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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Time Past

by Luree Vanderpool

Houses had a way of giving up their secrets to her. Some were like blank slates waiting for someone to color in the lines. But others creaked as their frames expanded, filled to the brim with human memories. Human spirits.

Rena Miller drove through a neighborhood consisting of older, large adobe and brick homes on acre plus lots. Some of the homes original structures went back to the 1930’s. She could hear them talking. It made her a good Realtor.

It wasn’t often houses in this area came up for sale. When 3556 Desert Trail popped up on her MLS hot sheet that morning, she was ecstatic. It was a perfect match for her new client Clint Ray.

She’d only met Clint briefly the week before to assess what he needed in a house. The draw of attraction had hit with an unexpected thud to the chest and was shaken off with her usual resilience. Divorced for three years, she admitted she was lonely. But the ache of betrayal was still too fresh.

Out of habit she stood in front of the house imaging life a new owner would bring. The courtyard with potted plants set discreetly in corners. A table and comfy chairs gracing the center, inviting you to linger over morning coffee. A Mesquite fire in the Chimenea taking the chill off while you basked in the sunset, wine in hand.

Rena opened over sized, double wooden doors. Went through pulling up blinds to let sun light dispel the shadows. She admired Saltillo tile on floors as she wandered rooms soaking up the ambience for her pitch.

The kitchen was large, needed updated from its last re-do in the ‘70’s. But there were tons of cabinets, a large baker’s island and plenty of room for a breakfast table and chairs in front of the large window. She was turning to move in to the dining room when she smelled the cake baking. A wonderful, homey odor that sent dizziness to her core.

“Rena? You here?” A man’s voice called her back.

She composed herself and walked to the foyer.

“Clint, I didn’t hear you pull up.” Rena extended her hand to shake his, firm and all business.

“I really like what I am seeing here.” Clint’s hand lingered, warm and compelling on hers. “Lot’s of native growth, Saguaro’s, Mesquite, Barrel cactus. The courtyard entry is perfect. Can’t wait to see the rest.”

Faded jeans hugged his thighs and a chambray shirt, sleeves rolled to the elbows exposed tanned sinewy arms. Rena gave herself a mental shake, get on your game. “I think you are going to love the whole package, come on in.” Love the whole package, what the hell was she thinking?

Her heels clicked on stone tile as she led him in, pointing out large windows and stunning mountain views. The smell of cake baking hammered at her.

“The rooms flow naturally one into the other creating a perfect setting for entertaining, don’t you think?” Rena liked to engage client’s in the visualization process, encouraging them to see the potential of a home.

Clint surveyed the room, his smoky blue eyes lingering when they came to her. “Just moved here, maybe you could introduce me to someone to entertain?” He laughed, teasing.

He was throwing her off stride. “You could arrange two conversation areas. One there in front of the fireplace and another next to the window. A sectional couch and chairs with ottomans in each area would allow for a feeling of more intimate conversation while maintaining open space.”

“Intimate conversation, a nice roaring fire, candles, a bottle of wine. I could see that.”

Damn, he had the sexiest mouth. She needed to change the subject. “Let me show you the kitchen.”

Rena turned. The smell of cake saturated her senses. Chocolate. She was sure it was chocolate. Her shin banged hard into a piece of furniture and she yelped stunned. A heavy oak end table stood in her path. A gentle hand steadied her.

“Miss Rena, you really aught to stop running off every time I talk to you. I don’t bite.” Clint said, pushing back his cowboy hat.

He had on a cowboy hat and well worn cowboy boots. Not what he came in wearing. A cotton dress with small floral print clung to her skin. Not what she had been wearing either. She looked around. The room was full of furniture, just how she’d pictured it. Voices were drifting from the kitchen and that was, without a doubt, chocolate cake she smelled baking. “What’s going on?”

“I’ve chased you through three generations and I’m damned tired of it.” He pulled her around to face him.

Recognition slid through as their eyes held. Memories danced at the edge of her mind. “I ……..”

His mouth came down hard on hers; stopping anything she’d planned to say. The heat of his body radiated, the kiss softened and lingered. A film strip of visions fast forwarded causing her to pull back. Tears burned her eyes. “Our house?”

He nodded watching discovery dawn, pain penetrate. “I didn’t betray you. I didn’t leave you. I have been trying to tell you.” He pulled her back in his arms.. “You going to give me a chance?”

Rena rested her head on his chest. “Yes.”

“Are you alright?” Clint’s voice was as soft as the chambray shirt her cheek rested against. The cowboy hat was gone, boots replaced by sneakers. The room was empty.

“You could have been a little more subtle.” She laughed, still shaking. “I about broke my shin bone.”

“Had to get your attention some how. I wasn’t letting you run this time..”

“Well you have my full attention now. Start talking.” She lifted her head to look him square in the eyes.

“Not now Rena, not now. It’s been too long. Just let me hold you first.”

About the Author: I love writing paranormal romance, creating extraordinary events that happen to ordinary people. Since I can remember, I have been creating stories in my head and playing with children from another world. Visit Luree at her blog or website.

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