searching for Cooper Maxwell

The perfect guy.

Don’t lie girls…you know you dream about him. Even if you aren’t trying to, you’ll fall asleep and find yourself dreaming about Prince Charming, rushing in on his white horse…glass Prada in hand.  It’s something ingrained in us since childhood, and believe it or not, the need grows the older you get. If you were lucky enough to find a perfect guy (go ahead tell me you found a perfect guy…I won’t call you a liar…really, I won’t) you don’t need to read any further. Your life is flawless…a chocolate covered strawberry and a glass of champagne. But for the rest of us…well, we need to keep the dream alive.

Since I’m a writer, I didn’t just dream about the perfect guy (shhh…don’t tell my husband) I invented him. And my philosophy is if you’re going to do something, you may as well reach for the top.

Cooper Maxwell is my perfect guy. He’s one of the main characters in To Katie with Love, and I have to remind myself every day, Cooper doesn’t really exist. Since I’m still buried in edits, I can’t actually share Cooper with you now, but instead I figured I’d drag you along to my happy place. A place Cooper waits for me…

It’s a place hidden deep inside my imagination, but if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can go there anytime I like. It’s as easy as hopping into my imaginary Land Rover (the one that is newer and shinier than the one I have now) and heading north on the highway.

The drive is one I only make once the sun dips down below the horizon. And as the sky grows darker and the stars get brighter, it is clear that I have left the city far behind me.

The further north I go, the more turbulent the weather becomes—snowflakes diving at my windshield like tiny white knives stabbing the glass. Swirls of white dance across the wash of my headlights like waves coming in sideways. After a long while, I turn off the main road onto a gravel path, winding up a hill into the snow dotted blackness of the night. I would have been afraid if I wasn’t sure of my way, and anxious to arrive at my destination.

The small stone cottage tucked into a clearing in the woods, is dark except for a soft flickering glow coming from the windows. I wrap my coat tightly around me and pull out my key, but before I can even slide it into the lock, the door is opened from within, and there he is…the most perfect incarnation of my true love.

He smiles at me and despite the bitter cold outside, I am instantly warm all the way to my toes.

He beckons me in with a look and I step inside. As he takes my bag from me, he leans in and whispers, “I’ve missed you.” And the warmth spreads through me, because as good as my happy place is, it’s so much better with him there.

I glance around the room, lit only by the raging fire in the big stone fireplace. The glow of the flame dances off the low wooden ceiling. Even from the entryway I can feel the heat coming off the crumbling stones as I listen to the crackle of the logs, and smell the aroma of burning oak. After slipping off my shoes, my feet sink into the softness of the old wool rugs scattered across the well worn pine floors, as I make my way into the room.

After a lingering kiss, he ducks away for just a brief moment and comes back to hand me a glass of red wine. Although there are two other comfortable chairs, we sink into the aged leather sofa together.

Even with the fire, I know I should feel the cold as I listen to the wind whipping against outside walls of the cottage.

“Is the power out?” I ask him. I can’t be sure, but there are no signs of life with regard to the electronics that I know inhabit the tiny, one bedroom cottage—no hum coming from the refrigerator in the kitchen, no lights other than the orange glow of the flame, no sounds at all other than the crackle of the fire and the pounding of my heart.

“The storm.” He answers simply, and I am immediately disturbed by this news, because even in my happy place, I like the comfort of my internet, my cable TV, and my cell phone charger. “Don’t worry.” He says with a slight smile, smoothing the crease between my brows with his finger. “The solar panels have charged the batteries, but I thought it would be romantic to dine by firelight.”

He thinks of everything.

And with that, he takes my wine from me and leads me to the kitchen where another fire glows in a cast iron stove in one corner of the room. In the center, a small table is draped with a white cloth and topped with white taper candles, simple white china, and silver flatware.

“What’s this?” I ask him, grinning like a teenage girl on her first date.

“I thought you would be hungry, so I made you dinner.” And he smiles his brilliant smile at me again, making me love him even more.

After our wonderful meal, he refuses to allow me to clear away the dishes, instead taking me by the hand to guide me to the bedroom.

Of course this room is the most perfect of all.

A fire burns in another stone fireplace along the back wall, warming every inch of the room. The antique black iron bed is centered between two small windows and is dressed in marvelous linen sheets with a goose down comforter and pillows. It is like sleeping in a blanket of clouds. But we won’t be sleeping—not yet—the night is still young, and after all, no one ever gets tired in my happy place.

Until the next time…I’ll be editing!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on February 8, 2012 .