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Saturday, June 12, 2010
Switcheroo by Marilyn Puett
“Happy birthday!” Sophie sang into her phone. “How’d you like the one with stars?”
She and Nicolette had been friends since kindergarten and nearly-inseparable confidantes since both being dumped by the same jock in college and recovering with wine, chick flicks and Steve Johnson’s photo in the middle of a dartboard.
“Okay, so maybe a thong with stars was too much, but you were born on July fourth.” Sophie sank into her overstuffed sofa, a hand-me-down from her mother’s most recent redecorating exercise. “The rest of the stuff is what you wanted though – the pink lacy set you drooled over at Undies Galore.”
“Don’t say it, Nic,” Sophie interrupted. “I know you really wanted it and I know it’s been tight since TransTech downsized. But Rob’s gonna love that pink teddy. Just let me know what his reaction is. I mean, you don’t have to get too specific, but, you know, let me know if his eyes light up or he whistles.”
“I mean it. That’s what best friends are for. To put a smile on your fiancé’s face.”
“Sophie! I didn’t get lingerie from you!”
“Oh, sh…sugar!” Sophie caught herself in time. She’d been making a concerted effort to clean up her language since her neighbor’s three-year-old son had repeated a four-letter word he’d heard her utter. “They promised it would arrive today.”
“You don’t understand. I received a package, but it was a golf club. There must have been a mix-up.”
“F…fudge,” Sophie muttered. “I gotta go. I’ll explain later.” She disconnected and dropped the phone beside her.
Please, please, please. Don’t let him be home from work yet. Let the box still be at his door.
Sophie jammed her feet into sandals and raced to her front door. She was still mumbling as she yanked it open and slammed face-first into the rock-solid chest of her three-doors-down neighbor Joe Foster.
She staggered back, rubbed her nose and stared as Joe held out both hands, a pink teddy dangling from his left index finger and a matching bra and thong clasped gingerly in the other hand.
“I can explain…” Sophie’s voice faded and she swallowed hard as a blush crept up her neck and invaded her face.
Joe was expecting a package but definitely not the one he’d received. However, seeing the look on his best gal-pal’s face was worth the disappointment over not receiving his new laptop. The blush creeping up her neck even matched the pink on her toes.
She was gorgeous. And, unfortunately, totally oblivious to him.
She breathed deeply and Joe watched her chest rise and fall. And rise and fall.
And good grief, he was going to blow this if he didn’t stop staring at her chest. He’d had a monumental crush on Sophie since they’d met two years before, but she was coming out of a bad relationship and a smart man knew better than to move in on a woman trying to get over another man.
So he concocted a plan he hoped would ultimately win her heart. He asked for her help in transforming himself from a nearsighted geek with unruly hair and a thrown-together wardrobe into a man that women would find attractive.
They’d visited every mall within a hundred-mile radius to fill his closet with designer labels. She’d taken him to a salon for a precision haircut that tamed his unruly hair. The old plastic eyeglass frames were replaced with contacts that made his blue eyes appear even bluer.
Women in his office had taken notice and more than one had dropped hints that they were available. But the one woman he wanted didn’t seem to pay attention except for displaying the occasional nod to confirm that she’d done a good job with him.
However, she wasn’t nodding now.
And there was the matter of her chest.
Joe exhaled slowly and commanded his body to relax.
“I realize I asked for a new look, but don’t you think this is a bit much?” he asked. “And if I remember your color lessons correctly, with my dark hair, shouldn’t I be wearing bold colors and not pale pink?”
“You got the wrong order.”
“Obviously,” he said, glancing first at the sexy lingerie and then at Sophie.
Joe Foster didn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body, but damn if he wasn’t enjoying the torment he saw on his friend’s face.
“If I got the wrong order, that means you ordered something else for me and these are for you.” He wiggled his hands and the underwear danced on his fingertips.
“Well, yeah,” Sophie answered. “I mean, I ordered something for you, but those aren’t for me. They were supposed to go to a friend.”
“That’s a shame,” Joe said, a wicked grin curling the corners of his mouth. “They’re definitely your color.”
Oh yes, pale pink would unquestionably compliment Sophie’s blonde hair and green eyes.
Joe stared directly into those green eyes and thought, “Let her sweat.”
“So, what was mine?”
“Ah… it was a putter.”
Joe raised an eyebrow and held his stare. “A putter.”
“To replace your old one that petered out.”
“My putter is not petered out,” he argued. “I like that putter.”
“The shaft is bent and the grip is worn.”
“My shaft is just fine,” he stated loudly.
Sophie winced as her elderly neighbor chose that moment to step outside with her terrier. She stared first at Sophie and then at Joe, who had become decidedly uncomfortable with his hands full of silk and lace.
“Uh… perhaps we should take this inside?” Joe nodded in the direction of Sophie’s apartment.
Sophie stepped through the door and Joe followed.
“Don’t let this one get away, dear,” she heard a frail voice call out just before Joe closed the door. “Any man who will deliver lingerie to your door is a keeper. And he’s a hunk, too.”
A tingle zinged up Sophie’s spine, because she agreed.
About the Author: Marilyn Puett lives in north Alabama and is a member of Heart of Dixie RWA. A founding member of The Writing Playground (www.writingplayground.com and www.writingplayground.blogspot.com ) she keeps order on the swingset when she’s not writing for the confessions and romance magazines or plotting her next novel.