Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.
As Dani drifted off to sleep, her mind was filled with the romance of the novel she had just finished reading. Beautiful heroine meets hunky hero; they set sparks off each other, disliking each other intensley. But, of course, time changes all that and it isn’t long before other kinds of sparks begin to ignite. After working through some misunderstandings that involve a cast of secondary characters, they realize they’re crazy about each other and end up having a dreamy wedding and jetting off to the Bahamas for the perfect honeymoon.
Dani sank into deep slumber, enjoying the luxury of her down comforter and her perfect pillows.
She’d been asleep for exactly three hours and twenty minutes. Of course, she didn’t know that. All she knew was that a loud, clanging noise woke her rudely from her delicious slumber. Sirens were screaming, glass was breaking, and she realized she was choking on thick, viscous smoke. What on earth. . . .?
She sat up, rubbing the fog from her eyes, when a huge apparition in a funny hat emerged from the darkness. The thing scooped her up in both arms, and she realized it was a fireman in full gear, face mask and all. She wanted to giggle because he looked like ET, but she was coughing too much to laugh.
Embarrassed, she grabbed her comforter from the bed as ET carried her out of the bedroom and through the living room of her apartment, which was on the ground floor. When he took her outside, the fresh air was like nectar sliding down her scratchy throat. Nothing had ever felt better.
Coughing, Dani wrapped the comforter around herself and squinted up at the fireman, who had removed his mask.
Oh, wow. Talk about hunky!
“No, wait, I must be dreaming still,” Dani thought.”This is way too much like one of those formula story romances.”
A stern voice interrupted her thoughts. “Lady, it’s a good thing your smoke alarm went off and alerted your neighbors! You must have been sleeping pretty hard not to hear it.”
“Wha–what happened? Where did the fire start? How–”
“Don’t know yet. You weren’t smoking in bed or anything stupid like that, were you?”
“What? Of course not! I don’t even smoke! Are you saying this is MY fault?”
“Like I said, we don’t know yet. We won’t know for sure until the investigator comes in after everything cools off. But it looks like it was something in your apartment, lady, and you could be in a lot of trouble if you were careless with something. Did you turn off your stove? Leave your curling iron turned on? Stuff like that can be a firestarter, you know.”
Hunky looked down at her from what seemed like a terrible distance, regarding her with unfriendly eyes, like she was a dumb blonde or something. It made her furious.
“Look, ET, I don’t know why you’re picking on me, but you’re wrong! I’m very careful, and I always double check stuff like that. You’re going to eat your words when they find out this was NOT because of anything I did!” It wasn’t easy, wrapped in her comforter, and barefoot, but Dani managed to turn her back with great dignity and stalk away from her “hero.” What a jerk!
The next day, as she worked at cleaning up her dirty, smoke-damaged apartment, her doorbell rang. ‘
“Great. Now what? The fire police, coming to arrest me?” she thought as she brushed hair out of her eyes. She was filthy, tired, and discouraged. But she made her way to the door, and there was a man standing there. A big man, and as handsome as any fictional hero she could imagine. He was holding a huge bouquet of roses.
“Hi. I’m ET, from last night? Look, can I come in for a minute?”
“Uh. Um. Oh, yeah, ok, I guess. . . .”
“I came to apologize. It wasn’t your fault. Bad wiring that should have been repaired months ago. The landlord’s going to be in a truckload of trouble. So, well, I felt bad about upsetting you. I know how awful it is to get caught in a fire, and I made it worse. But, you know, so many times a fire starts because of simple carelessness, and I just jumped to a conclusion. So. Anyway. These are for you, and I’m sorry.”
He held out the roses, and Dani took them. She held them in both hands, stood there looking up at him–he really was very big–and couldn’t think of a thing to say.
“Hey, well, okay, I’ll just take off now, unless–well, it looks like you could use some help with all this mess?”
“Oh! Um. Yeah, sure, of course! Thank you, and thanks for the flowers. Really. I mean, you just really caught me off guard.”
As they worked together for the next several hours, Dani’s mind wandered back to the book she’d been reading the night before. “Wow. I’m sure glad this wasn’t really a dream. Sure would make a great plot for a good story, though.” She smiled to herself, then glanced up as she felt Hunky’s eyes on her. He grinned.
“What are you thinking about that makes you smile like that?”
“Oh, nothing. Just a story I was reading.”