She looked out the front window when she heard the sound of a loud motor followed by slamming doors.
Living at the end of a culdesac, she wasn't even within shouting-distance of the closest house. The developer had run out of money, or interest, or both, before he could add to the sparsely populated "Enchanted Acres" development. There were only four other homes built on the acre of land alloted to each; and these were scattered around the heavily wooded sixty acres owned by Dream-Maker Development.
Lily's own dream had been simple; owning her own place in a quiet suburb of Chicago. But all dreams are subject to reality checks.
By the time she reached this stage of mid-life, she'd lived through a divorce, the termination from her law firm, and a head-on collision with the drunk driver that put her into the motorized chair she called "Rocket".
The divorce was by mutual agreement and they remained friends, but it was good they lived in different states. She always felt her ex wanted to crawl inside her head and inhabit her life. Too much togetherness scared the crap out of her. She was way too independent to let anyone get that possessive.
The loss of her job as a second-year Associate at a prestigious law firm was mostly due to her lack of manners. She wouldn't say "thank you" when one of the Senior Partners decided she could become his flavor of the month. Filing an harassment suit against him was out of the question if she ever wanted to be hired at another firm.
Looking back on the car accident; it wasn't an accident actually.
It happened a month after she left the firm. The drunk driver turned out to be the very wealthy owner of Dream-Maker; just one of Phillip Banister's many holding throughout the country. He was also an important client at her old firm.
As part of her multi-million dollar settlement, Lily was graciously gifted the home she owned outright. Banister had expressed his deepest remorse for leaving her crippled and threw in the high-tech motorized chair as a bonus; with some nudging by her old lecherous boss.
Her bitterness was overwhelming her until she moved to "Enchanted Acres."
The solitude and beauty of the manicured wooded paths were a balm to her spirits. When they plotted the development, they laid out a network of narrow, cobblestone walkways throughout, to accommodate at least thirty homes. Lily rode over the ribbon of bricks in all kinds of weather, feeling free to explore the largely empty development.
Her few neighbors would catch only glimpses of her as she tweaked her chair to higher speeds whenever she encountered another person. The accident had left her body crippled, and almost more difficult to bear, her face was badly disfigured on one side. She avoided looking into mirrors as much as possible and wore her long brown hair so that it veiled her ruined looks.
She'd always been considered a beautiful woman, but if she took any delight in that accolade, it was gone now. In its place, only a dark void existed where her feelings should have been.
As she rolled over to the large bay window in the front room, the door bell gave her such a fright she nearly toppled out of Rocket.
"Sweet Mother! Who the hell is that?" she demanded of the empty room.
She did all of her shopping on line, but wasn't expecting anything. "This better not be one of those religious rovers," she mumbled as she made her way to the front door.
She had the builder put in a security camera so she could see who was on the front porch or approaching the house from the street. When she looked at the monitor screen, she thought an Olympian god had stepped out of the clouds and onto her doorstep.
The man was dressed in a tight fitting black turtleneck and dress slacks, emphasizing a toned and muscular body. He looked to be in his mid-thirties and was tall, well- over six feet. His face could easily have graced the cover of any pop-culture magazine with chiseled features and a kind of dreamy look in his eyes.
He was gorgeous and there was no way she was opening to door to him.
Her own face was flushed with shame. Meeting this beautiful stranger would only accentuate her own ruined features the moment he looked at her.
She was about to back her chair away from the door when he rang the bell again; only now, he leaned on it. "He must be lost," she muttered. A feeling of pity sprang up in her. She was never a mean spirited person by nature. Just because she avoided people didn't mean she wouldn't help someone in need.
She opened the heavy front door, leaving the cut-glass storm door locked.
His face changed from the frown he wore after ringing the bell for two minutes, into the angelic smile he beamed down on her.
"So terribly sorry to disturb you, but it appears my agent has left me for a trifle whilst he rings up the management of this fine development."
His English accent was as charming as his manners. Lily was smitten immediately.
"If I may introduce myself, I am Alfred Proctor. And you are Miss Sullivan, I presume?"
"Lily. Lily Sullivan. I'm sorry for your situation Mr. Proctor..."
"Oh, do call me Alfred as we'll soon be neighbors. I've purchased the acres just across from your own fine home and building will commence straight-away I expect. Hope to be moved in by year's end."
"That's only six months. Sounds about right for the timing though. So happy to have you as a new neighbor."
"Likewise, I'm sure. I've been told so much about you by my agent and the developer. They both assured me we would be perfectly compatible neighbors."
"Well, Mr...Alfred... I' m pretty much a loner as they've likely mentioned and I hope you won't think me rude, but I don't like to socialize much. It's just...difficult for me."
She was about to tell him good luck and good bye when a sleek, dark-blue Corvette pulled into her driveway.
"What now!" she muttered, irritated by this deluge of disruption.
"I'm back, Alfred," shouted the car's driver as he leaned out the window.
"Fine, I'll be just a moment Phillip. Guess that's my cue, eh? I do hope you'll allow me the pleasure of getting to know you, Lily. I know we could share many comfortable walks together. Of course, you'd need to lead the way," he laughed as he turned to walk toward the waiting car.
That's when Lily noticed the red-tipped white cane in his right hand. He tapped along the walkway, and as he found the car, he turned and waved in the direction of Lily's front yard.
He may not be a god, she thought, but he was definitely sent by one.