Mercedes Grant is a lonely, horny widow, constantly second guessing herself, afraid of what people might think of her sudden preference for white men―until Zachary Jones comes over to fix her AC one hot summer day.
Mercedes Grant was in the bathroom getting ready for work, putting on lipstick, when she heard that phrase that no parent wants to hear.
“Mom, the air conditioner won’t work.”
She put down the tube of lipstick, having not even touched it to her lips, and went out into the hallway, where her daughter Tasha was trying to get the air conditioner to kick on by turning the thermostat just low enough.
Mercedes said, “Tasha, don’t be silly.”
“Mom, I’ve tried turning it down.”
“Here, let me try.”
Mercedes stepped up to the little electronic thermostat and played with it. But the air conditioner definitely wasn’t kicking in. Dammit. She had just watched the weather forecast. The morning was already warm, with the promise of another hot day in store.
Tasha turned to her mother. “Mom, what are we gonna do?”
Mercedes turned to her daughter and patiently said, “Let me call the repair line.”
Tasha smiled. All was okay.
So Mercedes went up the hallway to the kitchen in search of the telephone and called the repair line, asking for a technician to be sent to her home.
Their reply was not helpful.
The secretary said, “I’m afraid we’re quite busy today. All of our technicians are currently scheduled to the end of the day.”
Mercedes sighed, hard. “Okay. Is there any way I might have a tech out to my house by, say, the end of the week, maybe?”
“I’m very sorry for the inconvenience, ma’am. We can schedule you for a tech. If they become available sooner than that, we can move you up. I’m afraid that’s the best we can do.”
Mercedes sighed again. “All right. Go ahead and schedule me. I need the afternoon, anyway.”
“Very well. Please hold just one moment.”
“Okay. I’ll hold.”
A new female voice came on. “Scheduling, this is Kari.”
“Hi, Kari, it’s Mercedes Grant.”
“Oh, hi. How are you?”
“I’m good. Tasha can’t wait for the new year.”
“But I’m guessing your AC isn’t doing so hot, huh?”
Dryly, Mercedes said, “No. It isn’t. I can feel the house getting hotter as I speak.”
Kari laughed. “Well, I don’t know if the secretary told you, but we are quite busy today.”
“Yes, she did. Isn’t there anything you can do?”
This time, a sigh came through. “Sweetheart, it all depends on how quickly the technicians can get through the list of calls. If it’s a quick fix, then on to the next call.”
“Okay, I get it. Set me up.”
“We’ll get a technician out to you as soon as possible, hon.”
As soon as she set up the appointment with the tech, she saw her daughter out the door, then returned to the bathroom to finish getting ready for work.
From the bathroom, she returned to the bedroom to retrieve her purse. Something about the bed, the sheets in slight disarray, made her stop dead in her tracks. Suddenly, she could see her husband, lying in bed, watching her get ready.
She brushed away sudden tears, wishing for a man to hold her. But there was nobody in the room except for her.
Then with a deep breath, she snatched her purse from the dresser, located her car keys, and strode from the room, heading for the front door.