During the summer of 1978, she loved Hunter Delaney.

He appeared on a Tuesday in early June, and at the time Daisy Bermudez had no one from whom she could seek advice or with whom she could speculate. She was alone, having begun her first temp job, in the typing pool of a law office. For two weeks Daisy, by herself, was to fill in for a couple of girls gone on vacation. This created extra work for the other typists, and it must have made them cranky.

They snickered at Daisy’s clothes. They abandoned her at lunch time, left her to fend for herself, but on the second day she had come prepared. Daisy propped a library book on top of the Selectric typewriter and consumed a sandwich from home.

A young man in business attire entered the room. She paid him little mind until she realized he was observing her. Daisy glanced up. The man smiled a sweet, jaunty, conspiratorial smile that was unfamiliar, disarming. The fine skin crinkled around his eyes, and those eyes glowed with an entirely familiar energy. She had never seen the man, but she recognized his eyes from her dreams. Light emanated from his eyes. It illuminated her. Its warmth saturated her. He had the eyes of a phantom who haunted her dreams, a changeable being, a trickster, a man of many faces, always identifiable by his eyes. And now, here he stood, in the real world.

Blood rushed to the private place between her legs. A hot and shocking sensation. Daisy blinked rapidly, held herself still. She was inexperienced at such things.

She looked down at herself and saw her own skin – the opaque covering she had trusted for 18 years – turned polished and milky like frosted glass. Daisy raised one hand before her face and saw through the flesh to the hardness of her bones. Her body had become translucent in the presence of this stranger who knew her.

He knew her, and he approved of her. He found her appealing. Desirable.

Enchanting? Did he find her enchanting?

No.

I adore this man, Daisy thought, surprised by the clarity of her insight, and he will never adore me.

She resumed reading the book, pretending to read the book, took a bite of sandwich, then lay the remainder on the flattened paper bag. She continued studying the page as she put her right hand in her vest pocket and stroked a small stone. The man stood there, as if undecided about something, then left the room. He closed the door behind him. Daisy continued gazing at that one page until the typing pool girls returned from lunch to the elegant law offices of Cross, Delaney, Knight.

Hunter, of course, was too young to be the Delaney of the company name. He was the prodigal son, returned.

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