I slowly scanned the room after I shuffled off the plane, exhausted. I soon recognized the tall and decent-looking guy standing there, arms folded in front of him, a slight smirk on his face, obviously waiting to see if I’d recognize him as he had me.
I smiled with both appreciation and relief. At least I hadn’t been falsely led to believe someone would be waiting for me and left stranded. Now all I had to do was hope he wasn’t a mass murderer.
It occurred to me that between grieving the loss of Greg, being somewhat excited at the change ahead, and being busy getting the house sold, I had failed to ask certain questions. Did he smoke? I sure hoped not and that if he did, he would at least do it outdoors. Was he a heavy drinker? A druggie? Well, I knew I couldn’t ask those particular questions because I probably wouldn’t get a straight answer any more than most people would if they asked most drunks and druggies.
I approached Forrest and said, “Hey.”
“Hey,” he said back placing a welcoming hand on my shoulder. “You made it okay.”
I nodded. “And so did you.”
He smiled and said, “So I passed your test?”
I nodded again with a smile. “So far.”
His smile widened and then I was hit was a horrifying thought.
“Then again, I really hate to ask this, especially since I’ve only been here for five minutes, but you don’t happen to have that big scary motorcycle with you, do you?”
Forrest laughed and said, “Big scary motorcycle, huh?”
“Don’t worry,” he said reassuringly. “I’ve got an old truck.”
I exhaled an audible sigh of relief. Then he asked me how many suitcases I had as he took my overstuffed carry-on off my small shoulder.
“Thanks. I have two. Fortunately, I’m healthy and don’t take medication and could just stuff them with as many items of clothing and personal things as I could without busting the zipper.”
“So you travel light but not so light?” Forrest said, leading me to the baggage claim area.
I laughed and said, “Sort of. I took only what I absolutely needed. Sold off all my knickknacks and crap like that, so it’s just a few papers, clothes, hygiene, and a few devices.”
“No photo albums?”
“Those are on the devices.”
He smiled knowingly and said, “Yeah, everything is pretty much digital these days.”
“That’s just the way I like it, too. Much easier to backup digital than physical if you lose anything.”
He grabbed my suitcases off the rotating belt, made a mock grimace and said, “Damn, these are heavy.”
“Told you I packed them tight. Want me to take the carry-on back?”
“It’s okay. I’ve got it,” he said wheeling the suitcases with my carry-on hanging from his strong and broad shoulder.
He may be a crazed rapist I had yet to know about, but thus far he was a definite gentleman.
We were able to quickly make our way through the airport because it not only wasn’t that large, but it wasn’t busy either.
His truck was actually an old pickup. With amazing strength, the six-foot-plus guy easily hoisted the suitcases into the back of it and then threw my carry-on in the middle of the bench seat. Wasn’t sure I liked his rough nature, but at least the shit was easier for him to handle in the first place.
After we were buckled in the old truck, it coughed a bit before it roared to life and off we went. The scenery on the way was rather serene and picturesque.
I thought of how close I was to other current and past cyber-friends that were scattered about Europe, especially Frieda and Adele.
Ah, Frieda. So close but so impossible. Oh well. She was part of a past life that I no longer had.
“Looks lovely,” I said. “In some ways, it isn’t much different than small-town America and some of the rural areas there.”
“Yeah, Bergen is pretty laid-back but it’s boring as all hell if you ask me. That’s why I’m considering moving to Thailand permanently. Hate the weather here, too.”
“When are you going to move?” I asked.
“Oh, within the next year or so, I reckon. My ex-wife was Filipino and we ended up going down there planning to stay just a couple of weeks. I loved it so much that the couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. It’s fantastic down there between the food and being able to be outdoors more and a million other things. It’s much cheaper to live there.”
“Sounds great. I’ve lived in every kind of climate except for tropical so I’m sure Thailand would be way more fun and definitely more comfortable. This is already a good fifteen degrees cooler than what I’m used to,” I said with a shiver as I rubbed my arms.
Forrest smiled, keeping his blue eyes on the road.
After a moment of silence, I spoke again. “So, mind if Miss Nosy asks you a question or two?”
“Never,” he said in a goofy tone.
Chuckling I asked, “How many ex-wives have there been and how long ago was the last one?”
“Just One. Didn’t last much more than a year but that was finished a couple of years ago.”
“Do you know anyone in Thailand?”
Forrest nodded. “I have a few friends there and fortunately, since most of my work is done online, I can be anywhere and still work.”
“So you work at home?”
“Sometimes. Still have to go into some offices most days for a while because I also do computer repair and similar things that one can’t do from their house. I’ve got a good savings going so I can comfortably make the transfer while I build up a clientele in Thailand.”
“Good for you. Now I just have to figure out what I want to do and where I want to end up, and I definitely don’t want it to be in a cold, snowy place.”
Forrest turned to glance at me and said, “Well, if it works out here, we could go to Thailand together. Until then, I’m going to take a trip down there for a week in about two weeks. You can tag along if I don’t turn out to be some crazed killer or something like that, okay?”
I knew he meant that as a joke, but I wasn’t sure it was so funny. Before I could respond either way, he said, “This is my street.”
We turned down a sleepy-looking residential road. The houses looked average. Nothing spectacular but decent enough. Some were one story, some weren’t. They didn’t look brand new, but they didn’t look old. The yards were mostly well-kept but not a soul was in sight even though it was probably around sixty degrees.
Forrest pulled the truck into the driveway alongside his motorcycle, which I hoped not to hear while trying to sleep, then came around to open my door. “After you, Miss.”