The Keys to Her Heart

Sometimes you have an idea for a story that doesn’t go very far. I usually put those in a file to save for another day – like a writer’s slush fund of sorts. Here’s a cute meet I wrote for a short contemporary romance that didn’t quite get off the ground (maybe someday that will change!). Enjoy!

gregjennykeys

Jenny hoped her new home would be a fresh beginning; she had no idea it would bring romance.

The movers gone, Jenny walked into the kitchen of her new home to make coffee. She needed a break before tackling the boxes taking over the 1940’s bungalow she bought days before. As she fumbled around looking for coffee filters the doorbell rang. Maybe the movers forgot something? She hurried towards the front of the house.

Jenny opened the large, wood door, but kept the screen door shut. She took in the sight on her front porch – tall, clean cut, and very handsome. Definitely not one of the movers. The neighborhood welcome committee? She could only dream.

“May I help you?” she asked, hoping she didn’t look like a total disaster after managing the big move over the last few days.

“Are you Jenny? I’m here for my Dad’s toolbox. He forgot it in the pantry.”

Mr. Martin, the former owner. He’d been such a sweetheart during the house inspection and closing. He even left her a bottle of champagne on the kitchen counter. “He didn’t mention it at the closing. Do you have any ID?” She pulled on the screen door, making sure it stayed shut. Being a city-girl, she always went with safety first.

The man on her porch smiled. He pulled out his driver’s license and his police badge before handing Jenny his cell phone. “Give him a call. I think he’ll vouch for me. I’m Greg.”

She looked at his ID and badge. Detective Gregory Martin. Welcome to the suburbs, Jenny. Local PD at its finest. He looked like his father, only younger. She flipped through the contacts on his phone. The number next to Dad matched the number she had for Mr. Martin. “Looks like you check out. I don’t need to call him,” she said as she handed him back his belongings.

“Thorough, I like that. Dad said you would keep me on my toes.”

“Really,” she said, intrigued. “What else did he say?”

Greg smiled. “That’s between me and my Dad.”

Feeling more relaxed, she opened the screen door. “Come on in.”

“So, how do you like the house so far?”

“I love it, I’m glad I waited until I found the right one,” she said as images of the thirty plus homes she’d looked at ran through her mind.

“Always wait for what you want, never settle for what’s available, that’s what my Mom used to say.”

“Good advice.” Jenny remembered that Mr. Martin was selling the house only a year after becoming a widower. “How’s your Dad doing in the new condo?”

“He’s good. Thanks for asking. We were about to hang shelves in his new place when he realized he forgot his tools.”

“The pantry is this way…at the end of the kitchen,” she said, “But you probably know that, huh.”

Greg laughed. “This is weird for me too. Last week I was packing this house up, this week I’m a stranger in a strange land.”

She felt for him, remembering all the moves she endured as an Army brat. “You’re welcome here…any time. And I won’t check your ID again, I promise.”

“I appreciate that. What kind of plans do you have for the place?”

“Painting for sure – this place is like a crayon box, too many colors to count,” she said, only realizing her faux pas once the words left her mouth. His mother likely decorated the entire house to her taste. Flustered, she turned to Greg once they were both inside the kitchen. “I’m sorry, forgive me.”

He laughed. “Mom loved to repaint every couple of years. It drove Dad crazy. This house was her masterpiece. I’m sure you want to put your own stamp on it too.”

She appreciated him being so kind. He walked past her and into the pantry so he could retrieve the toolbox. She saw him shake his head as he grabbed the toolbox. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. “I think my Dad sent me over here for a reason.”

“What makes you say that?”

He showed her a picture of his parents, which had been left beside the toolbox by his father. “I told him the other day I felt Mom was still watching over me. I guess he’s watching over me too.”

Jenny smiled. “You’re lucky to have a Dad like him. One reason I bought this house was because I had a good feeling about him…and now you.”

He smiled too. He had such an amazing smile. “I’m glad he sold you the house. I worried who might end up living here, but not anymore.”

“Want to stay for coffee?” she asked, those butterflies still kicking around inside her. “That is, if I can find the coffee maker.”

Greg moved closer to her. “I’d like that. Maybe I can even help you paint.”

Moving from the city had definitely changed things for Jenny – and the house was only the beginning. She could tell Greg was one of the good guys – with or without the badge. Maybe one day soon he’d have a key to the house again. He was already finding his way into her heart. 

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