A Painted Man

Posted by on December 17, 2011

Today we’re continuing the Fiction Fun theme, Unusual Meetings. Please comment at the bottom and tell us, would you date this man and why????

A Painted Man

            Daniel glared at Craig as the side door to his brother’s Rancher-Style home opened. “Remind me why I’m doing this.”

Craig widened the door to let him in. “Because you know I have awesome taste in women, and I wouldn’t let you down.”

Daniel ran his hand through his shoulder-length brown hair. “Just cause Jenny had a bad moment when she married you, doesn’t make you a babe-magnet.” He shook his head. “Still can’t figure that one out.”

“Uncle Daniel.”

The sight of Craig’s ten-year-old daughter, Tanya, with only a brush of hair growing back after chemo, warmed his heart. She’d endured worse things than many adults and she was still able to smile. He’d do just about anything for her.

A dark-skinned girl followed her from the bedroom.

“This is my best friend, Anisha.”

Daniel gave Anisha the “uncle” grin and mussed her hair. “Nice to meet ya, Anisha.”

Her smile missed a tooth, but it was no less bright.

Tanya bounced. “Can you stay?”

Daniel shot Craig a wary eye. “Wish I could, Tanya, but your Dad’s sendin’ me to battle.”

“You’ll be lookin’ for battle when you meet this enemy.” Craig chuckled.

He looked at his watch and frowned. “Jenny should be here by now.” Craig’s brows bunched as he tapped his toe. “I’ve called her twice, but she’s not picking up. I’m gonna be late for the dinner meeting with my client.” He glanced at his watch again, then lifted his eyes to his brother. “Hey, Dan-boy.”

“What?” Daniel leaned on the kitchen counter as he strung out the word.

“You got—what?—a half hour still, before you meet Kayla. Could you watch the girls for a few ‘til Jenny gets home? She should be here any minute and I can’t spare another.”

Daniel’s attention turned to the two girls on the couch, giggling at the teenage heart-throb lighting up the TV. Tanya ran her hand through the brush of hair on her scalp and it flicked back
into place. He loved that little girl. “Okay.”

Craig’s keys scraped the counter as he grabbed them to go. “Good luck.” He winked as he exited through the door.

Good luck? What’d he mean by that?

The front door closed with a thud and Tanya turned at the sound. “Where’d Dad go?” She looked hurt.

Daniel stepped into the living room and sat on the edge of the Lay-Z-Boy. “He had to run to his meeting. He said your mom would be home soon.”

“Why isn’t she here now?”

Dan’s heart ached at the melancholy in her eyes. He’d never seen her like this before. She really depended on her parents for strength, and now, neither was near.

“But Mom promised she’d be home by seven so we could do her hair and make-up.” She glanced at her friend.

Anisha giggled behind her hand.

“That’s the whole reason Anisha came over in the first place.”

Anisha’s nod swung her long, brown hair into her face.

“Your mom will be home soon.” He patted her shoulder as he stood.”

Tanya peered up at him and her face brightened. “Hey, ya know,” She seemed to study the shape of his head, “You’ve got really great hair.”

He chuckled at the compliment, then suddenly felt uneasy.

“And it’s kinda long, too.”

Uh-oh.

He looked to the niece who ran her hand through the brush of hair again, then to her friend, with long, brown, wavy locks. He sighed relief. “Why don’t you do Anisha’s hair?”

Tanya’s eyes glistened as her shoulders sagged. “We wanted to work together.” She glanced at her friend. “Besides, her mother won’t allow her to curl her hair. It’s against their
religion.”

Daniel bunched his brows. “What religion is that?”

They both shrugged.

Tanya added, “She won’t allow her to wear make-up, either.”

His shoulders tensed. Make-up?

Daniel searched frantically through his pockets for his cell phone. “Let me call your mom and see where she is.” He patted the lining of his camel-colored blazer. Nothing. He dug into his front
jeans pocket. Empty. Where’d he put that phone? It had all his numbers in it.
In fact, he was lost without it.

He tore out the door to his 4X4 parked at the curb and searched the glove compartment, the floors, the crevices of the seats. Not a single trace of his phone anywhere.

“Please let us do your hair.” Tanya waited for him at the door with the curling iron in one hand and a make-up bag in the other.

“Honey, I can’t. I’ve got a big date with a friend of your mom’s. I can’t go to it with my hair curled and make-up on. I’d look silly.”

Tanya’s eyes lowered to the floor as she turned toward the living room. “Okay.”

Daniel’s heart sank into his boots. If only he’d had more time tonight, he’d … What? Was he crazy? Those girls wanted to paint him like a princess.

They both flopped onto the leather sofa so hard, air pushed from the cushions. Just like the air supporting his resolve.

~*~Ad 3b

~*~

            “He didn’t show.” Kayla adjusted the Bluetooth as she drove. “I sat there for a solid hour and nothing.”

“You sure you didn’t miss each other?”

“Jenny, the restaurant only has five tables and three of them were empty. He wasn’t there.”

“Okay, I’ll ask Craig what he knows when I get home and see if he’s heard anything.”

“Where are you?”

“Got stuck behind a major accident on the way home. Worst part is, I couldn’t call Craig to let him know I’d be late to watch the girls, cause my phone was in my briefcase in the back seat. I
finally got it when I stopped for gas after I cleared the accident. I was near empty.” She paused for breath. “He must be ticked, cause now he’s not answering.”

Kayla winced. “Oooo, I bet he is. This was the dinner with the big client, wasn’t it?”

“Yep.” The word seemed to ride a nervous breath.

“I’ll meet you at your house. Maybe my presence will soften the tension.” It was the least she could do for her best friend.

“Thanks.”

“Hey, how’s Tanya doing?”

Jenny sighed. “I’m a little worried.”

Kayla tensed. “What for? She’s not still sick is she?”

“No. Nothing like that. She just has this new habit of using her illness to manipulate people. And the worst part is … it works.”

“I can’t imagine she’d do something like that. She’s always so caring with others.”

“Yeah,” Jenny breathed. “That’s what makes her appeal so powerful.”

 

Kayla pulled up to the front of the house behind a 4X4.

Jenny pulled into the driveway shortly after.

“Is that Craig’s new truck?” Kayla slammed the door to her Kia.

Jenny’s attention swung to the vehicle and her brow narrowed. “No. That’s Daniel’s. What’s he doing here?”

Kayla’s chest constricted. She didn’t know if she wanted to flee the jerk who stood her up, or give him a piece of her mind. Jenny linked arms with her giving her no choice.

She smiled. “I think I know what happened.”

Kayla’s ire released as it began to dawn on her, too. He’d stayed with Tanya so Craig could make his meeting. But why didn’t he call, or at least answer the phone when she called him?

They entered the side door, Selena Gomez’s voice belted a song from The Disney Channel. Tanya and another girl sang along from the couch.

“Where’s your dad?” Jenny called over the concert.

Tanya barely glanced back. “He went to his dinner meeting. Uncle Daniel stayed to watch us.”

Jenny dropped her keys on the counter. “Where’s your uncle.”

“Bathroom,” Tanya said between verses.

Kayla’s heart thudded in her chest. She was finally going to meet this guy. Jenny had told her so much about him. He’d sounded too good to be true. She’d pictured him as a real man’s man, but one
that would listen when she needed it. A sensitive side. That’s why she was so disappointed when he didn’t show.

Down the hall, the bathroom door swung open, casting a light into the darkened hall. A tall, masculine build filled the space with shadow. He was dressed just how she liked. Rugged, but
kempt.

He stepped toward Jenny, not seeming to notice Kayla at all. “You’re here. Finally.” He breathed. “I lost my phone so I couldn’t …” His eyes turned in a deliberate motion until they met Kayla’s.

It was then she noticed why Jenny’s mouth had dropped open. His hair lay in perfect ringlets. Blue eye shadow adorned his lids, pink blush on his cheeks and … yes … red gloss lathered his lips.
He grew pale beneath the paint.

“You must be Kayla.” His hand jutted out as he managed a sheepish grin. “I’m … uh … Daniel.”

Jenny burst into laughter, doubling over, holding her sides.

Kayla tentatively grasped his hand to shake it, then turned it to view his fingers. No, she hadn’t imagined it. Revlon. Pink Chiffon. “Nice nail polish.” Her eyes rose to meet his, brows twitching.
“My favorite color.”

 

That’s it folks! Now tell us, would you date this man and why???

4 Responses to A Painted Man

  1. Kim Fisch

    Great set up! Gotta love the conflict! And yes, if I weren’t married myself, I would find Daniel very attractive, just as long as he didn’t wear makeup on our first actual date!

  2. Missy in TX

    Too funny. That’s the best date set up I’ve ever read. I instantly loved the guy. I think I’d have to date him… once I found out the whole story. (but like the other poster, I’m married – oh well… I can dream, right?)

  3. Daphne Webb

    Well, after I finished my bout of laughter, and then more laughter, yeah, I would. :o) Any man who would allow his little niece to “paint him up real pretty” is awesome in my book!

  4. June Foster

    Good job, Connie. A cute story. I’m afraid I wouldn’t date this guy mainly because I’m married. (smile)