I am ashamed to admit that I cheated on Sunday night’s Flash Fiction Challenge. The theme word was oil. So, as I usually do, I began making free associations–oil as in natural resources, oil as in lubrication, oil as in a car’s oil, oil as in oil paintings then finally the one I liked best, oil as in that which does not mix with water. And then I got lazy. I stole a scene from one of my novels and edited it down a bit and slapped on a wrap up line and posted. If you’ve already read my novel All’s Fair in Love and War, you can comment and call me a cheater. If you haven’t, then enjoy! 🙂
She slipped into the offices of Olsen, Dennison and Gershwin, CPAs and went straight to her mail slot. A yellow confidential envelope peaked out. Wow, he hadn’t wasted any time, probably wrote it after he kissed her. That could have influenced his opinion of her work either positively or negatively.Snatching the envelope, she hurried to her desk.
As she passed Colin’s cubicle, she noticed that he’d left some of his stuff there–his briefcase, calculator and his keys. His keys? Oh shit, he’s probably somewhere around here right now!
She began a hasty retreat from the bay of cubicles and barreled into Colin as she turned the corner. The impact sent him reeling backwards, but he caught himself, and her, before setting them both to rights. His eyes drifted down to the yellow envelope she held in front of her chest.
“Have you read it yet?” he asked. He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept much.
“Yes. Listen, I need to make sure you didn’t misunderstand anything…about last night. Can we go into the conference room? I’d rather this be just between us.” He ran a hand through his hair as he stared down at her.
Once inside, she took a seat at the table. He shut the door, closed the privacy blinds and took a seat opposite her. They were all business. She held her tongue, waiting for him to initiate the conversation. He’d requested their meeting after all, not her.
He hesitated and rubbed a hand over his lower face as he seemed to struggle to find the right words. Then he began, “Shelby. I owe you an apology. I was out of line last night.”
“We’d both been drinking so I don’t think—”
“I wasn’t drunk. Were you?”
“Well no, but—”
“I was angry, not that that’s a justifiable excuse, but I felt like, well it seemed like you were trying to pick a fight with me and I…overreacted.”
She hadn’t expected him to come out swinging. “You’re wrong. I wasn’t But nevertheless you fought back by grabbing me and kissing me? Didn’t your Mommy ever teach you to use your words and not your… well never mind, you know what I meant.”
“I use the defense best suited to the offense, and it isn’t always my words,” he said with a glint in his eye that communicated a much deeper meaning.
“So you were trying to sexually intimidate me because you thought I was challenging your masculinity?”
He groaned. “Damn but you’re plain spoken, Shelby. No, not at all. You threw down a challenge, but it had less to do me and everything to do with you.”
“You thought I was daring you to resist my charms because I thought I was all that and a bag of chips?”
He huffed a bit, his agitation starting to reveal itself all over his body but especially on his face. “Weren’t you? Weren’t you daring me to do exactly what I did?”
She gasped, “No! I most certainly was not. You shocked the hell out of me.”
“Oh come on, Shelby, you think I was born yesterday? I know your type only too well.”
“My type? My type!” She stood because she had no further interest in continuing a tired old fight. “What the hell do you know about my type? You don’t know jack about me or my type, Colin!”
He stood as well and came around the table to face her. “That’s where you’re wrong, Princess,” he hissed. “I got your number the first moment I saw you.”
“Oh yeah, and just exactly what was my number, huh? What was your expert assessment of my type?” She made the air quotes as she said the word “type”
“You’re a tease and a collector,” he said with a smug expression that she’d have given her right arm to have been able to slap off.
“And you’re a jerk who thinks he can pigeon-hole all women into a few limited categories. Let’s see if I can get them all. It shouldn’t be too hard considering your stunted emotional outlook. You’ve got your group one–mothers, daughters and sisters; group two–the marriageable, subservient virgins; group three–the playthings who are whores the instant the bed grows cold, and then there is the category the rest of us occupy–bitches who refuse to go willingly into either of categories two or three. Did I get them all?”
“Well you got the bitch part right,” he muttered as he moved closer.
She knew he was trying to intimidate her, but she refused to show any fear. It was one thing to plant a surprise kiss on her, quite another to threaten her. One thing was for sure, they were like oil and water and did NOT mix well.
“I rest my case,” she said and stepped to the side to move past him. She strode toward the door of the conference room, the adrenalin rush making her head spin, then stopped as she weighed her final words on the loathsome topic. She turned and said, “I’m glad to be a bitch in your world, because I’m never going to marry you, and I’m certainly never going to fuck you, Colin Montoya, no matter how much you might beg.” Then she walked out, confident that she’d had the last word and that she’d stung him.
He followed her and said, “Get over yourself, Shelby. Like I’d ever be desperate enough to take you to bed let alone to the altar. I’d rather pluck my eyes out, cut off my nuts and get gang-banged in prison.”
Shelby spun around and strode back to him. Poking him in the chest, she spat out, “Then we are in agreement, so don’t you worry a single nanosecond longer about your baby blues, family jewels or asshole, because I’d never give you the time of day to do either of those things with me.”
This time he let her walk away but for his parting shot he blurted out, “So I guess that still leaves the unsolved mystery of why you kissed me back then, eh?”
“Dream on, Montoya!” she yelled. Oil and water they might be, but it didn’t stop the horror that they’d mixed well enough for him to realize it too, and worse, to gloat about it.
She tried to will herself to drop it, to keep marching forward, to tune out his taunts. But something made her stop and look over her shoulder. As she did, she saw him stop and glance at her in the same manner. They locked eyes as the universe plopped them together in a glass and shook.