(The conclusion, Fortune Cookie: A Christmas Tale)
Bodie and Rosalyn walked hand in hand to the front pasture. She had not seen Excalibur since the night of her near death, four days ago. Rosalyn was sure the doctor Bodie insisted on calling had been bribed to prescribe bed rest, just in case she had a heart attack or something.
But now she was free, and believe it or not, on a date. Before they left, Rosalyn insisted on checking Excalibur first. She picked her way across the lane in black patent high heels, topped by a fitted black Givenchy skirt, white silk blouse, cashmere coat gold chain necklace, and gold button earrings. The fashion statement was a gift from Bodie.
She munched the last of the fortune cookies from that FAT-company-idiot. The last cookie had predicted “a heartbreaking life unless you call Fiduciary Answers Today”.
If her penny proved worthless, Rosalyn supposed she would have to get used to these gifts of Bodie’s. He couldn’t help himself. Fortunately, the more time she spent with this man, the better he got.
Excalibur waited at the end of the pasture, still as a statue. Rosalyn stepped through the gate, and whistled. She held a new treat in her hand, something from her childhood. Excalibur's head shot up at her call. The golden gelding nickered, and ran toward the woman. She held out her hand with the Chick-O-Stick.
The horse slid to a stop in front of Rosalyn, and extended its muzzle. Whiskers twitched. Nostrils flared. Excalibur lipped the candy, took it in his mouth, and began chewing. A sigh escaped the horse. He lowered his head and let Rosalyn run her hands over sculpted golden ears. The horse rubbed its mouth along Rosalyn's sleeve, leaving a wet, green swath of saliva.
Bodie snickered. "Give a horse 10 minutes with a white shirt, and you’ll find boogers and slime that you never knew existed anywhere on earth."
Excalibur lowered his head for more scratching.
Rosalyn turned to Bodie with tear-filled eyes. “I think he’s learned to trust again.”
“Or maybe he just likes Chick-O-Sticks,” said Bodie.
His cell phone interrupted them. He listened, nodding. “I see. Thank you.” Bodie disconnected. He looked at Rosalyn. "Dry those tears, Roz. Your penny passed. You've got a deal. The $200,000 will be in your account tomorrow. It's amazing what you find in pond slime these days."
Rosalyn and Bodie sat at what would become their favorite table at the little Italian place, which as it turned out, Bodie also owned. They shared white chocolate cheesecake topped in raspberries and hot, dark chocolate sauce. The two had stopped at the local boutique to replace the horse-slimed blouse with an ivory version. In front of the boutique, the man in dreadlocks walked past them, brushing slightly against Rosalyn. “Winds of fortune, winds of fortune,” he muttered. He wore clean clothes, nodded, and flashed a big, green-eyed grin.
“At least he seems happy.”
“That hobo guy with the dreadlocks.”
Bodie turned to look. “I don’t see anybody.” The hobo had disappeared.
In the restaurant, candles sent golden shafts of light dancing around the room. The violinist softly drew out the melody to “White Christmas.” A very large diamond ring glittered on Rosalyn’s left hand, not the tainted, cast-off circle of metal belonging to Money Mona, Bodie’s ex-wife, but an embedded diamond designed for a horsewoman.
Bodie had presented it to her two days ago while she was under house arrest. Now, clad in a black tuxedo sculpted to his lean frame, Bodie gave Rosalyn a fresh understanding of how Scarlett O’Hara must have felt when Rhett Butler walked into the room.
The chocolate sauce from their dessert dribbled off her fork on to the index finger of her ring hand. Rosalyn shook her head and fumbled for her napkin. “You sure you know what you’re getting into, Bodie? In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a slob.”
“Wait a minute,” he said. “Let me check.”
Bodie took Rosalyn’s chocolate-covered finger in his mouth. He delicately, meticulously, licked off the sauce. Rosalyn shivered.
“Oh yeah, that’s what I’m getting into,” said Bodie, “finger-lickin’ good for the rest of our lives."
“Stop being nice,” she said. “You’re making me cry.”
Rosalyn reached into her handbag for a tissue. She pulled out something crackly and hard. “Where did that come from?” She held it out for Bodie to see.
Sealed in shiny wrap, a Woo’s Fine Fortune Cookie lay on Rosalyn Mallory’s open palm.
(MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! MAY YOUR CHRISTMAS BE FULL OF WONDERFUL SURPRISES. -- Karin Livingston)