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©2016 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Never fall in love again

Dionne Warwick was letting her down. 

For one solid year Stephanie very successfully had been using Dionne Warwick’s signature song as a mantra, a incantation to ward off the evil that had plagued her since high school, all through college and even now into her ...God help her!....her mid--all right, all right!--late thirties. So, why was Dionne failing her now? Oh, but she knew perfectly well why.

“What do you get when you fall in love?  A guy with a pin to burst your bubble. That’s what you get, for all your trouble. I'll never fall in love again. ”

It had worked every time. All she had to do is sing along with Dionne and remember Chad, Tim, Jeff, Henry and especially Darren, the little weasel! And miraculously she would be safe, her heart would be still and she could concentrate on the important things in life, her friends, her family and her very successful career as an advertising genius.

“What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia. After you do  he’ll never even phone you. I'll never fall in love again.”

She glanced at the clock on her desk for the umpteenth time that morning, much to her own annoyance. It was now 9:45. He would be here in fifteen minutes as he always was, prompt and punctual as ever. She hated herself for wanting to see him and for wanting to talk to him and for wanting it so badly.

“What do you get when you fall in love? You only get a lot of pain and sorrow. I will never fall in love again.”

She just needed to  remember her last disaster of a relationship. Stephanie still seethed with anger remembering how put-out Darren had been, pouting like a baby when she got  the Donovan project instead of him.

 “So, did you sleep with Donovan himself or just the boss?” he spitefully retorted, instantly putting an end to their six month love-fest.

A resounding smack across his face was all the retribution she needed, but she got more besides. For doing a stellar job for Donovan she got the promotion. This coveted office was hers now, her reward for bringing in the big-bucks clients. That would have been payback enough, but she also got to see Darren ousted for trying to steal others’ ideas. She was on top of the world. She didn’t need a man, especially not one like Darren.

“Don’t tell me what it’s all about. Cuz I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out, out of those chains, those chains that bind you. That is why I’m here to remind you. I'll never fall in love again.”

So, why did she continue to check the clock?  She dropped her head in her hands and desperately mumbled, “Dionne, you’ve helped me before. Please, help me now!”

“Who’s Dionne? Can’t I help instead?” asked Sandy, her fresh-as-a-butter-cup assistant that came with her promotion and the new office. She had strolled into the office with a stack of folders and dropped them in front of her. Stephanie would like her more if she weren’t so darned young and bubbly while Stephanie was feeling the years creep up on herself.

“Oh, just Dionne Warwick,” Stephanie reluctantly muttered.

“She new here?”

“Of course not,” Stephanie told her irritably. “I’m talking about  Dionne Warwick, the singer.”  

Sandy merely stared blankly.

“You know her, “I’ll never fall in love again, Say a little prayer, Walk on by, What the world needs now. Everyone knows Dionne Warwick. She’s famous,” Stephanie insisted.

“Does she do anything with P. Diddy or Usher?” Sandy asked innocently.

 Stephanie groaned. She was just too old and getting older all the time.

“Knock, knock,” a familiar voice came at the door. It set her heart instantly aflutter.

There he stood. Rudy, the UPS guy with, of course, a package in hand. He wasn’t much to look at, if truth be told. He wasn’t exceptionally tall, very muscular nor particularly handsome, but he was such a joy, funny and sweet. He had the kindest smile imaginable and penetrating honest, true blue eyes. They shared a joke every day and that was enough to keep her going the rest of the day with a secret smile in her heart.

“What do you get when you fall in love? You get enough tears to fill an ocean. That’s what you get for all your devotion. I'll never fall in love again.”

“Hey, Rudy,” Sandy said and slipped out of the office completely unaware of any undercurrent.

Rudy stepped in, but left the door slightly ajar. Propriety required it in his profession as well as hers.

“If it isn’t Rudolph Valentino come to sweep us all off our feet,” Stephanie said, magically feeling alive now.  She kept this under wraps, though, using her well-honed business acumen. She rounded her desk to lean against it facing him. What a contrast they made. She in her sleek designer suit and he in his casual, slightly creased and wrinkled brown shorts. He wore these year round, insisting he was never cold enough to wear pants, even during last winter’s blizzard that stopped the city for three days. He didn’t even wear a jacket.

He had told her countless times, “I’m built for comfort, not flash.”  She had to agree. On any other man it wouldn’t fly, but on him it looked good.

“Now, I’ve told you it’s Ballentine and only my mama’s allowed to call me Rudolph and only on my birthday,” he said smiling. When he smiled like that he was the most beautiful person around. She melted a little every time.

I will never fall in love again...I will never fall in love again... I will never fall in love again, rang in her head fruitlessly.

“How are you, Rudy? Have a nice weekend?” she asked albeit casually, though her heart was frantically beating the conga against her ribs.

I will never fall in love again...I will never fall in love again... I will never fall in love again...

“Fantastic. How about you?”he asked, taking one tantalizing step closer. Her heart skipped a beat.

I will never fall in love again...I will never fall in love again... I will never fall in love again...

“Rather boring but after a hectic week, it’s quite welcome. I spent it planning my niece’s birthday party with my sister. So, what have you got there?” she asked looking curiously at the package in his hand. It was a small rainbow-colored, gift-wrapped box, very unlike his usual plain brown cardboard packages and envelops.

“I was hoping you could help me find who this belongs to,” he replied with a bit of a smirk. “Ramilda Vain. Do you know her?”

She looked at him with her own smirk. “As a matter of fact I do only you won’t find her working here. She happens to be  imaginary. She was the unscrupulous girl who tried to slip Harry Potter a love potion disguised as chocolates in the half blood Prince. You might want to try Hogwarts, Gryffindor tower. You could send it by owl delivery, much more reliable than UPS or the US postal service.”

He burst out laughing and approached her desk slowly. “You are good, Stephanie. I can’t ever get anything passed you.”

“You could if I didn’t have a niece totally crazy about Harry Potter,” she replied smiling brightly.

 “Well, in that case I’ll leave this here for you. You are not imaginary, at least I hope you aren’t.”he said placing the box into her hand. Their fingers just barely touched sending tingles up her arm. He looked deep into her eyes and she stared back semi-mesmerized.

I will never fall in love again...I will never fall in love again... I will never fall in love again...

“You brought these... specially for me?” she asked unduly touched.

“ You never know when you might be in the mood for a bit of chocolate laced with.... something nice,” he said evasively.

“Something nice? Like what?” she asked curiously.

“I couldn’t say. I don’t fool around with potions of any kind, but they are specially made for you.”

“You made them?” she asked incredulously.

“I wouldn’t want to poison you so, no. Sweets for the Sweet candy shop. Heard of it?” he asked.

She grinned. “My first marketing client when I started here. I remember it well. I’m a constant visitor there as Jane could tell you, unfortunately for my hips. Do you know Jane?” she said suspiciously.

“She’s my sister,” he replied.

Her mouth fell open. “Really?”

“I try not to lie. You know what they say, sweets for the sweet,” he said.

She stared at him her heart swelling and Dionne faintly whispering in her ear, “I will never fall in love again...I will never fall in love again... I will never fall in love again..."

“Thank you, Rudy. Thank you so much,” she said. She could barely breathe.

“You’re welcome, Stephanie. See you tomorrow,” he said smiling wistfully.

He turned to leave and as he touched the door she burst out saying, “Rudy, may I take you out to dinner?”

He turned back surprised then he grinned as if he thought she was joking. “Just because I brought you chocolates? Well, I don’t know if my ego can take a beautiful woman buying me dinner just for a few chocolates. People might think I’m a gigolo, but then that’s not really a bad thing, is it?” he said.

“I’m not kidding, Rudy,” she said coming towards him. “I live for your visits. I love our little chats. I almost sent myself something UPS just so you could bring it to me.”

“Oh,” he said, astonished.

Suddenly highly embarrassed she stepped around her desk and  shook her head, quickly saying, “I’m sorry. I just thought...but surely you are married or with someone. I’m sorry.”

He followed her until they were toe to toe. “You must realize I contrive to see you, even going so far as  pretending to have packages for imaginary people. But you saw through it, Stephanie and I ... It’s torture to see you every day looking so beautiful and untouchable. I know I’m not good enough for you, but it was worse to not see you at all. So, yes, I will go out to dinner with you and every day for the rest of our lives if you will let me.”

He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her close and kissed her soundly. She melted against him joy bubbling within her as Dionne Warwick’s melodic voice sang on and on to no avail.

 ....So, for at least until tomorrow, I will never fall in love again....

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