Read Wildflower Online

Authors: Prudence MacLeod

Tags: #love, #gay, #house, #dog, #lesbian, #desire, #hotel, #photography, #blonde, #runner, #wildflower

Wildflower (7 page)

BOOK: Wildflower
3.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Keith please,” he smiled warmly.

“Thank you Keith, I’m Abby,” she said
returning his smile. “As I was saying, it maybe a while before I’m
ready to move in. Could you please continue in your capacity as
caretaker until that time?”

“It would be my pleasure Abby. Is there
anything else I can do in the meantime?”

“I’d rather wait until it’s official Keith,”
she smiled, “but as soon as that happens can you arrange to have
the outside painted for me?”

“Yes ma’am,” he grinned. “The Barnes brothers
are always looking for odd jobs. They’re good boys as long as you
supervise them closely.”

“It sounds as though you have some experience
with these fellows. Might I employ you as the supervisor?”

“Not a problem,” he replied easily. “Got a
pen? I’ll give you my phone number and you can let me know as soon
as you want to get started.”

Abby quickly wrote down the number then
thanked him again and said goodbye. Mark chatted happily through
lunch and all the way back to town, hardly noticing that his
passenger had fallen completely silent. Had he taken a close look,
he would have seen that she was exhausted.

At Peace In The City


“Look Hazel, I know you’ve only been here a
few months, but you’re the only full timer I have and I need you to
do this,” pleaded Lawson Dunbar, Hazel’s boss.

“Lollie, I’m really sorry, but I have an
apartment to keep up and I have to live. I know darn well the kind
of hours this will take, especially at first. I’ll lose my other
job and then I’ll be back to a bed sitting room, or something
worse, and I’m not into it at all.”

“Hazel, I’ll double your pay,” the tall lanky
man sighed with a small note of desperation in his voice.

“Are you serious? Why would you do that? You
could easily get someone else cheaper.”

“And I’d have to train them Hazel. You know
darn well there is no time for that. I have to get the new place up
and running, and I need someone here I can trust; that someone is
you. Come on Hazel, double the pay. You could save up enough to
publish that book.”

“Alright Lollie,” she sighed, finally giving
in. “When do I start?”

“Today,” he exclaimed excitedly as he took
her by the arm, “right now.” “Come on, I’ll show you everything
that has to be done and I’ll get you a set of keys.” He darted into
the tiny office, and the new manageress of the Foggy Morning Café
followed him in.


“Alright Hazel, here’s the list,” he declared
as he finished giving Hazel the full rundown on the operation, “and
here’s my cell phone number. Call me if you need anything.” With
that he was gone and Hazel was left to fend for herself.

Over the next few weeks she called him
several times, but less and less as time went by. At the end of the
month she was shocked at the size of her paycheque. Lawson had
given her a small percentage as well as her agreed upon pay scale.
Hazel grinned as she headed back to her apartment with a new batch
of photos in her hand and an extra hundred dollars in her purse.
Tomorrow was her day off and she was planning to pamper herself a
bit. It was late in the season now and most of the wildflowers were
all bloomed out anyway.

Singing softly to herself as she worked,
Hazel made herself a small vegetarian meal. She ate in front of the
TV news before turning off the set and settling down to inspect her
latest batch of photos which she had spread out on the futon beside
her. She was still at it several hours later when the phone

“Greetings weary traveler, you have reached
the telephone of Hazel Fillmore, please leave your message after
the beep,....beep,” grinned Hazel as she answered the phone.

“So when did you buy a machine Hazel?” asked

“Yesterday Mr. Smart Ass,” retorted Hazel,
“what keeps you up at this time of night?”

“Just wanted to hear a friendly voice.” He
was putting up a brave front, but Hazel could hear the tremble in
his voice.

“There’s a friendly face that goes with it
honey. Want to come over? Do you need a place to crash?”

“Yes to both questions.”

“Bring your sleeping bag sweetie; I’ll put
the kettle on.”

“Thanks Hazel, you’re the best,” Tommy sighed
softly as he hung up the pay phone. He was at her door in a matter
of moments.

“Awe Tommy.” Hazel pulled him inside and
hugged him fiercely. He broke down in her arms and she held him
gently while he cried. “It’s Ok sweetie,” she soothed as she gently
stroked his hair, “Hazel’s got you. It’s Ok.” She continued to hold
him while great wracking sobs shook his body. When the emotional
storm had passed, she settled him on the futon that doubled as her
bed then she went for tea.

“Sorry to be such a puss,” he murmured shyly
as she handed him a mug of steaming liquid. “You are the only
person in the whole world I have ever let see me cry.”

“My big macho man, care to talk about

“It was truly ugly Hazel,” he sighed as he
took a sip of the soothing brew. “We were having dinner with Jack’s
sister and her husband. The husband had been drinking and he was
making a lot of ‘fag’ jokes. Both Jack and I were getting pretty
mad about it; then he made a crack about you and I freaked all over
him. I said if he ever tried to put a hand on you again I would
break his legs.

“Well, as you might guess, that did it. She
started screaming, wanting to know what I was talking about. I told
her the truth, but he denied it and threatened to hit me. I said he
was welcome to try so he did.”

“Oh my god Tommy,” gasped Hazel.

“Yeah, well, it sort of got really weird from
there. I popped him one and he fell on his fat ass. She started
screaming again and tried to claw my eyes out. I pushed her away
then Jack hit me.”

“Jack hit you?”

“Keep your fucking hands off my sister or
I’ll break your neck,” was what he said as he knocked me down. I
got up and started to leave but she came at me again. I pushed her
back, and when Jack came at me I decked him good.”

“Oh god, Tommy no...”

“Yeah, he was just coming to when I drove
away,” sighed Tommy. “I’ve got as much of my stuff in the car as I
could carry and I’ve already cleaned out the bank account.”


“Half the furniture and everything else there
is mine. If he wants his half of the money, he’ll have to cough up
the rest of my stuff.” He started to cry again and Hazel gathered
him back into her arms, crooning soothing sounds as she rocked him

“Hazel, I’m so...”

“Stop that now,” whispered Hazel. “You’re all
right my darling boy, Hazel’s got you.”

Finally the storm passed and he sat back up
again. “I know I’m cramping your style here Hazel,” he sighed.
“I’ll find myself a new place in the morning.”

“Won’t,” replied Hazel as she pulled him back
into her arms. “You’re staying with me until the dust settles.
We’ll buy an air mattress for you in the morning and afterwards I
can use it for camping. I’ve been wanting one anyway.”

“I really appreciate this Hazel,” he smiled
weakly. “In all the world you’re the only one I can turn to when
I’m hurt. You’re the only one who really understands. I’m not a
violent person, but I will not allow myself to be hit, not by

“Except by me,” giggled Hazel. “I remember
the night you kissed me and called me a lezzie. I really tried to
take your head off, but you made no attempt at all to stop me, you
just protected your face.”

“Aw, that’s just because you hit like a

“That’s it for you Tommy Reid, you jerk,” she
sniffed, pretending to be offended. “Just for that you’re sleeping
on the floor.”

“Yes Ma’am,” he said contritely as he sat
back up again with a twinkle in his eye. Somehow, no matter what
happened, Hazel always made him feel better. “Gods Hazel, Jack and
I were together nearly three years, and in all that time he never
once tried to hit me, heck, he never even lost his temper before

“Was Jack drinking too?”

“He’d had a few beers with his brother in
law, but I never suspected in a million years that he would not
defend me. How can you do that Hazel? How can you pledge love to
someone forever then turn around and hit them? My parents argued
sometimes, but they certainly never hit each other or us. What
about your family?”

“You know better than that Tommy,” she chided
gently as she rose to get more tea. “Dad is a stern man, but
although I was always afraid of his temper, and his strength, I
cannot remember a single instance of him actually hitting either
Mom or any of us. All he had to do was shake one of those huge
fingers and everybody went very still and stayed out of his way. No
Tommy, that wasn’t Jack that hit you, it was the booze.”

“Well, that’s it for me,” sighed Tommy. “It’s
like your dad said, alcohol is a bad business and best avoided. I
thought he was just being preachy, but I can see now what he meant.
From this day on, little Tommy Reid is on the wagon.”

“Welcome to my world,” smiled Hazel gently as
she sat beside him again. “Remember how messed up I was on the
booze and drugs in Toronto. Man, I never want to go back there ever

“Toronto or the booze and drugs?”

“Any of them,” laughed Hazel as she punched
the speaker button to answer the ringing phone. “Greetings weary
traveler, you have reached the telephone of Hazel Fillmore, please
leave your message after the beep....beep!”

“Hazel, it’s Jack, I really screwed up badly
tonight and I can’t find Tommy,” said Jack’s blurry voice. He had
obviously been drinking heavily. “I know he will come running to
you, so will you please tell him I’m sorry and need to see

“Give yourself two days to sober up and call
again please,” replied Hazel her best mechanical phone machine
voice, “and be very sure to be sober when you do phone. Thank you
for your call and have a nice day.” Grinning broadly, Hazel reached
over and unplugged the phone just as it started to ring again.

“He’ll probably come over here and start
banging on the door,” sighed Tommy.

“Fine, we’ll go to a hotel for the night,”
declared Hazel decisively as she rose to her feet. “First thing
tomorrow, I’ll ask the landlord to help me move into a one bedroom
on the top floor. By the time Jack figures it all out it will be
old news and he should have himself under control. In the meantime,
he will wake the neighbors and they will call the police to cart
him off to the drunk tank where he can sober up without causing any
more trouble.”

“Honey, you don’t have to change apartments.
I do need to rest tonight, and it would serve him right to be
hauled off to the tank, but I will straighten him out in the
morning. He won’t cause you any trouble, I promise.”

“We’re still going to a hotel for the night,”
Hazel declared firmly as she pulled out her back pack and started
to jam a few essentials into it. “Come on, let’s go.” They hurried
down the stairs and climbed into his car. Tommy drove swiftly to
the Holiday Inn where they took a room for the night.

“One bed,” sighed Tommy as they entered the
room he had insisted on paying for. “Oh well, the chair looks

“So does the bed. It’s plenty big enough for
two, besides, this way I can officially say I have slept with a
strange man in a hotel.”

“Right, but only as long as you promise to
behave yourself, I’m very vulnerable right now and someone could
easily take advantage of me.”

“I make no promises at all,” she replied
tartly as she walked saucily toward the bathroom and shut the door
behind her.

Grinning ruefully, Tommy flicked on the
television while he waited his turn. Hazel was a strikingly
beautiful woman and Tommy could appreciate just how much other men
would like to trade places with him right now. Alas, he had no
sexual interest in her at all. In spite of that, Tommy could
truthfully say he loved her dearly and would go to the ends of the
earth for her.

“What are you grinning at?” asked Hazel as
she returned to the room in a long flowing nightgown.

“I was just gloating a bit,” he replied
saucily. “I’ll be the envy of all the guys when I tell then I
finally got you into bed.”

“Jerk,” she laughed as she playfully swatted
his arm. “Just you behave yourself or I’ll tell your mother. Go on
now, it’s late and I have an early appointment in the morning.”

“Yes dear,” he grinned as he headed for the

Hazel was already in bed when he returned.
Tommy got in, keeping as far to his own side as he could. A few
short minutes later she felt the tiny tremor in his body as the
tears returned, and she reached for him. A moment later his head
was buried between her breasts and he released all his pain there.
Not since he was a small boy had Tommy Reid been held so gently and
lovingly while he sobbed away his sorrow.


Tommy awakened slowly, somewhat disoriented.
He was still cradled in loving arms and the sweet scent of Hazel’s
perfume was in his nostrils. Suddenly the memory of the past night
came flooding back and he sighed deeply. When the chips had fallen,
it had become clear to him that Hazel Fillmore was the only person
who truly loved him completely for who and what he was. Perhaps
spending a lifetime with Hazel would not be so bad a thing after

A soft kiss brushed his hair and loving arms
gently squeezed him tighter. “Thank you sweetie, I know what you’re
thinking, but you can get that idea out of your head this instant,”
she whispered softly.


“You’re nice and comfortable down there right
now,” she whispered softly, “and I am truly enjoying holding you,
but you and I both know it would never work.”

“Are you so sure Hazel?” he asked softly.
“Would it truly be so bad?”

BOOK: Wildflower
3.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Crash and Burn by Allison Brennan, Laura Griffin
Hunk and Thud by Jim Eldridge
The Tying of Threads by Joy Dettman
The Pagan's Prize by Miriam Minger
Bridge Too Far by Ryan, Cornelius
Mission of Honor by Tom Clancy, Steve Pieczenik, Jeff Rovin
By Murder's Bright Light by Paul Doherty
French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman