Much love to all of you guys and I am looking forward to what people think!
Champagne Dellarose knew that her parents were hopeless. Look at the name they had hung around her neck when she was too small to properly protest! With a last name like Dellarose ANY name was going to sound like it belonged in a trashy romance novel. having a mother that actually wrote trashy romance novels made the whole moniker a cruel joke.
For this reason Cham was changing her name just as soon as she was financially able to! She had tried to live with it. She had tried "Page" but people started calling her "Pagne". It would have been ok if it didn't sound like "Pain". So Cham it was...just like her life. A big old hollow sham. She was nearly 20 years old and had never been kissed despite the best efforts of her overly romantic minded mother.
Cham stood in the grocery aisle looking sourly at the newest offering from the mind of her mother. it was a sappy sob story about a wild west heroine who just needed a rugged cowboy type to sweep in and make everything all better. Cham was sure that bodices were going to be ripped and set ablaze all described in flowery overly sensationalized words. Who actually read this crap? She picked up the paperback book and read the back description.
Abigail Chantilly – Innocence Forgotten
In the dark shadows, she slowly walks along the cracked sidewalk. Lost in her thoughts, her mind drifts back long summer nights on the prairie.
Whistles from passersby snap her mind back. She pauses to light a cigarette. No longer the shy girl she once was, her life will never be the same. Never again to walk through the golden fields of grain, now her nights are filled with drinking and dancing. In a smokey dance hall all of her innocence is forgotten.
With the twist of her shoe, she puts out her smoke and turns around. As she walks through the door her heart falls, “Good evening Miss. Abigail”. No longer Miss. Chantilly the daughter of a wheat farmer, now she is the desire of many and the wife of none.
Holy cow, this was dark even for her mother! She turns the book over in her hands and stares at the cover art with a critical eye before placing the book back with the rest. Cham turned away from the swiveling display. When she reached the deli line, all the other customers eyed her, then shifted slightly, but noticeably away from the invisible storm cloud gathering in her thoughts.
"I know what you mean," said a man behind her. "Romance novels, right? Sorry, I don't mean to pry. I saw you looking at the books. Your face hasn't changed since you left the rack."
Cham turned, prepared to tell the man to mind his own business, but stopped short. He was in his late 20's, dressed in a dark suit with a curiously bright yellow tie, black glasses, and polished shoes. His eyes were a slivery blue that stood out under his dark brow. This man that stood before her was clearly intelligent. She didn't know how she knew that, but something about him betrayed an easy personality with a mind that was always at work.
"It was one of my mother's books," she said. Easy, safe, unoffensive.
"Oh? Your mother reads those?" He raised his eyebrows.
Cham knew exactly what he was thinking. He was trying to size her up. How much of a catch could she be if her mother read romance novels?
"No, she writes them. That is, literally, one of her books." Cham immediately covered her face. She didn't want him thinking that her mother read those books, but writing them is so much better?
"Sometimes, they're quite good," the man said. "Sometimes they are a guilty pleasure of mine. Mind you, most of the time they are crap, but occasionally..." His voice trailed off and he waved his hand in the air.
"Does your wife mind you reading her books?"
"Not married. No girl friend, either, if that's your next question. Completely unattached."
Cham shifted her weight. "Are you hitting on me?"
"That depends," the man said. "Do you want to be hit on?"
"NEXT!" called the deli manager, and everyone moved up a step. Cham was silent for a minute, pretending to study the lunch meats before her turn came.
"I'm pretty sure they warned me against men like you in school," Cham muttered.
"'Never let school get in the way of your education.' Albert Einstein."
"Did you just quote Einstein to me?"
"Would you rather me quote Feynman?"
Cham's eyes went wide. She almost felt like her pupils dilated in awe of this man. "You know Feynman?"
"I do," he said. An easy, comfortable smile crossed his face. "Marshall. Marshall August," he said, holding out his hand. "Look, this is going to sound corny, and perhaps a little crazy, but there's something in you I like. Here's my card. It has my cell phone number. If you want to get together and talk more about Feynman and Einstein over, say, dinner...or coffee?..give me a call. No pressure."