Her Voice


This woman is something.

ONE MOMENT she was fiery, then became friendly all of a sudden. It was not that I was complaining, but she was like having a switch—transforming into a beast when the clock ticked midnight—a stunning beast though.

“What?” She snapped her head at me, scowling.

I didn't say it out loud, did I? “What?

“You chuckled.

“Oh. I was just thinking about the bloke back at the diner.” I was not thinking about that dickwad at all.

That skinhead bloke kept glaring at me throughout our time at the Deer’s Diner. He was huge, around two hundred and sixty pounds of muscles in his plaid shirt. The moment I saw him, I knew his middle name was trouble or it suited him better if it was a wanker.

“Donnie’s a jerk. That’s all you have to know. He’s the sheriff’s son. So you don’t wanna be mixed up with someone like him. You’re maybe rich, but you're in unchartered territory—not the right place for you to show off.

“Thanks for the heads up. But I'm not the kind of person who likes to show off? Are you sure he’s not your ex?

“Dop it. I’m not interested in any guys.” She pushed the old glass door with an open signposted.

“Not imposing.” I was glad she cleared the air.

The crisp paper and musty smell of carpet and an ozone-like tang air condition welcomed us.

“Old-fashioned bookstores. Nice.” A few selections of magazines and greeting cards on the racks behind the glass window. Sturdy old bookshelves of different books lining the walls and marching across the floor in rows. A small round table at the corner was holding a book in the display, and posters displaying popular books and discounts posted on the wall.

“Not every day you’ll find a place like this,” she said. “What’s the headline today, Pete?

“Old man Bart’s has a new calf, Dear,” An old man on the vintage chair with a newspaper in hand replied.

A woman wearing a huge smile on her face, probably older than Westley stood up.

“Audene, I thought you’re busy.” The thick southern accent in her tongue was palpable. She bounced her eyes from me, then back to Westley.

“Hello, I’m Clyve.” I held out my hand.

“You must be new here, darlin’. I’m Xena.” She shook my hand, then looked at Westley who looked at her with disinterest. It was her way of telling her to shut up because I was not her type.

“That obvious, huh?

“Clyve is our guest at the cabin.

“Yeah, that’s right. I’m their guest.

“She never brought someone around. Except for Keene. So, Clyve, how’s your stay so far, honey?

“Great. Looking forward to exploring more of the secrets of this town.” I left them when they started babbling something I could not quite grab on.

“You work here, Westley?” I sauntered to the fiction section, pulling out a book by a famous mystery/thriller author from the shelf.

“No. I work over there.” She pointed to what was behind the glass wall that separated the other store.

My eyes literally widened. “No bloody way you work there!

“And why the hell not?” She narrowed her eyes at me, amused.

“Because of...um.

“It doesn’t suit me?

“Maybe. Can we go there after this?

“Not so fast, darling. Buy at least one book,” Xena said.

“Sure, I’ll take this.” I returned the mystery-thriller and grabbed the romance book instead, causing Westley to chuckle.

“What? Can’t a man read a romance novel?

“Did you hear me say anything?” she asked, amused.

Xena punched on the cash register. “Audene thought it would bruise men’s ego when someone caught them reading romance books. Thanks, honey!

“Stereotyping, eh.

“Have a little patient on her. She’s like a marshmallow.

“I happen to have a lot of it.” I grinned at Xena, taking the paper bag she offered.

“I’m not!” Westley yelled before she walked out of the bookstore.

“See you tomorrow, Audene. Say hello to Keene for me,” Xena yelled back, laughing.

A vintage welcome sign made the shop more of an antique vibe. Westley hugged the sixty or something-year-old man. He had thick glasses hung at the tip of his nose while he was inspecting me.

“How’s Keene, dear?” he asked while pinning his gaze on me.

“He’s doing fine, Stan. Thanks for asking. I’m here to tour the guest. This is Clyve. Clyve this is Stan, the shop owner.

“Hello, sir. Howdy?

Westley looked at me with amusement on her face as I addressed the man with respect.

“Still old, Clyve. How did you find this town so far?

“To be honest, it's quite different from where I came from, but this is refreshing. I love nature, and I can’t wait to look around.

“You’re a British, lad?

“Yes, sir. Born and raise.

“I loved to travel when I was still young. Collecting antiques was one of my hobbies. That’s how I got this place.

“These quite a collection you have here, sir.

“I found that piece in an old city in Italy. Owned by an old couple.” He pointed at the old oil painting with elaborated carved frames hung on the wall. “That mermaid figurines were older than me in a decade.

“Do you have a plan to open a shop in the city?” I looked around.

An antique wood cabinet at the corner, china plates, collectible cups, glittering crystal chandeliers, and lamps dangling overhead, but a black and white framed portrait caught my attention.

“Too old for that, Clyve.

I was mesmerized by the picture. It was an Asian young boy squinting his eyes to the camera with a missing tooth smile. “How much is this?



“That one is the last portrait taken by an Antoine Le Veir before he died in a plane crash.

“This is priceless, Stan.

“You love photography, son?

I snapped my head at him. “What made you say that?

“No one ever gave attention to that portrait since I hung it in there. The way you concentrated your eyes on, I knew you have insights about photography.

“Yeah, kind of.

“Take that as a gift.

My mouth agape, shaking my head.

Westley took off the photograph from the wall and wiped it clean.

“I can’t take it. At least let me pay you.

“A souvenir, Clyve. And it’s rude to decline a gift, ain’t it?

“At least let me pay for something I will choose.” I wandered around. I found a sewing machine, old musical instruments, stacks of comic books, folding knives, and an old necklace with a blue teardrop pendant. That reminded me of her eyes.


I gave it to the old man and paid for it. I looked at Westley who was still busy dusting an old ukulele. I hoped she wouldn’t notice me, and I didn’t want her to comment on the item I chose.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Stan.” She hugged the old man one more time before leaving.

“Spend some time with the lad, Audene!


“THANK YOU for today, Westley. I had fun.” I placed the things I bought on top of the wooden coffee table.

“So, are we on a surname basis now, Linton? Or is this your excuse for me not to call you CC?” She grinned, and for the first time since I met her, she seemed to loosen up a bit around me.

“It’s not that I don’t like to be being called as CC, but...

She laughed. “But it sounds macho if you call me Westley.

“But Westley is way more macho, don’t you think?” I sat on the couch beside her. “Do you have a middle name?

“Why would I tell you?

I grinned and ignored the sharp tone in her voice. “Because I will definitely find it out, Audene Westley.

She abruptly stood up. “I should go. Keene must have been wondering if we came back or not.

I followed her to the door. “You can just tell me if you don’t trust me, you know.

She turned around. “You’re right. I don’t know you to trust you. What I did today was just a part of your two weeks package.

Two weeks package, my arse. I was not so dumb not to notice if she fancied being around me or not. So, what was the deal with her denial?

“Tomorrow, we—”

“I want to stay tomorrow.” I cut her off.

She didn’t have to tour me around because I could definitely find my way without her help, and besides, she had to work tomorrow.

“Okay, then. Bye.

I locked the door behind me with a knot of disappointment in my stomach. Preposterous!

After taking a shower, I checked my email and skyped my brother.

The clock on my laptop showed it was ten in the evening. I quickly logged in to the website, then bang! Sindy Kate was online.

My heart pounded in my chest as I stared at her on the screen. She was definitely like having a dual personality. One was an angel, and the other was the evil twin.

She just finished dancing. Her denim ripped short pulled up, showing the viewers of her long shaped legs and a piece of gorgeous round arse. She sat back in front of the screen, making her warm and seductive eyes shone on the camera.

I was one hundred percent it was Westley. Her hair right now was a wig. It didn’t look lively on the screen. She was using contact lenses, and this time, it was gray.

Sindy Kate was typing an answer to her viewers.

I scrolled down the menu after buying coins. I scanned through the lists of pricing for the girls to do the act according to the viewers’ requests. My lips dried instantly to see the price for the private chat.

My heart started to pumped wildly in my chest to the thought of talking to Sindy Kate. What if she recognizes my voice?

The voice! Her voice.

Oh, shit!

Then I clicked the speaker on. Why the fuck I haven't thought about it before?

My jaw dropped.

Now, she sounded exactly like a mix of Sindy and Westley.

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