Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Phil Cole would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

New chance at an old love

By Phil Cole All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Romance

The Big Question

In the year 2029 some things will be different than they are now.  Many cars will run on a fuel not yet developed and most will have an unusual shape.  However most cars produced by Ford that year will still look like traditional automobiles and the CEO of Audi will have assured the world that an Audi will always look like an Audi.

A new health food will be dominating grocery stores and restaurants but millions of families will still be eating meat and potatoes or beans and rice every night.

Clothing will be entering a new phase by then too, but when a man dresses for an intimate dinner with his love interest he will still be wearing his best dark business suit and a plain colored tie.

So as 68-year-old Norbert Adams studied his image in the full-length mirror of the luxury suite of Manhattan's latest Skyrise hotel he noted the resemblance to his appearance in countless photos from the past 50 years.  He'd just been sorting through all the old family albums in preparation to have them upgraded into holographic images.  This incredible new invention allows a person to walk into his position, or any other, in a photo of the past and see the setting in three dimensions as he did at the time it was taken.  Norbert was bypassing the added optional feature of adding effects to simulate the sounds and smells of the event.  That was too creepy for his old-fashioned taste.

In almost every photo he saw he wore a similar suit and tie.  They started with high school prom and continued through graduations, weddings, christenings, funerals and even a bar-mitvah he had attended over the years.  There was one difference this time.  His smile was genuine. 

For most of his life the smiles with relatives, business clients and casual friends were forced.  His life had featured almost continuous failures personal and business.  All that had suddenly changed five years ago.

After too many business failures to count he took one more project, buying a foundering sporting goods store.  Norbert figured he could keep the store slightly profitable  and sell it about now for a modest profit to afford a comfortable retirement and a bit of pride at the end of his career of disaster.

Instead he was persuaded by a salesman to purchase exclusive retail rights to products connected to the new sport of wingball, then worked with the company to create additional products, an iconic mascot now being developed in every form of media and accessories and action figures.

Including online sales the company was growing by leaps and bounds, though Norbert had now opened only four additional sales outlets in very strategic places.

His latest business strategy might allow him to ease his way into luxurious retirement in a few years, and he might retire even sooner if he could spend that retirement in the loving arms of Cecile.  He thought deeply about how blissful that might be as he again studied the engagement ring.

It was a simple 14 carat band with a solitaire stone.  It looked almost exactly like the one he'd bought for.....

No, Norbert wouldn't think of that now.  He was resolved not to think of anything from more than five years ago.  Since buying that sporting goods store he was a new man.  All things from the past belonged to a different person and he could have them.  Norbert might be wrinkled and gray, but he was five years old in every way that mattered.

Cecile was the perfect woman to spend his last years with.  She was 56, a widow with no children.  She was British and well-educated, had never held a job but housewife to a businessman who peaked at about the level of wealth Norbert had now attained.  One of their houses could be a summer home, but they might spend whole seasons on the Riviera, Waikiki or other idyllic locations.

If she would only say yes tonight.

In 2029 when a woman prepared for an intimate evening with her latest love interest she will still don a little black dress, so Cecile studied her collection.  She had eight of them.  She couldn't consider the one she wore after her husband's funeral.  That left seven.  She tried the oldest first.  She'd worn it so many times to social event starting at 17.  She even was wearing it the night her late husband...

No, she couldn't think of that tonight.  That left six.

There was one more that appeared before her marriage-age 22 fresh from Eton-and that too had to be disqualified.  That left five.

Cecile first struggled to think whether any of the remaining five was associated with any memories she shouldn't think of tonight.  A few were associated with events that took place during her marriage, but nothing attached to a difficult memory.  The one she wore on New Year's Eve 1999, celebrated first on the Aleutian Islands then 22 hours later in Hawaii looked like a good choice, but it was a tad too tight now.  Her weight had barely increased in 30 years, fluctuating in the 130s instead of the 120s, but a few things had shifted since then and she suddenly recalled that dress was chosen to accentuate her figure so she could compete with the other beauties sure to be present.

In any case her choice was now limited to four little black dresses.

The littlest was a minidress bought in her early 40s (the end of her workout phase).  It was against the traditional values she'd grown up with for a woman past 50 to expose her thighs in public.  As she compared her present thighs to those in photos from 15 years earlier, she decided to stick with tradition.  That left three.

Cecile was widowed in 2019, almost 10 years earlier.  At first she thought she'd never even date again, but when persuaded to start looking a few years later her lack dress of choice was cut low and paired with a pushup bra to make that her most conspicuous feature.  It drew the worst type of men and she soon dismissed it but she'd known Norbert for months now and he was not like them.  He could handle the dress and tonight they might make love at last.  That had to be the reason he not only scheduled dinner but a room in the hotel.  He'd never spoken to her of his background, but if there was one true gentleman left alive, he was the man.

As she studied herself in the full-length mirror, she realized her best feature was no longer what it had been just a few years ago.  That left two.

The choice was hard.  One was almost worthy of being called a gown, reaching almost to the floor with a slit that topped just below the knee.  It had short sleeves, but almost to the elbow so the bit of flab in the upper arm was hard to nice.  It reached down in a v-neck that stopped at the top of the cleavage.

The other was knee-length, long-sleeved and up to the neck.  It was stiff and formal, with only white trim and buttons.  It would be hard to remove if...

She decided she wanted to remove her dress quickly tonight and if Norbert wasn't going to be aggressive she might be.  She was not expecting a proposal, but if that aspect of their relationship was resolved the proposal in the future would deserve an immediate answer.

She wore the gown.

The dinner was not much different than they might have ordered decades earlier: steak, potatoes with grave and vegetables with red wine.  They sipped the wine and chatted of art, opera, fashion and literature.  When they both declined dessert Nobert cleared his throat.

"I think this is a special evening." he began.

"I think so too" Cecile said, moving her right hand slowly to the v-neck to expose more cleavage.

Norbert slid his right hand slowly across the white tablecloth like a magician, then pulled back to reveal the ring, safely in its case.

Neither said a word for a minute.  To Cecile it was a minute, to Norbert, an eternity.

Cecile was not one for mysteries.

"Is this...a proposal?

Norbert gulped.  He'd hoped he wouldn't need to say anything, at least not until after some unambiguous form of yes.

"Yes, and I took steps to assure a perfect fit."

Cecile noted his comment, but was not ready for that tonight, not with a man whose life, more than five years past at least, was undocumented.

Not wishing to say no prematurely, or yes either, she stalled by asking about his past: family, childhood, children, connections.

Norbert stumbled and stammered, trying to avoid each painful memory, leaving an evasive path of answers that, Cecile reasoned, must be obscuring some dark secrets.

Growing restless with his answers she tried one more.  "How is it that you've never been married?"

That was the most painful question she could have asked.  He didn't want to think about any past relationship.  (There were five worth noting.)  Unable to find an answer, unwilling to tell any of the stories he summarized in two words.

"Bad luck."

Cecile was not going to marry a man who couldn't answer simple questions.  This wasn't a court martial.  Saying no tonight would not mean he couldn't try again after providing some answers.  It didn't even mean they couldn't end the night in passion if he would accept a delay.

So when she lifted her purse and stood up, it was only to let him cool off.  Her hotel was nearby.  He knew how to find it.

She kissed him on his left temple and whispered to call her when he had some real answers, not realizing how even that act was like a spear in Norbert's side.

Norbert gulped down the remaining wine, and hers too, breaking his personal record for alcohol intake in one sitting (about 18 ounces).

As nearly drunk as he could ever remember being Norbert returned to his room, removed his jacket and tie and opened his suitcase.  There, among the underwear was the pistol.  He'd never fired a gun in his life, never held a pistol until it became an offering at his store, but now he loaded the gun for the first time and prepared for the one shot that couldn't miss.

A flash of blinding light filled the room suddenly. 

 

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

: Nothing like I have ever read. Loved every single bit of it, it had the right amount of romance and humour. I would definitely be re-reading this book. It certainly captivated me, it was so difficult to put this book down.

Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Chris Rolfe: BOY!!! I sure love what Aer-Ki Jyr did with this series. IMHO he captured the essence of what stargate is all about. Thru out the Stargate stories Aer-Ki wrote Stevens and John Shepard some of the main characters in his stories are pursued by a corrupt I.O.A.. All the while Stevens is changing in...

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

shawnas26: I knocked it out in one sitting and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks for sharing! :) I'll be looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

More Recommendations

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

internathunal: I was held captive by your sense of style. I would love to see more from you. I enjoyed this immensely.

Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
Iosaghar

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."