As they walked home from the supermarket, Shahira caught sight of a scrap of paper at the sidewalk’s edge. Weighed down by bags of milk, oranges, and cat food, she bent down to pick it. It wasn’t until she’d unfolded it that she finally realized what she had in her hands.
When Lana turned around to see her kneeling on the sidewalk, she rolled her eyes. “What are you doing back there?”
“I found somebody’s paycheque,” Shahira replied, jogging to join her roommate.
“Let me see that.” Lana tore it from her hand.“Nice! All we have to do is forge his endorsement and we’re six hundred and fifty-seven dollars richer.”
Ripping the cheque from Lana’s clutches, Shahira scolded, “We’re not stealing this guy’s money!”
“Why? Who is he?” she asked with a blank stare.
“I don’t know,” Shahira said with a shrug. “Some guy who lost his paycheque. Marco Diaz. If you lost your paycheque, wouldn’t you want it returned to you?”
“I wouldn’t lose it in the first place,” Lana answered, nose in the air.
The employer’s address was in the top corner of the cheque, and it would only be three minutes out of their way, so Shahira set off in that direction.
“Where are you going?” Lana asked.
“He works at the Madeira Bistro.”
“You’re going there now?” Lana whined. “This sun is killing me. I’m not going with you.”
When Shahira only replied by pressing on in the direction of the Bistro, Lana chased after her. “Fine, I’ll come too. Maybe he’ll give us a reward.”
Shaking her head, Shahira said, “I don’t want a reward; I just want this guy to get his paycheque.”
“I’m sure they’ll replace it. It’s not a big deal,” Lana said. When Shahira didn’t respond, she went on, “I hope they at least give us a bottle of water. I’m dying out here.”
“Here it is,” Shahira said, stopping in front of the quaint Bistro. “It’s closed.”
Peeking into its darkened interior, Lana replied, “No kidding, Queen of the Obvious. Here, just push it through the mail slot.”
Shahira read the sign posted on the door and said, “Look at this—they’re on vacation until the end of the month. I can’t leave it here. He’ll never get it.”
“So, no reward, no water, and you won’t let me steal it,” Lana lamented, following her roommate back home. “What a waste of time.”
With a tender smile, Shahira said, “A good deed is never a waste of time.”
Leaving Lana to put the groceries away, she went straight for the computer. In a city of two and a half million, the name Marco Diaz didn’t appear even once, but there were twenty listings under M Diaz. She called every one. Seven were named Marco, but none of them worked at the Bistro.
“Are you still trying to find this guy?” Lana laughed, painting her nails as she read the local newspaper. “Give it up already.”
She placed the phone down and walked to the kitchen. “I’d just like to think that anybody out there would do the same for me.”
“Nope,” Lana chuckled. “There are no Good Samaritans anymore.”
“And some people don’t even put the milk away!” Shahira cried, finding the groceries still in bags on the floor. Shaking her head, she unpacked them herself.
“Oh yeah,” Lana said, mired in distraction. “What did you say that guy’s name was again? Marco Diaz?”
Looking up from the fridge, Shahira quickly said, “Yes. Why?”
Lana carried the paper across the room, walking on her heels so the polish on her toes wouldn’t get ruined. Placing it down on the cutting board, she pointed to a classified ad. For piano, guitar, or voice lessons, call Marco Diaz. “Did you try this number?”
“No,” Shahira said, grasping for the phone and dialing. “That’s a cell number, isn’t it? My search only gave me landlines.”
A satin-smooth voice answered on the second ring. “Marco Diaz music lessons.”
Her skin tingled as he spoke. Those two sentences swam through her like rippling waves of velvet, each word subtly running into the next.
“Do you work at the Madeira Bistro?” she asked, hearing the question from her lips without any awareness of speaking.
There was dead air for a moment before he answered, “Yes.”
“And you lost your paycheque?”
Again, he paused before saying, “Yes, I did,” and Shahira began to worry that he had the wrong impression. He was going to think she’d stolen it, or was holding it hostage or something.
“I found it,” she said, the words bursting from her lips. “On the sidewalk on Queen Street.”
“I live on Queen Street,” he replied. “At Silverbirch.”
“That’s where I found it!”
Lana stood at her side whispering, "Don’t tell him where we live," but Shahira didn’t heed her advice. Their proximity even at that very moment excited her too much.
“We’re neighbours! I’m one street over at Willow.”
“You’re not serious!” The excitement in his voice matched her own. “Step outside now. I’ll meet you.”
Dropping the phone and grabbing his cheque, she ran down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, heading east. She knew Marco the moment she caught sight of him speeding toward her. They met, panting for breath, halfway between their two streets.
“Your cheque,” she said, extending the rectangle of paper.
He took it between his fingers, but she didn’t let go right away. His stylish black hair and bronze skin lent him the look of a Latin god.
“Your name?” he asked, smiling as she released his cheque.
Placing it in his pocket, he took her hand in his. “One good deed deserves another, Shahira. Tell me what I can do for you.”
She returned his smile and didn’t even blush as she chuckled, “Marry me?”
About the Author: Eroticist, environmentalist and pastry enthusiast, Giselle Renarde is a proud Canadian, committed volunteer, and supporter of the arts. For Giselle, a perfect day involves watching a snowstorm rage outside with a cup of tea in one hand and a chocolate truffle in the other. Ms Renarde lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head. She is published with several publishers including Phaze, eXcessiva, loveyoudivine, as well as numerous online erotic magazines and sites. For more information on Giselle and her work, visit her website at www.freewebs.com/gisellerenarde/ or her blog, Donuts & Desires