Pike Place

  • Round: Books: 5 Page Challenge

  • Genre:
    Fiction: Thriller/Suspense
  • Submitted: April 03, 2011

Books

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5 Page Challenge

Pages 1-5 | Extended Sample


Summary

Rachel saves Joshua Todaro’s life on the battlefield and he gives her the bullet in gratitude. She gives him her heart, and back home in Seattle he asks her to marry him. But someone murders Joshua in his apartment above Pike Place Market, and frames Rachel.

Pages 1 - _

CHAPTER 1

Naked under her black Kristi Vosbeck wrap dress, Rachel stood before the window of her office, fascinated by the late evening Seattle thunderstorm. The lightning bleached the public market on the opposite side of Pike Place.

She untied the wrap and shrugged her left shoulder to let it fall. Her reflection in the window betrayed the ceiling light that shone on her exposed breast. Pulling the dress up, she walked across the soft pile of the rug and turned the switch off. Then she let the dress slip barely open as she walked back and stood before the window in red high heels.

Cool air passing over her breasts contrasted with the hot flush of embarrassment. The lightning might soon be over, and then her plan to show all of herself to Joshua, her Joshua, across the street would not work. She moved left, out of sight next to the windowpane.

Her second floor office had a large half-circle picture window facing the Public Market sign, looking down on the fish market. Joshua’s apartment was directly across from her. His window looked in on a large room. The brilliant red scarf of a Toulouse-Lautrec poster dominated the back wall.

Rachel searched all the other windows across Pike Place. No one was there, and the people down below on the shiny wet cobblestones could not see her.

She wanted Joshua to be as excited as she was right now. They had a date this evening, the most important evening of her life. She knew Joshua felt the same anticipation, because she had seen him walking back and forth.

Rachel reached back and felt the cool, slick plastic of the phone, fumbled for the speaker button and pressed it, then found the first speed dial button and touched it. After two rings, she heard Joshua’s wonderful voice.

“Hello?”

She stepped out before the windowpane, her abdomen tightening as if she were standing before the open door of an airplane. Rachel took a deep breath, let the dress fall and sent a smile out into the darkness to search for him.

He looked out his window, so tall, with his wide shoulders, poised and graceful. He was frowning. Warmth spread all over her and her knees weakened.

“Do you see anything in my apartment, Joshua?”

“No, sweetheart, it’s pretty dark out there and…”. 

Another flash of lightning like a strobe light. A broad smile with those beautiful white teeth of his took over his whole face. “Oh, Rachel, you are beautiful!” 

“Just for you Joshua, just for you.” She smiled back and clicked the speakerphone off. Then she stepped out of sight, pulled the dress up, and tied it at the waist. She walked around her desk to the futon and sat, smiling and breathing hard. It was the bravest thing she had ever done outside of Afghanistan. But how thrilling it was. A hot blush burned on the back of her neck.

Now it was time to go and plan her future with Joshua.

She stood, lifted her tan leather jacket off the hook and swung it around her shoulders as she opened the door and left the office. As it clicked shut she thought she heard a second click, but the hallway was empty. The elevator was quiet, not coming up or going down.

Rachel walked the few steps to the janitor’s closet and opened it. The smell of ammonia hit her nostrils. A large box of industrial paper towels was right by the door. It still had packing tape on it and looked too small for anybody to hide in. Shelves of cleaning supplies took up the rest of the room. She shut the door and went to the stairwell and headed downstairs. Why worry about every little sound? Especially tonight. Maybe she wouldn’t even be renting this office space much longer.

With a jaunty step, she went down the stairs and swung herself around at the landing and walked down the hallway to the street door. Once she was outside, the cold air cleared her head. The rain had mostly stopped. Across the street, Joshua’s apartment still looked dark and empty. He was gone from the window, but Rachel knew he was waiting. She rushed out, careful to keep her heels from catching on the wet bricks. A cool mist sprinkled her face as she walked across the street. Hugging her jacket close, she jumped up on the curb on the other side.

A young fishmonger with a dark crew cut and messy apron smiled and held out a wriggling red and white Alaskan king crab toward her. “Hey, Rachel, fresh in today.”

She smiled back and shook her head and waved to him without moving her elbows away from her sides. She continued past Down Under and the grocery store, with its rows of neat green lettuce, to the stairwell. 

She took the steps two at a time, feeling an anticipatory pleasure in using her long muscular legs. Then she was on the landing at Joshua’s white front door with its ornate etched glass windows. The door was one inch open, as an invitation. She pushed it all the way in, smiling, encouraged. The warm air from inside flowed across her face at the same time as the wet breeze of sea air cooled the back of her neck. No one was visible at the front of the apartment. It was an exciting treasure hunt.

She looked left into the living room with Joshua's wide blue architectural drawing of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater on the far wall. It contrasted with the dark blue in the overstuffed brocade sofa with matching pillows, and square pure glass dining room table. Above the sofa, the Toulouse-Lautrec. That was Joshua, the architect as artist. But the room itself was empty. He was not there, so she would go looking for him. For the thrilling surprise. 

The first door on the right opened to his workroom, with his architect’s drawing table. On the table was a model of his current work, a conference center on Portage Bay, extending out over the water. Little plastic trees and cars littered the table as if Godzilla had recently passed through. Joshua had been making the finishing touches for his presentation tomorrow morning to the mayor at the Lake Union site.

She waited and looked around with a self-satisfied smile to see if he would appear. Her leather jacket felt hot, so she took it off and then let it drop to the floor in a show of sensuous abandon.

  Joshua was not in the workroom. Only one more door left on the hallway. The bedroom. Of course, it was only natural. He saw her in the flash of lightning, and the bedroom is where he would be waiting.

Rachel put her hand on the cool brass knob and opened the bedroom door enough to peek in, nervous excitement pulsing, expecting to see him languishing across his bed. Not there. The reflection in the dresser mirror against the wall on the other side of the bed showed only the black comforter and a swirly abstract charcoal drawing.

Joshua was still nowhere to be seen. But the familiar warm male scent of Knize Ten cologne was in the air. She turned around, about to go back and check out the kitchen, when a pair of hands came from behind and covered her eyes. The Knize Ten became more intense. Then his whispered voice.

“Not so good for a private detective, Rachel. You didn’t look behind the door.” He kept his hands over her eyes as his warm lips rested on the nape of her neck.

 

 

 

 
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