#BlogBattle 51: Trace
Terry is a rather clumsy woman in her early thirties whose career is confectionery. She’s about to go out on a business date with an old acquaintance named Luke Blaine who is next in line to take over his father’s huge candy-making and sales empire. He’s approached her with a secretive business proposition and has convinced Terry to listen to his idea.
Terry stared at her reflection in the mirror and wondered why she even ever bothered. She rarely wore makeup, and every time she put it on she felt like a clown. With one swift move she grabbed a washcloth and scrubbed at her face, wiping away every last bit of the colorful mask.
All that was left was the waterproof mascara. It was enough for her. Of course, that meant the awkward bruise she’d given herself earlier on the door frame at the shop was noticeable again. She dabbed on a small bit of cover up just to that area and worked to make it blend in with her skin tone.
The doorbell rang. She glanced at the clock and noticed it was seven o’clock on the dot.
“Be right there!” she yelled and stood up straight while pulling down the waist of her modest, deep purple, knee-length dress. “Out of time,”she told her less than enthused reflection in the mirror.
Terry sighed. She looked okay but was sure she didn’t look anywhere near good enough to be seen in public with Luke. Whatever he had on was sure to make her look like a frumpy schoolmarm.
She slipped out of the bathroom and down the hall toward the apartment door, her heart rate picking up speed with each step. Terry took a deep breath and peered through the peep hole before undoing several deadbolts.
Once the door creaked open her breath caught in her throat. Luke looked good. Too good. She’d always thought him handsome, like one hundred thousand other women across the nation, but seeing him in person again made it difficult to hide her attraction.
Her eyes strayed to his lips–smiling lips–then quickly darted up to his eyes which held the same amused expression the corners of his mouth attempted to hide.
“Wow, Teresa, you look great. That’s a nice color on you.”
Why was he complimenting her? He couldn’t be serious. She looked like a granny compared to him in his sleek, matching dark jacket and trousers paired with a white button-down shirt that was open at the collar. He was a page out of GQ.
“Uh, yeah. Sure,” she said and reached around the door to grab her jacket.
She moved to put it on, but Luke pulled the peacoat from her grasp and held it out for her to slip into. “You never were good at taking compliments unless it had to do with your baked goods.”
“I can take a compliment . . . if it’s real,” she said, slipping her arms through the sleeves.
She froze when his hands holding the material of her jacket slipped onto her shoulders and then down her arms. I thrilling chill swept up her back and her eyes closed in a brief moment of pleasure before she suppressed such foolishness.
His gentle touch brought her around to face him. “Teresa, I never make compliments I don’t mean.”
The touch of his fingers on her upper arms and the serious tone of his voice coupled with the trace of his cologne wafting on the currents of air worked like a magic on her, dulling her senses and drooping her eyelids. She felt herself leaning forward, but the abrupt release of his hands and the sudden cool distance between them brought her back to her senses.
Her lids fluttered as reality came crashing back on her and heat burned on her cheeks. He cleared his throat then the moment was gone like a wisp of nothingness.
“The car. It’s waiting downstairs,” he said, motioning for Terry to precede him.
To cover up her embarrassment, she grabbed her little purse and pulled the door closed behind her, locking it; in the oppressive silence that hung between them the thumps of the deadbolts were deafening in her ears. This was a mistake. Definitely a mistake, she thought to herself as the last click of the bolt sounded and her jangling keys dropped into her bag.
The only good news thus far was she wasn’t drooling and she hadn’t tripped over her own feet . . . yet. The night was still young and any number of accidents could ensue. In order to take her mind off her date who wasn’t really a date she decided to focus in on the business aspect of why they must be having this meeting over dinner.
“So, Luke, what is this all about?” she asked as the two walked toward the elevator.
The dim hall lights sent a soft glow over Luke, making the natural highlights of his blond hair seem luminescent against the darker strands. It looked soft and she wondered if it was, but quickly pulled her mind back to business when he cleared his throat again.
“I’ll tell you over dinner. For now, let’s just catch up. It’s been over a year–closer to two–since we last saw each other. I-I’ve been thinking about you.”
Terry sensed the hesitation in his last statement but didn’t want to read anything in to it. When last they’d met he’d been in a relationship with that model, Noelle Renfroe, and she’d been working for his brother, Scott Blaine, as lead confectioner of his R&D department with the chocolates division of Blaine Industries.
He held the door of the elevator for her, and while stepping onto the lift she dreamed up all the possibilities behind his simple words.
“Thinking of me?” she asked. “Because of how I left the company? I mean, what happened . . . .” She shrugged, unable to formulate her thoughts over what had happened over a year and a half ago.
“I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t crossed my mind, but no. I have been keeping track of the success with your little shop.”
Ah, all business. She sighed inwardly, not sure why she was even hoping for anything else. She didn’t want anything to do with the Blaine men. Scott had said some awful things to her, things she probably deserved, but it was enough to leave an unpleasant taste in her mouth when it came to interacting with either of them.
Instead of letting herself get upset over nothing she squared her shoulders and said,”Yes, the Corner Confectionery has been doing very well. I’ve got some great help, and we’re expanding to internet sales in a couple months.”
I’ve run out of word count. I hope you’re enjoying my awkward friend named Terry. If you’re feeling meh about where this story is or isn’t headed, let me know. If you like it, let me know that, too. 🙂