Drinks and Coffee
“G’night, Ange. Enjoy your evening.”
“I will. Me and the mister are going dancing. I finally got him to cut loose a little.”
I smiled as the 20-something red-head left the studio, evoking memories of my younger, more hopeful days; more hopeful about actually meeting my “Mr. Right,” that is. After a dull marriage, an ugly break-up, and two years of hit and miss dating, mostly miss, I wasn’t feeling so hopeful anymore. Birthdays had a way of affecting me that way.
After filing away the portfolio shots I’d just taken of Ange, I thumbed through a few more I’d taken for other clients and my smile broadened, pride edging its way past the feeling that I had somehow missed my calling. The pictures were damn good, and if I never accomplished anything else, helping our clients live their dreams was one thing I’d managed to get right.
“Happy Birthday, Meg! Got any special plans?”
“Thanks. Just the usual.” I did my best to sound upbeat.
Of course, the only plans I had were with Snow, my spoiled, green-eyed white Persian. Following my hot shower with my favorite brown sugar bath gel, Snow and I were planning to continue our long-standing tradition of flopping down on the couch, me in my pink bathrobe, and watching hours of whatever series I wanted to catch up on. Tonight, it was a “Scandal” marathon, complete with hot, buttery, salted popcorn. You know, the kind that melts in your mouth.
My business partner, Shellie, grabbed her things and headed for the door.
“Hey! Aren’t you forgetting something?”
She turned, a smile splitting her round face. “Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you I added one more to the book, and your Birthday gift is on the way – drinks and maybe coffee in the morning.”
What? “So what’s that got to do with you leaving me to clean things up?”
She threw up her hand and ran for the exit, leaving me standing there with my mouth open.
“Trifling Heifer!” I called after her. The phrase had become a term of endearment between us, reminiscent of my grandmother who had often said the same thing whenever Shellie and I continued to play tea sets or Barbie instead of stopping immediately to do her bidding.
Sighing, I planted myself in the “Director’s Chair” and waited. Shellie was always up to something, but her thrill-a-minute personality had pulled me out of some dark places over the years.
Moments later, my crush from two doors down walked in, all six-foot-three, sexy as hell, and rolling a Harley. Without a word, he straddled his motorcycle, smiled, and I started snapping, hands shaking, body purring like Snow, my cat.
“Looks like you paid in advance, Mr. DuBois.”
He stood, stalked toward me and stopped just short of touching, flashing pointed incisors for the first time. Too turned on to be frightened, I prattled on, fiddling with my equipment to drown out my suicidal heartbeat.
“Do you model?”
“It’s Mikail, and only for you.”
He offered his hand and I placed mine in his palm without thought.
I nodded to both, almost certain nothing would show up on those negatives. The “Scandal” marathon could wait.