Dawn Discourse ran out of the Riverview High School building, quickly unlocked her bike, and hopped on.She peddled as fast as she could, determined to beat the bus. She didn’t look behind her. It would only slow her down.“I’ll bet you $5 I can beat you to my house” her friend Max had said. It would be the easiest $5 she ever made.When she got to Max’s house she leaned her bike onto the front porch and ran into the house. The McDermott’s door was neverlocked.“Hello, anyone home?” she asked as she set her backpack down by the door.“In here Dawn.” Mrs. McDermott called from the living room.
She turned the corner and stopped suddenly. He was here.“Max isn’t home yet Dawn.” Mrs. McDermott said over her shoulder. “You can wait for him if you would like”Her mouth was a bit dry, but she managed a nod to Mrs. McDermott.“Hello Mr. Lothario” she said, when she remembered her manners. Her cheeks turned red when he turned his attention to her.“Please, call me Don, Dawn.” he said. The smile he aimed at her made her heart race. She just nodded at him, not sure what to say.
“Max is lucky to have such a pretty girlfriend” he said to her, his green eyes commanding her to look at him.Her breathing became shallow. It finally registered to Dawn what he had said.“Oh, he’s not my boyfriend” she protested a bit too emphatically. “He’s more like an annoying younger brother.”Don just laughed. It made her knees weak.She had a crush on Don Lothario since he showed up in Riverview a year before. The story of his arrival was the talk of the town. Mr.McDermott had found him in the middle of the night, unconscious on the side of the road. When he finally came to, he claimed hedidn’t know where he was or how he got here or where he came from. He didn’t even remember his name. The last was discoveredwhen his wallet, with identification, was found a little down the road from where he was discovered.There were quite a few interesting stories circulating about who he was and where he came from. There was even an outrageous storygoing around that he had been abducted by aliens. ‘What a crock’ Dawn thought. The police had done a search for his family, but noone seemed to be missing a Don Lothario anywhere.In any case, the McDermott’s had taken him in and let him live in their old grain silo, at the edge of their property, in return for somehard physical labor on their farm.
“Yes, Max and Dawn have been friends since they were babies.” Mrs. McDermott said; a little disappointed Don’s attention was nolonger on her.“There was a time when Max’s father and I had hoped they might be more than friends, but now Max is seeing that Riley girl. Isn’tthat right Dawn?”She didn’t hear Mrs. McDermott. Don was still staring at her. She was sure her face was as red as a tomato.“I hear you’re having a birthday party in a couple days” Don said to her.She just nodded her head.“Maybe I’ll come by and wish you a happy birthday.”Before she could respond Max walked into the door and handed her 5 dollars.“Here’s your five bucks. Let’s get going.” “Bye Mom!” Max called over his shoulder.“Goodbye Mrs. McDermott...Don” she said, and followed her friend out the door.When they left, Mrs. McDermott turned back to Don.“You should be ashamed of yourself Don Lothario, flirting with such a young thing” she teased. “I can barely contain myself whenyou turn those green eyes on me and give me that charming smile. I’m sure you gave her enough fodder for several teenage fantasies.”He certainly hoped so.
Dawn and Max had gone to the Fish Hatchery to fish. When the sun began to set the two headed back to Dawn’s house. Max stayedfor dinner.“Doesn’t Katy get upset you spend so much time with me?” Dawn asked him.Max just shrugged his shoulders.Her Dad had come in from outside to eat with them. Her Mom was on call at the hospital and had to go in for some kind ofemergency.“Did you play all day in the sprinklers again Dad?”“That’s the advantage of being retired sweetheart” Deaglan replied.“Why doesn’t Mom retire then?”“She will as soon as she becomes a World Renowned Surgeon. She doesn’t have much longer.”Deaglan turned his attention to Max. He wondered with all the crops and animals on his family’s farm why he was here all the timeeating.“How are you doing Max? I heard you’re seeing the Riley girl.”Dawn tuned her Dad and Max out. She was thinking about Don and the way he had looked at her. He had said he was coming to herbirthday party. She couldn’t wait to see him again.
The day of Dawn’s party finally arrived. Her mom had rented the town gazebo for her birthday and everyone was talking and dancingand generally having a good time. She was anxious and restless and wasn’t having any fun. She was sulking because he wasn’t here.She knew he said he “might” come by, but she had let that tiny thread of hope wrap itself around her like a lasso. Her mom had askedher what the matter was, but she just shrugged her off. She half heartedly spoke to her guests, danced with her brothers and father. Shedid all she could not to ruin everybody else’s good time.Max took her aside several minutes before she was about to blow out her candles.“What is wrong with you?” he asked.“Nothing’s wrong.” She lied.“Bullshit Dawn, you’ve been sulking the whole damn party. What’s bothering you?”She knew Max was just concerned, but she was uncomfortable telling him why she was upset. Before she could come up with asuitable lie she saw him out of the corner of her eye.
.She became noticeably less upset, Max noticed. He turned to look at what caught her eye and in took his breath sharply.“Excuse me Max, I have a guest who just arrived I must say hello to.”Before he could warn her about him, Dawn was gone. He hoped he had a chance to talk to her before it was too late.“Hello Dawn. Sorry I’m late” Don Lothario said as he gave her his most charming smile.“I’m glad you could make it” she said, trying not to sound too excited.She didn’t get a chance to say much else. He mom called her over. It was time to blow out the candles.“Excuse me, its show time!” she said.He watched her walk away. She had been waiting for him. He had seen it in her face. He had set the bait in place and she was takingsmall testing bites. Soon it would be time for him to reel her in.Dawn approached the cake, a huge smile on her face. She was surrounded by all her family and friends as they sang Happy Birthdayto her. When they finished she bent down, made her wish and blew out the candles
She laughed as the cheers erupted. She accepted the congratulations and hugs that enveloped her from her friends and family. Thiswas it; she was an adult…well a young adult. She was old enough to do all that was necessary for an heir of a legacy to do.The first thing she needed was a steady income. She didn’t plan on getting a traditional job. Her love of the outdoors wouldn’t permither to sit behind some desk all day. She planned on using her Green Thumb to grow the perfect fruits and vegetables, and sell herproduce for money. She also planned to make Nectar out of her crops.Mr. McDermott, Max’s father, had arranged for her to intern for a Nectar maker in Les Champs Sims, France this summer. All she hadto do was email the man and set up a time to go.‘That could wait’ she thought. Right now she would focus on the second thing she had to do as heir. She had to find a husband.The party began to wind down and Dawn was disappointed she had not had a chance to talk to Don all evening. It might be herbirthday party, but Don Lothario was still the talk of the town. He was a charming man; a man’s man and people were drawn to him.Many of her guests had crowded around him and he didn’t lack in conversation. She watched him slowly pull himself away and makehis way towards her.
“That was a wonderful party Dawn.”“Thank you Mr…”“Please! Call me Don” he encouraged again, his green eyes doing a slow, steady survey of her. He had been watching her all night.The girl had turned into a fine woman. She was slim, fit and had curves in all the right places.The butterflies in her stomach did a little flutter as he continued his survey. Then she remembered she was no longer a teenager, andDon Lothario wasn’t the only one with Charisma.“Okay…Don” she said, smiling alluringly; her voice dripping with what she hoped was seduction. “Thank you for coming to mybirthday party.”
Don chuckled to himself; she was flirting with him. He took a step closer to her, reached for her hand and absently played with herfingers.“It was awful nice of you to invite me.”Don was used to women flirting with him. Hell, he was used to woman throwing themselves at him, and he liked it. But if she knewwhat he had been fantasizing about several seconds before, she would turn on her heels and run away as fast as she could. She mightbe an adult, but she was still innocent. ‘What the hell were they talking about again?’ she thought.Dawn was no longer the confident, charismatic adult she thought she could be a couple minutes before. She wondered if he noticedhow her pulse quickened in her wrist as he brushed his thumb over the palm of her hand. Or how her breathing had become shallowand quick? He lifted his other hand to her cheek as he continued to fondle her hands, slowly undoing her.
“Maybe I could call you and we could go out sometime?” he suggested. The corners of his mouth turned up into a half smile, full ofconfidence and sex appeal.A small voice in her head told her this man was dangerous. She pushed it aside and managed to nod her head yes. “You turned into a beautiful woman Dawn” he said. His eyes never left hers as he lifted her hand to kiss the point on her wrist thatbeat faster and faster.
This is what Bebe saw as she approached the two. She didn’t like the way Don was looking at, or touching, her daughter. Like ahungry wolf luring an innocent, white lamb. There was something devious about the man. She didn’t care what everyone else thought.She had heard the rumors or course. Bored housewives, like that Ginny McDermott. She loved Max, but his mother was a slut. Thenthere had been the incident with the Cooper girl. She was in a family way. There was talk that he was to blame, but the girl never saidwho the father was.Bebe didn’t wish Dawn to be just another notch in a bed post, or find herself in trouble, like Beatrice did.“Dawn, your guests are leaving. You should come say goodbye” Bebe said. Her eyes were cold, as they turned to Don Lothario; hermessage to back off her daughter, written on her face.Don reluctantly let go of Dawn and slowly backed away. He knew when to pick his battles.“I’ll call you soon.” he said. This was going to be easier than he thought. She was ripe for picking and he planned on being the one toharvest her. He was good at harvesting young, ripe things. This one had the bonus of legacy fame and money attached to it.
“Dawn…your guests” Bebe reminded.“Yes, of course”, she managed, as the spell Don had her under slowly lifted. “Goodnight Mister...” she caught herself “Don.” she said,as she walked away, somewhat unsteady on her legs.Bebe stood there for a minute watching her daughter retreat to safety, and then she turned back to Don.“What are your intentions with my daughter, sir?” the last word coated in sarcasm.Don knew the type, the protective mother hens who tried to shield their daughters from the real world. What he intended to do wastake Dawn to his bed and convince her he was the one she should marry, the one to father her children. The old hag wouldn’t believehim, but it was the truth.“It was just a friendly kiss on the hand, Ma’am.”“Men like you don’t settle for friendly, innocent kisses” she said as she turned to walk away. “Beatrice found that out, didn’t she?” shesaid over her shoulder as she walked away.“Nosey, Old Hag!” he said under his breath. He would have Dawn, and there was nothing her mother could do to stop him.
Dawn spent the next week on an emotional roller coaster. She had been ecstatic the night of her party. So elated that Don said hewould call her. She could hardly go to sleep that night thinking about the way he had stroked her hands, caressed her check, and kissedher wrist. Emotions stirred in her that were unfamiliar and that she wished to explore further.Her emotions took a complete 180 the next day after her party when Max came by to visit. She was already pretty hot from hermother’s gentle warnings about Don. It seemed Max wanted to warn her too.“He’s bad news Dawn. The only reason he’s paying any attention to you is to get you in bed” he said, embarrassment flushing hischeeks. This was a topic they didn’t normally discuss.She couldn’t believe they thought so little of her. Did they really think she would just hop into bed with someone she barely knew?She and Max’s fight escalated and things were said by both that were hurtful and petty. Max had stormed out of her house. It had beendays and she still hadn’t seen or heard from him. A part of her was sad and ashamed. She knew they were just trying to look out forher, but she could take care of herself. She wasn’t going to do anything she wasn’t ready for.Now she was horribly distracted and anxious, because it had been a week and he still hadn’t called her.
Just then her phone rang. She fumbled to get it out of her pocket and quickly answered without checking who it was.“Hello!” she answered excitedly.“Hey Dawn, it’s me.” a dejected Max said into the phone.“Max” she said a little disappointed.“Listen Dawn, I’m sorry about what I said. I shouldn’t have…”“It’s okay Max, we both said some bad things. I’m sorry too.” Dawn was happy they were making up. She truly missed her friend.Max was also relieved. Dawn was his best friend and he hated fighting with her. “Listen, would you like to meet me at TheHatchery?”“I would love to…” Dawn was interrupted by an incoming call on her phone; her face lit up when she realized who was calling her.“Hey Max, let me call you back, I got another call” she said and unceremoniously hung up on her best friend.“Hello?” Dawn said, hoping she didn’t sound like she had been waiting a week for him to call. Her emotions had run the whole gamutand had come back full circle to elation.
Dawn ran inside and almost knocked her mother over.“Sorry Mom! I got to get in the shower. I’m meeting Don at the park!”“Dawn, I don’t think…”“I don’t want to get into this again Mom. I’m an adult now; I know what I’m doing. It’s just a date for Christ’s sake.” She said andwalked into the bathroom and locked the door.Bebe stared at the bathroom door, willing her daughter to see reason. That man was up to no good, she knew it. Ten minutes laterDawn shot out of the bathroom and into her room to dress. Bebe followed her.“I don’t want to talk about it again Mom” she said; a finality in her voice that scared Bebe.Bebe chose her words very carefully. “Dawn, I know you’re an adult and you can date whoever you want. Just remember you’re asmart girl. Don’t only look at situations with emotion and don’t let anyone force you into something you’re not ready for. That’s all Iwant to say.”Dawn pulled her shirt over her head. “I know you’re just worried about me mom. I understand that. And you’re right, I am a smartwoman”, she said, emphasizing the last word. “I promise not to do something stupid, okay?”
Don was waiting for her at the entrance when she arrived at the park.“So sorry I’m late” she said.“A woman has a right to be fashionable late” he replied. “You look very nice Dawn” he said as he made the same slow survey of herhe had on her birthday. Dawn thought he looked like a starving man gazing upon his favorite dessert. “Well worth the wait.”“Thanks” she said, as the butterflies in her stomach started to flap their wings. She was mindful of what her mother said. This manmade her feel things that were unfamiliar, but they weren’t unwanted. She did tend to think they were a bit strong for mild flirting andcould potentially see herself forgetting herself and doing something stupid if she wasn’t mindful of them.
“Shall we?” he asked as her took her hand and escorted her into the park. “I thought we’d have a picnic” he said. “I hope you like hamsandwiches, potato salad and watermelon.”“Yes, very much” she said. She liked the way his big, strong hands seemed to envelope hers.“Did you make all this?” she asked.“I even brewed the iced tea.”“You’re a man of many talents Don Lothario.”He just smiled at her. She had no idea.They talked easily through the picnic. Dawn told Don about her plans to travel to France.“I am very excited to go. Mr. McDermott was very kind to arrange it for me. I just can’t see myself sitting behind some desk all daywhen I could be in my garden” she said. “Nectar making is a natural extension to that, I think. I’m sure it will be profitable for thelegacy.”“France sounds very exciting” Don said, sounding genuinely interested. “When do you plan on going?” he asked hoping he wouldn’thave to go with her.“Sometime this summer” she said, secretly hoping maybe he would come with her. “So, what about you?” she asked. “I’ve beentalking about myself this whole time. Do you plan on working for Mr. McDermott forever?”
“God, I hope not!” he said truthfully.She laughed. “It is very hard work.” She looked him over and said, “It’s why you fill out your clothes so well”He looked at her and rose an eyebrow. He lowered his gaze to her chest. “You fill out your clothes nicely as well Dawn.” Color rose to her cheeks. How did he do that? The way he looked at her, the way he said her name...it was very unnerving. She feltlike a blushing school girl, which she guessed she had been just a week before.“I am very grateful to Larry and Ginny for helping me out, but I don’t think I’ll stay in the silo for much longer” Don said.“What do you plan to do?” she asked.“Since no one has filed any missing person for me and I remember nothing, I think I’ll try and start a life here.” He looked her in theeyes. “You know, do the normal things people do; get married, have kids.”Her heart beat rapidly in her chest. She reeled in her hope and decided it was better to change the subject.“So you really don’t remember anything?”“It was very frightening, at first” he said. “When I woke up and didn’t know where I was, where I came from, what my name was.”He turned to Dawn. “I don’t normally talk about it. It isn’t very manly to be scared.” He teased.
The truth was he remembered everything. He had snuck into the laboratory, where Mortimer Goth worked, one night with the Calientesisters. They were going to have some fun when they stumbled upon some kind of contraption/experiment the old man had beenworking on. Gina and Dina had pulled him inside it and the next thing he knew he was on some farm in the middle of no where.When he found out where, or more importantly when he was, he decided to pretend like he remembered nothing. Mortimer Goth wasjust a little boy in the nearby town of Sunset Valley for Christ’s sake. He didn’t want anyone thinking he was crazy and locking himaway in some loony asylum.So now he was stuck here and he had to live. He hated the farm and was starting to hate the “attention” the farmer’s wife paid him. Hewanted out. He would woo and marry the legacy heir and be set for life.“It must have been very hard for you. I can understand being afraid and I don’t think it makes you less manly.” She smiled up at himflirtatiously. “I don’t think you have to worry about that. You have enough manliness for several men, I think.”“Well, thank you” he replied. “Are you done eating?” he asked her.“Yes. It was all very good!”
Don got up from the blanket and held out his hand to Dawn. She took it and he pulled her to her feet and into his arms.“How about we dance?” he said as he moved with her in slow steady circles, rubbing his hands over her arms.“There’s no music” she observed. “People are looking at us.”“I don’t care what anyone else thinks Dawn. I want to dance with you” he said and pulled her a little closer. “We can make our ownmusic.”She was torn between desire and embarrassment. She liked being in his arms, but wished it was in a more private setting where peopleweren’t staring.“How about we go back to my house, I have a stereo there” she hastily suggested.He slowly let her go and smiled, his green eyes seemed to be laughing at her embarrassment.“We can do that too” he said. “Would you help me clean up this picnic?”“Of course!” she said, relieved.
Dawn unlocked the door and went to the stereo to turn it on.“Mom, Dad?” she called out as Don followed her inside. “They must be out.”Don grabbed her hand, spun her out from him, in again, and then encased her into his arms. She laughed her head dizzy.“I think maybe this song is too fast for a slow dance” she teased.“You think?” he teased back, but he released her and they moved easily to the upbeat song. The next song slowed considerable and hebrought Dawn into his arms again.
He laid his hands on the small of her back and led her into the dance. His moves were smooth and stylish. She wrapped her armsaround his neck. “I didn’t know you could dance so well.” She commented, not really sure what else to say.“Either did I” he lied.She rested her head on his shoulder and followed his every move, anticipated him as he walked her, circled her and twirled her aroundthe living room. She fit so well into his arms. She lifted her head, and his mouth was waiting.She braced for the wild assault she saw in his eyes. But he didn’t swoop, or crush, but eased her closer until she was molded to him,his mouth hovering above hers.
His eyes stayed open as he moved his mouth to hers, brushing, nipping, then taking, in a dreamy kind of possession until her visionblurred and she was forced to close her eyes. The humming in her brain increased until she was deaf to everything else, even her ownthroaty moan as he dipped his tongue between her lips.As the kiss deepened, Don imagined how perfectly simple it would be to pick her up and take her to the bed. His thoughts wereinterrupted by Dawn’s cell phone ringing. Don pulled away, despite Dawn’s soft protest. He was going too fast. He wanted to leaveher wanting more and he had been about to take her to the bed. He knew she wasn’t ready for that yet.“Your phone is ringing Dawn” he said, his voice rough with desire.“What?” her mind was still fuzzy. She’d never been kissed like that before. Suddenly she heard her phone. She took it out of herpocket and answered. “Hello? Yes, I’m home now. Okay.” She looked up at Don. “My parents are on their way home.”“I should go” he said, a friendly, cool smile on his face. He was upset he had almost lost control of the situation, but showed none ofthe frustration he felt.“Okay” she said feebly. She wasn’t sure why she suddenly felt cold and exposed.
“I had a great time” he said as he stood in the doorway. “I hope we can do it again some time.”“I would like that.”“Then I’ll call you. A movie and dinner, I think.”She smiled up at him. “That would be fun.”He smiled at her and softly kissed her cheek.“Good night Dawn” he said and walked to his car.Dawn raised her hand to touch her cheek, still warm from his lips. She had told her Mom and Max that she was a smart woman; thatshe wouldn’t do anything she didn’t want to. She wondered what would have happened if her phone hadn’t rung.