|© Pares1 | Dreamstime.com|
The Name Game
Raye Anne frowned when the doorbell ripped her out of her imaginary world and into the real one. She saved her manuscript and reluctantly went to answer the summons.
“Hello.” She mouthed a greeting as she swung the door open, then stepped back, surprised. UPS delivered packages to her almost daily, but the only thing familiar about this man was his uniform.
He did look good in it. From the tanned, muscled legs beneath his short pants to a pair of amazing blue-gray peepers, he made that drab outfit look fine.
“Well? Will I do?” A hint of humor turned up one corner of his lips and added a teasing sparkle to his eyes.
Raye Anne blushed. She’d ogled him as if he were a chocolate dessert. “I’m so sorry. You’re just—you’re not Sam!” Sam never saw the day he looked this good.
His laughter sent a ridiculous ripple up her spine. “Gary. Sam’s on vacation.” He cocked his head and repeated his question. “So…will I do?”
“Of course.” She lifted her chin, trying to achieve some semblance of dignity. “You have something for me?”
He glanced at the box in his hand. “I do if you’re R. A. Summers.”
“That’s me.” Raye Anne scribbled an indecipherable signature on the little electronic device he thrust toward her.
“What do the initials stand for?” Nice voice, deep and resonant.
“Hmm. I’m not sure I should tell you.”
“That’s OK.” He grinned and waved as he trotted off toward his waiting delivery van. “I’ll find out on my own.”
She rolled her eyes and returned to work, but it took some time to get her mind off the new delivery guy and back on her story. Not a good thing for an author on a tight deadline.
When the doorbell pealed through the house the next afternoon, she didn’t even bother to hit save before she answered it.
“Hi.” She signed again and took the new package. “Thanks.”
“Sure.” He grinned. “Regina Anne?”
“No, but you’re halfway there. The ‘A’ stands for Anne.” She hiked a brow and gave him a teasing grin.
“OK, here’s the deal. When I get it right, you go to dinner with me.”
She hesitated. He seemed nice enough, but she didn’t make a habit of going out with strangers.
His lopsided grin tugged at her heartstrings. “Come on, R.A. I’d like to know you better. You can bring your own car if you’d like, and leave whenever you’re ready. Besides…” He grinned. “You can always ask my brother about me. You know Ken Jamison, right?”
Raye Anne laughed. Everyone in their small town knew Pastor Ken. “Deal, but only if you guess my name. And no fair asking your brother.”
“Works for me.”
The next morning Raye Anne gave her hair more than cursory attention, and even applied a small amount of makeup, which she rarely did unless she was going somewhere. Even as she brushed a touch of color onto her cheeks, she chided herself for behaving like a schoolgirl with a crush. But it didn’t stop her from keeping an eye out the window for anything brown.
“Hey, you look nice,” Gary greeted her that afternoon.
She grinned and handed him the signed box. “Nice try.”
“Wrong again.” She stepped back and started to close the door. “Better luck next time.”
On Thursday, she heard the van when it parked out front, and forced herself to wait a moment before answering the door.
“Package for R.A. Summers.” This guy was short, a little chunky and a lot older.
Disappointed, she thanked the new man and returned to work.
The same driver showed up the next day, which meant she wouldn’t see Gary again this week. Shoving her disappointment aside, she carried the delivery back to her desk.
It wasn’t the usual gallies or rejected manuscripts. Curious, she checked the addressee. “Miss Raye Ann Summers.”
Not R.A., so it wasn’t related to her writing career. No return address either. That’s odd.
She opened the box and gasped. A copy of her first book, published before she started using a pen name, lay under a handwritten note. “Requesting the company of Miss Raye Anne Summers. Tonight, 6 p.m., The Secret Garden.” Gary’s signature made her smile, as did the scribbled postscipt: “Nice name.”
He’d done it. And somehow he’d decided on her favorite French restaurant, as well. Not even attempting to wipe the grin off her face, she shut down the computer.
No imaginary world today. She had a real date with the handsome UPS man—by special delivery.