A lost love returns home to find her true love. 2nd place in Heart's Afire Contest 2018
It's been 25 years since she had even thought about dating, but now that her divorce was final, she could move forward with her life. Daisy's sisters had been bugging her to start dating again, but because of all of the dating horror stories she had been hearing from some of the girls at work, she found herself hesitant.
Daisy had loved being married. Loved it, that is until her husband Joe decided she wasn't enough for him and told her he wanted to start "playing the field." "I need variety, Sweet Cheeks," he boldly announced one day to her complete surprise. What's this "Sweet Cheeks" biz? I'll give him variety, all he wants! she remembered thinking. "He's not ever going to hold these sweet cheeks again!" she angrily blurted out as she recalled how Joe's words had hurt her.
But now she was free. To enjoy peace and quiet. To start pampering herself instead of an ungrateful jerk. The kids were grown and in college, so Daisy could do whatever she wanted with the rest of her life. She just needed to decide what that was going to be.
As Daisy started cooking her famous Chicken Fettuccine for dinner, her mind began wandering to things that she had wanted to do before she started having children. When Daisy and Joe first married, they talked about doing so many things, but all those things kept being put on the back burner.
"Maybe I'll take a class or two, she thought." That would keep her busy, and everyone else, hopefully, would leave her alone about dating. Learning to do a variety of ballroom dances had always been on Daisy's list of things she wanted to do. Hang gliding had fascinated and attracted her too. "That's what I'll do," she said out loud. "I'll learn to ballroom dance and hang glide."
After dinner, Daisy snuggled on her sofa and Googled "ballroom dance lessons," finding a school that was not that far from her home. Next came hang gliding schools. Daisy discovered there were two of them just outside of town to check out. Great! she thought. I have two new goals to achieve, and this time nothing or no-one is going to stand in my way!
Now, a movie. Let's end this week off right! Pop some corn, and have some sweet wine to help relax before bed. Daisy had been wanting to watch the new Star Wars movie she had purchased but had been too busy to watch until tonight.
Bzzzzzzz... Searching for her cell, Daisy shut the alarm off. Oh, my... it's morning already. Daisy had fallen asleep on the living room floor. The last thing she remembered was her third glass of wine and her wrestling with her DVD player, then giving up on watching the movie and curling up next to the fireplace on a stack of big pillows, listening to music and the crackling of the fire.
Daisy was glad she set her alarm for 8 am. She was going to need an early start on her adventures today because now they included stopping to buy a new DVD player on the way home. Daisy felt so excited, as she poured herself a cup of coffee and munched on an English muffin topped with cinnamon applesauce for breakfast. After a soothing shower, Daisy headed out to the dance studio. This is just what I need: a busy day filled with fun adventure!
When Daisy pulled up in front of Step in Time Dance Studio with its big glass windows, she paused a few moments to watch the people inside dancing, before getting out and going in. It was so amazing how they glided in unison across the floor. Yes! This was just what she wanted and needed. She pictured herself wrapped in the arms of a strong man who took her to a place she had never been to before, just like the lyrics that many a love song proclaim.
As Daisy entered the studio, the music took her away from her thoughts. It was so beautiful.
"Hello, ma'am. How may I help you?" the receptionist said.
"I would like to see your packages on ballroom dancing, please, along with a list of everything that I will need for your classes," Daisy replied. The girl handed her some brochures and a list of classes, times and all the things that she would need. "Will I be able to dance like that?" Daisy asked, nodding toward the dancers. "What if I don't have a partner?"
The receptionist smiled and replied, "If you do your part, we'll do ours, and you'll be dancing like a pro in no time. And you don't need to bring a partner. We have plenty of male students who I'm sure will be happy to serve as a partner for you." The receptionist signed Daisy up to take her first lesson next Saturday.
Before driving off to her next stop, Daisy spent a few more minutes watching the dancers through the big glass windows. WOW! Daisy, you're going to learn how to dance just like that!
Daisy's day was beginning to be everything she imagined it would be. The sun was shining and there was a cool, refreshing breeze, so Daisy put down the top of the Mustang she had enjoyed driving for the last fifteen years. It was still in excellent condition, and right now was "her love." Daisy was heading 10 miles outside of town along the coast highway, following the directions her GPS was giving her to the location of Smooth Sailing Hang Gliding School. Ahhh! There it is.
Pulling into its driveway, Daisy noted it looked rather rundown, and it appeared that there was no one around. Disappointed, she started to leave, but then a man stepped out from behind a dilapidated shack, smiling and waving as he walked over to her car. All of a sudden, Daisy had a strange feeling, like she knew this guy. Like she knew this man intimately, very intimately. Oh no! It couldn't be! But it was. Matthew Barnes! He looked at her and flashed the boyish smile that she remembered from thirty years ago, the smile that thrilled her then, and was thrilling her now.
"Why, if it isn't Daisy May Stuart. How are you girl?" he asked.
Daisy blushed and answered him, "I'm fine Matthew and It's Daisy Rutledge now."
"That's right! You married Joe Rutledge, quarterback for Northern University, didn't you?" Daisy shook her head "yes" and blushed again. Man! He looks so great! "So, what can I help you with today Daisy May?"
"Well, I was thinking of taking hang gliding lessons, Are they still available?"
Matthew laughed in that husky voice she so fondly remembered. "Of course they are. How many people are you talking about? Kids, Joe and you?" Hoping she was going to say one, Matthew remembered the last time he saw her and the taste of her sweet lips when they shared one special, unforgettable kiss.
Daisy hesitated. What was she going to say? She knew Matthew would ask other questions if she told him she was divorced, and she didn't feel ready to answer them. The last thing Daisy had heard, Matthew was happily married, and she didn't want to interfere in any way with that, even if he did still attract her, so she replied, "The kids are in college and Joe is out of town for awhile."
"So how many kids do you have, Daisy May? I have two daughters and they are away at college too."
Bet they look like their momma." Daisy said, teasing him.
"Yes, they do. Very beautiful girls. I'm so lucky!" Matthew proclaimed, proudly.
"I have one son and two daughter's" Daisy told him.
"If you have time, Daisy May we can start your lessons today," Matthew said.
Matthew showed Daisy all the gear, then started going over how to use it, what all the safety regulations were, and the importance of the wind, etc. Matthew was very professional and made sure she knew everything. When he was finished, he looked at her and asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yes! Without a doubt, I want to fly!" Daisy replied, adamantly. "I'm going to do this, Matthew!"
"Okay. Then we will practice before you fly. Meet me here tomorrow after church at 1:00 pm."
"Perfect! I'll see you then," Daisy replied.
As Daisy headed back into town to pick up her new DVD player, her mind filled with excitement. Daisy May, you are so awesome! You accomplished everything you set out to do today... dance lessons, hang gliding lessons... and... Matthew! WOW! Where did that come from?
Didn't you decide that you weren't going to let yourself get involved right now with a man, any man, and certainly not with a married man like Matthew Barnes? Daisy told herself to put any thoughts of Matthew that weren't about receiving hang gliding lessons from him out of her mind. But, other thoughts, the special memories of him wouldn't be dismissed.
When Daisy got home, she kicked off her sandals, fixed herself a light dinner, set up the DVD player, popped some fresh popcorn, poured herself a sweet glass of wine, and settled back on the sofa to watch the movie she started to watch last night. But thoughts of Matthew kept interfering with her enjoyment of the movie.
Thoughts of the kiss they shared so long ago, she could still remember how tender it was. The warmth of it and then how intense it became, as it turned into a French kiss. That seemed to go on forever, their tongues dancing together, their lips passionately embracing. She had never experienced a kiss with such warmth and passion before.
Matthew was a few years older than Daisy and used to hang around with her brother, Jack. When they met, Daisy felt instantly attracted to Matthew and was happy to discover he found her attractive too. A few days after they met, he asked her out on a date, which led to a summer filled with romantic moments as Matthew took her to special places he enjoyed going to, hoping she would find them special too. And she did! But even more so because she was with him.
To Matthew, Daisy was "something special"! He wanted to keep her safe, to make sure no harm ever came to her. But their first summer together turned out to be their last summer together. The company Daisy's father worked for transferred to another state at the end of that summer. Daisy, her brother Jack, and their parents moved from Heaven's Hope in the middle of August to a state far away from Matthew. That kiss, that unforgettable kiss, was to be their last.
Daisy returned to her hometown six months ago to move into the farmhouse her grandparents had left her when they had passed a few years ago. She felt now was the perfect time to move into it, now that her divorce was final. She had always loved visiting her grandparents on their farm as a child and then, a teenager. All the animals were gone now, but Daisy is planning on getting a couple of horses within the next few years. No hurry on that, she told herself, as she drifted off to sleep, exhausted from her busy day and all the memories of Matthew.
The next morning, as Daisy got ready for church, she felt so excited. She was going to see Matthew again soon! When she got to church, Daisy had a hard time concentrating on worship and the message, eager for the church service to be over so she could meet Matthew at the hang gliding school. When church finally ended, Daisy turned her cell phone back on. There was a text from Matthew.
It said: I'm sorry, but I have to cancel our lesson today. A family emergency has come up and I have to be out of town until Friday. Please forgive me, Daisy May.
Daisy was disappointed but understood, texting back:
I forgive you, Matthew, and I understand. Family comes first. I'll see you next Sunday. If there's anything I can do, Please let me know.
The week seemed to drag by like Friday would never come. Work had been challenging. If something could go wrong, it did. When Friday night finally arrived, Daisy was so ready for it! To kick her shoes off again and relax with a favorite movie, popcorn, and another glass of wine after dinner. The movie she chose was from her collection of favorites: The Notebook. She hadn't watched it for awhile and was eager to see it again.
Halfway through the movie, Daisy's cell phone beeps. It was another text from Matthew: Are you ready for this weekend?
Daisy texted back: Yes I am totally ready.
Matthew returned: Have you been studying the book I gave you?
Daisy responded Yes. I am totally ready!
Matthew: LOL'ed, That's what I like. A woman who does what she's told and is totally ready to learn what you have to teach her! See you Sunday, Daisy May.
Laughing at his reply, Daisy dittoed: See you Sunday, Bossman, and turned off her cell so she could watch the rest of her movie uninterrupted. But that turned out to be impossible. Thoughts of Matthew kept popping into her head again, until Daisy gave up on the movie and turned it off. Letting herself fall asleep remembering how special it was to be with him that summer, all those years ago. Thinking, how special it was now to see him again and to learn hang gliding from him.
Oh, Daisy. You need to remember: it's not the same as it was that summer. Matthew's a married man. Unavailable to a starry-eyed "old flame" who still finds him attractive as heck! she told herself before drifting completely off.
At the dance studio the next morning, Daisy met the dance instructor, a perky young brunette named Samantha, who greeted Daisy with a big, friendly smile that encouraged her. Samantha told Daisy she had picked out someone special to be her partner, a man who had been developing into quite a dancer since he began taking lessons a few months ago. This man was eager to be paired with a new partner, as his previous partner had finished her lessons and dropped out of the classes to get married.
Daisy wondered who this "special partner" could be. She knew he could never be as "special" as Matthew had been... and was. Just then... who should walk into the studio but... Matthew!
"I'm sorry I'm late, Samantha. It's been one heck of a week for me!" Matthew said. "That's okay," Samantha replied. "I've found someone new for you to dance with that I think you'll find very nice and eager to learn all of the steps I've been teaching you."
Daisy had quickly moved over to one of the big glass windows to regain her composure from the shock of suddenly seeing Matthew walk in, and was turned away from him and Samantha.
"Where'd that woman go to? Oh! There she is," Samantha said, taking Matthew's arm and leading him over to the window. When Daisy turned around, it was Matthew's turn to register surprise.
"Daisy May! Couldn't wait to see me again, eh?" Matthew said as he recovered his composure. He was delighted to see her sooner than expected.
"So, you two already know each other." Samantha said. "Can I pick 'em or can I pick 'em?!" With that all three of them began to laugh.
Samantha gestured for them to move onto the dance floor while she walked over to the table where a CD player waited and turned on the music for their first dance. It was a slow romantic waltz. Matthew had problems concentrating on his steps. He couldn't believe that Daisy was once more back in his arms again. Just where she belongs, he thought, while trying to remember she is married and off limits.
Daisy felt so safe in Matthew's arms, just like she had all those years ago when they danced together to their favorite songs playing on the stereo in his family's rec room. Man, he sure smells good, and his arms are so strong! How was she going to keep a level head on her shoulders being in his arms? I have to do this. I'm committed to learning these dance lessons. I have never quit anything. I'm not about to now.
When their first lesson together was over, Matthew asked Daisy if she'd like to go get a cup of coffee, but she politely declined, saying that she had plans already and needed to go, that she would see him tomorrow after church. He smiled at her and said, "Okay see you tomorrow. Oh, by the way, you're not a bad dancer for a beginner. You only stepped on my toes a dozen or so times!"
Matthew laughed as she covered her mouth and said "I'm so sorry about that."
"No problem. They'll grow back," Matthew teased.
As they left the dance studio, Matthew realized it was to late. He was falling hard again for Daisy. Every time she smiled at him, his heart melted. The smell of her cologne was intoxicating to him. He wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her like he had that one special time thirty years ago. Man, you have to get a grip, he told himself. She's married and you aren't going down that road.
The next afternoon, at hang gliding school, Daisy had a hard time concentrating on her lesson. She wanted Matthew to take her into his arms and kiss her passionately, in the way he did so long ago. Lost in her desire, Daisy moved too quickly to see what Matthew wanted to show her now, and tripped backwards.
He caught her before she hit the ground. Suddenly, she was inches from his lips, his breath upon hers. They looked into each other's eyes, longing for the taste of each other once again. Just as their lips had almost closed the gap. Daisy May's cell began playing the theme from Star Wars, bringing them out of their romantic trance and back into reality.
Matthew saw that it was Joe calling and gave Daisy space to talk privately to him, but he watched every move she made as she was talking. Something wasn't right. Matthew could feel the tension in Daisy's movements, hear the pain in her distant, muffled voice.
Daisy was turned away from Matthew, and didn't hear him walk up to her after she ended her conversation with Joe, wiping tears from her eyes. When she realized Matthew was there she turned and looked into his eyes. Her tears wouldn't stop, they just poured out. Matthew held her as Daisy broke down in his arms. "Oh Matthew..." was all Daisy could say, which told him that whatever was wrong, it was serious and tearing her apart.
"There, there..." Matthew comforted her, massaging her back gently. "I'll take you home, Daisy. We can continue the lesson next week."
"What about my car?" Daisy asked. Matthew told her not to worry, that he could bring it to her tonight or tomorrow. "I guess I can ask a friend to give me a ride to work tomorrow," Daisy said.
"You won't need to do that. I'll be glad to be your chauffer for the day," Matthew replied. Daisy smiled at him. "Okay," she said, "If you don't mind or don't have any plans, I think that would be best for me right now."
Matthew cleaned up the equipment and locked up shop. Daisy locked her car up and jumped into his Jeep. She had thought about getting one at onetime, but Joe insisted she drive a minivan. Daisy had no idea why she cried like she did when Joe called, but she guessed it hit something that had been building up.
As Matthew pulled out onto the coast highway, Daisy said, "I'm living in my grandparent's old farmhouse now."
"I know, Daisy May. How do you think I knew about you marrying Joe? Your grandmother told me when we ran into each other at the grocery store one day."
"Oh. So that's how you knew. I figured it was something like that," Daisy replied.
When they arrived at her place, Daisy told Matthew "goodnight", and what time he needed to pick her up for work tomorrow. "I'll be here with bells on, Daisy May." She laughed at the thought of Matthew with bells on. He loved to hear her laugh.
"What are you laughing at Daisy May?" he teased her.
"The thought of you with bells on," she giggled even more.
"Okay, little one, off to bed. You have a early start tomorrow and you need your beauty sleep." Matthew laughed at the look she gave him. They said "goodbye" again, and off she went.
At her doorway, Daisy turned to watch Matthew drive off, but he was still there waiting in the driveway for her to get safely inside, so she went in and waved at him through the window as he drove off. Now, Daisy thought, how am I going to get any sleep tonight, with what Joe said still fresh in my mind, along with the kiss that Matthew and I almost shared? Though she tossed and turned for a few hours, exhaustion finally put Daisy's thoughts to rest and she fell into a deep, sound sleep.
Bzzzzzzz... "Really? I just got to sleep!" Daisy yelled at her alarm. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she stretched her arms and toes. Got to move! Matthew will be here in a hour to get me. Daisy took a shower, put on some makeup, and picked out the outfit she wanted to wear today. The timer on her coffeemaker had turned on and was finishing up by the time she walked barefoot into the kitchen to fix her favorite quick breakfast: coffee and an English muffin topped with cinnamon applesauce.
Daisy was savoring her last bite of muffin when she heard the sound of jingling and a knock on the front door. When she opened it, there was Matthew, "with bells on"! He had tied bells to his boots and was jingling them just for her. Her mouth dropped open and Matthew laughed. He did just what he said he was going to do: he wore bells for her.
"Wow!" she said. Never in her life had anyone ever done something so crazy as this for her. She loved it and Matthew could see it written all over her face. "Perfect! It worked! It made you smile and that's the effect I wanted." he said.
"Thank you, Matthew. I needed that," Daisy said. "I'm almost ready to go. Just need to put some shoes on. Be right back," Daisy promised, still smiling as she rushed off into the bedroom to put on the matching shoes to her outfit.
Everyone at work saw who dropped Daisy off, and couldn't resist teasing her about it. Jackie followed Daisy to her cubicle, smiling as she said "So, Daisy, you didn't tell us that you knew Matthew Barnes!"
"Can't believe you're dating the most eligible bachelor in town chimed in Becky."
The look on Daisy's face told them that she didn't know Matthew was available. Jackie and Becky looked at one another and said in unison, "Wow! You didn't know!"
"Matthew's wife Jan, died three years ago in a car accident," Becky informed her. Then why didn't he say anything about it? Daisy wondered. Jackie told her that Jan was driving home in a heavy downpour, hit a slick spot, lost control of her car, went off the road, and hit a tree. "A passing motorist saw what happened and called for help, but it was to late. Jan's airbag failed to deploy and her body smashed through the front window, killing her instantly. I think Matthew is still getting over it."
It all made sence to Daisy now. Why Matthew was acting the way he was when he was with her. But, she hadn't told him about her divorce from Joe, so why was he going to kiss her?
Daisy wondered what she was going to do with this information that just fell into her lap.
Formulating a plan as she worked, Daisy was eager to set it in motion when Matthew arrived to drive her home.
Daisy flashed a sweet smile at Matthew as she jumped in his Jeep. "Do we need to go and get my car?" she asked.
"No, I have it at your house. A friend helped me get it there. You are all set up for now," Matthew told her.
"Great! Thank you, Matthew," Daisy replied. "You're welcome, Daisy May."
Matthew drove her home and dropped her off. "Do you want to come in for dinner? Daisy asked. I can cook a mean steak and baked potato."
"No, I'll have to take a rain check on that, sweetie. My daughter Katie is in town and we have a standing date at her favorite restaurant. But, hey if you want to join us, you are more than welcome!"
Daisy politely declined and said she would let them have their night together and she would see him Saturday at the dance studio. That's where she decided to let Matthew know her feelings for him.
The week dragged by, every day seeming like it would never end. Finally, Saturday had arrived and Daisy hummed happily as she showered and got ready to see Matthew again. At his place, Matthew was feeling mixed emotions. He was happy he was going to see Daisy May again soon, but she was married and he was a good Christian man. Even though he couldn't stop thinking about her, Matthew knew he had to get Daisy out of his heart. But how, when she had found her way again into every fiber of it?
As Daisy drove to the dance studio, she played what she was going to say to Matthew in her head, over and over again. Arriving a few minutes late, she rushed in to find Matthew waiting with concern on his face. "Are you okay?" he asked. "I tried to call you all night."
"Sorry, Matthew. I turned my cell off so I could just relax after another hectic week at work. I'm okay."
"I'm glad to hear that," Matthew said, relief registering on his face. Samantha put their music on and Matthew led Daisy to the center of the dance floor and took her into his arms. Daisy looked up into his blue eyes as they began another slow waltz. How she loved those eyes! She looked deep in them and saw what she was looking for: her first love. Now she could tell him how much he still meant to her.
Daisy stopped dancing and eased up on her toes to kiss him, but Matthew pulled back, surprised at her sudden indiscretion. "What are you doing, Daisy May? You're a married woman!" Matthew chided.
"No, I'm not, Matthew. I found out from the girls at work, neither are you?"
Matthew had a million questions but didn't want to ask any of them right now. All he wanted to do was hold her tenderly and return the kiss she started to give him. Daisy looked up at Matthew again, smiling as he leaned down and gently touched his lips to hers. They kissed softly at first, oblivious to where they were and who might be watching. Then, as they did all those years before, they embraced in an intense expression of passion and true love.
In the midst of this kiss, a kiss they both wanted to go on forever, they heard the sound of clapping. It was the whole dance studio, everyone! They had all been watching them express their heart's feelings anew. Daisy and Matthew stopped kissing but continued to hold each other, smiling happily at their audience for a few moments before returning to their dance and the promises of their bright future.
Word count: 4697
Prompt #3... Alone Again.
A person finds themselves alone again, out of nowhere, an old flame reappears in their life. What happens?
(It can be anyone from their past, but they must have dated at least once. The reason they did not pursue the relationship before; is up to you; if it is germane.)