Tessa had her suspicions but could never put her finger on any exact proof. Her connections in the high rolling corporate world provided her with ample opportunities to work and play with powerful men. Normally, she kept them at arm’s length, both literally and figuratively. Staying objective while covering the news of the latest takeover or insider scandal was the code by which she lived and breathed. Because of this, she earned the trust of her readers as well as the editors at the paper. It was no accident that she was the recipient of many awards for journalistic excellence. Her non-confrontational style broke down barriers and got many of her sources to confess their dirty deeds.
Tessa worked hard to keep her private life out of plain sight. Covering investigative stories sapped her mental energy and often brought her instant recognition when out in public. Shopping for herself was challenging and dating nearly impossible as many dinners were often interrupted by the ringing of her phone or her “fans”. One gray Sunday afternoon, she saw an ad on the Internet for the sale of a little cottage in Bucks County. Just what I need she thought. A place that will allow for escape from the dregs of the city and the narcissistic qualities of the people I cover. She call the number and made an appointment for the following Saturday afternoon.
It was love at first sight. The little yellow bungalow with white shutters and a fertile flower garden exuded cheer and warmth. It had just one bedroom and bath (with a claw footed tub), a working fireplace and an open living and kitchen area. The remote setting was serene with its small sloping lawn and tiny pond stocked with fish. She also took an instant like to the real estate agent showing her the property. Jared was polite and knowledgeable- having grown up in the area as a boy. He, too, had taken to the fast paced city life for a bit but then found himself burned out after years of chasing nothing (as he put it). Now, he dabbled in house selling and renovations throughout the western part of the state. This way he could keep his hair long and his skin brown as a berry.
After the purchase, Tessa took some much needed time off from work to move into the house and do some touch-ups on the inside. She often found herself in the company of Jared during her antiquing and hardware excursions. He was delightful and they usually ended their days with dinner in her kitchen or drinks by the pond. As the weather turned colder, she made use of the fireplace. Tessa arrived late one Friday evening to a stack of firewood on her front porch. She knew immediately that Jared had split it for her. When she called to thank him, she found herself inviting him over.
So their year long affair began. Tessa found Jared so easy to talk to-unlike so many of the men she had dated and even interviewed. He was relaxed and generous with his time and encouraged her to open up. She even told him about her latest piece-investigating a drug lord’s ties to a well known investment firm. She felt like she was getting close but was challenged by some of her sources as well as her own desire to go all out in getting answers. For the first time in years, Tessa didn’t have the zealous urge to go after a story. All she wanted by Thursday night was to head down the 101 and fall into Jared’s embrace.
And it was after one lovely interlude that Tessa found herself awakened by the sound of Jared’s voice on the phone. His side of the bed was empty. The clock on her night stand just turned over to a brand new day. Wrapping herself in a sheet, Tessa crept out of bed towards the kitchen. Jared’s voice became clear. “Don’t worry, she’ll be dead by Sunday.”
Kellie’s at her best with this week’s prompt. We got to write a story based on a list of titles she gave us! This was fun and very different! Go to: