A short story
By Amanda Siegrist
Copyright © 2017 Amanda Siegrist
All Rights Reserved.
This ebook may not be re-sold or re-distributed to another person unless consent is given by this author. If you wish to share this book, please purchase an additional copy. It may not be re-produced in any format for your own rights. If you did not purchase this book, please return to the retailer to purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
All characters in this book are a product of the author’s imagination. Places, events, and locations mentioned either are created to help inspire the story or are real and used in a fictitious manner.
I originally wrote Delilah for a contest on Wattpad for Target. They wanted a story based on a fairytale, but in modern day times. So I give you Delilah, loosely based off of Rapunzel.
Table of Contents
She brushed her hair behind her shoulder, cursing inside for not putting it into a braid or even a ponytail. Something, anything, to keep it from swirling around her face as she hustled to her appointment. Not that one could classify it as an appointment. More like a last minute call that demanded her attention.
Not that she was complaining. Definitely not.
She had been glued to her phone waiting for the call. And when it finally came, it had sent her into a tailspin, running around her apartment like she didn’t know what was going on.
Hence, her hair flowing freely down her back getting in her way every time she took a step.
Her hair wouldn’t be a problem soon. She would be home in no time. At home, her hair could do anything it wanted without bothering her in the least. The meeting had ended almost before it even started.
Now she just wanted to flee the building, the high-rise that sent her in another tailspin. She wasn’t fond of heights, even when walls surrounded her. Just the thought she was close to the top floor in a building seventy-five stories high gave her the jitters. Of course, the meeting had to be in a building this tall.
She couldn’t remember what caused the fear of heights.
Perhaps it was the time she climbed a tree when she was six and fell helplessly to the ground when the branch broke underneath her. Broken arm. Terribly painful.
Or maybe it was the time she played in the tree house with her best friend, Dalphina, across the street and the floor gave out. Yet again, falling from a tree and breaking her other arm. She was eight at the time. Thank goodness. She couldn’t imagine having two broken arms at the same time. They had figured out why Dalphina’s mom didn’t want them in the tree house. The structure wasn’t safe and needed to be fixed. But when your eight, you’re not listening to your parents, you’re outside trying to have fun.
But neither incident had seemed to faze her. When she was twelve, she climbed onto the roof with Dalphina to ‘catch the rays’ as they liked to call it. While she didn’t fall down that time, the ladder had the misfortune to plunge helplessly to the ground. There went the opportunity to climb off the roof safely. They were stuck up on the roof for hours, the hot sun beating down on them. She was a red tomato by the time her parents returned home. Dalphina, of course, blessed with skin that tanned with ease didn’t have one red patch on her.
After that, she didn’t care for heights. So perhaps, a combination of all three made her fearful of heights. Every time she moved high into the air, nothing good ever happened. It was a sign.
Nothing good happened today. Maybe some people would consider it good. And deep down, she knew the news had been good.
For everyone else—well, not so good. She was now the most hated person in her family. But that really wasn’t new news to her. She was already accustomed to being ignored by her family. Did it really matter that they all hated her now?
Dwelling on that part would get her nowhere. She needed to escape from this building before something else bad happened. It was entirely possible.
She had the worst luck in the world.
The ground could to start to shake and swallow her whole. The heavens could decide to deliver a torrential downpour, causing a storm of the century, blowing the building down. Lightning could strike her with an electrifying bolt.
And yes, she was foolish enough to think that all could occur while she attempted to escape from the building.
She started to shuffle her feet on the floor with a quickened pace, her hair flowing like the wind behind her. That is, until she saw the elevator door start to rapidly close. She went into a full-blown run, squeezing between the doors before they completely shut.
A soft hand reached out and scooped her hair into a widening arch.
“Wouldn’t want this lovely hair to get caught. The door almost snatched it away from you.”
She half-turned to the man standing next to her, and to her surprise, still holding a few strands of her long blonde hair.
“Thank you. I didn’t have time to put it into a braid this morning. My hair likes to get in the way if I don’t.”
“I like it just the way it is. Like I said, it’s lovely.” He offered her a sweet smile, then must’ve registered he was still holding her hair. The strands floated down to her back in a graceful wave as he let go. “Terribly sorry about that. I’m Duncan Wallace.”
She looked at his outstretched hand and completely forgot why she had been running to the elevator in the first place. Without a shiver in sight, she took his hand. “I’m Delilah Thomas.”
“Delilah. A lovely name to go with such beautiful hair.”
For a moment, she almost thought he was going to kiss the back of her hand, anticipating the action with every breath in her body. Instead, he let go with a grin she didn’t understand.
“Thank you.” She felt utterly ridiculous repeating the same words, but had no idea what else to say.
Most people would probably classify him as handsome, as they should. Classic face with striking features and eyes as blue as the ocean. Black hair, slightly spiked in the front, that despite not being blonde as most blue-eyed people displayed well, looked ruggedly good with his bright blue eyes. And for a moment, when his eyes turned a certain way, she almost thought they were purple. There was something different with this man than just his looks. His kindness, consideration, and sweet words that left his mouth were the qualities she found instantly handsome.
She started to shift away, unsure of what to say and not wanting to feel any more awkward with him, but his deep voice stopped her movement.
“I’ve never seen hair that long before. It’s truly amazing.” She saw his eyes shimmering with delight as he glanced at her. It made her have the strange urge to brush a few fingers through it to remove the tangles, if there were any. And having long hair, dangling almost to her butt, she most likely had a few tangles.
Her mouth started to open. “Tha—t is very kind of you.” She would not repeat the words thank you again. “I’ve always loved long hair. My grandmother used to braid it with wonderful, unique designs. But at times my hair can be really annoying. Like today. It’s been flying around my head as I rush around.”
“I know how those days go. Rushing always works my nerves. I don’t have the hair problem, though,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m glad to have saved the day. With your hair. I wouldn’t want to see it get caught on anything.”
“I’ve had many mishaps. I’m sure I would’ve survived, but it was much appreciated.” She smiled inside for saying thanks—again—without actually saying the words.
“So you keep it long like that because you just love long hair, or is there some other enchanting reason?”
His warm smile told her that his question was sincere. There was no ridicule or disgust in his tone. Almost pure awe.
“Well, I do love long hair. It’s taken me forever to grow it out and I would be terribly sad if I ever cut it.”
And because she couldn’t help herself, she leaned closer to him. There was something about him that made her forget her usual shyness. To her delightful surprise, he leaned over as well, their bodies scant inches from each other.
“Can you keep a secret?”
His blue eyes sparkled with pleasure. “I can.”
“It’s magical. And some of the magic just transferred to you for saving my hair from the evil elevator.”
“I would have to say that I am a very lucky man then…to have met such a beautiful woman with magical powers.” He whispered the words close to her lips.
Tingles of joy spread throughout her body as her eyes stayed enamored with his. She could feel the magic flowing between them. His lips so close to hers, called to her, pulled her in with a captivating whisper.
Before his lips could connect with her, the elevator doors swished open. The spell broken. She jumped back from him, embarrassed by her silly words.
“It was nice to meet you, Duncan. Have a wonderful day.” She fled the elevator, quite certain his voice followed her.
Why would a handsome, charming man be interested in little ol’ Delilah? She wasn’t anything special. She was a simple girl, living in her simple world.
Duncan couldn’t believe his luck. He runs into the most enchanting woman he’s met in a long time and he let her slip away. The teasing banter back and forth had brought him out of his usual funk that he always managed to land himself in whenever he had to leave work early.
He enjoyed the way her eyes lit up every time he complimented her hair. Otherwise, he probably would’ve kept his mouth shut. Focusing his attention on a woman did not fit into his life.
Would there ever be a good time?
Probably not. She had been delightful from the moment she rushed into the elevator. He couldn’t help himself.
From her sweet blonde hair that shined like gold, to her tentative smiles that made his heart beat faster, to her lovely teasing that surprised him. Not much could surprise him. But that certainly did. He had loved every minute he spent with her.
Then the doors rustled open, breaking the spell holding them mere inches apart. She ran. No amount of him shouting her name had gotten her to stop. He took that as a sign. It wasn’t meant to be.
He pushed the charming Delilah from his mind and made his way to the parking garage. Within no time, he made it to his daughter’s school.
“Hey, pumpkin. How was school?” he asked his eight-year-old little girl that was his everything. He couldn’t imagine his life without her by his side.
“It was school, Dad. Not much to say.”
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, squeezing her with tenderness. “Did something happen? What’s with the sad attitude?”
“I just hate leaving early. The kids always look at me funny when I walk out.”
“I know, pumpkin, I know. I’ve tried to get the appointments later in the day. I promise I do try. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you’re getting better. You need to get better. I can’t lose my little girl.”
“I know, Daddy.” She looked at her watch. “You were actually three minutes late.”
He laughed as he pulled back into traffic. Leave it to his little girl to notice the time. He had no idea where she got her punctuality from. Her mother, when she had been around, was never on time for anything. It wasn’t a surprise when she left that day four years ago and never came back. She had never wanted to be a mother in the first place. While it hurt his daughter to know her mother didn’t want her, he figured she was better off. She had been a terrible mother.
He certainly made mistakes. He couldn’t say he was the best father in the world, but he tried. That was the difference. She never tried. Not once. Thinking of her never conquered up any sad feelings, only regret. Regret that his daughter would never know a mother’s love.
While he tried his hardest to be punctual, he had slip-ups as well. Work was tedious and consuming. Traffic could be horrendous. Or simply, he lost track of time. And his little munchkin always let him know.
“The elevator was slow today.” He smiled, thinking about Delilah. The elevator hadn’t been slow enough, in his opinion. And he had wasted a few minutes running through the lobby trying to find her. He had wanted to ask her for her number. But Ellie, his daughter, didn’t need to know all of that.
“I think you can think of a better excuse than that, Dad. Why was it slow?”
Smart as a whip. He never could get anything by her. “I was talking to a woman. She had the longest hair I’ve ever seen. All the way down her back to her bottom.”
Ellie’s eyes lit up. “Really? What color? Was it soft?” She waved a hand at him. “Forget I asked. You wouldn’t know that.”
“I was a hero today. I saved her hair from being trapped in the elevator doors. It was very soft, silky, blonde hair.”
“Daddy, you are a hero. You’re always my hero.”
“And that’s all I ever aim for, pumpkin.” He grinned wide, glad to hear her say that. Life never went the way he planned, but if he was a hero in his daughter’s eyes, everything was perfect in the world.
Especially right now with the way their world was turning.
His daughter was nearing the last treatments to battle her cancer. He hoped every time he took her to these appointments to fight off the beast that it chipped away at each bad cell. Because he refused to lose his little girl. And he wouldn’t. She was a fighter. She normally came out of each appointment looking beaten and bruised, but she was a fighter to the core.
Besides these small moments of sadness, she normally was very upbeat and lighthearted about everything. It brought joy to his heart to see that. She wasn’t letting any part of her sickness bring her down. Except today. But days like this were few and far between.
“I hate wearing this hat, Daddy. I want long hair, like the woman you met today.”
He glanced at her with an encouraging smile. “You will. You’ll have the longest hair ever. It’ll start growing back as soon as we’re done with all these treatments. I promise.”
“And you never break a promise. That’s one reason you’re my hero.”
“And I never, ever will, pumpkin.” Definitely never. Her mother had broken many promises in the short time she had been in their lives. If there was one thing he vowed never to do, he’d never break a promise.
Her hair would grow back. He’d make sure of it. And if it chose not to, well, he’d find a way to get her the long hair she wanted and deserved.
The appointment went as it normally did. She received her treatment with a smile on her face. But the minute they got home, she looked tired and defeated. She retreated into her funk from earlier. She had even fooled the doctor and nurses with her upbeat attitude.
He decided to make her favorite meal. Spaghetti with his special sauce he created from scratch. Anytime she smelled it cooking in the kitchen, she was on his heel like a kitten looking for attention. Not tonight. She stayed firmly on the couch, staring at the TV, but not really seeing it.
He tried to get her to laugh as they ate, but she resisted his humor. At bedtime, instead of tucking her in with a simple kiss of goodnight and a story, he read her two stories. Both stories his own creations, of course. With a princess and a prince and a fire-breathing dragon as they battled with tales of glory. Right before he switched off the light, he finally saw a hint of a smile.
That simple smile made everything better. He hated seeing her so down and sad. But he knew things couldn’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Not when they had to deal with cancer.
As he lay down in his own bed for the evening, his mind wandered to Delilah. His golden-haired beauty from the elevator. To think she slipped away from him so easily after the wonderful time they had. Short time, of course, but wonderful, nonetheless.
He could still envision her long blonde hair, smooth to the touch. The way her eyes sparkled with laughter when she asked him to keep a secret. He had never met a woman with such carefree, loving humor. To experience such beauty again would be pure joy. The odds of seeing her were not in his favor. Unless she was just hired that day, he knew she didn’t work on the floor where she joined him in the elevator. Because he worked on that floor. He would never forget a woman like her. That meant she was a client.
His mind raced with possibilities of why she was there. Who had she spoken to? The only saving grace was she wasn’t his client. If he ran into her again, a big if, he would be free to ask her out without any repercussions coming his way. The thought excited him. Made him ache for her each time he took a breath.
He drifted off to sleep with dreams of a golden-haired beauty lying next to him, her hair fanned out lovingly as he brushed his fingers through her long locks. It ranked as one of his best dreams he ever had. And he wished for his dream to come true. For her magical hair to bring them back together.
Delilah paced inside her apartment as she relayed the entire day to Dalphina. Every single minute of her day, including her elevator incident.
“What? You just ran. Are you crazy? He sounded like a prince, whispering sweet words to you.”
Delilah rolled her eyes. “Yeah, and he also could’ve been an ax murderer in disguise. I tell you that my grandmother left everything to me in her will, effectively making me the most hated person in my family, and you zoom right to the part about the guy.”
“Well, come on. I knew your grandmother would do right by you. That’s no surprise. But you were actually flirting with a guy. Puh-lease, that is a surprise. You’re always so shy, so reserved. And you ruined everything by running away. You could’ve gotten a hot date out of that. And now you’re rich. You have the money to splurge on outrageous outfits so you can dress like a queen on your date.”
“I was nervous about the meeting, to hear what she wrote in her will. I had hoped she would give me her tea collection because I have such wonderful memories with her, but I never expected her to forget about everyone else and leave it all to me. I’m still in shock.”
Dalphina stood up from the couch and placed a tender hand on Delilah’s shoulder to stop her from pacing. “Your grandmother loved you. If your parents were still alive, she probably would’ve added them because they were beautiful people. But everyone else in your family always used and abused that woman. She knew that. She saw how thoughtful and sincere you were. I had no doubt she would take care of you when she passed away. And seriously, quit dodging about this guy. Aren’t you a little sad you ran away?”
Delilah bit her lip as she pondered that question. “Maybe.”
“But it would’ve never worked out. He was ten leagues over me. And—”
“Not anymore. You’re a freakin’ millionaire now. You’re in everyone’s league. But seriously, you always were. Stop letting those nasty freaks get in your head. Who’s the one laughing now? You are. Maybe they will rethink the way they treated your grandmother. Perhaps if they would’ve been a little nicer, they would’ve gotten something from her. It’s their fault. Let’s go celebrate.”
Delilah’s mouth dropped open. “I can’t celebrate my grandmother passing away and leaving me her entire estate.”
Dalphina waved her hand carelessly as she bee-lined it towards Delilah’s bedroom. “Girl, I meant let’s celebrate about you flirting with a guy. You’re capable of it. This is great. Let’s hit the town and flirt some more.”
Delilah laughed as she followed her. “I’m pretty sure that was a one-time occurrence. I think it was Duncan and the circumstances surrounding us. I will not be cracking open my shell tonight.”
“Just appease me for once, please. We’re going out.”
Delilah sighed in defeat, knowing she would never get her way when Dalphina got something in her head.
She would never listen to Dalphina again. Never again. Not only did she have a small headache from drinking last night, but she had endured repeated torture that happened anytime she came across one of her cousins.
Of course, her and Dalphina had to choose the one nightclub her cousins Suzy and Rosy were at. Two of her cousins that were the most ruthless.
They had zeroed in on her right away. And it wasn’t hard, especially when they saw her long braid hanging down her back. Of course, in good fashion like they always did, they yanked on her braid in greeting.
“Well, if it isn’t, Little Miss Precious.”
That was the only nice thing they said to her. Which wasn’t very nice, in her opinion. Not the way they said it in their loud, nasally voices with disgust.
They teased her, mocked her, even one time threatened her. Delilah hadn’t been positive if it was an honest-to-goodness threat, but it sure felt like one.
“All that money. Whatever will you do with yourself? I wonder where that money would go if you suddenly vanished.”
Delilah had no clue. It’s not like the money sat in her bank account already. It wasn’t that simple. But she knew she had to take care of that little problem first thing this morning. Which meant she needed to venture up the horrendous high-rise once again. She needed to speak to Mr. Boston about the terms of the will more thoroughly.
What if something did suddenly happen to her? She needed to create her own will. And she knew exactly who she would choose as her beneficiary. Her best friend, Dalphina. No way would any of her treacherous family members, especially her two nasty cousins, ever get a dime of her grandmother’s money.
The only thing to keep her sane as she rode up the elevator was the thought of Duncan. He had wiped away her fears last time she was here. With his simple smile and bright blue eyes. With his kind words and whispering tone.
Part of her hoped to run into him again. She promised herself she wouldn’t run away this time. There was no need to act scared. He was simply a person, a man. A handsome, devilish man. Nothing fearful about that.
Except to her extreme disappointment, she made it through her meeting with Mr. Boston, who thankfully squeezed her between two other clients when she expressed her concerns about why she needed to see him so quickly. Not once did she see Duncan. She had hoped to meet him in the elevator again, making the trip down the tall building an easier one.
She thought maybe he worked here and that’s why he had been in the elevator. He had been dressed nicely in a suit and tie that fit his frame with perfection. But perhaps he had been a client, meeting with his lawyer like she had.
She told herself it was for the best as she made her way home. She slumped down onto her couch and tried to figure out what she should do for the rest of the day. She had two weeks off from work. Not that she needed that long after her grandmother passed. But she wanted it. She needed time to herself. And her boss, who was the best boss in the world, never hesitated when she asked.
She loved working at the floral shop. Creating beauty with flowers that expressed so many different emotions for each new person that walked into the shop. She always dreamed of opening her own shop, making the store special in her own little way. She had plenty of opportunities to add a flare of her designs every so often, but ultimately the final decision was left to Nancy, her boss.
She laughed to herself.
She could afford to open her own shop now. The question that remained—could she step out of her comfort zone and do it?
No more hiding. No more bowing down to people. No more crouching into a tight ball of fear when things got rough. Where was the carefree girl that climbed trees and rooftops for the pure pleasure and fun?
Hiding away. But no more.
And she knew exactly how she would start her transformation.
“Oh, Daddy, look at this one. Look how beautiful it is,” Ellie exclaimed as she caressed the blonde wig with care. The soft strands fell through her fingers with ease, making her jump up and down. “This is the one. This is it, Daddy.”
“Are you sure, pumpkin? There’s tons of wigs to choose from,” Duncan said, tracing a finger through the hair as well.
It was soft, silky even. Instantly reminding him of the golden-haired beauty he met three weeks ago. He still couldn’t get her out of his mind. Every time he stepped into the elevator, he pictured her leaning close to him, asking him in a delicate voice if he could keep a secret. Boy, he wished he hadn’t missed the opportunity with her.
“I’m sure, Dad. This is the one. And it’s long. Look how long it is. It’ll reach to my shoulders, if not longer. I want long hair. Just like that woman you met.”
“And you know what? This is the color of her hair when I met her. If you like it, grab it. That’s the one we’ll get.”
Duncan paid for the wig and let Ellie beautify herself in the new wig before they left. He couldn’t believe his eyes as they walked down the sidewalk in the bright sunlight. The way her eyes lit up with happiness and the little extra pep in her step. Pure bliss on his daughter’s face. She looked gorgeous. The blonde hair looked absolutely perfect on her oval face, enhancing her features with a glow. Before the chemotherapy had started, she had a darker brown color of hair. But Duncan had to admit, this light blonde hair fit her features much better. Especially when the happiness shined from her eyes.
“What do you think about some ice cream?” he asked her, as he swung her little hand as they continued walking down the streets of New York.
“Double chocolate chip?” she asked excitedly.
“Of course. With two scoops.”
She practically raced down the sidewalk after he said that. He followed her just as quickly, loving that his joyous little girl was back. The last few weeks had been difficult. The more her hair fell out, the harder it became. He knew he had to do something to lift her spirits. And suddenly the idea of a wig came to mind. He had no idea how Ellie would feel wearing something like that, but she had warmed to the idea immediately. And he knew watching her skip down the street, he made the right choice.
She stopped, running back to him. “Maybe three scoops. It’s such a warm, wonderful day, Dad. What do you think?”
“I think you’re conning me. And very well. But…” He tapped his finger on his chin, making it look like he was trying to decide when he knew very well he would let her have three scoops. She deserved it today.
“I vote for three scoops.”
Duncan turned to the woman standing in front of the door to a floral shop. His mind went blank as he took all of her in. It couldn’t be.
She raised a hand to her heart as her face morphed into surprise. “Oh, my. I didn’t realize who you were. Duncan, right?”
“Yeah. You remembered.”
“Well, I have to say, I’m a little more surprised you remembered me,” she said softly.
“Why? You’re very pretty. Daddy would never forget a pretty face. Would you, Daddy?”
Duncan smiled at Ellie, then looked at Delilah, who was blushing fiercely. “Definitely not. I would never forget a pretty face. I’m surprised to see you cut your hair.”
He watched as she brushed a hand through her hair. It fell through easily enough until it hit her chin. She had cut it very short. Too short. He had loved her long hair. Always imagining how it would feel to run his hands through the silky softness.
“I needed a change. It was time.”
He sensed there was more hidden within her story, but decided not to press. One thing he did know, he wasn’t losing this opportunity. “Would you care to join us for ice cream? If you’re not busy, that is.”
“I could probably spare a few minutes.” She glanced behind her to the floral shop. “I have a small break coming up. But only if we get three scoops.”
Ellie beamed with excitement at that statement. “Yeah, Dad, three scoops.”
“I know when I’ve been beaten. Three scoops it is.” He held out a hand for her to join them.
“Give me a moment.”
He watched as she ran inside the floral shop, spoke to a woman behind the counter, and walked back outside with a purse strapped to her shoulder.
He guided her to start walking by placing a warm hand on her back. He let it linger for a moment, enjoying the way his arms felt around her. Because he didn’t want to scare her away again, he dropped his hand. Ellie continued to walk ahead of them with excitement.
“So when did you cut your hair?” He was dying to know the real reason behind her transformation. She was still as beautiful as the first time he met her, but he missed the long hair.
“A few weeks ago. I still can’t get used to it. I run my hands through my hair and realize it doesn’t go very far.”
“You look beautiful. With or without the long hair. Why’d you cut it? You said you loved long hair.” He leaned closer, the whispering touch of his words like a soft kiss. “You said it had magical qualities.”
She looked at him as he moved away slightly. “The truth. My grandmother died and I inherited everything that she owned. My other family members weren’t too happy. I kept running into them, and I knew one reason I was so recognizable was because of my hair. They’d saunter up to me, get in their little digs before they walked away just as angrily as the day the lawyer read the will. I decided to cut it.”
“That’s not the only reason you’re recognizable.” He smiled tenderly at her confused expression. “There’s something enchanting about you. I saw it right away. I’m glad that I ran into you again. I’m sorry to hear your family hasn’t been nice.”
“It’s fine. I was never really close to them like I was with my parents and grandmother.”
“Your parents aren’t around anymore either?”
He saw her bite her lip as if she was trying to hold back tears. Feeling like a jerk for saying anything, he almost started to apologize when she said, “No, they died ten years ago in a plane crash. Another reason I hate heights.”
“You’re afraid of heights?” he asked surprised.
“Yeah. Didn’t you see the shaking while we were in the elevator? I can’t even stand tall buildings like that. I know it’s silly, but it’s just this irrational fear that comes over me.”
“I saw no shivering of any kind.” His eyes said what he didn’t say out loud. He had only seen her beauty and charisma. “We all have fears.”
“I guess we do. I miss my hair. But I feel good inside. I donated my hair. Now, someone else will be able to enjoy what I enjoyed for a long time. That makes me feel good.”
He stared at her with awe and admiration. His eyes then trailed to his daughter, who was happily skipping along, her long blonde hair swaying in the breeze.
“Wow. You weren’t kidding when you said your hair had magical abilities.”
“Don’t be silly. I was only teasing with you.”
He watched as his daughter raced inside the ice cream shop and took a place in line. Stopping just short of opening the door, he boldly grabbed her hand and bestowed a kiss upon it.
“My daughter has cancer. They say she’s fighting it off. She was really feeling down-and-out from losing her hair. We just bought her a wig. Beautiful blonde hair that she adores. And it’s long, just like she wanted. I would say that makes your hair very magical indeed.”
She glanced through the door at Ellie before looking back at him with tears in her eyes. “You make it sound like it’s my hair she has.”
“I’m going to believe it is because you said it was magical. I’ve never seen my daughter happier. It’s been so long. Don’t ruin my illusion.”
She laughed when he gave her a silly expression with a smile to back it up. He adored her laugh. He leaned in closer when she started to lean towards him with a mischievous smile.
“Well, remember what I said in the elevator. It’s a secret. You can’t tell anyone.”
He kissed her hand again, his smile never wavering. “Your secret is safe with me.”
6 months later
Delilah buzzed around the shop with frazzled nerves. Today was the day. It had taken a tremendous amount of hard work, determination, and frustration she hadn’t known was possible. But she did it.
Not by herself either. She had the help of her best friend, Dalphina. And to her extreme delight, her wonderful boyfriend, Duncan.
It still amazed her to this day that she found such a wonderful man. Not only with the way he treated her, but with the way he treated his daughter, as if she were a princess. He doted on her with love and adoration. It made her love Duncan more and more each time she saw him interact with Ellie. Which was often. She knew dating a single father that his child came with the package. And she had absolutely no problem with that. She loved Ellie just as much. A spectacular, strong little girl.
A loud knock sounded on the back door to her shop, making her jump in her spot. She placed a hand over her heart as she laughed at the two staring back at her making goofy faces through the door window.
“How did it go?” she asked immediately after opening the door.
Duncan gave her a quick kiss and then swung his daughter around in a circle. “Cancer free. It was a definite confirmation today. No more doctors. No more appointments. No more hospitals.”
“Daddy, put me down.” Ellie ran to Delilah and grabbed a big hug, holding on a little longer than she normally did. “Best day ever, ‘Lilah.”
Delilah squeezed her tightly, cherishing the way Ellie used the nickname she gave her almost immediately. “It sure is. That is the best news ever. I would say that we have to celebrate with an ice cream cone later.”
“With three scoops,” they said in unison to Duncan, who shrugged in agreement.
“So, what can we do to help? Ellie’s playing hooky from school the rest of the day and I’m not going back to work,” Duncan said as grabbed her around the waist while Ellie walked over to the counter filled with flowers of all kinds.
“Are you sure? I know how busy it’s been for you at the office.”
“They’ll be just fine without me. I hate dealing with lawyer stuff all the time anyway. And why wouldn’t I want to spend the day with you on your grand opening for your new shop? You’ve been the busy one. What can Ellie and I do to help make this day easier and better for you?”
“I’m pretty sure you just did by showing up. That’s great news about Ellie. I was thinking about you two all morning.”
“And we were thinking about you. All Ellie kept saying was “I hope ‘Lilah’s doing okay”. She wouldn’t stop worrying about you. How are you doing?”
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m nervous. It’s almost like when I visit you sometimes at the office and we’re standing seventy stories above ground. I have these little butterflies in my stomach that just won’t disappear.”
Duncan grabbed another soft kiss. “You know you’re going to do great with this place. It’s magical. Just like you. I do appreciate when you surprise me with lunch and treats now and again. I know how difficult it is for you. Which is why I always whisk you away and take the elevator back down with you.”
She chuckled when he pulled her tighter against his body and nuzzled her neck. “Or it could be you just like holding me in the elevator as we descend, thinking that I need the comfort while we are so high in the sky.”
“Don’t you?” he asked with a mischievous grin.
“Of course I do. But why do you think I visit you so much?”
“Because you miss me.”
She nodded her head. “And because I like our elevator rides.”
“You little schemer.” He tickled her as he laughed with her.
“So what should we do, ‘Lilah? These flowers are so beautiful,” Ellie said, inhaling the sweet aroma of the roses sitting on the table.
“Well, I need to get those arrangements to the front. I was doing that before you came. Dalphina should be back soon with the cupcakes and cookies I ordered. I thought welcoming refreshments for the grand opening would be nice.”
“I like that idea. Cookies, cupcakes, and ice cream later. My stomach is full thinking about it,” Duncan teased.
“Never, Daddy. Right, ‘Lilah?”
“I fully concur.”
Duncan wrapped an arm around Ellie and kissed her head. “Why don’t you start bringing some of these flowers to the front, pumpkin?”
Ellie winked at her dad. “Sure, Dad.”
Duncan pulled Delilah back into his arms, his face becoming slightly serious. Delilah brushed his hair back, hoping to brush away the worry as well.
“What’s going on? You’re occupying her time. Was there something the doctor said she doesn’t know?”
“Heavens, no.” He kissed her lightly. “Will you be too tired tonight to have dinner at our place? Ellie really wanted to make you something special to celebrate the grand opening.”
“I’m never too tired for you guys. I would like that.”
“It’s not horrible being at our place? We are on the twentieth floor. I never see that you’re uncomfortable, but I still worry about it.”
She tilted her head to the side, contemplating. “I guess I don’t feel uncomfortable there. I have to admit, since I met you, going into tall buildings isn’t so bad. Especially if I know you’re there. I think you may have cured me of my fear of heights.”
“Is that so?” he asked with a devious grin.
“Yes. Why are you grinning at me like that?”
“What would you say to moving in with us? I know you live on the first floor in your apartment building, but we would love for you to join our home.”
Delilah tried to step back from the shock, but his arms tightly around her prevented her from doing so. “Are you serious? What about Ellie? I’m not—”
“Oh, you have to, ‘Lilah. You just have to,” Ellie said, rushing back into the room as if she had been listening right outside the door. “Dad already asked me before he asked you and I love the idea. Say you will.
“You really wouldn’t mind, Ellie? That’s a big step in this relationship your dad and I have.”
“You’re the best, ‘Lilah. Truly, you are. And this way you could braid my hair more. I just love it when you do that.” Ellie was all but jumping up and down with anticipation.
“I enjoy it just as much. There’s actually a braid I’ve been meaning to try with your hair. My grandmother always used to braid my hair with it. It’s terribly hard to do, though. You wouldn’t mind if I practiced a bit with your hair.”
“Oh, no. I love it when you braid my hair. Everyone always tells me how beautiful I look.”
“That’s because you are beautiful, pumpkin,” Duncan said with a sparkle in his eye. Then he turned to Delilah. “You’re just as beautiful. You’re really not going to turn us down, are you? That would be like wanting two scoops of ice cream instead of three.”
Delilah laughed with joy as she hugged him. “Of course, I’ll move in with you.”
Ellie joined the hug, her excitement even brighter. “I’ll finish the flowers,” she said, and went back to her task.
“I don’t want to make it seem like we’re rushing you or pushing you into doing something you don’t want to.”
“You never have. You make me happy, Duncan, and so does Ellie. And living on the twentieth floor doesn’t seem too horrible. I think I can manage that.”
“I shall keep you safe, my princess,” Duncan said jokingly in a dashing voice. “No harm shall come to you while you are safely in my tower.”
Delilah laughed, pressing her head into his chest, trying her best to stifle the loud laughter that wanted to escape. She felt him run his fingers through her hair, loving the feeling every time he did that.
“Your hair’s getting a little longer. Are you going to grow it out again like it was when I first met you?”
She lifted her head to meet his eyes that shined with love. “Would you like that?”
“I loved your long hair. It was the first thing that captured my attention, especially since I had to save you from the evil elevator.”
“You are my hero.”
“And that’s all I ever aim for. To be a hero for my two beautiful ladies.” He bent his head to her ear, whispering delicately, “You’re still weaving your magic in our lives. That makes me want to be your hero.”
“And you always will be.”
Dating an On-liner
“Oh. My. God.” Chilly’s eyes bulged as she looked at the picture hanging in the middle of the wall. “Please tell me that’s not your date.”
Daphne smiled with satisfaction. “Uh, girl, look again. That’s my date.”
“I’m so damn jealous. He’s like a Greek God, just sculpted into perfection.”
Daphne rounded her bed, walking up to where she pinned the picture on her bedroom wall. Teenager-ish, yeah, she knew it. But she couldn’t help but print out his profile picture and hang it up to drool over whenever the urge struck. Which was often.
She took a spot next to her best friend, Chilly, or Chillavella, as her horrible parents decided to name her. They both tilted their heads to the side as they stared in awe at the picture.
Bronzed skin, not the fake kind where he visited a tan salon. Oh, no. This was real, honest-to-goodness bronzed skin from the beating sun. She could already picture him shirtless; sweat gleaming off his chest, working on, well, whatever she thought he’d be doing outside in the sun. The sweat rolling down with slow precision, just waiting to be licked off. She never thought of licking sweat off before. Downright disgusting, actually. But when she pictured him shirtless, yeah, she could see herself licking off his sweat.
Perfect posture with broad shoulders showing the muscles she knew he had. Of course, she couldn’t see his chest, or any six-pack that she knew would feel delicious under her hands. The picture only showed the profile of his face and just a hint of his shoulders. Enough to paint a beautiful picture for her.
Short, cropped black hair that made you wish it were longer so you could brush it back with a slow, delicate hand. But she could work with short hair. At least she knew she wouldn’t get her fingers stuck if the urge came over to comb her fingers through his hair. Yeah, that actually happened to her once. She even managed to scrape his skull with her finger, almost drawing blood.
A strong jaw line, chiseled, some would say. Kissable, to her. Definitely kissable. Defined cheekbones with a nose just proportioned to his face. A wide mouth curved into a beautiful smile, just a hint of his white teeth showing. Perfect white teeth. Did he use a whitening of some sort? Hers were yellow like a sunflower. Although, she loved her coffee. At least three cups every morning before she could even function. She’d take yellow teeth any day for her coffee.
And his eyes. Bright blue eyes. They shined like the sky on a perfect day, no clouds blocking the view. Or like the ocean. The deep blue ocean filled with many wonders. She knew he was filled with many wonders, all those edges and curves just waiting for her fingers to touch. Or like a lake, sparkling like a diamond. A treasure just waiting to be found.
Yeah, this would be a date for the history books. She couldn’t wait to meet this perfection staring back at her.
“When do you meet him?” Chilly asked breathlessly, her eyes still transfixed to the wall.
“In an hour.”
Chilly pulled her eyes away from the wall to look at her friend. Her eyes slowly went from her head down to her toes. “Please tell me you’re not wearing that!”
Daphne looked down at her nice, pretty black dress, and frowned. She thought it was debonair, alluring, classy. The dress had no sleeves, giving a lovely view of her shoulders. Not that she had as nice of shoulders as Brent, her Greek God, but they were lovely, nonetheless.
It scooped with grace on her chest, just giving a hint of cleavage, but not actually throwing her jugs out there for the world to see. It flowed nicely down her body, not too tightly, of course, ending at her knees. It happened to be one of those dresses, that if he chose to ask her to dance, it would twirl with style. Yeah, she really hoped he asked her to dance. She wanted to twirl a little. In fact, she had twirled some before Chilly came over.
And to top it off, a pretty bow wrapped around her waist. Like a present that he could unwrap with his heart’s desire. She thought it was the perfect dress. She wanted to be unwrapped by him. The way those eyes stared her down, she felt like he already was.
“I’m wearing this. It’s perfect.”
“It’s too conservative. This is a man who looks at a woman and says, “Yes, I’ll do her.” This dress doesn’t say that.”
“Chilly, he is not like that.”
Chilly propped a hand on her hip. “Because you know him so well. You’ve what, been talking to him a few times on that dating website, and you think you know him to the T.”
Daphne mirrored her actions, propping her hand on her hip. “I think I know him better than you. We’re soul mates. I can feel it. He’ll like this dress.”
“I’m not letting you walk out of this house with that dress on.”
Daphne sighed. “And just what do you think I should wear?”
Chilly’s lips curled with devious delight. She walked to the closet, yanking open the doors. She sorted through her clothes before her eyes landed on something tucked way in the back. Her fingers curled around the outfit and carefully pulled it from the hanger. She turned around slowly, her devious smile getting creepier by the minute.
“You’ll wear this one.”
Daphne’s eyes bulged out. “Hell, no! That’s from our senior year in college when you decided I needed to get laid, for whatever reason or another. There’s no way in hell it still fits. Not to mention—”
“You got laid,” Chilly finished for her.
“Well, yeah,” Daphne muttered. “But this isn’t about sex this time. This is about finding someone to settle down with. Someone to build a life with. My soul mate.”
“I know, sweetie, I know. But if you get some sex with that soul mate business, and it turns out he’s not, you still had sex with a Greek God.”
Daphne cringed, turning back to look at the picture of perfection. Brent. Her Brent. She looked back at the green dress dangling from Chilly’s fingers. It was low cut, tight as could be, and the kind of dress that yelled commando. It would never fit. She had added a few pounds since her college days.
“It’ll bring out your eyes. Your beautiful green eyes. Any time you wear green, they sparkle like an emerald. Just try it on. If it doesn’t fit, then you can wear the boring black dress.”
“Fine. Twist my arm,” Daphne said with aggravated patience, snatching the dress from her hands. She bee-lined it to the bathroom, slamming the door shut.
“Hurry up. You have less than an hour before you officially meet your Greek God,” Chilly hollered, smiling with satisfaction. She took one more look at the picture before swooning onto the bed. “I want a Greek God, damn it.”
Daphne blew out a breath, then tried sucking it back in. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. Hell, she couldn’t move from her spot. A small hand on her back, pushing her forward didn’t even help.
“Quit standing there like an idiot and go inside the restaurant.” Chilly tried pushing her again.
“Why are you here again? I am not a child.”
Chilly raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “Apparently, you are. You’re still standing outside the restaurant doors like a deer caught in headlights. And Francello’s, best Italian in the city. Oh, man, is he trying to impress you. I’m so damn jealous. What can I say? I want a sneak peek at this guy in person. I need something to hold me over, some wet dreams ‘til the next man walks into my life.”
Daphne chuckled, although mortified as she glanced around the sidewalk. “Can you talk quieter? Geez, the things that come out of your mouth.”
“That’s why you love me. Quit standing around. You wanted to find a man, that’s why you decided to try this on-line dating business. And shit, your first try with a date and you snag a Greek God. How do you do it?”
Daphne laughed, fanning a hand over her forehead. “I’m a sex Goddess. Only a Greek God would go well with that.”
Chilly busted out laughing, pulling the door open. “After you, my sex Goddess. I’ll be sitting at the bar doing some recon.”
“Okay, Sergeant Sex Master.” Daphne saluted her and walked inside the building.
“Ooh, I like that title. You must call me that all the time.” Chilly winked, dashing away to the bar.
Daphne gave a small laugh, blew out another breath, and walked up to the hostess. “Good evening. I’m here to meet someone. Blind date, sort of. On-line dating. First time. On it all. First date with an on-liner. Is that a word? On-liner. Well, it is now. I just said it, didn’t I? First time with this guy as well. He’s dreamy. I mean, the definition of perfection. I brought his picture. Do you want to see his picture?”
The hostess stared at her with glossed eyes, a bit of horror tinged in. Daphne paused, her hand frozen on the zipper to her purse. “Rambling. I’m rambling. It happens sometimes. Rare. But happens. Yeah, I’m a bit nervous. It isn’t that obvious, is it?”
The hostess pressed her lips together, probably trying to hold in her laughter. She moved them into a gentle smile with ease. It was Francello’s, for heaven’s sakes. It wouldn’t do well for their employees to laugh at their patrons.
“A little. But just take a deep breath. You look lovely. I’m sure this will be a wonderful date. We’ll make sure of it here at Francello’s.” The hostess gave her another sweet smile. “What is your date’s name?”
“Uh, right. Brent. He said he would have a red rose. So sweet, don’t you think? And I’m wearing a white corsage. This way we know who each other are.” Daphne held out her hand where the white corsage wrapped around her small wrist, a white bow tangled delicately within the flower. “Of course, it’s not a blind date. We’ve seen each other’s profile picture. On-line. You know, we’re on-liner’s. I feel like I should use that word a little bit more so it becomes an actual word.”
Daphne recognized the look from the hostess. “Right. I’m rambling again. I’ll shut up.”
“He’s already here. I’ll escort you to the table.”
Daphne held up her hand. “Wait! Just point me in the right direction. I might need to take my time. Inhale a few more deep breaths.”
The hostess smiled warmly. “Of course. You’ll be fine. Go straight through, then take a left. He’s seated in the corner of the room. He asked for privacy.”
“Mmm, privacy. How nice.” Daphne’s smile widened. “Thank you.”
Daphne forced her feet to move, wondering why she was so jittery. She never acted like this. Well, okay, if she was honest, she did tend to get nervous anytime she dated. Which is why she didn’t date much. It’s why she finally took the plunge with on-line dating. She thought it would be easier to meet the guy if they talked a little beforehand. Boy, was she wrong. She could feel the nerves swimming in her stomach, like little fishies in a tank, running away for their lives as the big net came down from the heavens to swallow them up.
She took deep breaths every time she stepped forward. She probably looked like she was hyperventilating to the other patrons. She couldn’t help it. She was never good at this stuff. Which is why she normally had Chilly help her out. And, while the damn green dress fit, she felt very exposed, her jugs definitely falling out in heaps. She hoped he could keep his eyes on her face. Of course, he would. He was her soul mate. He’d never stare at her like a juicy steak. How deplorable.
She turned the corner, her feet slowing more and more as she continued. She glanced around the room, her eyes zooming to the corner the hostess informed her of. Sitting on the edge of the table, a red rose, red as the blood pooling in her veins. Her heart beat erratically, her nerves now jumping like a jackhammer that lost its owner.
She saw the back of his head, his black hair just asking her to run her sweet hands through it. She started making her way to the table, a bit of resurgence flowing through her veins at the thought of doing that. She paused halfway there. His hair shouldn’t be that long. It was supposed to be short, cropped, barely enough for her to grasp. His hair now had a slight wave to it, long enough for her to grab a portion while they made sweet love.
Hmm, perhaps he let it grow out after he took the picture for his profile pic.
She continued, not worrying about that little detail anymore. She wanted his hair to be a bit longer anyway. She took quick, steady steps, dying to make it to the table. She took one last deep breath and walked up to the edge of the table.
His head turned towards her, instinctively knowing he wasn’t alone anymore.
Her eyes dropped down in shock. “Adam! What the hell are you doing here?”
“Daphne?” His eyes dropped to the corsage on her wrist. “Shit, Daphne. What the hell?”
Her eyes darted around the restaurant, noticing a few people staring. She slid into the booth, the anger prominent on her face. “You’re not Brent. Where is he?”
He looked uncomfortable. “Well, about that. I am Brent.”
“No, you’re not.” She quickly opened her purse, pulling out his picture. “This is Brent.”
He grinned like the devil. “Yeah, that’s a damn good picture.”
“This isn’t funny, Adam.”
He shrugged. “What can I say? So I used a different profile picture. I tried with my own and I didn’t get many hits. You know, it’s kind of a blow to a man’s pride.”
“And just how were you going to explain the name change and the wrong picture?” Daphne asked with irritation.
“I could ask you the same thing. You didn’t use your profile picture.”
“Sure I did. I just used a little Photoshop.”
A long shadow fell over the table. The hostess stood with her same friendly smile. “Is everything alright? I just wanted to see what wine you would like to start with.”
Daphne inhaled another breath. “You know, I’ll take the most expensive bottle you have. Put it on his tab. And I would say, no, everything is not alright. This is my damn brother.”
Thanks for reading! I wrote this little short, short story for Support Indie Author’s February’s Find-Me-Love contest last year (2016). They wanted a short story where a date went awry in a hilarious way. I hope I managed to make you laugh. *wink*
“I don’t think you can do it,” Claire mocked, her eyes following the hot package that circled the room.
“Yes, I can. We’re not in high school anymore, we’re adults.” Beth swiped her bangs back, cursing inside for just ruining the flawless curl she took forever perfecting before the party.
Claire slowly turned her head to Beth, laughing hysterically. “Girl, what are you waiting for? You’ve wanted Todd since sixth grade. In tenth grade, you almost got the nerve to actually speak to him. Look at him now. He’s a dream. I think he got hotter in old age.”
Beth almost spit out the sip of champagne she took. “Old age? Since when is thirty old age. God, now I feel old. And there was a reason I couldn’t utter a word to him. He was dreamy back then. A dreamy, popular, good at everything type of boy. Now he’s a steamy, melt-my-panties, famous, still good at everything type of man. He’s way out of my league. He’s the star pitcher for the Twins. He probably doesn’t even know who I am, let alone remember little ol’ Beth Torrence.”
“You’ve always been oblivious to how potent you are to men. Even back then. And I will remind you that you are now the owner of Makeup Magic Boutique. You’re expanding with two more stores in the area. That’s not just small peanuts. It’s a lot better than some of us have fared since high school. Why did we come to this reunion again?”
“Free champagne?” Beth asked nervously as Todd appeared to be getting closer.
“No, I think it was the pet talk I gave to you to shove your success in the Petties faces,” Claire said with disdain as she pointed at the three women who had given Claire and Beth hell all through high school. They had named them the ‘Petties’ because they could be so petty in their teasing.
“Right. And see how close they are to him. I can’t just saunter over to him, especially after I just ruined my hair.”
“You can. You will. You said you could do it. I took that to mean you were going to.”
Beth downed her champagne glass, slapping it on the tray passing by her, and swiped a new glass before it completely left her reach. “You’re right. I can do this. I am doing this.”
Beth made her way over to Todd where he stood in a circle of his old friends, laughing. She was going to make her move in front of all his old buddies. She had to be out of her mind. She clearly was, because she didn’t notice Trisha, one of the ‘Petties’, move towards her. They bumped into each other, the champagne sloshing down her dress.
“Watch where you’re going Betty. You could have ruined my dress. Thankfully, you only ruined yours,” Trisha said with a smirk.
Beth gathered a silent breath and plastered on a smile. “It’s Beth. It’s always been Beth. And I do believe you did that on purpose. Since we’re not in high school anymore, I don’t care what happens.” Beth took the remaining contents of her champagne that hadn’t spilled out and poured it on the front of Trisha’s dress. “Oops. I do believe it ruined both of our dresses.”
Beth veered to the bar with a triumphant smile on her face as the shocked expression on Trisha’s face was worth the trip to this ridiculous reunion. She grabbed some napkins and tried delicately wiping the mess from her dress that had cost a fortune. But that’s what was nice about owning a store that was doing very well. She could now afford another dress just as costly. She wouldn’t let those ‘Petties’ get to her. Or to her original task.
She tossed the napkins into the trashcan and turned around, scanning the room. She saw Todd still in the same circle, but now it was only him and his best friend, Rick. At least she had less of his friends to deal with now.
She walked around the ‘Petties’, making sure to keep a decent distance from them. She brushed back her bangs again, figuring it didn’t matter how horrible they looked now because her dress looked just as bad. No time like the present to make a complete and utter fool of herself.
“Todd, hi. It’s nice to see you.” How would he respond to that? He had no clue who she was. He never had.
“It’s always a pleasure to see you,” Todd replied, his eyes glossing over her, yet it didn’t appear in disgust. No, it was more like delight. He glanced at Rick out of the corner of his eye. Rick took the cue and walked away.
“Is it? When’s the last time we saw each other?” she asked, wondering why she was making him into a bad guy, questioning him, knowing he couldn’t possibly answer that.
He leaned closer, his warm smile igniting the heat inside her body to almost painful. “I believe it was two years ago. You were in the grocery store not far from your store you opened. You had on a cute pink shirt that had your store’s emblem on it. Although, now that I think about it, I don’t think you saw me. So I guess the last time we both saw each other was at graduation. And like I said, it’s always a pleasure to see you, Beth.”
Her mouth almost dropped open with surprise, but managed to recover more quickly than she thought possible. She saw his eyes sparkling with mischief. “Why didn’t you say hello in the store? I would have loved to catch up.”
“I don’t know. Even a man can get nervous around a beautiful woman.”
Her heart fell to the floor with those sweet words. And this is why she always loved Todd. He had the most endearing personality. “Well, we should rectify that. Let’s catch up. Perhaps have dinner or something.”
“I would love dinner…or something,” he replied, making her think the something would involve stripping her clothes off from top to bottom.
She was in deep trouble. She had pined for this man for many years. He now seemed to be in her reach.
I wrote this short story for a weekend challenge with Harlequin.
Cheesiest Pick Up Line
She had a headache from the grueling day. Dealing with her ex-boyfriend, her father, and her secretary would make anyone get a headache. She should just quit. She didn’t need this stupid job. So many other unsullied opportunities waited at her fingertips.
She eyed the bill for the cruise line that she purchased for her and Thomas to take in three months. Oh, yeah, she needed this stupid job like she never needed anything before. The jerk refused to help her pay for the remaining part. Well, if he thought he would be joining her because he helped pay twenty bucks of the bill, he had another thing coming.
“Is this seat taken?” a man with blonde hair smoothed in a slick style, a charming smile, and brown eyes that crinkled with tenderness said as he held the back of the chair next to her.
Mona eyed the man with a cruel frown. The entire bar was free and clear of any patrons but her, and he wanted to sit right next to her. Well, think again, buddy.
“Yes, it is. In fact, I reserved every chair lining the bar.” She turned her head, deciding the best option would be to ignore him, and any other man that ever spoke to her again.
“Hmm, interesting. Considering I own the bar, I don’t recall reserving it out.”
She whipped her head to him, the shock clear on her face. She puckered her brows in irritation when a wide smile emerged on his face. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing. I do have a bit of a problem, though. I’m going to sit. You’re still talking to me so I take that as acceptance.” He pulled the chair out next to her and sat down. “Decker Thompson, nice to meet you.”
She eyed his hand that he held out, then took a sip of wine as her way of saying she wasn’t interested, although a tiny smile escaped before she could stop it. “I didn’t give you acceptance. Owner or not, check the books. I reserved this entire bar.” She took another sip until she couldn’t help herself. “What problem do you have?”
His charming smile almost made her insides melt, reminding her of when she met Thomas and he gave her the same reaction. Probably another slick jerk sitting next to her.
He pulled his phone out, pushing it near her. “My phone’s not working. It needs your number to properly work.”
A dribble of wine fell down her chin as she stared at him. She certainly couldn’t have heard him right. She laughed. “That is the dumbest and most cheesiest pick-up line I’ve ever heard. Clearly, you aren’t getting the picture I don’t like men, probably never again.”
“Well, here’s the thing, give me five minutes and I think you’ll see how charming and sweet I am. You’ve already laughed and smiled at almost everything I said. You’re dying to help me with my phone problem.”
He winked at her when he caught her eyes gazing at his phone.
I wrote this short story for a weekend challenge with Harlequin.
One Night Stand
Going from the big city to a small town should’ve made her feel better, centered her world a little more. After having mind-blowing sex two days prior, her world still wasn’t feeling very balanced. But this move was supposed to make her life better.
She could already see the change from the Big Apple to this small town. More air to breathe. More space to hide away. And her favorite part. No one, absolutely no one knew what happened.
Well, that wasn’t completely true. Her new boss was aware of the reason she left New York. Regardless of everything that went down, he was still willing to hire her. No interview was even necessary.
Although, she supposed it helped her captain knew the chief of police here. Good friends. Old college buddies. He had sat her down, told her he reached out to his old friend and she could start anew. No more whispers. No more stares. No more people looking at her with blame.
Not one to hesitate, whether that was a curse or a blessing, she said yes right away. Two weeks later, she was landing at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, unsure of where to go. Head straight to her new home, or wallow in a bit of self-pity before she started a new life?
She opted for the self-pity, hitting a bar that she couldn’t even remember the name of, trying to get lost within the sea of people. The moment her eyes landed on the cowboy sitting on the stool near the end of the bar, she knew her night wouldn’t be ending alone. He had given her one sultry glance and there was no returning from that.
Walking side by side, the silence a comfortable one, they walked back to her hotel room after sharing a few drinks and talking about nothing.
One night of bliss, of pleasure so extraordinary, she wasn’t sure if she imagined it all in her head. He knew where to touch her without pause, invoking the ecstasy with one simple touch. She could still feel his hands running over her body, exploring, learning, memorizing every inch. By the time morning came, she woke up to an empty bed. His very existence vanished without a trace.
She wanted to go back to that happy moment, where everything felt beautiful, untouched from the real ugliness of her life. Instead, she stood in front of the place that was now her new home.
Monticeto Police Department.
Taking a deep breath, she walked into the building with her shield firmly in place, her memories locked deep inside.
“Good morning, could you direct me to Chief Sullivan’s office? I’m here for my first day of work,” Isabella said with the brightest smile she could muster. Fake. It was all so fake.
The petite blonde woman behind the desk looked up with a serene smile. “The chief’s been waiting for you. Down the hallway to your left, last door. I’m Selena. Nice to meet you. Isabella, right?” She stood up, holding her hand out.
“Most people call me Belle. It’s nice to meet you. And I’m actually fifteen minutes early.”
“Yeah, I know, but he gets antsy waiting. Doesn’t matter the reason.” She laughed, then shook her head with embarrassment. “He’s not mad or anything. I didn’t mean to give you that impression. He’s a great guy. You’ll like him.”
“I’m sure I will. I’ll see you later.” Isabella smiled, walking away before that conversation became more awkward.
She followed the directions with quick footsteps, anxious to get this introduction out of the way, especially if he hated waiting. She wasn’t even late. Boy, was this really her new life? Would this be better than the hellhole she had been living in? She liked to think so, otherwise she had no idea where else to go.
Knocking on the door labeled, Chief Duncan Sullivan, she waited two seconds before a voice hollered for her to enter.
“Good morning, Ch—what the hell is this?” she grounded out with patient anger as the man from her delicious night sat in front of a massive oak desk.
Chief Sullivan raised a shocked brow, then slowly stood up, the anger quickly forming on his face. “Good question. What the hell is this?”
“Is this a joke?”
“I find nothing about this funny. How did you find me?”
“Find you? You’ve got to be kidding me.” Images of his tan, lean, naked body flashed through her mind as he rounded his desk. His loose pants gave nothing away of his muscled thighs that had held her with strength against the bathroom wall.
“Did you look through my wallet while I wasn’t looking? I should arrest you.” His eyes trailed up and down her body as he said the last statement, making her think he wanted to arrest her just to get his hands on her again. If only.
No! Absolutely not. Nothing about this situation was right.
“Arrest me for what? Acting like an idiot and sleeping with a man I barely knew. Because otherwise I’ve committed no crime.” She propped a hand on her hip, trying to show indifference when deep inside she was quivering with lust. Even with the rage plastered on his face, she wanted to throw him down to the carpet and have her dirty way with him. Perhaps she was still living in her dream world, trying to escape the remains of her life.
He walked up to her, directly into her personal space, and to her tortured mind, within kissing distance.
“Then explain to me why the hell you’re here.”
“Isabella Tally, reporting for duty. You hired me two weeks ago.”
His features paled as he took in the information. Expecting him to back away, he stood immobile instead. “You said your name was Belle.”
“Yeah, short for Isabella. You said your name was Jack, and you were wearing a cowboy hat. Where’s the hat?”
He ran a hand through his hair, almost like he was searching for that very hat. “People call me by my middle name…Jack. And I only wear my hat when I’m not working. Clearly I wasn’t working that night.”
“Do you always have an attitude? I don’t recall an attitude that night.”
“There wasn’t a need for an attitude. There’s a need for one now.”
“Well, we have a problem, Belle.”
She sucked in a breath, thankful that she didn’t unpack one single thing. It would make it easier to move once again.
“What’s that, Jack?”
He sighed heavily, running another hand through his hair. “I just hired you for a position I desperately needed to fill…and I want to kiss the daylights out of you right now. So I guess I just will.”
“Will what? Continue to let me work here.”
With a slight shake of his head, a devilish smile emerged on his lips. “No. Kiss the daylights out of you.”
I wrote this short story for a weekend challenge with Harlequin. Thanks so much for reading my stories! I hope you enjoyed them.
More books – Full Length
For more great reads, check these titles out.
A One Taste Novel series (Romantic Suspense)
A Lucky Town Novel Series (Romantic Suspense)
A Romantic Suspense
A McCord Family Novel Series (Contemporary)
A Christmas Story
A Spine-Chilling Mystery (Note: Not a romance)
A Romantic Suspense
About the Author
I love anything that has to do with romance. As long as there’s a happy ending, I’m a happy camper. I love baseball (Go Twins!) and creating awesome crafts. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, working in that field for several years before I became a stay-at-home mom. When I’m not hanging out with my wonderful family, I’m writing a sweet contemporary romance or a romantic suspense that keeps you guessing until the end. I have a few more amazing stories in the works. If you would like to connect with me or see important news, head to my website at . Or you can also check out my or follow me on (@amanda_siegrist). Thanks for reading!
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