"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Autumn Belle - Chapter 16"

It was just after 12:45 PM when Beau dropped Autumn off at home. As they said goodbye, he asked her to be ready at 6:00 PM. "Ready for what?," she asked. "Just you never mind," he said, "I have a surprise for you...But, I need you to be dressed for dinner when I pick you up...6:00 PM sharp." Autumn replied, "Why don't I pick you up?...A dinner outfit is not exactly the kind of thing to wear on the back of a motorcycle." As he buckled the chin strap on the helmet, Beau grinned and said, "Who said I was coming to get you on a motorcycle, Missy?"

He winked, put on his sunglasses, and turned the big bike down the long driveway. Swinging out onto the highway, he gunned the Harley's big engine. It sounded like a jet plane taking off. Autumn, watching him disappear down the road, wondered what he had in store for her. "I bet he's going to ask me tonight..." she whispered, throwing her head back, laughing to herself, and swinging around and around on the large white columns of the house.

Autumn spent the afternoon doing her fingernails and toenails, taking a long, hot shower, rolling and styling her hair, and choosing just the right outfit. As she stood in front of the mirror a final time, her mother came into the room. "Wow!", she said, "you are certainly dressed to the nines!" Autumn had chosen a light blue dinner dress that sported an extremely revealing neck line. Though she accented it with a gold necklace, the dress still showed far more cleavage than she or her mother were accustomed to. Her tanned skin was extremely striking, especially in contrast to a head so full of thick, beautifully golden hair.

"Where are you two going?, " Bea Hamilton asked, trying not to gawk at her daughter's abundant cleavage. "I don't really know...The only thing he would tell me was to wear a dinner dress," Autumn replied. Turning to leave the room, her mother murmured, "The only dinner he'll be hungry for tonight won't be on a plate!"

It was 5:45 PM when Autumn strolled out onto the front porch where her daddy was sitting. He was rocking in one of the big white rocking chairs, and reading a folded newspaper of some sort. When Autumn walked out the front door, he gave a long, admiring whistle. "My, my, daughter of mine...Where in the world are you off to?," he asked, rising from the chair. "Beau is coming, Daddy," she replied, "he told me to be ready to go to dinner." Her father looked her up and down, cocked his head toward the dress and remarked, "I am glad he' s a Navy SEAL...Looks like to me he is going to have to fight off half the young men of Atlanta tonight." "Oh Daddy!," she giggled, patting him on he chest.

They sat down in the rocking chairs and were talking when suddenly a car pulled into the driveway.

Neither of them could make out what kind of car it was at first. The network of magnolia limbs that lined the driveway were a source of camouflague for any automobile entering the Hamilton property. The closer, however, it inched toward the house the more obvious its shape became. Whoever this was, they were riding in one of the longest black limousines Autumn or her father had ever seen. "Would you look at that!," Rhett Hamilton exclaimed. The limousine pulled up into the circular part of the driveway in front of the house and stopped. The driver got out and walked to the rear limousine door. He opened the door and Beau got out - dressed in a black suit, a starched white shirt, and navy blue tie. At first, Autumn thought he was dressed in a tuxedo. He looked really sharp!

As she walked down the front steps with her father, Beau and the driver both bowed, almost on cue, and Beau said mockingly, "Your car, madame." He was grinning from ear to ear. "Please allow me to introduce you to our driver for the evening," he said, gesturing toward the chauffeur. "Autumn, meet my dear friend, Jeffrey," he said. When Autumn shook Jeffrey's hand, a strange feeling came over her. This guy looked VERY familiar. She couldn't exactly place him, but she KNEW she had seen that face before. Her curiosity began to mount.

Her father shook hands with Beau and Jeffrey and kissed Autumn's cheek, "Have a good time now, and you kids be careful," he said. She and Beau climbed in the back of limo, and Jeffrey proceeded to the front door. As they drove out of the driveway, Autumn's questions began. They came as rapid fire as the rounds from any machine gun that Beau had ever operated.

"WHERE did you get this limousine?...Where ARE you taking me?...Who IS this Jeffrey guy?...Where did you get THAT suit?...Is your mother OK?...How can you AFFORD this?...Come on, mister, OUT with it!," she chattered. Beau just laughed and said, "Missy, just sit back, have some champagne, and enjoy the ride." He poured them both a glass of champagne and toasted their evening, "To us, and to this evening, and to all things good in this world," Beau said.

As they sipped the campagne, Autumn continued to look around the inside of the limo, playing with the phone, the small refrigerator, and the power windows. She didn't even notice where they were going. She hadn't ridden in a limousine since she was a little girl. Her bubbly excitement and rabid curiousity were in a heated competition with each other. She could not sit still, and she could not stop talking. It was all so amusing to Beau.

When Autumn finally did settle down, she looked out the limousine window. "Where ARE we going, Beau?," she asked. It seemed to her that this chauffeur guy, Jeffrey, whom she still hadn't placed in her mind, sure was taking a long time in getting them to the restaurant. "Does this friend of yours know where he's going?," she blurted.

The champagne was starting to generate a slight buzz in Autumn's head. She seemed just a little too happy and a little too loud. Beau decided that they had better put the champagne away. He wanted his beautiful companion to be on her best behavior, and in the very best possible frame of mind, on this special night.

Sliding his powerful arm around her shoulder and pulling her close, Beau reassured Autumn, "Jeffrey knows exactly where he is going." He suggested that she put her head on his shoulder, close her eyes, and enjoy the ride. Beau put a cassette of the Eagles album, "Hotel California," in the limo's sound system player. It was his favorite, and Autumn's too. They sang along to, "New Kid In Town," "Life In The Fast Lane," and the other familiar cuts from that phenomenal album as the limo rolled along up I-75 toward the Tennessee line.

Beau kissed Autumn, held her tightly, and looked out the window - feeling so good about the surprise he had planned for the two of them once they finally got to Chattanooga.