Heart of Gold
Author One Scene One
Sandy sat on the bench in her usual spot, she gazed out at the ducks slashing around in the mud colored pound across from her. The park was quiet for a Monday morning. She enjoyed the moment of peace with her sunglasses lowered, as the warm spring sunshine beat down on her. This spot had quickly become her special place to think, reflect, and scan the lonely-hearts section of the newspaper. As much as she hated to admit it she longed for a date, some romance, someone to walk into her life and sweep her off her feet. Just like in the chick flick movies she was so fond of. Of course, the “insta-love” in romance novels and movies, she knew was all fictional. Every week as she picked up the free newspaper on her way to the park for her usual walk, she would hug the newspaper close to her heart hoping Mr. Right would be there for her.
She pulled out her red pen from her bag, opened the paper to page forty six, and held her breath. Chewing the inside of her lip with anticipation her brown eyes scanned the page.
“Argh too old, hmm boring, hmm not bad… I guess.”
Sandy looked down and read with interest:
Mr. Lonely: I’m not great with words but I have a kind heart and I’m looking for a special lady. I’m six foot two, brown eyes, I’d love to say I’m handsome but I’ll let you be the judge of that. I’m not perfect I have my flaws, but I know how to treat a lady. If you’d like a date get in contact.
Sandy blew out a breath of air and studied the ducks in the pound some more in deep thought. I’ll let you be the judge of that, what is he? A monster a leg missing what? She was intrigued by him, there was something about the casualness of his advert that appealed to her. At the same time, he came across as humble. She lost count of how many times she had read “I’m the man of your dreams” “Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome awaits you.”
She spotted a couple strolling hand in hand around the pound, laughing and joking to themselves, her heart sank knew she didn’t have that special someone.
Stephen opened up the paper and smiled at his advert, there he was alongside all the other self- proclaimed “Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome men.” He wished he could be so bold with a statement like that. He was receding in a bad way at just thirty two years old, he had cracked teeth, a stutter, and walked with a limp courtesy of a childhood accident. Yet, he lived in hope that he would find love, as deep down just as he had said in his advert, his heart was made of gold.
Putting his physical looks aside, he considered himself an intelligent geek. He was the head of IT for a telecoms company. He loved his job gigabytes and megabytes thrilled him. Rather than fast cars and sport.
He closed the paper and placed it neatly on the coffee table “another day another dollar” he said out loud, as he picked up his brief case, keys and headed out the door to work, limping every step of the way.
Author two Scene two
After pouring milk over her cold fruity breakfast cereal Sandy stood at her counter to eat, alone, as usual. The advert for Mr. Lonely stared at her from beneath a loud sparkling Las Vegas magnet on her fridge. She’d cut it out days before after reading it in the park. Every time she mindlessly wandered in and out of her kitchen it taunted her.
She was yet to answer any kind of an ad, although she looked through them on a regular basis. Considering herself above the whole advert scene was proving to wear thin and age wasn’t exactly on her side. Sandy loved kids and the thought of a quiet family life was something she’d always wanted. Often times she caught herself daydreaming about it while at work. Would they have her thick unmanageable hair, or astigmatism? Would they be as close to each other as she was with Shelly, he own sister?
Sandy continued to stare at the ad while the last soggy bite of artificial flavor forced a path down her throat. Her fingers fiddled with her phone. The numbers were punched in, but she hovered over the send button unable to pep talk herself into following through with the call. What would I even say, she thought? And, what if he turns me down at the mere sound of my nasally voice? Just as she was about to press the send, a call came through. Saved by the bell.
“Shelly!” Sandy answered, a little too excited for her sister’s distraction. “It’s about time you called me back.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Shelly’s voice was as dry as ever.
It didn’t matter how close they were, Shelly was still a very busy woman. She was seven years younger than Sandy, and twice as successful. She was a section manager of local survey call center. Pulling away from the office in the middle of the day wasn’t always an easy task. That’s not to mention the fact that she didn’t care for speed dating, not one little bit. Sitting at table after table with a handful of middle aged men who never took their eyes off of her cleavage wasn’t exactly her cup of tea. More than once, she’d even ran into her own employees, now that was awkward. Nonetheless she loved Sandy. Shelly understood her sister’s concern about her biological clock, so she complied in all the tedious attempts at helping her find a soul mate – whatever that was supposed to mean anyway.
“So you’re coming, right?”
“I’ll be there. Noon today?”
“Yeah.” Sandy hated it when her sister sounded uninterested. That usually meant she’d blow her off. “Noon is in an hour, Shelly. Please don’t make me do this alone.”
“I’ll be there.”
Click. The line went dead. Sandy let out a long exasperating sigh as she set down the phone. While wrestling her hair into a loose french braid, wild curls escaping in every direction, she opted to wait on calling Mr. Lonely. His unique humility was intriguing, but actually responding to it just wasn’t on her list of priorities for the morning. It could be put off one more day, besides, maybe the speed room would bring someone a little more promising than the last giant disappointment.
Sandy stood tall and gilded a hand down her baby blue sundress to iron it’s wrinkles before making her way to the shoe cabinet by her front door.
The sun beat down violently, causing Stephen to sweat nearly to the point of profuse. He’d have a full two hour lunch break, so he chose to walk to his favorite bistro rather than drive. After limping the first of four city blocks in the summer’s heat, he’d began to question the decision. Up the street, Stephen noticed a woman. He assumed her to be homeless, as she sat on the sidewalk with a dirty blanket and tattered overnight bag at her feet. She was leaning against a brick building with a restless crying baby in her arms in the mid-day summer’s heat. The sight was much for Stephen to take in, twisting a wrench in his chest.
Rather than continuing on past the shops to his left he decided to make a quick pit stop. His conscious would never let him live it down, if he didn’t at least try to find something that may help this poor woman. It was a small touristy gift shop shared with a large open conference room. Several times, he’d passed by this building on his way to lunch. The ‘Speed Room’ sign dangling in one of the windows always tugged at his curiousity, but ultimately he made the consistent choice to steer clear. It was the rain gear displayed in the gift shop that drew him inside.
Before he could grasp the handle to walk through, the door busted open. The people shoving their way out were mostly in casual dresses and suits. Some laughed and joked amongst each other, others stared at their toes to shy to mingle. Instinctively Stephen held the door for every last one of the passers through.
Two women in particular caught his eye. They were the last to pass him, and both wore the grim expression of death. Obviously the speed date session had been a bust for the two, only confirming that fact that despite his efforts with the advert, he still wasn’t ready to subject himself to so many women likely to judge his limp and stutter.
The woman in the blue sundress caught his eye as they passed. Her soft smile formed an adorable little dimple in the center of her cheek. Their eyes locked and it caused a butterfly to escaped Stephen’s chest, flying right in her direction. She was close enough for him to intake the soft scent of citrus and fresh linen that floated from the fabric of her dress.
“Hi,” she mumbled in passing, the tint of her pointy ears darkened.
“Ma.. Ma.. Ma.. Ma’am.” Stephen stuttered wholly embarrassed.
Her smile only widened and the girl who looked like the younger version of herself chuckled at his speech impediment. Stephen didn’t mind, he’d been getting this reaction his entire life. Besides the girl was young, and probably very naive.
He watched the sway of Sandy’s hips as they continued down the sidewalk and across the road toward a small parking lot.
“Did you see that guy’s eyes?” Sandy asked her sister, as they weaved past the other cars in the lot.
“Who? The one in the blue and gray button up? Now he was hot!” Shelly encouraged.
“Nope, I’m definitely not talking about that self-absorbed windbag.”
“Please tell me you’re not talking about the stutter?”
Sandy raised a brow at her little sister, who was proving herself to be even more shallow than she’s already confirmed herself to be time and time again.
“There was something there. Something in his look,” Sandy continued.
“Are you sure?” Shelly leaned against her Volvo and folded her arms across her chest. “I couldn’t get past the receding hairline to notice.”
“You know what Shelly?” A friendly smirk grew across Sandy’s face. “I think you’re even more doomed for a lonely single life than I am.”
Shelly laughed freely and tossed her long silky black hair over her shoulder.
“The only thing I’m doomed for is a flawless sugar daddy, and the perfect boob job.”
Sandy couldn’t help but to share the moment, she chuckled and tossed a teasing fist at her little sister’s shoulder. Yet in the back of her mind, the dark friendly eyes of their mystery man of chivalry burned itself a permanent mark. She wrapped her arms around Shelly and thanked her for showing up despite their entire speed date being another irritating disappointment.
They parted ways. Sandy following her sister’s Volvo in an old broken down Satern out of the parking lot and onto the main road. Before she could fully speed off, the most touching scene played out before her eyes. It was the man with the look, that look, a look that was so familiar it stuck to every breath she exhaled, yet was different from any she’d ever been given. The man who stuttered at a mere response to her hello, and held the door for her humbly.
Sandy watched closely, a tear tugging at the corner of her eye, as the man limped his way to a homeless mother sitting on the sidewalk. Sandy eased her foot from the gas petal and crept past slowly as not to miss anything. The man dug into the canvas gift store shopping bag and pulled out a new yellow outfit for the infant, as well as a large water bottle for the woman which she accepted eagerly. Gulping it down in the summer heat as if she’d never tasted such a treat. Next, the bag produced an umbrella. Sandy held her breath, as well as the welling tears.
The man with those eyes expanded the large umbrella before propping it up just right with the woman’s belongings to produce shade. Sandy’s heart melted like butter, and the moisture behind her eyes finally spilled over as the man gave the mother a hug. Finally she drove off saying to herself.
“God, I hope I can find a man that kind someday.”
For now, she’d settle for a simple phone call. She made her way home to finally respond to the ad that was plastered to her fridge. She could only hope that Mr. Lonely would have something to offer her. Something like that man with the kind dark eyes.
Kim and I are so grateful for all the feedback on our release of the first set of stories in The Suspenseful Collection anthology!
Stay tuned, tomorrow for our VOTING prompt post for the following week’s story!!! Please keep those votes coming, we are LOVING the participation!
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