Welcome back to “Our Love is Here to Stay”. I hope you enjoyed chapter one and that you are ready to learn more about Patty and Matthew. I welcome your feedback on the story and on serializing it.
Let’s read on…
Patty was out of breath from laughing when they exited the dance floor.
She had been as patient as possible with Matthew. After all, he was so nice and so very good looking, but he really couldn’t dance. She felt fortunate that her toes were not smashed beyond walking. He had tried so valiantly to avoid scuffing her shoes or stomping on her toes, and she was relieved to find that despite a few mishaps, the whites of her saddle shoes remained unmarred
“Maybe we should give up and just talk?” he had asked after fifteen minutes of concerted effort.
“I’d like that,” she told him, resisting the urge to bat her eyelashes in the way her older sister had suggested. She could tell from the way his eyes never left her face that he liked what he saw and she definitely liked what she saw. His broad shoulders were wider than many of the men in the room, shown to advantage in his white oxford shirt. He had rolled the sleeves haphazardly during the dancing so she was able to admire his forearms, strong and lightly covered in dark hair. The hair on his arms mirrored the almost black, thick mass on his head, styled unusually long, probably a trend that was slow to reach the neighborhood, but already popular in the city as was so often the case. She found it becoming and hoped it would catch on.
In fact, she itched to run her hands through the dark locks and had tolerated his bad swing movements in the desperate hope that a slow dance would follow. She longed to twine her fingers in the curls resting on his neck and to feel his muscled arms holding her close. She had never responded to anyone the way she was responding to Matthew. He was a lousy dancer, but she could happily lose herself in his brown eyes and easy smile.
She hadn’t reached the age of 21 without dating a few boys, but Matthew was different. He looked different, he sounded different, using words and phrases that were unfamiliar. He was more worldly, she could tell from his clothes and his haircut, than the neighborhood boys with whom she had gone out. She wanted to keep this man’s attention. She wanted him to like her.
He bought them each a beer and wormed his way into a spot where she could lean against the wall. “All they had was Schlitz and Old Style,” he offered apologetically, handing her a bottle. “Is this okay? I could get you a cocktail. Would you prefer that instead
He spoke in a rushed manner and she wondered if he might be nervous. She couldn’t imagine why, a sophisticated man like him. Still, she liked the idea that she might put him on edge. She found it promising. “I have never seen you here before,” she observed, ignoring his questions and shouting to be heard
“Are you a regular?” he asked in return.
“I am here most Thursdays, but I don’t remember seeing you here before,“ she tried again.
“No, I’ve never been here before. I am from San Francisco, and just found out about Swing Night today.”
Patty schooled her features, trying to mask her disappointment. “Well, that certainly explains why you didn’t look familiar.” A California man. It explained his clothes and vocabulary. “You are certainly a long way from home.”
“Yeah, I guess I am.” She was disappointed when he didn’t say more and jumped in to fill her perceived void in the conversation.
“Chicago must be quite a change for you, especially on a snowy night like this.” The weather, couldn’t she do better than talk about the weather?
“That’s true, but right now, I don’t mind it a bit.
He was flirting with her. Patty’s heart raced at the realization. Read chapter 2 of free serialized romance www.madisonmicahel.net/category/maddys-blog Click To TweetA tall, stranger from far off California was interested in her. The best looking man in the room and he had not looked at another woman since the moment she locked onto his dark brown eyes. She smiled at the thought, and he smiled in return. He had the straightest, whitest teeth she had ever seen. She didn’t think he could get more good looking, but when he smiled at her like he was just now, he was devastating.
Slow down girl, she reminded herself. This man is an out-of-towner, and a stranger. She took a moment to catch her breath and let her heart slow, motioning to her friends to join them. She introduced him to her girlfriends, explaining that they all worked together at the home office of RR Donnelley printing company.
“Are you in sales?” he asked innocently, sending the four women into unexplained fits of giggles. “What? What did I say?”
“We are secretaries,” Patty explained. “We all met in school, and now we all work together. Susie and I share an nifty apartment,” she nodded to her red-headed friend.
“We live right around the corner,” Susie added. “In our own place.
Matthew thought it was odd to add that they lived in “their own place,” but rather than be rude by pointing this out, he offered to buy the women a round of drinks. He loved their choices, Rob Roys and Manhattans, in keeping with the 1950’s theme of Swing Night at The Green Mill. Once the drinks arrived, Patty separated herself from her friends enough to have what passed for a private conversation in a bar. She leaned against the small space of wall while Matthew rested one hand near her head and leaned in slightly.
“So what brought you to Chicago?” she asked Matthew, chiding herself for being nosy but wanting to know everything about this intriguing stranger. She fussed with her hair before reminding herself that ladies didn’t fidget. The space between them seemed to be shrinking.
“Work,” he offered uselessly.
“What kind of work?” she probed.
“I am a consultant. Cyber-security for banks and financial institutions.”
“Oh, security,” Patty wracked her brain for something more intelligent to say. She wanted Matthew to think she was smart and pretty. She already suspected that he found her attractive. She sure did like the way he looked at her – like he wanted to eat her. The locals were never that bold or that handsome. “Bank security is critical. They must really value your input.”
“It is certainly a hot topic these days,” he agreed
“A very hot topic.” She loved his California slang and promised herself she would find a way to use that phrase tomorrow at the office. “I am secretary to one of the executive vice presidents. He has a very important role and he counts on me.”
“Do you like it, being his assistant?” Did he sound unimpressed with her work
“It’s challenging. Mr. Coolidge always expects me to read his mind, to understand what he wants without him ever telling me. But I am a fast typer and take shorthand at 120 words a minute.”
Matthew laughed at that statement, a hearty, full-throated laugh that she felt stir something in her belly, making her feel tingly and feminine – and very nice.
“That is the lot of assistants everywhere, I think,” he said finally, his laugh subsiding to a low chuckle. “I bet you are a mind reader. I suspect you know what I am thinking right now.” With that, Matthew leaned close to Patty, placing his other hand beside her head, effectively trapping her between his outstretched arms.
“My, it’s warm in here,” she spoke the truth, but said the words to prevent him from dipping his head lower. It was clear he was about to kiss her. Right here and after knowing her less than an hour. He was very forward. Perhaps that was how girls behaved in California, but this was Chicago.
“I would suggest stepping outside to cool off, but I think it’s frigid out there,” Matthew looked disappointed, but he straightened up giving Patty the breathing room she needed. “So, Patty, tell me more about yourself. You live with Susie, work at Donnelley and love to dance. What else?”
“Nothing special, I guess,” she searched for something interesting to share. “I was born here, I went to Von Stuben High School – oh that won’t mean anything to you, and then to secretarial school. I have two sisters, no brothers, and I love dogs.”
“Oh no, my parents would never have considered it, although I would have liked being a teacher.”
“I bet you would have been a great teacher.” Now he was just flattering her, since he could know nothing of the sort. She preened under the compliment, tossing her head a bit before she remembered her hair was still pulled tight. She wished she could take it down, but how? Why?
“You’re just a flatterer, but I love children. I would love five or six kids someday. I plan to spoil them, secure them great educations and take them on lavish vacations.”
There was that booming laugh again, and that tingle low in her belly rekindled. She loved when Matthew laughed, showing off the strong column of his throat, those white teeth. Everything about him attracted her. “Is that what you consider spoiling? Not too many toys and video games?”
“Video games?” She didn’t really know what a video game was, but she wasn’t admitting that to Matthew. “They don’t need those things.”
“You are an unusual woman, Patty.” His voice dropped low on the words and Patty found herself responding. He was so alluring.
“Not really. I am just like any other 21-year old from the neighborhood. I like music, dancing, going to the movies, and being with friends.” She sounded young and unsophisticated. How would she capture a man like Matthew?
“Do you have a special friend? A special dance partner?”
“Are you asking me if I have a boyfriend?” Oh my gosh, I think he is really interested in me. This exciting man from way across the country. She couldn’t believe it. Her heart raced at the idea, but her voice was calm when she responded.
“No, there is no one special.
“Well then, I would like to see you again. Would that be possible?”
“That depends on how long you will be in town,” Patty responded in a flirtatious tone that she was brave enough to use now that she knew he was interested.
“Months. I will be here for several more months. Think you can squeeze me into your schedule in the all that time?” He was teasing her.
“I think I can manage that,” she teased him in return. She was relaxing finally, more confident in her appeal and able to show it.“How about Saturday night? We could go to a movie and grab dinner?”
“That sounds wonderful. Let me give you my address and phone number.”
Matthew searched his pockets for something. He checked the floor around him, muttering “damn it” before reaching behind him for a napkin from the stack on the bar. She jotted her information on the napkin, which he carefully placed in the pocket of his trousers.
“Seven? Will that work for you?”
She was so excited she had trouble holding still. “That sounds perfect. We can decide on a movie over dinner, or you can just pick one. No horror movies, please.”
“Nothing gory, I promise.” He leaned in again and Patty had a moment to imagine his full lips resting on hers, how they would feel and taste. But, at the last moment she recollected where she was and offered him her cheek. His lips felt warm and soft against her skin.
Her friends rejoined them at that moment, reducing the conversation to the music and dancing until she left The Green Mill shortly after 11 o’clock, leaving Matthew listening to the music and the possibility of meeting another girl. She worried momentarily then let the fear go. It was just a ten-minute walk in the icy night air to her new apartment. Memories of Matthew’s kiss kept her warm the entire way.
Need to Catch up? You might want to read:
About the Green Mill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mill_Cocktail_Lounge
Chapter One of “Our Love is Here to Stay”:
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