He Had Some Nerve [Fiction]

Stepping out of the bathroom wrapped in two towels, Lorelei expected the quiet of the house. Living alone meant the place was often that. What she did not expect was the single white rose in a crystal vase on her coffee table.


She did not entertain the idea it had been there before and she had forgotten.

She lived alone.

Yet she had heard nothing.

No entrance.

No exit.

Nothing.

Some species of concern coiled in her belly. Finally, she strode forward, undaunted by her undress, and picked up the vase. Beneath it lay a card.

For a beauty. ~A

The crisp lettering showed off a certainty she supposed her admirer would feel.

“If you had a little more gall, you would have left your name.” Lore put the vase back and went to dress. Her meetings would not wait on a mystery. When she left home, the rose was white.

When she returned, her long day behind her, the rose was red. It had also multiplied by a dozen. Lore restrained her urge to snatch them up. A single rose was intrusion enough. A dozen…She didn’t have the words.

The card tucked into the profuse petals read:

To: Lorelei

From: Alexander

“So you have a name.” Of course, she wondered who he was. Her apartment, in a building quite known for its security, wasn’t impenetrable, but close. Even a delivery man did not simply waltz in and out unnoticed. Yet, he had not only been in the building, but in her apartment. “Who are you, Alexander?”

Weeks went by with nothing. The roses wilted and died without contact. Lore lived without anticipation the life she had built for herself among the colleagues she enjoyed. Her mother called and she related the strange incident to her without fanfare. Except for her memories, it might have been nothing but a dream.

The woman next door, Carolyn, felt strong the day the new rose came. It drove Lore to seek refuge from the deluge of depondency in a lengthy, quiet bath. Soft strings played over the lavender-scented room as she lay back in the bubbles. Finally, at ease and comfortable, she climbed out, troweled off, and wrapped herself in her silk robe.

The sense of calm broke as she entered her bedroom.

A multi-bud white rose lay on her bed next to the impression of someone sitting on the bed clothes.

This time, there was no card.

After a moment, she pulled herself away from the shrieking Harpy fury coursing through her veins. Her face smoothed into the look dubbed The Ice Queen by her siblings and she said, “Do not violate my bedroom again, Alexander. Next time, you will be sorry.” She smoothed away the evidence of his passing and laid down to sleep. Disquiet followed her to sleep.

The next morning, she stepped into her kitchen to find a steaming cup of green tea set on the counter as if it had been abandoned there. Set against the pastel ceramic mug, the black card called to her.

Lorelei

May we meet? 6pm Olensky’s. If you wish. I will not press if you do not come, but I would much prefer an invitation to your bedroom.

Alexander

Smoothing unruly hair, she considered his request.

Meet him, yes. She wanted to lay eyes on this mystery man and find out what made him tick. However she doubted he would merit an invitation to her bedroom once the mystery was solved. Picking up the tea, she sipped it. Her tea from her cupboard in her mug.

Lorelei had to give him his due, he had some nerve.

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