Happy after all

Page 83… in a fiction series

Miranda greeted the man at the farmers market.  August was tourist season, a busy month on the island.  A gray haired woman sat sleeping in a folding chair, a scarf tied loosely around her head, the ground dusty beneath her feet.  Plastic bins of figs, peaches, and eggplant tempted curious travelers, while spirited twin boys escaped their parents’ grasp and sent a tower of watermelons tumbling.  There was no place more beautiful than Santorini, the most celebrated of all the Greek islands, the place Miranda now called home.

It had been just over a year that Miranda married Dominic Manos.  The wedding was a small, private affair, attended by Dominic’s family and a few personal friends.  Sadly, Miranda’s own family couldn’t be there.  It all happened on such short notice, and she knew better than to question her future husband.  Dominic was very sorry things didn’t work out better, and promised her a trip back to the states soon.

They did a lot of travelling that first year.  The house on Ocean Drive was much like the house she shared with ex-husband Harry Stowe, but with six bathrooms, marble statues, and a waterfall under the lanai.  The time they spent in Miami was brief, mostly visiting with Dominic’s business associates in bars at night.  As a midwestern girl, Miranda struggled to fit in.  But Dominic assured her that in time she would learn to love the city.

Next, they spent some time aboard Dominic’s yacht,  the Atlantis.  Of course Miranda was thrilled to be back in Michigan, full of happy memories of her boat, working for Tiller, and her much simpler life.  But with her former friends at the Mallard Point Club looking on,  she knew she was being scrutinized.  It wasn’t the homecoming she thought it would be.  And it didn’t help that Dominic Manos was not popular among her old crowd.

No one seemed to have much use for a girl who once cheated on her adoring husband, wreaking havoc among the couples who were true to the vows of marriage, and sending the message that no loving union was secure.  Their thoughts were with Harry, his new wife, and the crash that killed them both.  Even Charlie Fine looked the other way.

Miranda also wondered about the mysterious man who gave her that Bible one autumn day, the day before she journeyed to Charlevoix for the winter.  She wondered how God could let so many bad things happen to her.  She certainly didn’t deserve it.  She was basically a good person.  Miranda gave it a thought, but dismissed it.  Sometimes she secretly wondered if Dominic was a big mistake, too.  But she had the perfect life.  It made no sense to question it.

When they first arrived in Greece, Miranda devoted herself to learning the culture, getting to know Dominic’s extended family, and enjoying her beautiful new home.  Her husband doted on her, filled her huge closet with many beautiful things, and was proud to have her on his arm at every social affair.  Switching from scotch to vodka made all the difference in Miranda’s sobriety– she hardly drank at all, at least not every night.

In spite of his unflattering behavior the night they met, the man who was lucky number 30, the man who revealed photos, documentation, and secrets about her private life, Miranda decided it didn’t matter.  After that night aboard his big yacht, Miranda didn’t give it another thought.  Dominic Manos was a man of success and great wealth, with a business and reputation to consider.  Obviously, he had to make sure she was the right girl to fit into his world, to make his fourth marriage work.  Even though she didn’t like all those pictures, and the fact that he hired Neil Lipman to watch her, she reminded herself that nobody is perfect, not even her husband.

In spite of it all, there were times when Miranda felt a deep longing, an undeniable sadness and despair.  She would hide in her dressing room, hiding from her heart.  The room had a window and a view of the Aegean Sea , but she really just wanted to go home.  Miranda thought about the night she spent with Drew, her face snuggled against him, his broad chest a refuge from all her worries.  She  missed the nights they stayed up late at her little house in Petoskey, watching movies and eating pizza, and a big slice of pie at midnight.  Those were such happy times.

But the memories also brought tears.  There were times she cried and couldn’t stop.  It happened a lot more than she was willing to admit, and she imagined Drew holding here close, telling her it was okay to cry.  Looking at her dressing table, and the piles of wadded up Kleenex that littered her pretty things, she sometimes wondered how she could go on without him.  Even her lovely new orchids, all lined up in a row, couldn’t ease her pain.  She loved him, she loved Drew.  What she wouldn’t give to visit the old boat house just one more time, to feel him kiss her neck and say, “Goodnight, Kitten.”   While the flowers were blooming, Miranda was dying inside.

She wondered if Drew had met someone…

She dried her tears, blew her nose, and tossed another Kleenex onto the pile.  At least she had a maid to clean up the mess.  Miranda had to consider her lifestyle.  Maybe all her material things, the treasures that only money could buy, would comfort her broken heart– eventually.  Dominic kept a close eye on her, probably to help keep her new life on track. She could never contact her lover.  For all the wonderful things Dominic Manos had done for her, he deserved her faithfulness, even if it was just in her heart.  She would learn to love him.

Miranda took off her pretty new sandals, walked along the beach, the black sand warm against her feet.  She kicked a stone along the way, the dark pebbles reflecting her sullen mood.  Back in Charlevoix, Drew kicked off a pair of worn dock shoes, climbed the steps of the old boat house, the place he would always call home.  He still lived alone, no one to share it with.  Miranda turned to look at the palace, the highest peak on the cliff, the place where she felt so alone.

If only she had told Drew her secret, how much she truly loved him.  But intimacy didn’t come easy.  Why did she need to protect her heart?  What was she hiding from?  Miranda walked along, eyes filling with tears.   She recalled how Drew listened to all her fears and stories, how he was always there for her.   At the same time, she wondered about his mysterious quiet side.  He was a deep thinker, and often kept his thoughts to himself.  Miranda often pondered what she might be missing.

In spite of his sadness, Drew continued to live his life, the simple life that suited him.  Even though months had passed, he still missed her yet hoped she was happy.  But when he thought about that night,  that magic between them, he knew where she really belonged.  He was convinced the Miranda would choose to be with him for the right reasons, as a man of character and integrity.  He knew that she loved him, that his secret inheritance, over time, would not have mattered.   All she needed from him was his heart– and a snack– he was sure.  Drew would go on, fixing old boats and fishing when there was time.  He would never forget her, but he would get past the sadness.  He was no stranger to loss.

The sun came out, softly illuminating the pebbles beneath her feet, somewhat lifting her despair.  She would greet Dominic with a hug, a kiss, and a lively story about her day.  In time, their marriage would improve, she just knew it.  Miranda was happy after all!  She put on her husband’s favorite smile, almost convincing herself.  Even so, she would never stop missing Drew.  She feared her tears would go on forever.

There was a familiar breeze, a memory.  She pulled a soft, ripe peach out of her basket, took a bite and frowned.  It was bitter.

The End

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 32 Comments

Drew’s other secret

Drew Becker was no stranger to loss.

He got back to the boathouse late one night.  After getting an early start, he brought home a couple of nice trout.  His lines were set at the edge of the Mallard Point Club well before dawn, just as his dad taught him when he was a boy.  He knew that when the morning sun hit the water, the fish became wary. Better to go out early and bring home a nice catch.

He put down his auger and ice scoop on the floor of the boathouse.  There would be plenty of time to put his tools away in the morning.

His parents were supposed to get home late that night.  He would fillet himself a nice dinner and take the other fish to his parent’s cottage in the morning.  They were due into Detroit after a late flight from LAX.  Drew was babysitting his best boyhood friend, Missy the golden retriever.

The phone rang.  Drew dropped an old spatula on the wooden floor.  The voice on the other end sounded mechanical, as if they were reading from a carefully written script.  Drew sat on the floor next to the dog.  As he listened, the trout in the frying pan burned to a crisp.  It wasn’t the only fire that night.

His parent’s flight ran into some trouble, the voice explained.  Seems that USAir flight 1439 landed and crashed into a commuter plane waiting on the same runway for take off. The fire was almost instantaneous as the 737 dragged the helpless turbo prop beneath its flaming belly.

The National Transportation Safety Board eventually reported that the fire originated in the forward cargo hold under the first class cabin.  Drew’s parents were seated in seats 2A and 2B.  They always flew first class.  For the Beckers, money was never a problem.

Drew would later learn that only three of the six exists were operational that night.  The front exits were blocked by flames.  There was chaos, the smoke was blinding.  While 76 of the passengers escaped, 43 did not. Drew’s parents died in the crash, presumably from asphyxiation.  NTSB findings concluded that the combination of fuel from the crushed commuter flight, combined with the 737′s damaged oxygen system, was lethal.  Drew was paralyzed with grief when he learned that his parents would never come home.

Drew Becker was an only child and dealt with his sorrow alone.  At just 21 years of age, he already had a respectable boat repair and maintenance business and had everything his heart desired– except a girlfriend.  He knew that when the right girl came along, he’d know her in an instant.  But time went on, and nothing could assuage his deep despair and longing.  Entering into a close relationship with anyone was a risk he couldn’t afford to take.  If he lost the girl he loved, he could never survive another heartbreak.

Over the years, Drew’s business and reputation grew.  He made a good living and called the boathouse his home.  But he was all alone– until that spring day when he kissed Miranda on the dock.  Though he was smitten by her fiery spirit and love for the water, he tried to keep his distance.  Maybe she was the one.  Maybe her alcoholism and late night binges would lead to trouble.  But his heart wouldn’t listen.

He played along with her silly cat and mouse games, waiting for her to give into his subtle seduction of Oreo cookies, her bedtime favorite.  Miranda would soon realize that she loved him, too.  Drew was willing to take a chance after all these years.   He decided to take a chance on Miranda.

But there were two things she didn’t know, secrets he chose not to share.

Over the years, Drew did several mechanical upgrades on the Atlantis, the luxury yacht owned by Dominic Manos.  Last summer he installed a custom integrated bridge system, the most sophisticated navigation product money can buy.  While the job required the utmost skill and experience, Manos treated him like a simple worker, someone who got in the way and deserved no respect.  When he argued about the bill, Drew had seen enough.

The other secret was about his parent’s will, about the money that began to accumulate sixty some years ago when that fabled old rum runner, great-grandfather Hank Becker, started his clandestine and very profitable business.  He wondered if he should have told Miranda about his inheritance, and what he knew about his rival.  But she was married now, and once again, his heart was broken.

Drew Becker was a multi-millionaire. He could buy and sell Dominic Manos many times over.  Now all that was left of the girl he loved were the memories.

One more page…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 18 Comments

Drew’s secret

Page 81… in a fiction series

Drew Becker had a secret.

Drew lived in Charlevoix all his life.  After spending a year away at college, he longed for the water and the boats that cruised there.  An only child, he went to New York University to honor the memory of his parents who died years ago.  But his passion for the charming “woodies”– the Hacker Crafts, Chris Crafts, and Garwoods– far exceeded his interest in classes and books.

Drew wasn’t sure whether his skill as a boat mechanic was passed down through the generations, but the locals swore it was so.  His fascination with his great grandfather, legendary boat mechanic Hank Becker, was a constant source of curiosity for Drew, and the town folk as well.  The old man spent his days and nights tinkering around the wooden boat house, the same place Drew spends his time today.

He was a bearded old curmudgeon with a grumpy disposition and a face like a worn ball mitt.  Not the marrying kind, Hank had girlfriends on every shore. He fathered a son, Drew’s grandfather, who he grew to know and adore.  Over time, the boy became an integral part of the Becker family tree.

When Hank learned of a career opportunity on the water, a sales job of sorts, he tuned up his Hacker Craft and embarked on a  new adventure.  The old man was also a bit of a drinker.  He was outraged at the passage of the 18th Amendment in the winter of 1920.  Rather than just complain about the injustice of Prohibition, he fought the new law in his own private way.

Hank already had the perfect boat.  The first Hackers were manufactured in 19o8 in the town of Lake George, New York.  With its revolutionary V-hull, low profile design, and an aircraft engine, the 26-footer was the ideal craft for speed and discretion.  That meant alot to Drew’s great grandfather as he ran cases of English gin, and French champagne down from Canada to Chicago, with a regular stop at Charlevoix.

There was a private late night ship that ran from Lake Charlevoix to Boyne City where Detroit politicians, wealthy businessmen, and their “dates”could enjoy a cocktail or two.  The Keuka was a 75-foot party barge that entertained from nightfall till dawn.  Never mind that Hank Becker cut the booze with water.  He was a businessman, after all, and every bootlegger did it.

On his late night runs, old Hank was a pro at running in the dark, in the fog, and with no port or starboard lights to make him visible to another craft.  He quickly learned the tricks of the trade, like how to use old motor oil to splash the hot manifolds.  With excessive heat, smoke rising above his boat could give away his location, and he was not interested in a career change or time in jail.  Hank liked being a rum runner, risks and all.

Ships that ran whiskey carried as much as $200,000 worth of liquor in a single run, but the breakneck speed and the smooth ride of the Hacker suited him fine.  The profits of a successful trip on a larger boat meant splitting the money among the captain and crew.  Hank, however, preferred to work alone and keep every penny for himself.  He did, and that’s where the secret comes in…

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 21 Comments

The scrapbook

Page 80… in a fiction series

It should come as no surprise that when Manos proposed, Miranda accepted.  They were married one year after their first date– the night that #30 met his blushing bride.

On that fateful evening , Miranda sensed that Manos was already in love.  (She had some experience with this sort of thing.)  Cruising on Little Traverse Bay on his yacht, the Atlantis, they dined on a sumptuous dinner of  Chateaubriand, artfully prepared by Chef Hanna, with Black Forest Oreo Pie for dessert.  Miranda couldn’t get over the coincidence…

He knew from countless audio tapes and photographs provided by Neil Lipman what she liked and what she did not.  They shared a good laugh over a picture of Miranda trudging to work in the snow down an icy and treacherous dock.  He recalled her trip to Palm Beach and the wild shopping spree than ensued.  The night she had cocktails at Taboo on Worth Avenue, Menos was at the bar, watching her.  There would be plenty of lavish spending sprees if she later accepted his offer.

He showed her a photo from the stadium security project that she worked on with Tiller.  Lipman was a little sloppy that day and got caught, but Manos noted that the pictures from that day were priceless.    He chuckled with pride, his fat belly laughing with glee, pleased with his clandestine endeavour.  Miranda was waiting for photographs from her night at Castle Rouge to surface next, but so far there was nothing.  Most of all, she wondered if Manos knew about Drew Becker, that she was already in love.

Finally, from Lipman’s scribbled documentation, he had dates and times of all the nights she came home late.  Miranda momentarily drifted away from his monologue to thoughts of Drew and their kiss on the dock.  Looking back on their tender moments the night before, tonight’s date was simply a formality, the last move in a silly game of chess.

Of special interest to Dominic Manos, was Miranda’s weakness for alcohol.  He knew how much she liked to drink.

All those years ago when she was married to successful and kind pediatrician, Brian Parker Hall, she refused to heed the wisdom of Mavis Jackson, country club bartender and devout Christian friend.  Mavis urged her to get help for her drinking.  Even her skilled and compassionate therapist, Lydia Ogletree, couldn’t distract her long enough to give AA a chance.

That night on board the Atlantis, Miranda tried to focus.  She maintained her resolve until Dominic offered her a Macallen 15 -year Fine Oak scotch, its dark, warm flavor waiting to be savored.  He was a wonderful host.  She knew better than to break her two drink limit, because if she did, she knew what might happen.

Dominic hoped she would break her two drink limit, because if she did, he also knew what might happen.

Manos seemed to remember more than she did about her life since she left Harry Stowe and invited that rat, Charlie Fine, onto her boat that winter.  “There aren’t any pictures, Miranda, but your friends at Tommy’s Gotcha filled me in about your break up with Harry and Charlie’s special friendship with you.  The trip up the coast from Traverse City to Charlevoix can be dangerous in November.  Personally, I was glad you had a skilled captain by your side.”

Miranda wondered what Drew was doing that night, her longing for him was unending.  Dominic Manos knew what Drew Becker was doing that night.  He decided that her infatuation with the young boat mechanic had run its course– it wasn’t meant to be.  She needed a man with an obscene amount of money to quench her thirst for material things.  With his modest wages and humble home, it would never be Drew.

As for the photographs from that night at Castle Rouge, they would remain forever hidden, strictly for Dominic’s private viewing pleasure.

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 8 Comments

Castle reprise

Page 79… in a fiction series

Miranda returned to the living room, goblets in hand, to find Dominic Manos stalking the perimeter, inspecting her artwork as if he were in a gallery.  He paused at a framed lithograph.  It was all she had left of her lovely orchids.  Later, she would find out that this, too, was part of the screening process, her personal private world that  Neil Lipman could not penetrate.

She sat on her soft leather sofa while he took a seat across from her in a vintage wing chair, one of the pieces she and Drew refinished on the weekends.  D.W. Manos was smooth and refined– smiling on cue, cocking his head this way and that.  While he charmed her with small talk, Miranda thought about the times she had seen him before.

She recalled Manos sitting with the usual crowd at Tommy’s Gotcha– Vince the imaginary cowboy, his slobbering sidekick Lester, and DUI lawyer Joe Ramano.  Miranda recalled Vince telling her to stay away from the  man in the navy blue blazer, that he wasn’t her type.  She wondered now what he meant by that.  There was nothing suspect about Manos, and Miranda was an excellent judge of character.  She remembered leaving early.  Maybe something happened after that…

But there was another memory, too, something that made her afraid.  She smiled his way, pretending she was intrigued by his story.  Manos took a sip of wine while Miranda drifted back into the cold mist of Castle Rouge.  She had a vision that night, (drunk of course), that carried her beyond the walls of the old stone warehouse, far out of her reach.  Her old drinking buddies were all dressed up– as pirates?  Not a complete surprise, considering everyone at the party was wearing a costume, but still…

Someone said her name, she recognized the voice.  He was inviting her to join them.  She squinted her eyes, swallowed another sip of fragrant Bordeaux.  Manos wore a patch on one eye and flashed a silver hook, stacks of gold doubloons on the bar before him.  Did he really reach out from the mirage and hand her something?  How was that possible?

Miranda struggled to revisit what was likely an illusion, brought on the mixture of alcohol and a bipolar episode.  Was it really pirate treasure?  Or was it the business card that ended up on her dining room table, the mysterious card that said, “D.W. Manos.”  Goosebumps swept over her skin– and not in the way they had the night before.  Even so, this was the final day of her 30 dates in 30 days plan, and it would be foolish to quit in the final round.

Manos raised one eyebrow and looked across the room at her favorite Tarkay, the numbered print that once hung in the home she shared with Harry, a souvenir she took with her after their tragic divorce.  He finished his wine and studied her as if she were one of Harry’s gently used Porsches– low miles, glossy finish, black leather interior.

Miranda wanted him to leave, but instead filled his glass.  Her judgement, once again, failed miserably, leading her down a dangerous path, seducing her right back into the dark.  Manos raised his glass, grinned at his prey, and said, “Cheers.”

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Pretty glass garden

Page 78… in a fiction series

Miranda took the last sip of her Dewers and water.  Since the incident in Detroit, she cut back to two drinks a night, three on weekends.  It felt good to know that she could control her drinking without the help of AA.  A little self-discipline was all she needed to stay sober.

The man in the navy blue blazer was dressed for the occasion.  His gray hair was thinning and combed over to one side.  Dark eyebrows framed his face, his jaw firmly set.  He looked like someone who might have a bad temper now and then, but Miranda knew it was wrong to judge by appearances.  She also noted that he was very tan, well before the start of the summer boating season.  Miranda was curious.

She wondered what Drew was doing tonight… probably scrubbing the grime off his hands after fixing the old Chris Cadet, eating cold pizza, and watching the Final Four on TV.  She could see him high five-ing himself when the Wolverines scored.  For a moment Miranda admitted she didn’t like manicured hands.  She liked hands that were big and manly.  And she definitely preferred a ride on a motorcycle to the late-model Jaguar parked in her driveway.

But inertia was luring her down a familiar path, a tired stroll through a garden of shiny glass flowers, fake rocks, and weeds as smooth as velvet.  It all seemed very real, so full of life!  Completely aware of her intentions, Miranda smiled at her guest on the other side of the glass.  Life was easier with an American Express card– could anyone deny it?  She wanted to buy some new dresses, drink martinis at the club, and host a big New Years Eve bash!

At the same time, Miranda was tormented and conflicted… thought about last night at the boathouse.  Had anyone else ever tucked her into bed so sweetly that way… or offered her the last piece of homemade buttermilk pie?  She actually liked hanging out in her Old Navy shorts, and craved an interesting conversation over one of her manic spending sprees.  She should have cancelled her date, stayed there with him.

In a well rehearsed smile, she opened the door.  The man in the navy blue blazer extended a manicured hand and said, “Dominic Manos.  It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Miranda.”

She remembered the time she was paying for a stack of magazines before boarding a plane to West Palm Beach. Leaving the newspaper stand in a hurry to catch her flight, she spun around and walked right into him.  She was embarrassed.  He smiled and said her name, then studied her as she quickly walked away.  She pushed the uncomfortable memory aside and invited him in.

He carried yellow roses and a bottle of Bordeaux, an indication that he was probably ready for a drink.  Miranda went to the kitchen, poured a glass of wine and spilled the other.  Something didn’t feel right.  She cleaned up the mess, decided she was fine.   A quiet voice of wisdom– was it Drew?– told her to ask Manos to leave, to send him away while there was still time.

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 9 Comments

Dominic Manos

Page 77… in a fiction series

Dominic Manos took the last sip of his martini and handed the glass back to Hanna.  She was an excellent chef and an even better bar tender.  His yacht, the Atlantis, was brought up north ahead of schedule, with Hanna, four young deck hands, and Captain Daniel Bering at the helm.  The uniformed crew operated with seamless precision, the same performance he expected from everyone in his employ.  Manos was looking forward to another summer in Traverse City.  And he was looking forward to his date with Miranda.

He reached for his briefcase, pulled out a manila folder, and opened an envelope with her name on it.  Relaxing in the salon with a stack of newspapers,  he thought about re-lighting the fat cigar in the monogrammed ashtray, then changed his mind.  Manos smiled at the photograph of a girl in a red snow suit being hoisted up the mast in a bosun’s chair.  He liked her sense of adventure, wondered what she would be like in person.  He knew she drank too much, which suited him.

Keeping an eye on Miranda during her winter stay in Charlevoix was not just to satisfy his curiosity.  Living aboard can be dangerous any time of the year.  For a girl to be alone on the dock during a Michigan snow storm was unheard of.  Maybe that was part of the allure.  Of course, his intention was not motivated by personal gain, or a desire to invade her privacy.  His only concern was to provide help if she needed it–   a warm hotel room, someone to shovel the walk, and cash if necessary.  And also, for no wrong reason, to keep track of the people who spent time with her.  It was a lengthy but necessary part of the screening process.

Another photo, and another.  He liked the one of Miranda walking down the dock in her bare feet, carrying her good shoes so the heels wouldn’t get scuffed.  He was happy for her when she landed the job with James Tiller.  His interest in her only increased when he saw her desire to rise above the status of “arm candy.”  She was pretty enough, but she also had grit.  If things turned out as planned, she wouldn’t have to work another day in her life.

The surveillance reports arrived weekly at his winter home in Miami.  Joe Ramano promised him a thorough and professional job, and delivered on his word.  And while Manos had his doubts about Neil Lipman, Joe’s brother-in-law came through with flying colors once he figured out how to work the tiny camera.  Dominic checked his tie in the mirror, walked down the gangway, and headed for Petoskey.

By now, Miranda had dating down to a science.  She had little hope that #30 was going to be anything special.  For all she knew, D.W. Manos could be a dock hand, or just another guy she met at a bar.  And after finally being with Drew, her heart just wasn’t in it.

Miranda began what was, by now, her nightly routine, but with less enthusiasm than the nights before. She yawned, then went through the motions:  little black dress from her vast collection, tall black stilettos, and red lipstick… Revlon Cherries in the Snow, an inexpensive brand, her old winter favorite.  She finished with a light spritz of Chanel #5– she was tired of the same old thing, ready for something new.

She headed downstairs, spotted Drew’s University of Michigan ball cap on the sofa.  She missed him already.  Miranda would be glad when all this was over.  She was sick of going on dates, tired of making small talk with boring strangers.  Maybe it was a stupid way to find a husband.  Maybe she didn’t even need a husband.  Surely, she could get another job, make her mortgage payments, and hire a kid to mow the lawn.  How hard could it be?  She was feeling hopeful, thinking about her future in a different way when the doorbell rang.

She was speechless. Manos said, “Hello Miranda.”

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 18 Comments

Tick, tick, tick…

Page 76… in a fiction series

A very bad thing was about to happen.  It’s not like fate dropped this on her head, that she was forced to make a poor decision.  What Miranda didn’t know that morning, didn’t realize as she slept quietly in Drew’s arms, was that her next move would bring lasting consequence and despair.

Tick, tick, tick…  Drew’s alarm clock goes off at 7:30am because in all the excitement, no one remembered to turn it off the night before. Daylight peeks through the window, Drew yawns, kisses her forehead, and gets up. Miranda wishes she had her fuzzy blue sleep mask but settles for the NYU sweatshirt to block the light.  Memories from last night linger, she’s still tired.

Tick, tick, tick… The snooze alarm, louder than the first.  She smells coffee and bacon.  Drew is at the door, handsome, unshaven, wearing flannel boxer shorts.  “Room service,” he grins.  The tray in his hands holds coffee, bacon, eggs, and a box of Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts, her favorite.  He had been planning this all along.

He is clearly happy to see her there, tousled and sleepy under his grandmother’s old quilt.  Miranda smiles, one eye open.  She and Drew, together at the boathouse, eating donuts after what might have been the most memorable night of her life.  That very thought should have been a learning moment, a whack upside the head telling her she should forget about “the list” and stay awhile.

Someone should have called, “Game over!”  Should have sent out fancy announcements on fine stationary informing dates 1-28 that a winner had been chosen, and Miranda would live happily ever after in his sweatshirt, in his arms.

Drew thought her dating craze to find a husband was preposterous, simply a way for curious men to waste alot of money on dinner with a girl who’s not going to like them anyway.  Drew knew exactly the kind of man she needed, and his name wasn’t on any business card in a recipe box.

“At least you’ll have some stories to tell when you write your book someday, Kitten.”  He was shouting over the sound of running water.  Some of those guys you went out with… where did you ever find a cartoonist?  And the dentist who gave you the creeps?  All this nonesense because of you and that stupid weed eater.  I told ya, you should have called me.”

Tick, tick, tick…. Yes, that would have been a good idea.  But Miranda’s foolishness– and greed–  would once again lead her far, far, away from the happy ending she so longed for.

He turned off the water, stepped out of the shower.  Wearing nothing but an old bath towel, Drew reappeared in the doorway with more coffee and a grin.  But instead of following his lead and staying with him, Miranda’s mind wondered ahead to the business at hand.

One mistake after another, sinking, falling, soon regretting.  She was a plane crash in slow motion with no way to avoid the flames, the landing gear that failed, the crash that was about to happen.  Miranda tiptoed away from Drew, the man she secretly loved.  There, she said it– but sadly, not out loud to him.

A car door slammed in the lot below, the parts he had ordered were right on time.  He was not independently wealthy, but had the work ethic of someone who deserved to be.  Disappointed, he would be repairing the transmission on an old Chris Craft Cadette before she got out of the shower.  While Miranda was still reliving the magic of last night, every nuance, every passionate kiss, remembering the sweetness and laughter erupting between them, she was also aware of the time.

Tick, tick, tick…  It was day 30.  Just one more date to meet before she picked her new husband.  Yes, last night may have thrown off her agenda, because now her heart was involved in a plan that was intended to be strictly business.  Maybe it was okay that Drew didn’t have alot of money, that he lived in a modest little place on the lake.  How important was it to own a jet, or an island, or a shipping industry in the Port of Miami?  She was conflicted and sad.

In spite of her true feelings and her longing to stay, she was determined to finally learn the identity of date #30, the mysterious D.W. Manos.

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 12 Comments

Miranda and Drew

Page 75…  in a fiction series

It was dark when Miranda and Drew left Jack’s Steakhouse and climbed the wooden steps of the old boathouse.  Beneath an open window, Lake Charlevoix danced against a moonlit sky.  It had been a wonderful ”first date”.

The April night had grown cold and Drew went to his closet to get Miranda something warm to put on.  She felt small and fragile as she pulled the big sweatshirt over her head, the sleeves hanging down past her hands.  It  smelled  like leather and confidence.  On the front it said NYU.  She had never been upstairs in his loft before.

She was swept back to that day at the Boat Basin, how his kiss on the dock took her breath away.  Pushing up the sleeves of the faded sweatshirt, Miranda reached up to smooth her hair.  Drew took a step closer, looked in her eyes, and kissed her.  She was dazed and a little confused.  All this time they were just good friends.  Was that about to change on their first real date?

“What are you thinking about, Kitten?  You okay?”

He was surprised;  she seemed nervous.

Drew Becker was a gentle man, physically strong, with a keen intellect to match.  Miranda found herself attracted to both.  He knew that whatever happened that night, he didn’t have to toy with her, their friendship ran deeper than that.  He also knew that when he touched her she would melt in his hands.

No wonder he chose the boathouse over modern living.  The furniture in the small space was as old as the wooden boats he worked on, and probably had stories to tell.  The simple orderly environment suited him, a world away from the complications of city life.  A worn quilt covered the bed.

Miranda liked that Drew was protective and strong, a source of comfort when she needed him, a good listener with wisdom to share.  He was a fan of college football, old motorcycles, and the poetry of Robert Frost.  But there was another part of him she was drawn to.  She wondered if she would find out more tonight.  Miranda hadn’t had a boyfriend in a long time.  She was breakable– she knew she could get hurt.

Drew liked that Miranda was both lovely and fierce… a girl who could install a bilge pump by day, and put on a pretty dress that night.  And even though he was sometimes appalled by her drinking, he knew deep down that all the effort he put into their relationship was worth it.  He smiled when he thought about her throughout his day, which was more often than he cared to admit.  He wondered if Miranda was thinking about him, too.

A wind blew through the open window, she heard a train in the distance.  In the pale moonlight, Drew held her close.  Tonight there were no bottles to hide behind, no red lipstick to smooth the way.  Only goosebumps.  It was time to be honest with him.

That cool spring night she fell asleep in his arms, his quilt pulled over her shoulders, the lake finally at rest.  He watched her sleep, kissed her forehead, and said, “Goodnight, Kitten.”

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 12 Comments

Thirty dates in thirty days

Page 74… in a fiction series

Miranda was ready to proceed with the next step of her plan.  With a stack of Crane Stationary announcement cards (ecru with an embossed Fleur-des-lis at the top) she began the arduous task of letting her potential suitors know that she’d like to see them.  A tasteful handwritten note cancelled out the tackiness of inviting one’s self on a date– or at least that’s what she decided.

Her April calendar began to take shape, weekends filling up first, the rest of the days taken by older retired men and rich guys who didn’t have to work.  First was an electrical engineer retired from General Electric with six patents pending.  He prepared a wonderful dinner aboard his sailboat, using an invention that allowed him to bake homemade bread in his microwave.  He was leaving Petoskey soon to sail around the world.  Miranda liked him and was certain he would make it.

The next contestant was an independently wealthy young man, in some ways a dead ringer for Michelangelo’s statue of David, in other ways, not so much.  He had just returned from climbing Mt. Everest and was in town visiting his mother.  While he was planning to leave soon for his home in San Diego, Miranda was taken by his charm and hoped to see him again.  He was a possible keeper.

A chiropractor from Harbor Springs was successful, funny, and handsome, but when he polished the silverware at a fancy restaurant overlooking the bay, she wondered if this hint of OCD meant another potential Harry, with his things neatly pressed and folded ad nauseum.  A second date she would have to decline.

A stylish young dentist with a ruddy complexion and windblown hair seemed like a nice choice until he unveiled his sadistic side and sent Miranda running.  She left the restaurant before dinner was served.  Another disappointment was a man who owned a chain of Hallmark stores throughout northern Michigan.  Unlike the psycho dentist, he was so thoughtful and sensitive that he couldn’t stop quoting Mia Angelou.  A little goes a long way.

There was a judge in the Court of Common Pleas whose power to put people in jail seemed exciting.  He also turned out to be married– no thank you.  After that, she went out with a retired FBI agent who was assigned to Washington D.C. during the Nixon administration.  He had the best stories to tell and wore a gun strapped to his ankle.  A nice touch, Miranda made a note.

She had dinner with an NHL hockey player from Detroit.  While he was missing most of his teeth,  the aggressive nature of the game made him strangely attractive, and his status as a professional athlete scored extra points in overtime.  Oddly, her next date was with a  network affiliate sportscaster who hated hockey but always had extra tickets and very good seats.

Miranda went out with a cartoonist from the Detroit Free Press who was only funny on paper, an aerobics instructor who was gay but showed her a really nice time, and a bank president who wore a ratty sportcoat and took her to Bob Evans.  Whether he was just cheap or broke, this would never do.

She dated the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker… went out with doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs, not to mention every Tom, Dick, and Harry.  But nothing, so far, really struck her fancy.

On April 29 she was alerted of a scheduling problem.  A veterinarian from Ann Arbor, the owner of three tiny pugs, called to say that he was about to perform an emergency C-section on a prize winning show horse and would be tied up the rest of the week.  Miranda remembered him well, and probably liked him best out of all the contenders.  But hey, the show must go on.

She dialed her phone.  “Drew… it’s me.  I know this is gonna sound crazy, but number 29 just cancelled… No, he had a legitimate excuse… Anyway, I was just wondering, and before you say no (she could see him rolling his eyes)… since we have never gone on an official first date, would you please take me to dinner tomorrow night?  No alcohol, and I promise I’ll be good… Okay, 7:00, can’t wait.

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 11 Comments