Wallflower Girl (Chapter 2, page 2 of 3)


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He had passed where she was backed against the wall without even seeing her there. She watched him lift the big cabinet up the flight of stairs, his back straining and his thighs and bottom looking powerful and firm in a pair of knee-length linen shorts. He had worked his way around the fourth floor landing before glancing back. For a moment their eyes met. A sizzle of excitement shot through Anne's whole body, making her blush and just about trip over her bag in her haste to get it rolling again.

Outside, she packed it in the trunk of her little old faded blue Honda and was on her way. Worse than the thought of her brother trashing her apartment was the real reason she didn't want to go to this wedding. She didn't want to be the only one not yet married or living with a man. Her three best girlfriends from school would be the women of their respective houses and she would be left as the wallflower. Which is completely ridiculous, she reminded herself. There is nothing wrong with being an independent woman. There's no shame in that.

Anne knew plenty of independent women. She would often wake up alone on a Sunday morning and lie staring at the ceiling, thinking of how great Ruth Parnell had it; how tremendous a woman she was, and how she was always tipping off around the office that single is best. Ruth Parnell was the head partner of the law firm Anne worked for as a filing clerk. She would sniffle back the tears of emptiness as she neatly sorted pleadings and depositions alphabetically by case, automatically separating originals from copies, and remind herself that the Prime Minister of Australia was a woman who never married or had children. And those were only the big-time independent women. There were the several single mothers in her building, including Gina, whose upcoming delivery would be celebrated by an office shower to which Anne would be contributing the little bear and a tray of cookies. Other girls in her office and everywhere around were single, many of them older than Anne, who was only twenty-five.

Anne had never even had an offer though. There had never been a man intent on looking into her eyes; looking into them with desire. She hated the pity. It was like a cloak she had to wear. She limped and had messed up skin on her leg. So what? Just look at me! At me! The person!

A tear dripped from her cheek as she waited at a red light. She wished she at least had a date for the wedding. It felt totally pathetic going alone, but she could not imagine the man she could have realistically asked to accompany her. Even a male friend would have done, but she had no male friends who were not the man of their house; family men. Well, except for Graham, but arriving with her spoiled and ill-mannered brother would have been worse.

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