The following is the latest chapter of 44 Cherry Street, a fictional story based in Black Mountain. To read earlier chapters of this story, log on to the website, and click on 44 Cherry Street. To catch you up: Lorraine is a longtime resident of 44 Cherry Street whose husband, Frederick, left her after discovering that when she had run away to Mexico last year, Lorraine had had a torrid love affair with El Chapo. She is now desperately looking for a boyfriend.

Black Mountain Presbyterian Church

Mac Buchanan, standing in the lobby of Black Mountain Presbyterian Church facing Lorraine, felt his heart rate increase and he heard bells going off. Was he in love? No. He was either having a heart attack or he had found himself another victim. Oh yes, and the church bells were actually ringing. He inched closer to Lorraine and could smell her expensive Dior perfume. “Will you join me for an espresso at the Dripolater?” He whispered. 

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Lorraine too was experiencing some strange physical reactions. Her heart rate was escalating and she was unsure what words to use to answer this simple question. Her face reddened with the latest hot flash. She felt her stomach rumbling too. Was she just hungry? But then what was she hungry for? “Um, sure!” she blurted out. (Did she sound too eager?)

The Dripolater Coffee Shop, Black Mountain

Mac gently took Lorraine’s arm and led her out of the church and around the corner of State Street towards the Drip. It was a warm Spring morning and the buds on all the trees were about to burst, and Lorraine felt full of expectation. This man (What was his name?) was so handsome and rugged looking. Frederick was a nice guy, but he was puny and bookish, and Chappie had been your typical drug lord with breath that smelled of tacos. This man oozed sex appeal with his woodsy clothing and his chiseled features. She was lost in thought and almost didn’t hear him when he asked her, “Where do you like to hike?”

Hike? Her idea of a hike was a stroll up and down Cherry Street. She really never left the pavement. Would he expect her to enjoy the out-of-doors? Oh, dear! This would certainly require a completely new wardrobe. She couldn’t wear her soft leather pumps in the woods, and the Eileen Fisher outfits she owned would get snagged on stray branches. She did not want to scare this man off, though (and she really loved shopping). “I love them all!” she stated emphatically. “What’s your favorite?”

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“Oh, I just knew you were a hiker! Maybe I saw you on the trail somewhere. Maybe that’s where I recognize you from.”

“Oh certainly that’s where you have seen me! I usually hike in Montreat.” By hike she really meant shop in the Ten Thousand Villages Shop.

By then they had arrived at the Drip, and they were on line to order. Lorraine’s stomach gurgled loudly. She blushed and Mac chuckled. “Sounds like we’d better get you something to eat!” Mac ordered for them both,”Two large Lattes and two big pieces of lemon pound cake, please.”

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“OH, no!! Not for me! I don’t dare eat a whole piece of buttery cake. I’m on a diet and don’t want to splurge! I’d have to fast for a week if I ate cake!”

Mac stepped back and looked Loraine up and down, and she blushed even deeper. No one had looked at her like that before! “Diet? You? Stop that nonsense right now,” Mac commanded. “You have a delicious figure! I don’t like skinny women! I’d love to eat you up!”

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Lorraine fanned herself with her pocketbook.

The barista came back with the order. “That will be $18.49.”

Mac reached into his pocket for his wallet. “OH my goodness!” he exclaimed. “It seems I have forgotten my wallet. I am so embarrassed!”  

“Never you mind,” said Lorraine, as she pulled out her wallet and paid the bill.

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