Welcome back to this week's Tuesday Tales. And thank you to everyone who visited and left a comment last week. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.
This week's prompt is 'Wishes'
“A source close to Pattie Cratchet revealed the film star told everyone at the New Year’s Eve party she wished she’d never entered the competition that brought her to the attention of today’s leading film director,.” The radio announcer’s plumy voice filled the elegant bedroom.
“According to the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, the world famous film star declared she missed her family and regretted that fame made it impossible to see them as often as she’d like.
“Records show that Ms. Cratchet comes third in the list of the most highly paid female film stars. For those who enjoy a less lucrative life this may seem surprising, as Ms Cratchet is often considered as the lady that has it all. Apparently, according to our informant, this is not the case.
“For someone who spends so much of her time in the public eye, very little is known about her personal life, and her family in particular."
“Turn that thing off.”
Her voice, muffled by the closed bathroom door, James took his time in responding. He’d lived with Pattie for seven years now, and the radio presenter’s comments brought home to him how little he too, knew of his partner’s life before they met.
“Why don’t you talk about them?” he asked when she entered the bedroom, one towel wrapped round her body and another round her head.
In the mirror he caught the shuttered expression on her face.
“Your family.” Stating the obvious, he sat up from where he’d been lounging against the pillows on the bed. “It’s true what that guy said. You never talk about them.”
It wasn’t anger he heard in her voice, nor was it indignation. She sat with her back to him and released the towel capping her wet hair, and dropped it on the floor. Her eyes, normally brimful with laughter were dark with emotion. The colour had drained from her face and without the mask of makeup, he noticed her pallor. Her throat bobbled.
Nerves, he wondered, or something more?
“Who was at the party last night that knows you so well they know something about your family, you don’t want revealed?”
“You have that backwards, James.”
A coldness he’d never heard in her voice before chilled him to the bone, and for a moment he regretted starting this conversation. But, he reminded himself, he’d suggested tonight’s dinner at a top restaurant to propose to her, to make their life together permanent. He dug his hand into his pocket and fingered the ring box tucked in there.
“Sheryl Stagwell is sore because she asked me if I had any brothers and I told her if I had I’d make sure she didn’t ever manage to get her avaricious claws into them.”
“That was asking for trouble,” James agreed with a grin, and rose from the bed and crossed the room to stand behind her and feather his fingers down her neck and over her shoulders and arms. “I don’t see them.”
Looking into the mirror, Pattie’s puzzled gaze met his satirical one.
“Claw marks, my dear. I don’t see any.”
With a gurgle of laughter, Pattie raised her arms, hooked her hands round the back of his neck and pulled his mouth down to meet hers.
“Randall pulled her away before she said anything else.” She switched on her hair dryer, and for several moments James watched her tease her hair into her preferred ‘naturally tousled’ look.
“Randall Stockman was there?” The presence of the world renowned classical pianist, and son of a former president, surprised him. He’d have been there himself if he hadn’t been wrapping up the final shoot of his own film, in London. He’d made it home to LA at four in the morning.
“Why not?” She tossed her head, sent him a defiant glare, inhaled a deep breath and added. “He’s my brother.”
The bottle of Pattie’s favourite scent he’d just picked up, slipped through his fingers, and fortunately, landed in the crumpled heap of damp towel.
“Randal Stockman is your brother?” Stunned into silence, his hand connected with the ring box. His partner was the daughter of a former president and he’d almost asked her to marry him. How had she managed to evade the publicity for so many years?
“See?” Sadness filled her voice and darkened her eyes. “Already your attitude to me is changing.” She clicked off the dryer. “All I’ve ever wanted is for the man in my life to see me for who I am, not for who my parents are.”
He couldn’t deny it. They’d lived together for seven years and in a second he’d begun to think of her differently. His fingers firmed round the little box and he pulled it from his pocket. Waiting for the right place, the right time, no longer mattered. Only Pattie mattered.
He dropped to one knee, took the dryer from her hand, tipped her chin up until she looked him in the eye.
“You’re right, I can’t deny it. For a second there, the thought of your influential family nearly sidetracked me. But in every other respect you are wrong. Nothing will deter me from asking you to marry me. I intended to ask you after dinner, but here and now feels more right.”
Her eyes rounded in surprise, narrowed with laughter and gleamed with delight.
Without a word she grabbed his head closer and kissed him, hard. “I love you so much. And for almost as long as I’ve known you I’ve wished to marry you. Now you’ve made my wish come true. Yes, I’ll marry you.”
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