Melissa Scott had been up since the crack of dawn. She had quickly showered and brushed her teeth in her tiny bathroom. After drinking a small glass of orange juice, she slipped into her favorite old sweat clothes and sneakers. Before leaving her apartment, Melissa brushed her auburn hair and pulled it back into a ponytail.
Melissa practically sprinted the two blocks to the corner newsstand.
Catching her breath, she shouted to the newsstand owner, "Joe, I want all of your copies of Boutique Magazine!"
At that second, a black limousine pulled up in front of the newsstand and a tall, well-dressed young man jumped out of the back. He took out a credit card and handed it to the newsstand owner. "You got my copies of Boutique Magazine?”
"Wait a minute, sir," Melissa cut in. "I just asked Joe for all of the Boutique Magazines.”
The man turned and looked at Melissa. "Sorry, Miss, but I just paid for all of the Boutique Magazines at this newsstand.”
Melissa could feel tears welling up in her eyes. She clinched her fists. She was not going to cry.
"But you don't understand," Melissa tried again. "I have to send copies of Boutique to my parents, and to all of those girls who said I was fat, back in Kansas.”
The man smiled a little, "Miss, you're not in Kansas anymore.”
Melissa pulled back her shoulders, with great determination. "My name is Melissa Scott, and by the way, I'm the girl on the cover of Boutique!"
Melissa noticed that the man in the early morning sunlight looked even younger than she had first thought. She had been convinced that he was one of those playboys who hung around models and liked to show them off at big parties.
"Look, Miss Scott, if you'll stop calling me sir, I'll call you Melissa, Girl on the Cover of Boutique Magazine.”
Melissa asked, “Well, what do I call you?”
The young man seemed a little uncomfortable as he answered, “My, ah, old man is Chairman of Phillips and Phillips Advertising.”
“I’m Michael, the…" He halted for a second, swallowing, before he could continue. "My job was to get up at the crack of dawn and pick up copies of Boutique for some important client lunch today.”
Melissa smiled sparingly. “I guess you’ll be going to that lunch today, too.”
“Not a chance,” Michael replied as he gazed at Melissa for a second. “I’m taking the afternoon off.” Pausing for a second, Michael said, “I just had an idea.”
“Better be good,” Melissa thought.
She took a closer look at Michael. He was tall, and his suit obviously covered a well-muscled body. However, his deep blue eyes really got to her. She felt her heart pounding and for a second, she felt a little faint. She took a step backward and almost lost her balance.
“Are you okay?” Michael asked, concern showing on his face. “Look, I could give you a few of the Boutique Magazines.” He paused, “The old man would never notice.”
“What’s the catch?” Melissa asked.
“There is no catch,” Michael answered. “I understand that sending those magazines back to Kansas is very important to you.”
At that point, the limo horn blared. A voice yelled out the front window, “Come on, kid, we have to get these magazines back to Dad.”
A puzzled look crossed Melissa’s face. “Your brother drives the limo?” She shrugged as she thought, “I guess everyone works in the family business.”
Michael looked down at his highly polished shoes. “He’s not my brother. He’s Brent Phillips, the only son of Mr. Phillips.”
There was a long silence while Melissa tried to calculate what was happening.
“Brent is a really good guy.” Michael said. “He’s just crazy about cars. So we switch sometimes. He drives the limo. And…”
“Then who are you?” Melissa asked in disbelief.
Michael looked ashamed as he blurted out, “I’m the chauffeur!”
When Melissa did not run as he thought she might, he continued, “Michael Evans at your service, Miss Scott.”
“Can you explain just what went on here?”
“I’m simply a guy driving a limo to make enough money to stay in Med School.” He waited for Melissa to say something but she was silent, deadly silent. Then she exploded into gales of laughter.
A sigh of relief slipped out of Michael’s mouth before he handed Melissa six copies of Boutique Magazine.
Michael yelled at Brent Phillips, “You wanted to drive, Brent, so get the limo safely back to the garage.”
“Miss Scott, Melissa, can you forgive me?” Michael asked.
Melissa beamed that cover girl smile, “Yes, I can, Michael. But there’s a catch.”
Michael’s face turned pale, “What’s the catch?”
“You have to buy me the biggest slice of pizza in Manhattan,” she replied.
Michael smiled in relief. “I might even buy you two slices.”
At the exact same minute, Melissa and Michael looked at each other and said, “This could be the start of something big."
Melissa linked her arm through Michael’s as they headed in the direction of the nearest Pizzeria.
About the Author: Betsy Knapp recently returned to her passion for writing, after a long and successful career in fashion and broadcasting. She is presently working on a modern-day romance novel. Betsy and her husband live in a charming Vermont village.