Countdown to Dangerously Close

June 22 / 31 days:

“Ever get the feeling you’re being watched when you’re down here?”

“Only by the flies and seagulls.”

*

Time seemed to slow as gravity pulled her down, an “oh shit” moment she’d never forget. If she lived through it.

June 25 / 28 days:

But… Mother of God, he’d gone and done it this time. She was jailbait.

All the reporters and paparazzi swarmed and spoke at the same time, taking his space, his air, as if he was sub-human…

June 26 / 27 days:

Uh-oh. She was screwed. She finally had a male in her life. And he had fur.

If fate brought him here, she’d damn well take advantage of it. Nothing would stop her. Seger Hughes belonged to her.

June 27 / 26 days:

Roamer barked. “Aw,” Ashley cooed. “Did you hear that? He said we were meant for each other.”

Walking next door and ringing that bell would be the beginning of a new way of life.

June 28 / 25 days:

“…what’s Roamer?”

“Not a guide dog, if that’s what you’re thinking. If anything, he’s more like a guide-me-into-a-post dog.”

*

One of these days her sight would come back.

June 29 / 24 days:

“…You could turn out to be nuts. I have to be careful. It’s still early in our neighborly relationship.”

Okay, it was official. He liked her.

*

Mel had the sudden urge to move away from her, lest another tragedy befall her and take him down in the process.

July 2 / 21 days:

A tall, slender woman with long, lustrous auburn hair and sympathetic brown eyes leaned next to the window. She smelled like a flower shop…

Someone was coming closer, toward the kitchen from the den. Lizzie knew to call out or make noise, always careful not to sneak up on her.

July 3 / 20 days:

After she screwed with Ashley Bristol, she was going to take Seger Hughes.

Not everyone in the world had to befriend her. It was just that usually they did. Dammit, men liked her! This guy shouldn’t be any different.

July 4 / 19 days:

“Earthquake!” Ashley yelped, reaching for him. She found his arm, grabbed hold and pulled him hard. “C’mon!”

“Shit, I don’t know what’s worse,” he said. “The earthquake or your dog.”

July 5 / 18 days:

Mel froze. Ashley had figured him out. Already. How the hell had she done it so fast? She could barely see for Christ’s sake.

*

“Whoa. Wait.” Mel pulled her back. “I didn’t think you were hitting on me.”

She laughed. “Liar.”

July 6 / 17 days:

Paula gave her a sheepish smile. Lizzie was so damn gullible. It was fun to play her.

If she caught Lizzie on the road before she made it back to Ashley, then little Miss Blind Girl would need immediate temporary help.

July 9 / 14 days:

“Ouch! Jeez, what are you made of? Brick?” She rubbed her fingers.

“Only from the waist down.”

*

It was royally fucked that the thing he liked most about her was her worst nightmare.

July 10 / 13 days:

“I’ve never been without family on Thanksgiving.” She took a deep breath and turned around, wiping her eyes with a quick swipe of her hand.

Except… Suddenly, his lips were on hers and it was no peck. He kissed her. K-I-S-S-E-D. Kissed her.

July 11 / 12 days:

Being with her was so easy. Almost too easy. He’d never met anyone who made him laugh as much. She made him feel comfortable in his own skin

Lizzie put her hand on Paula’s shoulder and Paula lifted up and swung that iron as hard as she could, connecting with Lizzie’s head…

July 12 / 11 days:

“Lizzie just basically quit on me with no notice. To make it worse, she sent Paula to be my guard dog until I find someone else.”

“All I’m saying is this song has ‘hit’ written all over it. There has to be someone who can help you record it. Seger or his manager?”

July 13 / 10 days:

“Tell me again,” Paula said. “What’s it called?”

“Wet Macular Degeneration and it’s due to head trauma.”

*

“You can handle the discomfort of a shot. Look at you, you’re the toughest blind chick I know.”

“I’m the only blind chick you know.”

July 16 / 7 days:

Hot anger exploded in her chest. Ashley Bristol would not take Mel away from her!

She heard the yelp and tumble and spun around. Ashley was on the floor, swearing up a storm. Success!

July 17 / 6 days:

“I know who you are.” Except for the tiniest widening of his eyes, Mel had almost no reaction. Paula didn’t want him on the defensive…

“Stupid.” Thunk. “Stupid.” Thunk. “Stupid.” Thunk. “Did you really think you’d get away with this? Dumb- shit.”

July 18 / 5 days:

“Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had someone on my side?”

*

He wanted time to kiss her, touch her and explore the softness of her body. He wanted to spend hours skin to skin with no distractions…

*

A scream tore from her throat as she jumped back, but she lost her footing on the slick step and flailed for a hold on something.

July 19 / 4 days:

“Grab onto me,” he ordered.

“I can’t, I can’t. I’ll fall!”

“Trust me, baby. I’ve got you. Grab onto me, Ash. Do it!”

*

With her lips tilted so perfectly, he leaned in and kissed her. She didn’t pull away or pull him closer, but her lips moved against his…

July 20 / 3 days:

“Just FYI,” he added, “anytime you tell a guy you don’t have a libido, he’s going to want to test the theory.”

*

“We already had the engagement party and you aren’t in love with me?” he asked.

“It was a shotgun party, but maybe you’ll grow on me.”

*

Stupid Ashley, she must have accidentally taken three Ativan instead of three aspirin. She was so tired, she must have mixed up the bottles…

July 21 / 2 days:

What was it about Paula that suddenly gave her such a freaky vibe?

*

“Either I come with you now, or I walk back to Ashley’s house and tell her about the real you. Choice is yours.”

*

She’d have to teach him a lesson. One he wouldn’t forget.

*

He’d been lying to her… Using her. He probably thought it was hysterical that the blind girl next door didn’t know who he was.

July 22 / 1 day:

“Look…I didn’t know I was going to like you…and I really didn’t fucking know I was going to fall in love with you.”

*

She couldn’t die. She had to tell Mel she was sorry for not listening to him. Sorry for shutting him out.

*

That did it. Paula would not kill her dog. Or her man. Or her.

*

“You gonna marry me? ’Cause I want to call my best friend with the happy news.”

*

“Rock-n-roll, babe. Rock and roll.”

July 23 / IT’S HERE