Genre: Paranormal Action/Romance
Thoughts: This is the beginning of something that might turn into a novella. I’m still writing it but there’s no way the whole thing is getting put up here. I’m not even done writing it!
Dallas pushed her hair out of her face and sighed, those six steps up to the door of her building loomed like something ultra menacing after a little too much sake. Her too-heavy pumps scraped on the sidewalk as she put a hand heavily on the rail and pulled herself up one slow step at a time.
Someone whistled behind her, “Gee Dallas, what are we so dressed up for tonight?”
Relief and a wave of self-conscious nerves swept through her. Just Cai. Just Cai? Pft, he was dreamy-eyed-hottness-Cai that lived next door. Dallas chuckled and took another step as Cai, in all his sleepy good looks, took those six steps in two bounds. “Blind date,” she grimaced.
“That good?” Cai pulled the frosted glass door open for her and waited for Dallas to get her act through it.
“Oh yeah,” she rolled her eyes, “It was terrific, right up to the point he threw a spring roll at me. And have I ever mentioned I don’t like fish? It was like a head-on-collision from the beginning.”
Cai smiled and watched Dallas in all of her carefulness; if she needed a hand he was there to give a hand, but it also gave him one of those rare moments to just watch her. She had indeed dressed up for the date; he was fairly certain from the smell of department-store-new Dallas had even spent the afternoon shopping. That was unlike her. She didn’t like shopping. But Cai was glad for the indulgence if all it gave him was this moment of watching her slink up the stairs in a little black dress.
Dallas waivered at the top of the stairs on her heels, something else Cai noticed that was an additional surprise. Dallas was a flipflops kind of girl. Cai decided to pretend his minute observations of his neighbor were nothing more than good awareness skills, but did he know half as much about Mrs. Shoester across the hallway? Nope. Not one bit.
“Let me give you a hand,” Cai smiled and took her elbow.
She kept her eyes firmly on the ground for two reasons; one, she needed to know where her feet were going and two, not looking at him made her not blush. Oh, she could go on any number of blind dates her married co-workers set her up on, but the dreamy neighbor was off limits according to her personal rules. He knew where she lived. He probably knew a lot of her habits. And he knew her real hair color. He might have forgotten the blonde who moved in, but it wasn’t a far stretch to the raven tresses that stretched down her back now.
“I’m good, I’m just tired.” Her heels made slow staccato sounds on the floor as they walked the short way to her first floor apartment.
“Oh, I know that,” Cai grinned, “I just wanted an excuse to escort a pretty girl.”
Insert one of those awkward moments Cai loved to create where Dallas’ stomach did somersaults and she had no idea how to reply. Instead Dallas fished for her keys in her purse.
“So the guy really threw a spring roll at you?” Cai released her arm and leaned up against the doorframe.
Dallas had never been able to quite decide how old Cai was, but she’d settled for something around her own age. He was just a little bit taller than her, so wearing the heels she was just a smidge taller than him. Cai looked like a posterboy for what Dallas thought a skateborder should look like; she didn’t know if Cai skateboarded, but he looked like he should. Dark, almost black-brown hair was in a perpetual state of shag, he often sported stubble or a few days worth of beard. Caramel colored eyes that sometimes looked amber depending on the light. Dallas had never seen him without his shirt on, but under the slightly loose, well fitted clothing he seemed capable of finding anywhere, she imagined him with a lean, flexible body.
“Huh?” Dallas looked up from her purse, dragging her mind back from contemplating Cai’s abs to realize she’d missed a crucial part of their conversation.
“The spring roll?” He prompted.
Wincing, Dallas nodded. “He didn’t exactly throw it at me. We started talking about immigration laws and he was gesturing with his chopsticks and,” she made a sailing motion and splayed her hand on the flat of her chest, and made a gurgling noise as if attack-by-spring-roll were deadly combat.
Cai laughed and crossed his arms over his chest. He also had the obnoxious decency to appear to be a genuinely good guy. “Where do you come up with these guys?”
She bought herself a moment by slipping the first lock into place and twisting it. Four more to go. Overkill? Maybe, but a girls home was her castle and Dallas believed in a good bit of security. “My co-workers,” she sighed. “They think I need to date more. They’re all in possession of wonderfully, perfect marital bliss and want to share the kool-aide.” She pushed her door open and flipped on the lights, instinctively looking around to see if anything was out of place first. Even in her slightly inebriated state there were just some things she did no matter what.
Groaning, Cai pushed off of the door and stretched. “Do I know the type!”
Turning, Dallas grabbed the door and leaned against it, entertaining a five second fantasy about those abs again. “Tell me about it. At least tomorrow is Saturday. Are you going to be here for Aaron’s party?”
Cai grimaced. Aaron was in mid mid-twentys and just starting college on a trust fund. He liked to have loud parties on the weekend. Dallas and Cai sometimes went together early and left early; inevitably at ungodly hours of the morning the cops would show up and bust the underage drinkers and shut the party down. “No, I have a family trip this weekend,” he sighed and shook his head, dark hair falling over his brow.
“Good grief, didn’t you just go on one of these?”
“What can I say? We’re a close family,” he shrugged and plunged his hands into his pockets.
“Well you’re going to miss one heckofa party!”
“You’ll have to tell me all about it Sunday.”
“Have a good night, Dallas.”
And that was the highlight of her evening. A five minute conversation about her inadequacies with her neighbor. Her feet knew the drill by rote. She came into the apartment and checked everything; every room, closet and space she had identified as being big enough to hide a person. She finished her inspection without finding anything out of place. Satisfied she went to the bedroom and changed into pajamas. It wasn’t until she was brushing her teeth that she realized what day it was. She hadn’t spoken to her handler in over six weeks. She’d meant to call today, follow good-girl-protocol, and figure out what the hell was going on but the blind date had sort of thrown her off, not that her life had ever really settled back onto the tracks in the last eight years.
Suddenly Dallas didn’t feel quite so sleepy or tipsy.