Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Butterscotch Kisses, FFF #24
"Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads,
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed" - Bruce Springsteen "Glory Days" (1984)
"A kiss as sweet as...," Vanessa thought a moment, "butterscotch candy," she decided. That's what Randy's kisses were like. She licked her lips at the thought of it as she twirled a lock of her long, red hair in her fingers. She stared absentmindedly out the window as her mother pulled out of the drive way with the kids for a night out with Grandma. The last pink rays of the setting sun seemed to give her cheeks that rosy hint of youth. She smiled.
"Oh Lord, I gotta get ready!" and Vanessa scampered for the shower. She lingered in the steam for a few minutes and watched as the last of the water slid into the drain. "Well there go my troubles and worries," she thought. "Tonight, I am going to have a good time and just forget everything else. Randy Allen Miller, you better just look out, cause tonight I got your number!" She giggled to herself. As she fussed with her wet hair in front of the mirror, she took a long look at herself and thought of Roy.
Thank God he had a poker weekend with his Navy buddies! He'd be gone until Sunday and come home reeking of cigars and whiskey with tales of a straight flush he almost had, twice. The sixty dollars he'd blow on poker was worth it just to have him out of the house.
She debated what dress to wear. She reached for the low cut, red one first but it seemed a little too slutty. She would settle for a nice cotton sun dress with a simple orange and yellow floral pattern.
"Best not to look too eager," she thought, "after all, it is only going to be Randy's third time being here and I've got to take this slow. Randy and I go way back, but Randy is a good guy. He doesn't want to tread on Roy's toes. Roy and I have been married a long time, but I've just got to know. I've got to know what it could have been like with Randy. What I may have missed? I just need to see what could have been once, just this once." She checked her lipstick and patted off the excess with a tissue.
She checked that the Chinese take out was warm in the oven and methodically loosened a couple of light bulbs around the living room. She turn on the switch to check the effect but found it a little dark. She lit a couple of candles on the mantle and pushed the remote for the gas fireplace and the room was instantly cozy. Much like the junior high dance where she had met Randy the first time. He was tall for his age and kind of stood off to the side but there was no missing his rugged good looks. Dark, wavy hair that fell down over hazel eyes, no matter how hard he tried to brush it back. He had a wide grin on a chiseled jaw and all the girls wanted to dance with him, but he didn't dance. None of the girls could get up the nerve to ask him out on the floor but Vanessa took a sip of her punch and marched right up to him. "Come on," she shouted over the blaring music, "they are playing our song!"
"Kung Fu Fighting? That's our song?" he mildly pleaded as she dragged him on to the dance floor. The record began to skip and some one put on a slow song instead. She pulled him close and guided his hand on to her back. He turned and looked her in the eye and never moved his gaze. They moved about the floor as if under a spell. When the song ended, he leaned in and pecked her cheek. He looked at her hard, mumbled a good night and left. She had never forgotten that night.
They dated through high school but when their junior year rolled around, Randy went off to the local trade school to learn diesel mechanics and they never saw each other. They drifted apart and found other people. She found Roy, and Randy moved away shortly after.
Then three months ago, she was shopping for groceries on a Thursday night while Roy went off to his regular poker weekend, and her cart slipped from her hand in the check out line and bumped none other than Randy Miller. The years disappeared and Vanessa couldn't help eyeing the man that Randy had become. They chatted for a few minutes but when Vanessa had trouble lifting a frozen turkey into her cart, he offered to walk her to her car and help her with it. They chatted long after the sacks were tucked into her trunk.
Again, Vanessa made a bold move. "Would you like to stop over for a cup of coffee?" her voice had a certain lilt to it that she wished she could take back. "Sure," Randy smiled, "I'll follow you." They sat and talked until three in the morning. She told him about Roy and the kids. She would have liked to make it sound more glamorous but as she told Randy what she had been up to for all these years, it all sounded so plain and drab.
Randy had done well for himself. He owned a chain of body shops and car washes. He was married for a short time but his wife had died in a thunderstorm when lightening had struck her car. He threw himself into his work after that and prospered, but he wasn't really happy. He did smile a bit when he mentioned that he sponsored three racing teams. He would send her a jacket, he promised. As he headed for his car, he paused at the door to say that it was great to see her and it would be great to do it again sometime.
"How about the fifteenth of next month?" she blurted, knowing it was Roy's poker weekend. "Sure," he nodded. He fumbled for a moment and then shook her hand warmly before driving off into the third best night of Vanessa's life.
The next time they got together, they went out to the movies and spent two hours in the dark snuggling ever closer to the big bucket of buttered popcorn, as well as each other. Neither one payed the movie much attention but often their hands would brush each other as they reached for the next hand full, and the thrill of the touch was enough to excite an unspoken desire that Vanessa didn't know she still had.
They talked about the movie as they drove to her place afterwards. "The last time I was here," Randy said, "I noticed you had a nice turntable. I dropped by my dad's house and picked up two boxes of my old vinyl. Do you mind if we listen to some music?"
"I'd love to! Let me make some coffee."
"Do you have a beer?"
"Foreign or Domestic?"
"Cold is fine," he said as the needle fell into the groove. They played song after song and the evening wore on. After the third beer, Vanessa laid her head on his shoulder and he sat very still. The music played and she could hear his heart beat. When he left, they made plans to listen to the rest of the records next month and he leaned in close. "I enjoy spending time with you Van. I always have. I...goodnight." His welcome lips tasted of butterscotch and the flavor hung with her for days afterwards.
Vanessa dabbed a little perfume on her neck and wrists. This was going to be a night to be remembered.
**Author's Note** When I told Flannery I was going to try to write a romantic story for Flash Fiction Friday she laughed in my face. Not a little giggle or a snicker, but a down deep guffaw that lasted several minutes. With that kind of reassurance, how could I go wrong? While I'm happy with how it turned out, I keep getting this nagging feeling that there is something missing. I thought of including more back story or even a torrid love scene but I don't think I could write that without it sounding like an "adult" movie. I'd love to hear some suggestions.