Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sample Saturday - Chapter Two continued

For those just joining the story - chapter one can be read in its entirety on the October 21st entry and the first part of chapter two on the October 28th entry, the next segments on November 4th,11th,18th and 25th and December 2nd.

His praise failed to soothe her. “Of course I called the cops. I told them about the other notes too and got an informative lecture on stalkers. I have a case number to prove it. Anything else you need to know?”

“Did they talk to you about upgrading your locks?”

“Yes,” she fumed. She knew she was taking her bad mood out on Derrick, but it felt good to get mad at someone safe.

“Good. Forget the coffee, let’s go”

“Where are we going?” she narrowed her eyes.

“Lock shopping.”

“You know how to install locks?”

“I’m a general contractor,” he said as if that explained anything.

“Where are you going to buy locking stuff at this time of night?”

“I know this all night hardware store,” Derrick wriggled his eyebrows and stroked his mustache.

She frowned at him, trying very hard to keep a straight face, but bubbles of laughter erupted. In an instant her giggles turned into hiccupping sobs.

Derrick wrapped her in his arms, rubbing her back and letting her release the fear, anger and tension. Slightly ashamed of himself for being aroused by her. That part of him had no sense of propriety and downright perverse timing.

“Some darn pervert walked into my house. Why?” she sniffled. “I mean why me? The cops said most stalkers are someone – someone you know intimately.”

“Do you have any idea of who it might be?”

Bella shook her head. “No, and that scares the hell out of me. I’ve thought about every man I know and no one makes sense.”

Derrick thought about the weird Reverend Tom and the men at the reception, all of them ogling Bella. He didn’t have any trouble imagining anyone of them as the stalker.

Pushing away from his chest, Bella gave a shaky laugh. “I’ve ruined your shirt.”

“Nah. It’ll be fine.” He frowned at the makeup smears. “No great loss if it isn’t.”

“I need to wash my face.”

Bella disappeared down the hall. The house was too quiet. He heard the water run in the bathroom and felt like audio-voyeur. He frowned. Voyeur meant watcher, that wasn’t the word he wanted – eavesdropper, that was the word but it didn’t fit either.

He busied himself finding the decaf and starting a pot of coffee. She wasn’t back yet so he searched for the yellow pages and scanned the locksmith ads.

Locks R Us promised a fifteen-minute response 24/7. Derrick didn’t check the time but a service truck appeared by the time the coffee had brewed.

“I thought we were going to an all night hardware store.”

Bella had changed into faded jeans and an oversized t-shirt. The pretty peach dress, fancy sandals and make-up were gone. She looked younger, softer and even sexier.

“There's a rough element hanging out in screws and fittings this time of night. I’d hate to have to mess up my fancy suit fighting to protect your honor, little lady.”

She gave him a weak smile. It had been a pretty weak John Wayne imitation so that was fair.

The locksmith went to work on replacing front and back door locks.

“Would you like a cup of coffee? It’s decaf.” Bella offered.

“That’d be great.”

“How do you like it?”

“Like my wo – um, two sugars if you have it handy.”

The locksmith cast a speculative glance at Derrick. “None of my business bud, but locks aren’t going to do you a lot of good here. The whole doorframe is so weak a determined toddler could kick his way in. If you take my meaning.”

“I read you. Do the locks anyway, okay?”


Bella came back with the coffee on a damn tray. Women. Derrick didn’t think he’d ever understand them.


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