I looked up the road and sighed, I saw nothing that looked familiar. I slowed down, pulled into the nearest parking lot, and picked up my phone. It had been eight years since I had been here in this town and things sure had changed.
I studied the map for a few minutes to get oriented in the right direction to make it to the restaurant in time for my lunch date. I had not seen Kurt for quite some time, and I did not want to arrive late. I was really hoping this might be a chance to rekindle what we had once had.
Confident I had the location locked into my head I took off with memories of happier times in my head. I found the restaurant with 4 minutes to spare. I took a deep breath and headed towards the door. If I had only known what Kurt was going to say I never would have taken that walk into The Flame of Flavor.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – orientation
He invited me to dinner, and I was over the moon. He said he would take me to the new restaurant by the lake, The Blue Yonder. I had heard many great recommendations for the place from several friends but was not able to make it there with the busy holiday season and so much going on.
It seemed like it must have been fate. I had only thirty minutes ago learned the Christmas party I was supposed to go to that night had been postponed due to Covid. His timing to ask me out was perfect and since he had started working at the company, I had been drawn in by his smile and kind ways. He was always trying to help others out.
When the night to go out came up I was both nervous and excited. He was right on time and when I went to open the door, I discovered what he had done was truly magical and gorgeous. I was at a loss for words and all I could do was throw my arms around him and give him a big hug!
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – recommend
She pulled open the drawer and picked up her finest lace underwear, tonight she chose black. Her little black dress with some silver jewelry and black heels to match. As she slipped into the dress she began to daydream about the night. He had said to dress up, they were going dancing after dinner. There was only one place in town he was taking her, The Tuxedo Room. It wasn’t your normal dance club, but a much more romantic place with jazz, swing and a little jive.
She spent time making sure her make up was fresh. Eye shadow and lipstick… no need for any foundation as she had smooth perfect skin. She had been graced with her mother’s beauty. Her mom had modeled for print ads until her early 50s.
He was there to pick her up at eight o’clock sharp. He was always on time and she knew to be ready. She felt tonight might turn out to be a special night. This was their “almost“ second anniversary together, “almost” because their first date was set up the day before the Covid shutdown came. So, they obviously had to cancel due to the closures. There first date didn’t happen until they had communicated through emails and phone calls over a year.
She opened the door and he stood there in a black suit and grey tie, they were a perfect match. He escorted her to the car where he had a red rose in the seat for her. She turned to give him a kiss and he was gone. She looked up and down the street, he was no where. Panic began to fill her she called out his name, “Alan! ALAN!”
She suddenly sat up in bed gasping for air. It was the same dream. Or more accurately the same nightmare she had had since he died. The victim of one of the new strains of Covid-19 not covered by the vaccines. He was one of the first patients of the new strain to die from heart failure. She still dreamed of the night they planned but never had. When his parents had boxed his things up they found the engagement right that was meant for her, but he never had the chance to ask her to be his wife. She would have said yes, in a heartbeat.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – underwear
“Well, that was a wonderful dinner Jeff, thanks so much,” Karen said with a slight smile. “I should probably be headed back home now. I do have to work in the morning.”
“Karen you are more than welcome. Please let me take you home, I hate to see this night end.” Jeff helped Karen into her coat and walked towards the door of the nearly empty restaurant.
“Oh, I don’t want to make you do that I can call an Uber.”
As they stood out on the sidewalk Karen had her phone in her hand. Jeff reached over to touch her hand and said, “Please Karen?”
“Alright, it has been a nice evening.”
The two of them got into Jeff’s car and he started the car. As he put the car into gear the door automatically locked, and Karen noticed for the first time there was no handle on her door. She began to get a queasy feeling. “Jeff, I live up on Suncrest Blvd, it is about half-way down the block from Third Street.”
Jeff said nothing. Just kept driving with a serious look on his face. Karen grew scared, “Which way are you going?”
Suddenly in a much different tone of voice Jeff said, “I know a shortcut.
Karen figured he was driving to the city limits. She had to think fast there was not much longer until they would be out of an area with any hope to get help. Starting like a low growl Jeff slowly began to laugh, a very deep sinister laugh. Karen said, “You can drop me off here please.”
Jeff just laughed louder. Now was Karen’s chance. He was laughing so much and slowing for a stop light. She slowly reached into her purse and removed her hand quickly as she pushed the tab on the can of pepper spray aiming for Jeff’s eyes. He slammed on the breaks and cried out in pain. She threw the gearshift into park and used the point on the end of the pepper spray canister to break her window.
Karen reached out to grab the door handle outside the car and swung the door open. She went to jump out but had forgotten her seatbelt. She fumbled for the latch and just as she was about to jump again headlights came up behind them and Karen felt her biggest swell of hope.
Jeff, recovering from the spray, was gunning the engine trying to go forward. He realized it was in park just as Karen jumped. The car took off, slamming into her legs as they had not cleared the door yet. She fell to the pavement and blacked out.
Three days later she awakened in the hospital. Much of what she had been through was still hard to remember. She learned she had badly broken her leg and had a serious concussion. It turns out the car behind them was a retired police sergeant and he quickly got the license plate information to the police when he called 911. The police caught up with Jeff in no time and found he had abducted and killed two women in different states. He would face a lifetime in prison.
He kept talking. He droned on and on. After a while he just began to sound like all the adults in a Peanuts cartoon. She felt this was one of the worst dates yet. Part of it was her though. She still compared them all in her mind to him.
John had been the one who opened her mind up to all sorts of possibilities. He had said she would be his and she fell for him hard. Problem was it wasn’t true. When the chance for more presented itself he just told her she was a friend. Heartbroken she tried to go on and forget the physical attraction and just focus on the friendship. Even when he ended up hundreds of miles away, she still couldn’t shake the feeling he was her soul mate.
“Are you ready to go dancing Teresa?” he said interrupting her thoughts.
“Actually, I think I should call it a night. I feel a migraine coming on and I’d like to take my meds before it gets worse.”
“Let me drive you home at least. I have had a wonderful time and hate to see it end.”
A wonderful time? It had been a night filled with a never-ending stream of words from him, she barely got a word in. She tried to come up with a reason not to have him drive her home but came up empty. “Alright.”
They arrived at her home and she thanked him for the ride and hurried inside before he had a chance to say anything else.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – drone
The woman walked up to the bar and ordered a blended margarita. The bartender said, “It will take a little time ma’am I have to go to the kitchen to use their blender, mine is not working.”
“That’s fine,” she said as she hopped onto the bar stool. Watching the bartender get her drink started she noticed a man at the end of the counter. He smiled her way and she gave a small quick smile back. She was here to relax, not to find a date.
The bartender stopped to talk to the man on his way to the kitchen. In a short time, he returned and handed the margarita to her. She asked, “How much do I own you?”
“Nothing ma’am. The tan gent at the end of the bar bought it for you.”
She took a sip and inwardly sighed deeply. She really didn’t want to talk to him, but she couldn’t be rude. She gave the bartender a tip and made her way to the end of the bar.
“I owe you a thanks for this drink I hear,” she said and noticed the rugged good looks and deep tan… he had to have an outdoor job or spent all his free time at the beach.
“It is my pleasure Dawn,” he replied.
She was shocked by the fact he knew her name and showed her surprise. “Wait, how did you know my name.”
In a short gesture the truth came out. He pointed to the name badge she had forgotten to take off after work and she turned bright red.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – (I stretched the challenge a little with this one – tan gent.) tangent
He walked across the room and heads turned. I can’t say I wasn’t affected by his bewitching good looks, I looked too. I sat at a table in the back waiting for my date. I began to watch his moves with interest.
He went to the bar and laughed at something he or the bartender said. He had the kind of a smile you couldn’t help but return. I wished I was closer so I could hear his laugh. The bartender handed him his drink and waved off his payment pointing to a woman at the end of the bar. He smiled and started her way. I suddenly found myself envious.
The woman had a regal beauty about her. She was the kind of woman this man would like to have on his arm I guessed. But while he was talking to her, he still seemed to be scanning the room. And almost as quickly as it had started, he ended the conversation with her.
He walked to the near side of the bar towards the back. There were only about four or five tables in this area, all but mine filled with couples. Before I realized what I was doing, his eyes met mine and I was caught staring. I instantly blushed and dropped my gaze. When I thought enough time had pasted that his gaze would be off me, I looked up again.
I was stunned to find him walking to my table. I was so embarrassed and worried my date would show up and see him here and then turn around and walk out; that was just my kind of luck. I began to look towards the door, it was still about ten minutes early to when he was supposed to meet me. Maybe there was still time for me to keep my date.
I cleared the lump in my throat and started to say something when he asked, “Are you Leslie?”
I about fell out of my seat, was this my childhood friend I hadn’t seen for thirty years? I stammered out a “Yes.” He smiled and said, “Don’t you recognize me?”
I began to see the same mischievous look that my friend had and I asked, “Is that really you Dan?”
He laughed and the sound warmed my heart. He had a very distinctive laugh that had not changed at all. I stood up and threw my arms around him. Now it was time for all the other ladies in the bar to look at me envious. This was my Dan and tonight would be more fun than I knew.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – bewitching
It is time again
Life has gotten too chaotic
Time to slow down
Leave the errands
And the chores undone
It is time to schedule
Something special for you and I
Time to soothe our senses
Take time to discover each other again
Like when our love was new
And our passion was high
Some soft music, candlelight and wine
Your arms around me
Our hearts beating as one
It’s time to let desires rule the night
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – schedule