Jennifer knew there was trouble when her boss asked her to stay a little late. A little late always meant that she would be there long after everyone, including her boss, had left. It’d taken her over 3 1/2 hours to finish the “light editing” of the report that he needed by tomorrow. Why he had waited to tell her about this at 4 o’clock when she knew that the meeting was scheduled over 2 weeks ago only made her angrier.
Sometimes she wondered if her boss assumed that she could always work late, because she was single and didn’t have any kids. But just because she was 35 and single didn’t mean she didn’t have plans. It doesn’t matter that her plans consisted of watching her box set DVD of last season’s Mad Men. It was still plans.
She’d stopped off to pick up Chinese takeout. It was too late to fix dinner, and with the overtime she’d just picked up, she figured she could afford to splurge on some crab Rangoon and steamed dumplings. She could have the left overs for lunch tomorrow.
Unfortunately, picking up her takeout had taken a little longer than she’d planned. The restaurant was crowded. Apparently, Thursday is the new Friday, as far as single dating is concerned or at least that’s what she read in a magazine. It looked true from the happy couples inside. She tried not to be bitter or feel sorry for herself, but she was a bit lonely. Jennifer had taken a break from dating after going on a slew of mediocre dates with men she’d met online.
Unfortunately, the delay at the restaurant put her in danger of missing her bus. She double timed it in the direction of her stop, but as she turned the corner, she saw her bus pull away. It seemed like the only time her bus ever ran on schedule was when she was running late. It would be another half hour before the next bus came. That’s if that bus came on time.
It was so annoying that her stop was one of the few that didn’t have a bench or any place to sit down. She was exhausted and hungry, and, as if her day wasn’t crappy enough, it started to rain. Rain was actually a mild way to put it. It actually began to pour. Jennifer looked around for cover.
She spotted a small awning in front of shoe repair shop a few doors down. It was one of those stores that always seem to be closed and yet mysteriously stayed in business. She rushed over to seek shelter. She didn’t even notice the tall man running behind her.
“Be careful!” He shouted as Jennifer’s right boot hit a puddle causing her to lose balance. All she felt was the panic, the beginning of her fall, and strong arms catching her.
“Oh my God,” she said. She wasn’t sure if she was referring to losing her balance or his amazingly thick biceps wrapped around her. Both were surprising.
“I’ve got you,” he said. His voice was both reassuring and sexy. He took off his coat, put it over her head and guided her toward the shop with the awning. As they reached their makeshift shelter from the rain, Jennifer turned and got her 1st glimpse of the mysterious stranger. He was even more handsome than she imagined. He was easily 6 foot tall, and had wavy, dark hair. His shirt was soaked through making it partially see through it as it clung to his manly chest.
“Thanks,” she said. Her voice came out slightly breathless.
“It’s always a pleasure to help a beautiful lady in distress,” he said and smiled.
Jennifer fought the urge to make a self-deprecating joke, but couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“I think were going to be here for a while,” he said.
“My next bus will be here in a half-hour, hopefully.”
“The 32?” He asked. She nodded yes. “That’s my bus, too. I get off at 35th and Mayport.”
“I’m 34th and Clifford,” she said. “Near the Kathy’s Coffee.”
“They have the best almond biscotti,” he said smiling.
He’s hot and likes almond biscotti. Jennifer thought her day was getting so much better. She instantly plotted to camp out at Kathy’s Coffee every available moment hoping to run into him.
“I think that’s about to break,” he said interrupting Jennifer’s scheming. She had no idea what he was talking about. He motioned to the paperback holding her takeout, and she quickly grabbed it at the bottom to keep it from spilling.
“Not only did you save me from falling in the street, you saved my dinner too,” she said.
“What did you get?”
“Chinese. Want some?” After the words left her mouth, she instantly felt ridiculous for offering her dinner. He probably thought she was a weirdo.
“Well, I do love Chinese food,” he answered as he put his coat on the ground for her to sit on.
“I don’t want to ruin your jacket,” she asked.
“What’s a jacket compared to a romantic impromptu picnic in the rain?” He said as he sat down on the pavement and motioned for her to sit down on his jacket. “Besides, I’m starving.”
“Me, too,” she said and laughed.
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