by Mary Margret Daughtridge
Granbury wasn’t a large town. In years past the auction had always been held in the high school auditorium, where a family atmosphere and lots of good-natured teasing gave the money-raiser the feeling of a Sadie Hawkins Day joke. The town wasn’t long on eligible men, either. A couple of years, some of the bachelors had been teenagers, and once, the ten-year-old grandson of the president of the bank. His two grandmothers bidding against each other had been the highlight of the evening.
I had already guessed that by moving the auction to the hotel ballroom, its sponsors signaled they intended things to be different this year, but a Fantasy Man theme? Come on. Granbury wasn’t the kind of place where people had fantasies. Granbury was middle America at its most middle—a fact that had driven me to the big city as soon as I finished school.
I had wanted the kind of place where people dared to live large. I had wanted excitement, thrills, drama. Men in Armani suits and women in deep décolleté black dresses. Sports cars and limousines, and scintillating conversation with men who had mysterious dark eyes and an aura of danger.
At the door to the ballroom, Millicent Froedisher, in the same taupe suit she’d worn to church for years, took my ticket. Beside her, a man, in a formfitting cobalt jumpsuit emblazoned with racing sponsor logos, flashed me a daredevil grin. When I gasped, audibly, he winked. “My friends call me ‘Speedy’—but I’m not, if you know what I mean.” He dipped his head slightly causing a lock of black hair to fall over his eyes. “Buy me.”