Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daria's Dating Dilemma, Part Six

Daria’s Dating Dilemma, Part Six
When we left Daria on November 26th, she was sitting in the rain wondering if things would ever go right…

I sat in the rain until a passerby threw a dollar at me. Now I was reduced to looking like a street beggar. I stood quickly, hurling the wet wad at the person’s head, and shouting incoherently. Sure it made me look crazier, but I was irate. My phone was gone, my first good date was ruined, and now my lawyer friend probably thought I was a loser. What else could go wrong?
Deciding my pity party needed to be mobile, I started walking along the sidewalk. Home wasn’t a far and warm, clean clothes awaited me. Muttering to myself, I negotiated the streets and people racing out of the rain. The storm came harder and faster, soaking me to the skin in record time and setting me to shivering.
I stopped at the corner one block from home when a different large truck hit the puddle in front of me. I cried out as a deluge of muddy water and debris washed me onto my ass at the curb. The driver of the truck didn’t even slow down, the bastard. Wiping the water off my face, I shook my hands angrily and dug my purse out of the street. I was soaked and dirty, my purse was ruined—its contents probably destroyed as well—and it wasn’t even noon yet. My patience was stretched to the limit. The anger fueled my pace and I finished the trip in record time. Beat that Patrick Makau.
Digging my wet keys from the ruined clutch, I let myself in and stripped inside the door. I threw the clothes on the tile for washing or discarding—I hadn’t decided which. I carried my purse into the kitchen and dumped everything in the sink. I’d take care of it later. First, I wanted a hot shower and a pint of ice cream.  And, yes, I’d call off work to spend a day shut in with emotional chick flicks, Ben, and Jerry.

Two days later and I’d replaced my phone, the contents of my purse, and was working on my pride. There were no messages from anyone on my new cell or my home phone. Queen of horror dates strikes again, I silently cheered watching the elevator tick off floors. I strode off intent on finding my cube and hiding inside until the clock struck five. I stopped short as the crowd around my workspace registered in my frazzled mind.
“Great, I’m probably being fired on top of things,” I mumbled and pushed my way past them.
My purse, work bag, and jaw hit the floor in surprise. There, on MY desk, were two enormous flower arrangements. Not the ‘cheap bought at a gas station’ kind, but the ‘in the vase and I paid a fortune for hand delivery’ kind. From my vantage point, I was sure at least one was authentic crystal. I stared frozen in place for at least ten minutes while my gossiping co-workers took in every nuance of my reaction. Great, I’d be the office tramp by lunch.
Ignoring them, I moved into my area and mentally slammed the door. Quickly, I grabbed the note cards from each bouquet and shoved them in my bag to read once the drama calmed down. I continued ignoring the questions and whispers while I logged into my workstation and reviewed the stack of messages from the receptionist. Apparently things had been busy while I’d been out on my day off.
As the clock chimed starting time, the boss cajoled everyone away to their own office pens before heading back to mine. “Daria, I sincerely hope these flowers are not the reason you were out sick yesterday?”
I merely looked up at her. My eyes were still red and puffy from a day of crying. I was also sure the end of my nose was dry and blotchy. I looked like I’d had the cold I lied about. “Of course not and I apologize I had to call off. I’m not sure where the flowers came from. Oh, and I’m feeling better now.” The ‘thanks for asking, bitch’ was silent.
The boss nodded and walked away as I breathed a sigh of relief. Pulling the cards free from my bag, I glanced at each quickly. The first was a typed message from Keith, presumably ordered while he was in Europe.
I tried calling but didn’t get an answer. Wanted to let you know there are no hard feelings and I look forward to talking when I return next week.
“Nice, thank you broken phone,” I sarcastically grumbled and grabbed for the other. It unexpectedly was from Marcus.
Sorry I missed you the other day. I was out grabbing breakfast. As your representation, I suggest discussing my fee over dinner. Please call to schedule a time.
I giggled, swallowing the full out laugh threatening to spill over. To anyone else, it would be a very professional note. Knowing Marcus as I did, it was full of humor and innuendo. It was just the thing to cheer me up. I jotted notes in my planner to attempt to call each after work.
The rest of work passed in a blur of activity. Not used to me taking a sick day, several clients had panicked when unable to reach me the day before. One in particular had left no less than twelve messages. Toward the end of the stack, the receptionist had stopped writing her number or message all together. It had also taken an hour to convince the woman I was not gravely ill or anywhere near death’s door. Ironically, the woman chastised me for not taking more time to myself after giving me a page long list of items to be taken care of.
Standing to grab my coat and debating picking up another pint of ice cream, I looked around my office floor and sighed. Some days, I really wanted to chew my way out of our gopher den. Hopefully, my good work would be noticed eventually and I could move up the food chain. I was currently lodged solidly in the bopped-on-the-head department. I chuckled as I pictured a rubber mallet striking each cranium that emerged over the partition walls.

Grinning still as I let myself into my home, the flashing message light caught my attention. I had three messages. It was an incredible occurrence, I usually managed one message a week and it was from my parents. Their message usually entailed making sure I was alive, highlighting other people’s successes, and not so casually asking if I’d made any progress in life. I dropped my bags into the chair and raced over to press the button.
I leaned on the counter as the messages played. The first was from Pat wanting to make sure I had survived okay. I could tell by the whispered tone, he was again hiding from his wife to call me. He quickly added he’d given Keith my home number before the call abruptly disconnected. The second message was from Marcus, wanting to know if I received his professional package and if I had any plans this evening. The third was from Keith, a little fuzzy because of the connection. I could barely make anything out —something about his meetings going well and such. I saved all three just as proof I could receive calls.
Grabbing the handset free, I called Marcus back and chatted while changing. The rustle of clothes must have transmitted over the line. He mentioned it with a joke of course and sent me into a fit of laughter.
“It’s so good to hear you laugh at the end of a long day, Daria.” Marcus’ voice drifted across the quiet and I was speechless. “So, what were you thinking for dinner?”
“Pizza and a movie,” I joked, tossing a shirt over my head and zipping up my jeans.
“Funny, that’s just what I was thinking.”
My response to his odd reply was cut off by the door bell ringing. He had already disconnected the call. Racing back to the front room, I threw open the door and stared at him. Marcus stood on my steps holding a pizza from the best pie shop in town and a six pack of beer.
I tried to lean casually against my door frame. “Funny, mister, I don’t remember ordering a pizza. I’m afraid I’m not going to pay you for the pie.”
He smiled wide, his perfect teeth showing. “That’s a shame, ma’am. I’m pretty sure there’s a copy of Shaun of the Dead in my jacket.”
“I own it,” I shrugged, holding back laughter.
He stepped closer. “I think the other pocket has Princess Bride and Hershey caramel Kisses,” he whispered.
“Why didn’t you say so in the first place?” I moved out of the way and motioned him inside with a frenzied wave.
We both laughed as we moved toward the kitchen. He sat the goodies out on the counter while I wrangled up plates and glasses. Serving up the pizza, beer, and grabbing the bag of Kisses for later, I motioned him into my living room. My entertainment area wasn’t super high-tech but it was good quality. When you find yourself alone most Saturday nights, it pays to have a great home theatre set-up and forgiving neighbors.
We ate while watching Shaun of the Dead and quoting lines along with the movie. Once stuffed, I leaned into him while contemplating the bag of Kisses. His arm silently slipped around my shoulders and we sat in silence until the movie ended. He rose, brought out two more beers, and studied the DVD player.
“So, should I put in Princess Bride?” Marcus asked with a wink.
“Sure, why not?” I answered with a shrug.
“As you wish…”His smiled melted my heart faster than Kisses over an open flame.
My voice was huskier than I ever remembered hearing it before.  “Come snuggle and keep me safe from the ROUS’s.” I patted the cushion next to me and eagerly cuddled into his body when he complied. I truly believe it’s the only occasion I didn’t pay any attention to my favorite movie.
Just when the action in my living room was about to surpass the action on the screen for the first time in recorded history, the phone rang interrupting the moment. I let the machine catch it, forgetting I had turned the volume up earlier. Keith’s voice echoed through my open downstairs floor plan.
“Should be home tomorrow, would love to see you again. You still owe me a coffee.”
Rule number nine: Expect the unexpected, otherwise known as 'unplug the phone with you have a date over' rule.
I blushed red hot as Marcus lowered my shirt and looked at me oddly. Hell, there went another good date. He’d probably storm out and never return. Worse, he’d probably send me a huge legal bill the next morning. I sat there like a moron waiting to hear the worst.
Marcus’ expression took on a sexy, dangerous look. “Well, I guess I have twenty four hours to make you hate the thought of coffee…”
Rule number ten: See rule number nine and… 
Oh to hell with the rules…

Digital Digest is being changed to better serve our readers. But Daria’s mishaps and adventures are far from over! Watch for the full Daria novel to be available in 2012, with glimpses available on my blog and thank you for reading!

~Jennifer Feuerstein~

Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Feuerstein
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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