Molly dialed the number inked on an empty page in her composition notebook. The payphone cord was too short to sit down on the industrial carpeting, so she leaned against the wall with the receiver tucked between her shoulder and her ear, tapping the page with her pen while it rang.
She’d looked the farm’s number up in the phone book in her parents’ kitchen before heading back to school, and there it stayed through the week’s classes. The more days passed, the more she doubted herself. After one brief car ride and an awkward exchange at his father’s funeral, what was the likelihood he was still thinking about her?
“Fuller Dairy.” The voice on the other end of the line was the same soft, gruff delivery she’d liked so much the week before.
There was a tentative pause before he responded. “This is Walter.”
Molly’s pulse jumped; he was adorably serious. “It’s Molly Sanders. From Thornton. I’m glad you picked up.”
“Molly? Oh, hey.”
She was glad he couldn’t see the fiery blush on her cheeks. “Forgot me so soon?”
“No, I…” He cleared his throat. “I didn’t expect you to call, is all.”
Molly inhaled deeply and went for convincing. Walt didn’t have to know that she would stay in Saratoga Springs if he said no. “It looks like I’m going to be home this weekend, and I wondered if you wanted to hang out on Saturday, maybe I could make you dinner?”
“Well, I—“ His voice dropped away so suddenly Molly was sure he’d hung up. “My sister bullied me into getting a Christmas tree. Maybe you could help me decorate it?”
Molly sucked in a breath, then clapped her hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle. Her roommate walked by, giving her a curious glance. Molly flipped open her notebook and silently pointed to Walt’s number. Laura grinned and continued on to their room.
“I’d love to. I’ll borrow my dad’s station wagon. What’s a good time?”
“How ‘bout six? Murph and I can get the herd settled, and…” He chuckled. “You didn’t call me to talk about cows.”
A metallic voice informed them that Molly needed to insert another coin.
“I’ve gotta go. I’ll see you Saturday at six.” Molly hung up the phone and sagged against the wall again. She hugged the notebook to her chest and closed her eyes for a moment.
After a moment, she dug into her pockets for another coin. She was going to need Jane to come down and spring her.