At 8:45 a.m. Monday morning, Trixie Belden finished counting and verifying her cash drawer in preparation of the bank opening to begin the business week. She didn’t really enjoy working as a teller in her father’s bank in her hometown of Sleepyside, New York, but it was expected of her to help her family. It was the family business after all, and it had helped her pay for the college courses that would allow her to pursue her chosen career as a detective with her best friend and soon to be sister-in-law, Honey Wheeler. Now that she had graduated, this would be the last week that she would work in the bank.
As opening time neared, she straightened the various slips and papers around her window. Trixie tugged down the oversized sweater she had snitched from her brother Brian’s closet to cover her curves. She did everything she could to disguise what she thought of as her full-figure. She cringed as she heard her father say loudly, “Here, put some of this on it. It will cure that poison ivy.”
“But Mr. Belden,” exclaimed Donna Lynn Batto, a new employee at the bank.
“I know it will fix you right up,” he said in response. “It’s amazing stuff.”
Trixie cringed at her father’s antics as she looked toward the large lobby clock. A smudge on the lenses of her glasses distorted the clock’s face. She pulled off the glasses and cleaned them using the hem of her sweater, squinting as she pushed them back onto her nose and shoved her mass of curls off of her face with a sigh.
“Are you OK, Trixie?” asked her co-worker and cousin, Hallie Belden Mangan.
Looking at Hallie’s smooth, long dark hair, unblemished face, trim figure and dark brown eyes, Trixie always felt frumpy next to her. “Yes, Hallie, I’m fine. My glasses were smudged and I couldn’t see,” she explained with a shrug, turning to watch the guard open the bank’s door for the day.
The next few minutes were taken up with the customers who had been waiting for the bank lobby to open. As the last customer in Trixie’s line walked away, she spent the next minute or two filing the deposit and withdrawals processed more neatly in their places and readying her drawer for the next transaction.
“Good morning,” a deep and pleasant voice spoke from across the counter.
Trixie looked up into a pair of emerald green eyes set into the most handsome face she had ever seen. He was tall, because even with her 5 foot 4 inch frame standing on the six-inch high platform, he was a good six inches taller than her. He had broad shoulders in the tapered Oxford style shirt that narrowed to his trim waist and long legs in khaki slacks. Her mind turned to mush as she started at the most beautifully handsome man she’d ever seen.
“I’d like to deposit this check and get some cash back,” the man said, smoothing his auburn red hair back from his forehead while smiling politely at Trixie. Extending his hand with the check and slip in it toward her, he studied her closely for a moment noting her wildly curling blonde hair, shapeless clothes and blue eyes staring at him though the thick, smudged lenses of glasses that need to be pushed up her freckle-dusted nose. When she didn’t take the documents and just stared at him, he rattled them a bit and tried again. “Here you go, miss. I think my deposit is in order.”
Startled, Trixie replied hoarsely, “Certainly, sir, I’ll take care of this.” Taking the documents into shaking hands, she glanced at the name on the deposit slip. James W. Frayne II it said and provided an address in Rochester. As she keyed and processed the deposit minus the cash he wanted back, Trixie glanced periodically at him as he gazed around the bank. Counting out the cash he requested back from the check out of the drawer, she saw him flash a smile at Hallie and Trixie’s heart plummeted.
“This is lovely old bank building,” Jim said, returning his attention to the teller in front of him.
“Thank you, Mr. Frayne. The building is over one hundred and fifty years old,” Trixie rasped out. Clearing her throat she handed him the receipt she’d printed and continued, “Here’s your slip confirming the amount deposited and here is your $200 cash.” As she finished counting the cash into his outstretched hand, she brushed hers against his and felt a shock of warmth throughout her body. Blue eyes flashed up to meet green briefly before she lowered her eyes and smiled shyly. “Thank you for banking with us and have a good day,” she said softly as he backed up a couple of steps before turning and walking away.
Ten months later…
Sitting at her desk in the newly opened offices of the Belden-Wheeler Detective Agency and staring out the front window, Trixie adjusted the headset she wore on her ear. “Mrs. Miller, we’ve located your missing son,” she informed the caller. “He quit his job with the law firm, sold everything, including his condo, before putting all his money and other assets into a bank in the Cayman Islands, then flew out from JFK two days ago.” Listening politely, she shuffled papers in the file on her desk until she found the one she was looking for. “Mrs. Miller, here is the phone number of the resort your son bought and his location.” As she provided the number, Trixie pushed the soft curl that had drifted across her face behind her ear.
As Mrs. Miller droned on and on about ungrateful and irresponsible children, Trixie lifted her sapphire eyes toward the sidewalk where she saw James Frayne watching her intently. She thought surely she was dreaming since it had been almost a year since she had waited on him at the bank. She closed her eyes and moved them around to moisten the contact lenses she now wore. Opening her eyes again, she smiled shyly at him.
Jim returned her smile and moved toward the door of the storefront. Not watching where he was going since he was keeping eye-contact with the lovely blonde, he plowed into an elderly lady on the sidewalk. He reached out and grabbed the grandmotherly woman at the waist to keep her from falling. Suddenly he was seeing stars from a blow to the head.
“Unhand me, you pervert,” the elderly woman yelled before he could even begin to apologize. As she walloped Jim with her suitcase size purse and punched at him with her fist, she continued yelling. “Pervert! What kind of pervert attacks a defenseless old woman in broad daylight on a city street,” she hollered, landing several blows to Jim’s head and chest with her purse. Finally, she drew back and hit him as hard as should could in the nose, felling him like a tree. She thumped him several more times with the handbag. “I’m going to go get Captain Molinson to arrest you,” she yelled with a final smack of the purse then walked briskly off toward the police station.
“Mrs. Miller,” Trixie interrupted the woman on the phone, watching the altercation on the sidewalk in awe. As Jim, disappeared from view below the window and his assailant hit him once more for good measure, she stood up to see what was happening. “I have an emergency call coming in. I’ll send you a statement detailing our work and the amount still due beyond the retainer. Please let us know if we can be of service to you again. Thank you for your business. Goodbye,” she finished, hanging up the call before removing the headset and rushing to the window.
Not seeing Jim laying on the sidewalk, Trixie looked up and down the street for any sign of the handsome redhead. Dejected, she moved to the small fridge under the counter and retrieved a bottle of water.
“May I have one of those to put on my nose?” a nasal voice said from the office doorway.
Spinning, Trixie saw Jim Frayne standing at the entrance holding a handkerchief to his bleeding nose.
“Oh my,” she exclaimed, opening the refrigerator to pull out the ice tray. Grabbing a clean towel from the coffee area, she cracked several ice cubes into the towel and rushed to Jim’s side. Gently she pushed him into a guest chair at her desk and placed the icepack on his face, moving his hand to hold it in place. “Just sit still until your nose stops bleeding,” she ordered, taking his messenger bag from his hands and setting it at his feet.
Trixie’s blue eyes twinkled as she pointed at Jim’s bruised nose. “What happened? Biker fight? Nose job? What?”
Color rising on his cheeks, Jim muttered, “Uh... yeah.”
Quirking a brow and smiling impishly, Trixie urged, “No, really.”
Jim looked down at the messenger bag at his feet. “You don't want to know.”
“Oh I don't know about that. If I had survived an old lady ass-kicking from Mrs. Vanderpoel, I would want to brag about it,” she teased and then broke out in hysterical giggles, collapsing into the second guest chair.
“It’s all your fault,” Jim informed her, green eyes flashing. “I was so surprised to see you again that I ran into that little old lady by accident and she thought I was molesting her,” he explained with a roll of his eyes. “You’re that bank teller.”
“Customer Service Representative is what the Sleepyside Bank calls them, actually,” Trixie replied, looking down at her hands. “Uh, yeah that bank, my family kinda runs it.”
“I remember you.”
“Look,” Trixie began, her face blushing. “I was going through a phase. I was Frump Girl.”
Jim pulled the dripping towel away from his face, looking at her with twinkling emerald eyes and a crooked grin. “I don't remember Frump Girl, but I remember you. You have a beautiful smile.”
The office door opened and a tall man in a police uniform appeared in the doorway. “Afternoon, Trixie,” he said, taking off his cap.
“Hello, Captain. How are you today?” Trixie asked, standing to go to the coffee area for a dry towel for Jim.
“Trixie,” Jim echoed, grinning.
The Captain’s attention shifted to the man in the chair. “Are you the man that accosted, Mrs. Vanderpoel out here on the street? You look like she walloped you pretty good,” he added, shifting to lean against the wall.
Jim had the good grace to flush red. “It was an accident, Captain…”
“Molinson. Wendell Molinson of the Sleepyside PD.”
“Captain Molinson, it really was an accident as Miss…”
Trixie grinned in response as she handed him the towel. “Belden. Trixie Belden.”
“As Trixie will confirm,” Jim continued with a charming lopsided grin. “It’s like this…”
As Jim explained the incident to the Captain, Trixie interjected several asides that had Molinson laughing so hard he was holding his stomach. When the Captain could talk again, he advised, “Well, Frayne, I’ll let you go this time with a warning to avoid Mrs. V. but you better not molest any other sweet, frail little old ladies or I’ll have to take you in.” Laughing again, Molinson nodded at a giggling Trixie and walked out of the business, waving as he passed the storefront window.
Jim chuckled as he watched Trixie giggle. “Frail little old ladies? As if,” he scoffed with a laugh. “So, Trixie Belden, will you have dinner with me tomorrow night?” he asked, catching her off guard with the question and hopeful look on his face.
“Me?” she asked, surprised.
“Yes, you. I was on my way home after school when I attacked Mrs. Vanderpoel,” he said with that great grin and an eyeroll. “Then I saw you and I’d really like to have dinner with you. Please,” he implored.
Trixie’s looked at Jim with surprise on her face. “Yes, I’d love to,” she stuttered finally. “I close the office at 5. Can you meet me here then?”
“Great! I’ll see you then,” he said happily, handing her the towels and picking up his messenger bag before striding out the door.
The next day at a few minutes before 5, Trixie stood in the restroom of the Belden-Wheeler Detective Agency as Honey carefully touched up her friend’s makeup. “Gosh, Trix, I’m so excited for you,” her partner said, setting down the mascara before picking up the brush. “Your first real date!”
“Gleeps, Honey, I’ve had a few dates before,” Trixie retorted. “I know I’m not skinny and pretty like you,” she said with a frown. “With this awful mop and my tante’s hips…UGH! I can’t go.”
Honey gently turned her friend toward her and lifted her face to look into pooling sapphire eyes. “Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry. You know I didn’t mean it like that,” she said softly. “I just meant that you have a date with someone who truly interests you and, from what you said, is handsome, too.” Picking up the brush from the counter, Honey began brushing the soft, bouncy curls that haloed around her friend’s head. “You’ve worked hard to lose you, er, sturdiness and tone up your body. The clothes that Di and I helped you pick out look fantastic. The contacts and makeup make your gorgeous eyes pop.” Taking a final look at her friend, she announced, “You look fantastic!”
Trixie turned to look at the mirror. Just like every day for the post four months, she barely recognized herself. The blue eyelet sundress with pin-tuck and lace detailing at the bodice and skirt showed off her curvaceous trim figure and made her unfettered blue eyes larger. Self-doubt crept in again, “And my father is going to freak out if he finds out I’m going out with Jim FRAYNE…not very Dutch.” Pursing her lips and scrunching up her face she imitated her father. “There are two kinds of people, Dutch and everybody else who wished they were Dutch.”
“Stop worrying. You look amazing, Trix,” Honey complimented with a squeeze to her friend’s shoulders.
“Thanks, Honey,” she whispered, returning her hug as they heard the main entrance open.
“Trixie?” a man’s deep voice called out.
“I’ll go out and meet him so you can make an entrance,” Honey volunteered, stepping out into the hallway and with a smile she hurried toward the office.
As Trixie entered the office, she heard Jim ask, “Is Trixie ready?”
“Yes, I am,” she said, drawing attention to herself in the doorway.
“Wow, Trixie. You look amazing,” he said huskily, approaching her and taking her hand. “Ready?”
“Sure. Just let me get my sweater and purse,” she answered, smiling shyly.
“Here you go, Trix,” Honey said, offering out her things. “You two have a great evening. I’ll lock up.”
“Thanks! I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight, Honey,” Jim said, ushering Trixie to the door with a hand at the small of her back. “It was nice to meet you.”
“You, too,” she replied as the door closed behind her friend and the handsome redhead. “Holy heck, that is one handsome man,” she murmured, fanning herself with a file from her desk.
Jim took Trixie’s hand and led her across the city square toward the new Italian restaurant. As they neared the Town Hall, Trixie spoke softly, “Hello, Hoppy!”
“Who’s Hoppy, Trixie?” he asked curiously.
She became even more beautiful as she animatedly explained why she greeted the copper grasshopper and the story behind him. By the time they had reached the hostess desk, he was familiar with the landmark and several others around town.
Once seated at their table, with glasses of a hearty burgundy wine ordered, the young couple talked through all the ‘getting to know you’ topics that people discuss on a first date as they ate their salads, lasagna and bread. Family, friends, places they had seen, college and careers.
Forgoing dessert, Jim took Trixie’s hand as they walked through the park near the town square.
“Why did you and Honey become private detectives?” Jim queried, mesmerized by the moonlight on her curls.
A smile played around her lips as she drew him to a bench and sat down, pulling him down beside her.
“ The other girls were beautiful and delicate, and I was a sturdy six-year-old with unruly hair. The highlight of my pre-teen life was watching my youngest brother, Bobby, and going to school. Sorry, teach,” she said, grinning at Jim. “I wasn’t very good in school until high school. It seemed I only learned valuable lessons such as, ’If Lars has one koeien and Anna has nine, how large of a herd do they have?’ And then when I was thirteen, Honey moved in next door,” she explained with a happy glow surrounding her. She took both of his hands in hers. “She became my best friend that summer. We seemed to find strange and mysterious happenings every place we went.” She paused, eyes seeking his in the moonlight. “And we worked together to figure out and solve the mysteries. Then we were hooked! Totally intrigued by them. We went to college and studied criminology with minors in computer science and forensics. We don’t want to only handle cheating spouse or other simple cases. In fact, our last case uncovered a computer hacker who was embezzling millions from a large corporation.”When I was growing up, I knew I was different.
“You amaze me,” Jim said softly, cradling her jaw in his large hand. “You are so beautiful and smart.”
“Honey is the beautiful one but her friendship took me down a different path,” Trixie answered shyly. “Before then I’d wish I had a different life. I’d wish I was braver and prettier or just happy. Until then I thought it was useless to dream, because nothing ever changes! You know, nice Dutch girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry nice Dutch boys, make babies, and feed everyone...until the day we die.”
“No, Trixie,” he replied, cupping her face and staring at her, eyes so green they were almost black. “You are the most beautiful, intelligent and brave woman I’ve ever met. You fascinate me like no one else ever has.” Tipping he face, he tasted her lips slowly and sweetly for the first time. He released her lips and drew a deep breath into his lungs, captivated by her upturned face and kiss-drugged deep blue eyes.
“Wow!” she murmured.
“Wow indeed,” he agreed, reclaiming her lips and taking the kiss deeper.
After that first date, Trixie and Jim saw each other every day. They talked, went out, stayed home and fell in love.
Six months later, after dinner out at ‘their’ Italian restaurant, Trixie and Jim returned to his apartment for dessert. As they lay in each other’s arms, she gently brushed the hair from his forehead as she looked into his emerald eyes. “Why? Why do you love me?” she whispered.
Jim rose up and looked down at her. “Because I came alive when I met you,” he answered. Reaching into his bedside table, he held an open ring box over her chest. The diamond inside sparkled brightly. “Marry me?” he rasped.
“Yes!” she whispered as happy tears pooled in her eyes. Placing a hand behind his head, she pulled him toward her to seal their love with a kiss.
Trixie and Jim had picked up his parents at the Sleepyside train station to take them to the engagement party at Crabapple Farm. Win and Katie Frayne glanced interestedly out the windows of the SUV as polite conversation about the town and area filled in the miles.
As they approached the driveway of Crabapple Farm, Trixie became nervous. Having previously met Jim’s parents, she knew them to be very polite and quiet, unlike her own family. They were more reserved while her family was, well, Dutch. Trixie knew Jim’s father was a highly respected ecologist and his mother a psychologist with a large practice so she was worried how they would fit in with her family and friends. Her hands moved to pleat the skirt of her dress. “Mr. and Mrs. Frayne, I think I need to warn you that my family is big and loud and Dutch but they're my family. We fight and we laugh and…”
She looked up at Mrs. Frayne’s gasp and saw the smoke curling from behind the house.
“Dear, is your parents’ house on fire?” Katie asked, grasping Trixie’s hand.
Trixie giggled. “No, it’s not. As I was saying, my family is big and loud but they're my family. We fight and we laugh and, yes, we cook out where it looks like the house is on fire but wherever I go, whatever I do they will always be there.”
Katie smiled kindly as she patted Trixie’s hand. Quietly, she said, “Then you are lucky. The three of us are all there is left of our family.”
Carefully, they made their way around the farm house. Mr. Frayne handed the cake carrier he had been entrusted with to his wife. Trixie rushed ahead and greeted her parents. Grabbing her mother’s hand she walked back toward the Fraynes, huddled together in the driveway.
“I am Helen Belden, welcome to our home,” Trixie’s mother said gesturing back toward the house. “This is my husband, Peter.”
Katie held the cake out. “Katie and Win, please. It’s so nice to meet you. I brought this for you. It’s an old family recipe.”
Holding the cake, Helen looked at it. “What is it?”
Seeing where this was going, Trixie interrupted, “A cake, Moms. It’s a cake.”
“Ah, a cake. Thank you very much. Shall we go meet the rest of the family?” Helen turned and began walking around the house. Leaning into Peter she whispered, “There’s a hole in this cake and Mart hasn’t even been near it.”
Following more slowly towards the noise, and the family and friends who would be waiting in the backyard, Trixie admitted, “My family has two volumes; Loud and Louder.”
They entered into a raucous gathering. Trixie’s immediate family, her aunts, uncles and all her cousins were there, along with close family friends and in-laws, the Lynch and Wheeler families.
Moving towards the picnic tables, Trixie saw her Aunt Alicia scolding her younger brother. “Bobby, don’t play with the food! When I was your age, we didn’t have food.” Seeing Trixie approaching, Alicia grabbed her husband, Frank Lytell, and pulled him across the grass to be introduced.
“Trixie. Trixie! You're engaged. You're engaged! We never think this would happen for you. Never. Never. Frank, didn't we say that?” Alicia said, hugging her niece.
“We never think this day would come. Never,” Frank agreed with his wife. “Welcome to the family, Jim.”
Moving throughout the adults, Trixie’s oldest brother, Brian, was passing out small glasses of a clear liquid. Gathering everyone around the engaged couple, he passed the last four glasses to Trixie, Jim and his parents. “Jenever. It’s a Dutch gin.”
Taking the small glasses, they raised them and drank the fiery spirit. Many voices rang out, “Yay Ja!” Trixie, well used to the potent liquid, watched her future mother-in-law as her eyes grew wide in surprise.
Aunt Alicia held a tray with more small glasses. “Have another, you’re Dutch now, don’t be shy.”
Trixie stood with her “almost twin” brother, Mart, watching Jim talk to her oldest brother, Brian, and Hallie’s husband, Dan. A big sigh escaped her lips.
“What’s up, Trix?” he asked, eyes following her gaze to his soon-to-be brother-in-law. “Jim seems to be having a good time.”
Just then, Brian and Dan started laughing heartily as Jim’s face reddened.
“Are you kidding? Any second now he's gonna look at me and go, ‘Ha. Yeah, right, you're so not worth this’,” she scoffed with a frown.
Mart placed a hand on her shoulder and gently turned her to face him. Lifting her chin to make her eyes meet his, he softly replied, “Yes, you are.”
Trixie gave him a watery smile. “Thanks.”
“Just remember, Trixie, don't let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.”
“Mart, that's beautiful.”
“Yeah, that Miss Loneyhearts really knows what she's talking about,” Mart replied with a smirk.
Across the yard…
Brian Belden looked at his friend and cousin-in-law before turning to Jim. “I've never seen my sister this happy, Jim. If you hurt her, I'll kill you and make it look like an accident.”
Brian and Dan chuckled at the surprised look on Jim’s face before he blushed and laughed uncomfortably.
“Jim, if you're gonna be in this family, I’d get you some earplugs because the Belden women, if they're not nagging someone... THEY DIE!” Dan advised.
From behind him Honey piped up, “Ah, you're in so much trouble when I tell Hallie!”
“Tell me what?” Hallie asked joining the group with Di in tow.
Trixie and Mart made their way across the yard to where Jim and the others were talking.
“Hey,” Jim said, placing an arm around Trixie’s shoulders and pulling her tightly to his side. “Where ya been?” he asked quietly, pressing a kiss to her temple.
Rolling her eyes, she wrapped her arms around him. “Mart and I were listening to my dad drone on about the wonders of his miracle cure for everything.”
Squeezing her, he chided, “He’s right. I had a huge zit coming up on my face when we got here.”
“Where?” she asked, looking over his face.
“Well, it was here but it’s gone now,” Jim answered, pointing at his chin.
Mesmerized by Jim’s lop-sided grin that she loved, Trixie almost missed his reply. “I’m Dutch now, so I put Windex on it.”
This is a submission for Jix CWE #6 with Trixie as…
A big “THANK YOU” to our wonderful and lovely editors, Joycey, Kelly and Mylee. You ladies polish our stories and make them shine. XOXOXO
So when this challenge was announced, we discussed a couple of different movies. Nothing really struck us as ‘right’. Finally, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” danced through our thoughts and we tried to give it a Dutch twist.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a 2002 Canadian-American romantic comedy film written by and starring Nia Vardalos and directed by Joel Zwick. We used many direct quotes from the movie but we played a teeny bit with the plot to make it work for us. We own nothing and all mistakes are ours and ours alone.
Title note * - “Met Me Trouwen” is Dutch for “marry me”. We thought it would be fun to have both our CWE #6 stories have the same name.
Koeien is the Dutch word for cow. MOO!!
Bundt is a cake in a distinctive ring inspired by a traditional European fruitcake.
Jenever is the juniper-flavored national and traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved
Windex is a lovely blue glass and hard-surface cleaner. It’s been manufactured since 1933 and was acquired by S. C. Johnson in 1993. We cannot endorse its medicinal powers but Peter says it will cure everything.
Title effects from Cooltext.com
The header photo is the Royal Standard of the Netherlands from flyingcolours.org
The divider photo of the cake is from Charliescakes.com
The background is from MS Word
Word count 4315