Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prompt: Heirloom, highlights, teacher, strain, heat (use at least 3 of these)

I had the biggest crush on Eric Stanton our sophomore year. We had French Lit 245 together first semester. The highlight of the class was Mme. Faulliet reading Les Liaisons dangereuses aloud while I peeked over my well-worn book at Eric and fantasized about him as Danceny. I must have watched both Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont a hundred times each that semester. Eric never gave me a second look.

After graduation, I put my art history degree to good use at Christie’s in Boston’s Back Bay, on Newbury Street. At least, that was the plan. But I spent more time working in Excel than I did handling priceless heirlooms, working in a stuffy upstairs office with windows that opened onto the fire escape. I ate lunch out there every day, shaded from the summer heat by the rampant ivy, reading and dreaming. My business cards spent more time holding my place in books than introducing me to antiques collectors.

“Grace? Hey! Grace Peyton!” A familiar voice dragged me out of a historical fantasy set in Boston. I looked around, then down to see a face peering up at me. My heart stuttered, and I stared in disbelief.

“Eric Stanton?”

“Yeah. How the hell are you? Hold on, I’m coming up.”

Coming up? Sure enough, he jumped up and grabbed the ladder, then began climbing up the three flights to where I sat. I closed my book, swished water in my mouth and smoothed my hair. I wished I had a breath mint. 20 minutes in a salon. Eric Stanton?

“Yeah, we established that already.”

Crap. I said that out loud?

He stood on the stairs and leaned on the landing next to me, smiling and not the least out of breath. His dark hair has shorter than he wore it in college, but his face, his brilliant blue eyes looked just the same.

 “So, Grace—”

I didn’t know you knew my name,” I blurted out before I thought better of it. I could feel the heat on my cheeks. Charming.

He laughed, and I wished I could record it to play over and over. “How could I forget? Madame Faulliet called on you every class. ‘Chere Grace’, ‘ma belle Grace’, ‘Grace, dites –nous…’”

I buried my face in my hands. “You make me sound like the teacher’s pet!” I moaned.

I looked up to find Eric studying me seriously. “I should have asked you out then. Can I make up for it now?”

He leaned forward, expectantly, but I couldn’t make myself speak. Or breathe. He lifted an eyebrow. “Well, do you have a card? I’ll call you.”

I pulled my card out of my book, which earned me another flashing smile. When he glanced at it, his eyes widened. “No way! You work at Christies? That’s where I’m heading. I have an appointment with Harrison Stokes to talk about my aunt’s estate.”

I tried not to roll my eyes. Stokes was an idiot. But something gave away my thoughts. Eric tapped my card on his chin and said, “Tell you what. I probably shouldn’t climb in through the window. Why don’t you meet me downstairs in 15 minutes? I’ll tell Stokes I’d rather work with you.”

Was this disaster in the making, or the best luck I’d ever had? I made my choice in an instant. “I’ll see you downstairs. Thanks, Eric.”

“Don’t thank me yet. You haven’t heard about my aunt’s estate. In fact, I think we better have that dinner first.” He leaned forward and brushed my cheek with his lips, then he was gone, jumping down the stairs by holding onto the railing. I pressed my hand to my cheek and stared after him, considering whether I might have dreamed the whole thing.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle, Bacon
Arjen de Nobel, Spanish Guitar Music Vol.1, YouTube
Time writing:
35 minutes
July word count:

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