This week’s prompt: A person receives a birthday card and a holiday card every year, but from whom? It is never signed and no matter where the receiver moves, these anonymous greetings follow.
I strayed a little from the above. I hope you enjoy the story.
Melisa could wear a size 10, but she felt more comfortable in a 12. Her skin, had a year round cinnamon glow; thanks to her mothers Aztec ancestry being blended several times with other Latin American, indigenous people. She possessed the type of skin usually reserved only for women seen in Coppertone ads. At 5'8, with raven black hair and snow white teeth, she could have advertised pink powder puffs and men would have stood in line to buy them up by the dozen.
Melisa excelled in math, and easily could have become a teacher. Instead, she had chosen to become a CPA, finishing her studies in record time. With a small business loan, she'd rented office space on Oxford street, in the heart of the business area of town. Business had been outstanding from the start, and so after two years she was doing far better than her three year business plan had forecast. Still being single at twenty-six, was by no means an oddity in this day and age; although Melisa had never been out with a man, or a boy... NEVER! Not even one date. She'd broken her leg right before the high-school prom, forcing her to stay at home on the big night. In reflection, Melisa had been relived to have had an excuse. She hadn't actually cared for the boy who'd asked her out, sensing he wasn't the right one for her. When he'd called later for another chance she'd politely turned him down. After that, he'd never called back again.
And so she was still waiting for the “right guy,” not knowing what the right one truly meant for her. Then two years ago the right one had walked into her office with a tax problem. At least “he” thought he was the right one for her. Their first meeting was all business, he hadn't filed taxes for the last three years, and had received notice that the IRS would be auditing him in thirty days. Lieutenant Rodger Johnstead was under the gun to get his tax information together and filed before the US Army found out about his situation. He'd taken his authorized annual thirty day leave, determined to win the battle against the IRS. If his only income had been his military pay there would have been no problem, but the lieutenant had inherited rental property and a large stock portfolio, and since then had not filed any taxes.
Rodger was one of those people who could not organize his own way out of a wet paper bag. So after convincing Melisa to work exclusively on his tax problem for the next month; Rodger had brought in five large card-board boxes full of paper work covering bills, receipts, dividend income and rental income.
The month came and went, as did the IRS. Somewhere during the month, though, Melisa and Rodger had become more than a delinquent tax payer and his CPA working to straighten out the mess. Short lunches had turned into after work cocktails, and then dinners followed by an early bedtime for two. Melisa was happy with the arrangement, at least that's what she'd told herself. There were only two things tipping the scales off balance.
During the first month – when Melisa was not showing too much interest in Rodger – he had showed her two cards he'd recently received from an unknown person. The first was a birthday card written in light, feminine handwriting saying, I wish you all the best, and maybe we can get to know each other better someday. The second was just a funny card with the written message in the same handwriting announcing “if you think this is a fun card, maybe we could have some fun together sometime!”
Rodger had shown them to Melisa. Then, with innocence, had asked if she had sent them.
“No that's not my style” is all she'd answered.
Rodger had quickly responded, “I didn't think so either, and I wish whoever it is sending these, would stop.” That's when he'd suggested Melisa, and him become a pair. She'd resisted at first, but then, after considering her future alone, she decided to give Rodger and her a chance.
They'd moved into a new apartment across town. A few weeks later another unsigned card arrived in an envelope with no return address. It had not been forwarded, but instead was addressed to their new apartment. Rodger had showed it to her as soon as she'd walked in the apartment. The message was an open request for Rodger to respond to her cards. He'd sworn he had no idea who was sending them. And funny as it sounded, Melisa didn't seem to care much about the other woman’s intentions. She did think it a bit unusual though that Rodger always showed her the cards with a shimmer of “look at this, another admirer card.”
“Life was going along OK,” but was OK what Melisa wanted out of life? She just did not feel right with Rodger. If she had known the games he was playing on her, she would have dumped him long ago.
Rodger had unusually low self esteem. To compensate for his lack of self worth he'd forced one of his soldiers – a female – to write the cards and mail them to his home address. Blackmail is the correct legal term for what Rodger had done. His female soldier had confided in him about her sex directions, telling him she was lesbian. He'd left it alone, until he'd meet Melisa. Then he'd come up with the idea, thinking if Melisa thought someone else was interested in him, she might try harder at their relationship. The soldier had said no to Rodgers suggestion, that is, until he'd told her it was not a suggestion. If she refused him, he would have to report her being lesbian. That would mean the end of her career and a lot of hassle she just didn't want to go through. So she'd sent the letters on a regular bases, writing what Rodger told her to write.
Rodger could not believe Melisa was not jealous. The messages had gotten more and more suggestive and sexy, but it didn't seem to bother her at all. That is when Rodger came up with his ambitious idea. The mystery woman would just have to show up unannounced at their front door. That would get a little jealousy out of Melisa. After all, the soldier was a hot looking babe herself, so Melisa would have to protect her territory if she wanted to keep her man!
Rodger had told the soldier when to be at his apartment, knowing Melisa and he would be home together then. When the day arrived, he'd given her off, so she would be on time and looking sharp for her entrance. Well as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men.”
The soldier had arrived one hour early, to confess to Melisa about the cards. She'd told the whole story, leaving nothing out. The woman had broken down crying, saying she wanted to stay in the military, but not if it meant hiding her true identity and feelings. Melisa had been shocked that Rodger could force someone to do such a thing. And for what, she hadn't even gotten jealous. What's that all about? She'd made coffee, while the two shared stories about Rodger. Come to find out, the soldier was going to night school to become a CPA, so the conversation drifted off in that direction and before long they realized they both shared a list of common likes and dislikes.
Rodger, meanwhile, was stuck in a staff meeting he couldn't get out of. So when he finally arrived home two and half hours late he expected Melisa to tell him all about the mysterious card writer and how beautiful she looked. He entered the front door to find Melisa and Cathy – his soldier – partially clothed, fondling each other on the couch. They were so involved in each other they had not heard him enter. They were right in the middle of a long French kiss as Rodger cleared his throat. Their response was not what he'd thought it would be. A quick glance, first from Cathy, then an even quicker one from Melisa before resuming their French connection.
Rodger left the house with a mild case of shell-shock, due to not understanding what had gone wrong with his attempt to make Melisa jealous. She'd always been a little distant around him, they were always more friends than lovers, but he thought she just needed time and maybe a little jealousy to come around.
The two women, after hearing the front door close, began to giggle, then burst out in to a loud roaring laughter.
Putting her hands on Cathy's cheeks, Melisa spoke first, saying “To think, if Rodger hadn't forced you in to writing those cards we'd never have met. Cathy gently kissed her on the lips, then promised, “don't worry Melisa, from now on you're the only one I'll be sending love cards to!”