Before I met with my publisher I took my dog Hero for a walk to his favorite dog park. Like I do every morning. He insists on this, and it’s best not to argue with a creature of habit like my dog. Word of wisdom, happy dog, happy life.
Hero (yes it is my little joke that the superhero community does not seem to appreciate) is thrilled when we arrive at the dog park near our house. This is because, although it is not very crowded, his best canine buddy Freddie in attendance, and they couldn’t wait to play. So I let Hero off his leash so the two could go do dog stuff.
You know, sniffing, barking, chasing imaginary squirrels, that kind of thing.
Once they took off I walked over to a nearby bench and sat down to rest my feet clad in high heeled shoes. As I circled my foot trying work out the bit of soreness inflicting my foot a deep voice said behind me, “You know you’re overdressed for the dog park right?”
I turned and looked at the tall, well-built man clad in a cotton shirt, jeans and a long brown duster. I had to stop myself from sighing. It was childhood nemesis, Rafe Kincaid. I’m not kidding you that’s what his parents named him.
Of course, seeing that his Mom is Dr. Nihilism and his Dad is The Blue Pterodactyl (yeah that color thing was real popular), and at least his Mom had aspired to be a super villain I guess it made sense at the time.
Not that either of them ever actually did anything illegal. You see when Rafe’s Mom was trying to break into the super villain biz she met his Dad who was a Christian, and then he led her to the Lord. Then they fell in love, got married, had Rafe and the super villain thing got lost in the shuffle.
Unfortunately, for some reason Rafe has a snarky sense of humor and I’ve been his favorite target since we were kids.
Just who I wanted to run into today.
However, in spite of his lack of appreciation of my smart designer skirted suit, rakish matching hat and gloves he is kind of cute. By that I mean gorgeous with his fine physique, longish brown hair and electric blue eyes, so I decide to be gracious and talk to him anyway.
It’s a hardship I have to bear.
“If it is any of your business,” indicating it is not, “I have a meeting with my publisher this morning. However, my dog has a routine, and I do not have time to change between the two.”
He leans over and rests his arms on top of the bench, his face just inches from mine. He says in my ear, “What are you going to with the dog? Or are you taking him to the meeting?”
I turn and look at him, leaning back a bit and informing him icily, “If you must know, he’s going to the groomers for the full spa treatment.”
He give a laugh, darn even his laugh is adorable, what is a girl to do with a nemesis like this?
“You know I’m not buying this right? You are always overdressed.”
“I am sorry if it offend your sense of dog park attire. I hadn’t realized there was dress code.”
He laughs (darn that cute laugh!) and hops over the bench to where he is sitting beside me. Before I can react he puts an arm around my shoulders, pulls me in close and personal, smiles and insists, “I didn’t say I didn’t like it.”
Then he kisses me, right on the mouth!
Of all the nerve.
You know I would be really ticked off at him right now if I wasn’t crazy in love with him and we weren't engaged to be married. Hey I did say he was just who I wanted to run into today, remember? In fact he’s part of the routine.
After a few very nice minutes he pulls back and observes, “I don’t know if I can afford to marry such a clothes horse who shops at such fancy stores. Much as I appreciate the effect.”
“If you ever went shopping with me…”
“Then you would know that I search the clearance racks diligently at those fancy stores. I am a starving artist you know, frugality is my middle name.”
“No Annie, your middle name is Louise, and you think it is fun to sort through those racks for two hours. In spite of the fact that you are a highly sought after illustrator who owns her own house. You should be able to keep me very well once we’re married.”
He leans back on the bench and I lean back on him.
“Right,” I observe sarcastically, “I can keep you. How long has that latest book of yours been on the best seller’s list now?”
“Oh you mean Murder in The Hoarder’s House?” he asks nonchalantly, “It’s having decent sales.”
“Decent? Aren’t you negotiating the movie rights for the series? If anyone knew you were R.J. Kincaid, author of the Sloppy Detective cozy mystery series, and that your mother and father are the founders of the Healthy Sweets Snack Empire they would be accusing me of being a gold digger.”
“Empire,” Rafe says with a laugh, “You should tell Mom that, it will make her day, even if she was an epic failure as a super villain.”
“That’s because she and your Dad are the nicest people I know. Why did they almost become super villains again?”
“Dad was never going that route, he’s a master engineer and made up the costume for fun. As for Mom, I’m not sure exactly. I know something happened when she a regular genius scientist and then tried to be a mad scientist, but they’ve never been clear on just what that was. I don’t think they’re hiding anything, but Mom and Dad have a tendency to so get distracted by their work that sometimes they think they’ve told me stuff when they haven’t. So have you told your superhero parents we’re getting married yet?”
I sat up and admitted, “No.”
In case you expected Rafe to be mad about that he wasn’t, because he knows telling my any parents anything can be…difficult.
That’s right he knows. Everything. Who and what my parents and sister are, and who and what I am. What can I say? I trust him.
He said good-humoredly, “Well I did my part, I told mine.”
“That’s different, we all go to the same church. They knew before we did,” I pointed out.
“Yeah who knew they were so intuitive? But seriously hon what are you going to do? Wait until the last minute and then just appear in your wedding dress and announce “Hey everybody want to come to my wedding?” I don’t think that will go over very well.”
Actually that idea had appeal, not that I would admit to it.
“You know how crazy things have been since my birthday, and you won’t postpone…”
“No way,” he stated in that “don’t even think about it because it is not happening” tone of his, “You said yes, we agreed on a date, you’re stuck with me. Less than one month until W-Day. Deal with it.”
I assured him, “It’s okay Rafe, it was a never a serious suggestion, just a stupidly desperate one. We’re getting things done. We’ve got the church reserved, and the guest list done…”
“It’s done when you invite your family.”
“…and the cake and flowers are on order.”
“You told your “mentors” yet?”
I know, I'm kind of breaking the romance rules by having them be a couple right off the bat, but I have my reasons...which you'll find out about later. You know me I'm not exactly a rule follower anyway.
See you next week.
Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.
THE REBOOT FILES: The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.