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Melanie's Mystery Man
By
Rascal

Melanie's Mystery Man

A quick write for a quick read



The wide walkway that was a few steps above the lengthy beach was teeming with the sun loving crowd. The first days of warm weather after weeks of a wet, dreary Spring drew the multitudes.

As Melanie navigated her way among the strollers she looked past the sandy beach. Very few had braved the still chilly waters of the lake but there were some taking advantage of the warm sand to get their first tan of the year.

She approached one of the crowded vendors and bought a few soft drinks and put them in her cooler. As she turned away, an in-line skater tripped on a discarded empty can and caromed into her, knocking her against the railing that kept her from falling onto the beach. She dropped her cooler and beach umbrella to grasp the railing but still went to her knees. Her bag stayed on her shoulder.

Momentarily stunned, she heard someone say, “Are you alright, miss?” as a hand grasped her elbow.

She looked up into dark brown eyes in a handsome face topped by an unruly mop of light brown, almost blond hair. “Yes, I'm alright, just shaken a bit.”

The young man said, “Let me help you up,” as he gently urged her to her feet. As she rose she grasped the handle of the cooler. He picked up the umbrella and as he handed it to her asked, “Are you sure you're okay?”

“Yes, I'll be fine. Thank you.”

He had a doubtful frown on his face but didn't demur with her statement as he watched her walk away.

She walked to the nearest steps and descended them to the beach. Picking a spot halfway to the water she took her towel from her shoulder bag and spread it on the sand, opened her umbrella and positioned it to shade the towel.

She removed her robe to display a very shapely body covered with a rather modest swim suit. Above that was a beautiful face with shortly cut, curly, auburn hair. Green eyes shone to match a dazzling smile as she approved of the scene before her, almost white sand contrasting with the blue water.

An application of sun lotion was applied and then she stretched out on the towel and opened a romance novel. The sun's reflection from the water would tint her skin without a painful burn.

She wasn't there long when a shadow appeared beside her. She looked up to see the same attractive man that had helped her with a cooler identical to hers in his hand. “Excuse me, miss, I think we exchanged coolers in the confusion before.”

“Oh? Let me look.”

Before his sharp “No!” could stop her, she had flipped the lid on hers and peered in.

Her yelp of dismay was cut short by a finger gently placed on her lips. “Don't be alarmed, it's alright. Let me explain.”

Melanie's eyes were bulging as she exclaimed, “But that's a human hand! How do you explain that?”

“Please, calm yourself. I'm a medical student and I was transporting it from the morgue to the medical school for dissection. I know it's gruesome, but some people leave their bodies for that purpose.”

“But it looks like a young girl's hand, probably no older than I am!”

“Yes, even the young die. I believe this young woman died from an overdose of drugs. When no one claims the body they are sometimes donated to the medical school. After dissection they are returned to be buried with all due regard. Many lives are saved through the knowledge gained.”

“Yes, I'm sure there are. It was just a terrible shock to be confronted with something like that. I'm not used to anything like that in my work.”

Oh? What is it you do Miss... Forgive me, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Jason Algood. And you are?”

“I'm Melanie Lind, I'd like to say it's nice to meet you, but under these circumstances that's not true.”

Jason sat and said, “I can certainly understand that, Miss Lind. I didn't give you a chance to tell me what you do.”

“I'm a librarian, not as fearsome as dissecting bodies, but I like the calm atmosphere.”

“I'm sure this was quite disturbing, and I apologize for exposing it to you. It could have been worse. Just think, what would you have done if you had opened the cooler at home?”

“I'm sure I would have fainted, I almost did here. Either that or the neighbors would have thought a fire engine was in the building with sirens blaring.” She had a small smile on her face with the thought.

They sat and talked for quite some time, they had even reached the point of dropping honorifics and using first names. Melanie was quite taken with Jason's quiet, good manners and attitude.

Suddenly Jason glanced at his watch and jumped up, “Goodness, I didn't realize how long we've been chatting, I'd better get going, that ice isn't going to last forever.”

“Well, Jason, at least now I can say that it has been a pleasure meeting you, that's a gain from my earlier statement.”

“Um, Mel, I hope you don't think me too forward but I would like to see you again. Is that possible?”

“I think...yes, I'd like that too. You can always reach me at the library during hours, if that's convenient for you. I don't like to answer my phone at home unless I know who it is.”

“See you then.” He rushed off.

After a while Melanie saw that she had reached the slight tan she had wanted, packed her things and walked the few short blocks to her apartment. After a shower to wash away the sand and perspiration she had acquired she donned some pajamas, ate a light meal, and settled in for the night with her rather amorous novel.

She tuned the radio to some soothing background music as she read. On the hour the news break came on. She paid little attention until one item grabbed it at the word 'morgue'. There was a report of displaced bodies and even missing parts of some of them after autopsies.

She thought, “I'll have to tell Jason if he does contact me, I'll bet he'll be interested.” She then forgot it as she went back to her bodice ripper. Over the next days she heard other references to it on the news but it didn't register with her except that it might interest Jason.

Over the next few weeks she did hear from Jason quite a bit when he would phone. He even stopped into the library a few times and they had lunch together.

On one of those occasions he asked, “Mel, would you come to dinner some evening? I have to admit that I'm very proud of my skills with a skillet.”

“I think I'd enjoy that very much. What are some of your favorite dishes?”

“Oh, I can't reveal that. I want it to be a surprise.”

The evening of the dinner Melanie took special care on her makeup and clothing. She wanted to make a very good impression. It had turned a little chilly so she slipped a matching sweater over her silk dress.

He picked her up at her apartment and drove across the city to his home in a very affluent area. When they pulled into the drive she was surprised how small his house was sitting among some very large residences and commented on it.

He explained, “My folks were the first to build here. They wanted the extra large lot and then the area caught on with the more prosperous crowd. Do you like it?”

“It's very pretty, I like the landscaping very much, there's so many different areas that are so well taken care of. It must cost a lot to have them managed so beautifully.”

“Ah, I do it myself, I don't want strangers disturbing my diggings. Come inside, there's plenty of time to get you acquainted to my latest plot I've dug up in the rear yard.

They entered and Melanie saw a typical middle income living room. Jason said, “ Let me help you with your sweater,” went behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders.

He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “You're coming here tonight is a real treat for me, Melanie.” As his grip on her tightened more and more he continued, “It's not very often I have a whole girl for my dinner.”

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