My thanks go, as always to my editing team. My editors are PapaKilo14 and Hal. Thank you for your efforts to make me better. My beta readers are Pixel the Cat (I love you more every day, big brother, you do so much more than beta), GeorgeAnderson (thank you for all your work in this time of personal heartache) and Olddave1951 (you're still the man). I love every one of you and I'm very grateful. Harddaysknight and Saxon_Hart give me peer review (If sages advising a novice can be considered "peer" review). My team is the best in the business and I owe you all.
The first time I saw her she was walking a bobcat down the sidewalk. I was spreading mulch around the rose bushes in the yard, and I heard someone walking down the sidewalk. I looked up and saw the bobcat. I was somewhat startled, to say the least, and prepared to flee for my life. Then I noticed her. Something was wrong with this picture. First, you just don't walk any kind of cat. They don't cooperate like that. Second, you don't walk bobcats: you run away if they don't run away from you.
It had a little harness on and a leash was attached to the top of the harness. It was walking along quite happily, stopping to smell things occasionally. Attached to the other end of the leash was a dusky goddess. God, she was gorgeous. She was tall and slender, but very muscular. She must have been close to six feet. Her long, creamy brown legs went from pink athletic shoes about a mile upward to the bottom of white shorts that were about mid-thigh. You could see the muscles flexing in her calves and thighs. She had on a t-shirt with some cartoon figure on it and it swept in from slender hips to what looked like about a 24-inch waist. Then it flared upward to some very nice looking breasts. They weren't huge, but they certainly weren't small. They were perfectly proportioned for her body, very high and firm. My eyes made it up past those breasts and my breath caught in my throat. One of the most beautiful faces I'd ever seen sat on a long, graceful neck. Her lips were full, almost puffy and her mouth was maybe a little too wide for classic beauty. Her chin was little and pointed and her jawline was strong. Her nose was little, and not very wide. The jawline swept upward to high cheekbones; her cheeks were a little hollow and her eyes were amazing. They were huge, almond shaped and a soft brown. I was close enough that I could see green and gold flecks in them.
She had pounds of curls, reaching down to the middle of her back and standing up in studied disorder around her head. They were a glossy black and there was a strand of brown or red here and there. I was stunned. This was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen! What was she doing walking down my sidewalk, and what was she doing with a bobcat?
I found my voice. "Hi," I said. "New to the neighborhood?" I know, brilliant conversation, right?
She noticed me and smiled shyly. It was dazzling in its radiance. That smile lit her up like a beacon and told me everything I later found out about her character. She was beautiful, a little hesitant, innocent and confident, all at the same time.
"Hi," she said. Her voice was as beautiful as the rest of her, low, husky and musical in a way that made you want to hear her speak some more. "Yes, I just bought a house on the other side of the block."
"Do you raise bobcats?" I asked.
She laughed and I wanted to make her do it again. "He isn't a bobcat," she said. "He's a Pixie Bob. He does look like a bobcat, though, doesn't he?"
"Does he like to be petted?" I asked.
"Sometimes, if he likes you," she said.
"Can I give it a try?" I asked. "He's so cute! He won't kill me, will he?" She laughed and I came and knelt down in the grass. He looked me over for a few seconds and apparently decided I needed investigating. He came over and rubbed against me. I scratched his cheeks and he began to rumble, his purr sounding more like a threat.
"What's his name?" I asked.
"He doesn't really have one," she said. "He's never seemed to want one. We just call him Cat."
I laughed. "Well, he certainly is a lot of that." He was panting in the summer heat. "He looks thirsty," I said. "Should we give him a drink?"
"If you don't mind," she said.
"Wait here," I told her. I went and got a little plastic bucket off the deck, filled it with water from the hose and brought it to the sidewalk. He was lying in the grass, panting, and I set the bucket down by him. He stood up and began to drink.
"I'm Kara," I told her. "Welcome to the neighborhood." I stuck my hand out. She shook it with a firm grip.
"I'm Syndy," she said.
"Nice to meet you, Cindy," I said.
"I know how you're spelling that in your head," she smiled that smile again. "Whoever named me was weird." She spelled it for me.
"That's an interesting name," I said. "Did your mother ever tell you why she spelled it like that?"
"I never really knew her," Syndy said. "I know about her, but she gave me to an orphanage when I was a baby. I don't know who gave me the weird name."
"How do you know about her?" I asked.
"The Sisters told me," she said. "She was a seventeen year old black girl who got pregnant by an older white man. Her parents were sort of racists and they made her give me up. She told the Sisters and they wrote all the information down in a file."
"Honey, that's just awful," I said. "I'm so sorry that happened to you." I hesitated, not wanting to seem too forward, but my heart already went out to this beautiful woman with a tragic past. "Syndy, would you like to come over for dinner tonight?"
She looked conflicted for a minute, like she wanted to but couldn't. "I can't, I'm sorry," she said. "I have to go pick my daughter up in..." she looked at her phone," thirty minutes. I don't have a babysitter yet. I should take Cat and go home so I can go get her."
"Where is she?" I asked.
"Do you know the Wilkens?" she asked. "Amy Wilkens took her to story time at the library. I really have to go now."
"Bring your daughter," I said. "I made a chocolate cake this morning. We'd love to meet her and I've loved talking to you. Let us make you feel welcome here."
She tugged on Cat's leash and he stood up. "What time would you want me to come?" she asked.
"Come at six," I told her.
"Can I bring something?" she said as Cat began to lead her away.
"No, I've got everything," I said. "Your daughter and an appetite. Bring Cat, too, if you want."
She waved and I watched until she turned the corner.
Randy pulled into the driveway just as she disappeared. I had sent him to Lowe's for more mulch and he had two bags under each arm when he got to me. "Where do you want them?" he asked.
"Right there," I pointed. "Randy, I just met the sweetest, most beautiful girl I've ever seen. She's coming to dinner this evening. She just bought Sam and Allie's house. I didn't know it had sold, did you?"
He shrugged his shoulders, shaking off the weight of the mulch. "No, I haven't been on Pine Street for a week or two. Tell me more about beautiful girls."
"You big lecher!" I punched him in the leg. "She's stunning, Randy. She's black and she's got this hair! She has a little girl. She didn't say anything about a husband and she wasn't wearing a ring. She has this mammoth cat, too, that looks like a bobcat. She was taking it for a walk! Who takes a cat for a walk? We started talking and she's adorable. Help me spread this mulch around and I'm going to cook dinner. You go clean up and look nice after we're finished. You'll want to make a good impression. Trim your eyebrows!"
He laughed and sunk to his knees beside me. He tilted my head up and kissed me. "You're adorable," he said. "If she's going to stay late I'm going to hate her." He slipped his hand up under my blouse and cupped my breast. When he pinched my nipple, it swelled up like a strawberry and I moaned into his mouth.
"We'll run her off in plenty of time," I said. "I'm going to wear you out! It's Saturday night and you know what that means."
We finished the rose bed and I went off to shower. I put on a cute little red and white sundress I had bought the week before. I made spaghetti red. It's basically chili over spaghetti noodles, with onions and pickles on top. There aren't any beans in the chili, though. I made garlic bread and opened a bottle of a nice Cabernet. I had several kinds of juice for the daughter and I decided on pomegranate. At six, the doorbell rang and I went to answer it. Syndy was standing there and I was speechless again. She was immaculate. She had on a white sheath dress and a leather choker with a pinkish stone.
I wanted to touch her. I felt almost compelled to reach out and feel her hair, run my fingers over that creamy skin and feel how soft she was. I had never felt like this before in my life. This was very upsetting to me. Was it just her vulnerability, her beauty, or what was going on with me? Whatever it was, I felt something I'd never felt before. She held out a bunch of daisies. "Do you have a vase?" she asked. "I hope you like them."
I grabbed her hand, pulled her close to me and hugged her. It was like hugging a volcano. She felt like she was running a fever. She put the hand with the daisies in it behind my back and hugged me. I felt soft lips brush my cheek. I looked down and noticed she had a little shadow by the hand. I squealed with delight.
I knelt down in the floor and smiled. She was a tiny, perfect, miniature copy of her mother. She had that mane of glossy curls, that same coffee with lots of cream complexion and those same, huge, almond shaped eyes.
.... There is more of this story ...