He sat down beside her and took in the view. Fishermen were visible in the pools of light cast by lanterns. Sounds of laughter carried above the rush of falling water as a child yelped with pleasure at hooking a fish. People gathered round as he reeled in his prize catch. Garth smiled at the scene and turned to Sara.
"How did you find this place?" he asked.
"My grandfather let me come with him when he fished. He'd set up in his poles in his favorite spot just below the dam." She pointed to a place where two men were now hunkered down with a lantern between them. "I'd explore the woods. It's the only thing we ever did together that I liked. Everything else was the church." She sighed. "If anything was fun, it had to be a sin. That was pretty much Brother Lawson's rule."
"That's Junior's father?"
"What about Junior? What does he do?"
"Waits." She took the flashlight from his hand and idly flicked it off and on a couple times before laying it on the rock beside her. "Waits for me to marry him, like that's going to happen. Waits for his father to retire, which is almost as far-fetched as me marrying him. He just . . . waits. It's sad, really." She glanced at him. "Why the interest in Junior?"
"He said Millie wasn't his mother."
"She's his stepmother. When he was a year old, his mother died in childbirth, and the baby, a little girl, was stillborn. Brother Lawson needed someone to take care of Junior so he married Millie. What I've never understood was why she married him." Sara picked up the flashlight, pressed the switch, and shined the light on his face. "When did Junior tell you Millie wasn't his mother?"
He raised his hand to shield his eyes from the bright beam and laughed. "We ran into each other in the produce aisle of the supermarket. He was ready to slug me for stealing your affections. Millie tried to run interference and got put down for her efforts." He made a playful grab for the flashlight. "Are you working on your interrogation badge, Miss Girl Scout?"
Sara successfully jerked the light out of his reach, switched it off, and put it behind her.
"Anyway," he continued, "you probably noticed how bitter the salad was."
"What are you talking about?"
"Food, particularly fresh food, absorbs negative energy, which makes it bitter or causes it to spoil more quickly."
The moon became visible through the trees. Garth could see just enough of Sara's face to read her amusement and disbelief.
She asked, "You're serious?"
Before he could answer, she convulsed in laughter. When at last she quieted enough to continue speaking, she said, "If your little meeting with Junior could make the lettuce bitter, what kept it from curling up, turning brown, and disintegrating at dinner? Talk about negative energy! Evan Fiske could kill a whole field of greens all by himself."
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