It was a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly overhead amid wispy clouds lazily making their way across beautiful azure blue skies. Jennifer leaned back, on supporting arms behind her and raised her lovely face to the sky. Could life be more idyllic?
Life had thrown her some heavy-duty curves but she’d survived it all. As a small child, she’ faced much adversity inside and outside their home. Both parents worked long hours to provide amid a climate of uncertainty and worry. At times it had been lonely.
Her constant companion as an only child had been Ruffles, their short haired terrior who’d accompanied her everywhere on every excursion outing and adventure. Her friends sometimes complained since he’d give their location away when playing hide-and-seek or grab their tennis ball and race away, ever reminding them of his presence.
Upon finishing school, her proud parents present gracing graduation and her final day amid much delight happiness and relief were hopeful she’d enjoy a better life. Top of her class, job opportunities presented but she wanted time off. She wanted to travel perhaps to Amsterdam, Norway, Sweden. She was prepared to backpack through all of Europe experience other cultures, adventure, growth.
That was when she’d met Peter. Tall, strong, fun-loving, playful. A godsend to a young woman who although having experienced relationships hadn’t entertained the idea of continuity or the possibility of commitment until now. She longed for someone to travel through life with. Her parents’ marriage was rock solid throughout the turmoil of lost jobs and opportunities. They clung closely together and she’d always felt encircled by their love and affection.
Despite whispers, rumours innuendo regarding Peter, she gently moved forward with anticipation. That was her mistake, her undoing. He wasn’t all that he appeared to be on the surface. It seemed the rumours were true.
Heartache surrounded her as she packed her bags prepared to leave this place and all its memories along with it. Lesson learned? she wondered aloud. Indeed the hard way. Looking beneath the surface would forever be uppermost in her mind.
This was not the finale, the end, but a new beginning she reminded herself. Jennifer sighed as a single tear rolled down her cheek. Time would tell. And there was plenty of time, she consoled herself with a backward glance at all that was.
Cal found her intoxicating. It wasn’t one thing but many. Her effervescence, her joie de vivre, the way her eyes lit up when she encountered something exciting interesting or moving. How tender her heart was, that moved her to run to any child hurt or crying to pick them up if they’d fallen down.
When he stood near, he was immediately lost in the scent of her perfumed hair, her long slender neck beckoned a touch a kiss a taste. He was madly in love with her. Could barely keep his hands off of her, wanted her desperately.
This was his wife, the love of his life! The woman he adored from sun-up to sun-set. He could well imagine them in their 80’s and he’d still feel the same. She was the love of his life there could be no other.
He’d created a perfume just for her that embodied all of what he associated with her. He desperately hoped his perfume “Amelia” would please her as much as him and evoke her pleasure.
Amelia knew something was up, the look in his eye told her of expectation and excitement. She walked toward him a smile upon her lips, a question in her eye.
He held out a beautiful little bottle shaped like a diamond. “You finished it?”
“Indeed, and what’s more, it’s yours.” She lifted the perfume and read her name.
“Oh, Cal! I don’t know what to say! I’m completely honoured.”
“Try it, my love, see if it’s you.”
She did. And it was. Perfection in a bottle she’d said before falling to the floor unconcious. He looked on in horror!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a new word for each letter of the alphabet, in my case “emotions”. Thank you all for reading and hopefully enjoying. I look forward to the next time round.
Larissa was looking with eager anticipation to her first televised show, “Zany by Degree” starring, none other than, herself. She’d invited a mix of some exceedingly well-known and more obscure comedians willing to participate. There was something for everyone, or so she hoped.
Her agent had suggested she bite the bullet and take an offer from a local tv station. At first, she’d rejected the idea but after giving the matter serious thought, decided, what they hey, why not?
She’d gained a large following and kudos from some of the best who applauded her zany sense of humour and crazy off the wall antics even though she’d never stooped to vulgarity or swearing, her jokes seemed to leave them laughing in the aisles.
Everything was in place, she stood tall waiting momentarily – it was time. She went to face the audience and welcome them all for attending. Following her opening monologue, she introduced the line-up and brought her first guest out.
The following morning, her manager called and whooped into her ear, “Pick up the paper, read, read!” he extolled.
“Zany was right. You can’t miss the next show, “a must” that will leave you feeling warm of heart and laughing for hours.”
She was tickled pink glowing with her first success of which she hoped there would be many.
Jessie was 91 and joked she didn’t look a day over 90 and proud of it. What a ham, what a delight. She held court three days a week at Marisa’s boutique arriving at ten am and leaving precisely at three considering her day well spent.
Her stories were timeless, energetic, scandalous (for her day), impromptu, and vital told with pizzazz and joy. Perhaps that’s why she was so spry and her memories so clear. Even the young would sit enraptured by her tales. Wistful longing upon their faces perhaps seeing themselves sailing along on one of her adventures. On occasion, Marisa was caught up in the story herself and felt cheated as she listened to Jessie’s delightful whimsical memories wishing she too had lived a doing or dare existence. Today was no exception. Jessie was so vivacious, so infectious you wanted to be there, part of each story.
Perhaps one day she’d write them all down before it was too late and they were lost. Marisa was a bit of a story writer herself and hoped to corner her and suggest the possibility. What a privilege to be her ghost-writer, re-telling each story exactly as Jessie had related them.
Jessie wandered into her home pleased with herself. After removing her coat hat and gloves, she sat down in front of her table. Looking down, she smiled. All her stories were neatly handwritten in a beautifully bound book. She wrapped it carefully in brown paper, wrote Marisa’s name on it and tied it up with string.
That’s how they found her, as if she’d fallen asleep at her table. Marisa had sent a couple of local men to search for her as she hadn’t arrived for her daily story telling session. They brought the book with them and handed it across. Marisa dissolved into tears. She’d miss Jessie, as would all her patrons.
News spread fast, and they gathered at the boutique to pay their respects. Marisa opened the brown paper and saw the beautiful stories Jessie had written and shared, staring in disbelief. Her handwriting was exemplary, her tales immortalized forever.
The community paid to have the book redone, all proceeds to go to the Jessie scholarship fund for other eager young writers, many of whom were present daily. A delightful legacy indeed.
Anna welcomed everyone. She was a natural at placing regulars and new arrivals at ease. Hiring her was the best move Frank ever made. Youthful, vibrant, a seeker of life, that summed up a part of who she was. Loving and caring following closely behind.
Other’s held the position before her, showing xenophobic tendencies (stranger fearing) as he described them. Not so Anna, thankfully. Every visitor to his humble abode was welcomed with open arms. He found her a constant delight, refreshing, open.
Still, he hadn’t been able to make inroads into her heart. With him, she was standoffish, distant, on alert. He wondered why. A gentleman from start to finish, he took his cues from her, responding accordingly. Frank remained careful, holding her at arm’s length, never crossing boundaries or moving too fast.
He valued everything about her. With time, he hoped she’d see him in a different light but short of asking her outright and endangering the fragile gift of friendship they currently shared, he was at a loss. Dare he risk losing her by asking for more? Time, he’d give it a little more time and then he’d make his move. Perhaps time would provide the answers he sought.
Daniel smiled. He’d found her Achilles heel. She was his ticket. Being a great manipulator he always struck the vulnerable at their weakest point. Hers was warmth. Ava was discerning, that was obvious. Still, he was a better actor he was sure of it.
The warmhearted act had won her over, finally. It was a fight, but he was the victor and soon he’d gain entrance into that glorious golden inner circle of the elite he’d ached to be part of since he was a teenager and first understood the have and have not principle.
Daniel was meticulous in groundwork and therefore did his homework. There wasn’t much about Ava he hadn’t ascertained either through reading about her or through accessing her closest friends. Each eagerly extolled her finer points. All except Vanessa that is. She constantly eyed him as though he was a bug to be crushed.
Little did he know that Ava’s friends had her back and while she hadn’t asked them to, they’d done some digging of their own. What they’d found disturbed them to such a degree they’d called a “family meeting” and brought her to the office.
Ava was shocked when she saw all the stony faces. “What’s up? Something catastrophic occur in, the 12 1/2 hours since we last spoke?”
“You could say that,” Darren responded. “Come, sit, there’s something you need to know.”
“What, it takes 12 of you to tell me?” she asked with a half laugh.
“In this case, yes,” pausing for a large intake of breath he said, “read this, don’t say anything until you’re done.”
Dumpstruck! Completely side-swiped. This she hadn’t seen coming. Well!! Looking at the concerned earnest faces around her, the shock still evident she said, “Well! Thank you. Thank you for caring, for having my back. I never thought…I didn’t do my homework it seems.”
“Didn’t want you getting in any deeper unless you knew what you were up against.”
“Thanks, thanks everyone. I’ll take care of this, obviously.”
Daniel bounced through the door in eager anticipation. Yes, this was his moment! Ava had never invited her into the inner sanctum before. Progress. He was to find out otherwise very shortly. Broadsided by a bus on steroids. That was how this was going down. Vaness smirked. Poor form, but she couldn’t resist. She’d disliked him on sight. She’d saved her best friend from trouble and heartache. Her word alone might not have been enough, but with everyone in attendance, it had been.
She nearly laughed out loud when the swagger turned into a skid and his face registered shock as they stood in unison surrounding Ava. The jig was up. No easy way out now you creep, she thought. Good riddens to bad rubbish!
Stacey had never felt this vulnerable in her life. Sharing on an intimate scale was a new experience for her and yet that’s how she felt around Jake. He was tall, athletic and a cop. The last thing she’d expected was to feel vulnerable around him. More than that, she hadn’t expected the relationship to go anywhere for any length of time.
She’d laid her cards on the table at the outset. Having been burned on so many levels, she’d become cautious, wary, watchful. With every man she met, she watched for tell-tale red flags. Once beaten twice shy.
Although she’d never expressed any personal concerns at the outset, she’d made a point of stating open-ended for as long as the fun lasted. Jake had taken a different path. He’d been gentle, caring, strong when he had to be but had given her great latitude. No strings, no quid pro quo, just kept giving of himself, opening up, allowing her in, witnessing first hand who he was. No shields, no bars, no dead ends.
When she’d questioned him regarding anything, really, he’d answered looking her dead in the eye with unwavering honesty, a straight shooter from the start. She’d been drawn to that quality instantly. Still, there was more to learn, to see to feel. The idea was so appealing. Somewhere deep inside, she yearned for that release of emotion.
Stacey knew she could lose herself in him. Did she want to? Could she be that free? With each passing day, she let down her guard. Yes, she really did want that for herself, for her partner. It was a goal worth reaching for.
Shania Twain’s “Whose Boots” played in the background. Anita sighed. She loved her. Talented woman with thousands of songs that moved her to the core. Her success was well earned. Prancing around the dance hall to one after the other, making up and adding her own movements, her ballet style all her own, she moved with grace and elegance. Her movements were fluid to the point of boneless.
“That Don’t Impress Me Much!” engendered a new thought and fresh movements. Completely involved, she hadn’t noticed Richard arrive. He stood on the side realizing she wasn’t aware of him barely daring to breathe. Her interpretation simple, elegant with a little sauciness to boot. A beautiful spin on point with the song.
When she stopped he clapped gently then firmer when her startled eyes turned toward him. “Hey.”
“I figured as much. That was beautiful.”
Dabbing the towel to her face she said, “Thanks.”
His watchful intense look always unsettled her and gave her goosebumps. “What’s up?” she asked curiously.
“Saw the lights on, wondered who was here. Might have known it was you.”
“Couldn’t settle after the performance, needed to unwind.”
“More dance does that for you?”
“More often than not.”
“I’ll have to keep that in mind.”
“What does that mean?”
“Anything, nothing, everything,” he replied cryptically.
She watched him watching her. Unsettled. That’s what he did to her. She’d rarely made time for men in her life and the ones she had were a mistake. Still, there was something about him that got to her, heightened her senses, awakened desires she’d long denied, thrilling her with secret expectations. Yes, he unsettled her, greatly.
Tolerant, thoughtful, tender. The words on her headstone. She’d lived up to those words and they’d served her well until that final day when tolerance had been her undoing. Greta hadn’t suspected he was anything other than what he purported to be.
Standing over her grave masked in an expensive auburn real hair wig, blue-tinted contacts, sporting a weight loss of 20 lbs she could ill afford, she sighed. The life she’d known a distant memory.
George Armstead had provided an education, enrolling her in a police academy at his own expense where she’d received training and was now a full-fledged detective.
She’d taken the course because she’d always wanted to be a cop, more since the dramatic life altering incidents had forced change upon her. Now more than ever she wanted to find the man responsible and George promised to help her when the time was right. Ten years had passed and it was time. Faking her death was the only out available. He’d moved on to someone else. George had kept tabs on his activities. It had to stop, one way or another. It was a pact they’d made years ago.
Deftly, secretly overtly she’d made inroads into his life. She knew what he did for a living, that he had a family consisting of a wife and two adorable boys. Together they would put together a case to end him and his vicious insanity. Karma was a bitch.
Zoe was sensitive by nature. She’d grown a hard shell of protection. Advertising wasn’t for the feint of heart. It took guts, stamina, intelligence, wit and knowing the difference and awareness regarding the current climate.
The banner across the stage was for her. Extolling excellence. She’d earned it, every step of the way. Dogged pursuit of perfection along with high ideals.
As she walked toward the stage, she felt strong emotion emanating throughout the room. Zoe walked head held high, proud of her accomplishments. Neigh-sayers could think what they wished, but she’d reached her goal honestly with integrity. No one could take that from her.
A few friendly faces raised glasses as she made her way to the stage. Some looked on with raised eyebrows. She took her place before the mike, ready to begin. A hush fell over the crowd as they eagerly waited.
Before a word was spoken, a blast reverberated through the building shaking its very foundation. As she looked across the room, some made ready to run, others sat eyes flicking from person to person. Some grabbed onto the hands of those nearest.
Security rushed the room. “Stay calm, please, and follow us.” They were ushered to a nearby stairwell down three flights and through a back door. Safely on the street, they looked back. The building was engulfed in flames.
Zara made her way to Zoe’s side. They held hands. “Someone planted a bomb.”
Zoe was startled. “Bomb?”
“Bomb squad is here asking questions.”
“Oh my god!” Zoe turned white.
“I received a threat this morning, but I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it was someone’s idea of a prank to unnerve me before the speech.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Who’d want to hurt you?”
“I don’t know. Any more than I know why.”
“I guess I need to find the man in charge.”
She made her way to the man giving orders. “Excuse me, I need to speak with you.”
“I’m a little busy.” Irritation laced his words.
“I think you’ll want to hear this.”
He turned and looked her in the eye. There was something familiar about her but he wasn’t sure what. “Go ahead.” Zoe began her story sensitive to the nuances of what she was about to devulge.