A Speedy Love Story (Part Two)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Author's note: This story was posted years ago. I decided to change the format and cover art, but keep everything else the same for old times' sake.

Original description: A continuation to the first part of the story. What will happen to Dolly? Will she return to Hans? Or will she give her heart to Danny?

A Speedy Love Story

Part Two

 

Dolly smothered a yawn as the rays of the shining sun to the left of the queen-sized bed invaded the slit of her half-open eyes. She rolled herself in the opposite direction and stopped – because she just remembered that her host was sleeping on the pull-out on the floor.

Silently, Dolly crawled to the edge of the bed and peered over the mattress and heap of comforters that had kept her warm. Secretly, she had wished that Danny had been her comforter that night, but a decent girl just didn’t suggest such a thing. Sighing, she reached out a hand and caressed his cheek. He was lying on his side, facing her direction. One hand was tucked under his cheek, the other on the empty space beside him. How Dolly envied that space, just imagining how Danny’s hand might feel pressing into her midriff.

She was so distracted by her private thoughts, that she hadn’t noticed Danny had fluttered his eyes open. Those long lashes were sinfully seductive, and the way his morning smile greeted her was doing wild things to her stomach.

“Oh my!” she gasped, noticing that she not removed her hand from his face. She was sure pink was starting to tinge her cheeks, so she lifted her hand off his skin.

But Danny had other ideas, the moment he sensed her withdrawal, he placed his free hand over hers and guided her back to his cheek.  “Good mornin’ Doll.”

The growing stubble of his morning jaw tickled her palm. And, as if reading her thoughts, he turned his head and placed a kiss on her open palm. Dolly’s chest swelled with surprise and she bit her lip to suppress a most improper moan. “Good morning,” she finally managed to utter. Danny rose from his bed and knelt in front of her. He was so close. Her heart beat frantically. Was he asking her to-

“Dolly,” he said, her name on his lips so soft it mesmerized her, “This isn’t going anywhere dirty. I want you to know that I respect you and I don’t go around playing games. I take things seriously… which means I don’t sleep around either.”

“Whoa,” she stuttered, obviously startled and surprised, “you mean – you didn’t – well, um – even with Verity?”

He gave out a loud laugh that ended with tears in the corners of his eyes. “God, no Doll. I have never ever had ‘well, um’ with Verity. And when I do, it’ll be with a woman who loves me, not my fast-paced superstar career.”

Dolly felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment. She quickly turned on her back and stared at the ceiling, just so she wouldn’t see the smug amusement on his face. “You didn’t have to tell me that.”

“But I had to,” he said, leaning over her, his eyes fixed on her lips, “so you’d know we’re on equal footing. And because I love you.”

“You what?!” she squeaked, “We barely know each other! I mean, our first encounter we talked about a scandal. And our first date last night was as faked as a stuffed peacock. How could you say that-”

Her words were smothered by the invasion of masculine lips covering hers in a gentle kiss. Dolly was vaguely aware that Danny had slipped an arm under her, and held her cheek in the other. She found herself involuntarily craning her neck so that their lips would stay molded, involuntarily reaching around his neck and running her fingers in his hair. They stayed that way for what might have been eternal seconds. She felt him smile against her lips. Obviously, she was unconsciously saying something to him, which made him kiss her in delight. It took only a little time for Dolly to realize that she’d been whispering ‘I love you, I love you…’

~

Danny heard the phone ring in the hall of his hotel suite. It was the twelfth ring that morning. And, as expected, it was another reporter trying to ask him the obvious. “Yes,” he sighed, “I quit, retired, stepped down the pedestal, walked out, left and whatever else you could describe my leaving my professional career.”

He slammed the phone just as the knock on his door sounded. Danny peeked out the peephole, relieved that it was just the bellboy with their early breakfast, not some international reporter who had managed to get hold of his secret hotel room. He opened the door and took the cart in, despite the bellboy’s attempts to do the task of setting the breakfast. Finally, a fifty dollar tip made the intruder shut up and leave.

It was after he had poured orange juice in the two glasses on the tray that his cell rang. Danny looked at the number and grimaced, knowing that the number on his phone’s screen belonged to Feroce. He pressed the receiving button and put the phone to his ear. “Hey. What’s up?”

Then he realized his mistake, for it was clear by the Feroce Race Coordinator’s snorts that he was fuming. “What the hell is going on, Lockridge?! We phoned Diego last night after the rumors started popping up and he told us you decided to kick your butt out of racing because you’re covering someone.”

“Yeah, about that-”

“Whatever this scandal is about, forget it. We’re not pressing any charges, so get your shadow down here and start practicing. I can arrange a press conference in the snap of my fingers and a speech denying anything about a retirement.”

“But that’s the point!” Danny’s temper snapped, “I am not going back there, not now and not ever.”

“Lockridge, if you don’t show up here, my boss will be terribly disappointed. He may sue you for not upholding the expiry of your contract. You know you’ve got eight months left of trial period before you’re released.”

“Ha!” Daniel snorted, “I seem to recall that the last time I got into trouble, your boss didn’t even want me to enter his building. Now you’re telling me he wants me to stick around?”

There was a long pause, as if the guy had covered the phone with his hand to discuss something. Then the coordinator sniffed and carried on, “Boss says that if you want to go, then go. We aren’t gonna chase you or your little damsel in distress, but I have to warn you that once you get out, your reputation is screwed. No coming back Lockridge.”

“I know,” Danny slumped on the couch, “I understand. Goodbye.”

He ended the call, his grip on his cell tight as squeezing juice out of an orange. He had just said goodbye to his career.

~

Dolly looked in the body length mirror that occupied the whole one wall of the too large bathroom. She didn’t have a spare change of clothes with her, so Daniel had taken the initiative to lend her one of his shirts, as well as a decent pair of khaki shorts, which she adjusted to her slender waist with a belt, another one of his courtesies. She felt small and skinny in his shirt, but it felt wonderful to be in his clothes.

She stuck up the collar around her neck and breathed in his cologne, or maybe his detergent. Whatever the scent was, it was wonderful all because it was Danny’s. She blushed. She just couldn’t believe that she said she loved Danny. And, more embarrassing, she did love him! To an outside observer, it must be weird for a one-day romance to occur. But to Dolly, it had seemed like ages from yesterday.

She was about to walk out the bathroom when the phone in her purse rang. Groping past her tickler and vanity pouch, she finally grabbed her phone. She answered it the moment it was within inches from her ear. “Hello?”

“Dolly Rosa,” said male voice over the line. His sure statement made her stagger backwards.

“Hans? How did you get my number?!”

“After all these years, you still remember me. I’m quite delighted.”

Dolly wanted to throw up. “What do you want?”

“Isn’t it obvious? I want you back.”

“Uh-uh. No way, buster. I’ve got a new life, new hope and new man. You’re ancient history.”

“Well,” he snickered, “I hate to disappoint you angel, but your new man’s gonna be ancient history. He’s playing you, Dolly.”

“Nice try,” she practically steamed with anger over the man. The nerve of him! He ought to be locked up somewhere. “Danny’s the nicest man I’ve ever met, a thousand steps up compared to you. Forget it Hans. Even if you were the last guy on earth, I would never go crawling back to you.”

“Suit yourself,” he said. Then hang up.

Dolly felt a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach. Then a second later, a voice message came up on her phone. Too distracted to even check the number of the source, she flipped her phone open again. At once the message played, and she gaped in disbelief at it. It was a recording.

“Yeah, yeah. Typical chance for a lifetime drama. So why did he quit tonight? Is it because of Dolly Rosa?”

“Dolly Rosa? Pshaw! That girl got no good brainsh in er ead. Went up to Danny to bribe em, tell em to lose is last rashe.” He leaned conspicuously, “the boy quit coz he wanted to, but couldn’t go around to tellin’ the boss and Feroce. So he made up some shtory that the girl’d be sued if Feroce knew, unless he quit workin’ for em.”

“He quit so he could lie? To tell Dolly that if he didn’t work for Feroce, they’d have no right to sue her because their problem would be none of their business? When in fact he just wanted out of his career?!”

“Ya know? You kinda shmart.”

“Oh my god!” she wept.

~

“How could you do this to me? Me?!” Dolly demanded, raising both fists in the air and trying to strike Daniel’s chest with all her might… to no effect, since the driver was too tall and solid for her fists.

“Doll – wait – please listen to me,” Danny cut in, successfully pinning her arms in the air, “you don’t understand-”

“Oh I understand. I understand plenty! You were using me you insensitive cad! I could no sooner throttle you. You lied to me, and I damn well fell for it!”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? Ha! Well, I’m sorry too! I’m sorry I was honest about my feelings and my insecurities. I’m sorry I bared my weaknesses in front of you. And I’m sorry for traipsing around at that party looking like your cohort! You could have at least tried to tell me the truth!”

Dolly pulled hard at her wrists, which caused her to lose equilibrium and land flat on her gluteus on the floor in front of him. She wiped her tear-stained face like a lost child and quickly stood up.

“Doll,” Danny reached out for her shoulders, but she flinched and moved away, “I know this looks bad, but I swear I was going to tell you the truth. I really am sorry for using you.”

“Oh you used me all right. What was last night all about? What were all those kisses about? I’ll tell you what. You were manipulating me, blinding me and preparing me to believe that you had taken pity and fallen in love with me, when what you were doing all along was killing two birds with one stone: Feroce and Verity. And I can’t believe I let myself be the stone!”

“You were not the stone, dammit!” he yelled trying to make for her again. But she had spun out of his reach just in time.

“I’m leaving you coward! I’m going back to Papa’s chateau and don’t try following me until you’ve grown a tail and faced your fears.”

Danny watched as, like in slow motion, Dolly picked up her dress and shoes, marched through his hotel door and disappeared before its loud slam. He should have been relieved, since he didn’t have to hide anything from her anymore. He should have jumped for joy that, finally, his downhill career and Verity had taken off. But he didn’t, because the person that had replaced his squashed dreams had taken off as well.

~

“Good afternoon everyone,” Daniel stared uncomfortably at the press crowd that had gathered itself at the hotel. Thankfully, their services were efficient, as he had approached the manager only four hours ago to prepare some sort of conference room to hold his own private little press conference. “Before I start, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming to hear my statement. It must have been a shock to all of you.” He paused and took a deep breath before continuing his speech.

“As you know, and it has never been banned from the public, that I come from a family on the down side of town, that I’ve been a reckless minor and that I was raised out of that dump by Diego Esigente in his quest to find a capable driver for the Feroce Team.

And his move resulted into Daniel Lockridge formerly three, now four-time gold awarded champion in racing. At first I thought I had found my true self in my career, just as people find their purpose in life. But now, looking back on all that has happened, I realized that the track was just a reprieve, a small break from reality.”

The crowd murmured in response. Daniel continued.

“Yes, I have a passion for driving, and like the devil, as Diego would usually address it.”

The crowd laughed.

“But it doesn’t mean that my passion necessarily has to be my profession. In my opinion, I’ve been in this industry far too long, that I’ve forgotten there’s a whole world out there, outside of the driver’s seat. I was so concentrated in going for the gold that I didn’t notice the smaller but more important things in life. I want to see the rest of that world before it’s too late. So right now, I’m gonna tell all of you the truth. Yes, I formally resign from my career.”

The press chorused, asking questions and shaking heads at the same time. One of them stood and raised his hand, indicating that he had a question. Daniel nodded in the man’s direction, coaxing him to speak up.

“Mister Lockridge, last night at the celebratory ball you were seen with Miss Dolly Rosa, said sponsor to your race yesterday. It was rumored that she had been a major factor in your resignation. Do you have any comments?”

“No. I saw Miss Rosa, judged her to be of exemplary character and asked her to be my date for the ball. She has nothing to do with any of this.”

“She was also in a quarrel last night with your former love interest, Verity Haughton.”

“Their disagreement is completely out of the matter and their own private affair. Bottom-line, I left the Feroce team and the whole racing career on my own, not because of a girl or any other personal problem.”

“Does your manager have anything to say to this, Daniel?”

“Esigente is a fine manager and coach. I am confident that he will be able to find another superstar, hopefully with enough drive, passion and reason to race to his heart’s desire. There are plenty of talented youths in the world, all waiting to be fished from the sea.”

“Any message to Feroce?”

Daniel looked straight at the last reporter, whose pen was poised above a notepad, eager to jot down what it was he was gonna say. Poor man, he thought, I only have two sentences to say to that.

“Remember, you said it yourself. If you want to go, then go.”

Daniel stepped down from the platform before anybody else could ask him about his cryptic message. Suddenly he needed a fresh whiff of air.

~

Daniel checked his stepped into the bar, ordered a can of soda and plunked himself in one of the booths at the far corner. He took his phone out of his pocket, dialing Diego’s number with the sharp press of his thumb. His manager, or rather ex-manager, picked up the phone and yelled.

“I am so sorry but we have no comment available regarding Daniel Lockridge and his sudden-”

“Diego! It’s me, Danny. I’m at a bar downtown and I need you to do me a favor.”

Diego’s snort was heard over the line. “Huh. I never thought you’d need anything kid.”

“Come on, boss. Dolly Rosa walked out on me this morning and I need some serious snooping around to find out where she’s gone to.”

“Daniel, you just made a joke of the girl. Sure she bribed you and almost got exposed for it, but you could have just told Feroce the truth. Now you’re gonna be looked on like a walking idiot. Sciocco.”

“I don’t care,” Daniel slammed his soda can on the table, splashing some of his drink on the top, “I need to find her and you’re gonna help me do it.”

“Perché? Why on earth would I help you?!”

“Cause she’s the best thing I’ve ever had and I’m not gonna lose her.”

There was a long, loud whistle on the other end of the line. Diego chuckled and said “Well if that’s the case, I may be able to pull on a few strings. I still have that Jane girl’s number in my phone somewhere. Just hang on, okay?”

“Thanks boss.”

“Prego!”

Daniel grinned. Oh, he was gonna find Dolly alright. And when he did, he was gonna make sure she knew just how much he needed her. Yes, it had been barely two days, but he knew that she was the one for him.

As he finished up his soda, a sudden commotion at the swinging doors caused him to raise his head. There, stumbling his way into the room, was an obviously drunk Hans Leeway. The drunk made his way past shocked customers, shoving several teenagers aside, and struggled to where Danny was sitting.

“Cuss you, Lockridge!” he yelled, almost crashing on top of the table, “She was supposed to come back to me! ME!!!”

“What the hell are you talking about Leeway?” Danny demanded, gripping the collar of Hans’ shirt. “This better not be about Dolly.”

“Yeah, I’m talking about Dolly all right. And you better back off because her sweet little arse belongs to me!”

Danny glared at him. A nasty shadow crossed his eyes as he crushed the soda can in one tight fist. “Don’t you dare call her that, you bastard. You’re not worth her. And I think you’re supposed to be the one who should be backing off.”

“I told her about the scum you pulled when she bribed you to lose the race. I told her that you were only using her to your advantage. That you were the one actually committing the bribe!”

“I don’t think what’s between Dolly and me is any of your business Hans.”

“Well Dolly’s my business and I’m finding her and getting her back!”

“If you lay your hands on her I’m gonna punch the lights out of you Leeway!”

“Oh yeah, cause I can have you flat on your back-”

He barely finished his sentence, because at that moment, Daniel’s fist connected with his chin in an uppercut. Hans lay sprawled on the bar floor and was immediately surrounded by black-shirted bouncers. “Sorry ‘bout this guy, buddy,” one of them said, “He just stepped out from the club across the street. We didn’t think he’d be hopping off to this side of the road.”

Before Daniel could reply, his phone rang again. He nodded his head in the direction of the bouncer and proceeded to answer his call. “Diego? Got info so soon?”

“Well,” Diego chirmed, “that Jane girl really was concerned about her boss. Said she came into the office crying. She also said Miss Rosa used the computer and net to buy a ticket for tonight’s first-class Italian flight.”

“Can you get someone to find the basics to the flight? Time of landing, which airport, what number terminal, the works…”

“Got you on that, Danny boy. I’m faxing the info to your hotel room.”

“And can you arrange the next flight out?”

“Hey, I got an air force buddy with private jets. I think he’s got one or two favors for me. I could arrange an instant flight plan for you tonight and you won’t even need to lift a finger. You can fly ahead of her and surprise her there now that you don’t have practice or interviews to block your time.”

“Diego, I wouldn’t know what to do without you.”

Diego chuckled for the second time on the phone today, clueing Danny that he was still on the guy’s good side despite having quit his career.

“Ovviamente! Of course you won’t” Diego joked, “Course you won’t.”

~

Danny thanked the kind pilot, Diego’s long-time friend, as he crossed the landing area in the airport. The jet was fast and he was several minutes before Dolly’s plane. He proceeded to the waiting area, blending in with the sea of foreigner’s faces.

One minute passed…

Two minutes…

Ten minutes…

The people around Danny were getting worried. The plane was supposed to have landed minutes ago. The whole thing just wasn’t making any sense. Danny was getting worried. Had something happened to the plane? The people around him were starting to get noisy. Some were muttering or chatting, some were even trying to contact the passengers they were waiting for.

Suddenly, a balding man in a business suit, English and rather plump, cursed loudly. His hands shook as he talked to the person on his phone. “Honey, what do you mean you’re landing in the water? What?! The propellers malfunctioned? Oh God!”

All the people around him crowded, anxiously listening in to the conversation, hoping against hope that that wasn’t the flight they were waiting for.

“Excuse me Sir, but what flight is the madam on?” Danny asked, trying hard not to show the worry that was running wild in his brain. He too hoped that it wasn’t Dolly’s ride.

But all hope faded when the man mentioned the flight number. Danny’s face turned pale white, and he almost tripped as he backed away from the man.

“Oh no! My daughter’s in that plane!”

“And my stepbrother!”

“Are they gonna crash?!”

“What’s the airport doing about this?!”

“My babies! They’re gonna die in there!”

“My husband too!”

The waiting area shifted from excited greeting party to panicking mob in mere seconds. Everyone was trying to contact their relatives and friends on that flight. An old religious woman had taken out a rosary and began chanting. Others were clasping their hands together. The plump Englishman had been taken to the emergency room because his heart had started to ache.

“Everyone, calm down!” a guy from the airport management yelled over the crowd as several security units tried to calm the civilians. “We are doing the best we can to make sure that the plane is going to land in as safe a way as it can. It will be landing just near the coast of the airport. Right now we have a full emergency crew stationed and dispatched-”

A scream broke out from the crowd. A sharp, pained shrill that caused more than three people to cry themselves. The old woman beside Danny had gone to her knees and prayed louder.

“They’re in the water!” the fortyish woman who had just cried out waved her phone in the air, “they’re in the water! My daughter can’t swim!”

“Dammit!” Danny threw his backpack to the floor, kicking on it as hard as he could. “Oh god! Dolly!”

“Now Sir, if you just calm down…” a security man was taking him by the elbow.

“My girl’s in that plane! My Dolly’s in that plane!”

“We’re doing the best we can…”

Danny hid his face in his palms to try to suppress a scream of anguish. What came out of his mouth was a long, desperate groan. His tears began to fall as he too went down on his knees. “Baby, you can’t die on me… you just can’t…”

~

Traffic down the highway was at a minimum tonight. The lamp posts cut circular areas beside the black roads and landed pale orange glows on the walls near them. Dolly watched the desolate view from her uptown condominium, taking comfort in a mug of hot chocolate and another roll of tissue paper.

She sneezed into the tissue and threw the damp thing in the waste bin to her immediate right. She still didn’t feel like answering the numerous missed calls on her fax-phone. And she definitely didn’t feel like touching any office work tonight.

Tonight she just wanted to curl up into a little ball and cry, cry for what might have been the best thing in her life. But the doorbell that connected directly to her condo had other ideas for her that night. Dolly groaned at the disturbance of her misery. She tightened the belt of her terry cloth robe around her waist and got up from her easy chair.

Expecting another nosy reporter who wanted to sneak an interview with Mi Amore’s CEO, Dolly put on the scariest, angriest face she could manage. But what a surprise she found when Jane and Daniel’s manager, Diego Esigente stood just outside the hall.

“Jane? What are you two doing here?”

“Oh god!” Jane sighed in relief and hugged her boss impulsively, “I’m so glad you didn’t get on that plane!”

“What do you mean?” Dolly asked awkwardly, a little embarrassed by Jane’s sudden bodily contact, “I wasn’t really going to get on that plane. It was a stupid impulsive act, I know.”

“Hmmm. Well that makes my act stupid and impulsive as well.” Diego said as he made his way into the condo unit.

“What do you mean?” Dally asked, wiping her nose with the sleeve of her robe.

“Jane told me you bought a ticket for Italy this afternoon.”

“You were spying on me? You too Jane? Why?!”

“Because Lockridge asked me to find out what you were doing.”

Dolly stopped herself from sipping her hot drink. “What did you just say?”

“Daniel wanted to find you. So when he thought you were flying to Italy, I suggested he get there before you and surprise you. My air force buddy sent him over there. The kid wanted to say sorry and ask for your forgiveness. I bet he was preparing to crawl on the floor as well.”

Dolly wanted to jump, to smile, to laugh like an idiot. Danny had cared! A whole lot! He had flown to Italy! He literally chased her across the ocean to tell her he loved her! She was just that important to him and Dolly couldn’t believe it. She cracked a smile in her previously sullen face and said, “So now he has to come back here, right?”

“We’ve wanted him to,” Jane cut in, “but he wouldn’t answer his phone.”

Something wasn’t right, Dolly thought as she looked form one person to the other. Why were they looking all guilty and worried? “Is something wrong? Did Danny’s plane arrive okay?”

“Yeah, he arrived, but yours didn’t.” Jane said.

“What?”

“The plane you were supposed to be on, it crashed off the coast. Half of those rescued were seriously injured, half a combination of mortality and missing.”

“Right now,” Diego cut in, “I’m thinking Danny is crazy trying to find you. I bet he’s scouring every hospital in that country. He won’t even answer his cell and I don’t know if he’s checked in to his apartment yet. I’ve lost all contact of him.”

“He still thinks you were on that plane, Dolly.” Jane took her by the shoulders, “and he needs to know that you’re safe.”

Dolly felt her heart ache at the thought of Danny trying desperately to find her.

Oh goodness. She thought that the man wasn’t worthy of her. But he’d literally gone the extra mile to get her back. “Okay,” she finally said, “first things first. Jane, help me pack up my bags. And Diego, call that buddy of yours.”

~

Danny was exhausted. He wanted to go back out there again, wanted to recheck every admission that has been filed at every damn hospital he had already visited. It had been six hours of non-stop searching for Dolly. He had even gone to check the several bodies that had been recovered from the crash site. At the last morgue he had gone into, he released a sigh of relief, thankful that Dolly wasn’t among the mortalities. But with each passing second, he was getting really scared.

Dolly’s case meant that she was missing, and Danny was going to have to sit back and wait until the rescuers find her – or her cold body. Daniel shuddered. Just thinking about Dolly’s beautiful body, cold and rolling on the foams of the sea, gripped him in terrible fright. “Dolly, please be alive. Please be safe.”

He picked up the telephone for the umpteenth time and dialed the number to the hospital closest to the airport. So far, there were no new patients from the crash and no new bodies. The next two hospitals reported the same developments – or lack of developments.

Danny paced the length of the two-storey apartment complex that Diego had arranged to lend to him. it belonged to the man’s second cousin and except for Danny, there was no other person in the duplex. He had wanted to bring Dolly here after he asked for forgiveness. He so wanted to see her, hold her in his arms again, kiss her until he could feel her heart beat as fast as his own. This was supposed to be the place of their reconciliation, where they would spend the next week learning to forgive and love each other. But now the house was as hollow as Danny’s heart, which would never be whole again until it held Dolly.

It was only a few minutes from his last call but there was now a steady drumming of hard watery pelts on the window pane. The sudden rain increased his uneasiness, for he was sure it would hinder the search and rescue efforts. Danny paced forward, turned right, retraced his steps, and turned left…

A loud knock on the door disturbed his mind, which was already at overdrive from worrying about Dolly. He just wanted to be alone right now, but maybe it was the police, with information on Dolly’s whereabouts. Maybe it was the airline, with good news. Or maybe… what if they had found her body?

Danny didn’t want to think of the worst, but knew he had to. Whatever was out there, he needed to face it, for Dolly and for himself. He squared his shoulders and said a silent prayer, asking the Almighty for divine intervention.

He opened the door and-

“Dolly?”

Daniel stood stock still, looking straight at the tiny woman standing on the stoop of the apartment, huddled and shivering from the mighty rain that had unleashed its fury on her. Behind her a little to the left was a caryall, soaked in rainwater all over. The woman looked up – and it was Dolly!

“Danny?” Dolly looked up at him.

Daniel wanted to fall on his knees and thank God. You brought her back! You brought her here! Safe! Thank you! Instead he grabbed his Dolly in his arms and swung her around. “Oh god. You’re here! You don’t know how worried I was! How frightened I became.”

“Danny, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Dolly laid her trembling hands on Daniel’s cheeks and looked into his eyes. Her lips trembled so and her eyes were red from crying.

“No, my love. I should be the one saying sorry.” He kissed her palms, one by one, before folding his arms around her and drawing her tightly against him. “Please, Dolly. Forgive me. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell. I just love you too much.”

“I love you too, Danny.”

Danny was humbled. He picked her up with his grip and molded his lips to her, touching softly, gently. One hand splayed at the back of her neck, catching her head as she tilted backward. She was the sweetest taste that had ever touched his lips. The most beautiful thing that he had ever held, more valuable than any champion cup, more thrilling than any race. The pads of her fingers pressed on his scalp as she ran them through his hair.

“Dolly,” he whispered, lifting his head and looking into her eyes, “Tell me you’ll never leave me. I know this seems so sudden. We barely know each other three days, but I fell in love with you. And I don’t think I’m ever gonna fall out of it.”

“Well, my love, you feel how I feel.”

“Oh Dolly, don’t scare me ever again. You don’t know how scared I was, thinking I’d ever be able to hold you in my arms. And, like right now, I want to hold you in my arms and heart forever.”

Dolly eased herself from his embrace and looked down at her doused outfit. “Don’t you think I should change before the holding part?”

Danny laughed and scooped her up in his arms, carrying her wedding style into the apartment and toward their future.

~

“Danny?”

The TV at the foot of the bed was still on, though it was well past midnight. The last movie was still playing, but Danny and Dolly made no move to shut it off. They were too content lying in each other’s arms, his right arm a pillow beneath her head, his left wound around her middle like a warm blanket, his left leg draped over her soft thighs.

“Hmmm?” Danny pressed a soft kiss against the curve of her shoulder, making her press closer to him. The rain had thinned, and was now playing a soft, comforting rhythm on the window sill of the second floor bedroom.

“When I thought of changing, I meant into women’s clothes.” Dolly scolded, turning to him and breathing the scent of his pajama top.

Danny looked her over, all bundled up in his extra large shirt, wool jacket and knee-length woolen socks. “Sorry, Baby Doll. But until your clothes dry out in the living room, I’m not allowing you to freeze solid. And your beautiful body makes my clothes look more wonderful than Armani’s when you wear them.”

“Thank you for respecting me, my body, and my honor.” Dolly stared into his eyes, blissfully happy that they had each other.

“You not only have my respect, Doll. You have my love, my heart. All of me… now get some rest. We’ve got a lot to see tomorrow. Italy’s awaiting.”

Dolly traced his jaw with the pad of her soft fingertips. “You know my love, this has been a very speedy love story.”

 

END

 

Author's Note (9/20/2020)

Cringe galore! I want to delete this so bad, but I promised myself I wouldn't so I remember where and how I first started as a writer. Anyway, thank you for somehow being curious enough to read this. Have a nice day!


Submitted: February 29, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Ann Sepino. All rights reserved.

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