Friday, November 27, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 22

Ana sighed. “I didn’t cause a scene, but I did insult his poor excuse for red sauce and I did tell him what a poor excuse for a man I thought he was.”
“Why would you do that?” Tilde crossed her arms. “How am I supposed to find another date for you when Neptune Duncan is telling everyone around town what train wreck last night was?”
“Maybe you aren’t supposed to,” said Ana, sitting up in bed.
“We have a deal,” said Tilde.
“I know,” said Ana. “But it all feels so forced.”
“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” said Tilde.
“But is this really a drastic time?” asked Ana.
Tilde’s face fell and Ana knew the look well enough to know there was a problem.
“What is it?” asked Ana.
Tilde flattened her lips. “We’re broke.”
“What?” Ana shook her head. “But Greg left you millions.”
“Yes, he also left me with a mortgage and three girls to feed, clothe, and educate,” snapped Tilde. “You have no idea how much it costs to raise girls of means.”
“Does Deidra know?” asked Ana.
“Of course not,” said Tilde. “You know your sister has a flare for the dramatic. One word to her and it’ll be plastered all over the internet that we are destitute.”
Ana thought of all the lavish clothes Tilde had bought herself and Deidra and the expensive fashion school Ana had graduated from. It was also not lost on her, although Tilde had insisted that Ana have a job, neither Tilde nor Deidra had ever held a job.
“How long have we been in trouble?” asked Ana.
“A little over a year,” answered Tilde.
“Mother, why haven’t you gotten a job?” asked Ana, her eyes wide.
“A job?” Tilde’s nose wrinkled.
“Yes, Mother a job,” said Ana. “You could’ve been working to save yourself, instead you want me to find a rich husband to support your lifestyle.” Ana could feel the color rising to her cheeks.
“It is your duty as the eldest daughter to support this family,” said Tilde.
Deidra burst through the door. “Oh my gawd, Ana, what did you do to Neptune Duncan. He’s all over social media talking about how awful you were to him on your date last night. He’s telling everyone to stay away from you, like you have the plaque.”
“You mean plague,” said Ana.
“Whatever,” said Deidra, rolling her eyes. “You’re now the chopped liver of the dating pool. Good luck finding a man now.”
“Fine,” said Ana. “I’m glad this whole mess is over. I never wanted to do it in the first place.”
“Our agreement is still in place,” said Tilde, she glanced at her phone. “Timothy Rawlings just sent confirmation of your date tonight. He will pick you up at seven.” Tilde narrowed her eyes. “You will be on your best behavior, looks like Mr. Rawlings may be our last hope.”

“What do you mean?” asked Deidra. “Why would Ana Banana be our last hope?”

NEW EPISODE ON DEC. 8TH.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 21

Ana grabbed her pasta spoon and dipped it into Neptune’s signature sauce. She ate it and fought the urge to grimace. She smiled politely at both men as she took a drink of water and then tried Massino’s sauce.
“You’re right, there is a big difference,” Ana said to Neptune. “And if I’m being honest, your sauce does taste exactly like another chef’s sauce … Chef Boyardee.”
Chef Massino let out a hearty belly laugh as Ana smiled up at him. “Chef if it wouldn’t be any trouble I would like to take my meal to go.”
“No problem at all, bellasera,” said Chef Massino as he swooped up her plate and hurried to the kitchen.
“I’ll take you home,” said Neptune as he took a big bite of his spaghetti. “As soon as I finish my meal.”
“No need,” said Ana, standing. “I’ll call a cab.”
“Sit down,” demanded Neptune. “Your mother made it crystal clear that you don’t really have a say in the matter and that you need me.”
“First,” said Ana, trying to keep her voice at a civil level. “I do not need you, no matter what my mother may have told you. Second, you drive like a mad man, eat like a pig, and act like an Italian fool. I not only do not need you. I do not want you.”
Chef Massino walked out with her food in a plastic bag. “I’ve thrown in a little tiramisu for your trouble and Bradley has called you a cab.”
“Oh thank you Chef,” said Ana. “You are a delight and please tell Bradley thank you.”
Ana threw one final glare at Neptune before leaving the restaurant.






Chapter 4


“What in the world did you do to Neptune Duncan?” snapped Tilde as she barreled into Ana’s room early the next morning.
Ana had thanked all the stars that she had been able to sneak in without Tilde seeing her. She curled up in bed and wished the whole memory of the disastrous date away.
“The man was a horrible person, so I left early,” said Ana.
“He said you insulted him and caused a scene in the middle of the restaurant.” Tilde walked to Ana’s curtains and whipped them open.
Ana sighed. “I didn’t cause a scene, but I did insult his poor excuse for red sauce and I did tell him what a poor excuse for a man I thought he was.”
“Why would you do that?” Tilde crossed her arms. “How am I supposed to find another date for you when Neptune Duncan is telling everyone around town what train wreck last night was?”
“Maybe you aren’t supposed to,” said Ana, sitting up in bed.
“We have a deal,” said Tilde.
“I know,” said Ana. “But it all feels so forced.”
“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” said Tilde.

“But is this really a drastic time?” asked Ana.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Only a Kiss

Sorry I'm on the road today, there will be a new episode Tuesday, November 23rd. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 20

“What are you talking about?” asked Neptune. “Spaghetti and meatballs is as Italian as they come.”
“Actually,” said Ana. “It’s American.”
Neptune let out a harsh laugh. “That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You should probably stick to what you’re good at. What was it your mother told me you did …” A cruel smile formed on his lips. “That’s right … shoes. Stick to shoes, bellasera, it’s what pretty girls like you are good at.”
Ana fought the urge to walk right out of the restaurant. To her relief the waiter came over to take their drink order giving Ana a chance to cool her temper.
“Bradley, is it?” Ana asked the server.
“Yes ma’am,” said Bradley.
“I would love some water with a twist of lemon and I was wondering, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would love to meet Chef Massino. Would that be possible?” asked Ana.
Bradley smiled. “Chef Massino hasn’t turned down a customer yet and once I let him know a beautiful woman is asking to meet him I’m sure he’ll be out here in no time at all.”
“All right pal, move it along and fetch our drinks,” said Neptune. Bradley hurried off and Neptune turned his attention to Ana. “I don’t know why you want to meet that two-bit chef. He can’t even make a good sauce.”
Bradley returned with Ana’s water, Neptune’s wine, and a basket of garlic knots. “Chef said your meal is almost ready and he will deliver it himself.”
“Thank you, Bradley,” said Ana.
Bradley smiled as he took off to tend to his other tables. Neptune grabbed a knot and started ripping it into pieces. “So why do you want to meet the chef?”
“I just think it’s nice to meet the chef when I come to a new restaurant. Greg taught me that food should be cooked with love and soul, so I guess I like to see what kind of soul is cooking my food.”
“Who is this Greg guy?” Neptune said, mouth full of bread.
“My stepfather,” said Ana. “He passed a while back, but I remember him fondly.”
“I bet you do,” said Neptune.
Before Ana could ask what Neptune meant by his comment. Chef Massino came to the table with their food. After the food was on the table, Chef Massino took Ana’s hand and place a delicate kiss on the back of it.
“When Bradley told me there was a beautiful woman here to meet me, I thought he was just being polite. He was not exaggerating,” said Chef Massino.
Ana blushed. “Thank you, Chef. I have to admit I had an ulterior motive for asking to meet you.”
“I am intrigued,” said the chef.
“I was hoping you could settle a disagreement for us,” said Ana. “Is spaghetti and meatballs an Italian dish?”
The chef looked from Ana, then to Neptune. He shrugged. “Where spaghetti and meatballs is an Italian inspired dish, my nonna wouldn’t have been caught dead making it. It is an American dish developed by Italian immigrants.”
“You’re going to take his word for it?” Neptune growled. “He can’t even make a good red sauce. Here try mine and then try yours. You’ll see the difference.”
“There’s no doubt about that,” muttered Chef Massino, rolling his eyes.
Ana grabbed her pasta spoon and dipped it into Neptune’s signature sauce. She ate it and fought the urge to grimace. She smiled politely at both men as she took a drink of water and then tried Massino’s sauce.

“You’re right, there is a big difference,” Ana said to Neptune. “And if I’m being honest, your sauce does taste exactly like another chef’s sauce … Chef Boyardee.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 19

He gunned it out into the street and Ana grabbed the door handle.
“Do not worry, Bella Sera, I am an excellent driver,” said Neptune.
As they made their way to the Italian restaurant it did not take Ana long to realize that was a bold faced lie. The man couldn’t drive to save his life, in fact Ana wondered if she would make it out with her own.
They pulled in front of the swanky Italia Bacio. The valet opened the door and Ana scrambled out of the Ferrari and fought the urge to kiss the ground.
“What did I tell you,” said Neptune, his fake accent even thicker at the smell of pasta wafting through the air. “Excellente.”
If that was Neptune’s version of excellent driving, she didn’t even want a glimpse of what he would deem horrible driving. He wrapped his arm around her waist and led her inside the restaurant.  The maître d didn’t hesitate at the sight of Neptune.
“Ahhh, the god of the sea and blessed us with his presence,” said the maître d. “Right this way to your usual table.”
“You must eat here often,” said Ana.
“I’m a bit of a hero here,” said Neptune. “I helped the head chef perfect his red sauce.”
“So you’re a chef, as well?” asked Ana. “Did you go to culinary school?”
Neptune shook his head. “No, but I eat enough Italian food to be an expert.”
“Ah, here we are,” said the maître d, leading them to a poorly lit round booth in the corner. He took Ana’s hand and helped her sit. “Chef Massino has created a masterpiece today with his Pasta Pescatore. A fresh seafood melody of mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp and squid over a bed of freshly made linguini and our house red sauce. It is a dish influenced by Chef Massimo’s childhood along the Adriatic Sea in Macerata.”
“That sounds lovely,” said Ana quickly, hoping to speed up the date by not looking at the menu. “I’ll have the special.”
“Very good.” The maître d turned to Neptune. “Would you like your usual, Mr. Neptune? Spaghetti and meatballs or would you like to try the Pasta Pescatore?”
“I can’t stand seafood.” Neptune grimaced. “Just bring me the spaghetti and meatballs, and use the Neptune sauce. I don’t know why you insist on keeping that house sauce, when you have my secret recipe at your disposal.”
“Yes, Mr. Neptune it is a travesty that more people do not appreciate your fine pallet,” said the maître d. “I will place your order, myself. Your server Bradley will be here momentarily with the wine list.”
If Ana went to the kitchen, she guessed she’d find a single small pot of Neptune sauce while everyone else was being served a classic red sauce.
“Don’t forget the garlic knots,” Neptune barked at the maître d as he hurried off.
Ana couldn’t help but giggle.
“What’s so funny?” asked Neptune with a smirk.
“It’s nothing,” said Ana, waving him off. “I just had a funny thought.”
“It would be rude not to share,” said Neptune. Ana couldn’t tell if that was his attempt at being sarcastically funny or if he was just perturbed she didn’t outright share her inner joke.
“Well, it’s just that you are so very …” She searched for the right word. She was sure Neptune was the kind of guy who took things the wrong way all the time. But she knew he’d be even more upset if she didn’t share. “Italian infused, but you ordered a non-Italian dish.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Neptune. “Spaghetti and meatballs is as Italian as they come.”
“Actually,” said Ana. “It’s American.”

Neptune let out a harsh laugh. “That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You should probably stick to what you’re good at. What was it your mother told me you did …” A cruel smile formed on his lips. “That’s right … shoes. Stick to shoes, bellasera, it’s what pretty girls like you are good at.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 18

“Excuse me, Madam,” said Mandra. “Mr. Duncan to see Miss. Ana.”
Ana smelled Neptune Duncan before he entered the living area from the entry way. It was a mixture of musk and rotting citrus.  She fought the urge wrinkle her nose. Neptune entered, his black hair slicked back by so much gel he reminded Ana of a Ken doll with plastic hair. He wore an expensive Italian suit, the same color as his hair. He reached out and grabbed Ana’s hand.
“Good evening, Ana,” said Neptune in a very thick and obviously fake Italian accent. 
Ana looked to her mother, begging for an excuse out of the date. But if Tilde had seen her, she didn’t acknowledge it. Ana gently took her hand away right before Neptune could kiss it. She couldn’t be positive but she was sure he was wearing some kind of lip gloss.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Duncan,” said Ana. “I wasn’t aware you were …” she cleared her throat, trying to clear the taste that came with his smell. “Italian?”
“Forgive me,” said Neptune. “I may have been born in New Jersey, but my soul is Italian.” He grabbed her hand again and gave it a wet kiss. “And please call me Neptune.”
Ana confirmed the man was indeed wearing either lip gloss or copious amounts of Chap Stick. She had also hoped that Neptune had a nickname, but apparently he did not.
He walked to Tilde and took her hand, giving it the same wet kiss. “Mrs. Asher, a pleasure as always.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” said Tilde.
Neptune turned to Ana and held out his elbow. “Shall we?”
Ana nodded. “I guess we shall.”
She had already decided that she would keep an open mind through the process. Her mother had picked out Greg for her own husband and he was an excellent man. Not that Tilde every saw Greg’s true value, but only his financial statement.
Neptune placed Ana’s hand in the crock of his arm and led her out the door and down the stairs to where he had a turquoise Ferrari waiting.
“Nice car,” said Ana.
“Only the very best,” said Neptune.
“It’s a very interesting color,” said Ana.
Neptune chuckled which sounded a lot more like a phlegmy cough. “I have a home in Sardinia and this color reminds me of the water that breaks along the white sand beaches. It is bellissimo.”
Jessica was surprised by how romantic the explanation was. Maybe once the fake accent and hair gel were gone, Neptune was a romantic at heart.
“Also, I am named after the god of the sea,” said Neptune as he opened the car door for her. “In some cultures being named after a god gives you the powers of one. And I like to believe that I am one.
He closed the door and Ana sighed, all romantic notions gone. He sat in the driver’s seat and Ana couldn’t help but realize the sports car didn’t really fit his stature. For as much effort it was to sit in the car, it would take twice as much to get out. Neptune carried his suit well, except for the mid-region, which looked as if it wanted to succeed from the rest of his body.
He gunned it out into the street and Ana grabbed the door handle.
“Do not worry, Bella Sera, I am an excellent driver,” said Neptune.

As they made their way to the Italian restaurant it did not take Ana long to realize that was a bold faced lie. The man couldn’t drive to save his life, in fact Ana wondered if she would make it out with her own.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 17

“I will set you up on dates with eligible bachelors of wealthy status. At the end of the month you will pick one to court exclusively, which should result in a proposal by the end of the year and a wedding in the next,” stated Tilde nonchalantly.
“And what if I don’t like any of the men you pick for me? What if I cannot love them?” asked Ana.
“Not an option.” Tilde narrowed her eyes. “If you don’t choose a gentleman of my approval, I’ll throw you out on the streets.”
“You wouldn’t.” Ana’s hand flew to her mouth. “Mother, would you really throw me out onto the streets?”
“I wouldn’t want to,” said Tilde. “But it would be for your own good. You have to learn how this world works. If you can’t make it on your own, you find a man to take care of you. So what is it going to be Ana?”
Ana knew she had no choice. She had no job, no place to crash, and no one to turn to. She bowed her head. “Okay,” she whispered.
“Okay what?” asked Tilde, jutting her chin.
Ana looked her mother straight her eyes. “I agree to your plan.”
Ana turned and walked to her bedroom, not waiting for her mother to say anything else. What else was there to say? Tilde had gotten her way and now Ana was doomed to live a life in a marriage of convenience.
She closed her door and let her tears fall. She was careful to stay quiet in her grief so her mother wouldn’t hear her. She didn’t want to give Tilde the satisfaction of knowing she had made her cry. Ana took a deep breath.
“Maybe it won’t be so bad,” she said to herself. “Maybe Mother will find me someone special, someone I will fall in love with. This doesn’t have to be the end to my happy ending. I could get lucky.”
Ana laid down and fought real hard to believe her own words.

****

“Stop fidgeting,” ordered Tilde.
Ana dropped her hand and tried really hard not to continue to chew on her thumb nail. It had taken Tilde less than a week to set to find a date for her. Ana couldn’t imagine where Tilde found her men. It was almost as if she had a black book full of eligible bachelors straight out of Forbe’s Magazine.
“What was his name again?” Ana asked.
“Neptune Duncan,” said Tilde with a sigh. “I’ve told you a dozen times, Ana, pay attention. His father owns half the fishing vessels on the east coast and his mother owns the other half.”
“Oh yes, the god of the sea.” Ana rolled her eyes. Only a family with old money and bigger egos would name their kid such a ridiculous name. She would know, Tilde named her after Anastasia Romanov the Grand Duchess of Russia.
There was a knock at the door and Tilde clapped her hands at Mandra to answer it. “Now Ana, remember you are a Durrant and you will act with the elegance that is known for. Remember the consequences if you don’t.”
“Yes Mother,” said Ana.
“Excuse me, Madam,” said Mandra. “Mr. Duncan to see Miss. Ana.”
Ana smelled Neptune Duncan before he entered the living area from the entry way. It was a mixture of musk and rotting citrus.  She fought the urge wrinkle her nose. Neptune entered, his black hair slicked back by so much gel he reminded Ana of a Ken doll with plastic hair. He wore an expensive Italian suit, the same color as his hair. He reached out and grabbed Ana’s hand.

“Good evening, Ana,” said Neptune in a very thick and obviously fake Italian accent.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 16

She folded her arms and tapped her finger against her against her bicep. Ana had seen her do this many times. Tilde was forming a plan.
“Mother, please, I can handle this,” Ana said quickly.
“I’ve seen how you’ve handled it and now it’s my turn,” said Tilde. 
“What are you planning?” asked Ana.
“Since you’ve burned all your bridges, there seems to be only one rational route,” said Tilde. “I’ll need to find you a husband as soon as possible.”
“No, Mother, I’ll find another job.” Ana stood. “I was thinking of going to San Francisco and getting a fresh start. Maybe I …”
“You will do no such thing,” snapped Tilde.
Ana took a step back.
Tilde plastered on a small smile. “Ana, dear, I can’t have my daughter running off across the country to chase some fairy tale dream. You need someone to look after you. Someone to make sure your bills are paid and you live a lifestyle that is becoming of a Durrant.”
“I can make my own way,” Ana whispered. Tears threatened to fall as Ana silently begged them to stay put. She didn’t want to cry in front of her mother, especially since they were tears of frustration and anger. Tilde would see the tears as a sign of weakness.
“You’ve proven that you can’t,” said Tilde. “How did you expect to pay for this move across country? Do you have the money saved?”
Ana shook her head and looked at her feet. “I was going to ask you for a loan. I would pay it back in full by the end of the year. I just need a new start…”
“Now, why would I give you a loan when you can’t even pay rent?” asked Tilde.
Ana snapped her head up in surprise. “How do you know I can’t pay rent this month?”
“I check your accounts weekly,” said Tilde with no remorse. “I’m your mother, I have a right to know how you’re doing financially.”
“I’m twenty-eight years old, Mother,” said Ana. “You have no right to look at my accounts. I’m not a child anymore!”
Tilde’s eyes squinted causing Ana to take another step back. “Fine. As an adult you better have rent paid in full tomorrow by noon or you will be evicted without prejudice.”
“You know I don’t have it.” Ana hated the words that slipped from her mouth. But it was the truth. She didn’t have the rent payment that was due and she had no other place to go.
“Then your alternative is to follow my plan,” said Tilde, a smug smile tugging at her lips.
“What do I have to do?” asked Ana.
“I will set you up on dates with eligible bachelors of wealthy status. At the end of the month you will pick one to court exclusively, which should result in a proposal by the end of the year and a wedding in the next,” stated Tilde nonchalantly.
“And what if I don’t like any of the men you pick for me? What if I cannot love them?” asked Ana.

“Not an option.” Tilde narrowed her eyes. “If you don’t choose a gentleman of my approval, I’ll throw you out on the streets.” 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monthly Birthstone!

It is November!
If you were born this month, you are a Captivating Citrine!

Citrine  " The Stone Of  Happiness "

Magic wells of golden light within me reflect universal perfection, similar to Christ light.  I am one of the stones of abundance and have the power to impact joy to all who behold me.