One Stormy Night...
“Going to try your luck?” A voice purred into my ear as I stood watching. Turning my head, I saw one of the most beautiful women I’d even seen. Lusciously curvy, she stood next to me with a coy smile on her ruby red lips, her hair the color of flames. She wore shoes with heels like daggers. Silk stockings caressed her legs past her knees and disappeared under the hem of her dress. The icy blue dress wrapped around her voluptuous body, clinging to her like flowing water. It was held up by what I could only imagine was sorcery, putting ample amounts of soft, white cleavage on display. My mouth watered at the sight. When my eyes met hers again, the smile deepened. She knew I liked what I saw.
“I don’t think I need to,” I said. “All I need is right in front of me. Might I buy you a drink, lass?” I offered her my arm and was gratified when she took it. As we walked to the bar, a cloud of scent surrounded me, wafting from her warm skin, and I was spellbound.
But when we sat down with our drinks, there was a single moment when I thought my secret would be revealed. I introduced myself to her, inquiring as to her name. There was a long moment of silence as she stared at me and I didn’t understand her obvious disbelief. I scrambled to think of a way to cover my ignorance, but it was a moment that no amount of charm would distract her from.
“You don’t know who I am?” Her voice was smoky, but her shock was unmistakable.
I took a sip of my whiskey, still trying to buy myself some time as my mind raced to come up with answer that would satisfy her curiosity. I was certain that telling her the truth would not bode well for the rest of the evening. But what explanation did I have for not knowing something she clearly thought I should?
“I’m sorry, lass,” I began. “But I’ve been away in far flung parts of the world for a time.”
This I understood, at least, a bit. World War II had ended less than two years before I found myself in this bright city. I’d been able to piece together a bit of recent history during my repeated trips to the library. It was a significant event and I had spent hours reading about it, finding myself horrified and feeling unclean as I learned more about the atrocities committed during it. Even now, a few days later, I felt greatly disturbed.
“In part. I also spent time in Japan and Russia.” Aside from the implication that I’d been involved with the war, I didn’t lie to her. I had been in both of those places, and more, even if not in the way I hoped she’d assume. “So, I mean no offense by not recognizing your beautiful face.”
She smiled at me, flashing perfect teeth, accepting my explanation for what it was. “Actually, it is rather refreshing. Most of the time, people scramble to be near me, only wanting to be close because of who I am.” She stopped, frowning and pouting prettily. “Good Lord, that sounds just awful of me. It’s just that it is nice to be seen as myself and not what everyone sees on the screen.”
“I’m in the pictures, darling. My name is Rita. Rita Hayworth.”
Her eyes searched my face for some sign that her name sparked recognition, but there was none. Instead of disappointment, her face filled with glee and she reached out and patted my hand.
“You really don’t know who I am! How delightful!”