Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Sailor Moon.
Lita surveyed the turn out and nodded her head with satisfaction. The Colford Senior's Association Cookout (The Tobin Chapter) was turning out to be quite a success. It was a gorgeous late spring day and the park they were using was bathed in sunshine and the green of spring. There were several large party tents placed strategically around the various food and activity stations, giving the attendees chances to rest and relax when they needed. She was sure her three 'Leading Ladies': Penny Carter, Cora Hudson and Matilda Brown were probably tickled pink at how successful it was turning out to be.
For a year and several months, she'd been meeting with these three women on Thursday nights, enjoying movie classics or as Tilly liked to call them, 'Golden Oldies'. It had all started the day Penny Carter had come into her florist's shop, looking like she'd just stepped out of an appointment with her hairdresser. Lita had liked her immediately. She'd quickly learned that Penny was a frank woman, who didn't pull punches and having that in common wasn't a bad thing for beginning a friendship. Lita also learned that Penny always looked like she'd just come from an appointment with her hairdresser. Upon learning that Lita was new in town, she immediately arranged for Lita to come over for dinner that Thursday. Having no other plans and no other friends at the time, Lita accepted the invitation gratefully.
That as they say, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Through Penny, Tilly and Cora, she'd come to make friends and establish roots of some sort in Colford much more easily than she'd done in the places she'd lived before now. Of course, it helped that she'd somehow managed to grab the attention of the three reigning Society Queens of Colford. Lita shook her head with a smile, before remembering to walk over and check on the BBQ station. Bob Hartford was manning the grill, along with his son, and though he was quite adept at the grill, Lita figured an extra pair of hands couldn't hurt.
Just as she began making her way over, Lita spotted Mary Hartford, Bob's wife, already giving him a hand. The family waved at her and she waved back a wide smile on her face, already diverting her course away from the BBQ pit. They were most likely here helping because Bob's mother, Grace Hartford had firmly insisted that her family show up to support the occasion. Grace sometimes showed up for movie nights, the lavender highlights in her grey hair and her bright, compelling personality always made for interesting evenings.
The BBQ station was fine and Lita didn't have to check the other stations, she knew her fellow partners in crime were keeping the activity and food stations in order. She made her way back to the sandwich station, humming along to the song the live band was playing. Tilly was a miracle worker finding a live band as good as this in such short notice. Of course, it helped when the lead singer was her granddaughter. Lita smiled at the sight of several couples out on the dance floor. A few of them, Lita realized, had started dancing when they arrived and hadn't stopped yet! She washed her hands and donned gloves, enjoying the atmosphere and sharing a joke or two with several guests and the other woman, Carrianne, helping at the sandwich station as they worked.
This event happened annually and once Lita's Three Musketeers had learned that she'd gone to school and come out with an Event Planning certificate along with her floral arrangement certifications, she'd been hooped into organizing this year's event. At first, Lita had been hesitant to take charge but in no time, she found herself enjoying being able to do what she'd spent her hard-earned money on for so long (and still was..).
"I'd like a Ham and Swiss sandwich please."
That voice had Lita's head shooting up and her eyes widening before she had a chance to check herself. Well. There he was. Nate Carter, Penny's grandson, and the man she'd been slowly but definitely falling for over several months. Penny had never held back on the fact that she thought Lita should get together with her grandson. Lita, herself, felt she should get together with Penny's grandson, that was, when her own insecurities didn't get in the way.
Lita was no fool. She knew who she was and who she'd been. There was no guarantee that Nate would stick around past the minute he knew anything about everything. She sent him an involuntary smile when he looked in her direction, though. Her mouth always managed to react before her brain could. She couldn't help it! Despite the fact that she tried not to admit it, seeing him always made her day.
It also didn't help that her heart began beating double-time any time he was near. She was attracted to the man, that was for sure. Who wouldn't be attracted to those brown eyes and just about everything else about him? Yet, with Nate, there was something more.
He moved on in the line, after having paid for his sandwich. He was dressed casually and Lita was pretty sure he'd gotten a haircut since the last time she'd seen him. It looked good. He looked good. Nate came to stand in front of her, on the other side of the sandwich station. He nodded at her and then began watching her work. Great, just great.
Lita groaned inwardly after making sure her eyes were on the sandwich she was making and not on him. She was definitely not giving her feelings away...even though when she felt brave enough, late at night, Lita could admit that she really did want him to know that she was probably, sort of, most definitely falling for him.
She thought of his smile and the way he always made an effort to get to know her, to let her know that he was for real. She also thought of the way she'd avoided his attempts and shot him down, without really trying to. It was too easy to pretend that he didn't affect her like he did. It was too easy to protect her heart while intentionally hurting his, if she were to be honest with herself.
To her horror, her hands were shaking as she assembled his sandwich. Lita looked up at him and gave him a strained, apologetic smile as a previous customer cut him off, asking for additional condiments. She dealt with the other customer, while noting that Nate's gaze was following her, a thoughtful look on his face.
When she finished his sandwich, Lita handed him the sandwich, looking up into his brown eyes. Belatedly, she realized her mistake, but it was too late. She was caught up in the rush of feelings that accompanied every time she met his gaze head-on. Lita's mouth trembled with the things she wanted to say and a look of pure knowing dawned on Nate's face. He handed his sandwich to the customer behind him, Lita didn't even look to see who it was. He held out a hand.
Lita stared at it for a moment before removing her gloves, with shaking hands and letting herself place her hand in his. Nate gently pulled her around the station to his side and led her towards the dance "area". It was as it always was anytime he was near her person. He was all she noticed. He pulled her to a stop and lifted a hand to stroke her chin. Then he turned and made his way up to the lead singer, whispering something in her ear. Tilly's granddaughter, Chelsea, grinned and looked over at Lita who was beginning to realize what she'd just done and the possible let down that could follow. Self-consciously she rubbed her arms.
Nate made his way back to her and held out a hand once more, his slow, yummy smile drawing her to him. She gave him her hand once more and he pulled her close as Chelsea began crooning one of her favourite slow songs. It was an oldie but a classic. Lita let herself be pulled further into Nate's embrace. She finally succumbed to the the urge to be in his arms that had been growing for several months now and slid her arms around his neck.
With a contented sigh, Lita swayed with Nate, inhaling the woodsy, slightly spicy scent that was all him. She appreciated his solid form and moved in closer to him, smiling tentatively as he chuckled lightly next to her ear.
"So, uh, my name is Nate Carter and I've been crazy about you for several months. Would you let me get to know you?"
Lita bit her lip as she teared up a little.
"Well, I'm Lita McKenzie and I haven't been able to tell you that I'm crazy about you. I'm also pretty sure that your grandmother is planning our wedding right about now."
They both stifled chuckles as they looked over at Penny who was nudging Tilly and Cora, looking like she'd just been given the moon as she gazed back at them. Nate pulled back and looked down at Lita. Her breath stuttered in response and she met his lips halfway.
"Oh, I'm seeing a spring wedding, girls! I told you all they needed was time and exposure to each other. Silly loves. Couldn't they see how perfect they were for each other all along?" Penny twittered, her hands on her cheeks as she watched her grandchild and future granddaughter-in-law heating up the dance area. "I suppose we could hold off until next summer or perhaps we could do fall! This fall!"
Tilly and Cora exchanged dry glances and nodded dutifully as girlfriends do and settled for watching young love unfold in front of them.
Lita pulled back and smiled shyly up at Nate who pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. That niggling in her conscience was back.
"I should probably tell you, I'm a bit of a mess. Or a lot of one really. I-"
Nate quietened Lita by kissing her once, twice and then settling for pressing kisses on her brow and around her face. He leaned back and looked down at her, an eyebrow raised.
"Or, we could keep kissing and work through those things with time."
"Kissing," Lita agreed. "We could keep kissing."
AN: A bit of a romantic break for me, a bit of a romantic bonus for you? Consider this a thank you for sticking around :) I'll get Mina and Rei's chapters up before the end of the weekend.
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