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Friday, August 21, 2015

THE TEDDY BEAR DANCER -- Excerpt #3

"She's after Vic."

"Vic's a big boy. And intelligent." Rene sighed and brushed a tangle of pale curls out of her face. "He can take care of himself." Even though she shrugged and firmly believed what she said, she felt a twisting sensation in her gut and a chill down her back. Warning, or just weariness over an unpleasant situation that just seemed to bother her more as time went on?

Why did it seem like half the women in town were after her best friend? She suspected she knew the correct answer -- because Vic wasn't interested in any of them. People always wanted what they couldn't have, and Vic wasn't available to anyone.

He wasn't a loner or an outcast, but he just didn't seem to reach out to the community. Yes, he gave away lots of cash and gym memberships to civic fund-raisers, and he opened the gym up to the school's athletes and their church's use. Sometimes he gave away a little too much, Rene thought. He'd do anything for kids, but it had been a major step after a year of running the gym with him and Baxter to get him to start going to Chamber of Commerce meetings, or work out front at various community activities. Working behind the scenes was fine. Vic always gave two hundred percent. But stand on the stage to hand the winner a certificate for a scholarship sponsored by the gym? Pose for a picture of him, her, and Baxter, for the "Hometown Business" tab in the Tabor Picayune last year? Even though Vic joked that he was just afraid of breaking the camera, it seemed more as if he was afraid to show his classically handsome face in public. Or at least have anyone outside their church and gym membership know what he looked like. Two years of pushing him forward and coming to the point of nagging finally got him involved, meeting people, introducing himself as more than just, "Hi, I'm one of the owners of Gold Tone." Now Vic was known on the street and greeted by almost everyone he passed in the shopping areas or just walking the neighborhood around the old armory building that housed the gym. Even if he wouldn't admit it, he was hooked on being known and earning smiles and greetings. Rene sometimes patted herself on the back for that accomplishment, whenever she thought about all the hard work that went into that change.

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