Summertime Baggage

dark chocolate, caramelHalfway through the third piece of chocolate, my apartment bell rang.

Too late for a UPS delivery or for a friend to stop by.

Definitely too late for Bob (see last week’s The Wrong One...).

I hit my pink-manicured finger on the speaker and asked, “Yes?” Only it sounded more like, “Yethhh?” since I was swallowing the last bit of dark chocolate caramel.

“Sloan?” a male voice inquired.  “Ms. Molly Sloan?”

I had a bad feeling about this, but I couldn’t deny the inevitable.

“That’s me!” I admitted too cheerily.

The man sighed with vigor. “Thank God. I hope I’m not too late!”

“For what?” My mouth was pressed up against the speaker and, weirdly, I felt like I was having an intimate conversation with a stranger who, somehow, I knew.

“I believe you have my suitcase,” he blurted out.

I hit the ENTER button, and with that buzz, my life became forever altered.

But of course, I didn’t know that. Instead, I ran to the brown suitcase still sitting on my bed, threw the box of candy on top of the negligee and bathrobe, zipped up the bag, and placed it on the hallway floor.

The quick knock on my front door caused me to jump. What was the matter with me? I had nothing to feel guilty about.

I wiped the lingering chocolate off my lips, revising my indignation. Well, I had little reason to feel guilty.

But when I peered through the peephole, I gasped. Then I opened the door. The man’s look was one of confusion and, perhaps, embarrassment. “Do I know you?” he asked.

Relieved that he didn’t remember, I deflected his question. “You’re carrying a brown suitcase just like mine,” I replied.

With earnest hazel eyes and lips that lifted a bit crookedly, the man explained: “I got to the baggage area late.” He carried his sincerity well on a tall cyclist’s frame that wore his khaki slacks and button-down shirt with nary a wrinkle. “This suitcase was one of the few left on the carousel. It looked exactly like the one I checked in at the airport.”

“So you flew in from Tampa also?” I tried to not appear overly curious but invited him to come inside with a swing of my hand. His eyes swiftly scanned the room: tan couch and two comfy side chairs, a tall antique bookcase stuffed with hardback books, a thriving green plant overlooking curtained windows. 

“Nice place,” he said, then answered, “Yes, one-day business trip. 3D.”

“Aha,” I answered. “Visiting family. 21D.”flying economy, switched baggage

His booming laugh bounced against my lonely walls.

“Derek,” I said, softly.

His expression changed from blank to a dawning realization.

[Who’s Derek? The first one who guesses the right answer gets a copy of my book: The Right Wrong Man. (E-book for an outside-the-US winner.) Final installment of this flash fiction story next week…]

92 thoughts on “Summertime Baggage

  1. Hmmm, this is very tantalizing!
    Who’s Derek? We know that he’s from Tampa, Florida. He has an athletic frame and earnest hazel eyes….and currently in a relationship with another woman.
    An acquaintance….not yet a lover…but soon to change her life?
    I can’t wait to read more!

      • Oh man! Now I’m even more curious! It was Charlotte and Andrew in the bookstore…but it does have that familiar feel. They didn’t sit next to each other on the plane (3D and 22D). And you said I had SOME of the clues right, so they were lovers in the past! Must have been short and long ago…or he has a very bad memory (for such an obviously romantic guy)!

    • You are a star, Jill, because you also gave The Right Wrong Man an excellent review. xo Yes, this “wrong one” is a totally different story of some people who just need a little push to find each other. Oh, that was such a good clue…!!!!

  2. You have me in suspense here , how long do we have to wait until all is revealed?
    I did note that she said “Derek” softly. Ohh..so there is or has been something going on.😉💕

  3. I don’t think Derek could be a recent lover, if he didn’t remember her at first. Perhaps her old high school boyfriend? Well done, Pam!
    I thought at first this was going to be a story about your recent flight. 🙂

    • Ha Ha. Merril, I survived my flight and now have pushed it to the dark recess of my mind – until I have to return next week. ACK. In the meantime, who would want to talk to a recent lover who FORGOT you? That, indeed, would be a different kind of story. 🙂

  4. Am enjoying this story! Great job!
    I think Derek was someone she had met long ago. They had a little 1 week fling when he was on a business trip and then they parted ways, but she never forgot.

  5. I think that Derek is the cat who just walked into the room carrying something he swiped from the man’s suitcase earlier while the narrator was eating chocolate. The cat’s presence will confirm that our narrator was nosy– and that’s what the man is realizing.

  6. Sounds like Derek must have camped out in the wrong room some time before. Mix up in rooms then and mixup in bags now. They are destined to be together. I love this story. Can’t wait for more.

  7. I’m going to guess Derek is an old school friend. On the other hand, if he was Derek–AKA Dr. McDreamy–from Grey’s Anatomy, that wouldn’t be so bad either. 😉

  8. Gee whiz, Pamela, you and your mysteries. Derek is some lover or was almost a lover from her past. But maybe not. Anyhow, I love nice mysteries that don’t involve violence. I still must get your other book, the one about “right’ or ‘wrong” or something or the other about a man. I’m so sorry, I’m too lazy to look it up. 🙂

    • I’m so happy that my hook has got you hooked and guessing, Patricia. I love ‘clever’ – that word is not used enough. You’ve made my day. See you next Friday…! xo

    • That would have been a bit of a drive for you, Gerlinde (75 minutes?). But one of these days we will meet up – I’m determined! I’m due a trip down to your beautiful town. The Library Presentation on Birds of Paradise was full house and loads of fun. Now I’m enjoying some of this hot sun on the SF Bay before I return home. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! xo

  9. The future grandfather of your grandchildren? Is that who Derek is….?

    Ah we do enjoy your style of writing and your humor. But like any good series, we are left wanting more…. Positively tragic that we can’t fast forward past the commercials to the next installment.

    Peta (& Ben)

    • Thanks for the smiles, you two. I wrote the last part of the lost baggage series on the plane flying across country and was rather shocked to discover the answer. Hold on to your hats (sandals?) and be ready for the ‘rest of the story’ next Friday. ❤

    • Thanks for being an interested involved reader of this fun 3-part fiction series, Andrea. Sometimes I just have too much fun with these stories. 🙂 The ending will hopefully be quite enlightening. xo

  10. heylookawriterfellow—don’t know if I can reply to a replier lol…but I just loved your funny comment…
    so that would be like a fuller brush man or an insurance salesman, but he carries negligees and chocolates!!!! LOLLOL
    can’t wait to hear the end of this story, Pam!!!!

  11. Yeah, so glad she tucked into the chocolates!!😃 This is a lovely tasty middle section with SO many questions raised…hmm…somehow I’m beginning to pity Derek but not sure why and probably way off the mark! I look forward to the grand finale!😃

    • I think Derek would appreciate your empathy for his situation. Check out the final installment (today’s post) to see if he came out of this situation in better shape. 🙂

  12. Ohhh I’m reading the second installment and loving it! I laughed when she threw the half-eaten box of chocolates back into the suitcase 😉 As for why he looks familiar, hmmm, I’m thinking they had a one night stand!! 😉

  13. This is great – I can picture everything so easily – especially the chocolates and Boston. I’m wondering why he’d have those things in his suitcase – maybe they were there for her all along? But then he didn’t recognize her, so I’ll have to guess either an old boyfriend or an obscure friend of Bob’s.

    • Aha! That would have been fun – if he’d planned those items in the suitcase all along. But…. the answer is different. Check it out in my final segment posted today – THE SWITCH. 🙂

  14. Pingback: THE SWITCH | roughwighting

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