"Gotcha. I still don't understand about the West/McKay feud thing."
"Me neither. No one talks about it so Carson and I ignore it."
"Speaking of ignoring…I hope you're not mad that I'll be leaving with Mike for a while."
"I'll be fine. But I have to leave as soon as the dance ends so if you need a ride home, make sure you're waiting by the car."
"My folks didn't even notice Mike brought me home last time, so don't wait for me. Besides, maybe Carson has already made plans to get you away from the dance so you two can be alone."
Carolyn laughed when Beverly waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
The pasture next to the dancehall was filled with cars. Carolyn told herself she wasn't searching every vehicle they passed for Carson's truck.
Beverly grabbed her arm after she lost her footing beside a gopher hole. "I don't know why I bothered to wear heels to walk through a cow pasture."
"Because you're trying to impress your man."
"Nothing impressive about manure stains on satin pumps."
"And it's your unlucky night because I don't have a helpful household hint on how to remove those stubborn stains," Carolyn said wryly.
"That's what I love about you, Carolyn. Your ability to laugh at yourself and at me." Beverly wrapped her arm around Carolyn's waist. "As happy as I'll be to see Mike, I'd really like to just hang out with you tonight and talk. I thought we'd have the whole summer to catch up and now it looks like-"
"You'll be getting ready to become Mrs. Mike Flannery."
Beverly giggled. Then she groaned. "I don't know why I giggle every time I hear that."
"What time is Mike supposed to be here?"
"In half an hour. Let's go up to the bar and see if we can sweet talk the bartender into serving us."
The dancehall was owned by the community, so anyone of any age could be on the premises, but in order to drink, you had to show an ID that proved you were twenty-one. Or married to someone who was twenty-one. Or were a pretty girl who knew how to flirt with the male bartenders, as Beverly had learned.
But inside it was wall-to-wall people and the line to the bar was twenty people deep.
"Screw this. I don't need a rum and Coke that bad," Beverly complained. They exited out the opposite side near the front entrance and Carolyn scanned the area.
"If he's here, he'll find you." She tugged on Carolyn's blond hair. "You're hard to miss."
Beverly fired up a cigarette. "So your folks don't suspect anything?"
"I told my mom I met Carson, but nothing more. My dad doesn't pay much attention to me unless I haven't cooked."
She rolled her eyes. Then she said, "Great. Just what I didn't need tonight."
With her cigarette Beverly pointed to a group of women beside the stage. "See them? Catty little witches. The brunette is Edie, stay away from her. The skeletal-looking blonde is Tammy. If she sees me she'll try and pretend we're great friends and then she'll rip on me the second my back is turned. The chunky one in the middle? That's Missy. She's getting married in a couple of weeks."
"Did you go to school with them?"
"Yes. Unfortunately I have to be nice to them because they're customers. They were in the fabric store the other day looking for ribbon for their bridesmaids' dresses." She blew out a stream of smoke. "You haven't been in for anything new. What's keeping you away?"
"I'm doing some piece work and alterations for Maxine Granger for the next few weeks so you probably won't see me."
"Too bad. I love to see what you're creating." She blew out a stream of smoke. "Wait, you're working for Maxine?"
"Because Maxine made Missy's wedding dress. And her bridesmaids' dresses. When they were in looking for add-ons for the dresses before the final fittings, they were complaining that they didn't know the seamstress that Maxine had pawned off on them. I'm assuming that's you?"
"Most likely. But they haven't scheduled an appointment yet."
"Maybe you'll get lucky and they've found someone else."
They talked clothes and fabric trends. Beverly was the only friend Carolyn had who cared about that kind of stuff.
Then her friend's face lit up. Mike must be here.
She scanned the crowd for signs of Carson, but with so many cowboy hats she'd never find him that way.
"Carolyn, we need a huge favor," Beverly said.
Mike draped his arm over Beverly's shoulder. "I had to hitch a ride here after working in Aladdin because I left my car in Spearfish. I'll pay you for gas if you could give us a ride."
"To Spearfish? Now?"
She couldn't say no because Beverly had done tons of favors for her. "Of course I can take you."
Beverly grinned. "Thank you."
They loaded up in Carolyn's car and drove the forty-five miles to Spearfish. Mike filled her tank before she got back on the road. As the turnoff to the dancehall loomed, Carolyn debated on just driving home. Nearly two hours had passed and if Carson had gone there tonight looking for her, he probably thought she was a no-show.