Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: The Missed Romance of Miss Sadie Grey
By Tammy Johnson
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Sadie bolted up in bed with a gasp and clutched her throat. It was a new day. There was no telling what could go wrong. She glanced across the room at her brown pantsuit awaiting a clean, fresh body and the perfect jewelry to accent. A frown creased her brow as she studied the orange and bronze necklace with matching earrings laid out on her dresser. Were they too bold? What if the orange clashed with the new paint behind her desk at work?
She jumped out of bed and quickly pulled up the sheets hearing her mother’s voice in her head, "The day doesn’t start until every wrinkle of the bed is straightened." She looked over her shoulder as if her mother were standing in the doorway with a number sign judging her performance.
The clock on the coffee pot registered 6:22 and the aroma of brewing coffee filled the meticulous, sanitized kitchen. Sadie played with the plain gold chain and matching hoop earrings she had donned, too afraid of actually wearing the bold jewelry still on her dresser. A notebook lay opened on the counter waiting to be picked up. "You know you should find a publisher," her thoughts nagged at her. "No one will want to read what my mind has created," she silently answered. "Besides," she said out loud, "I’m sure someone else has already written it much better!" Picking up a cup, she measured exactly one teaspoon of cream into it and filled the rest with her half decaf, half regular brew.
“Good morning, Sadie.” Greg gave his usual greeting as he passed her secretary’s station on the way to his office. Everyone in the building envied Greg’s position and office, except of course, the single females. They were bound and determined only to catch his eye and rope in the coveted title of “Mrs. Greg Darcy”. Sadie missed the lingering of Greg’s eye on her smile as she dropped her eyes to her desk quickly after gushing, “Morning to you, too, Mr. Darcy.”
The fact that Mr. Darcy insisted on eating his lunch with Sadie never ceased to unnerve her. It never occurred to her that Mr. Darcy might actually like her company and that if he were “keeping tabs on her” it was never motivated by a lack of trust in her, but rather by a deep need to protect her. Her only perception was how difficult it was to swallow even the thinnest of soups with a lump the size of Australia in her throat. Not to mention the nauseating fear that something dreadful would lodge between her teeth and remain there the entire day to disgust Mr. Darcy with each timid smile!
At the close of every Friday, Sadie would gracefully decline Mr. Darcy's invitations to join him. It didn’t matter if it were dinner, a movie, or a play. She simply could not imagine spending an entire evening sick to her stomach with worry that she was wearing the wrong outfit or jewelry in the company of someone so obviously above her and who was simply being polite.
The close of this Friday found her routine no different. After rejecting Mr. Darcy, Sadie spent her evening wrapped in a quilt in the company of Miss Elizabeth Bennett and the other characters born from the mind of Jane Austen. They were joined by Mr. Orville Redenbacher and a caffeine free Diet Pepsi until Sadie’s eyelids were too heavy to remain open.
Setting down the book on her nightstand and switching off the light, Sadie snuggled into her bed. She glanced at the floral dress highlighted by the moonlight that would be waiting for her fresh body on Monday. The cream and brown colors blended perfectly with the orange and bronze jewelry still on her dresser, but that thought was absurd. She always wore that dress with her coconut choker set. With a sigh she rolled onto her side and drifted off to sleep with the thought in her head, “Exciting and romantic things never happen to girls like me.”
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