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Destiny's Chastity

A Story of Summer Love (and Other Stuff as We Think of It)

July 06, 1998|VERONIQUE DELACROIX-SMITH | 10 TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Our story so far: Destiny Bettencourt, assistant to the founder of Java Universe, puts her troubled romantic past behind her when she meets the lanky yet muscular Hunter while buying food for her pet ferret, Suzy.

Chapter II: The Locket

Destiny reached for her Discover card inside her Prada-knockoff wallet inside her Prada-knockoff purse--both purchased while in Venice--Venice, Calif., during a Java Universe location scout last month.

"Thanks," said Hunter as he took the card, his fingers touching hers, his eyes stealing a glance at her deep-set, round emerald-greens.

In those quick three seconds, Destiny slipped far, far away from here--her imagination wild, vivid, on fire as she found herself inside Hunter's arms, his brawny roller-coaster biceps squeezing her closer into his manhood.

At last, a real guy. A man's man. Maybe hers. Such wishful, frivolous thinking. Or was it? After all, wasn't it love at first sight for Sarah, who met Robert while fishing off the Hermosa Beach Pier? Sarah, who on her first fishing foray, hooked herself a husband.

Just then, Hunter handed her the bill for her signature, snapping Destiny back to Earth.

"There you go, Jasper," she said, sliding back the bill.

"Hunter, it's Hunter," he said with a chuckle. "That's Jasper. Over there, the mutt."

"Oh, my God! I'm so sorry," she said, her face flush with embarrassment. She wanted to crawl into a hole.

"Your face is red. You need a Diet Coke."

"That would be great, Hunter," she said, thinking to herself: "Does sharing a soda qualify as a date?"

"I wanted to ask about your locket. It looks familiar to me," he said. He popped the tab and placed the can on the counter.

"Really?" Destiny asked, her hand fingering the locket, a four-leaf clover design that when open reveals a photo tucked inside each leaf.

She leaned over the counter, raising the locket to her chin so Hunter could have a better look. And then she lost her balance, tilting forward. Her breasts brushed his chest. She could feel his breath. Their noses knocked. The can of pop spilled onto its side. Again, she wanted to climb into a hole.

Hunter--his hands the size of baseball mitts--gently helped her up by her delicate shoulders. "I shouldn't have such a cluttered counter," he said.

"You must think I'm a klutz. Here, let me unfasten this thing," Destiny suggested and then handed him the locket.

"I don't know why, but there's something about this locket. It's like deja vu, you know?" He returned it.

"I've made a mess on your counter," Destiny said, standing the can upright. Just then, she noticed the time on a wall clock resembling Felix the cat.

"I've gotta go or I'll miss my appointments," she said of her phone dates with her shrink and her psychic, her best-kept secrets.

She reached for the kibble bag, turning down Hunter's offer to carry it to her car.

"I'll just plop it into the back of my Explorer," Destiny said as she fastened the locket around her neck, returning the clovers to her cleavage.

"You mean that one--the one getting towed away?"

"Oh, shoot!" Destiny yelled. "This can't be happening. Not today!"

She dashed out. Hunter's eyes remained fixed on her as she sprinted to the street. Destiny was one curvaceous, leggy woman. She did power yoga. She had studied ballet. At home, she tuned in Groove Radio's dance music or she discoed to the old school stuff, the fierce femmes of Studio 54: Donna Summer, Vicki Sue Robinson, Thelma Houston and her favorite, Gloria Gaynor. After all, day in, day out, Destiny's mantra was "I Will Survive"--as in "I will survive this dating rut."

But at the moment, she was not surviving her situation on the street.

From Hunter's perch behind the counter, near a floor-to-ceiling window, he could see Destiny in a panic. He ran outside to the rescue.

Within minutes, the tow truck was gone, its driver happy with the bribe Hunter slipped him. Destiny would make her appointments.

"How can I ever repay you?"

Destiny asked as she sat behind the wheel. Hunter leaned into the window, catching whiffs of her perfume, Pleasures.

"How about a date? Dinner, a movie, whatever you say. I mean, that is, if you're unattached."

"That would be nice," Destiny said, her heart doing cartwheels.

"How about tomorrow night? I mean--well, maybe I'm being too forward."

"Six o'clock," Destiny determined.

"Six it is."

With that, Destiny drove away. She had to get home, pronto, to her Studio City studio, tucked on a hillside just below Mulholland, and make her calls. Now more than ever. She had to be "shrinked" for her date. But more important, she could hardly wait to talk to her psychic, Madame Sharma, who lives in Manhattan and is very strict about keeping her $75 30-minute appointments.

What would Madame reveal about Hunter? Would there be secrets? Would there be romance? Would Destiny fulfill her own sensuous fantasies with the man who rescued her?

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