Wednesday 2 February 2022

A Chance Encounter - Short Story by Douglas V. Miller

A Chance Encounter

Alexandro spotted the sun-streaked, twenty-something brunette as soon as he entered the park. His eyebrows lift. What have we here? She sports a well-proportioned body, and glossy hair falls to her shoulders. She makes no extra effort to accentuate her looks. Nice. She clasps a book to her bosom under a fragrant, wisteria-covered arbor. The attractive girl on the worn wooden bench was reading, yet now sits motionless, eyes closed and  lost in daydreams. I need to explore this. “Is that book so intoxicating you must hug it rather than read?”

Who is this? Startled, she opens her eyes. Wearing a bemused look is a tall, deeply tanned young man. It’s possible he’s a little older than her, but well dressed and seems sophisticated. This must be my lucky day! She rushes her words, “Oh, yes it is! It’s a delightful romance about a heroic prince who comes into a lonely woman’s life. They fall in love and he whisks her away for the adventure of a lifetime.” Her eyes make contact with his. Oh, how I wish it could happen to me!

He flashes a wide smile. It won’t hurt to play a little. Alexandro assumes a posh voice, “If you are the lonely woman, I may be your prince. Together, we shall journey to exotic lands. I know more than a few. His voice breaks, “Regrettably, I imagine you have people you cannot leave behind.” His shoulders slump and he stares down at his empty hands.

Downcast, she shakes her head, “No, I have no family left, not even a pet. No one would know or even care if I were to disappear today.”  Her posture goes rigid, and a slight chill runs down her spine. Wait a minute! I don’t know him! Clearing her throat, “I do not believe we’ve been introduced in a proper manner, sir.”

Bowing in a courtly manner, the amused man adopts an aristocratic air, “Alexandro Dubrovich, at your service M’lady. I am reporting for princely duty, if you so desire.” He smiles widely as he waits for her response. This is fun. I wonder how far it can go.

How gallant.   She returns the smile, and follows his lead, “My name is Alexia Dubois, how do you do, kind sir?” We have the same initials. Isn’t this a coincidence? Alexia stands and curtseys. She sits once again, and holds one hand out to kiss. Will he do it, or am I stupid for hoping?

Gently grasping her proffered fingers, Alexandro kisses the back of her hand. “I do quite well thank you. May I?” He nods towards the bench. He seems okay, so why not? Alexia slides over to make room. They spend a pleasant couple of hours laughing and pretending to be the characters in the book. Sitting close with heads together, she fills him in on her life. This day is turning out so much better than I imagined!

The sun reaches its zenith and temperatures have risen. Alexandro removes his arm from around Alexia’s shoulders and fans himself. “Would you care to accompany me for a cool drink?” Now we’ll see how I’m doing.

Alexia takes a moment to consider, and consents. What’s the harm, it’s only a drink? The heat I’m feeling isn’t from the sun though. “There’s no place nearby to get one.”

“I know of a place, but it’s a bit too far and warm to walk. It will only take a few minutes. We can take my car   .”

Feeling comfortable, she agrees. “I walked or we could take mine.” They gather the blanket she used for a cushion, and he directs her to a flame-red Porsche SUV with limo-tinted windows. The door locks snick into place as the vehicle begins to move. Mischievously, Alexia leans towards him with one eyebrow cocked, “It occurs to me Alexandro, you have failed to indicate what kind of work you do?”

Here we go! He gives a playful grin, “I am self-employed. I procure attractive women and sell them to the highest bidders in foreign countries. Would you prefer to live in Asia or the Middle East?”

Shocked, Alexia’s eyes widen, and she laughs nervously. Is this a joke? He can’t be serious! He can’t, can he? Beside her, Alexandro breaks out in merry laughter.

Douglas V. Miller is a disabled Vietnam combat veteran, writer, poet, editor, and professional verbal storyteller. Since he began submitting poetry and short stories in February 2021, Doug has published in Continue the Voice, two issues of Terror House Magazine, The Rational Creature, Writer’s Egg Magazine, three issues of, Open Door, Stripes, and others. Naturally, many more have been submitted and are currently awaiting acceptance or rejection.

Doug successfully published two books in the late 1990’s/2000, Pete’s Sandwich, and Love Can Last, as well as multiple inspirational chapbooks, various magazine articles, and appears in the anthology, Mythology of the Heart. Life got in the way, and he stopped writing and submitting until February 2021.
The majority of his work is slice-of-life; writing about growing up, experiences in the military, varied jobs, and everyday life. Some of his work voices his personal opinions; but recently he discovered he enjoys writing short stories designed to just mess with your mind.
He is a voracious reader of whatever captures his interest at the time, an avid researcher for his stories, enjoys woodworking, and builds miniature dioramas. Doug currently resides with his wife in the US Midwest. You can view his page on Facebook at: Douglas V. Miller

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