Chapter 09

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Walking into the Stone Tavern Abby was washed with a wave of warmth.  The whole place had the smell of burning wood and stale beer.  The room was full of people shooting pool, leaning at the bar, and sitting at the yellow lacquered pine tables.  A group of men and women standing at the bar wore full body snow suits, some blue and others black, all undone to the waist with the sleeves hanging behind them like tails.  They were the owners of the small fleet of snowmobiles parked in a line outside of the tavern.

In the corner of the room was a small stage that held the house band’s equipment and a space cleared for dancing.  The equipment consisted of microphones, monitors, and a single bass drum kit.  Tonight the two men on stage in blue jeans and t-shirts were not using any of the equipment.  They sat on stools with acoustic guitars and were playing a mix of originals and alternative rock covers.  They switched off on vocals, sometimes harmonized, and chose their material well.  The music was not the kind to dance to, though the melody did tempt one to sing along if caught off guard.

Sitting in the center of the room between the pool table and the hearth were Caroline and Mitch.  Mitch was pouring the last of the beer into Caroline’s glass mug.  Brian was behind them carrying a fresh pitcher from the bar over to the table.  Abby removed her vest as they exchanged hellos – kisses three times for Caroline – and then hung the vest on one of the pegs that jutted out from the large wooden pillar next to the table.

Caroline touched Abby’s arm, “Glad you could make it.”

“Wednesday at the Stone Bar,” said Abby as she sat in the empty chair at table.  “How could I miss it?”

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