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Shannon & Gus Forever part 1
On a warm summer night, the houses that dotted the town began to flicker to life as the sun sank beyond the horizon and sticky bodies gathered around for meals and cool drinks on the porch. And as laughter littered the streets with family memories, Shannon was running late.
Blustering past the lovely wood panelled houses she wished she could take just a moment to breathe in the scents of meat being barbecued and birthday candles being wishfully blown out. But she had somewhere to be, she always had somewhere to be and had grown to resent being such a busy person, never able to just relax, take a weekend by the sea or do a country wine tour.
Of course doing those things by yourself is less than idealistic and Shannon was very much alone. Who could, if they even dared try fit into her life, put up with the rushing, the all work and no play philosophy? She'd had relationships before and although the meeting was always pleasant it was the feelings of intrusion that quickly crept up snuffing out any possibility of longevity.
Shannon had become self sufficient, in need of no other being to help her in any way, once when changing a blown out tyre in the rain a helpful stranger stopped to lend a hand assuming that Shannon, soaked through to the bone would be grateful and wait patiently for him to rescue her. No such luck stranger! No, as he attempted to relieve Shannon of the car jack, she froze him with her iciest stare and sent him on his way proclaiming her ability to take care of herself thank you very much!
Shannon needed no man, no helper, no rescuer. She had been alone most of her life, her parents sending her to boarding school as they jetted around the world, living in the Greek Isles or Paris not even returning for Christmas. Shannon had the option to fly to wherever her fancy free parents were for the holidays, but after the first few such visits she opted out of any more. Why fly all the way to visit parents who don't even greet you at the airport, oh they sent a car of course, a car that would more often than not drive her to a large, parentless mansion. They could have been off at some elegant function or on a yacht with other carefree billionaires all soaking up their own greatness on the deck.
There was no time to stroll down memory lane, Shannon arrived at the party with no minutes to spare. Why she had decided to walk she couldn't remember, glistening with her own sweat she quickly made her way past the grand entrance and into the bathroom. Patting herself down with the soft damp towel, she looked at her reflection critically. For the first time in her life she was starting to feel overwhelmed, her smoky blue eyes looked more like blurry eyes, her sweat had flattened out her hair and made her blush slide off completely. With a deep sigh she reapplied her makeup, not finding her blush, she pinched her cheeks and combed her hair and for the first time in her life thought, there must be more than this.
The party was an elaborate affair, put on by the investment company Shannon worked for to entice new clients and to reassure existing clients that they would be treated like royalty. Her role was to impress clients with her quick wit as she tactfully presented them with more ideas on how they could invest well.
On any other night Shannon would be on fire, dancing around the room ensuring each person she encountered felt like the million dollars they had just kissed goodbye. She would impress and flatter and she would have a great time doing it, sipping the expensive champagne and feeling like she had it made. Tonight felt different, she felt unsettled, the champagne felt flat, the jokes sounded dry and the flattery felt forced. She couldn't pinpoint what triggered these confusing emotions but she knew she needed to get ahold of herself before her bosses noticed something was amiss.
Again she made an escape to the bathroom which was now occupied with clients wives wobbling on their heels and gossiping about one another. She momentarily wondered if she should just leave early, maybe she was getting sick and needed rest. No, that was absurd, she had never had a sick day, she just needed some air. Stepping out the front of the building she leaned against the cool sandstone wall, the night air had lifted enough to let a cool breeze flow through. Shannon closed her eyes, blocking out the sound of cars steaming by and people stumbling past laughing at their inebriated selves.
This was the most still Shannon had been in a while, it was uncomfortable but she couldn't help it, she just wanted to stop. Thinking back over her day she tried to figure out what had unsettled her so, the day had been like any other, early start, phone calls, meetings, rushing to lunch, barely touching it, paying an outrageous amount for it and starting the phone calls and meetings all over again. She had taken the chauffeur driven company car home and had intended to get ready in a hurry and have the chauffeur drive her to the party. She had decided at the last minute to walk and could see the surprise when she told the chauffeur to head off without her. Was she that predictable? Was it so unusual for a person to want to enjoy a walk on a summer night?
Only she hadn't enjoyed it, she'd begun to get stressed over her choice and had picked up the pace so she wouldn't be late, virtually skimming by everything around her. The only time she had stopped for a moment was when she had tripped over a section of raised pavement and dropped her purse, her things scattering and rolling down the path. She heard someone laugh and began fuming as she chased her lip gloss.
Then she saw him, the mocker, he was sitting on the front steps of a little verandah wrapped house. His eyes were mischievous, like he'd played a trick on her and she was about to find out. He started to come toward her, she quickly picked up the rest of her things and shoved them into her purse. As he reached the gate, he held out his hand as if to help her but before he could speak Shannon blurted out something about not needing any help, especially from someone who thought a woman's distress was amusing. With that she spun on her heel and picked up the pace to get to the party.
Maybe the thing that was bothering her was how rude she'd been, perhaps she'd been a little overdramatic, after all she'd only tripped a little and dropped a few things, hardly a cause to send out a woman in distress signal. What bothered her the most was that the guy didn't even seem offended, he seemed even more amused. Her cheeks flushed at the memory, she had been standing in the street and being honest with herself had actually been yelling at a green eyed stranger and he seemed to be so relaxed that the rantings of a crazy woman seemed funny to him.
The nerve! So that's what was bothering her, she had been ruffled by some guy, how annoying, she never got ruffled by anyone let alone some dark haired, green eyed hippy looking guy. He was probably just some stoner and thought she was some kind of hallucination or something. Why she was even giving him her thought time bothered her, stupid night, all messed up by one stupid smiling guy. Well she wouldn't think about him again, not one bit, not even the fact that his eyes looked like they held the answer to some great question.