As soon as Bob was out of sight Liz pelted next door to Jan’s house. She was standing in the front yard, making a show of watering the garden, when she spied Tony’s Ute turning into her street. He pulled into the driveway and jumped out, those shorts riding up again and flashing his thigh. She felt her heart tip-tilt. Her stomach clenched.
Tony sauntered towards her. ‘So! Liz. We meet again.’ he smiled that mischievous grin. She grinned back, the wave of adrenalin rushing through her body making her feel giddy, like a schoolgirl with a crush on teacher.
Another truck was trundling up the street. Tony turned towards the sound.
‘Ah! my workers. Good timing.’
Liz’s heart plummeted. ‘Oh . . . I imagined you worked alone.’
‘Yeh. I work alone Liz,’ he grinned again, ‘these guys just scaffolders. This job. I mus’ work high.’ he glanced at her watering. ‘Don’ water around the back – okay? Better if ground is dry for put up scaffolding.’
The next morning Liz was back watering Jan’s garden when Tony pulled into the driveway. This time he was alone. He made small talk with her before unloading he Ute. She watched him drag out his tools and take them around the rear of the house. Back and forward, from the Ute to the backyard. She tried to look discreet, but she was fixated on his athletic body.
It was the same every morning for the rest of the week. The garden was getting a good soaking. And each morning their conversation went a little longer.
By the following Monday morning Liz was in a state as she waited for him to pull in. She had been agitated all weekend, impatient with Bob’s habits and imagining how Tony Babic might compare. She kept smoothing her hair, straightening her clothes, her stomach doing cartwheels, until he arrived, a little later than usual, but looking as relaxed as ever.
‘Liz,’ he said, ‘I been thinking. How come you water the garden by hand?’ his eyes were twinkling as if he knew a private joke. ‘There is irrigation, ne?’ He pointed at the black plastic poles sticking out of the soil.
‘Um, they’re blocked,’ Liz stammered.
‘Well, tell you what Liz. You ask me in for morning smoko, and I fix irrigation. Hows zat? So you don’ have to spend so much time watering. Pretty lady like you, got better things to do with her time, ne?’
Liz’s heart was pounding. Her throat felt so constricted, it took a moment to answer.
‘Deal?’ he prodded.
‘Deal,’ she nodded.
And it was that easy. Every morning he came in for coffee and chat, staying a little longer each time. And by the next Monday, he was in her bed. Liz had dreamt of it all weekend. A new start to a new week. It seems this pretty lady had certainly found something better to do with her time.
This is the sixth part in a story building exercise for character, Liz Thurlow.
To read from part one, go here