A few weeks ago, I participated in a Flash Fiction Friday in one of the many Facebook author groups I belong to. The appropriate time has passed that I can now share with you the result of my prompt: The man in front of her was supposed to be her enemy, but she couldn’t ignore the feeling of longing she felt for him. Full disclosure, I’m pretty sure the prompter was thinking of my suspense romance background when I received the sentence. However, after attempting to put the sentence in the suspense box, I found it just wasn’t coming together. But when I took a fun, playful spin on it, a different interpretation, Mr. Perfect Lips was born. As I was looking for an image to display with the story this morning, I found the picture to the left. This is how I imagine the couple in my story after a few dates, strolling through the park in the fall. There may be a full-length story from this prompt yet. Enjoy! Feedback welcome.
The man in front of her was supposed to be her enemy, but she couldn’t ignore the feeling of longing she felt for him. On the one hand, she hoped her donut tasted like sawdust when he stuffed it between his lips. On the other, she wanted to be the one to hand-feed it to him then lick the remnants of maple bacon frosting from his mouth. That perfectly formed, ripe for kissing and nibbling mouth.
“Stop staring at him,” she mumbled. “He’s now your mortal enemy and off limits no matter how perfect his stupid lips are.”
She turned her gaze to the glass showcase and frowned at the remaining selection of pastries. If she couldn’t have the donut she’d had every morning since it’d been put on the menu, the sweet apple cider cake donut with the maple and bacon frosting, the one The Bleu Bijou was famous for, she found she’d lost her appetite.
“Mornin’, sweet cheeks,” the man behind the counter said with a broad smile splitting his cheeks.
Why couldn’t she be enamored of his lips, anyway? He was after all the man who held the keys to the kingdom with the rows and rows of sticky sweet, fluffy, dripping with icing goodness lining the display case. He was also the one who’d failed to save her the last one of the only donut she wanted. Now she was mad at him. He wasn’t any better than Mr. Perfect Lips. Were they collaborators of this plan to make her morning as crappy as possible starting with her not having her breakfast?
“You gave my donut away,” she hissed before shooting him a scowl she hoped burned his innards to bits.
“Come again?” he asked, his glowing smile fading a bit and his brow wrinkling in obvious consternation.
Had he been blind all these months to the fact she got the same thing every single day? Every. Single. Day! And here she thought they had some sort of unspoken agreement that no matter what, he’d save her an apple cider cake donut with maple and bacon frosting. He’d betrayed her trust. He’d let her down. He’d given away her breakfast!
“Never mind,” she said, rolling her eyes with a huff. “Just give me that cherry cream cheese puff thingy that looks like it got run over by the bus this morning.”
“Seems like someone’s having a bad morning,” the man who’d just made her hit list said. He had the audacity to look hurt while reaching behind the glass to scoop up the pastry she knew wouldn’t satisfy her anyway.
A few seconds later she left the counter with the inelegant pastry draped across a paper plate and her latté in hand. She paused at the accoutrements station where she set her cup down so she’d have a free hand to grab a napkin. Glancing at her watch, she realized she was going to be late opening the gallery, again. She grabbed her cup and prepared to make the mad dash down Main Street. Not bothering to check for other patrons she turned on her heel and took a half-dozen power steps only to come face to face with Mr. Perfect Lips who was standing right in her path. Forward momentum wasn’t as concerned with halting as she was and with the effort it took to stop her harried steps, she let go of her coffee and plate at the same time and propelled right into his chest where she planted her palms with a rush of breath flying out of her.
On a tortured half-sigh, half-groan, she pushed off him. She first looked up to find him staring at her with a twinkle in his eye then looked down at the damage. The hideous cherry pastry was now a splotch on the floor, a swirl of red and white mingled with streaks of tawny colored coffee. It kind of looked like one of the abstracts they hadn’t been able to sell since it’d first been hung over a year ago. She guessed art lovers no more liked the cherry cream cheese pastry look any more than she did.
“First you steal my donut. Then you proceed to destroy my pastry,” she clipped, pursing her lips and looking back up at him.
“Steal your donut?” The man had the audacity to smirk. “You mean apple cider cake with the maple and bacon frosting? That specific donut was yours?”
“Yes. You stole my donut.”
“I paid for it. Therefore, I didn’t steal it.”
“A mere technicality,” she said, her breath hitching when his smirk disappeared, replaced by a full-on grin which he traced with the tip of his forefinger.
Oh, those perfect lips.
“Clearly I’ve offended you on a level that requires compensation. While I don’t want to duel with you at dawn for the donut or anything, I will pay for whatever else you might want.”
“I’m late for work already, so thanks anyway, but I’ll pass,” she said reeling back her desire for this sexy as sin donut thief and squatting to clean up the mess.
“I’ll get that,” he said squatting, too, and taking the hand she’d reached out with to grab the now empty latté cup in his own, stroking the back of it with the pad of his thumb. “As you said, you’re late for work.”
“Fine.” She jerked her hand out of his, angry at the electricity buzzing from the contact, and stood, looking down to discover the coffee had also splashed her capris. “Super,” she mumbled. “No donut. No breakfast. No time to change.”
She sidestepped the bane of her existence and walked out of the bistro with what little dignity she could muster.
She’d just flipped the sign on the door to indicate the gallery was open for business and perched herself on the high-stool beside the counter toward the back of the show room when the bell over the door jingled letting her know she had her first customer of the day. Crossing her right leg over her left to try to conceal the coffee stain, she looked up and a sigh flew from her lips.
Him. Mr. Perfect Lips. He was here. In the gallery.
What had she done to deserve this fate that the sexiest man she’d seen lately, who’d stolen her donut, managed to wander into her place of work?
Before she had a chance to formulate a greeting, he was standing in front of her with a bag in his hand and that beautiful forefinger placed across her lips.
“I have a confession,” he said, moving his finger and opening the bag, the heavenly smell of apple cider, brown sugar, spices, and bacon seeping out of the brown paper and into the air to envelope her. “I didn’t steal your donut. I borrowed it.”
He plucked the treat out and waved it under her nose. Her mouth watered and she opened her lips, moving her head in the direction of the donut. She’d follow that donut anywhere as long as she could wrap her lips around it. He withdrew it to within millimeters of his own lips and licked them.
“Uh, uh, uh…” he admonished when she attempted to take one side of the donut into her mouth for a bite. “Not yet. Let me finish. Then you get the donut, no matter your answer after you hear me out.”
She nodded, her eyes never leaving his lips tucked behind the luscious sweet.
“I borrowed this donut. I’ve seen you every morning in the bistro for weeks and have been dying to ask you out, but I always seem to miss the window of opportunity because you’re always in such a hurry. It never fails, you’re out the door before I manage to pay for my cappuccino. I asked a few days ago how to get your attention and was told, buy your donut. I bought them out so you’d have to slow down long enough for me to approach you. I intended to give you this one, but things went horribly wrong.”
“You bought me a donut?” she whispered, her heart skipping a beat and warmth settling across her. He was a man after her own heart. And she’d yelled at him. Even hated him for a minute or two. “My donut?”
“Yes. I’m sorry for ruining your morning, making you late, and for the coffee stain on your pants. I’m not sorry for wanting to kiss you senseless.”
“Yes,” she murmured, taking his wrist between her fingers and steering the donut toward her lips. “I’ll go out with you and you may kiss me, but not before I get my half of this thing.”
It took all of four hurried bites for them to demolish the donut. With bits of candied bacon and sticky icing coating their lips, his landed on hers and liquid fire flew through her veins.
Oh, those perfect lips. He was definitely not the enemy.
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