Short Story Fiction
Playing With Fire

She was everything. He was nothing. A couple of stiff drinks was all he needed to find his courage… and ruin his life.

playing with fire imageAli Pazani/Pexels

She eased into town with the elegant grace of a fine red wine gently swirled in a crystal glass.

My name is Charlie. I happened to be on duty when her limo pulled up to the portico. I stood and held the hotel door open wide as I watched her long slender legs pour out of the back seat. Followed by what I can only describe as a bod so sleek and refined, it put pure beauty on standby.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her and she knew it. A quick wink from those baby blues as she brushed on by melted me like fresh butter in noonday sun. At that moment, I would have done anything for a second glance.

She slipped into the building. The delicate scent of expensive perfume lingered on a veil of thin air long after she had disappeared.

I closed the door as the limo drove off. I didn’t move. As long as I could smell that sweet heavenly scent, I could hold a vision of pure beauty from on high.

I now know with unwavering certainty, angels do walk this earthly plane.

I don’t know how to explain it, or if I even want to try. I had a feeling this very moment would change my life forever.

Her name was Miss Ira Jean. She was at the top of her game in every detail. Beauty, grace, class, elegance, charm, sophistication, you name it, she had it all in spades.

As far as I could tell, we only had one thing in common. We were both adept at opening doors.

The doors she opened took her places only angels dared to tread. The doors I opened were attached to limo's and the front of a hotel. I held them open for people like her. I was going nowhere.

She was iced champagne, I was warm beer.

She was a woman on a mission. I was a man stuck in place.

She was vintage Polmard cote de boeuf, I was Spam in a can.

She spent her evening in a penthouse suite under silk sheets. I went home to my one bedroom apartment and an old mattress that needed new sheets.

She had a mind like a steel trap. She held on tight to whatever went in. I was trapped in my own mind. It held me tight. I couldn’t find my way out.

I knew I wasn’t in her league. It didn’t matter to me.

The fact didn’t change the way I felt about her. I was smitten. It was love at first sight.

It’s been said that love is blind. If this is true, I’m certain I will never see clearly again.

I was in a bad way. I needed help and I needed it fast. I did what most men in my situation would do. I went to the local watering hole, took a seat at the bar and ordered a drink.

My bartender was my shrink. He was a damn good one too. He had talked me out of many a tight jam.

Love was his specialty and I certainly needed a specialists when it came to Miss Ira Jean.

He spotted my depression as soon as I walked in the door. “Hey Charlie. What gives? You look like your favorite dog just got ran over.”

“Not my dog, Sam. My self esteem.”

“Oh oh, this sounds serious. Who is she?”

“What makes you think it’s a woman?”

“I know the signs, Charlie. And I know you. This is the classic sign of Charlie met a woman he can’t live without. Only problem is, she doesn’t even know he exists. Am I right?”

“You do know me all too well, Sam.”

“So, who is she?”

“Her name is Ira Jean. I opened the hotel door for her yester…”

Sam stopped Charlie in mid sentence. “Whoa whoa, hold on a minute there. Are you talking about Ira Jean Paris, THE Ira Jean Paris, Super model extraordinaire?”

“Ya, the one and the same.”

“Well then. Seems like you do have a problem, Charlie, and it’s got nothing to do with Miss Ira Jean.”

“What do you mean by that?” I questioned.

“I mean you’re way out of your league. If you can’t see that, you’ve got bigger issues than I can help you with.”

Charlie finished his drink. “I guess I’ll have to deal with this on my own then,” he replied as he got up and headed for the door.

“Hey, sit back down here. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. Let me try to talk some sense into that brain of yours.”

Charlie sat back down and ordered another drink.

“Listen,” Sam continued. “If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. I can almost guarantee it. If you don’t believe me, introduce yourself. Let her know who you are. Then, depending on how she reacts, take it to the next level or walk away and don’t look back.”

“As usual, you’re right,” I admitted. “I’m going to let her know who I am and then take it to the next level.”

“Only if she doesn’t slap you first,” joked Sam.

After a couple more drinks Charlie got up to leave. “I’m going to go by the hotel and let her know who I am.”

“You’re drunk. Don’t do anything stupid,” called Sam as the door closed behind Charlie.

~~~~~

The following day the morning paper landed on the bar in front of Sam.

He took one look at the front page headline. Ira Jean Paris Attacked by Drunken Hotel Employee.

“Good God, he didn’t,” exclaimed Sam as he intently read the article.

Seems Charlie had stopped by the liquor store after he left the bar and bought a fifth of bourbon. He drank the whole bottle before he got up the courage to approach Ira Jean. He managed to find her room. Her bodyguard had stepped away from the door to grab a smoke in the stairwell.

Charlie knocked. Ira Jean cracked opened the door. In a drunken stupor Charlie pushed it open further. He wanted a good look at her face when he told her how he felt about her. He pushed it a bit harder than he had anticipated. The edge of the door caught her on the forehead and she fell back. Charlie stumbled in to help her catch her balance. He tripped and they both fell to the floor with him on top of her.

She screamed.

That’s when the bodyguard showed up. It looked like a full blown attack to him. He roughed up Charlie before he called the cops.

The courts and the press had a field day with the trial. They showed no mercy. Charlie was sent to prison on a multitude of charges.

Sam had warned him. Charlie played with fire and he got burned… to a crisp.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.


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