Play It Safe Or Be Reckless..
Part I : On The Prowl
Ace moved two thousand one hundred and fifty three miles to be with Suzette because she was having doubts about their long distance relationship. However, it wasn’t enough. Soon Suzette raised her expectations and gave Ace the ultimatum… “Marry me or it’s over”.
Reluctant, Ace agreed.
Ace felt conspiracy once the wedding plans were in full swing, however that was nothing compared to house hunting.
Suzette’s childhood friend and realtor Rain Sprinkles (no kidding), coordinated the house hunt with Ace’s budget to throw out the window. On Ace’s wish list an affordable home with a driveway, a place for a workshop and three bedrooms.
Suzette’s non-negotiable list included a large professionally landscaped yard (that Ace would have to prune), gourmet kitchen with commercial grade stainless steel appliances, at least two fireplaces, a bare minimum of five bedrooms, no less than three bathrooms, granite everything, hardwood floors throughout and the house must be located in a sought after neighborhood.
Rain insisted on showing them homes above their price range. Her excuse would always be “I can talk them down into your budget” (which never happened).
After Ace explained to Suzette there is no such thing as the perfect home…she finally settled on one that fit in the lower end of her standards. It was one hundred thousand over budget, but after looking at fifty homes Ace folded so the madness would end.
After planning on draining his retirement funds, he sighed in relief when another couple outbid them. Suzette was crushed yet refused to put down her entitlement crown.
“We couldn’t afford it anyway…we would have been broke”, Ace said.
“Don’t be silly… I’ll be up for a promotion soon and it would have all worked out fine”, Suzette shrugs off.
A few weeks later, Suzette’s company is cutting jobs and even though hers was spared, she is forced to take a pay cut and reduce her hours.
“There goes your budget, we have to be more realistic now”, Ace educates.
“This changes nothing, I still want what I want”, Suzette concludes.
Their wedding day is approaching and time is running out to find a home. Ace is at wits end with Suzette and her greedy realtor Rain.
“Rain, let me make this quite clear that the next line of homes you show us are in the new, lower budget. If you go back to your old tricks I will be forced to find another agent that is more suitable for our needs”, Ace sharply specifies.
“Understood”, Rain huffs underneath her breath.
Part II: The Compromise
“This Victorian charmer is fifty thousand below your budget. It needs a little work but I think it has potential. This home features four bedrooms, two full baths, original hardwood throughout, a fireplace in the master, quaint fenced yard along with a shed for your workshop and a greenhouse for gardening. The owner is very motivated to sell”, Rain happily states while opening the front door.
As they tour the home Ace finds beauty in every minor detail. He pictures where the furniture will go, what projects to start first and having endless nights in the large shed working on his carpentry.
Ace is not blind to Suzette’s dissatisfaction and knows she will take any cheap shot she can to scratch this home off the list.
“Chipped paint, the wood floors are warped and too dark, there are not enough windows, the kitchen resembles a forgotten subway tunnel, linoleum should not even be allowed in a house, the steps are too steep, the yard is too small with the fence too short, the greenhouse is an eye sore, the grandma curtains don’t give me the fuzzies, not enough bedrooms, needs another bathroom and the home is so old I’m getting gray hair just walking through it”, Suzette criticizes.
“I really like this home…its got character and its got everything we need within 2200 sq ft of AFFORDABLE living space”, Ace reveals.
“What! You can’t possibly be serious about this hell hole…this home should be condemned and to top it all off this neighborhood is ghetto.. I mean a few blocks away is gun shot alley sweetheart”, Suzette protests.
“Stop being so dramatic…honey think about it. The bones of this house are good and we can make it our own”, Ace counters
“I beg to differ…let me start again from the top..”, Suzette rants.
“Stop right there babe…it is time for you to listen. This may not be what you expected and I agree it needs sprucing up, but lets face it…the floor plan has plenty of room, its below budget and if we don’t act now we will be stuck living with your folks after we’re married”, Ace points out.
“Alright…fine…I’m up for a compromise. If we settle on this house for starters I want a custom walk in closet including shoe racks, a third bathroom installed, a top of the line kitchen with commercial appliances and you demolish that bird cage greenhouse”, Suzette demands.
“Okay... that sounds reasonable, but the greenhouse stays. Just think of it we can grow all your organic vegetables out there”, Ace adds.
“Oh…goodie, but you have to find your green thumb because mine are freshly gelled”, Suzette speaks smartly.
“Fair enough”, Ace winks.
Part III: Unsettling
Squeaking in just shy of their wedding, Ace and Suzette are at the settlement table waiting for everyone to arrive. Just before one o’clock in the afternoon the seller and her agent make their entrance.
Ace and the seller lock eyes; it is hard for them to ignore their bruised burning past.
Ace’s heart untamed for her as he gently scans her from the top of her sultry wispy locks to the bottom where her tiny feet were again wearing too big of heels.
He accuses his eyes of trickery as she brushed past his chair like a gliding ghost. Her eyes that could see right through him and convince him that Suzette didn’t even exist.
“Long time no see”, Ace casually speaks covering up such intriguing pain he had for her.
“Yes, it has been quite a while”, she speaks with a bright face.
“You two know each other?”, Suzette asks with an uncomfortable quiver.
“A lifetime ago, she is Desiree”, Ace barely spits out.
The tension is delayed as everyone starts the closing process.
Ace buckles down into his seat struggling to find the strength in his shaking hands to sign documents. In one weak moment he turns his head at Desiree for an innocent glimpse, he is mesmerized by her.
All his emotions lay heavy in the pit of his stomach piling each memory until it reaches his mouth. He has to know what happened to her in their senior year; she had disappeared without a trace and everyone presumed she was dead.
With his firing heart and broken spirit he halts the settlement.
“I need to speak to the seller outside”, Ace outbursts unapologetically.
“I’m afraid all settlement business has to be conducted in this room”, Rain speaks.
“I understand, however this is of a personal nature”, Ace counters.
“Honey we are in the middle of closing can’t this wait?”, Suzette grunts.
“No, it cannot”, Ace directly answers with a serious as a heart attack face.
“Keep in mind Mr. Foster we on a schedule here so please keep it short”, Rain speaks with a concerning tone.
Desiree follows Ace out the door and into the lobby.
They stand toe to toe breath to breath until Ace abruptly takes Desiree into his starving arms.
He strokes her angelic weeping willow hair and whispers deeply “You don’t know how much I missed you. Do you have any idea what I went through to try to find you”.
“You moved heaven and earth to try to get to me”, Desiree speaks stealing the words right out of his mouth.
Desiree faces him to her and gives him a sweet kiss on a cheek. This is not enough for Ace, not enough for his past efforts; not enough for the years not being able to touch her blushing flesh; he will risk everything for her.
Ace plants his lips inside hers, feeling everything that was denied to him in the missing years. He has to gain control…he knows it is not right because he is now committed to Suzette.
He gently pushes her away and politely excuses himself.
“I guess I owe you an explanation”, Desiree cries.
“That would be nice; I have been blaming myself for years”, Ace smiles.
“I didn’t leave because of the fight we had that night. I actually was going to tell you that I had changed my mind to marry you, but I never had the chance . My father witnessed a murder and the FBI needed him to testify so we had to go into hiding. They transferred us to some foreign US Embassy. I was forbidden to contact anyone because they feared someone was working on the inside. After awhile we were allowed to return. We changed our identities and moved out here. Just when I was going to try to find you, my father disappeared. They still have not found him, I fear they got to him. Ace, I still have the evidence my father entrusted me with and that is why I’m not safe. Selling the house sounded like a good option so my mother and I can travel in a camper cross country to be harder to find”, Desiree explains.
Ace is speechless and tries to respond with his widen eyes, but Rain calls them back in without moment to waste. They slowly make their way back in and silently take their seats.
Ace can sense Suzette’s jealously , but he doesn’t care. Suzette is only a contender at the table.
A few moments later the settlement is final and Ace is left with Desiree’s house, the only part of her he can have.
Part IV: Moving On
“Why are you being so lazy…this furniture isn’t going to move itself”, Suzette complains coaching Ace in the right direction down the moving truck ramp.
“I could use a little help, gather up those muscles I know you have and get to it”, Ace mentions.
“Look I already handled a few heavy boxes and I’m tired”, Suzette whines.
“Good now you know how I feel”, Ace lashes out while releasing the bulky hutch to sit on the curb.
“What’s gotten into you lately…ever we bought this house you have been different”, Suzette yells.
“Look, I’m sorry…I’ve just got a lot on my mind”, Ace speaks.
“It’s that woman isn’t it… your still pining for your lover”, Suzette sasses trying to pick a fight.
“Don’t even go there Suzette”, Ace roars back unwilling to take her manipulation.
“Well…it’s true”, Suzette cries.
“Look I already told you the whole truth. I put it all out on the table. You know she was my first love and that we shared a kiss on the day of settlement; you know how hard it was for me to let her go, but you still are not pleased…nothing pleases YOU!”, Ace screams while the new neighbors look on.
“Okay.. Okay I’m sorry alright!”, Suzette cries once more.
“Okay…once I catch my breath I’ll get the rest of this stuff moved in and then I’ll make us dinner…how’s pasta sound?”, Ace comforted trying to make a stab at giving her the benefit of the doubt.
“No offense sweetie, but I’m not eating anything out of that kitchen until it is decent”, Suzette speaks.
“That could take a while”, Ace answers rolling his eyes.
“Think of it as your wedding present to me”, Suzette smirks.
Part V: One Last Look Back
Before a blink of an eye Ace is sitting helpless at the window sill on the eve of his wedding. He is in turmoil again. Suzette brought Desiree up again yesterday and still is refusing to let it go, but Ace understands because he too can’t let Desiree go.
On one hand there is strikingly intelligent Suzette who has been there like a stone for two years through a difficult separation, but on the other hand there is unpredictable, on the run Desiree who still plucks his heart strings by playing on his deepest desires.
Ace digs up the settlement paperwork to try to find her whereabouts. Her temporary address is printed on the settlement papers…she is staying in a retirement village with her mother, he only hopes she hasn’t skip town yet.
Passing on the Bachelor party is not an easy task since Suzette’s brother is a blood hound who can smell a bullsh*t story from a mile away. Saying he is simply “not feeling good” is not going to fly. Searching for one excuse after the other Ace settles on one.
He explains that his Aunt surprised him by flying in for the wedding and he has to pick her up at the airport. Not the best acting job, but Suzette’s brother gave him a disgruntled free pass to pick her up.
So an hour later Ace is staring down Unit 17 in the Mt. Waterloo section of the retirement village right next to the duck pond. He is hopeful that she is still around because he sees a camper parked nearby.
It is dark for an old timers village with just sparse solar lights circling the pathways in the common area.
He approaches the unit without a clue of intentions…all he knows is that he has to see her one last time.
Desiree does not open the door; instead he views an older lady bearing weight on her left side onto a crippled gold cane. Her glistening saggy eyes had a set of crows feet while the rest of her face is butter cream.
“I’m looking for Desiree, is she here?”, Ace asks.
“She went to the camper to pack…she never came back…she never came back”, the older lady whimpers.
“Did you call the police?”, Ace asks.
“Yeah, but they can’t do anything until she is missing for 24 hours”, the older lady speaks.
“Are you Desiree’s mother?”, Ace asks.
“Yes”, the lady answers. “Won’t you come in for awhile”.
“I can’t my fiancé is expecting me…we are to be married tomorrow”, Ace comments.
The old lady smiles and nods her head then closes the door. Ace panics that they may have already gotten to Desiree.
Ace drives home only to find out he is being followed by a dark caravan, Ace figures they were not going to let go of him that easy. Ace tries to shake them without being obviously that he knows they are following him, but to no avail.
“What have I done….Suzette may not have a groom tomorrow if they have it their way”, Ace thought to himself.
In this moment…the moment where he thinks his life is ending all he can think about is Suzette…nothing but Suzette. He realizes his heart did not fall prey to the past it is beating for the future.
Ace drives into a truck weighing station and parks by the state troopers guard shack, the caravan does not follow him in there.
Ace waits for awhile and drives the rest of the way home side roads. He is not followed.
The next morning, a few hours before heading to the church to wed Suzette, Ace is finishing up his final shave as a single man when he hears faint footsteps in the house downstairs.
“Its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding”, Ace thinks while wiping the excess lather off his face.
Ace heads downstairs only to see a little note on the living room coffee table. It reads..
It is unlikely I will survive the year and there is nothing the government can do protect us now. I just wanted to say that I will always love you. I wish the best of happiness for you and Suzette.
Ace opens up the front door and sees nothing…Desiree is long gone.
“I have to let you go now, I love you always”, Ace whispers.
Part VI: The Interrogation
A few days after marrying Suzette, Ace is approached by two men in black suits while mowing the front lawn.
“Can I help you?”, Ace asks while wiping the sweat off the back of his neck with a red rag.
“We are hoping you can…I’m agent Skylar Simmons and this is Agent Buck Harris. We have some questions to ask you”, Skylar speaks while they flash their FBI badges.
“Alright”, Ace answers .
“Do you know the whereabouts of Savannah Sonja?”, Agent Harris asks.
“Who?”, Ace asks
“You know the woman who used to live here”, Agent Simmons refreshes.
“Her name isn’t Savannah, it is Desiree”, Ace corrects.
“Yes, well that is her alias she goes by”, Agent Simmons responds.
“No, that can’t be right”, Ace speaks feeling agitated.
“When was the last time you had contact with her?”, Agent Harris asks with a persuasive glare.
“On the day of my wedding, last Sunday”, Ace reveals. Ace doesn’t want to say too much, for all he knew they could be the ones after her.
“It is very important you tell us everything you know”, Agent Simmons pesters.
“Why? She is the one in trouble and you won’t even help her”, Ace lashes.
“I’m afraid like many others you have fallen for the stories she dished out. It goes something like this. She or her father witnessed a murder, they were in hiding, she changed her identity and now they are after her…this is a story she has been feeding for years”, Agent Harris intervenes.
“Why would she do something like that?”, Ace asks not believing a word of it.
“To make it more difficult for us. You see Savannah is a killer, a very smart tart and she will be brought to justice so I suggest if you are holding something back you tell us right now or we will arrest you for abetting a criminal”, Agent Harris explains.
“I don’t know anything!”, Ace shouts.
“Alright have it your way, but you are coming with us”, Agent Harris speaks while grabbing hold of him.
“Not without a lawyer…I’m not”, Ace struggles.
Ace blacks out.
Part VII: Awakening
Ace awakens in the Nurse’s office at his high school.
“A.C are you okay?”, a sweet voice asks.
Ace’s eyes focus on her like she hadn’t aged the bit… “Desiree”, Ace gasps.
“You passed out during one of Mr. Jasper’s pop quizzes again”, Desiree comforts while pressing a cool cloth against his pale forehead.
“Desiree….you never left”, Ace sits up suddenly.
“Keep your voice down, what will everyone say if they found out the school nurse is dating a student”, Desiree whispers coaching him to lie back down.
“I’m eighteen, it shouldn’t matter”, Ace speaks.
“I know, but for now lets keep a tight lid on it…I don’t want to lose my job”, Desiree speaks.
“I had a craziest dream”, Ace begins
“Really…of what?”, Desiree asks while taking his pulse.
“I asked you to marry me and then you disappeared. When we met again we were older and miles away from here. I was buying your house and was engaged to Suzette”, Ace rambles.
“That’s quite odd”, Desiree speaks.
“Yeah tell me about me”, Ace sighs.
Desiree goes over and shuts the office door and whispers in Ace’s ear “Did you ever break it off with Suzette?”.
“No, as I told you before we need to stop this, I love her", Ace speaks.
“She does' nt love you, she hates you", Desiree recalls.
“What!”, Ace shouts.
“Oh come on…don’t act so shocked…it was only last night when I buried her body under the greenhouse then made love to me” Desiree said.
Part VIII: Victims
As time came to pass Ace regained memory of what transpired. Ace was in a love triangle with his high school sweetheart Suzette and his school boy infatuation Desiree. When Desiree found out about Suzette she tried to get Ace to dump her, but Ace was in love with Suzette and wanted to propose to her . So Desiree killed her with a lethal dose of cyanide and convinced Ace it was an accident. She manipulated Ace to keep quiet and because of the guilt, Ace passed out and temporary blocked the incident out of his mind.
Ace gained the strength to turn in Desiree. Once that was done the police had to turn the case over to the FBI. It seemed that Desiree was a mail order bride spy from Russia who married a prominent Senator. Once he told her what she wanted to know…she terminated their marriage by shooting him in the back of the head on Valentines Day. Ace was a pawn in her little game because she was trying to get to Ace’s father who knew too much about the Soviet’s plot to infiltrate spies in the US through human trafficking.
Ace served probation for fully cooperating with the FBI and testifying against Desiree.
Suzette was found clinging on to the edge of her life buried underneath the greenhouse. They say she will pull through and above all else she will marry Ace. Alas, they were both victims.
© 2014 Carrie Lee Night