Thursday, April 26, 2018
Oscar Friedman's Freakish Occurrence - Part 9 by Dellani
Quite uncharacteristically for them both, Oscar and Jasmine end up sleeping together. The next day, he's late for his book signing. Jasmine agrees to drop him off, and asks if she should pick him up later.
"Yes, please." Leaning across the seats, he kissed her deeply. "Thanks for the ride. And thank you very much for last night."
"You're welcome—and you're very welcome. Get out now, I'm holding up traffic. Your fans await."
"Come back before six, I'll give you a signed copy."
Oscar walked in the store with the biggest smile he could remember. Patrick was stunned at how happy he looked. Oscar smiled and chatted with everyone, giving them personalized inscriptions, selling more books than he ever had at one venue before.
"What's got you so happy?" Patrick asked him as they were closing for the evening.
"I met someone yesterday."
"Really? Do I get to meet her?"
"Yeah, she's picking me up soon. There's something really special about this woman, Pat."
"She the reason you were late this morning?"
Blushing, Oscar dug his toe into the carpet, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Yeah, she was. We had an extended date last night. More than that, I'll be damned if I tell a married man."
"You lucky bastard." Patrick chucked him in the shoulder. "And you aren't the least bit proud of yourself either."
Oscar chuckled nervously. "It's been a long time since a woman made me feel like this. Maybe this the one, Pat. I've been alone a long time. Barb's been gone for six years now." His wife, Barbara, died of cancer shortly after their sixteenth wedding anniversary.
"Just be careful," Patrick said with a frown of concern. "It's easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment. Don't set yourself up for a fall, Oscar."
"If I fall, I fall. I've lived long enough in fear. Not again, not this time."
Afternoon sunshine glittered on the brass door fixtures as it opened. Jasmine stood there framed by the doorway, the golden light limned her body in an ethereal aura. Oscar's grin broadened and he waved at her from across the store.
"There she is," he told Patrick, already walking toward the door.
"Like I couldn't tell!" The older man called after him.
Oscar greeted Jasmine with a kiss. "Hi. I was just telling my publisher about you."
"Really? All good, I hope?"
"Only the best. Come meet him. Patrick's kind of intense sometimes, but he means well."
With her hand on his arm, he walked her over to where his friend stood. After polite introductions, Patrick warmed to Jasmine. Oscar could tell that he genuinely liked the woman and that made him feel good. The other authors gathered around for their chance at introductions. Jasmine was delighted to meet each of them, complimenting their work.
"I haven't had the chance to read all your books yet," she admitted with a slight blush. "However, I've read excellent reviews. The ones I have read are great. I've left reviews on several websites."
After thanking her, they drifted off. Patrick joined them, organizing their cleanup. Oscar and Jasmine were left alone in slightly awkward silence, neither knowing what to say next. Then Oscar remembered he'd promised her a book.
"Oh, I already signed it and set it aside for you. It's my most recent. Kind of a crime and romance combination. I hope you like it."
"I've enjoyed your other books very much," she admitted. "Only since you write under a different name, I didn't put it together. You don't look a lot like your photos."
Oscar blushed, hands deep in his pockets, shoulders slumped. "Well, they certainly do their best. Not like they've got a lot to work with."
"Actually, I think you look handsomer in person. The photos age you a good few years. I thought you'd be in your sixties."
"Really?" His face brightened. "I think you totally made my day."
"Good. You made mine. I brought my other books for you to sign. They're in the car."
"Oh, sweet! Let me tell the others goodbye and we can go."
Walking into the parking lot, Oscar was surprised to see a white Prius sitting in a prominent place near the store. Was it his imagination, or was there a sooty mark on the hood?
"You didn't drive the Prius here, did you?"
Oscar walked over to the car. "Does this look like my rental?"
Jasmine joined him, checking the car tag. "It's ours. I recognize the tag holder. Don had them specially made just for us."
"What's it doing here? I rode with you."
"I don't know. You really should drive it to the office. Don thought he'd have a car or two by this evening. He's still there."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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