Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Set for Love (not yet published) takes place in a city of my own imagination, somewhere up north. Bern Cortland is a South Mississippi boy in the harsh, frozen wastelands of the big city. He's taken a job as the technical director at an up and coming theatre there. Bern's had an on again/ off again relationship with one of the actresses in the show. The night before, they had a great time—until Paige got angry and threw him out. Today, she ripped into him when he was helping the director run lines. To calm down, he decides to go jogging in the park, only to get jumped by a mugger. One of the cops thinks Bern is the mugger and doesn't pay attention until his partner spots the fact that Bern is bleeding.
Bern looked down and realized for the first time that the palm of his hand was laid open nearly to the bone. There was a substantial puddle of blood by his shoe, dripping on his pants and work boots. Bern staggered, understanding why he was so tired.
Cop Two took a first aid kit out of his pack and bound up the wound with strips of gauze. Keeping the hand elevated, he helped Bern up the slope where an ambulance waited to transport his assailant. The paramedic seemed to think he needed a doctor too, so he rode with them to the hospital. He called Nancy from the waiting room.
"You're where? Oh, my God! This place is falling apart! Sterling's over there and Colt's with her. I'll tell Brent. He's gonna blow a gasket."
"I'm not gonna lose my job, am I? Nancy, I need this job, baby."
"I don't think so, sweetie. I'll have Ricky talk to him and calm him down. What happened between you and Paige?"
"You really wanna know? Or you want the pretty version?"
"Someone's gonna have to explain to Brent."
Bern sighed, resting his forehead on his good hand, his wounded one holding the phone.
"When I took her home last night—well. . . ." He didn't have to finish the statement.
"Oh, my God! You and the Ice Princess did it?" She tried to conceal a giggle but couldn't quite manage to. "Brent's gonna shit a ton of bricks. How did you get in that frigid bitch's panties?"
"Wasn't wearing any. I gotta go. They just called me back."
"Call if you need a ride."
"Thanks, babe. Will do."
The doctor examined his wound and had the nurse wash his hand well before giving him a shot to deaden it.
"Did a good job on this," he muttered. "What happened?"
"Got jumped by some bald, muscled guy in the park."
"Oh, so that's your handiwork? Nice!" He seemed very impressed. "Black belt?"
"Me or him?" Bern winced with the lidocaine infiltrated the tissue around his wound.
"Sorry about that. Shit stings like a bitch," the doctor said. "I'm Dr. Fellowes. I'll be your surgeon this morning."
"Thought you guys did the big stuff?"
"Surgery got canceled, so I'm bored. Besides, this is a really slick wound. What'd you do, grab the knife?"
"Grabbed his wrist, but I guess I miscalculated. The good news is if he hadn't cut me, I'd probably be in jail for assault. Cop wasn't too bright, thought I was the mugger even though I called them."
"You'd be one stupid mugger," Dr. Fellowes replied with a grin. "What do you study?"
"Really? Brutal. How many bones have you broken in training?"
"I do Aikido myself. I was doing kick boxing but got told I needed to learn discipline and how to slow down." He worked quickly, meticulously, taking tiny stitches inside Bern's hand, pulling the muscle and tissue back together.
"No sparring for at least two weeks," he said as he continued to work. "Be very careful with this and keep it dry. If we lose any stitches inside, it could affect mobility. It's gonna leave a hell of a scar."
"I don't care, as long as I can move it."
Bern watched in fascination as the doctor continued to work quickly, his fingers flashing rapidly in the bright light. Suddenly dizzy, Bern felt himself falling as the ceiling became the floor. The nurse caught him, laying him flat on the gurney.
"Was it something I said?" The doctor quipped and continued to stitch.
Bern woke up about twenty minutes later. An IV was attached to his arm and a bag of clear liquid dangled from a pole above his head. He tried to sit up, but it made him dizzy.
"Hold up," a calm male voice said from the corner. "Just lay there, Bern. Lemme tell the nurse you're awake."
It took a moment for Bern to process the fact that it was Colt. He'd completely forgotten that his friend was at the hospital. The curtain scooted aside again and the nurse came in.
"Feeling better? You looked pretty bad there. At least you didn't need a transfusion, but you lost a good bit of blood."
"I'm okay. I think. Make the damn room stop spinning, huh?"
She grinned down at him. She was pretty and blonde with green eyes and a nice smile. "It'll stop in a couple minutes, sweetie."
"Feels like a three day drunk on tequila."
"Done that, have you?"
"Yeah. More than's good for me."
"A nice boy like you?"
She raised a teasing eyebrow and Bern got the distinct impression she was flirting with him. Her name tag said her name was Norah.
"Norah, I'm bout's bad as they come. Well—I'm good—but I'm bad—"
She giggled, checking his pulse. She noted it on his chart and took his blood pressure.
"Your friend's gonna be fine when his pulse slows down. Trust a man to pass out, then make a pass at his nurse."
She grinned, shaking her head. Pretty blonde curls framed her heart shaped face. Bern felt his face warm.
"Man's gonna flirt," Colt answered. "It's in his nature. But it shows he's on the road to recovery."
"I'd have to be bout dead not to flirt with a beautiful woman."
Norah blushed as she wrote down his blood pressure. She took his temperature and checked the IV bag. It was more than half empty. She recorded his temperature and smiled down at him.
"I'll check with Dr. Fellowes, but I'd say you could go home pretty much any time. I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."
"Baby, I'm not moving 'til I see your smiling face again."
Laughing, she walked out, pulling the curtain shut behind her.
"You must be feeling better," Colt said. "I never saw such a nauseating display of testosterone overload."
"I got jumped in the fucking park, hand got cut to the bone and damn cops didn't even notice I was bleeding until I had a six inch puddle by my foot. Thought I was the mugger!"
"You're shittin' me!"
"Swear ta God. Faggot came at me with a knife. Miscalculated. I got sliced when I took it from him."
"Gonna be able to work?"
"Yeah. Just have to be careful. No pushups—"
"So you get creative. You seeing Paige now?"
Bern shook his head, then regretted it as a wave of dizziness swept over him. "I saw her damn good last night, but almost immediately after, she started screaming—not in a good way—and told me to get out."
"You fu—uhh. . . ." He swallowed his words because Norah walked back in.
"Yeah," Bern replied to the unfinished question. "We fu— and she told me to get lost."
"Dude, you sure know how to pick em."
"I thought so. Oh for zero."
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
From The Experiment (Not yet published) Maggie Simmons is failing her freshman level psychology class (she put it off until her senior year). If she fails, she'll have to be in school and extra semester. So when her professor tells her she can earn a perfect score simply for participating in an experiment, she jumps at the chance. Little does she know that for this experiment, she'll be married for six weeks to a total stranger. When she meets Jaeger Jeffreys, the idea of being his wife isn't so bad. This is from their first date, sponsored by the people running the Experiment. All the couples are there.
"I'm glad to see you're not a vegan," he said as he cut into his steak. "I dated a girl for awhile, only to find out she didn't eat meat. Considering she didn't share that fact with me when I invited her to dinner at the steak house, it was somewhat. . . ."
He winked, pointing his fork at her. "Bingo. I enjoyed my meal and she took a cab home."
"Yeah, it was our third date too. Subject couldn't come up before that?"
"You'd think so. What's significant about the third date?"
Jaeger stopped eating, glancing up at her over his glasses. His fork and knife were poised to cut and framed his face in glittering steel.
"Um—the third date. After the third date. . . .." He tilted his head from side to side indicating she should fill in the blanks.
"Oh, my God! I'm dumb. I don't—date—a lot. Like—ever?" Embarrassed, she attacked her pork chop with renewed vigor.
Jaeger's laugh made her ears burn. She glared at him.
"I'm sorry. Just, it's kind of refreshing to find someone who's not jaded. You don't know how rare that is, Maggie."
"I suppose that could be a compliment. At least you didn't call me naïve."
"Now why would I do that? Being naïve isn't a bad thing, but it implies being cut off from reality and not familiar with the bad things in life. You're not sitting in some ivory tower, you're out here with the rest of us, but you haven't let the association with the bad things tarnish you."
Maggie stared at him in silence, a bite of pork in her mouth. She had no idea how to reply to that. He'd summed up her life entirely in a few sentences. Not only that, he made her sound strong, positive and self-possessed. Everyone else treated her like a silly little child. She smiled.
"Thank you. I believe that's the nicest thing anyone's said to me in a long time."
"Then you don't hang out with the right people." He concentrated on his food.
"You're very perceptive for an accountant."
Jaeger laughed, nearly spewing his bite of pineapple. "I'm not just a number cruncher. I go out, do things, see actual people. And it's interesting to observe, when others discount you as unimportant."
Maggie leaned toward him in a conspiratorial fashion. "You do that too? Watch people?"
"Don't make me sound like some kinda stalker," he replied, matching her aspect and tone.
"No, nothing that twisted. Just. . . . Well, look at the blond guy to your right." Her eyes flickered over to the golfer and back to Jaeger.
"Plays golf, bad taste in pants and is probably gay."
"You base that on the fact he's wearing a pink shirt?"
"No, on the fact he's sitting with a very hot woman and isn't staring at her tits."
Maggie glanced at her own chest and at the young woman next to them. Both showed about the same amount of cleavage. Her eyes flickered over to Jaeger, who pointedly looked away.
"Were you just—?"
He chuckled, averting his eyes. "Baby, I'm a guy. You wear a shirt like that, I'm gonna look. Hell, if you were in a bulky fisherman's sweater, I'd look. You have—very nice—assets." It was now his turn to blush.
Maggie burst out laughing, drawing the attention of the entire room. She tried to swallow, sooner than she should have, and felt the food lodge in her throat. She gasped, going red in the face. Jaeger grew suddenly alert as she continued to gag.
"Maggie? Oh, wow. Someone help!" He stood, bumping the table.
The girl with the golfer stood. "Hold on, I can do this. I'm pre-med."
She put her arms around Maggie and two quick jerks later, Maggie coughed up the bite of pork chop that had tried to strangle her. Everyone cheered, including the golfer, who looked at his intended with new admiration. Maggie thanked her and they hugged. Jaeger helped her sit.
"You feel like staying for dessert after that?"
Maggie nodded. "Might as well. I'm completely humiliated anyway. Best to ride it out."
"Could have happened to anyone, Maggie."
"I know. But how are these folks gonna remember me? As the girl who choked on her pork chop. None of them will know my name, but they'll know what happened at dinner."
"Well, there's worse things to be known for. Could be the boy who couldn't climb the rope in P.E. Or the guy whose asthma was so bad, he couldn't try out for anything except chess and debate club."
"I was the girl who nearly drowned at the swim meet—and I wasn't on the team! I got shoved in the pool as a joke and hit my head on the ladder."
"Whoa! Who did a thing like that?"
"Someone who thought it was hysterically funny until she got expelled from school and nearly was arrested for attempted manslaughter."
"So not funny. Sounds like we've both been the butt of the jokes, huh?"
She nodded, forcing down the tears that the memories brought with them.
Jaeger raised his glass. "I make you a promise, Margay Simmons. I will never, purposely, make a fool of you, hurtfully tease you or humiliate you."
She raised her glass too, clinking it against his. "I make the same promise, Jaeger Jeffreys, the man with the mysterious and awful first name."
Saturday, March 21, 2015
When did you start writing?
Miriam Pia started writing an early age (but not "prematurely") and was strongly encouraged by her mother to write every day. She was an avid reader as a child. A one act play emerged in elementary school and she is one of those teens published in the school magazine the Senior year of high school. Due to her compliant, but friendly temperament, and having an education-oriented family, she flourished in academic settings throughout her childhood and well into her 20s. So much so, that she had thought her day job would be in education - but hoped to teach adults in universities rather than children.
What’s the strangest thing that’s inspired one of your stories?
That does not compute. That is not what happened. I read a lot as a child. Sometimes I did express my emotions in my fiction, but that is not even always what was going on.
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?
No. Not in anything published. No, but yes in that there have been characters created as a composite of aspects of 4 different people who I know plus 2 traits none of those people have and I don't either.
If so, did you tell them? If not, is there someone in your life you’d like to base a character on?
What do the people in your “real life” think of your writing?
It depends who you ask. They vary from not caring to feeling threatened and jealous. Others care and are more advanced professional writers who are not too intimidated to be encouraging and some of them even mentor me here and there. Naturally, the other authors with more published books and sales than myself react differently from relatives.
Family and friends tend to seem somehow both impressed and sure it just makes me even more of a freak than I was before. They and I also look at each other because we all would feel better about it if my earnings were healthy instead of doing these things and still not having the respectable income that would really cause them to perceive me as responsible and sane rather than as an irresponsible or pathetic nut job.
Miriam first wrote a novel at the age of 21 before having acquired a BS degree but having had an excellent high school education. It was because of that, that she ever considered earning money writing. Her first published novel was only released in 2015, more than 20 years after she had first written one. She hopes to get the remake of that first one released within the next 2 years, but isn't holding her breath.
During her late 30s, Miriam had a small break through and started getting paid at least a little bit regularly for writing, but normally at what might be called 3rd world wages. Despite this, her love for the craft of writing has caused her to continue to seek to improve not only in her craft but also in making the business aspect of it work.
To accomodate reality, Miriam expanded to include writing nonfiction, writing short works, and ghostwriting both fiction and nonfiction rather than only writing and submtting entire fiction novels or only fiction stories. She also writes poetry.
Miriam has only ever won one athletic trophy. It was for women's novice martial arts sparring with LaVallee's Sport Karate in 1984 or 1985. The competition was regional. She was 17 at the time.
She did get Lifeguard Certification at age 18.
Everson Museum of Art granted her an Honorable Mention in a visual art contest by high school students in the city of Syracuse NY in 1986.
In 1986 her peers voted her Most Unique Girl of Nottingham High School, Syracuse NY. In general terms she was one of the smart girls and a lot of her friends were moderate Hippie Liberal smart girls and even also boys.
It was a long time between then and the next award, but her BS degree is cum laude (2nd Honors), 1994.
Iliad Press Summer Art Awards: Honorable Mention for short fiction: 2002.
Intl. Society of Poetry:2 Editor's Choice Award for free verse poetry, 1 in 2003 & 1 in 2008.
Angie's Diary: Participation Award: Author of the Month July 2012
Adult Events. At age 27 she became a mother. She has one living child, a son.
She did marry and has both the love marks and emotional scars to prove it. He is not with her today. She is grateful that everyone is still alive.
She has lived mostly in the USA but lived in England for 5 years, and then after 10 years back in the USA, has been living in Germany since mid August of 2010.
The philosophy booklet was published in 2012 by Wilder Publications, and The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead is published by SBPRA.
Tell us about your book.
The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead is what I like to call a "law enforcement fantasy story" about getting the upperhand on the bad guys despite great difficulties. One can think of it as simple urban crime fiction. It is about a group of people who are not vigilantes nor cops but a lot like vigilantes. The style was influenced by my history with role-play fantasy games, esp. D&D. A main feature of the story, the way I write, is that I like readers to have the intimacy of getting into characters' minds as well as seeing how they behave. I use both a great deal throughout the story, so readers really get to feel like mind readers.
It is set in Indianapolis and is about one of the areas embarrassing crime problems, but safely fictionalized. The city is aware of the problem - so it is not 'whistle blowing'. I lived in the city for 10 years and wrote the novel there. The story is interracial because that is what it is really like there.
Unlike the novel, Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them can be viewed as philosophy or as self help. It gives practical guidance and introduces some of the best and most powerful features of philosophy. Compared to the more academic versions it is simple and clear. Anyone who has been through to at least 10th grade can read it. Graduate students and professors of philosophy would only be interested in seeing if they could use it as a supplemental booklet to teach their intro students. It is a good introduction to the entire field and has a few practical tips. In that regard maybe it is like those bags of flour with a recipe on there in case you were looking for an idea.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Last week, I shared a short excerpt from this novel for I Love Dialogue. This picks up after that scene. Amanda and Derrick go out for dinner and have an encounter with Jason, the boy who threatened her at school. Jason and his friends jump Derrick, who takes care of it with casual grace and ease. After a romantic dinner, at a different restaurant, they end up back at her apartment, where her cat, Muse, greets them.
Derrick led her to the couch as she launched into a story about her cat. He waited patiently for her to finish, then put one finger on her lips as she started to say something else.
"Mandy, love, much as I like cats, I don't really want to talk about them. Point of fact, I don't especially want to talk at all."
His lips brushed hers once more. She had enjoyed his first kisses, soft and sultry as they were. This kiss took her breath away. He'd been holding something back before, that he suddenly released. Had she been standing, she'd have gone weak in the knees. Amanda clung to his shoulders as if she were drowning. She felt like she was falling, but it was a good fall. She knew that Derrick was there to pick her up.
Derrick's heart pounded hard in his chest. Careful where he put his hands, he kissed her with barely contained passion. He didn't want to frighten her with the power of his emotions, but he was finding it hard. He'd been attracted to her since seeing her the night before. She'd been on his mind for hours during the night. Seeing her at the school was like having a dream come true.
Now that she was in his arms, kissing him, her full lips caressing his, he wanted to carry that attraction to its logical, noisy, sweaty conclusion. He sensed that Amanda wasn't the kind of girl to succumb to his charms quite that rapidly. He'd overheard a bit of her conversation with Evan. He had very good hearing and Evan didn't exactly speak softly. He figured that she didn't date much, which would explain the older man's caution. Naturally protective himself, he could understand the concern.
Pushing that from his mind, he concentrated on seducing her with his lips. He felt the shivers run up and down her spine as his mouth explored hers, moving to her neck and ears. Nibbling her ear, he allowed his hands to travel the length of her back, feeling her shiver with anticipation. His lips traveled to her neck, brushing the skin below her ear, making her jump against him. He smiled, having found a sensitive erogenous zone he planned to put to use later in their relationship.
Of their own will, his fingers found her waist, encircling gently, moving upward toward her full, ripe breasts. He wanted so much to touch them, chancing a brush of his thumbs across her nipples. She shivered once more, pressing hard against him. She didn't yell or pull away, so he tried once more, testing his boundaries. This time, he brushed the nipple, cupping the right breast, his hand sliding along the side.
Amanda pulled away, confusion in her eyes. Did he really think she was going to go to bed with him that fast? She was horrified.
Derrick could see he'd stepped over the line. Backing off, he apologized, holding his hands away from her body. "Sorry." He whispered. "Sorry, sorry. Perhaps I should go."
Amanda took his hand, holding it with both of hers. "Derrick, perhaps I need to explain."
"This isn't the part where you tell me you're studying to become a nun, is it?"
Amanda's eyes twinkled. "No. Nothing like that. I really like you and I find you devilishly attractive. . . . "
"There's a but hanging about in there. I can almost hear it."
"But—not yet. I'm not in the habit of making that kind of commitment this early on."
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
Monday, March 16, 2015
This week has been somewhat patchy at best. I've had a lot of interruptions in my day, so I haven't done as well. I maintained my weight, though it did go down an ounce or two, it wasn't appreciable. At least it hasn't gone up, for which I'm grateful. I know that one can reach a plateau, so I'm really not sweating that. I'm going to be as consistent as I can.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Today was a show day, so my time was broken up and not at all consistent. I spent time preparing for the show and stressing over it, somewhat. Even after 6 years of doing them, I still get nervous. Most of that is because Blog Talk is schizo and isn't always cooperative.
I did get a little time in midday and in the evening, but not as much as I wanted, or needed.
Below are the songs I danced to 3/9/15:
Duration Song & Artist Time
4:40 Deeper Well – Wailin' Jennys 1:13 PM
3:16 Devil in Me – Jamie Commons 2:30
3:31 Rumble and Sway – Jamie Commons 2:34
(I did 2 in a row because I really like the songs, but I also know I wasn't going to get a lot of time later.)
4:12 Vampires – Ballroom Thieves 8:59 PM
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Today wasn't a good day at all. I had an upset stomach again and really didn't feel like moving. I did one song in the early afternoon and decided I wasn't doing anything until it settled. Which, you can tell by the times, wasn't until late in the day.
Below are the songs I danced to 3/10/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
3:07 Jungle – Jamie Commons 1:20 PM
4:37 Heard it Through the Grapevine – Rob Thomas 9:38
2:33 99 Problems – Hugo 10:33
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Wednesdays are always hard because that is Fun in Writing Day. I woke up late and it was a running go. I leave the house at noon and I didn't get up until almost 11:00 (I stay up late at night, do not judge me!)
Below is the song I danced to 3/11/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
4:37 Grapevine – Rob Thoms with Daryl Hall 9:11 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Thursday is usually a pretty good day. I did well, even with a lot of interruptions. I really wish I weren't the only person in the house who answers the phone. I also wish people would figure out that I'm working and don't want to be bothered. (Though, to be honest, I don't want to talk on the phone even when I'm not busy.)
Below are the songs I danced to 3/12/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
3:07 Jungle – Jamie Commons 11:31 AM
7:45 Jingo Lo Ba – Carlos Santana 12:40 PM
4:24 Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys 4:48
2:36 Play with Fire – Cobra Verde 9:32
3:21 Ain't No Grave – Crooked Sill 9:44
Friday, March 13, 2015
Today wasn't too bad a day either. I still had a lot of interruptions, but for the most part, I was able to get a good amount in. Though you can tell by the times that it was mostly after dinner. Between the phone and taking my son to and from work, my day was a series of irritations that I really was glad to have come to an end. It was Bike Week, so that drive to get him was horrendous.
Below are the songs I danced to 3/13/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
4:50 Master Blaster – Stevie Wonder 3:48 PM
4:21 Maria Maria – Carlos Santana 6:45
6:00 Cocaine – Eric Clapton 7:24
3:14 Rumble & Sway – Jamie Commons 8:29
3:07 Jungle – Jamie Commons 8:41
(Again, 2 in a row because, as I said before, I like this musician and certain of his songs make me want to dance. Check them out, they are really good.)
8:55 Lazy – Joe Bonamassa and Jimmy Barnes 10:22
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Not too bad a day. Still running about with my son, but overall not too bad. I didn't have as many stupid phone calls either, which made life less annoying.
Below are the songs I danced to 3/14/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
4:14 Vampires – Ballroom Thieves 1:16 PM
2:55 Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel 3:13
5:38 Killing Strangers – Marilyn Manson 7:46
5:00 Concrete – The Revivalists 9:15
4:14 Vampires – Ballroom Thieves 10:04 (Yes, I did this twice. Because it's good)
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Today wasn't too bad either, though I didn't get as much time in as I'd have liked. Again with the job. I'll be glad when he can afford his own car. Also a lot of phone calls. I could unplug it and turn off my cell and just have that many more later, so I deal with it. Doesn't mean I like it—I don't.
Below are the songs I danced to 3/15/14:
Duration Song & Artist Time
2:55 Big Sandy River & Monroe's Hornpipe- Josh Turner 12:21 PM
3:44 At the Beach – Josh Turner 12:40
4:04 Ooh La la – Josh Turner 1:53
3:17 Jungle – Jamie Commons 10:59
3:13 Rumble & Sway – Jamie Commons 11:03
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Amanda Bitterson is a substitute teacher. In her early twenties, she sometimes finds it daunting to teach at the high school. Today made all her fears come true. She was challenged and groped by a large boy, but fortunately, someone intervened before it got serious. Derrick Butler is a guest teacher visiting from Australia. He helps Amanda by escorting the trouble maker to the office. Later, he invites her for coffee and after, dinner. They make a date for 6:00, but Amanda can't keep her mind on anything because she's thinking about Derrick.
Picking up the phone on an impulse, Amanda called Derrick.
"I had an idea," she said right after he answered. "Have you seen much of the sights?"
"Besides the beach? Not much, and very little of that. Too bloody cold to surf. Why?"
"If you aren't busy at the moment, would you like to sight see a bit before dinner?"
"You volunteering to be a tour guide, then?"
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Does that give you a chance to freshen up?"
"I'll be ready. Time me." She hung up the phone, trotting to her room.
Dressed and ready in thirteen and a half minutes, she waited for Derrick on the porch of her apartment building. He pulled up a moment later, glancing at his watch as he got out of the car.
"You're good. I'd have thought you'd still be at it. You look lovely, by the way." His lips brushed her cheek in a more than friendly manner, his hands lingering close to her.
"Thanks. You look good yourself. I like the Oxford tweed look."
"These are my intellectual duds," he explained as he opened her car door. "I wear these when I want to look studious and professorial."
"All you need is a pipe."
He pulled one out of the pocket, clamping it between his teeth. Amanda could hardly stop laughing.
"I think it would make a better impression if it wasn't a bubble pipe," she giggled.
"Best I could do on short notice. I don't smoke. Where to?"
"Silly of me. I could take my car."
"I take directions well. I'll follow you anywhere."
Amanda gave him directions to her favorite part of the beach, a national park at the end of the barrier island. It was windy, the beach nearly deserted except for them and a few late afternoon joggers. They took a walk along the beach until the chilly wind forced them to abandon the sand for the sanctity of the car.
"Brr! It's not supposed to be this cold here," Amanda shivered.
"I'm starving," Derrick countered. "Let's find something to eat."
"We'll hit early bird traffic."
"I don't care. I want warmth and food immediately."
She directed him to her favorite steakhouse on beach side. Pulling into a parking place, Derrick turned the car off, facing her across the car.
"In case I forget later, I had a great time at the beach."
"You won't forget later." She smiled shyly, ducking her eyes, not meeting his intense gaze.
"Why is it you do that? When someone looks directly at you, you duck your head?"
"Do I?" She looked up at him, puzzled. "No one ever pointed that out before."
"Maybe it's just me, then?"
"No," she smiled, forcing herself to meet his gaze. "Not just you. I guess I do it because it embarrasses me."
"Why? You've got so much to be proud of. You're bright and witty, you're beautiful."
"I wasn't always that pretty," she mumbled. "And everyone thought I was dumb."
He touched her cheek tenderly, brushing wind blown hair from her lips. "Then they were stupid wankers. You're amazing, Amanda."
She giggled, tossing her hair casually over her shoulder. "You make me sound like a super hero, The Amazing Amanda!"
"Sweet! You're smiling again. And you're my super hero." He grinned. "Let's get some dinner. I don't know about you, but the cold is making me hungry as hell. I hate being hungry."
"I do too."
He opened her door, helping her out of the car. His fingers lingered on hers, his other hand brushing the small of her back as he shut the door behind her. Guiding her to the restaurant, he let his arm slide around her waist, holding her close in a fond embrace. Amanda enjoyed the touch of his hands, finding herself at ease with him as if she'd known him for years.
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
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Things took a slight turn when he went to Brodie's office. He heard yelling as he got off the elevator. Recognizing Brodie's voic...