Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Playing House by Jodi Olson--Chapter One

Mark Mitchell yawned and shifted in the truck seat.

It’d been a long day. He’d been on the road for sixteen hours,

making a few stops along the way to stretch his legs, fill up

with gas and get a bite to eat. Other than that he hadn’t


As the day turned to evening he pulled in to the nearest

motel getting the last available room. The desk clerk said there

was a rush on rooms an hour ago due to a convention. Mark

noticed the bar across the street and thought about knocking

back a couple of cold ones. Then he’d take a shower and hit

the sheets.
Even at this time of night, the heat and humidity was

oppressive, rivulets of sweat running down his back. Oklahoma

City seemed so crowded to him, too big and busy for his taste;

he couldn’t wait to leave. After a good night’s sleep he only had

tomorrow’s drive and he’d be home.

Mark took off his hat, wiping the sweat from his forehead

as he entered the bar. He ran his fingers through his dark brown

hair, a useless attempt to put some order to hours of hat hair. He

pulled his t-shirt away from his sweaty torso wondering if he

should have taken a shower before coming over for his beer.

The bar was crowded; full of men in suits and ties and

women in dresses and power suits. He felt out of place, the only

one in jeans and a t-shirt. He saw three women sitting alone give

him the once over when he walked in the door. One of them

gestured for him to turn around so she could see him from the

back. Embarrassed, Mark smiled, but did as she asked. The

woman winked at him, mouthing, “Great ass!” Mark nodded,

smiled, and went to the end of the bar to order that much needed


An overworked bartender approached, “What will it be?”

“A beer and a steak sandwich if you have one.”

The bartender brought his order and Mark relaxed, eating

his sandwich and drinking his beer. He tried to ignore the noisy
conventioneers and thought about leaving, but ordered another


He watched the woman three stools away nursing a fancy,

fruity drink. Mark couldn’t handle those fruity drinks; a beer

was his beverage of choice. He looked at her drink again but

couldn’t imagine what it might be.

From where he sat, he could see that she was beautiful Her

long dark blonde hair fell down onto her back , her green eyes

sparkled with rims of gold capturing the faint light of the bar.

Her breasts, high and firm, strained against the green silk dress

that showed off her beautiful curves.

Mark was a breast man. Hell, who was kidding, he liked

everything on a women. The only thing he didn’t like was if

they were too skinny and this woman definitely was not skinny.

She had curves in all the right places and he preferred a woman

of substance, not just skin and bones.

His timing was perfect as he finished his beer and the

bartender set the next beer down in front of him. Mark couldn’t

take his eyes off the woman. Unfortunately, his jeans were

growing tight as his thoughts envisioned her in a much different surrounding. He needed to get back to his room, take a much

needed shower, preferably cold if his thoughts didn’t change

soon, and get some rest.

Kathryn absently stirred her drink and mulled over her

dilemma. She was due to inherit a large sum of money from

her father but there were problems, some of her own making,

but problems nonetheless. Her father left her a substantial

inheritance in his will, but only if she was married by the age

of thirty. Her thirtieth birthday was the day after tomorrow, and

she was still single. That complicated things because six months

earlier Kathryn told her mother she was married, happily married

to a hot cowboy. She’d lied to her mother, telling her she

hadn’t told her about the marriage before now because she and

her new husband had been so busy since the wedding they just

hadn’t had time…too much work.

Now her mother was expecting them, Kathryn and her

non-existent husband, for a short visit. Kathryn had felt the lie

was worth the reward. Once her mother saw how happily

married she was there would be no problem in getting her

inheritance. The problem was Kathryn was due at her mom’s

tomorrow…and she had no ‘hot cowboy husband’.

The bartender stopped to see if Kathryn wanted another

drink. He flirted with her but she wasn’t paying any attention.

She wanted a cowboy, not a bartender.
Kathryn smiled as she looked at Mark. “I think I’ll
change my drink to Get Laid. That sounds like a good one to

try, don’t you think?”

Mark had a mouthful of beer and spit it all over the bar.

They were both laughing.

“Hey, you OK over there, mister?” she asked him.

“Yea, I’m fine, just never heard of that drink. Guess

cowboys only drink whiskey or beer. I’m curious what’s in a
Get Laid, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Well, 1 oz of vodka, ¾ oz of raspberry schnapps, fill the

glass to about an inch from the top with pineapple juice, add
a splash of cranberry juice and you have a Get Laid. They’re

really good. You get used to them after you’ve had a couple.”

Mark grimaced, the drink didn’t sound good to him, too

sweet, too fruity. He nodded to Kathryn. “Think I’ll stay with
beer Ma’am. Get Laid doesn’t sound like a drink for a cowboy.”

“So you’re a cowboy? I love cowboys! In fact I’m supposed

to be married to one right now.” Kathryn took another

sip of her drink. She needed to stop drinking or she would say

more than she intended to this stranger.

“What do you mean by you’re supposed to be married?

Where’s your husband?” Several thoughts ran through Mark’s

head as he waited for her answer. She didn’t look married, hell

she wasn’t even wearing a ring.

“Well cowboy it’s a long story,” she said. She took her

drink, stood up from the stool, and walked over to Mark.

Kathryn got close to him and crinkled up her nose. ”Did

anyone ever tell you that you smell like cow shit? You make

my eyes water.”

“Believe me lady, I know what I smell like; unfortunately;

it goes with the job. It’s money and it pays my bills so I

can’t complain.”

“How much money can there be in cleaning up cow shit?

I can’t believe there would be much money in that. Would you

like to do a job for me instead? It would keep you from

stinking that’s for sure, and you’d make a lot of money in a

short period of time, cowboy!”

Mark silently wondered what her “job” might be. He

didn’t need her money, he had enough money, so why was he

even considering her offer? With another look at her he knew

why, and it had nothing to do with money.

“Doing what? Hell, I don’t even know your name. Mind

sharing that with me?” Mark yawned, the long day was catching

up, he was getting sleepy but he didn’t want to leave just

yet. He bet her story was a good one and he wanted to hear it.

“I will pay you to be my husband for a few days while I

go see my mother and get my inheritance money.”

Laughing, Mark pushed his hat back on his head and

placed his beer on the bar. “You have to be kidding, right?”

“No, I’m not kidding. My father died leaving me some

money, actually a lot of money, but he had in his Will that by

the time I was thirty and I had to be married to get that money.

Well I’m nearly thirty and single. I told my mother I was

married to a cowboy and we were very happy. My name is

Kathryn Moore, my father was Kelvin Moore. Have you ever

heard of him?”

“Well Kathryn, no I haven’t heard of him, but then I don’t

get a chance to read the local papers and I don’t live around

here either. I’m just passing through on my way home. I’ve

been driving all day and now that I’ve had some food and a

few beers all I want to do is get in a hot shower and crawl into

bed. I still have a long drive in the morning so I’ll call it a

night. It was nice chatting with you and good luck on finding

that cowboy.”

Mark rose and walked past her, tipping his hat as he went

out the door.

Kathryn ordered another drink, sipped it and considered

her options. She couldn’t figure out what to do about her life.

She took the unused wedding rings rings out of her purse and

stared hopelessly at them. Shaking her head she got up and

resignedly walked out the door, defeat evident on her face.

Kathryn decided she needed a room for the night and went to

the motel. Finding no vacancies pushed her mood to a new

low. Dejectedly she left the lobby only to meet Mark again at

the ice machine. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Hello lady, I see you’re staying here too. Find your

cowboy yet?”

“No! I didn’t find my cowboy, or any cowboy. And I

don’t have a room here since they are all filled up. Just isn’t

my day I guess,” she snarled at him.

“Well I have a room with two beds and you’re welcome

to sleep in the extra one if you want. I still won’t be that

cowboy you want though.” He extended a hand, “My name is

Mark Mitchell.”

“Thanks for the use of the extra bed Mark.” Kathryn

smiled seductively, “Maybe by morning I can convince you to

change your mind on the other.”

“I doubt it.” Mark turned and walked toward his room

with Kathryn happily in tow.

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