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Over the next ten days we will be publishing the ten finalists from the 2024 Voorheesville Short Story Contest. The theme of this year’s contest was “But There’s a Catch.” This, the first of our ten finalist stories, made it to the final round of judging with our guest judge, Laurin Jefferson. Today, enjoy Parker Dutkiewicz’s story, “Hope.”

The date is January 5th, 2017. Hope Longly is a 27-year-old CEO who lives in Sky Luxury Apartments in Manhattan. She runs an electric company called Longly Power that she took over after her father died in 2013. Hope is a brunette with shiny blue eyes, bright white teeth, and crystal-clear skin. She has been on the hunt for a good quality man for the last couple of months. But she has struggled to find someone who entices her enough to pursue. But she believes the right man is out there and she is ready to wait as long as it takes to find him. She has a hard time trusting people due to her mom leaving and never returning when she was 8 so she writes in her journal every day to express herself freely. 

Journal Entry #901  1/5/17

Today I woke up at 6, went for a jog, ate, and got all groomed like usual. I went to work. Today was a successful day. My stocks went to an all-time high and I got the same usual return from my business. After work, I went out with my friends Claire, Jenny, and Amanda. We all went to the mall together. I bought this beautiful red dress. Jenny saw a guy at the mall and said “you should go ask him out. You haven’t been with someone for far too long and it makes me feel so bad. “ I did not feel anything looking at him, so I just said no. It hurts me that I can’t find the man I’m looking for. I just don’t want to settle for anything less than I deserve. Sometimes I wonder if the perfect man exists, but I feel my patience will be worth it. I hope he is out there somewhere. After that I went home and read 5 more chapters of The Crucible and now, I’m about to go to bed. Not the best day ever but nothing too bad happened so I can’t complain too much.

Hope did her normal routine today and went out to go have breakfast at the Westway diner. She ordered her favorite, a bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomato, and onion. She was enjoying her favorite breakfast until she saw him. Just the man she was looking for. He was perfect, tall, fit, attractive, with a friendly demeanor. She could not stop staring at him until he noticed her. He was on his way out, so he just looked at her, smiled and kept going about his business leaving the diner and walking down the sidewalk. She felt like she should have gone and talked to him, but she was so intimidated by him she froze. She went about her day going into the office doing all her work, heading home putting on the dress she bought the other night and getting ready to go out to dinner with her friends. No matter what she did that day she could not stop thinking about him, his smooth black hair, bright blue eyes, fit body, nice outfit, beautiful smile, and very clear skin. He clearly put a lot of work into his appearance. She knew he was the one but had no idea how she would get his attention. All she could think to write in her journal that night was him.

Journal Entry #902 1/6/17

OMG I saw the perfect guy today. He was just what I have been hoping for. I cannot believe how attractive he was. Everything down to the smallest detail about him was perfect. His smile, his face, his outfit, his hair, and not that it mattered but I could tell by his clothes and his jewelry; he clearly had money. I think he liked me, but I don’t know for sure. The smile felt good, but it did not seem fully convincing. I hope he liked me. Wait, I’m sure he did. What am I getting so worked up about? I don’t know. What’s going on right now? I have never wanted someone this badly. I am so mad I did not go and say something to him. But what else could I do? I was lost in my thoughts, thinking of him. I need to find a way to meet him again because he was perfect. 

Hope knew she had found the perfect guy, but she needed to find a way to meet him again. She started by going to the same diner the next day, but he did not show up. Hope goes into work and tries to work as best she can but still just cannot get his perfect face out of her head. She finishes work and goes to the gym and gets her workout in. Tonight, she goes and gets her nails done at a salon with Claire and Jenny. They all talk about their days and what all happened. Hope talks about the random guy she met yesterday. She tries to see if any of her friends know a guy like him but they all don`t, this upsets her. She wonders if she’ll see him again, worried she blew it in the diner the day before by not going and talking to him. Claire talks about a new guy she is seeing. He is some stockbroker named Jordan. Jenny tries to get Hope to go and find someone to be with, but Hope cannot get over this one guy. Hope goes home and reads 2 chapters of The Crucible and makes a journal entry. 

Journal Entry #903 1/7/17

He did not show up at the diner today. I don’t know how I’ll see him again. Maybe he just did not show up today. I hope he is there tomorrow because I will not waste my opportunity with him again. Jenny and Claire have their usual gossip about how they need to find another man again because it’s been months since they have seen me with a man. Who cares? I don’t want to get with some loser guy who does not care about me. I want to be with a man who loves and respects me who I can get some real thrill out of. I need to find that guy I saw at the diner. I have a good feeling about him. 

Hope wakes up at a different time today thinking maybe he goes to the diner a little earlier than she does. She puts on a nice violet dress. Hoping if he is there, she might catch some attention from him. She heads to the diner and here he is. He was there. He just went a little earlier than her. She thought about leaving. She was so nervous. But she took a deep breath and did not waste her chance. She went right up and started to talk with him. 

¨Hello my name is Hope. What’s your name? ¨ said Hope. 

He responds ¨Hello, Hope, my name is Tony.  Have we met each other before? ¨

Hope says, ¨Not officially but we did see each other here a few days ago.¨ 

Tony says, ¨Ooh yes, I remember you. I was going to go talk to you, but I was running late that day and I needed to leave to get to work. ¨ 

Hope says ¨What do you do?¨ 

¨I’m a stockbroker¨ Tony says. 

Hope did not want to overstay. She was worried she might mess it up so she just said nervously  ¨I just wanted to introduce myself and maybe get your phone number.¨ 

He says enthusiastically, ¨Of course, it’s 212-973-5535.¨ 

Hope had to contain her excitement so she calmed herself and said, ¨Thank you. I will text you.¨ She walked out of the diner and she didn’t even get food. She was so happy. Today she wasn’t working. She takes every Saturday off. So, she goes to the gym and gets her workout in. Then heads to the salon and gets a spray tan. On these days Hope doesn’t do much; she mainly just relaxes. She thought about him all day long.  She waited until 7:30 p.m. to text him. Her goal in this text message was to try and get a date with him. 

Text message 

Hope: Hey 

Tony: Hello 

Hope: I was wondering if you wanted to go to The Modern tomorrow for some food. 

Tony: Yes of course. How does 7 sound? 

Hope: Sounds great. See you then. 

Journal Entry #904 1/8/17

I did it. I saw him today at the diner. I was able to get his number text him a little bit and now I have a date with him tomorrow night. He and I are going to meet at The Modern for dinner. I was worried I would never see him again. I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t. I just knew from the way he looked to the way that he looked at me that he was perfect, and he was just the man I’ve been looking for. It’s hard for me to contain my excitement. I need to control myself tomorrow and make sure I don’t get too nervous or too excited. I do need to make sure I look good though maybe I should go to the mall and buy a new dress or shoes or something. I cannot wait till tomorrow. It’s been too long since I’ve been with a real man. I know he is the one. I can feel it.

      Hope woke up extremely excited today knowing this was the day that she finally got to go out with the man she had been waiting for, Tony. She had breakfast in her apartment today. She headed to work and worked for 8 hours. After that she went to the gym, worked out and took a shower and then got ready for her big date with Tony. She put on her makeup and did her hair. She wanted to wear her finest outfit she had so she put on her Bergdorf Goodman Black strapless blister glitter long dress with slit along with her black Kate Spade red sole booties high heels. It was also wearing her nicest jewelry. She got all her things and went over to The Modern right on time. 

When she walked into the restaurant the moment she laid eyes on him she was flabbergasted with how good he looked. He was wearing an extremely nice suit and his hair was done very well. He had already ordered a bottle of wine for them both. 

Tony says, “You look stunning.” 

She smiles and says, “Thank you.” 

Tony says, ¨I hope you don’t mind but I already ordered drinks.” 

She says, ¨It’s all good. This is my favorite wine.¨

Tony responds with, ¨Perfect. Say, in the diner the other day I never asked what you did for a living.¨

Hope says, ¨Oh yes, I own an electric company.” 

Tony says surprised, ¨Wow that’s different. I’m sure you do well for yourself.¨

Hope orders the chilled lobster and green tomatoes, whole milk burrata and Tony gets the a5 wagyu beef with preserved tomato and black truffle 100 supplement. The date goes great. Hope spends the whole time laughing with Tony. Because Hope has lots of money, she is used to paying the bills for her dates so when the bill comes along, she instinctively tries to grab it and Tony says, “Oh no, no. I´ve got it.” Hope smiles and feels very well because most men she goes out with don’t pay. Hope thinks this is because they want a free dinner. Everything was going perfectly and at the end he called her a nice Uber, paid for it and sent her home. Hope had never been so happy in her life. She knew she had found the one. Nobody had ever made her feel that way. Pure joy and excitement. When she got home, she made another journal entry. 

Journal Entry #905 1/9/17

The date went better than I expected it to. For some reason I thought he might have just wanted my money like a lot of other guys do, but he seemed like he was there for me. He was so funny and kind. I’ve never met a man like him. His intentions seem pure which is just what I want from a guy. I want a guy who really cares about me. That is just what I’m looking for because that’s where I think true joy will come from.  

After this, Tony and Hope started to date, and they had the best time together. They went to Battery Park, they saw a Broadway show called Oh, Africa, Brave Africa, and they had many dinner dates over the course of the next 3 months. Hope was being patient; she didn’t want to rush things with him, and she still wasn’t certain that he was the one yet but she was starting to truly believe he was. She thinks it could be time to take things to the next level. 

Journal Entry #995 4/11/17 

Relationship is going perfectly. I think he is genuinely in love with me. We are going out to The Old Town bar tomorrow night at 8:00 for drinks. I think he’s just the one I’ve been looking for. It has been a good 3 months and it’s only getting better. I can’t wait to see him tomorrow. It’s going to be fun. Who knows, maybe tomorrow night I’ll take him home and have some fun with him.

Today Hope wakes up as excited as can be. She goes through her morning routine going for a jog, having a shower and a healthy breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 slices of avocado toast. She heads into work, but she struggles to work all day long because she cannot stop thinking about her date later with Tony. She starts to get a little nervous, so she goes to the gym to work on some of these emotions because she doesn’t want to mess it up. Then she comes home, has a shower, and puts on her finest Romona Keveza Draped Empire-Waist Off-The-Shoulder Shawl Gown red dress and her black Kate Spade red sole bootie high heels. She calls an Uber to come pick her up and she gets to the restaurant 2 minutes early, she gets a table and Tony shows up 3 minutes later. They both start to drink together. Hope was having martinis and Tony was having whiskey. For about 3 hours they were sitting laughing together and drinking and eventually Tony had had a bit too much to drink so he was about half drunk. 

They eventually decide it’s time to leave and Hope says, “Would you like to come back to my place for some more drinks?” 

Tony, smiling uncontrollably, says “Yes.” 

Hope calls an Uber for the two of them and then they head back to her apartment. 

They go up the elevator and up to her room and she gets her finest Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Shiraz red wine she had been saving for a special occasion like tonight. They sat on her bed and started drinking their wine together. At this point Tony is drunk and he turns to Hope, smiles at her, and says, “You know I really love you.” This is all she had been waiting for, a man to tell her that he genuinely loves her. She knew it was time. At this moment she truly figured out he was the man she had been looking for. Hope smiles but stays silent. She goes over to her nightstand, opens the drawer, and pulls something out. 

Tony says, “what are you doing?” Before he can finish his sentence, she plunges a knife into his neck. He tried to scream out, but the knife went right through his larynx, so he made no noise. She gets on top of him and continues to stab him 23 times in his torso, twice in the shoulder and once in the leg. The entire room was covered in blood everything from the bed to the floors to the ceiling. 

Journal Entry #996 4/15/17

His body was burnt deep in the woods with no witnesses. His ashes were dumped in the Hudson River and the bones were carefully buried in central park; he won’t be found. That was intense. I’ve never met a man like him. Not only was he attractive, tall, in great shape and made a lot of money but he also was very funny and had a nice personality. But most of all my favorite things about him was that he cared about me, trusted me, and loved me genuinely. That’s why he’ll always be my favorite of all of them.

About Parker Dutkiewicz 452 Articles

Parker Dutkiewicz is a junior at Clayton A. Bouton High School.