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The Ultimate Unwrapping

Dr. Reginald Harper gulped. Madison was not going to let up. She’d began her line of questioning demanding to know everything about him. ‘Intense’ didn’t even begin to describe her overwhelming ability to draw information from people. The well-dressed doctor subconsciously took a step back, bumping into the buffet-style table and nearly spilling the great, big bowl of cider. Grinning sheepishly, he addressed Madison’s query, “Miss Kinkaid, I’m flattered, really. But I’m sorry to say, my life is incredibly boring. I’d not wish to put you to sleep like your dear old grandfather over there.”

Madison let out a lyrical laugh, “Not to worry, Dr. Harper. I’m easily entertained.” She winked, “I’ve heard a lot about your charity work. I’m interested to know why you’re so giving. There aren’t many people who are so altruistic with their time and money.”

Her straight-forward attitude caught him off guard, and he mentally chided himself for allowing her to unsettle him so easily. ‘She’s only interested in the charities,’ came his panicked thoughts, ‘there’s no way she would know…’ Her steely gaze cut into his mental musings. With a mouse-like squeak, he replied, “Erm, well – there are just too many people in unfortunate situations, I figured my time and resources shouldn’t be limited to the hospital.”

“How benevolent of you,” Madison’s eyes narrowed, “Forgive me if I’m intruding, but what’s prompted you to help others so much? Or are you just posing as a philanthropist when all you really intend to deliver are empty promises?”

The vitriol in her words was not lost on Reginald. Looking as if she’d just slapped him, he replied out of shock, “Not at all! I’ve just seen people suffer for so long, I couldn’t continue to sit back and do nothing. Truly. My intentions are only to help.”

Madison still had her doubts, but was inclined to rejoice at his affirmation. “I apologize. I’ve rarely seen anyone act charitably without ulterior motives of some kind. I find you very… refreshing.”

Dr. Harper offered her a genuine smile, “Not to worry. I’ve seen my share of troubles; honestly helping others helps me just as often as it does them.”

Madison tilted her bourbon-hued head, “Oh? How so?”

“Well, I…” Reginald shifted uncomfortably, “I’m a recovering alcoholic, to be honest.”

“I see. I’m sorry for your troubles. Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me that. It must be very difficult.”

He nodded, “It’s a daily struggle, but I’ve found better ways to cope with my anxiety though civil service.”

“I can understand that. My parents were killed by a drunk driver. Alcohol is a terrible beast. I’m glad you’re conquering your demons.” Madison gave him a quick hug and felt him tense up. She awkwardly withdrew from the impromptu embrace. Their eyes met, and she noticed he seemed to be trying not to cry.

“I… I heard about that. Tragic accident. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Madison wondered at his clipped tone and teary eyes. There was definitely more to his story. ‘What could he be hiding?‘ she wondered. She tried to shrug off the unsettling feeling Reginald was holding back telling her something important. Deciding not to dwell – for now – she motioned to the brightly-lit Christmas tree and festive mantle across the room, “Thank you for the sentiment. It was a long time ago; since then, Grandma has made sure every Christmas is like a Hallmark movie.”

“Your grandmother sure has a keen eye for decoration. All these bits and baubles are so color-coordinated… she may have missed her calling. She’d be a hit in the interior design world!”

Madison let out a good-natured laugh, “Yes, she certainly would! Still, I think she’s been very happy in the medical field. You were her student. What did you think of her as a professor and medical professional?”

The question seemed to make him uncomfortable, “She… she was a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.”

“Now there’s a cryptic answer if I ever heard one.” Madison was immediately interested, “Care to elaborate?”

Reginald hesitated. He knew the day would come when he’d finally have to face up to his wrongdoings. He just hadn’t been expecting it to be at a Christmas party, in the midst of a conversation with the fiercely stunning Madison Kinkaid, herself

Today’s word prompts come from:
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge #456 – Cry, Empty, Hug
Your Daily Word Prompt – Bauble
FOWC with Fandango — Great
Ragtag Daily Prompt— Mouse
Word of the Day Challenge — Rejoice

3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Unwrapping

    1. Thank you for reading; I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I was hoping to have the conclusion out today, but Christmas overtook us. We’ll definitely have a resolution by New Year’s, though! Happy Holidays!!

      Liked by 1 person

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