tagRomanceFind Me Ch. 03

Find Me Ch. 03

by..Desired..©

Ondrea snapped her head up and stared at the wide open door.

"Ever heard of knocking, Franca?"

"Ever heard of locking the door?" She gave an appreciative whistle, "Nice undies by the way, very sex goddess."

Rea threw a pillow at her friend who dodged it and plopped down laughing on the bed.

"I wanted to see if you were ready, but apparently not."

"I was changing before you barged in." She quickly pulled on plum sweater and dark grey jeans.

"I still can't believe how good you look. I think I just might join your gym when we get back. You've inspired me."

Franca said the last comment more seriously, and Rea knew that she wasn't just referring to her body. A few years back she started to loose herself, and finding a way back is never easy.

She had always been very levelheaded, outspoken, and confident. She was ambitious, working hard to be in the top five of her class and with big hopes for the future. Not a social butterfly, Rea preferring a relaxing bath and mystery novel to a noisy club, but she did like to go out with her friends now and again, or on an occasional date.

Rea's parents got divorced when she was very young. Since then it had been only her and her mom. She had come to depend on her mother more than on any other person, she knew Ondrea through and through. Her mother was her confidant, her closest friend; they had a very special relationship. Her mom had been casually dating, but nothing serious ever came up, until Ferdinand. They had been dating for two years when he asked her to marry him. Ondrea was ecstatic when she heard the news; her mom deserved this so much. She later fought of any negative thoughts by focusing on how happy her mother was and how selfish Rea was being.

Lots of extended family came to town for the occasion and Rea was aviating aunt Claudia's arrival. Claudia was actually Rea's second cousin, but because of the 20 something age difference, she had always called her aunt. The woman vibrantly danced to her own tune, moving to Prague and joining the theater when Rea was five. She would come back to visit often; bring her old stage costumes and jewelry, as well as trinkets from her travels throughout the year. Her visits were always too short, no matter how long she stayed, and this time was no different.

Once her mother moved in with Ferdinand and Claudia went back home, Rea often found herself alone in the house with only her two cats keeping her company. Her mom came over often and they still did a lot together but it was different. Rea busied herself with school, she took on more courses then she could comfortably do and joined committee after committee, she was tired and stressed but it kept her occupied and away from evenings filled with film-noir and wine.

Writing to Claudia helped, the woman always had insight into everything and her optimistic nature rubbed off on everyone. A few years passed, and after a particularly bad week Rea got home to one of the much awaited letters. Her spirits brighter, she ripped it open and started reading. She wasn't greeted with delicate loops and swirls however, but her uncle's messy writing. Claudia had been in a nearly fatal accident and was now comatose and in a very bad state; the doctors gave a slim to none chance of recovery.

With every letter on Claudia's unchanging condition, Rea spiraled farther down into depression. Her marks dropped, she stopped going out, and wine filled evenings became more frequent. She put on a good show for everyone, acting as in her blood, but only Franca truly knew every dark detail about that time of Rea's life.

One day after arriving at an empty home once again to a letter from her uncle that contained no positive news, something snapped. Rea ran out into the crisp October air, the sun had already begun to set, casting a warm glow on the autumn foliage. The bright colours seemed to mock the way she was feeling so she ran faster, not paying attention to where she was going. She ran until her legs were on fire and it seemed that she could not get another breath through her lungs. Coming to a stop, Rea realized that she had run to a playground she used to visit when she was very young. She collapsed on a swing and cried quietly at what had become of her. She wasn't herself anymore, her mind in taters, a chaotic mess. Then she thought of Claudia and what the woman would say seeing her like this. Like a scarab, the thought buried itself into Rea's brain; it helped lead her back.

Ondrea kept running, when she ran all she felt was the pounding of her feet on the pavement, the movement of her body, the way sweat drops ran between her shoulder blades. Running became her drug; it was the only thing that kept her sane in moments of madness.

There was also another payoff which Rea didn't notice until people started to comment on how great she looked. Inspired, she joined a gym and worked her body hard, making it healthy and fit. She celebrated quietly by getting something she had always wanted, a tattoo. It was a small orange tiger, majestically lying below her right hipbone. It looked just like the statue her aunt had given her years ago. It reminded her of just how strong she was.

Not long after, she received another letter from Claudia's address. Rea felt a sharp pang in the pit of her stomach but forced herself to open the envelope. There was a whole letter written from her uncle, but Rea only saw the first line. There was a simple phrase written in the lovely loops and spirals she had loved since she was a kid. It said "I'm okay."

Rea smiled at that memory and unconsciously ran a hand over her tiger. She had been fine for a year now, only having occasional flare-ups. "Exercise is nice and all, but right now want to stuff my face."

She grabbed her key and they excited the room.

"You go on, I'll go get Stan and the rest and we'll meet you there."

The two women separated at the landing as Franca quickly made her way up and Rea went down. She was the only person there and was about to take a seat in one of the lobby armchairs when she saw a familiar face at the reception desk.

Grinning, she ran up to where he was standing and threw her arms around Ian in a tight hug, the kind of hug you give a close person after not seeing them for a year. What surprised her was how warmly he returned it.

Ian wasn't known for his emotional displays. He was quiet, reserved, an enigma. Rea was one of the few people who knew him well, which wasn't saying much. She figured that was what attracted her to him so many years ago. She loved a good game of hide-n-seek and Ian seemed to be skilled at hiding.

"What's this? A real hug and not one of those okay-you-hugged-me-now-let-me-go hugs you're so fond of?"

He didn't answer but instead lightly yanked her ponytail. She stuck her tongue out at him in response.

"Why the long delay?"

"Last minute family gathering, bad shrimp, you get the picture. Say, have you shrunk? You seem shorter..."

"No, actually I think you got into Alice's magic cookies. You're 23, stop growing!"

"You know I can't resist a good cookie. It's still good to see you though, even if you are a midget."

She scowled at him. At least Ian hadn't changed. Their conversation flowed easily, as if not a year but only a few hours passed since they last saw each other. "On a side note, do you want to take your stuff upstairs and join us for lunch?"

"Would love to, I'm starving!

"We went through the menu and everything looks really good, I think we're rarely going to go out." They made their way up the stairs and to the end of the hall, arriving at room 2D. Rea opened the door and walked into the now familiar surrounding.

"Well, here's our room."

"Our?"

"Mhmm, we're roomies for the week." She grabbed the second key of the top of the dresser and tossed it to Ian.

"But there's..."

"Yeah, were sharing the bed."

He smiled. "Actually I was going to say that there's no TV."

"Oh! Yeah, there's one in the closet. I guess I just assumed about the bed thing."

"Naw, I'll deal. I can tolerate you snoring in my personal space; if it was anyone else I'd demand to be moved elsewhere. Plus you're tiny, so it's not even sharing, just making sure I don't roll you over."

"Har, har. How's the weather up there?"

They left the room and made their way down the stairs finding everyone already there. Kegan whistled suggestively when he saw Rea and Ian together; they chose to ignore it. After a round of small talk all around, the six made their way towards the dinning hall.

The hall was large and spacious. Just as the lobby, it had signature log walls, except for the left one which was all glass. There were five window sections in total, each one framed by rich, brown draperies. Variously sized circular tables dressed in white tablecloths were placed throughout the room; on everyone one there was a potted white hyacinth. To the right was the buffet which emitted delectable aromas.

Everyone grabbed a plate and pilled on their lunch. Rea chose a turkey breast fried with mushrooms and red peppers, a fresh garden salad and some spicy potato wedges. Since the lunch crowd had watered down, they had no problem finding a table for six. The food tasted even better than it smelled and for a long while everyone sat quietly and concentrated on their plates.

"Mmm! Rey you have to try some of this, it's not as good as yours but it is so close."

Rea forked a piece of quiche of Constantine's plate. Placing it in her mouth she chewed it thoughtfully.

"It really is good. I think I'll have it for lunch tomorrow."

Once their stomachs were full and their plates empty, they started deciding how to spend the afternoon.

"We came here to ski, so why not go ski?"

Franca turned Connor down. "We have a whole week for skiing Con, I was thinking of something more interesting."

"Skiing is interesting! Who put you in charge anyway? Just because you don't want to go doesn't mean everyone else doesn't!"

"Did anyone express an interest when you mentioned skiing? No! Nobody said we had to do stuff together all the time. You want to go skiing so bloody much then go!"

"They didn't say anything because you gave them no chance too!"

"Guys, relax! I'm sure we can find something to do that won't result in murder." The conversation was getting too heated and Rea decided to put a stop to it.

She nudged her friend's foot under the tables. "Stan you owe me five bucks. They barely lasted four hours."

They all laughed at that and the argument was forgotten as soon as it started. Franca and Connor got into fights over nothing all the time and they made up just as quickly.

The final decision was to go unpack and relax a little after the long trip; at night they would go out for dinner in one of the trendy clubs located close to the skiing village.

***

"Whose idea was it to go 'clubbing' anyway?" Ian asked, looking very disgruntled as he sorted the rest of his stuff.

"Oooh I never heard it sounds so dirty. You have a talent my friend." Rea snickered at the face he made. "And it was Franca's, were you not paying attention?"

"No, I zoned out after she starting talking really fast about...something."

"I figured. You had a really glazed look on your face almost the whole time. I was tempted to start throwing spitballs at you."

"You should have! I would have been aware of the fact that she proposed something so stupid and stopped it. I just won't go. I brought some work I need to finish so I'll have some time to complete it."

"You brought work on a vacation? I'm pretty sure that's blasphemy."

Rea had quickly finished unpacking and was lying on the bed flipping through the channels of the small TV that was hidden away in the tiny built in closet. Having found 'Gone with the Wind' she put aside the remote and stretched out like a lazy cat, changing her attention to Ian.

He had let his dark brown hair grow out; it now hung messily below his chin. His face wasn't typically handsome, but she had always found something appealing about it. He had a high forehead, a long nose which was slightly hooked to the left due to a childhood accident and a masculine jaw. She was glad to see he had finally grown into his shoulders. Ian had always been very tall and lean with large shoulders that looked awkward on his frame, as if he had forgotten to remove the clothe hanger from his shirt. He was still thin, but somehow he had filled out in all the right places. She had been so distracted with her observations that she was startled when Ian spoke.

"You're actually watching that horrid film?"

"I've never seen the ending."

"Then stop while you're ahead." For a while he made overly dramatic faces and gestures mimicking the script.

She laughed. "I'll make you a deal. I'll turn off the movie, if you go with us to the club and actually try to have some fun this week."

Ian grimaced; Scarlet had just started another one of her diva moments. "Fine, nothing can be worse than this movie."

"It will be fabulous. We'll laugh at the snow bunnies, get drunk and dance badly. In that order. Good times will be had."

"I'm sure they will be, but I'm not dancing."

"That's part of the deal though. When you got to a dance club, you are legally bound to dance."

"Well I'll get a lawyer. There is no way I'm dancing."

"Not even boozed up?"

"How much booze are we talking about here?"

Just then, Franca rushed in like a very happy tornado and swept Rea up to the room she shared with Constantine.

"Why did you drag me here? I was just about to convince Ian to get his groove on with us, and after that I was going to have my nap."

"There's no time for a nap, we're leaving in two hours."

"Yes, and for an hour and a half of those two I could be sleeping."

"Sorry to ruin your plans, but I am going to beautify you. Tonight you shall be the ultimate vixen, desired by all, attainable by none! Except for me, but I'm your secret lesbian lover, so that's ok." She went of to gather small bags and brushes, bottles and tubes.

Rea snorted at the old joke and watched Franca rush around the room which looked like it was run over by three natural disasters. Suitcases were open on the beds, the floor; clothes were thrown messily all over in what seemed to be a very complex filing system. Stan sat on the bed with curlers in her hair wearing an amused and slightly frightened expression, apparently Franca already got to her.

"Come, my pretty, have a seat and I will commence the transformation!"

Rea sat in the chair in front of her friend who immediately attacked Rea's hair with gels and sprays. The three of them chatted while Franca busied herself with her masterpiece. They haven't had a long girly talk in a while. Even though they went to the same university, they only met once a week at best, during which time they talked about upcoming tests, group projects, insomnia and other school related things. It felt good to be able to talk about silly and pointless topics.

"Hmm...I think that ought to do it." Franca said stepping back and looking over Rea once more. "Alright, you go get dressed and I'll do my magic on Stan here. Your outfit is in the bathroom. Be careful and don't mess up your makeup or hair."

Franca seemed set on creating club goddesses of them, so Rea decided to go along with it. In the bathroom she found the selected clothing carefully hanged on a chair. It consisted of a turquoise tank with mock lace-up detail, a black shrug with sequence on the high collar, low waisted black pants, some sparkly heels, a big choker and dangly earrings. Putting everything on, Rea looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She had to admit, Franca knew what she was doing.

Her look was glamorous and perfect for the nighttime. Shades of copper and green played up her big brown eyes and suited her olive complexion. Shimmering powder accentuated her high cheekbones and décolleté and her lips were accented with a hint of bronze. Her hair was carefully slicked back and pinned into a messy up-do. The outfit was sexy without being trashy and it was comfortable. It hugged her curves but wasn't tight and the heels added some height to her 5'3 frame.

Ondrea came out and found that Stan was already changed and was being treated with a heavy coat of hairspray to keep her short black shag in the flipped out style. Franca had dressed her in a deep green top with asymmetric sleeves, cropped brown pants, gold heels and bangles. It was quite a transformation.

"Now I realize why you had so many suitcases, you brought your whole closet with you!" Rea remarked.

"Well I figured we'd have a night or two on the town while we were here and I always wanted to make you two over so I saw this as my chance. It's like playing with dolls, but better! Now just give me a few minutes to get dressed and we'll go."

She took much less time to get herself dolled up and was soon out of the bathroom. She wore a tight navy dress with long sleeves, a plunging neckline and mid-thigh hemline, black knee-length boots, purple tights and a large sparkly necklace. She left her blond hair in soft curls and indulged in a deep indigo eye colour that made her blue eyes pop. "We look too good for clubbing. I heard that the place is pretty posh though, so it won't be a total waste. C'mon girls, lets go fetch our boys and hit the town. The night is young and so are we so let's go enjoy it."

The girls collected Connor and Kegan and headed down, stopping on the second floor landing while Rea went to get Ian.

Walking into the room, she found him sitting on the bed; one leg was stretched in front of him and the other bent, supporting a notebook in which he was writing. He looked so concentrated on his task that it seemed a shame to distract him.

"Hey Ian, we're ready to go."

Turning to face her he looked at her over the top of glasses. She noticed him give her a slow once over.

"You look good. Not really like yourself though." He stood up and placed his notebook and glasses on the bedside table.

"Flatterer." Rea wondered how he managed to look so good in only a black dress shirt and jeans; sometimes she envied men for their simple wardrobes and lack of primping rituals.

"I try."

In the hallway they were greeting by Francesca and Connor yelling for yet another reason nobody seemed to know. Sighing Rea hurried to where everyone stood and put out the fire. Franca linked arms with her and Stan and they strutted off giggling themselves silly.

Rea smiled as they headed out into the night; it was good to be back.

***

Hey everyone. Thank you for all of your comments and e-mails. They have been very encouraging. Sorry that it's taking me a while to get the chapters out, it's mid-term time right now so I'm swamped with school. I know that the story is developing a bit slower then some people like it, but I just wanted to give it a thorough background before getting into the juicer stuff.

-D

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