The sun is shining, the sky is dotted with clouds. A light breeze blows and the world is bathed in glowing light. A girl enters the frame, chatting softly and laughing with two other girlfriends. Taking a break was what she needed, she realizes but, with a pang because she’ll be overstepping her lunch hour. Still, she needs the time, so she doesn’t stress too much. They’re on a sidewalk blissfully moving towards the cinema and some well deserved relaxation.
Enter the hero.
He’s all spruced up and on his way to a job interview. It’s not a great position, just Assistant Manager, but he’s confident the post of Manager will be his soon enough. The current Manager is old and months away from retirement. This pleases the hero because it means he’s well on his way to the success he wants in life. It’s been hard so far, but he’s reached further than even he’d thought possible and in a very short time. Night school was his saving grace. He’ll be ever grateful his neighbour is one of the teachers who gives classes at the night school and told him about it.
The heroine in the meantime turns and says something to her friend and when she turns back she walks smack into another person.
The hero starts to reel but his balance is perfect so he not only rights himself, he also effortlessly grasps the girl’s arm and steadies her.
Her skin is like satin.
She grabs his shirt. It’s soft but also crisp.
She looks up. He looks down. His face is five inches from hers and she stops thinking because he’s just so… She’s not thinking, so she can’t describe how handsome he is. But his eyes are grey, he has an aquiline nose and a strong jaw.
“Oops sorry.” She mutters, almost flushing as her heart begins to unexpectedly race.
He stares down at her and sees…. perfection.
His grip tightens around her arm and there’s an electric jolt.
He can suddenly smell her perfume.
The attraction is instant.
“Are you OK?” He says
She nods, too tongue tied to speak.
He smirks because he knows she’s tongue tied.
Her friends exchange a look and giggle.
She shoots them a furious glance and backs away.
“Next time look where you’re going.” She snaps hoping her fake anger covers her blushing cheeks.
The hero glares. “Why don’t you look where you’re going?” He snaps back.
The two friends giggle some more and the couple realize they’re still holding on to each other.
They let go and the hero strides off in the direction of his interview. The heroine swallows her embarrassment and rolls her eyes. She heads to the cinema.
She enjoys the movie and hurries out after. She needs to get back to work.
Reaching her uncle’s hardware store, she rushes in and stops. Her uncle is busy with someone.
That someone turns.
The hero and heroine’s mouth drop open in shock.
She stares. He stares.
Shit, they both think.
The sun is shining, the sky is dotted with clouds. A light breeze blows and the world is bathed in glowing light. A girl enters the frame barely noticing the clouds and sunshine. It may as well be raining colourful flakes of rainbows for all she cares. She tries tuning out from her friends incessant chattering as they walk towards the cinema, but it’s not meant to be.
They keep drawing her into their conversation. She’d rather spend the time being pissed off with her stupid hair which keeps flying into her face thanks to the fact her hair-tie snapped into two and neither one of her otherwise very girly girlfriends had a spare to loan her. Or she could be worrying about the time she’s taking out of her lunch hour instead of using it to study. But no, she was going off to watch some “film” as her friends call it about a gorgeous lovestruck vampire. She can’t imagine how vampires can be gorgeous, or lovestruck for that matter. She can imagine them to be dark and brooding, and bloodthirsty enough to rip the neck off a human while their fangs drip with blood and it all gets very messy. Blood dripping off fangs with bits of skin and flesh caught in between cannot possibly be gorgeous.
She curses herself for giving into her friends’ madness and “taking a break.” They can be so blissfully idle at times. Life was not about breaks! It was about hard work! Lost in thought, her eyes down on the sludge grey pavement, she walks smack into someone.
Enter the hero.
His shoulder slams into someone’s nose, he stumbles, then reels back and grabs the person’s arm in an effort to save himself from falling. Clearly not thinking, the girl who walked into him grabs his shirt, but he’s heavier than her so he keeps moving backwards, his feet scuffling while he tries to regain his balance. There’s a faint ripping sound which he hopes is her shoes or something tearing and not his only good shirt he spent too much time starching and ironing for the only goddamned job interview in months he’d had to con his way into getting. Had he not taken those ridiculous night classes his sanctimonious new neighbour and teacher had insisted would land him better job opportunities, he would have definitely been picking up more cash waiting tables at the sports bar two blocks from his home, and had more access to newspapers and the time to pore over the Wanted sections between serving meals. Not to mention the discounted beer.
When life was as shitty as his, good tips and cheap beer were what you treasured.
Rattled by the jolting sensation in all her bones, the heroine stumbles and then winces in pain when a rough hand grabs her arm. She almost hisses in agonized fury. The dolt who bumped into her either thinks she’s a lamp post or wants them both to crash down to the filthy ground.
She manages to regain her balance and to her surprise she’s left standing there holding only a shirt button.
Shit, she thinks, almost throwing the button away with the hopes he won’t see it in her hand..
Still holding her arm, he looks down at his shirt. His eyes widen in disbelief. He looks up and sees a dark haired chick holding his shirt button. He glares but doubts she can see anything for all hair covering her eyes.
His eyes are darker than the dirty sidewalk. She doesn’t know why she’s able to think that when she’s actually quite winded and still doesn’t know what to do with the button.
She looks down at the little circle and slowly holds it out to him.
“Your button.” She says almost flashing him a dazzling smile but waves of her dumb hair fly across her lips.
“No kidding!” He snaps, making her jump.
Her friends exchange a look. One grins, the other looks blank.
The heroine blinks. She hates it when she’s in the wrong. It was just her luck to walk into a blind bat wearing a garish shirt with badly sewn buttons on them. Now it would all be her fault and not the real villain’s in this needless drama. The real one being the so called gorgeous and lovestruck wimpy vampire waiting at the cinema.
“I didn’t…” She begins to say, pausing to blow away some hair from her mouth.
“You’re an idiot.” He cuts in, glaring some more.
OK, not her fault now, she thinks. The hell with apologies, they never got people anywhere anyway.
“At least I have good taste in clothes.” She says, shaking off his annoying hand. “Now that a button’s missing, maybe you could use that as an excuse and burn your hideous shirt, save the world from having to see it’s ghastliness.”
“Maybe you could cut your hair.” He shoots back feeling air touch his fingers which is as soft as her skin just was. “The way it’s falling all over your face makes you look like an ape.”
He grabs the button and stalks past her.
She considers sticking her foot out and tripping the jerk.
Her friends make sympathetic clucking noises and drag her off to the movie. She’s subjected to ninety minutes of no blood and a feebly lovestruck idiot. She’s even more pissed now because the vampire is another whiny dolt who has no taste in shirts.
She makes it back to her uncle’s hardware store and sees he’s busy with the job interviews he has lined up today. She stares at this blue, grey and white mass of a printed cotton shirt draped over the job hopeful’s broad back. It was as if a horrible shirt plague was attacking the town with a vengeance that day.
Rolling her eyes, she hurries further inside and the guy turns.
She stares into sludge grey eyes. He stares at a face through tangles of hair.
What the fuck? They both think.
©Anne J. Dias – 2013