are.”

 

The car creeper squeaked as the mechanic moved out from under the car and stood up.  “OK.  Start her up, please,” the mechanic requested.  

 

The V-8 engine roared to life and rumbled to a steady idle.

 

As he waited for the mechanic’s next request, he ran his hand over the dash, checking out the instruments, radio, and glovebox.

 

“Rev it up and hold it, please.”

 

Depressing the accelerator, Jim noticed that the mechanic had moved to stand on the driver’s side under the open hood.  He didn’t seem very large, in Jim’s opinion, but he’d been working for a while because the blue coveralls had a large smear of grease on the right leg.

 

“Let ‘er idle now, please.” 

 

He did as requested and then waited, looking at the parts and hubcaps hanging on the wall.

 

A moment later, the mechanic advised, “That’s great.  You can shut her down now.”

 

Jim complied before climbing out of the classic auto.  Shutting the door reverently, he jumped when the hood dropped with a thunk.

 

“Thanks.  I appreciate the help,” said the mechanic.

 

Jim finished admiring the fenders hanging on the garage’s back wall.  He turned to the mechanic and his jaw dropped.

 

Before him stood a trim, beautiful woman with an oval face and thick, curly blonde hair pulled up in a ponytail.  She was tying the arms of her blue coveralls around her slim waist when she noticed him staring.  The light blue tank top had a photo of the Chevy Bel Air she’d been working on stretched across her perfect, full breasts.  The shirt had the garage name over the car.

 

“Nice fenders,” Jim blurted stupidly. 

 

Gorgeous sapphire blue eyes flashed toward him to look at his face and her left brow quirked up. 

 

Realizing what he’d just said, Jim flushed with embarrassment and closed his eyes while he scrambled for something intelligent to say.

 

Trixie Belden finished securing her coveralls, watching the blush spread over the man’s handsome face.  He was at least 6-feet-4 with broad shoulders and a long torso covered in a dark green t-shirt.  His jeans lovingly hugged a trim waist that led to narrow hips and long muscular legs.  His build reminded her of an Olympic swimmer.  His attractive face had strong features and a square jaw.  He had a thick head of auburn hair that looked in need of a trim.  The hair was a perfect combination with the emerald green eyes she’d glimpsed before he’d closed them.

 

Deciding he’d been squirming on his words long enough, she said, “Thanks.  The fenders are for some cars I’m working on in my spare time.” 

 

A raspy giggle prompted him to open his eyes.       

 

Hmmm, yeah, he’s definitely got eyes like a panther.  She straightened and walked toward him with her hand outstretched.  “Hi, I’m Trixie Belden.  I own ‘Trix My Ride’,” she introduced herself.  “I don’t usually sound like this but, as I said, I had a horrible cold that’s turned into severe bronchitis.  I’m still fighting it.”

 

He took her hand in his large one and felt a shock of awareness.  “Jim Frayne.  It’s nice to meet you, but I wish it was under better circumstances for my car,” he said, scowling.

 

“The Mailman Johnson,” Trixie began with a grin and a twinkle in her eyes as she opened the garage door in front of his SUV.  “That’s Grandpa Crimper.  He probably shouldn’t even be driving, but his family won’t say a word to him.  His insurance company hasn’t cancelled him either.  And, when the cops are around, he’s a model driver,” she said with a shrug, walking around the damaged vehicle.  “He’s hit so many people that I gave him a stack of business cards for the garage.  He hands them out like candy.”

 

Jim saw the grimace on her face as she ran her hand across the damage.  “He’s a danger to himself and other drivers,” Jim declared, watching Trixie squat down to look at the wheel and up under the vehicle.

 

She stood up and brushed her hands together.  “Jim, I hate to say this but it doesn’t look good under there.  Let’s put it up on the lift and see what we can see,” Trixie said, walking toward the back of the bay.  “You drive it in.  I’ll provide direction.”

 

He got in and turned over the motor.  The engine made a loud screeching noise and then resumed its normal sound.  Jim looked at Trixie with horror on his face.  She lifted her hands as if to say, “Eh!”  She motioned for him to proceed straight into the garage bay.  The SUV was shaking like it was freezing cold and he had to fight the steering wheel to keep the vehicle going toward Trixie as  she directed.  Finally, she motioned for him to stop.

 

“Pop the hood,” she called over the engine noise.

 

Jim pulled the hood release and then got out to stand beside the petite mechanic. 

 

As she lifted the hood, the engine squealed like a stuck hog.  Trixie grimaced as she watched the engine shake loosely inside the compartment.  “Shut it down, please.”

 

He hurried to comply and stop the harsh squeal.  Returning to Trixie’s side, he asked, “Why’s it making that sound, Trixie?  It wasn’t doing it when I drove here.”

 

“Let me look at something first and maybe I can tell you.”  Trixie grabbed the car creeper from the other bay.  Setting it in place by Jim’s vehicle, she pulled her coveralls back into place and then zipped them up.  She stretched out on the creeper and rolled under the SUV.  “Jim, hand me a 5/8 wrench, will ya?” she requested, reaching her hand out from under the car and wiggling her fingers.  “And if you have a cell phone with a camera, I’ll borrow that, too.”

 

Placing the requested tool and his phone into her hand, Jim then leaned in to anxiously look down through the engine compartment to see if he could determine what she was doing. 

 

“What’s the verdict?” he asked impatiently, seeing the engine shift slightly and hearing metal scrape metal.

 

Trixie rolled out from under the SUV; sitting up, she wiped her hands and then the wrench on a rag from her pocket.  She looked up at him; her big blue eyes dejected.  “The frame is broken.  Not bent but broken.  The motor mount is broken on two sides,” she advised him sadly, like a doctor telling a family of a death.  Pulling his cell phone out of the breast pocket of her coveralls, she handed it to him.  “Look for yourself.  I took several shots showing the damage.  Your insurance company and Grandpa’s will both total it.  The vehicle’s unsafe to drive,” she finished.

 

“Dammit!  Why couldn’t that crazy old coot have stayed home today?” he ranted, flipping through the photos on his phone.  Closing the app and shoving the phone into his pocket, he stomped to the vehicle and pulled his suitcase and laptop bag from the back.  Setting them down, he moved to the passenger side to remove his personal possessions from the SUV.

 

“I’m really sorry, Jim.  Are you just passing through or are you staying at the Glen Road Inn?” she inquired, grabbing one of the plastic bags they kept on a shelf in the bay for customers to put their belongings into.  “I’m getting ready to close up for the weekend.  I’m only open until noon on Saturday.  Do you need a lift?”

 

Jim lifted his head and looked at Trixie before taking the bag from her hand and dropping the contents of the glove box into it.  “I was on my way to my great-uncle’s house when I was hit.  The Tahoe was acting so squirrely that I didn’t trust it since I couldn’t remember exactly where I was going.  I’m just lucky I didn’t get hurt.” He slammed the empty compartment closed.  “The damn airbag didn’t go off either.”

 

BANG! PSSSSSSSSS!

 

“Sure it did.  You just didn’t wait long enough.  Now, don’t you feel safe?”  She chuckled, as the bag deflated in a cloud of powder.  “You were saying?”

 

Jim barked out a laugh. “I was saying, before the Tahoe so rudely interrupted, that I was on my way to my great-uncle’s place.  I’m not exactly sure where they live.  I haven’t been to see them since I was a kid.  They always came to visit us.  I don’t want to put you out during your time off.  I’ll take a taxi out to Ten Acres.”

 

Her blue eyes widened with shock and they looked like twin pools of deep water.  “Ten Acres?” she sputtered with her gravelly voice.  “You’re related to James and Nell?”

 

Jim set the bag of odds and ends by his suitcase and laptop bag.  “Yes, they’re my great uncle and aunt.  I told you my last name was Frayne.  Are you related, too?”

 

“No-o-o-o,” she drew out the word, smiling as her eyes twinkled.  “My folks live next door though.  My Moms and I have been staying with your Uncle and Aunt for the past week.  Uncle James’s hip is very painful and Aunt Nell just doesn’t have the size and strength to help him around.  You do know they’ve got the hip replacement surgery scheduled for Wednesday, don’t you?”  At Jim’s nod, she continued, “We’ve just been helping out until their family showed up.”

 

Jim grinned an endearing, lop-sided grin.  “They’re heeeeerrrrrreeeee,” he said imitating the little girl from Poltergeist.  

 

Trixie’s giggle rasped out loudly through the garage.  “Oh my, he knows horror movies, too.”  She coughed harshly and then paused a moment to catch her breath.  “When I left this morning, I told your Uncle and Aunt that I’d pick up a pizza from Tony’s for lunch.  He’s had a craving for a thick crust double sausage.  I’ll take you to Ten Acres and we can pick up the pie on the way.”  She walked into the office, turned off the music, locked the front door and flipped on the closed sign. 

 

Returning to the garage bay, she made quick work of storing tools and returning the creeper to its home.  “You know, Uncle James has a really nice Explorer that I bet he’ll let you use until you can get the claim against Grandpa Crimper a.k.a Mailman Johnson settled,” she said, unzipping her coveralls.  “He’s got a sweet ’65 Mustang convertible, too, but I doubt if he’ll let you drive that.” 

 

“I’ll see about a rental,” Jim replied, watching her efficiently move around the garage doing a last minute clean-up.  “It’s the least your buddy, Grandpa Crimper, can do.”

 

Finally, she grabbed a metal folding chair, sat down and unlaced her boots, taking them and the white socks she wore off.  She opened a tote bag that she’d brought with her from the office and exchanged the socks for a pair of well-worn moccasins. 

 

He continued to lean against his SUV watching her, entranced, as she lowered the top of the coveralls and skimmed them over her slim hips.  They dropped to the floor revealing cutoff denim shorts and a pair of long, smooth, shapely legs.  Sliding her feet into the mocs, she dropped the boots and coveralls into the tote and walked over to the Bel Air.  Tossing the tote through the open window into the back seat, she turned back toward Jim.  Pulling the driver’s door open, she asked, “Ready?”

 

As he watched her close up the garage, Jim knew the warmth he was feeling was more than the result of her turning off the garage bay fan.  How can a female mechanic look that hot and sexy?  Damned if she isn’t smart and funny, too.  Whoa!  Nice legs, babe. 

 

A secretive smile appeared on Trixie’s pretty face.  “Jim?  I asked if you’re ready to go.  Are you?”

 

“What? Oh, yeah, I am,” he sputtered.  “Um, where’s your car?” he asked, picking up his laptop bag and plastic bag with one hand and the suitcase with the other.

 

“We’re taking the Bel Air,” she announced.  Grabbing the keys from the ignition, she walked to the rear of the car and opened the massive trunk.  “Put your stuff in here and then I’ll need you to back it out while I set the alarm and shut down the bay.”

 

He loaded his belongings quickly into the car as Trixie put down the garage door behind his SUV.  Taking the key from her outstretched hand, he grinned like a kid in a candy store when he sat down in the driver’s seat again.

 

Trixie pressed the button to open the door behind the old Chevy and when it was half-way up, Jim started the big engine.

 

Once the door was up enough for the big car to slip out, Jim depressed the clutch, shifted it into reverse and slowly released the clutch setting the car in motion.

 

“This is sweet,” he approved.  Flashing a smile, he cautiously backed out before coming to a stop in the front lot.

 

Trixie’s deep, harsh laugh echoed out of the garage as she watched him savor driving the old car.  Once he was clear of the overhead door, she lowered the door to within four feet of the floor.  She walked to the alarm keypad near the doorway to the office and began keying the numbers to arm the system.  When she punched in the last number of the code, she heard the first chirp warning the alarm was set which meant she had only 60 seconds to exit.  She scampered across the garage bays, pressed the close button as she passed through the door and watched it ease shut with 5 chirps still to go on the alarm.

 

“Looks like you’ve done that a time or two,” Jim said admiringly. 

 

“Just a few times,” she agreed, walking to the car while checking the alarm app on her phone to verify it was fully armed.  As she neared the driver’s door, she ordered, “Move over.  I’m driving.”

 

“Aw, man, I want to drive,” he grumbled, putting the car in neutral and setting the parking brake.  “Are you sure I can’t drive?” he asked hopefully through the open window.

 

“Yep,” she responded with a bark of laughter.  “You’ve already had a run in with Grandpa Crimper today.  I’m not taking any chances with my baby,” she told him, watching as he slid across the seat.

 

“I can’t blame you,” he agreed, adjusting his long legs across the transmission hump as Trixie pulled the seat forward.  When she put the car in gear, he slouched down in the seat and placed his arm in the window.

 

“Nice pose,” she teased.  “You remind me of Harrison Ford in American Graffiti,” she complimented him, easing out the clutch and pulling out of the lot.

 

“How did you get into working on cars?” Jim asked, watching her expertly handle the car.

 

Trixie grinned as she turned the corner onto Elm.  It’s all my oldest brother’s fault,” she began, flashing him the grin before concentrating again on the road.  “When he was fifteen, he had his heart set on what he called an ‘old jalopy’ that belonged to Frank Lytell.  It was only $50, but he’d used all his money to replace some plates he’d broken while washing dishes.”  Her rasping laugh sounded a bit painful.  “Moms wasn’t happy with him at all.  Anyway, I put up the collateral that allowed him to buy the car.  It needed some work.  It ran rough, had some dents and a gross interior.  I offered to help him but he lost interest once the engine was repaired.  For me, I enjoyed working on the entire car.  How the engine was put together and worked was a mystery.  Repairing the body and interior was an adventure.  The whole car was a giant puzzle for me and I wanted to solve it.  After that first car, I rebuilt the Mustang for Uncle James, a 1955 Chevy police car for our police chief, and took courses in repair.  My garage is well-known for restoring classic cars.  I have customers from across the country.  In fact, I’m expecting a 1960 Corvette convertible and 3 other cars from an owner in Dubai.”

 

“Pretty impressive.  Especially that you provided the collateral.”

 

Trixie flicked a glance at her passenger.  “Well, your Aunt and Uncle provided that.  She’d given me an old filigreed diamond ring for my birthday when I turned 13.  I was named for Aunt Nell so she and I are close.  Anyway, I knew Bri would get paid in two weeks for the work he did for Mr. Wheeler, so using the ring that way didn’t put it at risk.”

 

“How were you named after Aunt Nell?”

 

She huffed out a sigh.  “My full name is Beatrix Nell Belden.  Aunt Nell helped deliver me since I decided to be born before the ambulance got there.”

 

“BNB,” he mused.  “I guess it could have been worse.  You could have been Trixie Nell Taylor and live with a comparison to TNT.”

 

She chuckled.  “BNB was bad enough.  Do you know how badly little boys of all ages can tease with bed and breakfast?”

 

“I can imagine,” he said with a laugh.  “I’d think brains and beauty would work though,” he offered with a wink.

 

“Thanks,” she said quietly, a becoming pink blush spreading across her cheeks.

 

Damn, she is so pretty.  I think my time here will be most enjoyable.  “Does your brother still have the car?” Jim asked, curious about the vehicle that started her love of cars.

 

“Nope,” she answered, grinning.  “You’re riding in it.”

 

“No kidding?”  He looked around the car with a new appreciation.  “He got this for only $50?  All this?”

 

“Oh, it didn’t look like this when he bought it,” she replied.  Pointing at the glove box, she instructed, “Inside is a photo album showing the transition from rust-bucket jalopy to this jewel.”

 

“Well, I’ll be damned!” Jim exclaimed, poking a finger on the first picture.  “You’re Brian Belden’s kid sister?” he queried, staring at the first photo in the album showing a dark haired teen with a younger version of Trixie standing next to the car.

 

“Yep, Brian’s my oldest brother,” she confirmed, glancing at her passenger.  “Do you know him?”

 

“Yeah, I do.  I met him in college.  We had some classes together and hung out a few times.  We were pretty good friends.  I remembered he was from Sleepyside, so I was planning to look him up since I’ll be here for a while.”

 

“I’ll let him know you’re here,” she offered, turning into Tony’s parking lot.  “He’ll be moving home from the City this fall to work at Westchester County Hospital and with our local doctor.  He’s hoping to take over Dr. Ferris’ practice when he retires.”  Shoving open the door, she hopped out, closed it and stuck her head back in the window.  “Be right back.”

 

Jim’s eyes darkened as he watched her gently rounded hips sway until she entered the building.  “Oh yeah, babe, between you, staying with Uncle James and Aunt Nell, and seeing your brother again, I’m really looking forward to this summer,” he murmured, a large smile spreading across his face.

 

The interior of the car was heating up with the car stopped and the early afternoon sun beating down.  Trixie had been gone almost 20 minutes when she pushed through the door carrying two large pizza boxes.

 

As she approached the car, she called out, “Since you’re here, I got a meat lover’s pizza, too.  I figured you could reheat it for lunch or, like most guys, have it cold for breakfast.”

 

“Guess you’ve got me figured out,” Jim acknowledged, taking the pizzas as she settled behind the wheel.  “Let’s get going.  These are hot and smell great.  I’m hungry.”

 

“Me, too,” she agreed, pulling back onto Glen Road.  “I meant to ask you earlier; where did you drive in from?”  And please tell me you are not married.

 

“I drove from Rochester this morning.  My parents have a farmstead outside of town.  They don’t really farm, but they have horses and chickens, raise vegetables and even have a small vineyard.  My father is an environmental conservationist with the state and my mother is a registered nurse.  There’s a small cottage on the property where I live.  My dad and I fixed it up when I was in college so I could have some privacy when I came back home.”

 

“A passion pit bachelor pad, huh?” Trixie teased, hoping to find out more about the handsome man.

 

“Well, I’m a bachelor and, if it were the 60’s, it would be a pad.  However, the passion has been pretty lacking lately,” he imparted with a shrug, seeing her slight smile.  “How about you?”

 

“I’m not a bachelor but I do have a pad,” she retorted, pointing to the right side of the road where a pretty little sage green Craftsman style house with white trim appeared.  Sitting back from the road, the house was surrounded by bright, colorful flowers. 

 

Jim nearly gave himself whiplash as he turned to see a better view of the house.  “Nice.  A mechanic wizard and a green thumb, too.”

 

“I don’t do too badly,” she confirmed.  “But Moms has a forest green one.”

 

“So, is it a passion pit bachelorette pad?” he questioned, hiding his crossed fingers as he waited for her answer.

 

Flipping on the turn signal, Trixie turned the car into the next driveway; following it back through the trees and parking near the side porch of a stately Victorian house.  Slanting him a mischievous look, she replied, “Well, I’m a bachelorette and it’s my house but, like you, the passion has been lacking lately.” 

 

Yes!  She’s single and unattached.  We’ll just have to see what we can do about fixing that lack of passion, he thought, grinning devilishly at her before sliding out of the car.

 

“Just bring the pizzas,” Trixie instructed.  “We can get your stuff from the trunk after we eat,” she finished, leading the way up the steps and opening the screened door for him.  “Yoo-hoo!” she called, watching his tight, fine-looking denim clad butt amble down the hall. 

 

 “We’re in the kitchen, Trixie,” Uncle James called.

 

“Take a right at the end of the hall, then straight ahead,” Trixie directed.  “Let me have the pizzas,” she added, taking the boxes from him and then nudging him forward again.  “You know you’ll be mobbed.”

 

“Jimmy!” Nell Frayne cried when he appeared in the doorway.  The slender, petite older woman popped up from her seat at the kitchen table and hurried to her great-nephew, throwing her arms around him in a tight hug.  “We weren’t expecting you until later.” 

 

Returning her hug, Jim dropped a kiss on the top of her gray-blonde curly hair.  “I got to a good stopping point by midnight, so I was able to leave home early this morning.”  Releasing Nell, he stepped to his great-uncle and shook his hand while he gave James a man-hug.  “Hey, Old Me, how’re you doing?  How’s the hip today?”

 

“Hurts like a son-of-a-gun, Young Me,” James admitted, rubbing his left hip with the heel of his hand.

 

The two men had a running joke that Jim looked like James had in his youth, while Jim would look like James in the future.  Jim was all good with the probability that he’d have a full-head of grey-red hair and his freckles would meld together, but he had a good chance of being fit and strong.  Jim’s father, Win, was exactly between them in looks.

 

Sitting at the table with Uncle James was a woman who looked like an older, exact copy of Trixie.

 

“Jim Frayne,” he said by way of introduction.  “Are you Trixie’s sister?”  He grinned, offering his hand to shake.

 

Taking his hand, a girlish giggle escaped the woman.  “No, I’m her mother, Helen Belden.  I met you once when you were a child.  It’s a pleasure to meet you again, Jim,” she replied.  When Trixie sat in the chair beside her, Helen patted her hand and whispered, “This one’s a charmer, baby.  You’d better keep your eyes on him.”

 

“Oh, I plan to, Moms,” she murmured, peeking at Jim as he helped Aunt Nell pour glasses of tea.  “I definitely plan to.”  And with that, she winked at Jim and opened the pizza boxes.

 

The group sat around the kitchen table eating pizza and drinking tea.

 

“What do you do for a living, Jim?” Helen inquired.  “Did you have to take a leave of absence to help James and Nell?”

 

“I work from home, Mrs. Belden.  I write, so I can do it anywhere,” he admitted, with a glance at Trixie.  “Novels, a teen series, some freelance work.”

 

“Would we know any of your books?” Trixie asked, tilting her head in interest.  “I’m reading a great book that I found here in the library.  It’s awesome!  It’s about a group of friends who belong to a secret club as children and grow up to go on adventures and solve mysteries.  This one is the first in the series and it’s called The Secret of the Mansion.  I stayed up last night until two in the morning reading it,” she rasped.

 

Everyone laughed at her croaking enthusiasm. 

 

“I think it’s time for some hot spiced cider for that throat of yours, young lady,” Nell noted, standing to bustle around the stove.

 

Jim watched as a becoming flush bloomed across her lightly tanned skin. 

 

“Well, it is a really, really good book,” she defended herself.  Squirming under his gaze.

 

He felt a blush warm his face, too, and hoped it wasn’t a deep red.  The Secret of the Mansion was my first book,” he admitted.  “I always wanted a group of friends like them.  So close to you they could almost read your mind, who cared for you unconditionally and are fun.”

 

James chuckled and pointed toward Trixie.  “You just described the oldest Beldens and their friends,” he observed.  “You’ll fit right in with Trixie and her group.”

 

Trixie noticed the lopsided grin she thought was so endearing appear on Jim’s handsome face when he looked at her across the table.

 

“I hope so, Uncle James.  I’d really like that,” he replied quietly, never taking his eyes from his new neighbor. 

 

Trixie felt the corners of that lop-sided grin hook themselves into her heart; making it beat faster, as dreams and hopes for the future filled her heart and head.  “I think it’s going to be an amazing summer.”

 

 

HOME

 

NON-UNIVERSE STORIES

 

 

Authors’ notes –

 

The story was written for the Jixemitri Circle Writing Event (CWE) #9 – Down With Cancer, Long Live Amy!!  This was a fund raising event to honor a Jixemitri author who passed away from cancer.  We were honored to participate by writing a story and by donating monies to the American Cancer Society or animal shelter to read the other entries.

 

We want to thank Joycey and Kelly for editing our crazy little story.  They are the very bestest!

 

General notes…

·         Sinclair Service Stations of the 1930’s were of a specific design.  Each was white with a dark green trim and a super-sized green dinosaur Dino out front.  Generally these buildings had an arched canopy for the cars to pull under with a modified Moorish roof.

·         The Beach Boys are an American rock band that formed in 1961.  They were well known for their harmonizing on songs about cars, surf and romance.

·         1956 Bel Air, 1960 Corvette and 1955 Bel Air Police Car were all manufactured by the Chevrolet division of General Motors.  The Bel Air and Corvette are two of the best cruisin’ cars ever made.

·         1965 Mustang was made by the Ford Motor Company as a Pony car.  (**sigh** would love to have a red convertible one.)

·         Dubai is the most populous city and political territory of the United Arab Emirates.  It is well-known for its skyscrapers, unique architectural and lush stylings.  We’d like Mr. Wheeler to take us there in his jet. 

·         Funny Farm is a 1988 movie starring Chevy Chase.

·         Gabby Johnson in the Mel Brook’s movie Blazing Saddles is a wonderful mumble mouthed old prospector dude.  His classic line, “Sidewindin' bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker”, is one of a million favorite parts of the movie.  Blazing Saddles debuted in 1974.

·         V-8 engine is a 8-cylinder end that is more powerful than others.  They are often used in muscle cars.

·         Tahoe is a Chevrolet SUV.

·         Poltergeist is a 1982 horror movie

·         Harrison Ford is an American actor famous for the Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones franchise and movies based on Jack Ryan in the writings of Tom Clancy.

·         American Graffiti is a 1973 movie describing 1962.  Go figure.

·         Craftsman style house is a distinctive architectural style that incorporates natural materials, glass art, hip roofs and gables.

·         The Secret of the Mansion is the first book in the Trixie Belden series. 

·         Photo is from all-free-download.com

·       Background is from GRSites