Jim Frayne stared out the window at the trees he could see from the desk inside his bedroom suite in the Manor House. It was May 1 and he was home for the weekend. He was supposed to be writing the last paper for college, but instead he was daydreaming about Trixie Belden. He’d been alone with her inside his mind and in his dreams he’d kissed her lips a thousand times. Sometimes when he’d see her pass outside his door, he’d think to himself, “Hello, is it me you're looking for?”
Normally, Trixie would fly right past his door into Honey’s room and he’d hear them chattering and giggling until either Trixie left to go home or it was time for dinner.
Jim sighed as he turned back to his computer and looked at what he had written. “Man, that’s crap,” he muttered, running a hand over his face before opening a new file. “All right, let’s get this done and then go for a ride as a reward.”
Three hours later, Jim finished re-reading the paper to edit and correct any errors. Saving the file, he hit print and stood to stretch out the tight muscles in his body from sitting so long. As the printer worked, he walked around his room before stopping at a group of pictures mounted on the wall by his bookcase.
Three of the photos showed the Bob-Whites of the Glen posed as a group, one for each of the years they had been together. There was also a photo from Autoville of Trixie, Honey and him standing in front of the trailer. They all looked so young and gawky even though it was only three years ago. A crooked grin broke across his face as he remembered draping an arm around Trixie and Honey then teasing the two girls as Dad took the picture. Trixie was looking up at him in the photo. He focused on what he could see in her sapphire blue eyes and in her beautiful smile. He had known then, just like he knew every day since, that she was all he ever wanted and his arms were open wide waiting for her.
His eyes shifted to the last picture in the group and a sigh huffed out from his lips as he reached out and touched it. This was one of his absolute favorite photos. He was standing in a black tuxedo with Trixie tucked into his side at his senior prom. She was dressed in a gorgeous teal blue gown of soft, floaty material that set off her beautiful eyes. The material and sweetheart neckline showed off Trixie’s blooming curves in a flirty, almost sexy way. The beaded strap added sparkle as did his ID bracelet on her left wrist. The gorgeous blonde curls she’d grown out cascaded over her bare shoulders but didn’t cover her bare back. He remembered their conversation as the photographer was setting up the shot.
“Wow, all the girls look so beautiful,” Trixie said quietly, glancing around as they moved to stand on the tape marks for the photo.
“Yes, very beautiful,” he agreed, looking down at her.
Blushing becomingly, Trixie stared up into his green eyes and he felt like he was drowning in sapphire pools.
“Jim,” she chided softly. “I wasn’t talking about me but all the girls in your class. Maybe you should have asked one of them.”
Gently he cupped her jaw in his large hand. “Trixie, you are the only girl I wanted to ask. You’re my special girl and the most beautiful female here,” he told her huskily.
“I just want you to be happy, Jim,” Trixie replied searching his eyes.
“I know, Trix,” he answered with a rasp, resting his forehead on hers. “I am happy. You make me happy. I…”
“Ready kids?” interrupted the photographer as he and his assistant maneuvered them into position.
After that, Jim and Trixie had a magical night of dancing and visiting with Brian and Honey and the rest of their friends.
When the printer stopped, Jim returned to the desk and pulled the print out of the tray, stapled it and placed it inside his course book. Saving the file one last time, he removed the thumb-drive and placed both the book and drive into his backpack.
“Now to take Jupiter out for a ride,” he said, grabbing his boots to don them.
An hour later, Jim rode back toward the stable still thinking about Trixie. He knew she was his perfect match. She always knew what to say to him to keep him grounded and what to do to make him feel like he was the luckiest guy in the world. He had wanted to let her know how he felt, that he loved her, but Peter and Helen Belden were adamant that she couldn’t date, even him, until she was sixteen.
As he came into sight of the stable, Jim saw her. She was standing in the doorway talking to Regan and Dan. The sunlight shining on her golden curls creating a halo effect. His heart felt full to overflowing with love for his special girl.
Well, she’s sixteen today, he thought with a big smile. Now’s my chance to ask her out and let her know how I feel.
A giggle broke into his thoughts as he neared the stable.
“I think a movie is in order to celebrate your birthday,” Dan suggested.
“Oh, that would be great,” Trixie agreed readily. “There’s a horror marathon that I really want to see.”
“Maybe we can go tomorrow night,” Dan said.
Trixie turned her head and saw Jim. A beautiful smile broke across her face. “Hi, Jim,” she called.
“Hello, birthday Shamus,” he returned. “Happy birthday, Trix!”
Swinging down from the saddle, Jim led the large black horse toward Trixie and hugged her tightly. Drawing a deep breath of the strawberry scent of her in, he asked, “How’s my special girl today?”
Trixie pressed her face against the light jacket he wore and closed her eyes. “I’m doing well,” she answered. “I had a lovely morning with my family and then Moms ran me out of the house. She said they had a surprise for me,” she added.
“Hmmm. I wonder what it is,” he replied, reluctantly letting her go. “I’d better get Jupe groomed out and the tack cleared or Regan will keep me so busy that I’ll miss out on your party,” Jim teased.
“I’ll help you,” Trixie offered shyly.
“Thanks, but are you sure there isn’t something you’d rather do?” Jim asked, quirking a brow. Tugging gently on ‘his curl’ he reminded, “It is your birthday.”
“It what I want to do,” she told him. “I came up to see the horses. I always bring Susie a carrot on my birthday.”
“That she does,” Regan affirmed, pulling on his jacket. “Tom’s taking me into town to run some errands and help me pick up that special feed.” Patting Trixie gently on the shoulder, he added, “I’ll be back in time for the cookout. I never miss a meal at the farm.” Winking at Trixie, he strolled briskly away.
Dan had been quietly observing Trixie and Jim as they talked and came to a quick decision. “Well, I have some more chores to do for Mr. Maypenny so I’ll take my leave of you, too.” Hugging Trixie quickly then punching Jim lightly in the arm, he smiled as he said, “Trixie, since it was your idea to do a group activity tomorrow, I’ll let you ask everyone to go to the movie.” Seeing Jim’s look of consternation, he added, “And if something comes up, just let me know.” Smiling broadly, he headed toward the cabin trail. When he reached it he called, “See ya later.”
The pair quietly worked together to take care of the big horse for several minutes before Trixie advised, “I think I’m going to get started on the tack.” Gathering it into her arms, Trixie carried the tack in to the tack room where she grabbed several soft towels and the cleaning supplies and then set to work.
“Trixie,” Jim rasped from the doorway twenty minutes later. Clearing his throat as he crossed to the hay bale where she was seated with the last piece of tack in front of her. Sitting down he continued, “I’d like to talk to you about something.”
Setting aside the cloth, Trixie wiped her hands on a towel as she watched him quizzically. “What is it, Jim?”
Gently taking her hand, Jim began to play with her fingers without speaking for several seconds. Taking a deep breath, he rattled out, “Trixie, you’vealwaysbeenmyspecialgirl.Willyougooutwithme?”
“What?” she asked startled, gripping his hand, her sapphire eyes wide. “What was that again?”
Jim saw excitement and merriment in her eyes as he took a deep breath, trying to calm his madly beating heart. “I said,” he laughed self-consciously still toying with her fingers and with his eyes watching her expressive face. “Trixie, you’ve always been my special girl. Will you go out with me?”
A sparkling light of joy appeared in Trixie’s eyes as she searched Jim’s emerald ones. “Yes,” she said softly, smiling happily. “Yes.”
Jim let out the breath he’d been holding as he raised his hand to cup her gorgeous face. “You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to ask you that,” he told her with the crooked grin she loved.
A twinkle appeared in Trixie’s eyes, tilting her head she said impishly, “Two years and ten months is how long I’ve been waiting for you to ask.” Leaning toward him, she winked and added, “I’d have just died if you wouldn’t have asked.”
Jim reached out and softly caressed her cheek as he allowed his eyes to express his deep feelings. “I had to wait until you turned sixteen, Trix. I promised your folks.” Watching her eyes widen and soften, he moved closer to say his next words. “But now I can tell you what I’ve always felt. I love you,” he finished, pressing his lips against hers in a sweet, gentle first kiss.