Romance Fiction posted January 8, 2022 Chapters: -1- 2... 


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Alexandra attempts to heal her broken heart.

A chapter in the book Quiet Lawyer

The Quiet Lawyer Chapter 1

by barbara.wilkey


Chapter 1


Cordero Ortiz searched the hallway as he adjusted his bandana. Where'd that mangy mutt go? Noticing the guest bedroom door ajar, he frowned. "He didn't?"

After he knocked and didn't receive an answer, he peeked inside and entered. "Get off her bed! Tonia's daughter's staying in here." He sniffed as he grabbed Samson's collar. That smell. It's jasmine. Maybe you like jasmine.

Alexandra Black entered from the bathroom, wearing only a towel. Her piercing blue eyes glared. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" She pointed at the large dog. "What's he doing on my bed?"

Cordero pulled Samson from the bed. "I'm getting him out of your room. He shouldn't be here."

She held the towel. "Neither should you."

His stare crept from her feet to her face and grinned. "You're right about that. This cowboy hasn't seen anything look this good for a long time, if ever." Before he turned toward the door, he grabbed the bedspread. "It's covered with dog hair. I'll have Mom get a fresh one. See you at breakfast."

"Shut the door!" Alexandra exhaled. So he's Rosa's son.

*****

When Alexandra entered the dining room, Rosa smiled and put her arm around Cordero. "Late last night our son came home. Alexandra, I'd like you to meet Cordero. He goes by Cord. He only lives down the gravel road, but he'll be staying here a few days. He and his dad need to handle some ranch business."

Cordero offered his hand. "We've met, but not officially. I finally get to put a name with that pretty face." He faced his mom. "Yesterday we met in front of the coffee shop. She thought Samson was a bear. He scared her, and she danced with a Yucca." He glanced at the Band-Aid he'd placed on her. "How's your wrist?"

She put her hand over it. "It's fine."

He petted the large dog's head. "Just a few minutes ago, I chased Samson from her bedroom. I think he has a crush on her."

Cordero's dad, Jorge walked in. "I can see why." He roughed up Samson's ears. "You have good taste in women." As he sat at the table, he added, "Yesterday after I picked her up from our city's airport, I needed some specialty screws so took her to the coffee shop while I went down the street to the hardware store." He sipped his coffee. "Samson's a Newfoundland. He does resemble a bear."

Rosa sat beside her husband. "At least having him around, I don't need to worry about the pool being used."

Cordero petted his dog's head. "Mom, you know you love him."

Jorge helped himself to some homemade tortillas. "Alexandra, Newfoundland's are notorious swimmers." He lifted Samson's right front paw. "He even has partial webbing between his toes. If you want to swim, just be aware he might join you."

She smiled.

While they ate and visited, Cordero sipped coffee as his striking deep brown eyes met Alexandra's. "I'm curious. From the time we were little our moms always referred to you as Ali. What's the story behind you being called Alexandra?"

"I...uh..."

"Cord, Alexandra's her given name," interrupted Rosa as she glared at her son.

"I know, but her whole life she's been Ali."

"Rosa, digale que no ahora," said Jorge.

Cordero faced his dad. "Did you forget I'm fluent in Spanish? The only person here who may not be is our guest." He faced Alexandra. "He told Mom to tell me not now." He took a bite of eggs.

Moisture welled in Alexandra's eyes as she left the table. "Excuse me. I need some air." She opened the glass sliding door and went outside.

Rosa stood. "I'll go after her."

Cordero patted his mom's arm. "I upset her. I'll go." He studied her sitting on a bench and took some tissues. "I'll probably need these." On the way out, he grabbed a jacket. "Mom, will you set a thermos of coffee and two cups on the outside table?"

As Cordero got close to Alexandra, she turned her head away and dried the tears streaming down her cheeks.

Placing the jacket around her shoulders, Cordero inhaled. There's that jasmine again. "You don't need to hide your tears. A few tears are nothing compared to this morning's towel incident." He grinned. "Please understand, I'm not complaining. I enjoy a pretty lady as much as the next guy."

Alexandra nodded as she pulled the jacket around her.

"I know it's too big, but it's the one I had easiest access to. March morning air in Alpine's cool. Right now it's about fifty degrees. It'll be close to eighty by mid-afternoon." He went back to the patio table, grabbed the thermos and cups, and then poured her a cup. "This will warm you. Is it all right if I sit?"

Alexandra accepted the cup and scooted over.

Cordero sat and then sipped coffee. There was silence, before he continued, "Mom said you're here because you're mending a broken heart. Evidently, changing what you're called has something to do with that relationship. I'm sorry."

When she didn't respond, he said, "It might help if you discuss it instead of keeping it bottled inside." He took a drink. "I know we've just met, but our moms have talked about you so much, I feel I know you. Hopefully, they discussed me and you feel the same."

Again, no response.

"You're a quiet one, that's for sure." After a few moments and more coffee, Cordero said, "I've been told I'm a good listener. If you'd like, I could give you a man's perspective on the situation. Not sure if it'd help." He refilled his cup. "Or we could sit here in silence. That's another option."

As silence continued, Cordero fingered his cup. "Have I mentioned I'm sorry I upset you?"

"You've already apologized. I accepted it." Alexandra wiped a tear threatening to escape.

Cordero handed her a tissue. "I brought extra in case you needed them."

"Thank you. That was thoughtful."

"I have moments."

"You don't need to stay. I don't need a chaperone."

"I'm not here as a chaperone. I'm here because you're hurting and I'm to blame."

Alexandra tilted her head. "I'm not blaming you for anything." She hesitated. "Except being a man."

"I can't change that, but I am the one who asked about your name change."

"You're not my ex-fiance who I brought a surprise Valentine's dinner to and caught in bed, or I should say naked on the couch with another woman," her volume rose.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not that man." Cordero faced her. "That man did you wrong. You didn't deserve it. He's not worth shedding tears over."

Cordero got up. "I need more coffee." He adjusted the jacket around her. "Are you warm enough?" After she nodded, he went inside.

A few moments later, Cordero returned and sat. "Let's pretend you're not a nice person." When she glared, he held up a hand. "I said pretend." For effect, he hesitated. "So you're not a good person, and this guy didn't want to be engaged any longer. A decent man would've broken up, not bed other women." He watched for a reaction. Not getting one, he continued, "The problem's not you. He's the one with a character flaw."

Alexandra swallowed. "Maybe."

"There's no maybe to it. A man who does something like that can't be trusted."

Cordero turned when he heard, "Boss, sorry to interrupt. Got a minute?"

He stood but addressed Alexandra, "I'll be right back."

After talking with Bob, Cordero said, "I'm sorry. I need to handle something. Can we put this talk on hold? I'm staying for a few days. Dad and I need to work together on a few ranch problems." When Alexandra faced him, he used his thumb and dried her cheek. "Promise no tears until I return."

"I don't make promises I can't keep."

Nodding, Cordero said, "That's good to know. Try okay?"

She nodded.

"You sure don't say much. I'll see you at dinner." He turned to leave.

As he started inside, Alexandra hurried to him. "Cord, your jacket. Thank you, but you might need it."

His eyes met hers as he accepted it. "I could've found another. Sure you won't need it."

She nodded.

He grinned. "Never met a quiet lawyer before."

*****

That evening Cordero arrived after dinner had started. He hugged his mom. "Sorry, I'm late."

Rosa smiled. "I'm sure you have a good excuse."

He glanced at his dad. "We'll discuss it later."

Cordero grinned at Alexandra. "How was your day?"

"I...a..."

"Alexandra helped me around the house," interrupted Rosa.

Pointing his fork at Alexandra, he said, "I got to thinking." He moved the tablecloth and glanced under the table. "Thought so. Tomorrow's what Thursday? Maybe you and Mom can go shopping and get you some ranch clothes. You're not in New York City. Those stilettos and fancy duds won't make it around here." He grinned. "You do look really nice, and I'm sure they cost a pretty penny. The clothes aren't serviceable. I was thinking I could teach you to ride. Ever been on a horse?"

Cordero opened his wallet and took out some cash. "Maybe this will help."

Alexandra cleared her throat. "I can afford my own clothes."

"I'm sure you can, but since it's my idea I thought maybe I should pay."

"It won't be necessary."

He took a bite and chewed slowly before he tilted his head. "The clothes won't be necessary or the money?"

"Rosa, if you have time tomorrow..."

"I'd love to take you shopping," interrupted Rosa. "It's one of your mom's and my favorite activities."

Cordero pressed keys on his phone. "Bob, would you bring Dolly and Chip to the main house?" He listened. "I think Alexandra can ride Dolly. She's pretty docile." After he hung up, he faced his dad. "I'll bed those two in the barn by the house. There's enough hay and feed for a couple of days. I'll see more's brought up."

"Sounds like a plan. Make sure Jim knows about the horses. Also Otto and Klaus will be returning in a few days, possibly tomorrow." After Cordero nodded, Jorge's eyes met Alexandra's. "Your mom rides Lola, but I'm not sure you're ready. Cord will have you riding in no time."

Just as dinner ended, Cordero received a phone call. He stepped away from the table and took it. When he returned, he sighed. "Dad, we need to talk."

Jorge took his last bite. "Sorry, ladies." He kissed Rosa's cheek. "Another great meal."

After Rosa stood, Alexandra joined her. "I'll help with dishes."

*****

Later that evening Alexandra entered the kitchen. When she saw Cordero at the counter, she turned to leave.

"Alexandra, you don't need to go. What'd you come in for?"

"It's not important."

"You're welcome to get whatever you want. I'm sure Mom explained that."

"She did, during the house tour, but..."

"But nothing," interrupted Cordero. He glanced at the bananas. "I'm making a banana split. Would you like one?"

'Sounds good, but..."

Cordero shook his head. "I'm an expert banana split maker." He took a large bowl from the cupboard and then handed her the bananas and a knife. "Mind slicing these?" He went to the freezer and got vanilla bean ice cream.

When she finished, she pointed at the bowl. "Should I put them in here?"

Nodding, he said, "Yes. We're a little short on ice cream, so we'll make one big bowl." When Alexandra's eyebrows rose, Cordero grinned. "I guess you never ate from one bowl before?"

"I have not."

Chuckling, he continued, "To be honest neither have I, but it sounds like an okay idea. We'll have separate spoons."

Cordero loaded ice cream on top of the bananas and then opened the refrigerator. "I like chocolate and caramel on mine. How about you?"

"Sounds good."

"Nuts, whipped cream, and berries?"

"Of course."

After he finished, Cordero lifted the bowl. "Grab two spoons and follow me. I know the perfect place to eat this."

He led her to a screened patio. After setting the bowl on a table, he said, "I'll be right back."

Cordero returned with his jacket. "It gets cool once the sun goes down."

"I'm wearing your jacket more than you. I did bring jackets and sweaters."

"I'm sure you did, but this one's close." He held it while she slipped in her arms. As she did, Cordero inhaled. "Your perfume's nice. What's it called?"

"Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum."

Chuckling, Cordero said, "Of course. It means nothing to this cowboy. It must be expensive with a name like that." He held her chair as she sat.

"I'm surprised you like it."

"It's unmistakable, that's for sure." Cordero accepted the offered spoon. "Dig in." He took a bite. "It's good." Watching Alexandra for a moment, he added, "Help yourself. I promise not to bite, and there's way more than I can eat."

Alexandra dipped her spoon in the bowl. Her ice cream dripped with chocolate and caramel. "This looks really good." She put it in her mouth. "It is." She glanced to her right and pointed. "Did you see that? A shooting star."

"No, but I hope you made a wish. This is one of my favorite star watching places."

"You have more than one?"

"I do. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to show you the others." Cordero watched her as he spooned more ice cream into his mouth.

"That would be nice." Alexandra scanned the outside area. "Alpine's pretty, but what's it like living here? Mom said there are only about six thousand people."

"Are you asking if there are things to do?" After she nodded, Cordero continued, "I find lots to do. We don't have fancy museums, but we have beautiful nature. You don't need to go to a zoo. We have all the wildlife you could want. We have taverns for drinking and dancing. There are good restaurants." He grinned. "We even have a drive-in theater."

"Are you teasing?"

"I'm answering your question as honestly as I can." Taking another bite of ice cream, he said, "While you're visiting, why don't I take you to some of our social events and you can judge for yourself?"

"Maybe, but I've heard rumors that a lot more goes on at drive-in theaters than watching a movie."

Chuckling, Cordero continued, "I can promise nothing like that will happen. I meant taking you as a big brother/friend."

"Then I'd like to go." Alexandra glanced at her ringing phone and flipped it over. She closed her eyes, exhaled, and then stared off in the distance.

Cordero moved her hand from the phone and glanced at it. "Is Alan the man who broke your heart?" After she wiped an escaped tear, he continued, "How often does he call?" She didn't answer. "What's your passcode?"

Silence.

"I'm trying to help."

"Zero, six, nineteen, ninety-one."

He typed it in. "You shouldn't use your birthday as a passcode."

"How do you know...?"

"I'm exactly two weeks older than you," interrupted Cordero. He searched her phone. "He's called or texted twenty-one times today. Have you told him to stop?"

Alexandra nodded. "The first time he called I told him to never call or text again. I never answered since, but he still does. I've never replied to his text."

Cordero clicked some buttons and handed back her phone. "You don't need to worry about him bothering you. I've blocked his number."

"Won't that make him angry?"

"Probably. Why do you care?" Cordero studied her. "Are you worried...?" He placed his hand over hers. "I won't allow him to hurt you. I promise." Samson nuzzled his head onto her lap. "He won't either."

"Thank you."

"Does he know you're here?"

"I don't think so, but at some point I'll need to return home."

Cordero's eyes twinkled. "Unless you like our night life so much you decide to stay."

"I doubt there are any opportunities for a corporate lawyer in Alpine."

"You might be surprised," he teased. Glancing at his watch, he stood. "It's getting late. I'll walk you to your room."

"You don't need to."

"I try to be a gentleman and that's what we do."

She smiled. "Okay, then." At her bedroom door, her cheeks tinged pink. "Thank you."

Cordero winked. "You're welcome." He petted Samson, who'd followed. "Tonight you need to stay in my room."


Thank you George Strait and Sheryl Crow "When Did you Stop Loving Me?"







A First Book Chapter contest entry

Recognized

#29
January
2022


I did not include the accent for the Spanish or for fiance because of formatting issues.

Thank you google images for artwork of a broken heart.

This is my new novel. I haven't decided if I should start posting the rest before I finish my current novel or not. I'm leaning toward going ahead and posting it. On chapter 2 I'll add a character list.

Thank you for the help with those small words I tend to omit. Your support of my writing means a lot to me. Again, thank you.

Nothing helps a broken heart, like someone wonderful giving you theirs. Will Cordero give his heart to Alexandra? If he does, will she accept it?

Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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