Melanie slowed to a near standstill behind the decrepit old truck. ‘Come on,’ she thought as it coughed and rattled along the uneven road.
She was rushing to get to the market with the morning’s vegetables.
With disbelief she watched the wheels on the left of the truck lift of the ground. The overloaded truck tipped over in the middle of the dirt road. Forced to stop, Melanie called the position of the accident in to the community radio network before jumping out of her own truck.
‘Anyone hurt in there?’ she called.
They replied in Nigerian, a language she didn’t speak. Even in the middle of Limpopo farm country it didn’t take long for sightseers to appear at the accident scene. As the last of the Nigerians clambered out the first sightseer pulled up.
Fuming with frustration Melanie wiped her brow as she strode up and down the road trying to see a way past the obstruction. Local farmers stood nearby shaking their heads. Dave stepped away from them and asked with a smirk, ‘You picking fights with your new neighbours, Melanie?’
Melanie let out a disgusted snort. ‘If you think their falling-to-pieces truck over-turned because of me, Dave Callahan, you can think again! Does that thing look roadworthy to you?’ She jabbed a finger in the direction of the prone truck. ‘You tell your brother-in-law I’m talking to a lawyer about that road he closed off.’
The smirk disappeared.
‘Why don’t you go talk to Billy? I’m sure there’s a compromise.’ He agreed that Billy Gessup was being unnecessarily stubborn about that access road.
‘We’ll see,’ Melanie stopped bristling with an expelled breath.
He smiled. Her blonde ponytail seemed to act like a barometer of her mood. As she calmed it stopped bobbing.
‘What’s so funny?’ she demanded and the ponytail gave another bob.
Swallowing his smile he turned to the truck.
‘They’ve called Will. He’s bringing a block-n-tackle to winch the truck.’ He looked at a nearby tree. ‘Just hope that Jacaranda can withstand the load.
‘Here’s your chance to meet Daniel Sutherland, your other new neighbour,’ Dave said as a new Navara drove up.
Melanie could not take her eyes off the tall dark haired man that climbed out. Jeans hugged his long legs and a khaki shirt emphasized his broad shoulders. The hair curling over his collar was longer than the other farmers. He brushed it away from his eyes with long fingers and his mouth curved into a languid smile.
‘I was at the co-op when I heard the report on the radio.’ His voice was as rich and smooth as dark chocolate.
‘Daniel, meet Melanie Gerald, your Southern neighbour.’
His blue eyes wandered over her with interest. ‘He’s got as many questions as you about the Nigerians,’ Dave said.
Daniel took her hand. An excited tingle passed down her spine at the touch.
‘So, you also can’t figure out what the Nigerians are doing here?’ she said, trying to play it cool.