Marian threaded her fingers through the clean strands of her young man's hair. She'd never been able to understand why on earth he insisted on dumping that awful greasy stuff on his head; but it came to her in the shower, just an hour or so ago, when she watched his eyes close while she gently scrubbed his head, that maybe he enjoyed the washing out as much as she did. Or maybe he was just trying to keep the soap out of his eyes.
He didn't pay any attention to the fingers in his hair just now. He was busy. She smiled. What an industrious young man he'd turned out to be. So industrious, in fact, that Marian had found it increasingly difficult to find time to show up at the library. She decided to take a vacation.
Marian had 42 weeks of vacation time saved up. Well….some of it was saved. The largest part was the result of a bit of blackmail Marian had indulged in not long after becoming the library's director.
She didn't ordinarily engage in illegal activities, but this case was a little out of the ordinary. One of the members of the city council had asked her out to dinner, and after she found out what his idea of the end of a perfect evening entailed, she thought she ought to be entitled to something more than heat rash and carrot juice in exchange for her tolerance.
Marian was a good sport, ready to try anything once, but that bunny suit had been incredibly hot, and she'd picked blue fluff out of her underwear for two days afterward.
In any case, she'd been unable to talk the stodgy members of the library board into letting her use all 42 weeks at once. The most they would spring for was three.
Henny's reaction to the news was unexpected. "Are you out of your mind?" she'd said. "Summer Reading Program starts next week. Do you expect me to take care of the whole thing by myself?"
"Well, good heavens, we can just postpone it. It might be nice to have Autumn Reading Program for a change, don't you think?"
Henny covered her face with her hands and started to sniffle.
"Do you have a headache, Henrietta?" Marian said. "Poor thing. Why don't you go home early today and have a lie down?" She'd had to jump back rather quickly. Henny had been of an uncertain humor lately…….
She'd asked Arthur (the young man presently sprawled across her body, ardently paying his addresses to her bosom) where he thought they should go on Marian's vacation, and he'd immediately said, "Vermont."
"Vermont? Whatever for?"
"It's very American sounding," he'd said. "I want to see what America is all about while I'm here. I've given it a great deal of thought, and Vermont is the place to begin."
"Wouldn't you rather go to Disneyworld? Or Las Vegas? They're pretty American, too."
"No, I'm sure Vermont is the best choice. You'll like it, you'll see."
And he wouldn't be swayed. Well, she swayed him later but good. But that's a different subject.
They'd been here four days, and she hadn't seen much of Vermont besides the hotel room, but so far, she hadn't minded that much.
She continued stroking his hair. "What movie are we going to see later?"
Arthur looked up. "It's called Scars. It's about a policeman. But it's not a movie, it's the autobiographical reminiscences of Wendell White."
"Not a movie? Darn."
Arthur moved up over her body, and gave Marian something else to think about. In a moment, she opened her mouth to speak, and he distracted her again. In another moment, he distracted her again.
A very distracting young man; he made it exceedingly difficult to keep her mind on……whatever……
She opened her eyes, and he distracted her again.
"I once knew an Officer White," she managed to gasp between distractions.
"No, did you?" Arthur smiled at her. That smile, so big and sweet, sweet, sweet…..Marian felt herself falling……..
Not only was he industrious, and so distracting, but energetic as well. Marian had heard the expression, "The earth moved"………she didn't know anything about the earth moving, it sounded unpleasant to her, but sometimes, when Arthur's distractions came thick and fast, the bed sure did. Maybe that expression started back when people slept on the floor……..
A little later, Marian said into his ear, "I'm so glad you left Australia. I'm so happy you came here."
"Aye, and I am, too. And if you don't mind, Miss Marian, I'm going to do it again."
Arthur was right. She loved Vermont.