|Angel at Work Pt. I
by MorningStar ©
As she pulled the car into the parking garage adjacent to the office building, Shannon started to fret about the meeting she was going to. "Damn! I wasn't going to worry," she exclaimed to herself. Sitting there in the parked car, she took a moment to check her makeup in the mirror. Honey blonde, shoulder length hair swung around a graceful neck, big blue eyes sparkled back at her, naturally high cheekbones glowed as the full lips of her mouth smiled at her reflection. She had taken great care in her appearance this morning, wanting to make a sophisticated impression for her 22 years. Looking more closely at herself, she decided that checking in the mirror wasn't going to help. "Damn it all to hell....why does this guy have to be the only architect around who can do what I need done?.....why?...why?....why?!?!"
Swinging her long legs from the car unto the pavement, she got out and locked the door. Shannon glanced at the passenger seat where her blueprints and sketches lay in the brief case. She stomped her foot in frustration as she looked at her watch and put the key back in the lock. Twenty minutes till her appointment. She was still ok on time. Opening the door again, she leaned across the seat to pick up the materials. "Alright, Shannon O'Malley!" she scolded herself, "Enough is enough. Now get your shoulders back and get ready to face the lion in his den. You know what you want done and he's gonna do it for you. You don't have to like him to work with him!"
Shannon was on her own for the first time in her life. Having grown up in Charleston, the only child of a CEO for a major shipping firm, she hadn't lead a "hard" life, but she wasn't spoiled either. Her parents had worked hard to get where they were and her Irish ancestors instilled a desire to achieve in all the generations previous. It was Shannon's grandmother O'Malley who had taught her the importance of family values and heritage. That same grandmother had given her the opportunity to take on the challenge before her now, the restoration of the family ancestral home. She had inherited the house and property when her grandmother died last year, along with the ample funds necessary to make the restoration possible. Shannon's desire was to live there in comfort as well as return her home to it's two hundred year old splendor. The three story, brick home needed some loving care inside and out. Over the years each generation had changed a few things until it looked like a hodge-podge. Shannon and her grandmother had spent many years dreaming together of how they would put it all back to the way it was when it was built. Well almost....they had decided to still have indoor plumbing and a modern kitchen.....but hidden in the interior design.
Smiling to herself, she remembered the summers she had spent living with Nana, waiting for the time they could fix the house to match their dreams. Nana would never see that now....but Shannon promised her the night Nana died that it would get finished. Now was the time. Unfortunately, there was only one person who could do it right. Walking across the foyer, past the reception desk, she never noticed the appreciative looks she received form the males present. Shannon never did. Her knee length hunter green skirt swirled slightly as she walked toward the elevator. Her matching blazer was set off by the pure white fitted blouse underneath. At five foot nine inches, she looked like a model, but didn't know it. The slight smile on her face faded as she entered the elevator. She didn't want to go to the meeting. The man thought she was a joke. She had to prove to him she wasn't....she just had to.
When Shannon had first inherited the property where she now lived in New Orleans, she hadn't made a very good impression on the neighbors. The older section of town was inhabited by families who had been there for generations. True, so had her family and she had visited there each summer. But that was the time of year most of the locals left town. So she didn't know too many of them nor did they know her. The residents didn't like having new-comers moving into their neighborhoods and changing things. Shannon wished she could figure out what "things" they were afraid of, so she could reassure them that she wasn't a threat. But so far, since she had moved in 2 months ago in May, no neighbor had even come over to say hello. No one except...the guy across the street and that hadn't been a pleasant encounter at all.
As the elevator approached the 10th floor office where her appointment was, she remembered with clarity the afternoon she had moved her belonging into Nana's house. The movers had just left and she was sitting on one of the crates left to be unpacked. Having spent the previous 4 hours trying to coordinate the three burly men who unloaded the truck, all she wanted to do was take a nap. But until she found the box marked "linens"...that wasn't possible. Fortunately the utilities were on and she had found the tea kettle. She filled the pot with water and set it on the stove to heat. She was going to settle for a cup of mint tea. As Shannon looked around at the chaos of boxes surrounding her, the door bell rang.
"Oh great!. That's all I need," she complained to herself, "company now!!" Rising form her makeshift seat, Shannon looked down at her rumpled T-shirt and dusty jeans. Brushing her hands over them, she glanced at her reflection in the foyer mirror near the front door. Dirt smudges covered one cheek, her ponytail was coming undone...."Perfect timing," she thought, "I'm a mess." Looking at the beveled glass door, she was startled to see it filled with the shadow of a very tall man. Intimidating to someone even of her height. "Well, if the neighbors come calling," Nana used to say, "Open the door with a smile and invite them in". But Shannon didn't think Nana had ever seen anyone as imposing as this person appeared to be.
The shadow turned to leave as she opened the door and called out, "Hello". The figure turned at her voice with a scowl on his face.
"I wondered where the hell you were!" he growled at her.
"I beg your pardon?" Shannon exclaimed. The man was taller than she had imagined. Standing well over six foot, he towered above her as he climbed back onto the front veranda. The tight fitting jeans he wore emphasized his form. Unwillingly, Shannon's eyes traveled up the length of his body as he leaned against the porch's railing. Work boots crossed at his ankles, long muscular legs, trim waist, broad chest with arms crossed, wide shoulders, neatly trimmed dark hair, a mouth that was made for........."Hold on Shannon..." she thought to herself, "If he would only smile I bet his eyes would shine instead of flash daggers at me."
"Well?" he said slowly. "Get a good enough look?" The sarcasm in his voice dripped like honey off a spoon. "Or should I turn around so you can get the full view?"
Feeling the blush creep up her neck, Shannon tried to compose herself and asked the stranger once again.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Your movers left garbage in the street," he told her as he turned to walk down the sidewalk to the yard gate. "You'd better go get it before someone runs into it on the street and has an accident." His last comment was thrown over his shoulder as he closed the gate behind him
I never ! !" The blush in her cheeks grew into fury as Shannon watched
the man enter the house across from hers. " No hello..... no I'm
your new neighbor....no, can I help you pick up the boxes out here?....."
Some welcome, she thought. Just then a gust of wind lifted one of the
stray boxes out of the driveway into the street. Shannon dashed out to
get it. By the time she had cleaned up the mover's mess outside and made
her way wearily back into the house, the tea kettle had boiled dry. Fighting
back the frustration of being tired, hungry and alone, she climbed the
stairs to her front bedroom and collapsed on the bed, not caring that
there weren't any sheets to lie on.
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