by Mary and Dana in honor of Susan's birthday
“What are you doing?” The supple redheaded man asked his blond friend.
“Moi?” Mart asked innocently, adjusting his blue velvet tie. Jim continued to eye Mart’s black tux, complete with tails, with a suspicious gleam in his green eyes. “I am a merely about to partake in an afternoon stroll, and a gentleman should always appear in public at his finest.”
Jim’s eyes narrowed. “Uh uh. You’re doing what I think you’re doing, aren’t you?”
“My dear James, I am not a prognosticator nor clairvoyant, so I must admit to not being privy to the knowledge floating in your cranial matter, however, I am tardy for an appointment, so I must away.”
Jim hooted in spite of himself. “You must away? Who talks like that? Anyway, it doesn’t matter,” he answered his own rhetorical question. “You are not going to Chicago. I am!”
“I beg to differ, my supple yet brainless fellow.” Mart suddenly remembered the size of Jim’s fists and amended, “Well, that is, I disagree. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.” His blue eyes clouded with lust.
“I’m sure you have, Mart, but so have I—and everyone here in Sleepyside and at Jix knows that it’s me who should give the lovely Susan her birthday present.”
Mart raised a sandy eyebrow at the supple redhead. “I suppose that explains why you’re wearing nothing but a bow tie and a Speedo.”
Jim looked down at his outfit, the muscles of his exposed chest rippling with yearning at the thought of Susan. “What? Too much?”
“Puh-leeze, Jim, I don’t want to end up on a psychiatrist’s couch. Don’t make me answer that question.”
“You don’t think the Chippendale’s dancers are classy? I was going for panache.”
“Jim, you’d be better off going with Chip and Dale of cartoon fame.” Mart quipped as he picked up a dozen long-stemmed roses and loftily exited the room.
“We’ll see about that. You’re flying coach to O’Hare, but Bob is flying me straight to DuPage Airport. We’ll see who gets to wish Susan happy birthday first!”
Later onboard the Wheeler jet…
“So, uh, Jim, we’re ready to go. I’ll let you know when we’re ready to land at DuPage. Your limo should be waiting to take you to Naperville.”
“Thanks, Bob,” Jim said as he buckled himself in.
Bob stared at his boss’ son for another moment, trying to determine if he was really seeing the supple redhead dressed in a bow tie and not much else. Insanity doesn’t run in the Bob-Whites—it practically gallops, Bob thought to himself and wisely decided to stay silent. He disappeared to the safety of the cockpit where no rippling muscles threatened to land him on a psychiatrist’s couch.
A few hours later at the door of an apartment in Naperville…
Jim took a deep breath and adjusted his supple, rippling muscles before knocking on the door. He held a brightly wrapped present in one hand and a harmonica in the other, and waited nervously for Susan to open the door. He heard the sounds of Harry Connick Jr. coming from the stereo inside the apartment and knocked louder when nobody appeared.
The music stopped abruptly and the door was flung open by a ravishing, brown-haired beauty resplendent in a blue negligee.
“Jim,” she cried, surprised. She managed to overcome her shock and took note of the unusual way the supple redhead was dressed—or rather, not dressed. “Why are you dressed like that?”
“I’m dressed with panache for your birthday!”
“But why are you wearing those clothes?”
With horror, Jim suddenly realized that Mart was correct, and although his rippling muscles were shown to great advantage, he looked rather idiotic. His mind went absolutely blank until a line from a Cary Grant movie suddenly escaped his lips. “Because I just went gay all of a sudden!”
Susan recognized the line from one of her beloved Cary Grant’s movies and laughed. “Come on in, Jim, there’s someone I would like you to meet.”
Jim stepped into the apartment as Harry Connick Jr. appeared at Susan’s side and slung a casual arm around her waist. “Hey, how’s it going?”
Jim suddenly realized that it hadn’t been a Harry Connick CD he had been listening to through the door, but Harry Connick himself tickling the ivories of Susan’s piano. His eyes narrowed and jealousy coursed through his supple body at the thought of Harry Connick tickling anything else of Susan’s!
“What are you doing here?” Jim blurted out.
“I’m Susan’s number one guy, so I am here to wish her a perfectly perfect birthday.”
Jim sputtered with indignation. “I’m her number one guy! And that’s my sister’s phrase, you woman-and-catch-phrase stealing…musician, you! Have you no honor?”
“Actually, you’re both wrong,” an incredibly suave and debonair voice was heard. “I’m Susan’s number one guy.”
Everyone froze as a young Cary Grant entered the room, looking impossibly handsome. “Susan, my dearest darling do you need help fending off these ne’er-do-wells?”
Susan smiled fetchingly at the handsome movie star. “I’m okay. I’m a big girl.”
Cary looked appreciatively at the beautiful woman standing before him. “Yeah, and in all the right places, too.”
There’s a double meaning in that. Literally! Jim thought to himself, annoyed.
“Forget them, Susan!” Harry cried. “We’d be fools to let our chance for happiness pass us by!”
“Hey!” Cary protested. “That’s my line.”
“I told you he was a catch phrase stealer!” Jim snapped, every rippled muscle vibrating with indignation.
“I swear my love to you, Susan,” the three lovesick men declared.
Susan laughed. “I’d rather hear Dana’s schnauzer bark at Cheerio the pet catbird than hear a man swear he loves me.”
“Fellas,” a new voice came from the door, “you’re all making much ado about nothing. I am the one for Susan.” Mart declared as he strode into the room, blond curls rippling with lust, giving the roses he held to Susan with a flourish.
Susan smiled her sweet smile. “Thanks, Mart. And thanks to all of you for remembering my birthday.”
“How could we forget after all of the pleasure you’ve given to the members of Jix on their birthdays?” Jim said before Cary had a chance to answer.
Cary looked at Jim disdainfully. “Must you always interrupt me when I am hob-nobbing with the sublime Susan?”
Mart looked around the room and suddenly felt that he was outclassed. Standing here in Susan’s apartment was a suave and debonair movie star, a supple handsome redhead who, truth be told, Susan wrote about obsessively, and a downright hot musician. What could Mart offer someone like Susan that these men could not?
“Well, Susan, I can see you’re in good hands. I realize you could never love me.”
“Oh, but Mart, I do love you,” Susan assured him.
Mart looked heavenward and exclaimed. “Loves me…why?!!?!?”
“Well, the world must be peopled!” Susan laughed. “Seriously, Mart, you offer words and wit, a lovely combination.”
Mart blushed with pleasure. “Why, thank you.”
“But I’m supple!” Jim protested.
“But I’m suave and debonair!” Cary exclaimed.
“And I’m downright hot!” Harry Connick Jr. objected.
The four men were soon involved in a heated debate while Susan looked on, bemused. Just then, a glint of red at the door caught her eye. She turned to see Riordan Grant in the doorway and smiled as she walked over to him.
“Happy birthday, Susan. What do you say we leave these four boys here to their follies and grab a Coke in the Bat Cave?”
Susan nodded, grinning delightedly.
“Sounds wonderful,” she said as the two exited the apartment and walked off into the sunset.
Jim paused from pummeling Harry Connick Jr. long enough to ask, “Who was that masked man?”
Please join Jim, Mart, Harry, Cary, and Riordan in wishing Susan the most perfectly perfect birthday, won’t you?
Trixie Belden® is a registered trademark of Random House Books. These pages are not affiliated with Random House Books in any way. These pages are not for profit. Quotes from Much Ado About Nothing and various Cary Grant movies used without permission.
Story copyright © 2004–2014 Mary and GSDana. Graphics copyright © GSDana, 2001–2014.