I was a single, twenty-four-year-old woman and I lived on my own. I wasn’t married, nor did I have any children. My mother and father lived about twenty minutes away from my quaint, little home but I didn’t have any siblings so I had lunch with my parents every Sunday. I would always accompany my family to church on Sunday mornings, and we would drop off a fresh bouquet of gerbera daisies and tulips to my grandmother’s grave afterwards.
It was nice to have such a close relationship with my parents. I could rely on them for absolutely anything, and whilst growing up, I was considered a ‘daddy’s girl’. He taught me how things from changing my oil to changing a flat tire so I’d be prepared if I needed to, but he would end up doing it for me anyways no matter my protests.
Always overprotective when it came to his only daughter left me without dating anyone in high school. My mother tried to reason with him considering they have been together since she was fifteen and he was seventeen, but nevertheless the situation was always different. Thus, leaving me with little to no experience with men.
I woke up to the morning light shining brightly through my lavender drapes in my bedroom. It was a peaceful Friday morning; I didn’t have much to do today. School was out for a three day weekend. I taught fifth grade at Springsburg Elementary School, and today was my first day off of the year I never took a sick day. Nothing bad ever seemed to happen in my cute little town. Kids could play at the park freely, women could go grocery shopping without their husbands and not fret whilst walking in the parking lot in the late evening. It seemed like a cookie cutter town and I was more than thankful to have been raised here.
The warmth of the sun enveloped my fair, olive skin when I pulled the drapes back. The petunias sitting in my windowsill reached their petals towards the sun, and I walked to the kitchen to get a pitcher of water to water the flowers. Afterward, I went to my restroom to take a quick shower before I left for town. My coconut sugar scrub kept my skin soft and exfoliated, clean from any blemishes.
Thankfully my father installed a water softener into my shower which made my long brown hair silky smooth. When I was finished, I dried off, wrapped my soft, white towel around my body, and walked over to my closet. My wardrobe consisted of elegant dresses and shoes I had bought from thrift stores. A teacher’s salary didn’t pay much, but it provided me with what I needed, and being able to teach ‘my kids’ five days of the week was a true blessing.
I rummaged through my closet and found my favorite dress, a blue button-down dress with white polka dots. It had spaghetti straps and fell right below my knees. I threw on my OCA low off white canvas sneakers to complete my outfit, which matched this beautiful spring day perfectly. I wasn’t big on wearing makeup; my mother always told me I didn’t need it, and to let my freckles dance across my nose and cheeks freely.
My Aunt Bethany was the one to help me fix my hair and makeup for special occasions or whenever I got to spend the night with her on holidays. She was a few years younger than my mother and didn’t seem to follow her in modesty. Her thick blonde hair rested on her shoulders in curls and she always had a full face of makeup done, which made her green eyes really pop.
The rays from the sun made the appearance of my freckles more apparent, so I just applied some mascara, a light amount of blush, and nude lipstick. My waist-length brown hair cascaded down my back in long, natural loose curls. Just to keep it out of my face, I pulled it into a side braid and left a few loose curls around the edge of my face.
Just as I was walking towards the door to exit my bedroom, I saw a familiar golden ray sparkle from my opened jewelry box and stopped in my tacks. Oh shoot, I almost forgot. I picked up the thin chain and admired how it looked against my skin. Good thing I pulled my hair back. I drew the necklace around my neck and clasped it shut. The cross hanging from the chain rested just an inch below my collar bone, and now I was good to go.
I grabbed my cell phone, my white crossbody purse, a brown wicker basket, and left my house to head to the farmers market. It was just three blocks from my house, so I decided to walk. There was a cool breeze, and the trees on the edge of the sidewalk casted a vast shade onto the hot concrete. My shoes tapped against the sidewalk as I made my way passed the neighboring houses and little shops along my street. Windows were decorated with different kinds of flowers, in various colors, giving life to the scenery. Old couples were sitting on the benches outside of the coffee shop called ‘Smooth Brew’ drinking their cups of what I could assume was black coffee while they read today’s news paper. The aroma of the fresh coffee spilled outside for those passing by, making it hard not to stop for a cup.
I strolled into the town’s farmers market to pick up some fresh produce for the weekly Sunday lunch I shared with my parents. Red peppers, zucchini, onions, cherry tomatoes, limes, corn, cilantro, and garlic cloves filled my basket to make my mother’s favorite dish: summer pasta salad with zucchini, corn and cilantro pesto. All three of us took turns deciding what would be the meal for each Sunday, but this week she said ‘surprise me’, so what a better way than her favorite?
I knew my father just couldn’t resist needing to have dessert, and my grandmother’s cookbook rested on my countertop at home inspiring me on what to bake. I reached out to grab some shiny, red apples, to make a cinnamon apple pie from scratch when my fingers brushed against a man’s hand. Sparks shot up my fingertips just from this miniscule connection and I felt my cheeks blush from embarrassment. Why would something so simple like that affect me?
“Excuse me, miss…” he said openly as I retracted my hand.
“Claire and you are mister?” I replied softly, only assuming he wanted my name. He reached his hand out, and I kindly took it. I respected those with good mannerisms and he clearly practiced them often.
“Mr. Belmonte, but you can call me Clayton, Miss Claire,” he said, slowly pulling my hand to his lips, and kissed the top of my hand gently. I felt my cheeks grow rosy, and I didn’t know whether I should be flattered or embarrassed. My mother always taught me to act like a lady, not promiscuous like the other girls in my class growing up, so I didn’t get much attention from men like the cheerleaders had at school.
This man was just oh so handsome, nearly gorgeous for a man to be, and charming as ever. His dark, brown, almost black, hair was styled to perfection on top of his head. He had the most enchanting baby blue eyes that sparkled in the sunlight, and a dashing smile. His smile transformed into a mouthwatering smirk, displaying the dimples that resided in the corners of his mouth. Clayton was dressed from head to toe in a fitted blue suit that only enhanced the shade of his irises. He towered a few inches above my 5’5 frame but I still felt small standing before him. My knees felt wobbly from the remaining heat his lips left on my hand.
We continued to chat for a short while as he picked up the rest of his groceries. Turns out, he’s an investment banker, and he’s only lived here for a few months now. We were walking along the side of the booths full of vegetables and fruits, amongst other things when he pulled me off to the side. The sudden action alarmed me, but I shortly caught my breath feeling compelled towards comfort as he looked at me.
“Would you like to go get a cup of coffee with me dear? Don’t worry, I’ll act friendly,” he said, giving me a wink. I felt goosebumps scatter across my arms, and the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up at his offer. His eyes looked as though they became menacing and a tiny hint of a smirk reappeared in the corner of his plump lips, but I was intrigued by this man. I just gave a nod in response to his request, and looked away, feeling my breath get caught in my throat.
“Use your words, darling,” he replied, looking down at me. He brought his finger underneath my chin, motioning my gaze back towards his.
“Yes, I’d like that very much,” I bounced lightly on the balls of my feet out of a nervous habit.
“Good. I’ll pick you up at six o’clock tonight then,” he said in a velvet tone, tucking one of my stray curls behind my ear. With that, I gave him my address, bade him goodbye, and walked home. I felt giddy butterflies the entire time I strolled back thinking about how my first date would go. Is that what this was? Could I call this a date? I suppose tonight will tell, but nonetheless, I was excited.
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