A McFlurry of Activity by Jennifer Anthony

13 July 2008

If she had a hand free, Noelle would smack herself upside the head for agreeing to walk Graciela’s dog.

But both hands were clasped firmly on the leash, holding on for dear life as Socrates dragged her down the street.

“That is it,” Noelle said, digging her heels into the dirt around the bush the pooch had decided to mark. “You and I are going inside for a while.”

A small cloud of cologne wafted over, masking the not-so-pleasant scent from the shamed shrub. “Are you talking to the dog or me?”

Noelle turned to find Lance staring down at her, his eyes twinkling with bemusement. He had his arms crossed behind his back and stood rocking back and forth in his tennis shoes.

Noelle beamed. “Great timing! You can take this mutt off my hands. You’re even wearing the appropriate footwear.” She nodded at her own two feet, which were adorned in two-inch lavender heels.

“Of course,” Lance said. He pushed his left hand into the pocket of his jeans and took over the reins with his right. “I’ll run him ragged and deliver him back to you in no time flat.”

“And one-handed, no less,” Noelle said. “Tu es très, très fort.”

“I have no idea what you just said, but I’ll assume it’s a compliment. I’ll be back in twenty minutes, tops,” Lance said. He waited patiently for Socrates to finish up his business and then cried, “Let’s go!”

Noelle watched the two bound down the street and waited for them to turn the corner before racing up the steps to her apartment. She flipped her shoes off and ran on blistered feet to the bathroom, where the mirror revealed a wind-beaten face and lipstick that had feathered into the little lines around her mouth.

“Mon dieu,” she mumbled. She pulled out her makeup and set to work. She only had twenty minutes to perform some minor miracles.

When she was done, she locked her cat Jax in the bedroom, slipped on some sexy, open-toed sandals, pulled out her script from the play, and spread the paperwork over the couch to make it look as if she had been hard at work the entire time.

She had just settled onto the ottoman when a knocking sounded on the front door.

“Come on in,” she said. She could hear both the dog and the man panting.

Lance pushed the door open and Socrates wobbled inside and collapsed in a heap, his chest heaving. “Told you I’d wear him out,” Lance said.

“How can I ever pay you back?” Noelle said, smiling inside at the various scenarios running through her head.

Lance leaned back against the door. His left hand was still in his pocket while his right swabbed at his sweaty forehead. “No, it’s good for me. Clearly I haven’t been getting as much exercise as I should.”

“I haven’t seen you around much, that’s for sure. Well, if it’s exercise you need – ” Noelle started, struggling to remain poker-faced. “You can help me with this dance routine for my musical.”

Lance shook his head. “Oh, I’m not your man for that. I have two left feet.”

Noelle stood and sashayed over to him. She watched his eyes drop down her body, following her hips as they rocked back and forth. “Oh, you don’t need feet for this number. It’s all in the waist.”

She stopped a few feet short of him and began to croon, soft and low. “Big Mac Daddy, I’m just a little fry. But I’m gonna shake, shake, shake it, ‘til the day I die…”

Lance’s mouth was agape. He had forgotten all about the sweat trickling down his temples.

“It helps if you can pat out a beat for me. You’ll need both hands for that –”

When she pulled at his right hand, he stiffened. “Um –” he started.

“What is it?” Noelle asked. “Is it broken or something?”

“You could say that,” Lance said. He pulled his hand out and wiggled the bare fingers in the air. “Becky broke off the engagement last week.”

Noelle continued the song without missing a beat: “Life can seem like one big McFlurry. But with me by your side, you won’t have to worry…”

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Posted by Mirela Gluck at 05:21 PM
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