During the following week, Brielle began searching for another job and sadly, couldn’t get so much as an interview. However, she and Raina came up with a clever idea and began making advertisements online and through flyers they posted around town for a pet-sitting service. They named the new business, “Paws and Claws Pet Sitters.”
Also, the fire investigation ruled that the Bobtail Bud’s fire was accidental, although Atticus and most others knew the truth. However, there was a bright side to the ruling, which was that Atticus received a quick approval from his insurance company to rebuild the truck stop. But it would be a slow start. It would take time for Brielle and Raina to grew the new pet sitting business and for Atticus to rebuild.
The following weekend, Malcolm took Brielle on their second date. They decided to go dancing at The Blue Sapphire. When Brielle and Malcolm entered the bar, Brielle looked to her left and noticed Bobbie Jo Fox, a memberof the Thomasville PTA, working as the bartender. She had been one of the local parents who detested her. Bobbie Jo glared at Brielle with eyes that shot fiery daggers at her. Remembering all the times Bobbie Jo had tried to provoke her on the street in the past, Brielle was ready for her tonight. She was done taking crap from bullies.
Brielle Runs into Another Enemy
Before tonight, anytime Bobbie Jo would stare her down in town, Brielle’s insides would shake, but not for reasons Bobbie Joe thought. Brielle was sick and tired of drama, and she was afraid of what she might do to Bobbie Jo and of the consequences that would surely follow. Brielle knew that she was already skating on thin ice with the local establishment and she didn’t know what would finally be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
However, she’d had taken drama her whole life and the pressure and anger had already started to build. Even the best of people could only be pushed so far, and her very soul was just plain tired.
Brielle didn’t want to have to fight Bobbie Jo, but she knew that if she had no other choice, she could take her easily.
Bobbie Jo had made it clear that she despised her, which was fine with Brielle because she could not have cared less what the bartender and PTA member thought. Bobbie Jo didn’t own The Blue Sapphire. She was just the weekend bartender who was notorious for drinking behind the bar and showing all the men who were perched on the barstools in front of her, naked selfies she’d taken of herself in her bedroom, which was only proof that Bobbie Jo was a loose woman of low morality.
Bobbie Jo of the PTA
Sure, Brielle had spent a few years in her past dancing around a stripper pole, but she had left that life behind for good.
Brielle often looked back on her years as a stripper. She had had the option of dancing in sexy costumes rather than stark naked. So, she had chosen to only strip so much and still made a bucketload of money- more than the women who did dance in their birthday suits. And those women often wondered why it was that Brielle made so much.
It was because Brielle had the sense to know that it was always best to leave a little something to the imagination- to maintain an air of mystery. It was better to let men wonder what you looked like underneath your clothes than to let them find out. They may not have admitted it but subconsciously, men loved mystery!
Clearing her thoughts, Brielle looked at Bobbie Jo, a fifty-year-old, one hundred ten-pound grandmother who dressed like she was still sixteen. Bobbie Jo looked back at Brielle with steely-eyed hatred, although Brielle had never done anything to her. Brielle just figured that Bobbie Jo was only jealous of her ability to draw people to her and of the friends she had made. So, up until now, Brielle had only dismissed her ugly taunts and insults.
An Intimidating Glare
She then looked straight ahead and saw Atticus and Jo sitting with old friends she had not seen in years. They were Duane, Melanie, Jordan, and Zack and they all sat the table in the far corner. Malcolm and Brielle approached them, and Atticus and Jo stood up and each hugged them both.
“We’re so glad y’all could make it!” Jo told them. Melanie and her husband Duane recognized Brielle and their faces immediately lit up.
“Brielle? Oh, my God! It’s so good to see you! When did you get back!” Melanie said as she jumped up and hugged Brielle, “Good to see you too, Malcolm.”
“Good to see you too, Mel! Lord, I’ve thought about you over the years and wondered if you were still around here,” Brielle gushed.
She then looked at Duane.
“I’ll be damned, Duane! How long has it been?” She said excitedly.
“Don’t get me to lyin.’ My memory ain’t as good as it used to be,” Duane said as he took Brielle’s hand and kissed it, “Pull up a chair and get comfortable, girl! You’re family!”
Reuniting with Old Friends
Malcolm and Brielle each pulled up a chair and sat down.
“Guys, I’d like you to meet Malcolm.” Brielle said as she introduced her new boyfriend to her friends.
“Oh, we already know this clown. And you remember these two doofuses over here- Jordan, and his brother Zack.” Duane introduced with a playful smile and wink.
The two brothers at the table rose and each took Brielle’s hand and planted a kiss on top of it.
“It’s so good to see you again, girlie!” Jordon said.
“It sure is, darlin,” Zack told her.
Melanie smiled and winked at Brielle. She leaned in and whispered in Brielle’s ear.
“Damn, girl! I’d say you got a winner! He’s polite and knows his manners. I’ve always been impressed with Malcolm,” she said.
Brielle smiled back.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m tired of the bad boy. ‘Had enough of those,” Brielle told her friend.
“I hear ya!” Melanie chirped, “So, what are you doing these days?”
“I did work for Atticus but until they rebuild the Double Nickel, I’m at the house helping to homeschool several kids. And me and Raina are starting a pet sitting business,” Brielle said.
“Oh, boy! We all know who set that fire, don’t we?” Duane said.
When they heard the intro to Jeff Healey’s “Angel Eyes,” Malcolm stood up and held his hand out to Brielle, she took his hand and stood up. Duane did the same with Melanie.
“We shall return,” Duane told Jordan and Zack before he and Malcolm led their ladies to the dance floor and began slow dancing with them.
A handsome stranger came up to Jo and held out his hand. Jo took it and off to the dancefloor he led her.
Atticus looked at Jordan and Zack.
“Here’s to Louanne and little Amber,” he said as he raised his bottle of beer.
And the three guys clicked their bottles and took a swig.