Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Gift 7

For the previous edition of the Gift, go here.

A few hours later, they were all in a car barreling towards Samantha's hometown. With flat-ironed hair, artfully-lined eyes and a sweater dress hugging every inch of her body, Samantha felt like she was being shown at the big city livestock fair. She had expressed the sentiment to Ashley earlier. Ashley merely snorted and flung a pair of silver hoops at her.

"Ok, Samantha, you're not thinking clearly," Ashley had informed her, pulling on dark jeans that looked more like tights. "Let's go over the facts again, shall we?" She paused with her jeans half-way up her thighs, ticking the points off on her fingers.

"You get a mysterious package hidden in the hutch, addressed to you from a mysterious Me who ends everything with "Until Sunset." The package contains a flower that spit out a diamond and blue topaz Celtic love symbol. Now, your best male friend from Ireland who was madly in love with you for years opened up a club in your hometown called Until Sunset. Do the math."

"I haven't spoken to Rouge in years," Samantha protested, pulling at the hem of her sweater dress. She frowned at the tall boots Ashley pointed at. "I'm going to look like a hooker. And I feel like a stuffed sausage in this dress. I have eaten far too much to wear something this tight."

Ashley rolled her eyes. "The point is to look sexy. Some guy sent you a diamond necklace and you want to show up in sweatpants?"

Samantha wasn't so opposed to the idea. Shifting in the stiff car seats, she shuffled her feet. Sweatpants would have been really nice right now. She had gone from feeling like a stuffed sausage to a sardine.

"I don't get it," Jeremy whined from the backseat. "Why are we driving 200 miles to go to a club? I thought the whole point of this trip was to relax in Sam's parents cabin?"

Samantha grit her teeth at the name. "You didn't have to come," she reminded him sweetly.

"You could have watched the work out DVDs you gave Samantha for Christmas," Cleo pointed out, an edge to her sweet smile.

"I couldn't let you girls go down here alone," Jeremy protested. "Someone has to protect you. Besides, I still am Samantha's boyfriend."

The car grew silent for a moment. The unspoken words for now hung in the air. Samantha shivered and pressed her face to the window.

"You didn't even get breakfast," Ashley griped, breaking the silence. "How are you going to protect us if you couldn't even get us a egg McMuffin?"

The girls burst into laughter, and Jeremy sulked and crossed his arms. He didn't speak another word until the girls pulled into Samantha's hometown.

"This is where you grew up?" he asked, his eyes bugging out. He stared at the wooden cottages and snug brick houses that trickled into a Main Street speckled with ancient brick buildings and long wooden stores. "This looks like Mayberry or something. It's straight out of the 1950s. Why would anyone open up a club here?"

"It's only a few miles from a major metropolitan city," Ashley pointed out, her eyes snapping. "Most people commute. Besides, it's not small. 30,000 people live here. This is the historic part of downtown."

"People who like family values and fresh air move here," Cleo added, her lips pursed. "People that don't want their kids growing up in traffic and drug-infested barrios." Cleo had grown up in a town of 1000 people.

"I thought your parents were loaded," Jeremy said, a horrified look crossing his face as an old man drove past him on a tractor. "Why did you live in this po-dunk place if you could have lived in a high rise condo downtown? How did they ever make their money?"

Samantha's jaw dropped and her eyes flared. Without a word, she and her friends turned on their heel and walked to the nearest diner. Jeremy stood in the street, scratching his head and shrieking as a trailer full of cows rattled by.

By the time evening fell, everyone was desperate for a drink. They walked up to the entrance of the club. Bright gold letters announcing "Until Sunset" scrolled across a brand new wooden building. Through thick glass windows, she could see golden swirling embellishments painted near the ceiling on dark wooden walls. The bar was sleek dark mahogany and dotted with bottles of alcohol on thin dark shelves. The tables were thick with leather bar stools and luscious couches curled in the corners for intimate conversations. It screamed edge and tradition in the same breath.

She didn't know how he had done it, but she knew he had done it. Every touch was his. The band in the back began to play, and she took a deep breath. Her stomach was curled into a hard knot that ached every every step she took. She could feel her jaw beginning to tighten and she forced herself to relax.

It was just rouge, after all.

"Hot damn, I need a shot!" Jeremy howled, shoving around her and interrupting her thoughts. He pushed past Ashley and she stomped on his foot with her stiletto boot. Jeremy swore and hopped up and down, his face red and his eyes shining with moisture.

"What did you do that for, you stupid"--

"If you say one more word, I'm going to shove a margarita glass"-- Ashley broke off when Samantha grabbed her arm. "I'm sorry, but you don't shove past ladies."

"Who said you were a lady?" Jeremy taunted. Cleo stepped on his other foot with her own high heel and he howled so loudly everyone turned to look.

"Oh, shut up," Ashley said in an exasperated tone as the thick wooden door swung open, smacking Jeremy in the leg. He screamed, pressing his pained face against the window to the delight of the curious pub patrons.

"Why can't you be a man for once in your pathetic life?" Ashley demanded. She raised her purse again but a strange arm grabbed hers.

"What seems to be the problem here?" A thick Irish brogue cut through Jeremy's heated reply. Samantha turned her head and forgot to breathe. It was him.

He hadn't changed at all. His thick auburn hair draped across his forehead, stubble traveled down his sculpted cheeks and his lips were curled in his signature grin. He was more buff than he had been in high school, his thin arms now toned and muscular. Biting her lip, she turned to face him. His bright blue eyes flickered over to her, then widened.

"Samantha?" he said. The name in her stomach grew tighter, then relaxed as a beaming grin bloomed across his face. "Is it you?"

She nodded. "Hello Rouge," she said, raising her hand in a wave. The next thing she knew, her face was buried into his shoulder.

To be continued....

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! Tomorrow we have a fun post and we have a week full of whimsical fun, including a classic Pond recipe, the Babies' birthday party and the story of why I got married at 21 (for real, Francesca!) Stay tuned!


Preppy Pettit said...

i just gave you an award

Anonymous said...

I await your marriage story as eagerly as I await the next installment to all your stories (this one's getting super juicy!)!

Bee and Rose said...

You are absolutely overflowing with talent! I love coming here to visit!!!!

Kristina P. said...

I can't believe how much creativity you have flowing around in there.

Nicole said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Reeni♥ said...

I love it!! More suspense...

jenjen said...

Hi Duckie!
This one just keeps getting better and better. Now I can't decide who I like better - Wade or Rouge? Mmmmm, they are both wonderful.

Can't wait to see what happens next!


Michele said...

Thank you so much for your supportive comments and your little visit on my big, bloggy day! :-)

Happy cook said...

I have no idea why she is with that awfull jermey.
Looking for the rest f the juicy story now thatthe handsome man as arrived :-)

Pearl said...


okay, sorry. but i'd really like another update :)

Andrea said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

Ingrid said...

Jeremy's such a jerk. Why in the world would she have wanted a ring from him in the first place. He couldn't have changed overnight! Rouge on the other hand sounds delightful!!!! Love a guy with blue eyes and an accent!

Marjie said...

Keep going...

Kelly said...

You're a very good writer. are you trying to get a book deal yet for anythng you've written? You should...

An Accomplished Woman said...

You are a great writer, now I have to find the beginning of this story and soak it all in.


Heatherlyn said...

If you intended to paint Jeremy as a pathetic character you did a good job. You did a really good job with Samantha's anxiety too. It's almost tangible.

Mom said...

I can't believe you stopped there. I want to hear more about the Irish Hunk!

Anonymous said...

Great story! I'm glad I came for a visit today. I'll definitely be back...I've gotta find out what happens.


Leon Basin said...

I want some gifts! Please, share!!!

Cathy said...

Awesome! Can't wait for the next one!

Debbie said...

You are a wonderful storyteller.

Pietro said...

Very fine story, written really well.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your writing style!!!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog :)

Marie said...

sigh . . . . kick that Jeremy to the curb Samantha!! I am loving this Duckie and I cannot wait to see what you have next for us!! XXOO Is everything ok?

Kimberly said...

I am totally happier!!! Just being a HUGE procrastinator tonight. Right after I finish typing this, I am gonna go pack up my games, and kitchen stuff I won't need.

You are such a sweetheart. Hope your weekend is going good! :o)

Cynthia said...

The Blonde Duck, I also got married early (20) but it didn't seem so at the time. Now I think of my daughter and I know it's way too early. What is it about life that shifts perspective so much? (I blogged about that yesterday... so it's on my mind.) I just came by to visit and saw that you have a lot going on here. You almost need a program on the side for new visitors...a cliff fair is that? Guess I'll have to come back and see what happens! <3

Prudy said...

It seems like I'm always catching up on Sunday mornings. A new twirl, the babies getting ready for their birthdays, and this new Gift. How do you do it all? I must admit that I'm getting just as hooked on your non fiction; those confessions are so fun to read. I was wishing you would do a little real life love story, and now I see you have it planned for next week. Can't wait.

~~louise~~ said...

Okay, I think I'm finally caught up. Gee, I wish life would give me more time to visit more often. The thought of the Rubber chicken getting a "feather cut":) for the occasion brought a tingle to my smile. So vividly imaginable thanks to your splendid writing:) And, those "sophisticated" pond meals....oh my my...the bowl of spaghetti is so unconventionally appetizing. I wonder why I never thought of it!

I can't wait to hear what's coming next. I hope Rubber Chicken wears protection if he has to go in the attic...

Spring Fricks said...

Love the irish twist. Can't wait for the next one.

Anonymous said...

Stubble, muscles, an Irish brogue...oh my!

Heather said...

mmmm. rogue sounds dreamy!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You should give Sam and Jeremy a little backstory at some point. I can't see why she would even be with such a jerk. (I say this knowing that I gave my husband a set of Gilad workotu DVDs for his birthday *ducks and runs*)

Anonymous said...