Maizy the Bear Charmer(2)

By: Heather Rainier

The face in the mirror was a nice one and she’d been told that she had a great smile. Great hair. Great eyes. Great skin that tanned easily. Her friends had always been jealous of that fact. She didn’t think it was all that great because nearly everyone in her family teased her about being the Native American throwback while all the rest of them were fair. But the fact remained that when people pointed out how great her eyes, or her hair, or her smile was, she knew that they meant the rest of her was flawed.

Once barefoot, she stood and undressed, avoiding looking in the mirror.

Fine, damn it. I’ll try on the catsuit. Shut Lucy the hell up. And get out of here with what’s left of my shredded ego. She immediately felt bad for thinking that about her future sister-in-law.

She thought about the belly dancing costume hidden in the back of her closet at home. It’d been almost a year since she’d worn it. She thought of the beautiful veils, the bead and sequin work, and her coin scarves. She missed belly dancing, missed attending class every Friday night in Morehead, and missed her friends from class.

The last time she’d worn it, Chaz had told her afterward that belly dancing at the Dancing Pony on Halloween night had been ridiculous and all the patrons had clapped because of her costume, and to be nice to her. She might as well have been pole dancing, he’d said.

That comment hadn’t hurt her nearly as much as his next words. Stomping on her fun as he’d whisked her out of the club, he’d told her that if she wanted to lose fifty or sixty pounds and maybe try her hand in a talent contest she might do okay.

“How does it look?” Lucy asked through the door.

Jarred from her inner thoughts, Maizy jumped. “I don’t have it on yet. Give me a minute.”

She squinted at it as she took it off the hanger. The lace was soft and very stretchy. She almost wished that it was scratchy and cheap-feeling just so she had an excuse to not try it on, but Summer carried only quality goods in her boutique.

She held it up to the light and enjoyed the way it slid silkily over her hand.

Oh, what the hell.

Once she was down to her panties, she gathered up one leg of the bodysuit and slid her foot into it. The pattern on the lace was a trellis covered in roses.

Oh no. No, no, no.

Biting her lip, she gathered up the other leg and slid her foot into it and drew it up over the knee. The lace felt so sensuous sliding over her skin she let out a light sigh.

Lucy giggled. “Ah-ha. I heard that.”

“You hush, woman.”

She slid the delightfully stretchy lace over her hips and prepared to tuck her too-large breasts into a too-tight top. That’d just figure. The rest fits and then my boobs are falling out of it.

She bent over a little and shimmied the girls into the bust and stood up to take in her reflection.

Her jaw dropped. Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Sultry music by Santana played in her head. An old favorite of hers. “Black Magic Woman.”

* * * *

“Begin as you mean to go on, right?” Cody Welsh said after the real estate agent had left him, Heath Lindsey, and Spencer Ketchum alone to talk in the living room of the expansive ranch house. He watched Spencer as he ambled into the dining room. He looked out of the wide, bare windows overlooking the deep, covered porch and the pool beyond.

Heath wandered into the kitchen, which was painted ruby red, and ran his hand over the professional-grade stove in the center island. He looked up at the skylight and then to the open floor space where a big dining room table would fit.

Cody said nothing as he walked through the house one more time. Four bedrooms were probably too many but they needed the space. None of them wanted to be cramped into a too-small house or waste time buying a house that would be outgrown too quickly. If this was the one they decided on, then he wanted to be there for the long haul.

He walked down the hall, trying to ignore the garish color scheme and see the house underneath. A hot pink bedroom. A lime green bedroom. A purple bathroom. A lemon yellow bedroom. And a billiard green den. The color scheme the previous owners had painted the walls could only be described as the “Skittles effect.”

He stopped in the massive aquamarine blue master bedroom. This was his favorite room. He could imagine a bed big enough for four in it. It also looked out on the covered back porch to the in-ground pool. The pool was a selling point for him, but more importantly, he hoped it was one more thing that their woman, wherever she was, would enjoy.

The master bedroom faced east, meaning it would have the morning sun. He liked that. The master bathroom needed work though.

He heard footsteps enter the room behind him.

Heath crossed his bulky arms over his chest. “Those electric blue countertops in the kitchen have to go. I’d replace all the appliances with new ones except for the stove and oven.” Cody knew the kitchen would be Heath’s first concern because he liked to cook, thank God. He could see the agreement in Heath’s eyes. That was one yes.