Blood on the lips: Chapter two

Author: W. K. Hayes

Blood on the lips: Chapter 2

 

Keith finally made it to the grocery store. After his adventure at the gas station, he sincerely hoped he could go in, get his list filled and get out without any unwanted advances or events, like before.

            Mustering his courage, he locked Bessie up and walked inside the massive store. Next to the entrance, he found a buggy crammed together in a row of metal wires and wheels.

            Taking a moment to look around himself, he noticed a woman wrestling with her toddler that had learned how to grab things from the shelves. He smiled at the scene and wheeled on off to find the ingredients for his pizza sauce.

            One aisle he always tried to avoid was the book aisle. Being too close was a sure way to be, recognized by an avid reader. Instead, he shot down the canned food aisle and grabbed a small can of mushrooms for the pizza.

            Quickly zipping to the back of the store, he came to the meat department where grabbed up hamburger, pepperoni and sausage. A quirk his mother had left him with was like a quote in his head, ‘Always buy meat you can see’. Therefore, everything he bought had to be visible through the package with the only exception being turkey.

            “So far, so good,” he mumbled to himself as he hurried past two women gossiping. Their buggies sat, pointed in opposite directions, which, to him, indicated they had just run into each other in the store.

            Keith carefully pushed his cart around them to enter the sauce aisle when he realized he would need fresh vegetables, which…sit across from the books and magazines.

            “Be brave,” he told himself, under his breath as he cruised down the aisle with the sauces.

            He carefully looked over the sauces for the darkest ones he could see through the jars. A brighter color might mean fresher sauce but a darker color means that the sauce has had more time to marinate in its on flavor.

            Carefully, he grabbed several jars and placed them in his cart. Originally, he had thought about grabbing one but he knew it was inevitable that she would want his homemade spaghetti sauce.

            He started shuffling his way down the aisle and wished he had brought his soda with him, when he saw a teenage girl poking her head around an aisle before quickly darting out of sight.

            Keith grinned to himself as he slowed his pace just in case she came running around the corner. The last thing he wanted to do was hit a fan with a shopping cart

            As he reached the end of the aisle, he looked both ways but the young girl was gone. Breathing a small sigh of relief, he circled around to the next aisle to grab a bag of sugar and a bag of flour.

            He had barely made it to the sugar when he heard a young girl’s voice calling to him from behind.

            “Mister Hayes…can I have your autograph”, she asked.

            Keith turned to face the admirer and saw that, it was the girl, he had seen earlier. She was around sixteen, if that. Chubby little red cheeks dotted with freckles and curly brown hair.

            He looked at her, smiled, and replied, “I would love to.”

            As he took the book from her, he started digging for a pen when he noticed the book was brand new. “Did you pay for this, yet”, he asked her.

            “I was going to right after I asked for your autograph”, she replied.

            Keith sighed thoughtfully and told her, “You might want to pay for it first or we will both get in trouble.”

            “I’m going to buy it, honesty”, she declared nervously.

            “I have no doubt,” Keith quickly replied and added, “But, the people at the store still own the book, technically speaking and they will get mad at me if I write on their book. I’ll be here for a few if you want to run and buy…just come back and find me.”

            She thought about what he said, smiled very big and told him, “Okay, I will…don’t go far…I’ll be right back”.

            “I’ll be right here,” Keith promised as she smiled and ran back towards the front of the store. He thought about telling her to slow down before she slipped and fell, but decided to leave it alone.

            Instead, he reached down, grabbed a big bag of sugar, and strolled on to the flours where he found a bag of self-rising flour to make the dough. As he laid it in the buggy, he realized he needed to get some shortening that he had already passed on the aisle.

            Quickly, he turned his shopping cart around and head back up the aisle when the girl come running back. “That was quick,” he remarked.

            “I used the express checkout,” she replied and explained, “After I got a job, mom helped me set up my banking account so I have my own card.”

            “Ah, the first steps towards independent freedom,” Keith said in a thoughtful manner.

            “Oh yea”, the young girl readily agreed as she shoved the book and pen at him.

            “So, who am I making this out to,” he asked her.

            “Sadie,” she replied with an excited giggle.

            Keith clicked the button on the pen and wrote, ‘To Sadie, no dream is unattainable…reach for everything your heart desires-W. K.’, after he had signed the book, he handed it back to her with the pen.

            With a quick smile, she hurried back down the aisle, looked back to smile at him one more time and took off around the corner.

            Keith cracked a grin and continued his way up the aisle when he noticed the time was ten o’clock. “Oh, no”, he remarked as he doubled his pace down the aisle and took a quick left to hurry to the vegetable aisle at the far right of the store.

            Still feeling somewhat wary about getting close to the books and magazines, he stayed to along the edge of the produce aisle. Quickly, he curved around the open area where, a stand held fresh onions in a wide variety.

            He loved the attention of being, asked for an autograph, or even answering questions about writing but he knew he had two hours to get home and start lunch.

            He stopped his shopping cart in front of the Vidalia onions, grabbed a plastic bag and began rummaging through them. Eventually, he found a small, very-pale, pink color with an undertone of tan, onion.

            Tossing the onion in the bag, Keith started hunting for the perfect bell pepper. Well, bell peppers. He spotted another heavy-set woman coming down from the other end of the store.

Her teenage son looked as though he were having fun and yet, feeling tortured, all at the same time. He would, toss his long shaggy hair out of his face to see what he was looking at. Then, he face would light up for a second before returning to the sourpuss façade.

Keith loved to look at people to see what they were thinking. Sometimes, his descriptiveness would over flow with what he saw but he loved it anyway. ‘To notice the details, one would be allowed to see more’, he always felt. She was obviously more interested in the carrots than she was in him, which was a relief.

            He circled his shopping cart around the corner and of the onion stand and spotted the bell peppers stand on the other side of the potato stand. As he walked by the potatoes, he longed to grab one up and tear into it. However, he had developed an allergic reaction to them. Even eating a single potato chip was comparable to swallow a jawbreaker whole. Still, he loved French Fries, chips; mashed or stewed. With one, odd exception…he never cared for baked. Something about a baked potato always seemed overwhelming.

            Pulling his shopping cart up close to the bell peppers, he quickly scanned them over when he spotted three-packs of bell peppers with one red, green and yellow, bell peppers. He pushed the cart on around the corner and looked over the packs to find the best one.

            Suddenly, a woman startled him from behind. Out of habit, he always looked at people’s hands first. Originally, it was for weapons but any more, it was for books and pens. The thirty-something woman had her dark hair recently styled, he judged. He also noticed she was wearing a dress suit, as if, she were a professional although she was not at work or, was she?

            “Mr. Hayes,” she said to get his attention before introducing herself, “My name is Ellen Barker. I don’t mean to bother you but I could not help noticing you standing here and just wanted to say, thank you for your books. I enjoy them.”

            “You’re welcome, Miss Barker”, he replied with a grin. “Thank you for enjoying reading my work”, he added.

            She started to turn and walk away when she quietly added, “My husband thanks you too,” with the flash of a smile.

            Blushing, a little, Keith turned back to the peppers and grabbed the pack he almost reached for, before. Still, that was the best compliment he could have received. To know that his work had added spice to someone else’s life was an awesome thing.

            He looked down at watch and realized he needed to get out of the store and back to the house. Very quick, he looked in the buggy to make sure he had what he needed to grab, grinned, and headed towards the front.

            When he reached the checkout lines, he found the two women from before, still chattering on about someone, to be sure. As he passed the auto-tellers, he thought about how quickly the young girl had made her purchase and got back to him, earlier. “Now would be a great time,” he muttered to himself.

            Instead, he walked past them and found the infamous, ‘ten items or less’, row, right behind the two friends.

            As he stood there, third in line, he noticed a young man running the cash register and shaking his head when the women did not notice. However, he spotted that Keith had seen him as they exchanged smiles.

            After both women were done, and had paid for their food, it was Keith’s turn. He moved to the front of the buggy and began placing items on the conveyor belt when the young man asked him, “Are all women like that?”

            Keith looked up, thought about the best answer, and replied, “The fact that women find it so easy to talk will forever remain a mystery to me.”

            The boy thought about it for a moment and said, “So, you don’t know either, huh?”

            Keith grinned real, big and shot back, “Not a clue!”

            The boy chuckled as he scanned and weighed the items. While doing so, he confessed, “You write the romance stuff don’t ya”?

            “Yea,” Keith admitted.

            “So, what do women like”, he asked me.

            “That’s easy enough”, Keith chimed and told the young man, “Women want to be treated with respect, love and admiration. They want to be cared for and most women enjoy strong man who knows how to have a soft side.”

            “What do you mean,” the young man asked as he started bagging up the groceries.

            “Well, a woman likes for a man to take charge and yet, open to sharing the responsibility of making decisions. She wants him to stand up for her but she also wants him to hold her when she cries,” Keith explained.

            An older man in the next row, made his presence in our conversation known by interjecting, “You give a woman too much rope, and she’ll hang you with it.”

            For Keith, he found the analogy crude and considered a fair reply in the defense of women. “Some women will try to take advantage of a nice guy but it’s up to you to see the difference between a good woman and a bad one.”

            The older man told the young man, “That is true. Find yourself a good woman or you’re wasting your time.”

            “Amen to that,” Keith eagerly agreed.

            “Well, how can you tell if you have a good woman,” the clerk asked.

            “She’ll treat you right,” the old man replied.

            Followed quickly by Keith telling the kid, “She will never insult you or make you feel bad about yourself. When a woman loves you, she will do everything she can to lift you up.”

            The old man put his hand on the kids arm and told him, “Look kid, you find a good woman like that and don’t ever settle for anything less. That is how my, Paula was and we had a great life together. Find you a good woman…they’re as rare as snow in July but you have to be patient.”

            Keith smiled as he thought of his own love and suggested to the clerk, “When you do find her…treat her like a queen. Love her and never be afraid to show it. The worst thing you can do is make a woman feel unloved or unwanted.”

            Keith noticed the old man let go of the clerks arm as his own clerk announced the total of the man’s bill. Looking past the old man, he spotted a young girl who seemed far more interested in getting the old man out of her hair then allowing him to speak.

            The young man looked at his own register and announced the total. Keith reached back for his wallet while trying to think of a way to address the girl’s rudeness as being a great example of what, not to date.

            As he counted out the money, he thought of an analogy that might help as he told the clerk, “A woman should never be more interested in money than in you.” Keith shot a quick look back at the girl and then to the boy who turned to look at her.

            When he looked back, he mouthed to Keith, “She’s mean.”

            “And, that’s not what you want,” Keith replied.

            The boy smiled very big and counted out Keith’s change to him. “So when’s the next book coming out?”

            “Hopefully, I will have one done by the end of the month,” Keith replied.

            “Another romance,” the boy asked as he placed the bags down in the buggy.

            “Actually, I’m writing a science-fiction this time,” Keith admitted.

            “Space aliens with big green heads and tattoos that look like smiley faces,” the young man eagerly asked.

            “More along the lines of creatures made out of crystal with powerful spells at their disposal,” Keith replied.

            “Sounds cool,” the clerk replied.

            Keith turned around, pushed his buggy outside and back to where his little car sat. With everything in hand, he was ready to get home and start cooking. He popped open the trunk and started placing his groceries inside when a car drove past, perhaps a little too close.

            Turning his head quickly, he spotted a grey minivan going past him before curing to the right to pull into an empty parking spot. Ignoring the incident, Keith finished unloading the cart and closed the truck. He spotted one of the places to leave the shopping cart a few cars down and proceeded to put it away.

            After he was done he turned back to catch the driver of the van, a young women with two little boys. He thought about his own sons, as he walked back to his car and how much he misses, them.

            When he reached the car, he said to it, “Okay, Bessie…let’s go home.”

            He pulled the keys out of his pocket and climbed inside. At first, the car seat felt cold to him as he turned the car on and strapped on his seat belt. The car fired right up and Keith hurried himself out of the parking space and back to the main road.

            He only had an hour and a half to get home, cook lunch, and get thing ready. All of a sudden, he remembered something he had forgotten. As he drove into the small town, he remembered a flower shop.

            Passing through a series of red lights, he made his way to the other side of the small town and found a place to park a few businesses down. The plan was simple. Shoot into the florists, grab what he needed, and hurry out.

            After he locked the car, he briskly worked his way to the flower shop where he found two men working together as any couple would do. As the door closed behind him, Keith heard the doorbell jingle and quickly turned to look at it.

            A host heavyset man with a light voice remarked, “The bell is great for letting us know someone is here but it does have a tendency to startle our customers.”

            Keith turned back and replied quickly, “I didn’t catch it at first…I need three dozen red roses…well, actually, a dozen red roses and two dozen worth of petals…oh, and no thorns”.

            “Is that why your lip looks swollen,” a tall, slender, gentleman asked.

            “Is it,” Keith asked, with a look of shock. After all, how could he have the perfect lunch with his lip swollen?

            “A little bit but not too bad,” the man replied.

            Keith admitted, “I was trying to be debonair this morning and wrapped my lips around a rose…thorns and all.”

            “Ouch,” the other one remarked as he stood there stripping thorns from the roses.

            “We’ll have everything ready for you in just a moment,” the tall one stated.

            Keith began browsing around the flower shop. Each arrangement was art to him as, colors and floral designs seemed perfect for any occasion. One that had caught his attention was made up of, Baby’s Breath and Purple Pansies.

            In a few moments, they had his order ready and waiting for him. The shorter of the told Keith he would find the two dozen roses worth of petals in a small box in the bottom of the bag.

            The teller of the two gave the price amount as Keith pulled his wallet out. The total was around forty-something so, Keith quickly pulled out two twenties and a ten and told them to keep the change.

            “Are you sure,” they asked in unison.

            “You guys are my heroes this day,” Keith declared, with a huge grin as he grabbed the bag up and shot out the door.

            By the time he would get home, he would only have an hour to work with. He hastily walked back to the car, unlocked it and flopped himself down in the seat.

            Betsy seemed hesitant to start at first causing Keith to panic but when she finally turned on, he came within a scratch of kissing the steering wheel. Instead, he opted for petting the dash only to realize he had been neglecting cleaning her.

            He pulled out, when the coast was clear and hurried his way towards the house. He had his roses, everything to make pizza out of and something to cook for a quick, but elegant lunch…except, candles.

            As he crossed a small bridge and approached the red light, he remembered a card shop that sat on the left hand side. He also knew they carried candles of all sorts.

            As he approached the light, he put on his turning signal and cursed every oncoming driver for driving so slow. After the last one, He whipped into the park lot and parked as close to the shop as he could get.

            Quickly darting inside, he ran to the back left corner of the place and grabbed some long red candles for that night and one pretty, flowered candle for lunch.

            Heading back towards the front, he grabbed up a card that said love with happy birthday, anniversary or otherwise, written on it. Moving closer towards the register, he passed a bin full of stuffed animals including a blue dolphin he could not resist grabbing.

            As he reached the counter, his phone started ringing. Juggling everything into one hand, he grabbed out his cell phone and slit it open.

            “Hello,” he answered.

            “Yes, sir…this is the car dealership. Your car has arrived, would you like it delivered or will you be picking it up,” a young woman’s voice could be, heard, asking.

            “Can you deliver it before noon,” Keith asked as he tried his best to hang onto the phone while gently dropping everything on the counter.

            The lady behind the cash register seemed annoyed at him as she pointed to a sign that read, ‘Please refrain from using cell phones while waiting in line’.

            Keith could have cared less. He had special ordered a car as a gift to his loved one and the fact that he could surprise her with it at lunchtime, was perfect. Right up until the lady on the phone busted his bubble.

            “I’m sorry, sir. We won’t be able to deliver the car before three today”, the woman, told him.

            Keith sighed heavily and replied, “That will have to do. Thank you and I’ll see your guys at three, then”.

            After saying goodbye, he hung up with the woman from the car dealer and pulled out his wallet. “Sorry about that,” he quickly apologized and added, “But it was important and I’m in a hurry.”

            “Anniversary,” she asked as she totaled up his stuff.

            “No…I love to love without a reason,” Keith replied, quoting his true nature.

            “That is so sweet,” a woman, behind Keith, chimed.

            Keith turned to flash a smile at her before looking back at the sales clerk. He quickly paid for everything when, he had an afterthought and asked, “Do you have any huge bows for placing on a car?”

            “Not right off hand, I’m afraid but if you ask the car dealership, they might have one you can get,” the woman suggested.

            “Not a bad idea,” Keith agreed. He quickly paid the clerk and grabbed up his things.

            “She’s a lucky woman,” the shopper behind him interjected.

            Keith quickly looked at her and replied, “I am blessed with her.”

            “Aww,” her and the sales clerk chimed.

            Keith blushed with a smile and turned to head out the door. For him, what he had said was incredibly true. The woman in his life was a miracle to him. Truly, she was his soul mate and his reason for living and he would do anything for her.

            Everyday, for Keith, is always, spent on finding new ways to show her how much he loved her and the best part for him was that she was always doing the same thing for him.

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Comments 7 comments

Shyla's Nana profile image

Shyla's Nana 5 years ago

So, when will the next chapter be ready lol? That woman just doesn't know what's in store for her when she gets home. I could just see you going up and down those aisles trying to pick out the very best for your little lady in the story. I sat here and read it with a grin on my face. Thank you for the smile. I needed that. Take care.


W. K. Hayes profile image

W. K. Hayes 5 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina Author

Hi Shyla's Nana...I'm hoping to write Chapter 3 after I get some sleep. Thank you for reading the first two chapters and have a great day!


tnderhrt23 profile image

tnderhrt23 5 years ago

W.K., This is such a lovely, enjoyable read! Very imaginable, very endearing...it made me smile, too! Just can't wait to see where it goes...Great job!


W. K. Hayes profile image

W. K. Hayes 5 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina Author

Thanks Tnderhrt23...That makes two of us...I never write a book with an idea of where it is heading...I like to let the story take me where it will. Chapter 3 should be done in the next few days. At elast, that's the plan...I have alot of other work to get caught up on to. Thank you for reading my work...I really appreciate it.


gachapoz profile image

gachapoz 5 years ago

Really fun to read :) Waiting anxiously for the next chapter!


W. K. Hayes profile image

W. K. Hayes 5 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina Author

Thank you Gachapoz...I'm glad you are enjoying my latest novel and I look forward to reading your work, as well. Have a great day.


kattie walker 2 years ago

pretty interesting. a must have book

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