Archive | December 2020

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 40

Lubbock, Texas. 2000

Janet lay staring at the ceiling. The buzzing in her ears had settled into a drone. The beeping of equipment played a high pitched counterpoint. She wondered, absently, why medical equipment played such a boring, annoying tune. The pitch alone was enough to set her teeth on edge.

The door opened with a thump and a young, dark haired nurse stood in the semi-darkness, silhouetted by the light of the corridor. “Hi, Mrs. Macy. I’m Flora. I need to click on the light and check vitals.”

“Call me Janet. After tonight, I’m not Mrs. Macy anymore.”

The light above the bed flickered on. She squinted, the dim illumination causing auras. The young woman checked the machines, writing down the data. Once that was done, she turned to Janet with a sad smile.

“How’s your head?” Her strong fingers probed the dressing gently.

Janet hissed in pain.

“Rate your pain for me, one being….”

“I know the scale, dear. A glance my my chart shows you that. Six.” She signed. “But it’s not all physical.”

“I can imagine. I’m so sorry. Want to talk about it?”

“It’s a long story.”

Flora made a note and sat on the edge of the bed. “I’ve got all night. Tell me.”

“I really loved him once. At least, I thought I did. But there was always Diego….”

Flora did something that made the pain subside a little. “Tell me about Diego.”

“He was beautiful. I know that’s a weird way to describe a man, but he was. Dark, chiseled, sculpted, buff…. Very well equipped. And he knew how to use it.”

“He sounds dreamy.”

“He was an Adonis. We had to snatch our moments. After my parents moved, I stayed. We had a magical school year. Then it was over and I had to move. It tore us up. We’d talk on the phone, write letters. Sometimes, we’d talk to a tape and send that. It helped a little. That fall, after he graduated, he went in the Navy. The letters were less frequent. But there was always news through Ramona. He loved me, he missed me…. I clung to that news with both hands. It’s all that saw me through.”

“Did you get back together?” Flora leaned forward expectantly.

“Oh, yes, but not for several years. By that time, I’d met and married Tex— That’s another lifetime—another story. I loved him once….”

“Tell me how you met. I love stories of how people get together.”

Janet lay back, remembering. “It was 1979, right here in town. I was going to Texas Tech….”

Lubbock, Texas. Summer of 1979

The hot west Texas wind had a storm in it. Janet walked across the campus to the cool confines of the library. She inhaled deeply when she got inside, the chill washing over her. Sounds of the indoor fountain greeted her. This was why she came here. The music of the fountain helped her relax. She found a chair and dropped her backpack. Digging out a book, she noticed a man staring at her from the other side.

Flipping open the book, Vonnegut’s Slapstick, she made it clear she was there to read, not encourage conversation. She was sick of men hitting on her. She’d grown from an attractive teenager to a sultry, mocha skinned beauty, over the last few years. Men couldn’t seem to leave her alone. Sometimes, she went out, but it was rare. Memories of Diego kept her from succumbing to their more dubious charms.

Someone sat in the chair to her right. His scent drifted to her nose. He smelled like outdoors and hot, sexy male. Janet squirmed uncomfortably, hiding it as shifting her position in the chair.

“Vonnegut fan, huh?” He had a deep, husky voice laced with an Southeast Texas twang, not the West Texas drawl. “I was a little disappointed with that one. I have to say Slaughterhouse-Five was my favorite.”

She glanced at him over the top of the book. He wasn’t looking at her, he was staring at the fountain.

“As far as war books, I found Catch-22 much more interesting. But I think Heller had some serious problems….”

“Did you want something?” Janet tried to keep her voice level, neutral, but the more she looked at him, the more interesting he became.

“Yeah. A chance to go out with you.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from The Lady in the Purple Hat ~ A Love Under the Sun Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

Things were just getting cranked up, as it was only about 10:00. Dozens of beautiful, nubile young women crowded the dance floor, gyrating to the fast club music. Several of them were dancing together, so he walked close. One of them crooked her finger at him, a sultry Latina with long, black hair and dark eyes, the opposite of Cassie in every way. She drew him into the group. They all danced with him, rubbing their supple bodies invitingly against him. He had never used the clubs as his own personal dating service, though many of the men had—and some of the women. He’d kept to one woman, but she didn’t want him anymore—if she ever had.

When the music ended, the lovely Latina tipped her head so he would join her at the bar. He bought them each a drink, chatting up the bartender, who was a pal of his.

“You seem very familiar with him,” the woman said, stirring her drink with one long, red nailed finger.

“Yeah. We go back a few years.”

“You take this ship a lot, then?”

“Yes. You might say that.”

“You’re being coy,” she teased. “I’m the one who’s supposed to play hard to get.”

He chuckled, taking a sip of his drink.

“You look like a man who’s in pain. And I don’t mean from the bruised up face.”

“I got dumped about ten minutes ago.”

Her face fell. “That’s awful! Anita,” she said, holding out her hand.

“Beau.” He kissed her fingers, then turned her hand over, kissing her palm.

Anita shivered, her eyes widening with pleasure. “Why did you get dumped?”

“The lady didn’t care as much as I did. I had hopes for more, but I pinned them on the wrong woman.”

“Well, that sucks. I’m on my honeymoon.”

Beau pulled his hand away, but she took it once more, showing him that her left ring finger was bare.

“He decided he cared more about the DJ’s girlfriend, than he did me. And the caterer, and all three bridesmaids….”

“What a dick,” he said, truly disgusted by the man’s behavior. “How could he do that to a beautiful woman like you?”

“No clue. How could she do that to a handsome, jacked guy like you?”

“Been asking myself that, too.”

“You know what we both need?”

“What’s that?”

“Another dance. Then we need some very hot, meaningless sex with a total stranger.”

Beau chuckled seductively. “Or…. We could skip the dance….”

“We could. My place or yours?”

“Yours is closer.”

“You don’t know where I’m staying.”

“But I know where I am, and I bet you’re closer.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 39

Janet’s family moves. Shortly after, she and her friends head to the music competition. She’s glad for the spotlight, because she can’t see the audience.

In the middle, the chorus did a short instrumental, imitating guitar, bass and drums. Janet, Ramona and Bunny swayed, dancing to the music. Once again, their voices joined the others as the song wound to a close.

The song finished and silence followed. No one clapped, there was nothing. For the space of three surprised breaths, no one did anything. Janet and the others panicked. Had it been that bad?

Suddenly, the judges stood, clapping and smiling. The entire auditorium rose to its collective feet, cheering and applauding loudly. Pandemonium followed for several minutes. Finally, the MC came out of stage and got the attention of everyone. The room quieted eventually and everyone sat down.

“That concludes today’s contest. The judges will convene to make their choices. We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes.”

The chorus filed off the stage and the auditorium emptied slowly. Everywhere they went during the break, people were talking about them. Some furtively, as if jealous, the rest obviously impressed. Janet and her friends were in the bathroom. Standing by the sinks, they were surprised when girls from another chorus came up to them.

“Weren’t you the ones singing just now?” one girl said.

“Yes, that was us,” Bunny replied, obviously worried they were going to get in a fight.

“That was so fabulous!” the girl said.

The others joined in, congratulating them.

“If you don’t get first place, it will be totally wrong,” the girl concluded.

“Thank you. Your group was really good too,” Janet said, glad she could say that honestly.

“I thought we had a chance at winning,” the other girl said. “But you really deserve it.”

“Thank you. I hope you place too.”

The lights blinked, calling them back to the auditorium. They filed back in, taking their places. The judges were on stage with the MC. All of them were smiling. The MC stepped forward. He introduced the judges and handed the microphone to the leading judge. He smiled and took the microphone.

“Let me say first that this was one of the best contests I’ve ever judged. You’ve obviously worked very hard. With that being said, it was very difficult making the final choices.”

Each judge took a category, giving the results. Starting with Honorary Mention, they worked their way up. Finally, the head judge took the microphone.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt as to who got first place,” he said, making eye contact with Janet. “I wanted to tell this year’s winners that was the most unique performance I’ve ever heard. First place goes to Scottsbluff Senior High School!”

The entire auditorium leaped to its feet, clapping and cheering as Mr. Carter went on stage to take the award. A substantial check went along with the huge trophy.

The judge handed Mr. Carter the microphone. “I want to thank all of you for your kind words and compliments. The competition this year was fierce, and I’m proud to be part of this. The ones who really earned and deserve this award, are my students. This was their idea, they came up with the parts and perfected them. I simply stood back in awe.” He clapped for his students.

Finally, the noise died down and everyone went back to their motel rooms before dinner. Thrilled and exhausted, Janet and the others got on their bus.

“Wait until I tell Mom,” Ramona said. “She’ll be so proud!”

“That was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Diego declared loudly. “Only one other was better,” he added very quietly to Janet.

“Only one,” she agreed.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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