A short story featuring characters from The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, a cozy mystery book series. In this story, Jonas gets some help with his wardrobe.
Jonas folded a piece of gum into his mouth and offered one to Belinda, who passed absently. She was deep in shirt examining, her mouth twisted up and eyes all squinty.
Jonas would pay good money to know what Belinda Kittridge was thinking when she made that face, and she often did, and for all sorts of situations. Case puzzlers, menu scanning, shirt shopping. You name it, and she’d made that face for it at one time or another. And she never vocalized when she made it. Now that his best friend was dating her, he hoped Bennett would someday learn the secret thought process behind that face.
For now, Jonas was just amused–and pleased–that Belinda wanted to help him pick out clothes. He’d remarked innocently that he needed new work clothes and maybe a few other items, and Belinda had eagerly volunteered to help him shop.
Maybe a little too eagerly, which made Jonas wonder if he was really that bad at all of this. Bennett had always offered suggestions, but Belinda just stepped in and took the reins. Fine with him. Jonas had enough problems to solve without worrying about the latest trends in color combinations. And in all fairness, he did give her an out, but Belinda protested that she didn’t have to worry at all about Bennett, so she may as well help him.
Belinda drummed her fingers on the top of the pile of dress shirts in her arms and finally acknowledged Jonas for the first time in minutes. “How do you feel about pastels?”
Jonas pushed the piece of gum into the side of his cheek. “Pastels? As in light colors?”
Belinda’s espresso eyes twinkled. “Yes, as in light colors. Light blues, pinks, purples, yellows…” She twirled her hand in a circle to indicate the list continued.
Jonas considered that. “Maybe it’s a sign that I’m not secure enough in my manhood, but I will wear almost anything except pink.”
Belinda laughed. “That’s fine, I just want to know.” She examined his face seriously for a minute. “You may look good in a light green. It might bring out your green eyes.” They already had blue and white in the pile. “So Bennett usually helps you with all of this?”
“Yes and no. He offers advice, but he’s never handpicked what I wear.” Jonas leaned against the shelf while Belinda rifled through his size for another color. “He did put outfits together for me when I was interviewing for a job. And a couple of first dates. But we were roommates then.”
Belinda raised an eyebrow. “So he helped you get dressed for a date?” She grinned.
“It’s a trade-off. Bennett knows how to dress for a date, but I know what to do on a date. It’s why our friendship works.”
Belinda laughed. “He tells you what to wear, and you tell him to bring me coffee. I see how it is.”
“When I’m not solving crimes, I’m dishing out killer love advice.”
“Are you also following it?” Belinda paused her shirt perusing, turning her head to bat her eyelashes at him.
Jonas laughed nervously. “If it weren’t for Bennett, I would have followed it with you. It’s his eyebrows. I can’t compete.”
Belinda laughed and leaned into her hip. “Seriously. What’s out there for you beyond solving murders? If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?”
“That’s an intriguing question.” Jonas thought about it while he followed his personal shopping assistant to the tie table. Apparently, he was leaving the store with a complete outfit. “I think I would be in some aspect of crime solving. It’s deeply ingrained in my psyche. I have family scattered in various branches of the field, and I don’t know that I could have escaped it.”
“Which other aspect of it then?” Belinda flung a blue polka-dotted tie up in the air and on top of one of the shirts.
He imitated her and rubbed the ends of a few ties between his fingers. Jonas had no clue what that accomplished, but he was trying to be a good sport. “If I had thought about it before college, I definitely would have gone for forensics.”
“Really?” Belinda tilted her head to the side to see him across the top of the tiered table. “You would have the patience for that?”
Jonas arched his tawny eyebrows. “Apparently you don’t think so.”
Belinda smiled apologetically. “It seems tedious, don’t you think? I mean, your guy McCormick there goes around examining every little speck on the ground. From my limited understanding, it looks more like something Bennett would do.”
Jonas smiled. “I’m not sure who should take offense to that comment. Bennett or me.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. You both have your strengths, and I think yours are right where you are now. Besides, I like knowing you and I might not if you worked in forensics.”
“I will take that as a compliment, though I will also acknowledge that if I worked in forensics, you may not have met Bennett, either.”
Belinda twisted her mouth to the side, her eyes rolling with it. “I honestly didn’t think about that, but you’re right. So kudos to you for choosing the profession you’re in.” She winked, which was a rare sight. It was usually him winking at her.
“Happy to be of assistance. Especially to Bennett. You’re good for him.”
“It’s vice versa too, but I’m glad you think so.” Belinda slung another tie across his shoulder to see the color against his skin. He stood obediently as her eyes split between his face and the tie, a smile breaking out on her face. “Perfect.”
Jonas couldn’t agree more.
~ * ~
If you want to know when the next book hits shelves, join my email list!