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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Seven

Ben arrived at Julie's house early to pick her up for the Mardi Gras ball. He wasn't going to give her any reason to be mad at him, and punctuality was something he could control. Her agreement to be his date tonight could just be proof that she'd do anything to go to the event, but he'd take what he could get. It might be his only shot, and it was more than he'd had any right to hope for.

But that wasn't the only reason he was parked by her curb twenty minutes before their agreed-upon time. He just couldn't wait to see her. Brief glimpses of her in the hospital cafeteria or the hall just weren't enough anymore. She was like a ray of sunshine after a week of rain. She brightened his world.

Glancing at the watch on his wrist, he realized only a minute had passed since he'd stopped his Mercedes at the curb. He decided to try his luck with Julie. If she wasn't quite ready, he would wait patiently in her living room. His goal wasn't to hurry her along, just to be there with her. He picked up the single flower from the seat beside him.

A corsage had seemed appropriate for the formal occasion. But that had begged the question, wrist or pin on? What if she had a strapless dress and thought he was making a move? He hadn't made himself this crazy even when he'd been a geeky teenager going to his first dance. Finally he'd decided on a single white rose, her favorite, and as pure and beautiful as she was. The choice felt right, and he hadn't achieved his level of career success by going against his gut. If she drew parallels between this and their first date, that was okay, too.

The front of her small Henderson home was landscaped in typical desert style—multicolored, various-size rocks interspersed with drought-resistant plants. It was functional, artistic, practical.

Ben walked up the sidewalk and to the front door before straightening his white cuffs and black silk bow tie, and brushing a hand over his hair. If she didn't like what she saw, he'd have to rely on personality and wit. Somewhere he'd heard that on a top-ten list of things that attracted a woman to a man, number one was sense of humor.

"I can be funny, damn it," he muttered just before knocking on the door.

After several moments, the inside deadbolt scraped and Julie stood in the entryway wearing a long blue satin robe belted at the waist. "Hi. You're early."

"I can leave," he offered. "Drive around the block several hundred times."

She laughed. "Don't be silly. That's a waste of gas and will just pollute the environment, starting with my neighborhood."

The porch light and lamps in the room behind her showed that her make-up was done. At work she wore mascara and lip gloss, but tonight he could see a difference. She looked like a movie star. Her blond hair was loosely pulled back from her face, almost as if someone had dragged their fingers through it then secured the mass just behind her right ear. Golden wisps teased her cheeks in the sexiest way he could imagine.

"I'm almost ready. Just have to slip into my dress."

"I'll wait right here. No rush," he assured her.

"I'm glad, because this could take some time. The dress appears deceptively simple, but I swear it was designed by an engineer. And I don't have a stylist or team of professionals to get me into it."

"I'm a professional, and I also took an engineering class in college. If you need help, just say the word."

Please.

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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