Sarah Fuller sat in the recliner her daughter had bought for her, the kind that lifted her out of the seat. It wasn’t that she was old or couldn’t shake it with the best of them, but at 81, every little bit helped.
Sarah’s turned toward the sound of her granddaughter and felt the rush of cold air entering the room. “In here, sweetie.”
“I’m just here for a quick check up on you. I’ve got a million and one things to do today. Did you know that this is the busiest time of year when you own your own business?” She breezed through the living room, dropping a kiss on Sarah’s head, then went into the kitchen. Sarah heard the freezer open and close and then the refrigerator door.
“How about some of that chicken stew I made for you the other day?” she called from the other room.
“Amaya, come here.”
“Can’t, Nana. I’ve got to get back to the store after going to the post office, bank and whatever that other thing was.”
“Amaya. I’m going out for dinner.”
She peeked her head into the living room. Sarah smiled at her surprised look.
“It’s the dinner for my friends at the senior center. I’m sure I told you about it last week. We’re all getting together and Kaila Lang is catering the event. She’s our program director. Lovely girl.”
Amaya ducked back into the kitchen. “Wait. How are you getting there and getting home? I don’t want you driving or walking alone on the ice and snow. It is winter you know.”
“Curtis Chandler is picking me up.”
“Nana, Curtis Chandler is older than you are. He definitely shouldn’t be driving.” Amaya came back into the living room with a wet paper towel and started wiping down surfaces and collecting dishes.
“Stop that. I’m old, not helpless. I can clean up after myself,” Sarah fussed. “Sit here and tell me what’s going on with you? Have you had any dates recently?”
Amaya sat next to her. “Too busy for dates.”
“You don’t want to end up an old spinster do you? Your grandfather and I had 58 years of wedded bliss, until he passed. Don’t you want that for yourself?”
She shook her head. Was that a “no”? Amaya had had a terrible break up only a few months ago, but that shouldn’t stop her. She was young and attractive. Sarah would keep an eye out for eligible men or at least their grandsons.
Curtis hated having to be chauffeured around by anyone who had a free minute. Especially when he was picking up a date. The cute little Sarah Fuller had agreed to go with him to the annual holiday dinner and party. He’d even picked a gift out for her, well, his grandson had picked it out for her.
“Where did you say she lived?” Tristan Chandler was his driver tonight. His oldest grandson and the owner of the building they used for their meetings and for their parties on special occasions. “You realize that I live where you’re partying tonight? I had to leave my home to come pick up your date?”
“Don’t blame me. You’re the one who took my license away.”
“We are not going there. Tell me where she lives.”
They pulled up to the small Cape Cod style house and Sarah stood waiting on the front porch. Curtis started to get out of the car, but Tristan put his hand on his arm. “I’ll get her. You’ll slip and break a hip.”
“You really know how to hurt a man’s mojo.”
Tristan barked out a laugh. “Where did you learn a word like mojo? You know what? Never mind.”
Curtis watched his 35-year-old grandson hold out his arm for his date to hold. Broken hip, my eye, Curtis thought.
“Hello Curtis,” Sarah said. “You just missed my granddaughter. Sometimes I think she’s more forgetful than I am. I had to remind her that I didn’t need dinner tonight.”
“You look beautiful. Sorry about the third wheel.”
Sarah gave a gentle laugh.
The ride back to the clubhouse was quiet. Curtis didn’t want to say anything in front of his grandson. Tristan thought he knew everything, but he didn’t have a date.
Red flashing lights came up behind the car. “Pull over, son. You have to…”
“I know.” Tristan pulled to the shoulder and waited for the fire truck and ambulance to pass.
“Heart attack,” Sarah said from the back seat. “They always send the fire truck and the ambulance when there’s a heart attack.”
Curtis nodded. She was right.
Another truck came up behind them. Tristan pulled the car over again, then started moving again.
The open expanse of the golf course came into view, but it was what was behind it that held Curtis’s attention. “That’s your place,” he said.
Tristan hands clutched the steering wheel and his jar was set in a hard line. His club house and his apartment were on fire. The car jumped forward as Tristan sped toward the fire.
“No. Oh dear,” Sarah said. “I hope no one was inside.”
The flames were 20 feet in the air by the time the car pulled up the driveway as far as the firemen would let Tristan go. He jumped out of the car and ran, leaving Curtis and Sarah sitting in the car.
“Will he be okay?” Sarah asked.
“He’s had a hard time since his wife died a few Christmases ago. He’s put all he has into the course and the clubhouse.”
“Poor thing. What can we do?”
“Nothing yet. Let’s see what he has to say when he gets back here. He can’t leave us like this forever,” Curtis said, half turning to smile at his date.
“What will we do about the party? And the New Year’s party? I hope none of our friends got here early.”
Sarah reached forward and put her hand on his shoulder. Curtis put his on top of hers as he watched the flames consume the building.