Starting the day.
Frances had put an advertisement in the local paper, "For sale, wedding dress, never used." She was looking at her Ad that morning, sipping her coffee while twirling her reddish brown hair around her fingers. She thought to herself, "Eight hundred dollars would be so nice to get out of that dress, the rent, the electric bill, the water bill and maybe even some ribbon for my typewriter and a pizza with the rest." She flipped a page of the newspaper to the employment section. She sighed as she saw the same jobs were listed and nothing at all new.
Frances was unemployed and unmarried at twenty seven years old. She was about to be married three months prior but her "man to be" stopped by her apartment after his bachelor party. He confessed to her in a drunken stupor that he was really attracted to men.
Frances was heartbroken because she wasn't heartbroken. She had talked herself into marrying a man she not only didn't really know. She didn't really love him either. It frightened her deeply her that she almost blissfully made what could have been a very serious mistake.
Her tacky pink, plastic high heel shoe phone rang. She giggled as she thought of how the phone was all that was left in her possessions of her Knight in Shining (a bit too shining) Armor, she had almost married. She picked up the phone and answered while still giggling a little, "Hello." The voice of a man came on and asked, "Is this the person with the wedding dress for sale?" Frances thought of how deep, soft and sexy his voice was. She hadn't been intimate for months because her and her failed Groom decided the honeymoon would be much more exciting if they waited.
The man said, "Hello, are you still there?" Frances came out of her flash daydream and said,"Oh...sorry...yes...I was...I was feeding the cat." She didn't have a cat but it was sounded like a good excuse and it was the only thing that popped in her mind.
The pain of it all.
The man said, "You must read Hemingway. Your advertisement is like his shortest story." Francis said, "Hemingway...what...oh yes....OK...the baby shoes." She giggled saying, "I do love Hemingway but I didn't even think of that when I placed the Ad."
She could almost hear the smile in his voice as he said, "You have a sweet voice and laugh." She blushed a little and said, "Thank you." He asked her to describe the dress. She told him it was strapless, layered with white Victorian lace and lined with tiny pearls in spirals. The dress size was 38/26/36. She had designed and made much of the dress. After her description, he told her that it sounded like what he was looking for. He told her that the dress was for a friend who was going to be a bride in a play.
Frances thought it was silly to spend eight hundred dollars on a dress for a play but any buyer was a good buyer to her. He arranged to come to her apartment at 3:00 that afternoon. She felt a little afraid of meeting a stranger and told him a little white lie that her father was going to be working on her bathroom and it would be fine for him to come at that time. Frances hung up the phone and instantly went into a daydream of this guy with the dreamy voice. He sounded so nice and was such a gentleman.
She sat at the table, sipped her now cold coffee, grimaced and realized her apartment looked like a dump. A row of empty Chinese food cartons lined beside a pile of dirty dishes. Her shoes and socks were scattered throughout the apartment. Panties and bras were hanging to dry on a curtain rod from the broken ceiling fan to an open door on the kitchen cabinets.
Frances became frantic when she looked at the clock and saw it was 11:44 AM! She jumped up and rushed towards the kitchen! "Ouch....dang...oh darn...oh darn oh dang darn" she screamed out in pain! She had stubbed her left little toe on the edge of the kitchen partition wall.
She immediately sat on the floor, grabbing her foot and rocked back an forth until the pain eased a little. She puckered her lips sadly as she saw her little bright red toe. Even though the pain was throbbing, Frances had to get her apartment cleaned up. She also had to get a shower, shave her legs, do her hair and make up along with nursing what might be a broken toe.
Frances eased back up on her feet and limped on into the kitchen. She shoved the dishes in the dish washer, tossed the food cartons in the trash can while claiming points for her doorway field goals and pulled down the curtain rod full of panties and bras.
She finally got the apartment straightened up and it was time to take her shower. As she dropped her clothes on the bathroom floor, she daydreamed again about the man on the phone. Remembering his voice seemed to enchant her as she stepped into the warm water. As the water splashed on her skin, she turned and smiled with a melancholy heart, until she bumped her sore toe on the side of the tub. "Dang it...darn it...darn ohhhh darn" she whimpered as she leaned on the tile wall and held her foot. Francis finished her shower, sat on the edge of the tub to shave her legs and finished getting ready by 2:45 PM.
She sat on her couch, thumbed through a Cosmopolitan magazine and watched the clock hand roll around to the knock at the door. He was right on time. Frances got up and limped to the door. She looked through the peep hole, then unlocked the door and eased it open.
Frances looked up at his gray Fedora hat, covering jet black hair, then his big dark brown eyes...square jaw...smiling tender lips...straight shoulders under a knee length gray wool coat. Then she looked quickly down to his shining black shoes. She saw a silver cane in his left hand. He looked to be around thirty years old. The only word that came to her mind was,"Delicious!"
She looked back up at him as he said,"Hi....I am the man who called about the wedding dress. My name is Francis Crane. Frances giggled and said, "Hi Francis. This is a little weird...my name is Frances too...with an e of course." He smiled a little bigger and said,"May I come in please?" Frances grinned and said, "Oh..I'm sorry...of course...come on in." As he slowly limped past her, he softly said,"You are as pretty as your voice." She dug her toes into the carpet and said beneath her breath,"Attention Frances. Do not daydream...stop it....NOW!"
Frances closed the door and limped past him, then froze thinking,"Oh my God. I'm limping like him. He'll think I'm making fun of him. Oh my God...oh my God!" She blurted out, "My toe...I stubbed my toe. That's why I'm limping. I toed my stub!" He chuckled and said, "I toed my stub a few weeks ago, actually my knee. The mountain thought I looked better at the bottom."
Frances grinned offered him to sit in her best, least worn red stuffed high back chair. She asked him if he would like something to drink? He pulled a flask from his coat pocket and said, "Perhaps a little ice in a glass. I've had this full from New York. I hate drinking alone." Frances thought it was strange but she served him a glass of ice. As he poured gin into the glass, he asked to see the dress. She limped to her bedroom and came out holding the dress in her arms. She held it up high for him to see.
He smiled, saying, "Could you model it for me...please?" Frances thought,"Oh...the way he says please...ohhhh...I would model naked in the snow....ohhhh...earth to Frances....put the dress on...NOW!" She rushed, limping into the bedroom as he spoke out loudly, "I thought your father was going to be here too?" Frances shouted back,"Uh..he went to get a thingy for the sink. He should be back anytime now!"
She took her jeans, blouse and bra off. She stepped into the wedding gown and pulled it up. She thought out loud,"Crap...how am I going to lace the back up?" She reached behind her back and managed to pull the laces a little but the top was still loose. She just held her arms tightly to her sides and limped out in the living room to show him. As his eyes sparkled, he said just one word, "Beautiful!" Frances smiled and said, "I put a lot of work in this dress and a lot of love."
The hope of happiness.
Francis leaned back in his chair and said, "The dress is pretty. It was you I was talking about. You are stunning Frances, absolutely stunning!" Frances blushed and even felt a little faint. No one had ever told her that she was stunning before. She felt a tear coming but took a deep breath and said,"Thank you. You are such a sweet gentleman." He asked her to turn. She spun around a few times and he finally said, "It is perfect. I want to buy it." Frances was happy that he wanted to buy the dress but sad that this beautiful man was about to walk out her door forever.
She limped into the bedroom and changed back into her clothes. As she came out, he stood up. She handed him the dress that she had wrapped in clear plastic. He handed her eight one hundred dollar bills and tipped his hat with a smile. She grabbed the door knob and daydreamed a little that she was opening the door to their new mansion on the beach. He would pick her up, slam the door behind them and he would make love to her on the gold and blue love seat in the foyer!" He stepped past her and even his scent was sexy. She felt her heart tingle as he looked over his shoulder and said, "Even in everyday clothes, you are stunning."
Frances blushed again and watched him limp down the walkway in the cold wind. She wanted to scream for him to come back! She slowly closed the door, limped to the chair he was sitting in and sat down. She leaned sideways in the warm chair and pulled her feet up. Frances began crying. His face, voice and words ran through her mind. She scolded herself out loud,"Frances...get a hold of yourself! God, you're acting like a teenage girl in puppy love!"
Frances tried to stop crying but the tears kept coming. She wrapped her arms around her knees, held tight and said, "Stunning, he said I was stunning." She felt something hard on her hip, reached down and pulled his flask from between the cushion and the inside of the chair. She quickly got up and limped to the door, opened it and saw him coming up the walkway. She was so excited, she forgot to wipe her tears.
As he came closer, she could see such a concerned look in his misty eyes. He was still carrying the wedding dress. Frances held up his flask, sniffled and said, "Coming back for this?" He stopped just outside the door way. The cold wind was blowing his coat open and the dress across his waist. He reached and wiped a tear from her cheek, saying,"I didn't know I had left my flask here. I felt you were crying in my heart. I had to come back."
Frances was stunned to say the least. She felt like joy and confusion were swirling hand in hand inside her. She stared in his wonderful eyes and once more dug her toes into the carpet. She invited him back in and took the dress from his arm. She laid the wedding dress over the back of the couch and limped to the center of the room. She asked to take his hat and coat. He handed them to her and she laid them on the couch also. Frances could see that he was a well built man under the form of his black shirt and pants.
She limped to a chair beside the one he was sitting at and gently sat down, stretching her left leg out, looking at her red socked foot where her sore toe was. She nervously asked, "How did you know I was crying?" He put his hands in his pockets and softly said,"I don't know how. I felt a connection with you the moment I saw you smile. You have the most beautiful smile in the world." Frances felt like crying again as she looked down at her hands and said,"Thank you...wow. I'm just not use to words like that." She looked up at him as he said, "Could you get use to it?"
She shyly nodded as he stepped towards her and knelt at her feet. He reached and gently picked up her foot with his left hand. She felt a little afraid but didn't stop him. He slowly pulled her red sock off...raised her foot to his mouth and softly kissed her little toe. He looked up at her with a tear in his eye, whispering, "I will kiss away every little pain...if you wish?"
Frances melted as he kissed her toe again. She began to softly cry, "Please don't do this if you don't mean it. I don't even know you. I feel like I'm being born and dieing at the same time." He gently put her foot down, moved little closer, put his right hand on top of her hand resting on the chair arm and said, "I know...I know, I've never said anything in my life that I didn't mean. I've never even come close to saying those things to a woman before. I can't explain it. I can only tell you that your every word and move left me in little daydreams of blissful love."
Frances reached to touch his face as she saw pure honesty in his beautiful brown eyes. She didn't daydream of riding on the lap of a Knight on a white horse. She didn't daydream at all. She was touching her dream with her fingers. He took her hand and kissed her palm. He held her hand on the side of his face and softly said, "Come to Paris with me Frances...please come to Paris with me." Frances said with total surprise, "Paris....you want to take me to Paris?" He smiled and said, "To Paris...then London....then Egypt...then Sidney, Moscow, Tokyo...the whole world!"
He pulled her to him and gently kissed her lips. Tears began rolling down her face and he kissed each one away. She softly cried saying, "I was planning to pay the bills and buy ribbon for my typewriter and a pizza this morning. It's not even supper time and I'm now going to Paris with the most handsome man I've ever seen." She sniffled and said, " I have to pack. I need to call my best friend Wanda! I need to....." He put his finger on her lips and said, "You don't need to pack anything. I can take you shopping and you can call Wanda from the jet."
Frances hugged him tight and asked, "Is this real?" He stroked her hair and said ,"It's a real dream that we have together. Dreams are the best part of reality." She kissed his neck and they simply held each other for a few moments. A knock came at the door. Francis stood up and went to see who it was. It was his driver. The driver said as Francis opened the door,"Sir....I'm sorry but I became concerned when you left the limousine...uh...crying sir." Francis told him to wait as he walked back to Frances. He helped her up from the chair, draped his coat over her shoulders, put his hat on her head and picked her up. He instructed the grinning driver to get his cane and the wedding dress.
Frances said with concern,"Your knee. You might hurt your knee carrying me." He kissed her, smiled and said, "My wool coat is a little heavier than your wedding dress. It's good practice for carrying you over the threshold."
Frances giggled and said, "I thought you said the dress was for a friend?" Francis grinned and said,"I thought you said that you had a cat?"
A Love Song, "You Are My Rain"
© 2018 Tom Cornett