by C.J. Colburn
Short Romantic Story.
|The coffee was gone, but Freddie Gallagher had to get her butt in gear if she was going to make it to her grandfathers’ farm by nine. He had called on Tuesday, asking her for help to pack up her grandmother’s things to give to the mission.
“I could use some help getting Grammies stuff packed up.”Freddie heard the sorrow in his voice. “I’m giving them to the Salvation Army, so do you think you could spare your old gramps some time.”
“Sure, I’ll be there around nine.” She had quickly agreed, and hung up the phone.
Saturday rolled around and her morning just wasn’t starting out right. She had gone to the fridge to get the canister of her favorite Starbucks brew, but it was empty. After last nights debacle of breaking up with Michael she needed a cup right now, but it wasn’t happening.
“Your to needy, Freddie.” That’s rich, she had thought, this coming from a confirmed momma’s boy. “I think we should start seeing other people, maybe take a rest.”
A rest, yeah that’s what she needed-- a good long rest. She still had those tickets to Ireland her parents bought her as a graduation present. She could always blow off work for two weeks to wander around the emerald isle. After that, she hadn’t a clue.
Maybe Michael was right and she was needy. Who knows?
Freddie heard the paper as it hit the porch. She walked to the door and opened to see Johnny Rocket piston another paper missile at her neighbors’ house.
Whack! She heard it hit the door only to clunk as it fell to the porch. She couldn’t help but smile as she walked back into the house. The day may be blistering and rainy but that kid could put a smile on her face.
“Nice arm, Rocket.” she thought, heading down the hall, unfolding the newspaper.
“Holy crap.” She staggered, leaning a hand against the wall for support. Her legs felt shaky. She didn’t know what a heart attack felt like but she was pretty sure she was having one. Oh my god, oh my god, she thought shaking the paper out. “I’m going to kill him.”
She walked into the kitchen and straight to the phone. How could Jaxson Baxter have done this to her? She couldn’t think about it now. She needed to call her gramps and reschedule.
She picked up the cordless and quickly dialed her grandfather. He picked up on the fourth ring.
“Hello.” He sounded so tired to Freddie. “Gramps did I wake you?”
Morning, to you too, Sunshine.” He laughed. “Oh, sorry it just took you a while to answer.”
She flipped the article face down, hating her editor and loathing the article.
“Well, I’m old Frederica,” He said. “These old bones aren’t as quick as they use to be.”
“Sorry about that, umm,” She hedged hoping he wouldn’t be disappointed. “Are our plans still the same for today?”
“As far as I know,” he said. “Why? Do you want to come another day?”
Yes, but she had heard the spark of hope in his voice. How could she let him down? She couldn’t, that’s how.
“No, it’s just I need to do something before I come over.” She said, not wanting to worry him. “I should be there around ten or so.”
“That’s fine; I’m just going to tinker around the farm.” He told her.
“Okay, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” She said, but thought, “or right after she murders that lying cheating no good for nothing editor of hers”. After hanging up from her grandfather she called the office.
Jaxson’s secretary answered. “He’s not in yet Freddie. Would you like to leave a message?”
The older woman sounded rushed, but Freddie ignored it.
“No, I’ll catch him at home, but thanks Georgia. Have a great weekend." Freddie didn’t waste time changing her cloths.
She hopped into her beat up Honda and head to the upper east side of the village.
When she arrived she was still brimming with outrage.
Freddie had to pull herself together or she’d end up doing something she would regret. How ironic that the last time she was here was one of the worst of her life.
She stared up at the old Victorian Mansion and sighed, resignation kicking in.
She needed to face him about what he did to her article. But there was no way in hell she was looking forward to it. She killed the ignition and climbed out of the car. She hauled ass to the front door reaching it just as it began to down pour, again.
Sopping wet she rang the doorbell and waited for Reeves, Jaxson’s oh-so-English butler to answer the door. But when the door opened she had to catch her breath.
There he stood in his entire glorious splendor, Jaxson Baxter staring down at her. The man was the very devil in every way, but Freddie grabbed a hold of her back bone and flung the paper at his chest.
“What the hell is this?” She glared up at him.
“Good morning to you to, Freddie.” He flashed her that devil smile, the one that use to make her weak, but not any more. She shoved a finger in his chest.
“Don’t even think of it, Bub.” She walked past him into a brightly lit solarium and turned, facing off with him.
“Why don’t you come in and make yourself at home.” Belligerent as ever. She noticed he was wearing nothing but blue pajama bottoms, his chest bare, and his hair wet and disheveled as if just drying off from a shower.
God the man was devastating. “Get a grip, Freddie,” she scolded her self. “Mind over matter, mind over matter.”
She kept the mantra going all the time they walked to the living room.
He offered to take her coat; she declined wrapping her arms tight around her chest.
“Why did you do it?” She rounded on him once he poured coffee and offered her one. She brushed his offer aside.
He reclined on the sofa like he owned the damn world, all the while watching her every move beneath hooded lids.
“Why do you think?” “Answer me, Riddler,” She demanded, glaring down at him. “I asked first.”
“Your article was good.” He didn’t look at her but sipped his coffee. “But the one I wrote was what our audience wants.”
“People want sensationalism?” She scoffed, dropping down into a plush blue chair. “You’ve, got to be kidding me.”
“It’s not sensationalism when it’s real.” He tried offering her the aromatic brew, she loved so much.
“But my grandparents,” She interrupted ignoring his white flag offer and continued. “I told you that story in private.”
He shrugged broad shoulders, draining the remains of his cup. “It had to be told.”
“That wasn’t your choice to make.” She stood to leave; irritated that Jaxson still had this affect on her.
He stood too, not wanting her to leave. “It’s not your choice either. Besides, I didn’t mention them by name, and no one will know it’s them.
“But..,” she stammered knowing that much was true.
“Besides every body is a sucker for a good love story.”
“Even you?” She wanted to ask, but kept quiet instead.
She hated to agree, but she understood. She was just ticked he hadn’t talked to her about it.
She turned to leave and he grabbed her hand to stop her. She turned and saw the Jaxson she remembered and still loved.
“You know I did it for you, Freddie.” He caressed the side of her cheek. “The night you told me how your grandparents met; and fell in love drinking coffee and talking through the night at a pub in Dublin.”
He stared at her lips, gently trailing his thumb across the bottom; she couldn’t pull her gaze away.
“I knew I wanted a love like that.”Freddie didn’t know what to say? So much had happened since the year of their break-up.
She wasn’t the same shy, socially inept woman that she once was. “Jaxson,” She pleaded, but he silenced her, placing a finger to her lips.
“I know a lot has changed. You’ve changed and I’ve changed, but I never stopped loving you, Freddie.”
What could she say to that? She wanted to lie and tell him that she didn’t still love him but it wasn’t true.