own people. My people are the bull dozer operators and such. We’re working on putting the grounds back to rights. Tore a lot of stuff up moving this building and the keeper’s station and what not. And there’s painting to be done and some landscaping, we want it to look real nice when it re-opens.”
“So, it’s gone well?”
“Certainly has. This has been an amazing job. You realize when they sawed the light from her base with that big diamond tipped blade,” Russell explained as his hands re-enacted each step, “the light was resting on floating pine timbers. Not a lick of decay to the timbers. Nestled right under ground in fresh water as good as the day they were laid. Awesome what those men achieved without engineering degrees and such. Shame to have to move her, but a good storm could have washed her away. This was history, son. Real history.”
“I agree. I’ve been watching over the internet. Fascinating.”
“Yeah, me too. When I go home. The wife thinks I’m nuts. She wouldn’t watch. Certain the light would tumble before her eyes. But it didn’t. Got to admire the work they done. Taking a whole lighthouse and moving it by rail? Unbelievable. They planned the job out to the last detail. My hard hat’s off to them.”
Esther joined them at the table. “I have that photographer coming in, like we talked about. She’s real pretty.”
“Ah, hell Esther the man’s here to work, not find a date,” Russell groaned.
Mr. Coulter nodded his head in agreement with Russ, “No offense, mam, but the last thing I need is a woman.”
“Oh? Your secretary said you weren’t married.”
Mr. Coulter looked stunned. Russ patted his forearm, “Don’t be too hard on yer secretary when you get back son. Esther asks that question of everybody.”
“Why Russ Hooper, I only asked because if he had a wife and some kids, then I could have had a little something prepared to welcome them. I was just being considerate. And for you to assume…”
“So the photographer you got coming isn’t a pretty little single gal?”
“Why yes she is, but that’s just coincidence.”
Russ shook his head, “Come on Mr. Coulter, let me take you out and show you around while cupid sharpens her arrows.”
Esther gasped, “Why Russ Hooper! That is by far the most sexist thing…”
Esther’s words were interrupted by a soft knock on the open door frame. The three turned in unison.
Esther smiled. Russell rolled his eyes. Mr. Coulter’s mouth dropped open. Jenna Austin had arrived. Esther hurried to make the introduction, but Mr. Coulter stepped past her.
“Jenna Privett.” His voice remained calm and smooth. “Imagine running into you again. Still busy working?”
Jenna’s heart lurched, and her mouth went dry. She couldn’t think of a thing to say. All her thoughts were consumed with turning and running right back down the stairs, but her legs felt heavy as concrete. She stood there, body stiff, all but cold shaking hands. Gripping the camera bag, she debated the odds that it was him again. God was evidently torturing her.
“So, you kids know each other? What a coincidence,” Esther said, smiling at Jenna.
Throwing up cinnamon roll was a distinct possibility Jenna thought as she swallowed hard and tried to smile. The smile ended up being little more than a twitch. Tres took a step closer and she responded with the instincts of hunted prey. He stopped, but appeared to be assessing, not retreating. Jenna stood trapped in his gaze. She couldn’t drag her eyes from the warm brown ones that held hers even though her stomach flip-flopped, and her temperature rose.
Tres took another step forward and Jenna stepped back. His eyebrow rose, but he made no further move toward her. He turned to Esther and answered her question, “Jenna and I were friends a long time ago.” He then turned to Russell, “Well, Russ, if you’re ready to go, then I am too.” He touched Jenna’s arm lightly as he