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Welcome to Fiction Fridays! Where we give you a short bite of fiction every week – something to enjoy during your lunch hour – but with a twist: We want you to give us the idea for the next installment! Come join in the fun with the last segment of our latest contemporary romance, The Setup. To […]

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Fiction Fridays: The Setup, Part 4

Posted by on Mar 22 2013, 1:00 am Posted in , ,

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Welcome to Fiction Fridays! Where we give you a short bite of fiction every week – something to enjoy during your lunch hour – but with a twist: We want you to give us the idea for the next installment! Come join in the fun with the last segment of our latest contemporary romance, The Setup. To get caught up, read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 here.

The Setup
Part 4   (“The Devil You Know” was last week’s winning option)

By Karen Fleming

The doe-eyed Sherilynn hesitated between the two tables. I glanced to my right and nausea churned in my stomach. Luke. Or “Lucifer, the ultimate breaker of hearts,” as Granny dubbed him when she caught him making out with my maid of honor after our rehearsal dinner.

Gulp. Could this get any worse? I looked back at Toby. Maybe he was interested in starting that “to serve and protect” gig a week early.

Luke/Lucifer slid a greasy smile my way and opened his arms wide. Before Toby could move, I caught a flash of periwinkle out of the corner of my eye and Luke doubled over, holding on to his man-parts.

Granny turned to me, straightening the cuffs of her jacket. “That Brenda. She must have sneaked that snake in the back door when I wasn’t looking.”

My head swiveled between Toby and his very-interested-in-the-situation gaze, and the now-upright Luke and his pale face. Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” surrounded me, and I took a deep breath. I could handle this. I hoped.

But Toby turned toward Sherilynn. Yep. Marriage or happily ever after weren’t in the stars for me today. I walked past Luke and across the room toward the door marked “Ladies.” Granny trotted through the swinging door right behind me.

“You’re not hiding in here,” she said.

I towered over her corkscrew-curled head and gave her the look she used to use on me when I was late for curfew. “I can’t believe you would do this to me. Luke?”

“Luke wasn’t supposed to be here. Heck, the only one out there I wanted you to meet was Toby, and you practically handed him to that meek Little Bo Peep.” She pushed past me and paced the area in front of the sinks.

“Granny, it doesn’t work that way. Love has to find you. Grandmothers are not supposed to hog-tie it to a chair and flop their granddaughters in its lap.”

The twinkle in her eye had me worried. She didn’t have any rope did she? Oh, Lord, this was a nightmare.

“Granny, I’m going back out there.”

She smiled like a kid who’d just won the biggest teddy bear at the carnival.

“To leave.”

She huffed up her chest and grabbed my arm, shoving me back through the swinging door. “You are not leaving until this speed-dating game is through. If you aren’t looking for love, you can at least see if it has any friends you can hang out with.”

I dug in my heels. “Granny—”

“Don’t you ‘Granny’ me. Do you know how hard Deloris and I worked to put this together? She has a weak heart. She might not last another year. I might not either.”

“You’re as fit as—and as stubborn as—a mule.”

“Maybe so, but I worry. You need a man—a good man. Toby is a good man.”

When I looked back toward Toby’s table, he was gone. I waved in that direction. “Looks like Toby is a ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ man.”

Luke flashed his eely smile at his next victim. I shuddered. That had been a close call. Thank goodness Granny saved me from that disaster, then and now.

I hugged her and kissed her springy curls. “I love you and know you mean well, but you can’t force your will on others. Love will happen when it’s supposed to and it doesn’t need any help from you.”

“One date?”

Would she ever give up? “Toby did ask me out while we were outside, but …” I motioned around the room and the fractured light cast by the disco ball. “But then we came in here. The introduction worked. This ruined it. I’m going home. Can you catch a ride from one of your co-conspirators?”

“Yes, yes. Go on.” She pushed me toward the door. “I just want you to find the right man.”

“I know. And I will—someday. Just not today.”

“Today’s not over,” Granny said before I could open the outside door. Ever the optimist.

The cobblestone walk was next to where I’d parked my car, using Granny’s handicap placard. The music was still thumping as I distanced myself from Cupid’s Skittle Brigade and their organized attack on singleness inside the rec room.

In my car, I hit the key and nothing. What? This couldn’t be happening. I tried again. Click-click-click. I climbed out of the car and slammed the door. Three parking spots down from me, leaning against his car, stood Toby.

He held a pair of jumper cables in one hand. “Good thing I had these in my trunk.”

“How? You couldn’t know my battery was dead.”

He grinned and waved a thin strip of metal that could possibly be used for nefarious purposes–like breaking into a car. “If you leave your lights on, things like that can happen.”

“I didn’t leave my lights on.”

“Sure you did. You even told my mother I was going to help you with your battery. And I never lie to my mother. It’s a sacred rule. Maybe someone else left them on for you, or in a desperate act to keep you honest, loosened one of your battery cables.”

He pushed away from his car and started toward me, not stopping until my nose skimmed his T-shirt and caught the sexy scent of his aftershave. The cables and the slim-jim fell to the ground beside me. He brushed his hand along my cheek, tilting my face up until our gazes met. “You’ve convinced me.”

“Of what?” I tried not to breathe too deep. His scent, his heat, just him, were making me lightheaded.

“Love finds you whether you want it to or not.”

“This isn’t love. We just met.”

“Oh, but think of the possibilities.” He swooped in and captured my lips in a soul-searing kiss as the lyrics to Air Supply’s “Lost in Love” blasted from the rec room.

Granny and Nan stood on the cobblestone walk whooping and hollering while the rest of the Skittles-clad conspirators held the door open, straining for a peek at success.

Toby shot Granny a wink, and she gave him a nod before he reclaimed my mouth in what I hoped would be a regularly recurring experience for the next sixty years.

 

Copyright 2013 by The Firebirds

 

19 responses to “Fiction Fridays: The Setup, Part 4”

  1. Terri Osburn says:

    *applauds*

    Well done! Such a sweet ending. Love finds you. Sigh. So sweet.

    Great job, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Oh, thank you. But credit for “Love finds you” has to go to Lexi. She gave me some great material to work with. I just couldn’t figure out how to work “puddle of awe” into the scene again. 🙂

  2. TamraBaumann says:

    Very cute, Karen!! Nice work everyone!

  3. Author! Author! *Applause*

    Love it–especially this line: “Love has to find you. Grandmothers are not supposed to hog-tie it to a chair and flop their granddaughters in its lap.”

    Great job Karen! Well done, everyone!! 🙂

  4. robena grant says:

    Susan that was my favorite line, too. : )

    Fabulous job, Karen, what a sweet, warm, and very happy HEA. Congrats1 everyone. Another great story.

  5. Awesome, Karen! I loved how you wrapped everything up.

    So many funny lines: Loved the “flash of periwinkle,” Granny straightening her cuffs, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” And — on top of all that — so much sweetness, like the conversation with her grandmother, and — of course — Toby! 🙂

    Great job!

    • Karen says:

      This was so much fun. I was grinning while I read each of y’all’s segments and thought about what to put in the finale. You guys gave me so much great stuff to work with. 🙂

  6. Pamela Kopfler says:

    Fun, fun, fun. Great ending.

  7. Lexi Greene says:

    Karen,
    I agree with the others – there were many moments of genius in this! I too loved the line “Love has to find you. Grandmothers are not supposed to hog-tie it to a chair and flop their granddaughters in its lap.” It was really terrific wrap up and so well done!!!!!!! It was good to see those scheming grannies back in the picture. Awesome job!! How gorgeous was Toby at the end. Ahhhhhh. You definitely delivered on the HEA. This was so good. Lexi

    • Karen says:

      Thanks. The grannies added all the color. It would have been too plain without the rainbow of their meddling all the way to the HEA. 😉

  8. Carol Post says:

    Absolutely brilliant, Karen! Loved it!

  9. So. Cute. Thanks for this, Karen! It really brightened my Friday. 🙂 Great job!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, A.J. all I could think about after they called the grannies’ track suits Skittles colored, was their slogan “taste the rainbow”. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Kay Hudson says:

    I’m late as usual, but I finally made it. Great job, ladies. Love the whole story, but the Skittle-colored grannies were an expecially nice touch.

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