Monday, December 14, 2015

Excerpt -- Women of a Certain Demographic

Cathryn and Steve

    Cathryn shrugged into her old pea coat. Steve smiled when he saw her on the stoop.
    Cathryn tripped going down the steps. Devastatingly handsome, his dark hair was cut military style, and his green eyes always seemed to be smiling. Straight white teeth hid behind sensuous full lips, and when he smiled, he had a little dimple. He must have a thousand women flocking to his side whenever he went out. She climbed up the step-side into the truck.
    “You clean up pretty good there, Parker,” Steve said.
    “Thanks. Not so bad yourself.” He’d changed out of his work clothes. His legs were encased in super faded Levis, and his broad shoulders nearly split the seams of the black leather motorcycle jacket he wore.
    “So, where do you feel like going?” he asked as he backed out of the driveway.
    “This is your adventure,” Cathryn said. “I’m just along for the ride.”
    “My kind of woman. I like that.” He winked at her.
     Cathryn’s stomach did a little flip. She had to remember he was not interested in her in that way. This was just a casual cup of coffee.
     Steve headed toward Brown University. “So, you’re a journalist.”
     Cathryn nodded. “Yeah. More or less. I was fired from my last job.” Might as well get that out of the way.
     “Yeah, Don told me. That was a raw deal. I read the article. I didn’t think it was all that bad.”
     “You read that article?” Cathryn was flabbergasted.
     “Yeah. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t think it warranted termination. Senator Stewart’s been jacking around on his wife for years. Everyone knows it.”
     “Yeah, everyone except his wife.” Cathryn remained angry about the termination. Other reporters had scooped far more devastating stories, but there was nothing she could do about it.
     “Well, she knows it now,” Steve said. “She filed for divorce.”
     Cathryn turned wide eyes to Steve. “How do you know that?”
     “It was all over the news a couple of weeks ago. You didn’t see it? They even mentioned the fact the Times broke the story.”
     “Huh. I haven’t watched the news since I’ve been home. I figured that if I wasn’t writing it, I didn’t have to bother with it anymore.” That much was true. She wanted to put the past behind her.
     “Your mother told me you’re working for Providence Woman now. How’s that going?” He turned the truck toward Gano Street.
     “Pretty well, I guess. I just started writing a three part series.”
     “Oh yeah. What about?”
     “What women want in a man.”
     Steve laughed. “That’s easy. A nice house with a white picket fence, two point five kids, vacations at the beach, and a station wagon.”
     Cathryn smiled. “Maybe in nineteen sixty. I’m afraid that doesn’t cut it in today’s society.”
     “So what do women want?”
     “I don’t really know. I haven’t gotten that far yet. My girlfriend Debbie thinks most women want stability and trustworthiness.”
     “Admirable qualities.” Steve headed over the bridge to East Providence. “What do you want in a man?”
     “Couldn’t tell you. Gave them up. They’re too much trouble.” She smiled at him.
     “You been married?” Steve asked.
     “No. You?”
     “Nope. Had a fiancée once, but she decided she didn’t want to live the rest of her life with a cripple.”
      “Wow. That’s rude.”
     “Tell me about it. I guess it was better to find out then than after the wedding.”

       Steve smiled. “So, to continue the interrogation, where’d you go to school?”
     “Washington State,” Cathryn said.
     “Kind of far isn’t it?”
     “I studied at the Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism.” She almost said I needed to get away from my mother, but decided against it. No sense bringing that up.
     “Where’d you go after that?”
     “Des Moines. The Register. Then I did a stint in DC with the Times until they let me go. What about you? Did you go to school?”
     “Joined the Army after graduation. Did active duty for three years and then signed up for the Rangers. Did six years with the 75th until I was blown up. After I got my life back, I went to RIC and then URI for my Master’s.”
     “Wow. You have your Master’s degree? In what?”
     “You sound surprised.”
     “No. Kind of. I don’t know. I just thought you were a grease monkey. Donny never mentioned you were smart.” That did not come out right.
     “Just so you know I am a body man, babe. No grease under these fingernails.” He raised his hand.      “I have a B.S. and a Master’s in accounting. Working on my CPA license.”
     “Holy crap. I never would have guessed.”
     “Did you think I was stupid?” Steve asked.
     “No, of course not. You just don’t look like a math nerd.”
     “Why do you think me and the Donald stayed friends all these years? That’s who we are. Just a couple of nerds.”
     Cathryn shook her head. “I guess I need to reevaluate what nerds are supposed to look like.”
     He slipped his hand into his jacket, pulled out a pair of tortoise shell colored reading glasses, and slipped them on. He turned to her. “There. That any better?”

    A slow hum filled the pit of her stomach. If she thought he was gorgeous before, the glasses made him hot. Cathryn swallowed. “Yup. Total nerd now.”

     Cathryn shook her head. “Your girlfriend is one lucky duck.”
     “I don’t have one.”
     “Why don’t you have a girlfriend? You’re practically perfect.”
     “Practically?” Steve asked.
     “Okay, so totally perfect,” Cathryn amended with a smile.
    “I haven’t met anyone I want to spend time with. Most women don’t want to get involved because of my disability.”
     “Well, that’s stupid.”
     “I can’t dance.”
      Cathryn laughed. “I haven’t danced since the prom.”

     “Come to think of it neither have I.”

All Right Reserved
Robynne Rand (c) 2015

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