Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)
TITLE: Heart Insurance
By Marita Vandertogt
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She stepped off the bus, and listened to the woosh of the door close behind her. It pulled away, leaving her standing in the night air with just a suitcase and an empty brown paper lunch bag. Her dad had handed it to her on the way out the door, telling her to be careful on the bus. That it was a long ride back to the city, and not to talk to strangers. She was 21, not 12, she’d called out as she blew him a kiss on the way out the door. But she had talked to a stranger, and shared her brown bag lunch with him, and exchanged phone numbers. He was going on to the next town, and now, standing alone in the early evening air, she wondered if she’d done the right thing. Sometimes her father was right. Mostly he wasn’t.
She walked into the depot to call a cab. When she finally opened her apartment door, the first thing she saw was the flashing red light indicating a message on her phone. She dropped the bag and rushed over to pick it up, her heart beating a little faster, the vision of his black haired good looks coming into her mind again. Not that it had left her thoughts for very long. The message was from her father. “Call me when you get in. I want to make sure you got home safely.” Click.
She put the phone down and walked over to the window. See, this is what it’s like, she told herself, pulling the curtains shut. This is what love at first sight is all about. She never believed in it before tonight.
The next morning, she could hear the phone ring from her bedroom, and raced to answer it.
“You didn’t call me last night to let me know you were okay.” Her father’s voice was anxious, his tone severe.
“Sorry dad,” was all she said. “I’m okay” And hung up.
That afternoon she put on the jacket she wore on the bus and found the folded paper with his number in the pocket. She knew it was too soon, but she picked up the receiver and fingered the numbers on the key pad.
“Well Lord,” she said in a kind of anxious prayer. “Should I, or shouldn’t I? I know it’s too soon and I really don’t know anything about him.”
Later that evening, it finally did ring.
“Hello,” the voice on the other end was deep, smooth, just as she remembered it in the dim light of the bus.
“Hello,” she said, a feeling of shyness taking over.
“I hope it’s not too soon to call,” his voice was apologetic. She could almost see his eyebrows raised in a little boy like question for approval.
“Not at all,” she laughed, tossing her blonde hair and catching her reflection in the mirror. Her already pink cheeks were pinker, and the blue eyes shone with a little extra glow.
“In fact, I was hoping you’d call.” She wasn’t sure if the confession was appropriate, but she didn’t care.
“Great,” he said, and she could sense the broad white smile of his mouth. “So when do we get together?”
Her heart was banging now in her ears.
“I’m free tonight,” she said, primping her hair in the mirror. She knew she looked good.
“Then tonight it is.”
Once she hung up the phone, she took a moment to panic, then flew around the tiny apartment in a flurry of getting ready. They were meeting at the coffee shop around the corner from where she lived.
She sat and waited, tapping her foot on the floor, afraid that maybe he wouldn’t show. He was too good to be true anyway, she started to think, just as the door opened and in he walked, dressed in a suit and tie, and briefcase in his hand.
“Good to see you again,” he smiled, big like she remembered.
“Yes,” she said, eyeing the briefcase.
“Why don’t we grab a coffee,” he said, “and then we can start looking over which type of policy would suit you best.”
“Of course,” her smile was forced. So he was an insurance salesman with a very smooth line.
“Well dad,” she thought, “I guess you were right to warn me to stay safe. But you never mentioned anything about the potential dangers to the heart.
She listened as he spoke, sipping her coffee and nodding her head.
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