The sun beat down on her head as Mandy slumped to her car in the Publix parking lot. After the rough day she had she was ready to get home, pop the TV dinner in the microwave and have a glass of wine while watching a Pretty Little Liars episode. Her arms full and hands sweaty she drops her keys as she walks up to her car. Bending down to pick them up, she notices a note sitting on her windshield. “Oh great another advertisement” she mumbles. After putting the groceries in the trunk she sits in her hot car and stares at the note. Irritated she reaches around snatching it off the windshield. As she crumbles it she notices the scrawled handwriting:
Did you notice what was missing? I did. I’ve taken your most prized possession. If you want to see it again, meet me tonight at the baseball field around the corner of your old high school. And bring your glove.”
Mandy sat for a moment digesting the odd note. Realization dawns on her. As the note flutters to the ground she guns the engine and speeds home.
Tripping over a box at the front door, Mandy stumbles into her house. “Otis!” She calls. “Otis? Sweetie? Where are you?” Mandy rushes around her home searching every hiding place he could be. Panic seizes her as she runs outside running up and down the street calling out for Otis.
Three hours, 20 phone calls to family and friends who don’t pick up and a call to the pound later, Mandy sits on a barstool at her kitchen countertop sobbing into her shaking hands. What was she going to do? She looks up at the time and comes to a decision. She was not going to let some stranger punk her. Mandy jumps off the stool, grabbing her purse, phone and keys and runs to the car. Picking up the note she reads through it again noticing the Bring your glove part. Confused she wonders what that means. She doesn’t own a glove let alone played baseball before, not including the awful times in gym class. It didn’t matter. She was going to get her dog back. Mandy turned on her GPS and headed for the nearest sports store.
Forty minutes later Mandy; armed with glove, bat and pepper spray; walks out onto the dusty baseball field near her high school. The familiar smells and sights of previous twilight evenings spent here fill her senses with happy memories. With a firm head nod she whisks them away and marches forward ready to meet her dog’s kidnapper. Suddenly the overhead lights burst on blinding her. Music blares from the speakers near the bleachers. Shielding her eyes Mandy sees a figure walking toward her. “What do you want?” She yells out. The figure continues walking towards her without answering. “What do you want from me?” Mandy screams as she raises the bat high above her head. The figure stops.
“Mandy? Are you ok?”
As Mandy’s eyes adjust to the light she hears the happy bark of her dog.
“Otis!” She watches as the figure places her dog. Otis bounds up to her barking happily and licking her bare legs. When she looks up again she sees her boyfriend Conner staring at her.
“Mandy are you ok? Did you get my note on your car and package I left at your house?” Mandy recalled the box she tripped over and shook her head.
Conner smiles. “I see you still got a glove though. Catch!” he calls as he throws an object in the air. Mandy drops the bat and reaches her glove out catching the black box. She opens it finding a solitaire diamond blinking back at her. With teary eyes she looks down to find Conner on one knee. Hearing whispering around her she sees all of her family and friends, whom she tried calling earlier, with broad smiles on their faces and cameras in hand. She looks down at Conner’s face.
“Mandy, I wanted to play a scavenger hunt to get you here, but I know you hate those so I figured I would make it simple. I brought Otis because I knew you wouldn’t come unless it was for him. Mandy, this is the place I first saw you and knew you were going to be mine. So I want to make it official. Will you and Otis make me the happiest man alive? Will you marry me?” Shouts and whoops follow as Mandy flushes redder than the sun setting behind the bleachers.
Recalling the crazy events of the day Mandy threw her head back and laughed. Looking down at Conner’s confused yet hopeful face and with a twinkle in her eye she smacks his arm, all of the tension from the day draining out from her as she screams “YES!”