It isn’t every day you trip and fall into the arms of your destiny. At least that’s how I described Parker to my friends. I was running late, of course, because I’m never on time, and was hurrying down the stairs of my apartment building (damn unreliable elevator) in 3-inch heels no less when I tripped and careened out of control. Luckily, I was close to the last step. Even luckier, Parker happened to be coming up the steps and he caught me before I broke my neck, or worse, my ankle.
I know you’re thinking love at first sight, but no. This isn’t that kind of story. I think it was like at first sight. He is, and I’m not exaggerating, smoking hot. But then I heard his voice. “‘Ello, Love…are you injured?” I’d always had a thing for the Brits.
As an actress, admittedly a B-lister, I can hold my own with gorgeous men. And I’m never tongue-tied, but at that moment I was the awkward teenager from my past with a crush on the star soccer player. (Our high school football team was pathetic.)
Finally, though, when I managed to catch my breath and find my voice, I said, “You smell really good.” Obviously, my brain was lagging behind.
Parker wasn’t turned off by my lack of social graces. Instead, he was charmed.
We exchanged names and numbers and then I’d hurried off to meet my agent. She had some scripts she wanted to talk to me about, future projects and appearances that could move me from the B-list to the coveted A-list. I’d planned to mention my contemplation of a drastic hairstyle change as well as the suspicion I had a stalker, or at the very least an anonymous admirer. But the whole time I’d been sitting in her office, all I could think about was Parker, his scent lingering on my jacket and cocooning me in a seductive world of possibilities.
Months passed and life felt like a carnival. I was on the carousel of romantic candlelit dinners and midnight showings of classic American movies; Broadway shows and stolen kisses; long, intimate conversations over fair trade coffee or expensive bottles of wine (depending on the time of day of course) and I didn’t want to get off. Until the day Parker turned out to be more devil than destiny.
It never occurred to me when I first fell into Parker’s arms that he’d been climbing those stairs to see me, despite us having never met. Never occurred to me that he was the person responsible for the middle-of-the-night phone calls I’d been getting, the calls without words, only heavy breathing. Even while we dated I still received those calls, just not as frequently, so how could I have guessed? It never occurred to me that he was responsible for my lost mail; as well as for small, inconsequential objects disappearing from my apartment. Things I thought I’d just misplaced, or perhaps lost in the crush of people in the subway, like a pair of earrings, a favorite scarf, a tube of lipstick.
And it never occurred to me I’d mistake the devil for my destiny. But I have the scars from his blade on my body, the nightmares reliving his jealous rage and the constant shadow of my new security force to remind me of a mistake that nearly cost me everything.
I gave Michael this prompt: Write something inspired by this quote by Marguerite Duras: “It was the men I deceived the most that I loved the most.”