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A hand, finally fumbling from beneath a mound of blankets, groped around on the nightstand until it located the blaring alarm clock. Several tries later, the alarm clock was silenced, and the room regained its early-morning stillness.

Forty minutes later, the silence was again shattered as Daisy’s head popped out from under the blankets and wobbled as she sought out the glowing red face of the clock. She shrieked in horror, blankets flying every which way as she scrambled from bed and rushed to the shower.

Fifteen minutes later, her long hair bundled up and out of the way in a hasty ponytail, she was wrestling her feet into her shoes while trying to locate her purse, grab her cigarettes, and find her keys. As usual, the keys eluded her, delaying her another ten minutes while she searched frantically through her jackets and last night’s jeans, only to finally locate them on top of the stove, of all places. Five minutes later she was on the road.

It seemed that the very stoplights were conspiring against her. They turned red just before she made it, and seemed to take months to turn back to green. It was at one such red light that it happened. One eye on the light and one eye on the mirror in which she was attempting to apply her mascara, she didn’t have an eye to spare for the red sports car approaching from behind.


Her mascara wand left a streak of black across her cheekbone as she was thrown forward. Her head knocked the rear view mirror askew, and the seat belt damn near choked her as its safety stop was engaged. At almost exactly the same moment, the airbag exploded from the steering wheel.

Breathless, smeared with mascara, and hair falling out of her ponytail, she struggled out of her seatbelt and charged from the car, primed for battle.

“You asshole!”

“Lady, the light was green! What the hell were you doing just sitting there?” There was something…something familiar about his voice. Daisy scraped her straggling hair from her eyes to glare at her erstwhile assailant. Oh dear Lord.

“So, what? You just run me over? Jeezus, Charlie! What the hell were you doing, daydreaming?” Charlie started when she used his name, then peered more closely at her face.

“Daisy? Daisy!” A smile started to spread across his face, cut short by her glare. “Jeezus, Daisy, what do you have on your face?” He reached out as if to wipe her cheek, but she jerked back from him before he could touch her.

“Charlie! Have you lost your mind? You just hit my Jeep!” A crowd was starting to gather, gawking at the accident. Daisy turned to look at her beloved Jeep, noting with a sinking heart the broken taillight. Her gaze traveled to his saucy little sports car, noting with a certain grim satisfaction that the front of his car had retained significantly more damage than her larger vehicle.

“Well no of course not, Daisy, I mean, I didn’t mean to, I was just so surprised to see you! I mean, how are you? Are you okay? I mean, were you hurt?” Charlie’s face was taking on an anxious cast as he saw that Daisy was not smiling. Nor, in fact, did she seem particularly excited to see him again. His eager grin faltered as she dug in her purse for her phone.

“You are such an idiot, Charlie! You still drive like an asshole, and now you’ve made me late! I was supposed to be at court thirty minutes ago and now I’m going to completely miss my appointment! You suck, Charlie!” All of this while she was dialing her phone. She reported the accident in brief, clipped sentences, then hung up. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Charlie in silence again. He was starting to get uncomfortable, and worse yet, was remembering the last time he’d seen her, as she was kicking him out of her apartment. She was angry then, too, he remembered.

“I just can’t beleive you did this, Charlie. Couldn’t you tell I was stopped? Do you even have insurance?” Charlie decided he liked her better when she was mad and not talking.

“Well, I mean, I didn’t see your brake lights. I thought you were moving, and then when I realized you weren’t, well, it was too late.” He squirmed miserably under her razor gaze. “And, about the insurance, well, I mean, I meant to, but…I haven’t yet.” He added reluctantly.

“You ‘haven’t yet’? What do you mean, you haven’t yet? You’ve had that car forever! You’re still just a loser, Charlie! I can’t believe you!” The crowd was getting bigger, she noticed, drawn as much by their dispute as by the lure of the accident. She could hear sirens in the background and hoped fervently they would get here before Charlie thought to ask what she needed to be at court for.

Charlie was starting to get angry. “You know, it’s funny, because suddenly I am reminded exactly why things didn’t work out between us! You’re still as bitchy as you were the day I left!”

“The day I kicked you out, you mean!”

“The day I got tired of listening to your bullshit! Can’t you ever just have a civilized conversation or is it always yelling and accusing people?”

“Me? Me? How is this about me? You’re the one who can’t drive worth a shit!”

“And you’re the one who can’t keep your temper, you crazy woman!”

“GAH! I hate you, Charlie! I can’t believe you did this!”

Her eyes were just so damn blue, that was the problem, Charlie thought distractedly. That was always the problem with staying mad at her. Those and her damn dimples.

The cops showed up just then and took down the details. They patiently listened to Daisy’s demands that they arrest him for reckless driving and ignored her broad hints that he may have been drinking. Charlie got a ticket, of course, for his insurance, but it was worth it to hear the policeman lecturing Daisy on driving while putting on her makeup, in addition to remaining stopped at a green light.

Daisy was shooting daggers at him over the policeman’s shoulder, which only made his grin grow wider. He shook his finger at her like a scolding father and she scowled. The policeman, thinking she was scowling at him, raised the volume of his lecture and finished by asking her if she’d like a ticket as well. She hastily denied that she did, thanked him for his time, and watched as he and his partner drove away.

“I hope you’re satisfied, you ass.” He only grinned at her.

“Daisy, my love, you’re already late. How about you come have a coffee with me instead?”

Her brows knit together as she leveled her glare at him again. He’d almost forgotten how good she was at that. “Come on. I’ll buy.”

Daisy couldn’t believe his wheedling was starting to work. That asshole. She’d always been a sucker for his smile, and now here he was using it to get out of wrecking her Jeep. Well, she conceded smugly, at least her Jeep was in better shape than his sports car. She checked her watch and sighed as she realized it was hopeless. She was way too late to make her appointment. She might as well salvage something out of this morning.

“Come on, let’s go. We have to get off the street anyway. Let’s head down to Starbucks and we can get caught up.” His eyes sparkled at her, and she gave up.

“Okay, fine. But you’re still an asshole, and after Starbucks you are so buying me new taillights.”

Charlie bowed extravagantly. “Of course, milady.” He turned to his car and opened the door. Catching a glimpse of herself in her window as she returned to her vehicle, she gasped at the streak of mascara down her cheek. Scrubbing furtively at it, she turned when Charlie called her name again.

“What’d you have court this morning for, anyway?”

“A traffic ticket,” she responded without thinking as she scrubbed away the last of the mascara. Charlie’s brows rose as he asked, “Traffic ticket? For what?”

Daisy shifted uncomfortably. “None of your business.”

Charlie roared with laughter. “You hit someone, didn’t you? You weren’t paying attention and you hit someone! You little hypocrite!” Cheeks flaming, Daisy scrambled in her car after a last scowl in Charlie’s direction and drove off, Charlie behind her. She could still hear him laughing as he followed behind her.



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