I didn’t follow this week’s prompt. Instead, I further explored the characters I created in “Under the Bridge”. My last story focused on Bob the Demon see “Collecting Souls”. This story focuses on Bridgette the Angel, Bob’s counterpart in the soul collection business. “Bridgette on Miracle Mile, Coral Gables” is a two-part story. Part One focuses on Cristina, a teenaged girl with a serious problem. Part Two will focus on Bridgette and Cristina. I hope you enjoy it.
Cristina was sitting on a bus bench at the corner of Miracle Mile and Ponce De Leon in Coral Gables, Florida. It was a chilly January morning. Chilly if you lived in South Florida, but for the snow birds and left-over holiday vacationers from the northern climes, fifty degree weather was just perfect. Prior to leaving her parent’s condo, Cristina watched the early morning news. The local station did a story on out-of-towners sunbathing and swimming at the beach. “Unbelievable!” is all her father said several times.
It was still early, so there was not the usual hustle and bustle that typifies Miracle Mile on any given day. Behind her was Hillstone’s restaurant, formerly Houston’s, hadn’t opened yet, but in about three hours it would be full of people dying to get in and enjoy some of the best steaks ever. It was pricey, but Cristina’s parents loved to eat there at least once a month. She never cared for the incredibly large steaks they served. She always opted for the grilled chicken salad, which she hardly ate.
Across, “The Mile”, as her friends liked to call Miracle Mile, was the Starbucks coffee shop. It was open and doing a lot of business for the first Monday after New Year’s Day. Since it was early morning and the atmosphere had not yet been contaminated with the day’s aromas and pollutants, Cristina could smell the freshly brewed coffee and baked pastries coming from both the Starbucks and the Einstein Bros. Bagels shop next door. The scents gently teased her to come over like Sirens trying to lure lost seamen. However, she dared not eat this morning. Cristina used to muse about how two competitors could be right next door to each other until she found out they were owned by the same franchisee. As a matter of fact, both eateries shared the same public restrooms. Besides, this was Miami/Coral Gables and the usual rules for doing anything didn’t apply at least that’s what her father always said.
She was getting impatient waiting for the bus. She had never really used public transportation before. Up until now, her mother took her everywhere. She had gotten her restricted license one year ago, and as soon as she turned 18, her father was going to buy her a Mini Cooper. She originally wanted a Volkswagen Beetle; but once she test drove a Mini, she fell in love with it. Cristina kept looking at the time on her iPhone and wondering when the bus was going to get there.
She was starting to feel some strange pains from inside her stomach. Was it hunger? She wasn’t hungry. Was it a kick? Too early according to Wikipedia. Cramps? Couldn’t be. The longer she waited the angrier and scared she got. Staring at the Starbucks fueled her anger. It was where she had met the Man. She nicknamed him the Man before she even got to know him. She knew his full name, but after what happened ten weeks ago, she went back to the old nickname.
The Man was in his forties. He was independently wealthy; he owned his own business; he had no family, and he hung out on Miracle Mile every evening. That is how Cristina met him. She was in the Starbucks waiting for Jessie, Cristina’s best friend, to finish her shift. Cristina had seen him before. He always seemed to be looking her over. While she felt it creepy that a middle-aged man was checking her out, Cristina felt complimented at the same time. She felt she had finally entered womanhood because a fully-grown man was giving her the eye. One day, he actually approached her. It was at the Barnes and Noble down the street. She was looking at some books on cosmetics when he walked by her. He was holding a copy of Nabokov’s “Lolita”. The Man bumped into her; they exchanged apologies. He then started to talk to her. He asked her if she was interested in cosmetology. At first she thought cosmology, but then he mentioned he owned a line of hair and beauty products. He said if she ever wanted to take a tour of his facilities to give him a call. The Man then gave Cristina his card and walked away.
After debating it with Jessie for several weeks, Cristina called the Man. They met at Starbucks on a Friday morning that she was off from school. He took her to his plant in Hialeah; he showed her the facilities. After the tour, he took her to his office. He had prepared a basket full of the company’s cosmetics for Cristina. He even offered her a job. She could sell the products to her friends and family and he would pay her a commission. It would all be done online. All she had to do was model the products, offer samples and take and process the orders. Cristina was thrilled. She took him up on his offer and soon she was making money. They would meet a couple of times a week at Starbucks. Sometimes, he would take her out to dinner. It was all innocent at first.
Then one night he took her to his place. It was a lavish condo apartment overlooking downtown Coral Gables. Cristina felt paranoid because his apartment was almost in direct line with her parents. She felt they were watching her. After a few visits to his apartment in which nothing happened, he gave the keys to it. Cristina was thrilled. She felt all grown-up. When she told Jessie about it, all her friend could say, “Creepy.”
The Man travelled a lot. He always told her when he was going to be out of town. Cristina would let herself into his apartment when he was gone, and spend the evening watching TV or going through his closet and trying on his clothes. She would strip naked and put on one of his dress shirts or suit jacket and stare at herself in front of the mirror. Sometimes she would take a nap in his bed while naked. One time, the Man surprised Cristina by calling her and telling her that his shirts smelled of “Tokidoki” perfume. He chuckled and she giggled.
Soon things got hot and heavy. One night after dinner, he took her to a luxurious hotel in Coral Gables. Cristina was ready. She knew what was going to happen that night and she wanted it more than anything else in the world. The seduction was beyond anything she could have imagined. She gave herself to him freely that first night and every night after that.
The romance lasted for six months. At first, he seemed distracted, distant. She thought it had to with his business, but she felt it was more. Then one Saturday morning, right after they had showered together, he asked for the key to his apartment back. Something inside Cristina slammed shut when he made the request. She obliged him. They got dressed, had breakfast and she went home. Soon their encounters were less frequent. She could no longer call him at his office. If she did, his secretary would stonewall her. They met one last time.
Four weeks later, Cristina did an early pregnancy test, and realized she was with child. She called him. Two days later, they met at Starbucks. He gave her an envelope. He took off right after he handed it to her. It was the last time she ever saw him. Cristina left the shop in tears and ran into an alley. She tore open the envelope. It contained a debit card with $20,000 and a letter.
The letter was short and to the point. In it, he said that their relationship was over. He did not want to have anything to do with her. He told her she had better not cause any trouble because his lawyers would destroy her and her family. The letter included instructions to a clinic that would take care of her situation. She could use some of the money to pay for the procedure. He didn’t even sign the letter. Cristina collapsed to the ground. A homeless woman with brilliant blues eyes walked by and said, “Are you all right, child?” Cristina nodded yes, stood up and walked home in a daze.
The honking of a horn broke Cristina’s reminiscent spell. She was still waiting for the bus. The street was getting more crowded. Looking at the Starbucks, she noticed a beautiful blonde woman staring at her. The woman’s hair was combed back so that it exposed her high forehead; the hair cascaded over and behind the woman’s head. It resembled a mane or a halo. Her brilliant blue eyes seemed to dazzle. At first Cristina thought the woman was just looking in her direction, but now she was convinced the woman was staring straight at her. The woman crossed the street.
Bridgette on Miracle Mile, Coral Gables - Part One © Trudge164, 2012
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