Yellowstone National Park. I nearly choked on my lunch (a burger, if you were wondering) when Rianne told me that’s where she wanted to go. I thought it a joke, yet here we were, on our way to visit Old Faithful and maybe see a handful of elk if we were lucky. I grimaced at the thought. Rianne was the adventurous one, the lovable nature-freak that she is. As for me, the wilderness and I did not get along. A national park wasn’t my ideal choice for a vacation. Even so, God knows there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make her happy. So, Yellowstone it was.
Now, however, sitting in a stuffy old bus, regret was slowly creeping up on me. The only thing stopping me from escaping through the window was Rianne sitting next to it. She was beautiful, intelligent, caring, perfect, and she was all mine. The glittering band on her left hand was proof of that.
Rianne rested her head on my shoulder, the corners of her lips quirked up in a content smile. Our intertwined hands sat on my lap. She played with my fingers absentmindedly while I stared out the window mentally preparing himself for our nature walk.
“Honestly, John,” I suddenly heard an elderly woman say to a man I assumed was her husband. “Look at the way she’s dressed.”
My heartbeat quickened, remembering the scornful glance she sent my wife when she had passed by to take her seat behind us. I reflexively glanced at Rianne’s attire: a pair of shorts and a mere sports bra under her flannel. Okay, so it wasn’t the most modest of outfits, but the heat was near unbearable. I myself only wore pair of shorts and a T-shirt, which I planned on taking off later.
Rianne frowned, drawing her knees up to her chest. I clenched my fists tightly. I locked my jaw, afraid of what I might say if I let my tongue loose. I shut my eyes and took deep, even breaths, or at least, I tried to.
“There are children around,” the woman continued. “You would think a young woman of her age would have learned by now how to dress appropriately instead of dressing like one of those exotic dancers you see on TV. As if you could even classify those vile movements as dancing. Harlots, that’s what they are. How revolting.”
My vision blurred and my head spun as I jumped out of my seat, not caring about the scene I was causing. How dare she!? I opened my mouth, prepared to give this woman a piece of my mind, when Rianne gripped my arm.
She pulled me back down and turned in her seat. “I can assure you, ma’am, that I have never once offered those kinds of services for money, so I’d appreciate it if you’d kindly keep your opinions to yourself.” She rubbed my back in the way she knew would calm me down. She placed a soft kiss on my cheek and winked discreetly. “And for the record, my husband is what you call an exotic dancer. I can assure you, he has all the right moves.”
The woman’s jaw was unhinged. Her balding husband was no better, but Rianne merely settled back into her seat, smiling in my direction. I stared at her. This woman was going to be the death of me, but somehow, I was okay with that.
**Find the featured image here.