Cupid Sleuths

It can be stressful being Cupid. Keeping as many secrets as i have can be difficult. The only two beings in the Universe who know everything about me are my mini schnauzer, Simone and my kitty, Jonathan. Not even the other gods and goddesses know all, and thank goodness for that. I’d be in some big trouble.

So, yesterday, i got an invitation to a holiday party. Can’t wait to go. It’s only four days away, and i have to formulate a plan. My boyfriend, Asa will be my date. This party will be full of couples and some singles as well. No one who will be there knows i’m Cupid. They know me as Chloe, and i want it to stay that way.

I’m on my way to meet my friend, Natalie for lunch. I confide in her a lot, but she doesn’t know my true identity. Not yet. I’m going to tell her about a love case i’m working on and judge her reaction. It can be lonely working on stuff like this. The other goddesses are like siblings. I could use a human friend who i can trust with everything, but i have to be careful. Of course, i love my kitty and my dog, but that’s just it. They’re my kitty and my dog. They can’t give me feedback.

I check my hair and lipstick. It’s time to head out. This is scarf and wool coat weather, not normal for NW Oregon in December. It should be warmer with rain, but the weather isn’t my responsibility. That’s for Claudia, the weather goddess to deal with. She can be moody.

I decide to walk because, though cold, the sun is intense. I say goodbye to Simone and Jonathan and leave for downtown. I board the elevator. I could take the stairs, but i’m not in the mood. I live on the fifteenth floor, and i want to get outside. I step off in our lobby, button my coat all the way up and put on my mittens. I walk to the front doors, but stop in my tracks. I see Natalie and Asa standing beside Natalie’s BMW. The car is parked illegally right out front. Are they waiting for me? I’m supposed to meet Natalie at the Three Emerald Firs restaurant for lunch in thirty minutes, and Asa is supposed to be working today. As far as i know, they barely know each other. They’ve only met two or three times. What’s going on?

I watch from behind the large decorated ficas tree to the left. One couple walks in past me, but they’re too busy chatting to notice me. Good thing. I look like a spy staring through the lighted branches.

I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like Nat and Asa are arguing. Wait! Natalie reaches into her purse for her phone. She’s writing a text. My phone buzzes. I think, not now! But i read my message, and my heart pounds. It’s from Natalie. It says, ‘sorry, Chloe. Can’t make it to lunch. Got called in to work. Maybe next week?’

How do i respond to this? No, you’re not working, you lying jerk. I can see you right outside my building! No. Not that. I take a couple of deep breaths and type, ‘no worries, Nat. Haven’t left yet. Sure, next week. Maybe Wednesday?’

I wonder why she’s even here. Didn’t she know she’d be taking a chance i’d see her? Asa too. I know one thing. I’m glad i never told Nat who i am. Asa either. I need to find out what they’re up to. I want to walk back to the elevator, but i don’t want them to see me. If i can make to the tree unseen. The big Christmas tree is in the lobby’s center. Closer than the elevator.

My phone buzzes with another text. Maybe it’s Asa. I see him typing on his phone while Nat looks all around. She looks afraid. Yep. It’s Asa.

‘Chloe sweetheart.. I roll my eyes.. Please meet me at 2 at Ten Vanilla Custards Bakery. Bring a notebook. Can you come? Please come.’

And i think, now what am i supposed to do? Do i go and confront him? Do i pretend i know nothing? That’s what a good detective does sometimes. One can learn more about people by keeping things close to the vest.

I text back, ‘Sure. My friend Nat cancelled lunch. You remember Natalie, right? Will be there at 2.

I see Asa smile and put his phone away. I feel sick to my stomach. Then i see Natalie get into her car, and pull away from the curb. Asa waves as she drives away. I’m still hiding behind the ficas like a kid playing hide and seek.

Then, Asa walks into the building. Is he coming to see me? He’s never mentioned knowing anyone else here, but then, he never mentioned that he and Nat are friends. He heads straight for the Christmas tree. Does he want to get a closer look? I admit it’s a gorgeous tree. It’s a real noble fir, about twenty feet tall and full. It’s decorated with white and red lights and large white satin balls. They’re not tacky decorations. There’s a gorgeous, shining silver star at the top.

I see Asa pull a piece of blue paper out of his right pants pocket. He reads it, looks up at the star on the tree, then walks around the other side. Dang it, i can’t see him. What is he doing?

I wait. I wait some more. No Asa. What the hell?

I decide to just walk over there and confront him. But i walk around the tree, and he’s not there. I watched the whole time! He didn’t walk past the tree. It’s like he walked into it or something! Now i know odd things can happen. After all, i am who i am. This is bizarre. Possible i guess, but crazy. I back up a little and look up to the top. Then i move in for a closer look. It seems a perfectly normal noble fir to me.

Then i hear a voice. I look around the lobby. It’s deserted.

The voice says, Chloe, it’s me! Psst! Right in front of you. Reach out with your right hand, then up about six inches. It’s me.

Okay. I’m game. I reach out and up, and my hand touches not a white satin ball, but a beautiful vintage glass black cat ornament. The kitty has green jewel eyes and a tiny jeweled blue collar.

It says, go ahead, Chloe. Take me off the tree and see what happens…

M. Raynes

Next episode: Cupid/Chloe finds out she’s not the only one who keeps secrets.

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