Echoes of Joe
See what can happen when you give 'assistance' to a stranger
wall by Avalon Mists
She opened her eyes blearily, and realised that she had the most amazing feeling buzzing away inside her. As Michelle remembered why, a smile crept across her face. She turned her head to look at the other side of the bed, and sighed. Damn. It was empty. What a surprise. You should know they’re all the same by now. Still relishing the carnival going on inside her, Michelle enjoyed a long slow stretch. Ah, I guess you have to be thankful for small gifts. Then she chuckled. Well, not exactly small…
Remaining in bed, now just the cool sheets against her bare skin, Michelle went over the events of the previous day. It seemed as though an echo from the Kelly Country hills of the late 1870’s had managed to find some resonance in her 2006 life.
She’d been queuing up, waiting to order her lunch from the café when suddenly there was someone right behind her. With his mouth close to her right ear he’d whispered, “Will you go along with me lass?”
She detected the touch of an Irish accent, and the voice sounded quite earnest, aside from other things that had Michelle realising how much of a woman she was. She’d turned her head enough to see up-close a man somewhat taller than herself, with dark hair that curled in the most glorious way. Brown eyes repeated the question, as well as making a few promises she thought. Gulp. She had made the slightest nod, and then his hands had been on her hips and he’d said in a louder voice “I’m sorry I’m late luv, I got held up,” and his mouth began to nibble at her neck. Oh gods, and Michelle’s knees had almost given out from underneath her.
Somehow Michelle’s brain had managed to realise that there was a bit of commotion going on just up the street. She’d turned away from the delectable mouth to see a few police officers coming down the street in a hurry, clearly looking for someone.
The voice had said, “Aw come on, you know I wouldn’t leave you waiting on purpose.” Then he had spun her around and began the most amazing kiss she could ever remember. Was there anything before this moment? The hands that had caressed her back were both strong and soft. Michelle had thought that it would have been a lucky girl indeed who got to know this man intimately. She gave up any fleeting thoughts of resistance and began kissing him back, putting both of her hands into those curls. The man was in no hurry to end the moment, so the kiss went on.
After the police had passed on and the disruption had died down, the man had drawn away and held her at arms length.
“Thank you,” then he’d added with the slightest wink, “For forgiving me”.
Somehow she had found her voice, and played along. “What else could I do?” and she’d managed a wry smile.
Just then she heard the lady behind the café counter call out “Next”. She had turned and started to walk the few paces to the counter, when the man had taken her by the hand. Saying to the lady, “Actually, we need to talk first,” he had lead her away from the café counter. Michelle had then remembered that she’d actually gone to the café with a couple of her co-workers. She had looked around and found them watching her from a table, with looks of amazement on their faces. She had called out to them “Sorry, I’ll catch up with you later.”
Once finding a somewhat isolated spot, the man had leant close and started talking in quick, hushed tones.
“I’m sorry for putting you in this predicament, but I sort of got myself into a situation and needed some assistance to get out of it.”
“Ah, the boys in blue.”
“Right. To be sure, this also puts you into a bit of a situation, for which you receive my whole hearted apology.”
His whole heart?
“Now, I wouldn’t want to be leaving you in a rush, but it might be best if I keep moving, you know?”
She had nodded, and thought back to the decidedly unhurried kiss.
He had leant over then, and kissed her lightly on her cheek. She’d also felt him put something into the pocket of her jacket, as those hands had gone again to her hips.
He had said “Thanks”, and then was on his way.
Michelle had watched him start to leave, taking in every detail of the posterior view. Sigh. Then she had looked down to her pocket and had seen the wad of $50 notes. She had quickly looked up and around to see if anyone was watching. She found her co-workers again, who were now deep in their own conversation.
“Sorry, I’ve got something to attend to, hopefully I’ll be back at work soon. Look after this for me.”
Michelle had discretely handed most of the $50 notes to the older of her co-workers and then hurried out onto the street. She had managed to find that head of dark curls across the street, and caught up with the man.
“I thought you might need a bit more assistance.”
“I certainly won’t be saying no,” he’d replied with a grin.
They had continued walking down the street keeping up the pretence, arm in arm talking about Michelle’s work and how much longer she had to go that afternoon, until they had come to the bus stop. All too soon the bus had arrived. Raising her hand in farewell, Michelle had thought about the consequences of helping a man on the run from the law. That kiss was the reward.
Michelle had managed to get back to work only 10 minutes late, where the woman from lunch was waiting anxiously to give her back the $50 notes.
“Here’s the result of your bet.”
Michelle had silently thanked the gods that old Pauline had grasped the importance of the situation, and acknowledged her insight to add a few coins for authenticity, just in case anyone was watching. Though, she continued to ponder the reasons why that unknown man had given her that amount of cash.
The rest of the afternoon at work had passed uneventfully. As Michelle had walked out of the building, she had recognised instantly the figure casually reclined on the low brick wall opposite the door, hands in pockets. She had watched Fellowship of the Ring the night before and had planned on watching The Two Towers that night. It seemed now she had even better plans. With a modern day Joe Byrne.
As her journey through the previous night’s entertainment caught up with the present, Michelle heard the toaster pop in the kitchen.
No, this one was definitely different