Flash #018 – Object of Desire by Suzanne Tocho Storar


I WAS AFRAID this would happen,” thought Vivian LaForge, when the men started trading insults. She had agreed to choose between her two current suitors on, of all occasions, the Feast of St. Valentine. The men had sounded open to the idea when she spoke to each of them by phone that afternoon.

Max Finberg, the “smart one,” had reasoned, “You owe it to us to choose so the other can go free. I’m willing to stand toe-to-toe with your other fellow. I regret looking in your engagement calendar the other night while you were in the powder room. But, now that I know, I can’t rest until I’m either in or out.” David Harrison, the strong, gorgeous one, simply responded that he would be at Vivian’s at 8.

After hanging up the phone, Vivian had reflected, “Max has such integrity and intelligence. And David… he’s a man of actions, not words.” Her thoughts drifted to David’s past actions, particularly the amorous ones. How would she choose?

The men had arrived promptly at 8 p.m.. Vivian offered drinks and olives. Nervously, she ran through small talk topics and eased into a self-effacing monologue about her poor decision to string along Max and David.

Surprisingly, both rushed to her defense. Max cooed, “Think nothing of it, sweetheart. You made no promises to me.”

“You don’t have to apologize to nobody, baby,” stated David with deep conviction. “I knew you’d come around to picking me once you got bored talking art and silverware with this wimp.”

That’s when the playground-like eruption had started. Max, gesturing, red-faced, replied, “Vivian needed mental stimulation. Why, I’ve got more brains in my thumbnail than you have in your skull.” David loosened his collar and lunged toward Max. Vivian tried to stop the altercation, pleading, “Boys! Please! Let’s be civil!”

The men bounced from the sofa and into a shoving match. Somehow, as she stood between them to mediate, Vivian found herself in receipt of David’s nifty left hook. Silently, the men stood over her. Vivian was definitely out cold.

Max motioned to David. “OK. Grab it and let’s go. We’ve got a train to catch.” David removed the painting from the wall. “It sure is pretty, boss. How much did you say it was worth?”

“An early Toulouse-Lautrec… easily a couple hundred G’s. You were right to think it looked valuable when you first saw it here.”

“We’re just lucky she thought nothin’ of two-timing. Otherwise, I don’t know how I could have gotten you in here long enough to really examine it.” David gazed into the smoldering eyes of the portrait and uttered, “You’re my Valentine, dollface.”

“She’s only half your Valentine, Harrison,” replied Max as they slipped out of Vivian’s apartment.


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