It was Tuesday and Jacqueline had a deadline. She had recently graduated from school and had gotten a job at the regional newspaper with some connections with national papers. She leaned over her desk, fountain pen in hand, and tried to think of how she wanted to continue the sentence. Her dark brown hair cascaded over her shoulder and she brushed it off the paper. Jacqueline always wrote long-hand first, convinced that it let her ideas flow more easily.
Jacqueline always loved the written word. There was a certain beauty, an art to the curve of the letters with their ancient origins. The way that twenty-six characters could be strung together to form something so elegant. It was something she admired in people as well, a strong formation that could reveal so many intricate things.
She pressed the antique pen to her lips and looked out the window above her desk. The clouds were white, forming
shapes that her mind sought to put to words. The wind pushed them across the sky and ruffled the leaves at the tops of the trees. The expanse of the neighborhood stretched out before
her through the antique panes of glass in the simple window. The house was old, but she had lived there her whole life. Comfort soaked into her, she loved this house.
“Jacqueline! Could you come downstairs please?” her mother called. Her voice bounced off the bead board in the stairwell. Jacqueline always wrote in the attic, even if it was a little chilly in the spring air.
“Just a minute!” she answered back. She scribbled down a few thoughts to come back to when she came back upstairs. She pulled her sweater more tightly around her as she headed downstairs to see what her mother needed. Mother was standing in the hallway, a warm smile on her face. “I can only help out for a moment. I have work that needs to be in by tonight.”
“That’s all right, dear, but I thought you’d like to meet the new neighbor.”
There was something about the way her mother smiled that made Jacqueline suspicious. She raised an eyebrow and her mother tried to hide, unsuccessfully, a mischievous smile. “Mother! I told you I don’t have time to date!”
“Just come meet him.” Her mother took her gently by the elbow and steered her toward the front porch. Jacqueline could hear her father’s rumbling voice just beyond the screen door. Another male voice spoke back.
Her mother practically thrust her out the door, following close on her heels so Jacqueline could not make a hasty retreat back indoors.
“Ah, Jacqueline, meet Roger Dudley. He just moved nearby. Roger, this is my daughter, Jacqueline.”
She had been expecting someone plain, her mother tended to foist any unsuspecting unmarried man towards Jacqueline. However, Roger was hardly plain at all. He had
slick blond hair and was wearing a dark brown sweater that deepened the brown of his eyes so that they looked nearly
black. He smiled at her and she couldn’t look away. He stretched out a hand and she took it.
“Nice to meet you, Jacqueline.” She nodded.
It took no time at all to fall in love with Roger Dudley.