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Welcome to Fiction Fridays! We aim to give you a short bite of fiction every week – something you can enjoy during your lunch hour – but with a twist: You pick the idea for the next installment! Our story continues with poor Toby and Angela falling victim to the matchmaking whims of their beloved […]

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Fiction Fridays: The Setup, Part 3

Posted by on Mar 15 2013, 9:16 am Posted in

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Welcome to Fiction Fridays! We aim to give you a short bite of fiction every week – something you can enjoy during your lunch hour – but with a twist: You pick the idea for the next installment! Our story continues with poor Toby and Angela falling victim to the matchmaking whims of their beloved matriarchs. This is part 3 of The Set Up, a fun contemporary romance, where Toby and Angela find themselves being dragged towards they know-not-what. With Toby’s mum determined to see Toby and Sherilynn back together; and his nan playing co-conspirator with Angela’s granny, they find it hard to keep up. If you want to catch up, Terri’s tantalising starter is available here. Last week, Laurie left us on a cliff hanger hook when Toby’s ex-girlfriend turns up with his mother. Now the readers have voted for a mixer, with tracksuit-clad chaperones and 1970s music playing. So without further ado…

The Setup
Part 3
By Lexi Greene

Seventies music slammed into us like a physical force. Track suited grannies circled the room like parrot feathered vultures. They might be a little on the deaf side, but my hearing had been just fine until I’d allowed myself to be herded into the darkened rec room like a lamb to slaughter. My limbs seemed to have seized along with my ear drums. Splintered light spun from a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling and I stood like a deer caught in the strobed lighting.“Is it too late to run?” My voice was lost as Deloris descended upon us, her varnished talons pressing into our arms as she pulled us further into the room.

“We need to get you to your places… Claire!” Periwinkle all a flutter, Granny appeared and retrieved me from Deloris’s clutches. The brightly plumed pair exchanged a meaningful glance.

“What’s going on Granny?” I had to yell to be heard.

“Shoosh Angela. We’re about to start.”

“Start what?”

Then I saw the walls. Sweet Lady Gaga. What kind of mischief were these grannies up to? My photo was there, emblazoned, larger than life size on the wall. Granny pulled me to stand in front of it. Seriously? A glass of champagne was placed in my hand and as the music thumped even louder, a man in a tuxedo – the velvet, seventies kind with an over-sized bow tie – danced-ran into the room, spruiking into a microphone, his arms aloft, his voice vibrant. Tearing my eyes from the human fire-cracker, I found Toby, whose eyes were not on the circus unfolding around us, but well… on me. My photo to be exact.

And then I saw his. OMG. In uniform. Handsome man in uniform. Floored woman. Bring a mop. I was a puddle of awe. Wow.

The room dissipated around me. Truly. I barely noticed it. Not the five other women. The other young men. The six tables down the centre of the room. The wall-to-wall photos of grandchildren being traded not like Pokemon cards, but by billboard advertisement.

I just soaked up the floor-to-ceiling gorgeousness of Toby.

What the hell did Granny have up her periwinkle sleeve?

“Thanks for coming today. We’ve not a minute to lose. The love of your life could be in this room just dying to meet you.” A motivational speaker? A showman.

Numb. That was the best description I could think of once the heat of embarrassment faded from my cheeks and I found myself being ferried towards a table and chair.

“Granny, what’s going on?” I hissed with indignation.

“Didn’t you hear the man? It’s speed dating Angela. The latest craze for you young people. You can thank me after you find the man of your dreams. Like Toby.”

“Granny, this isn’t helping.”

“Take the bull by the horn love.”

I blamed Toby who lowered himself across the table from me for the direction of my thoughts. Thank God for the now muted lighting; the slowing of the music from dramatic thump to soothing ballad. The grannies retreated to a viewing gallery at the back of the room, their voices excited.

“And your time starts… Now!”

“We should have run while we had the chance.” Toby whispered, leaning in close. “Curiosity satisfied?”

The man was bomb-proof.

“I see they’ve done their homework. According to the information here, we’re a five-out-of-five star match.”

“There’s a dating itinerary? A rating scale?” His eyebrows lifted as he scanned the document. “Impressive.”

The rest were four stars or less.

“Yep. They’re organised, those scheming, tough old…” The word I needed disappeared as his green eyes captured mine and I saw amused interest there. A laugh bubbled from somewhere deep.

“Birds?” He added helpfully.

“Yes, except they’re pushing us into a nest instead of out of one. Are they so desperate for grandchildren?”

“Ah, there’s a list of questions on the sheet here. Just in case we find ourselves lost for words.”

His cheek dimpled and delicious sprang to mind.

“Are you a morning or a night person? Do you like to cook? Are you looking for love?” His voice resonated in all of the right places.

“Morning. Yes, I like to cook and I think love finds you whether you want it to or not.” My eyes veered from the intensity in his.

“Are you on the want-it-to or the not side of the equation?”

I side-stepped the quicksand of a conversation I didn’t want to have by studying the neatly typed list. “Oh, this one’s good. Describe yourself in one word.”

“Focused.” Oh my. I was grateful for the steel that supported my weight. His gaze seemed to penetrate my soul and I found myself enthralled.

“What word describes you?” Toby pressed, his interest one hundred percent focused. On me.

“Passionate.”

His pupils flared and he leaned forward, his amusement gone, his expression one of frank attentiveness.

Okay, now I was salivating.

“How well can you get to know someone in ten minutes?” Flippant. Keep it light. Keep it fun. Desire was like syrup in my veins. Thoughts I had no right to think distracted me. Like how incredible it would feel to press my mouth against the wicked temptation of his. To taste. To linger. To savour.

“Well enough to know I’m interested. You still good for dinner and a movie or has Nan put you off me for life?”

“I’m not sure we should encourage them.” Their excited chatter was there in the background.

“This has taken a lot of planning. They’ve had a ton of fun. What did you think of the photos?”

“Flashy.”

“Now I know why Nan wanted help putting them on a USB drive. I caught a glimpse of you during the download.” He paused for a moment and I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d liked what he’d seen. I hoped so, because despite Granny’s machinations, I liked what I saw. “She refused to tell me anything. Her memory was playing up, along with her hip, which had her rushing off to lie down.”

“Fickle and feeble they’re not.”

“They’re women on a mission.”

“To see us happily paired off – ark-like.”

“If my Mum and Nan have anything to say about the matter. You wouldn’t be interested in a wedding, rather than dinner and a movie would you?” His smile started spot fires all over my body.

“Not even ten minutes and you’re asking me to marry you?” What kind of demons had me wanting to say yes. Anything. Just kiss me now. Except I was sworn off marriage and anything bridal for the rest of my days.

“That’s it folks. Time’s up. Ladies move along one place to your right.” The music ramped up again and Barry White’s “Can’t get enough of your love, Babe” filled my ears.

Please!

As I stood, Toby took my hand, his touch jump-starting all kinds of reaction.

“Toby, I have to go.” I wondered if his hearing had been injured in Iraq or if he’d changed his mind and decided we should make a run for it after all.

“Toby, Sherilynn’s waiting.” His mother’s shrill voice travelled the full length of the floor.

Okay, readers – now we need your help to decide what happens next (please vote in the comments!). Cast your vote and tune in next Friday for the finale!

A) Does Toby take Angela’s hand and race from the scene?

B) Is the devil you know better than the devil you don’t, even if he’s a four? (the next ‘date’ could be Angela’s high school sweetheart)

C) Does Lucy Green Jeans push Sherilynn to the floor and a fight ensue?

D) Does Toby’s mum personally escort Sherilynn to Toby’s table?

30 responses to “Fiction Fridays: The Setup, Part 3”

  1. Tamra baumann says:

    Really fun Lexi!

    This was a tough decision, but I’m going to go with B. I want to see Toby work for it!!

  2. Lexi Greene says:

    I love this! Sweet Lady Gaga. Wish I’d thought of that! And I’m a puddle, too. Toby is smoking in this one.

    I’m going with A. I want to see them run off into the sunset.

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Was that you Terri? I know it wasn’t me – I was sleeping! Or trying to. Yes, maybe it’s time they gave the grannies a flick and took matters into their own hands. Thanks for your comment. Lexi

  3. I’m going with “B” as well. I know there’s going to be a funny scene coming up! Good work. Love the story.

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Thanks Kathleen. B does have the potential for some fun fall out. I’d love to see what Karen does with that one too!

  4. This was so much fun! I vote for A. They’ve earned their getaway. 🙂

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Thanks AJ. Ah, a happily ever after. You’ve got to like romance. If only real life worked out as well!

  5. Fun stuff, Lexi! I can’t believe I hadn’t even thought of speed dating, but YES! Of course the grannies would set up something like that!

    I’ll have to go with “B” also. Like Tammy said, Toby’s reaction could be terrific. And hopefully Angela will realize a good thing when she sees it. (In billboard-style photo!) 🙂

    • Lexi Greene says:

      I can’t wait to see where Karen takes the story next. It was fun writing on from yours Laurie and I loved it when his mother complicated the grannys’ machinations with some interfering of her own. Poor Toby. Yes, it would be good to see him squirm. He’s been pretty laid back considering and a bit of sweat could be quite appealing!

  6. Oh yes, I’m all for snowballing problems. B for me too.

    • Lexi Greene says:

      It’s looking good for snowballing Toby’s problems. We do love to torture our heroes! Thanks for dropping by. Lexi

  7. kd fleming says:

    Totally awesome, Lexi. I’m a puddle on the floor enjoying this.

    I am abstaining from the vote since I get to create the HEA.

    Fabulous job. 🙂

  8. It’s B for me. The more the merrier.

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Thanks Sheri! I like B too. Lexi

    • Sagar says:

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  9. Terri Bolyard says:

    I think I like B, too. I can see some hilarious stuff coming out of that one.

    Great story, girls! Lovin’ it!

  10. Hilarious! I love these grannies. And Toby–fanning my face. 🙂 I vote B. Count me in with those that want to watch him work for it. 🙂

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Hi Susan,
      They’re great grannies aren’t they? Terri did a fine job with her starter. It’s been a blast. Lexi

  11. Sharon Wray says:

    It’s so hard to choose between A and B, but I think I’d like to see Toby work for it as well. So it has to be B! Can’t wait to find out what happens next week!

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Hi Sharon,
      I’m looking forward to next week too. I’ve grown kind of fond of those interfering grannies and Toby’s gorgeous. Lucky Angela! I know what you mean. Both A and B have appeal!

  12. Carol Post says:

    Great job, Lexi! Toby sounds absolutely yummy! I think I’m going with B.

  13. Kay Hudson says:

    Well, I’m late, but I’ve finally caught up. Great work on all three parts, ladies. Love those Skittle-colored track suits. I think I’ll have to vote for B, too. And then they can run off together.

    • Lexi Greene says:

      Great plan Kay! Well, there it is Karen. It looks like Angela has a run in with a man who still thinks she’s hot before she can have her happy ever after with Toby. Which is just as well because I’m sure there’s unresolved issues to be dealt with.

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