Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 35 & 36

Chapter 35

Tracy thought that Cheryl was so sophisticated, so elegant, he had never seen a woman wear a Shetland blazer, or a Cashmere turtleneck.  The waitress asked Cheryl what she would like to drink, and Cheryl said ice tea, unsweatened.  This was a relief to Tracy, it saved him from having to order wine and being asked for his ID.

Cheryl asked Tracy what he had been doing at work, he replied “Oh, mostly working in the office, getting information to the work crews in the morning, then ordering parts, equipment, and material.  Receiving equipment and material when it comes in.” “You don’t work on oil rigs?” she asked.  “No, I used to deliver equipment and material to the oil rigs though.” answered Tracy.

Tracy explained that his father Tom Jr., and his grandfather Tom Sr., had done oil field service work in Belfield during the oil boom from 1978 to 1983.  Back then, TnT Oilfield Service did some work for most of the drilling companies and most of the oil companies.  Then when the oil boom went away in 1983, there was very little work in Belfield.  His father and grandfather had to do all different kinds of work to make a living, but they still owned a lot of equipment.  They hauled hay, they hauled machinery, they dug basements, they dug septic systems, they demolished buildings, they built barns, they did welding, and they still did a small amount of work in the oil field.  When the oil boom came back in 2006, TnT was already being used by the oil companies, and TnT was remembered by the drilling companies, so they got very busy right away.

Part of why Cheryl was asking Tracy about work, was to listen to him speak.  She was liking him, but in listening to him speak, he did seem kind of youthful for a 30 year old.  She wasn’t about to do or say anything to disrupt this date though, not yet.  Tracy realized that he had been talking about himself, and that he hadn’t asked about her.

He asked Cheryl about her work.  Cheryl replied that she worked at Warren Air Force Base, and that she did administrative work.  Tracy did not want to inquire further about Cheryl’s work, because he did not want to hear about purchase orders, invoices, time sheets, and work orders, that’s all the women in the TnT office talked about all day, every day.  Luckily, they were both interrupted by the delivery of their dinner salads.

Tracy asked Cheryl if she had any hobbies. Cheryl replied that when she was young she used to ride horses.  She used to snow ski.  She used to play tennis.  She sometimes goes shooting.  Tracy said, “Shooting?”  Cheryl said, “Yes, target shooting.”  She continued, saying that she goes to the gym in the morning several times a week, and that she goes hiking in the summer.

Cheryl asked, “How about you?”  This is what Tracy wanted to talk about.  He said that he played piano, guitar, and mandolin.  Every member of his family could play an instrument.  He learned from his father, grandfather, and brothers.  He could read music, he sometimes wrote music.  He said that he would have liked to have had more music lessons and more time to spend on music, but his father had him doing farm chores instead.

Cheryl asked Tracy if he was in a band.  This was always irritating to Tracy when someone asked him this, he thought of most bands as being a joke in the simplicity of their music and lyrics.  When he was talking about composing music, he meant composing music for an orchestra.  He knew that Cheryl was likely not going to understand what he was talking about, no one ever did.  So there was certainly no point in trying to talk to Cheryl about musicals at this time.

Soon their steaks arrived.  It was unlikely that Tracy and Cheryl were going to have an immediate connection, because they were both rather anit-social people in many respects.  Cheryl was grateful that Tracy was not trying to get her drunk, and that he was not making any sexual innuendos in any way.  Tracy was pleased that Cheryl was not nearly as irritating as most women.  Both of them feeling not irritated by the other, they were at ease with each other.

Chapter 36

After some more conversation as they finished their dinner, Tracy asked Cheryl if she would like to go dancing after dinner at the Boot Hill Nightclub.  Cheryl said that she did.

All the servers and patrons at the Prime Rib Restaurant and Wine Cellar had been polite, pleasant, and cordial to Tracy and Cheryl.  They had had a nice dinner.  Tracy told Cheryl where the Boot Hill Nightclub was located, what it looked like, but to go ahead and follow him over there.  Tracy made sure that Cheryl got to her Subaru and got it started, before he went and got in his truck.

When they arrived at the Boot Hill Nightclub, Tracy walked over to Cheryl’s car to get her, and they walked in together.  Because Tracy was nicely dressed, which made him look like he was at least 25 years old, and he was accompanying a very attractive woman who was also very nicely dressed, there was no request for ID from either of them when they entered the nightclub.  If Tracy had been asked for his ID, he would have explained that it was in his work truck in Belfield, and if they would not have let him in, they would have gone some place else.  However, Tracy wasn’t going to push his luck, he would just order Coke for himself to drink.

Tracy and Cheryl went and sat at a table not far from the dance floor.  A waitress came and asked Cheryl what she would like, and she said a Coke, Tracy said a Coke, and the waitress went away from them thinking that they were both weird.

It was about 8:00 p.m. and not completely crowded yet in the nightclub.  There were four other husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend couples already there when Tracy and Cheryl arrived.  There were a lot of waitresses, bartenders, and bar backs on duty in preparation for the nightclub getting very busy and crowded after 9:00 p.m.  All of the waitresses and the female bartenders got a good look at Tracy and Cheryl.  They thought that Tracy was very handsome, and that Cheryl was very lucky.

The waitress and bartender women could tell that Cheryl was much older than Tracy.  This often happened in Gillette.  In Gillette, Wyoming, there was a smaller oil boom going on than in Belfield, Dickinson, Watford City, Williston, and Minot, but there was also a shortage of women in Gillette, due to so many male workers moving there.  The ratio of men to women in Gillette was probably 2:1.  Attractive women who were older could date who ever they wanted because they were probably being courted by ten men.  Conversely, young men, if they wanted a date, would have to consider women between the ages of 17 to 50 years old.

That night at the Boot Hill Nightclub, they were having a country & western band, but when the band wasn’t playing, there was good dance music on.  Right after the waitress left Tracy and Cheryl, the Brooks & Dunn song “Neon Moon” came on.  Tracy took Cheryl by the hand to the dance floor ten feet away, and pulled her to him, but not too close.  Cheryl wanted to go with Tracy, but she was so unused to someone pulling her anywhere, that she was stiff and tense.  “Neon Moon” is a nice, mellow, slow song, that is easy to dance to…

“When the sun goes down
On my side of town
That lonesome feeling
Comes to my door
The whole world turns blue

There’s a rundown bar
Cross the railroad tracks
I’ve got a table for two
Way in the back
Where I sit alone
And think of losing you”

At first, it was foreign to Cheryl, someone holding her, and moving her around.  Cheryl could dance, but it had been a long time since she had danced with anyone.  Because Tracy was much bigger, taller, and stronger than Cheryl, it was unnoticeable that Cheryl was not completely yielding, Tracy moved her where he wanted her without any difficulty.  Cheryl quickly realized that it was O.K. to let Tracy move her around, he wasn’t clumsy, he could dance well, and he had a very good sense of rhythm.

It is fun to watch people sometimes.  Though the waitresses, bartenders, and the other couples had other things to do, they each watched Tracy and Cheryl dance.  The tall, handsome, confident, expressionless young man, led this nice looking hesitant woman around the dance floor until she was smiling and happy.

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