Dare to Love(6)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

His agility, ability, swiftness, and strength both intimidated her and aroused her. But just like the flowers she saw in the store and didn’t buy, she couldn’t give in to carnal desires and lust. That instant see it, like it, buy into it way. It would only get her heart broken, make her feel like a loser again, and end in a disaster. She’d have to leave the sheriff’s department, hell, leave Chance, because her reputation would be shot and everyone would think differently of her. No. She needed to stand her ground and look for the kind of man that fit into her life, her expectations. That was the safe route. That was the control she needed.

She swallowed hard and tried to convince herself that none of that attracted her to them. Then she thought about their ages. They were older. Much older. She knew better than to try and compare herself to an experienced woman. She wasn’t.

What she needed was a guy her age. Maybe one who was soft-spoken, easy on the eyes of course, and not from Chance. She felt the spark of enthusiasm and then came the reality of it all. She never ventured out of town. With thoughts of how lame her life was, but safe, she loaded her car and headed home. She needed to get back to the station in thirty minutes.

* * * *

Kurt wondered why Mercedes hadn’t bought the flowers. They were so beautiful, just like her. She hadn’t gone for the red roses, the deep purple wildflowers but instead for the soft, feminine, arrangement of yellow flowers and tiny daisies. But that was Mercedes. She was sweet, kind, soft-spoken, and kind of shy, plus very ladylike. When he thought about the things that he assumed made her smile and made her happy, he thought about walks in the park, dinner and holding hands, candlelight and romance. She deserved it all. He never found it in himself to care about that stuff with a woman.

His relationships with the opposite sex were cut-and-dry. A few drinks, some small talk, and a sexual release that didn’t leave him feeling guilty about leaving in the early morning hours or even right after the sex. Especially if it hadn’t been good, or he realized he had been wearing beer goggles.

He shook the thoughts from his head. That was in the past. The last year had been difficult. He didn’t want to be with anyone. He didn’t want to get close or even get touched. He felt on edge, unworthy of connecting with a human being. Funny thing was, Warner was feeling the same way. But watching Mercedes, knowing that she didn’t even notice him sneaking around watching her, made him feel protective. But the way she looked at those flowers, wanting them, had him making a move before he could reconsider and walk away.

“Hey, kid,” he said to the store clerk stocking shelves by the floral section in the store.

“Yes, sir,” he replied, not knowing who Kurt was. Teenagers were oblivious sometimes. No worries or real responsibilities. Those were the days.

“I need you to do me a favor,” he said and then explained to the kid what he needed. He passed him a fifty-dollar bill and the kid was shocked and stared at it as if he never saw one before. Kurt had to chuckle inside. He gave him directions of what he needed and the kid agreed. Kurt also threatened him to not tell a soul. The kid took him seriously.

Smart kid.

Kurt headed out, paying for his things, and toward the direction of his black souped-up Camaro. He couldn’t help but smile when he was in the privacy of his car and behind tinted windows. He felt good. He felt accomplished. Hopefully it would make Mercedes smile.

* * * *

Mercedes walked back into the sheriff’s office after food shopping and grabbing a yogurt and granola bar for lunch. The first person she saw was Taylor and he looked pissed off. She looked away from him and noticed one of the other secretaries smiling wide.

“Looks like someone has an admirer,” Thelma, the other secretary, said and Mercedes wondered what she meant as she took in the sight of a few other deputies.

“Who is he and when were you going to tell us?” Deputy Mike Spencer asked with his hand on his hip as he stood next to two other deputies.

“Tell you what, Mike?” she asked, walking by them slowly and unsure what the fuss was over. Then she spotted the large bouquet of yellow flowers on her desk.

She gasped.

“Oh my God,” she said and hurried toward them. She touched the beautiful, delicate flowers and inhaled their scent. She felt so touched, so happy, and then she wondered who sent them. There was a card.

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