Authors: Holley Trent
Tags: #humorous romance, #romantic comedy, #north carolina, #geek, #first person, #Chick Lit, #Contemporary Romance
Accounting for Cole
A Natural Beauty Side-story
By Holley Trent
© Holley Trent
Published 28 June 2013
All Rights Reserved.
Accounting for Cole
is a work of complete fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cover stock from 123rf.com by ©auremar.
WARNING: this story contains adult situations including sexual innuendo and strong language. It is not intended for consumption by minors (age of majority as specified by your territory of residence).
Table of Contents
Accounting for Cole
was originally published by Rebel Ink Press (twice!) in 2012. First, it appeared in the anthology
The Dad Plan
under the title “Impersonating Dad.” Later, it was republished as a stand-alone novella under the same name.
This revised version is slightly longer and gives you a bigger hint of the world Macy, Beth, and Gretchen live in.
Accounting for Cole
is a side-story of the Natural Beauty series—novels that will be re-released under new covers in 2013.
is the shortest story of the series, and the only one told from a single point of view. While
could best be categorized as chick lit, the rest of the series are true contemporary romances. Macy’s story is a humorous diversion. An introduction to small-town insanity, and you’ll Macy and her friends again, providing comic relief to Nikki Stacy’s rural cosmetics dynasty.
Please enjoy meeting my staid accountant Macy.
I was somewhat disoriented when I awoke, facedown on a mattress that was far too firm to be my own with sheets of too high a quality. Furthermore, a heavy arm draped over my naked waist and the smooth hairless leg nestled between my two spread ones were components atypical of my normal, solitary waking contortion.
I turned my face toward the breath that had been previously tickling my neck. I had expected morning to deal a blow to the desirability rating I had assigned the man the previous night, and held my breath as my bleary gaze focused on the chiseled jaw darkened with stubble, slightly parted lips, and his elegant nose. I exhaled my relief and my heart rate slowed to a more healthful pace. He was still as beautiful in the mottled light as he had been when we’d crawled into the bed of his hotel room the night before.
He stirred and rolled onto his back, and his long black hair mussed from sleep fell over closed eyes. I put my hand back to pat my short ponytail. He’d given me his hair elastic.
I leaned in and held my breath once more, reaching out a hand to gently brush the wayward strands of his hair from his cheek. There he was—living, breathing, perfection and next to me by
. My cheeks burned as I squirmed out from his hold and pushed the hem of my borrowed shirt down over my scandalous bits.
“This can’t really be happening.”
His eyelids fluttered at the sound of my voice, but remained closed.
“Jesus,” I whispered.
In the daylight, the sleeping man seemed approachable and almost mundane. For much of the previous night he’d been flashy, glamorous, worldly, seemingly off-limits, and female.
Perhaps I should explain.
I’d been working as an accountant for six years. I figured it’d be my life’s work. Accountancy is a good, respectable field and as far as I could tell, a recession-proof one. I worked Mondays through Fridays and some Saturdays. I would have worked Sundays, too, but small towns in the Bible Belt tend to close down on Sundays.
The Saturday before Father’s Day, I was in the small office I rented from Mercedes Garcia catching up on quarterly tax reports. I was behind on the chore because I had a knack for attracting clients who couldn’t get their shit to me in advance of their due dates. I thought about cutting them loose and saving myself the frustration, but I’d been eyeing some office space in the old elementary school recently turned into a strip mall. I was squirreling away my pennies to save up for a security deposit.
My office at the moment had in the past been Mercedes’s beauty salon supply closet, but seeing the potential for a sideline of income, she bumped the closet into the shop a bit so the space could accommodate a desk, three hard wooden chairs, and a few file cabinets. A peeling vinyl sign proclaiming
MACY VICKERS, CPA
was adhered to the shop’s back door. You couldn’t see the sign from the road, but most people knew where I was, anyway. Edenton’s a small town.
I never knew who to expect would pop into the office, so I always tried to dress professionally…which is to say
, even on Saturdays. On that June day I paired a tan skirt suit with sensible black flats and my favorite white blouse. The shirt had ruffles at the neck, and I confess I always felt a bit like Mrs. Slocombe when I wore it, minus all that Brit-com sass. My friend Beth, owner of Edenton’s only dance studio, made a habit of telling me every time she saw it that the suit was hideous and that I should give it back to my mother.
Well, I didn’t get it from my mother. I bought it off the rack at Peebles, and it wasn’t even on sale. The saleslady said I looked quite shapely in it, but in hindsight—and seeing as how she worked on commission—she was probably bullshitting me. I believed her compliment at that moment probably because I needed to hear it.
I’m five-feet four and weigh about a hundred and twenty pounds. Beth said I’m shaped like an Irish peasant woman and should never wear suits. When I gave her my patented
stuck on stupid
look about the peasant woman remark, she rested her hands on my hips and said, “Macy, honey, if you ever give birth, that baby is just going to fall right out without you pushing.”
I’d brushed her hands away and harrumphed. If I listened to hyperbole-prone Beth, I would have seriously considered renting out billboard space on my ass. Ten bucks a square inch.
“There you are!”
I looked up from the envelopes I was sealing and found the devil herself, Beth, and our friend Gretchen spilling into my doorway. Gretchen is our “lady of leisure.” Lacking responsibility of any sort, she’s frequently beyond the legal alcohol limit for driving. We’re working on finding her a passion.
On that day in my office, she wore a gauzy maxi dress that showed off her toned arms and sunken-in belly. She was even going braless, but since she had that California girl vibe about her, she could generally pull that off…although most ladies in town would prefer she didn’t.
Beth was usually well put-together, but that day she made my spidey-sense go off because instead of the sparkly flip-flops she typically wore when she wasn’t teaching, she was wearing hooker heels: four-inch spiked, purple-metallic, stiletto sandals with little rhinestones covering the heels. As it was only three o’clock, I knew something was up.
“What do you want?” I asked, not bothering to suppress the suspicion in my voice as I assessed Beth’s stretchy, slinky, mini-dress. Like me, Beth was unmarried at almost thirty, but in her case, her single status is due to a profound monogamy allergy. Me? I was single because I really didn’t date.
The dating pool in Chowan County—population 15,000—is pretty small so unless you like going to clubs and bars out of town to meet new people (which I don’t) you’re sort of out of luck. I hate crowds, so my luck is obviously at nil. Actually, Gretchen had once signed me up for one of those online dating sites. When I’d cancelled the service after a month with no qualms, Gretchen damn near attacked me for my criticism that my profile wasn’t getting any hits. She’d shrieked, “Of course it didn’t work! Look at your profile picture. Are you
to be ugly?”
I had rolled my eyes at her and went back to scrutinizing the tax return I was preparing. I didn’t think it was that bad. It looked like
. Low-maintenance Macy. Gretchen had wanted to let her husband Marko do some photo manipulation in his computer program, but I figured I’d rather be disappointing up front than once I met whatever sucker decided to arrange a date with me.
“Can’t we just be stopping by to say ‘hi’?” Beth asked, jaw gaping in mock insult.
I tamped my envelopes into a neat stack. “No. The only time you come here is when you want me to talk Mercedes into giving you a discount on your brow waxing.”
not true,” she said, voice flat, and her gaze on her perfect manicure.
is.” I wrapped a rubber band around the envelope stack and bumped my desk drawer shut.
Beth turned to Gretchen, they shared an inscrutable look, and both shrugged. “Okay, maybe it’s true
, but today we’re on the up and up.” Beth opened her little two-hundred-dollar clutch, pinched out three lavender-colored tickets, and slid them across my desk.
I leaned over and read the print without picking them up. “You bought tickets to a
“Uh-huh!” Gretchen said, nodding like a bobble-head doll and grinning so wide the folks at the twin cinema could have used the landscape of her bleached teeth as a back-up screen.
Beth gave our over-wound friend a calming pat on the shoulder. “I missed them last year when we were in Myrtle Beach at the same time, but I signed up for their e-mail newsletter to keep track of their tour dates. They’re going to be in Greenville for just two days and the only tickets they had left were for tonight. We couldn’t resist! Get your purse and let’s go. We have a dinner reservation at the sushi place before the show. We’re going to make a night of it.” She leaned her elbows onto my desk, effectively putting herself at eye level with me, and wriggled her brows.
I shook my head, slowly and unambiguously before counting off on my splayed fingers. “Count me out. First, that’s a ninety-minute drive and I don’t have the mojo today. Second, I don’t eat raw shit. Third, I’ve got work to do. Fourth, the last thing I want to be doing tonight is sitting in some filthy, sticky club where the music is too loud, and sweaty people try to touch me.”
“That’s the best part!” Gretchen squealed. She walked around the desk and grabbed my wrists, giving a forceful yank upward.
I groaned, but stood. I needed to walk to the mailbox, anyway.
“Come off it. You were going to sit at home tonight and balance your checkbook again.” Beth uncapped a tube of orangey-red lipstick, and smoothed it over her pout. After smacking her lips, she raised my name placard to her mouth, bared her teeth at her reflection in the polished brass, and used an index finger to scrub off an errant smear of lipstick. “Who the hell does that every week, anyway?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Anyway,” she continued, “we need you to drive, Miss Teetotaler. I plan on getting so wasted that when they throw me out of the venue for indecency at one a.m., I won’t have any recollection it. I’ve even booked a hotel room so we can sleep it off. We’ve got our overnight bags in the car.”
“Oh, I see.” I let my lips quirk up into a grin and batted my eyelashes like a coquette. “That’s too bad. I don’t have a change of clothes here. Sorry to disappoint.”
She gave my suit a long glare and her upper lip rolled back.
I was certain I was off the hook, and did a little jubilant bounce to celebrate.
Beth cocked her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. She sucked in a breath, and on the exhale, whined, “Damn, that thing’s ugly. Who buys puce anything besides you?”