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A Wish Come True
I must be out of my mind to have agreed to attend a stupid Halloween costume party. Anna and Beth happened to catch me in a good mood, and without thinking, I accepted their invitation. Now, I've got to come up with something to wear. I hate Halloween. Hell, I hate holidays in general these days.
Deep in thought, I pay little attention to my surroundings as I wrack my brain for the perfect costume, or better yet, the perfect excuse to get out of attending the party. I don't even realize I'm swinging my briefcase back and forth until it makes contact with an unsuspecting passerby.
"Oof," is the reaction from the target, followed by a string of expletives as the person is knocked into the marble wall.
"Shit, that hurt! Son of a bitch . . . Why don't you watch where you're fucking going?"
Surprised by the sound of a female voice, I turn to apologize to the individual, only to be further astounded when I recognize the face of the person who has effectively cursed me out.
"Serena?" I ask in shock.
"Abbie Carmichael. I should have known it was you. Nobody else throws a one-two punch as good as you do, although, I've only seen you throw the combination in a courtroom," Serena replies as she reaches up to rub the shoulder which impacted the wall.
Seeing her brings back memories of the few times our paths have crossed. Each time I wanted to ask her out, but I would always chicken out for fear of outing myself to a potentially straight woman. Now, I know my fears were unfounded since Jack told me all about his former assistant's final meeting with Branch.
Sighing, I force myself back to the here and now and ask, "Are you okay, Serena? I didn't hurt you too badly, did I?"
She grins and replies, "I'm sure I'll have a nice bruise on my shoulder, but I'll survive. I always do."
"Okay, well then, um are you in the city for very long?" My cross examining skills fail me as I stutter my question to the lovely former district attorney who has been reported to have left for another job.
"Actually, I just moved back last week. I'll be working in this building starting the day after tomorrow. I was just trying to familiarize myself with the different offices where I may need to visit from time to time," Serena explains.
Holy shit, she's going to be working here? Maybe I've been given a second chance.
Taking the bull by the horns, I decide to put this fear behind me once and for all.
"Hey, Serena, a couple of my friends are hosting a costume party tonight. Would you like to go with me?"
Smiling, she answers, "I can't. I already have a previous engagement. Perhaps another time?"
Well, at least she politely kicked me to the curb, but I know exactly what 'another time' means. I've certainly used it often enough through the years.
"I understand. Maybe we'll see each other every now and then," I offer as I turn to walk away.
Serena just nods her head so I stand tall and stride away with the confidence I don't have.
Hours and numerous costume shops later, I'm standing in front of my closet trying to find something to wear. There's no way I'm spending that kind of money to rent something that doesn't appeal to me. I mean, really, Dorothy? Marilyn? Elvira? I don't think so. I could pull off Elvira's height, but I couldn't fill out the front of that costume even if I used an entire box of Kleenexes.
Walking backwards, I plop down on the bed and stare at the ceiling. I don't want to go to this damn party. Everyone's going to be partnered up, and I'll be the only single woman there, a third wheel to every couple. Think Abbie, you're a smart woman. Surely, you can come up with a plausible excuse.
Let's see, I can't use a headache as I've kind of overdone that one. A stomach virus is definitely out because if I know Nurse Anna, she'd be over here with all sorts of medications, and I'd really feel sick knowing she'd miss part of her own party.
Turning on my side, I once again look into my closet, resigned to my fate.
My eyes focus on a couple of boxes on the top shelf, and I smile. I know exactly what I'm going as.
Stepping out of my car, I begin the long walk down the sidewalk to Anna and Beth's. I guess I wasted more time than I thought vacillating between staying home and coming to the party because I've had to park several blocks away.
The sound of footsteps behind me causes me a bit of alarm since the streets on this end are poorly lit. I pick up my pace as I notice the trailing footsteps match my strides.
Turning, I glance over my shoulder to see a vision of beauty coming toward me so I stop on the sidewalk and wait for the woman to catch up. Maybe I won't be the only single person at the party after all.
As she draws near, her beauty takes my breath away. Her long, yellow, off the shoulder gown hugs her curves, leaving nothing to my imagination, and a pair of long white gloves round out the costume.
"Abbie? Is that you?"
"Wow, you look great," Serena says looking me up and down while I return the favor.
"You look beautiful," I blurt before I can censor my thoughts.
"Thanks, I love 'Beauty and the Beast;' Belle is my favorite character," Serena replies as she smoothes down the front of her gown.
"Who are you supposed to be? I mean, I know you're dressed as a cowboy," she says in a nervous tone.
At least I'm not the only one who's flustered.
I glance down at my cowboy cut shirt tucked into my tight Wranglers, ending in a pair of ostrich cowboy boots. Looking back up, I push my hat off my forehead and drawl, "Well, little lady, I think you've found me out. Would you allow me to escort you the rest of the way?"
Offering my arm, I anxiously await her reply.
Smiling, she takes the proffered arm and responds, "Why, thank you very kindly. I'd be honored."
Together, we make out way toward the house in soft conversation, and Serena leans in closer to me as we walk down the sidewalk. Our whispered voices can barely be heard over the clinking of my spurs.
What a pair we must make, me in my cowboy boots and Serena in her princess shoes.
Personally, I could care less; I've always wanted a princess of my very own.
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