So I haven’t written anything in a while and I feel like I have all these stories to tell and nowhere for them to go. So instead I’ll type them. Here it goes….
I’d been reading a biography about Cary Grant for the past few days. I’d picked it up in Barnes and Noble’s earlier in the week, thinking that the best way to learn about yourself is to read about someone else. That’s my thing, you see. I like to read about other people. Not in tabloids or online, but their lives, they way that they lived them, not the way that the press portrayed it. So here I am in the back booth of a café, staring at the pages and trying to absorb the raw genius and experience of someone I’d never met. The coffee I’d been drinking had gotten cool awhile ago, and now I was thumbing through the pages as quickly as a starving child would shovel in food. But this was a different kind of food, it was food for thought.
The silence of the café, was shattered by the clang of bells when the door opened and someone walked in. The chiming of the bell brought me back into the present, the bitter taste of cold coffee stagnant on my tongue, as I sat glued in the red leather booth.
The person that had walked in was ordinary and yet completely unordinary all at once. His appearance was not unusual, but his mere existence, at least in this town was. Grandville wasn’t exactly known for its booming population. So this stranger was definitely new in town. He was tall, at least six foot five, a mop of brown hair curling around his ears. His eye color was indistinguishable with the dimly lit room and the distance, but it didn’t stop me from wondering what pigment they were. He was wearing a beaten up pair of sweatpants, a ratty hooded sweatshirt, and a beanie. I couldn’t tell what his face looked like under his beard. Yet, the more I looked the more I wondered.
As he moved further into the café, he pulled off his beanie and stared at the menu that hung behind the counter. Behind the counter, a teenager of fifteen or sixteen flipped through a magazine as she waited for him to speak, having only glanced up at the clanging of the bell.
The quiet atmosphere that had been broken only moments ago, seemed to creep back in slowly, only to be cleared away again quickly as the man finally spoke.
“Can I get the largest cup of coffee you have?”
Moved to action, by his words the cashier girl, put his order in the register and replied, “That’ll be one-fifty.” As he ruffled around in his pocket for his wallet, the cashier went to get him his coffee.
Seeing that the transaction was complete, and satisfied that the quiet would return, I went back to my reading. Hearing footsteps I wait for the sound of the door to open and it doesn’t. Instead I hear the sound of the seat across from me sinking in as the booth crinkled underneath the weight.
“Hey.” The voice is deeper than it had sounded from the counter. Slowly, I unwind myself from around the book and look up. His eyes are brown. That’s all that my mind registers at first; that his eyes are this rich chocolate brown and they’re staring at me.
“Hi,” my voice comes out in this husky murmur, that makes me sound like I’ve been smoking for years, but in reality is from the lack of use over the past few hours. His eyes keep staring at me and peruse down my body, making me feel somewhat uncomfortable, while simultaneously sending pleasure down my spine.
Not entirely sure what to do with this information, I glance back down to my book and contemplate ignoring him. That would be too rude though. So I decide to face this stranger in a friendly manner.
Shaking myself from my thoughts, I speak, “I’m Haven. I work at the local elementary school. You’re new in town, right?” He gazes at me, looking unsure. His eyes travel to his hands, where he’s been slowly drumming his fingers against the tabletop.
“Not really, I’m moving back. I haven’t lived here in seven years. But the firehouse, needed a new chief, so here I am.” His voice is sure and steady in his response, his stare unwavering. Now, I’m definitely uncomfortable with the attention he’s paying me. I’d thought maybe he had a child that would be in my class, and one of the townspeople had pointed him to my normal hangout, now I was just waiting to see what he wanted.
Throughout high school and college, I had dreamed of a meeting like this with a man, thinking this was how I’d meet the one. But, with time and lack of male attention, I had realized that when you were reading somewhere, most people wouldn’t approach you. That meetings like this were not only a rare occurrence, but the norm for couples in romance novels only. If he didn’t have a child, and didn’t want to meet the teacher, why was he here?
“So what’s your favorite movie?” What? Who was this guy? I didn’t know him at all and he seemed to just be diving right in. Before I could respond he’s gotten up and was at the counter whispering into the cashier’s ear. A few minutes later, he was walking back with another coffee cup in his hand.
“Sorry, I just don’t know anyone in town anymore and figured I’d make a friend. I asked the girl what you’d ordered earlier and got you another cup. Yours looks kind of cold.” His voice washes over me and it takes me a moment to process what he’s saying and once I have, I relax. I can be friends. I know how to do that. I would have no idea what to do if he’d been hitting on me. I smile at him in gratitude, finally feeling at ease.
“North by Northwest. That’s my favorite movie.”
So, that’s the first installment of my novel/story. It’s not much, but I have more that needs to be spell-checked before I upload it anywhere! So give me some feedback, tell me what’ya think!
So I know it’s been awhile, but I needed to work on this excerpt a lot and honestly it still doesn’t feel exactly perfect, but hey that’s writing for you! I hope you guys enjoy it and give me some awesome feedback!
“Hence the Cary Grant book, right?” Reece’s voice wrapped around me like a blanket. I was kind of ashamed by how attracted I was getting to a man that only moments earlier intimidated me. Within seconds I was lost in images of this man, a first date in a dimly lit restaurant, a springtime proposal, a fall wedding. But, I was getting ahead of myself, just as I always did. Just because an attractive man spoke to you didn’t mean that he proposing, it meant he was talking to you, that was all.
“Haven? You in there?” Reece was waving his hand closely in front of my face. A blush spread over my face and I felt completely flushed from head to toe.
“Yeah?” My voice coming out choked, completely embarrassed by my inability to stay in the moment and my fantasizing of an improbable future with this stranger.
Then, unexpectedly, Reece leaned over the table, and brushed his thumb across my cheek, and whispered, “It’s okay, I’m a little nervous too.”
He continued to smirk at me as he leaned back into his seat. My breathing had become shallow and I hadn’t even realized that my cheeks had reddened until his thumb had brushed over one. Thinking of his overly familiar gesture, my cheeks seemed to flame hotter. The more he spoke, the more embarrassed I became. No one had ever shown an interest in me, so I had never dated and things were moving very fast here, at least to me. My dating history was completely nonexistent and this situation made me feel conflictingly confident and unsure. But in the next moment, I resolved myself to take a chance. I wasn’t going to sabotage myself. Reece could be a nice guy and even if he only became a good friend, it would give me good practice interactions with men. With my decision made up in my mind, I felt my shyness ease back a little as I imitated his earlier table lean.
“I think it might be easier to get to know each other in more comfortable surroundings.” There I had said it, gotten the invitation out. Then I replayed it in my head as I waited for his answer. God, it sounded like I was inviting him to my house for a little bit of something more than coffee and life stories! What if he gets the wrong idea!?! I’ll just have to clarify, maybe like reevaluate and…
I hadn’t even realized I had fogged out until I heard his voice, calling me back to reality, a concerned look stretching across his face.
“What’s wrong, babe?” I melted all over again. I loved that. I loved him calling me that. I hadn’t even known him an hour and it was like he knew that hearing him call me that would melt my not only my heart but my anxiety about getting to know him better.
Shaking myself from my haze, I respond, “It’s getting late. I should really head home.” As I move to stand up, he places his hand on my arm. It was a surprising gentle gesture, unlike any I had ever felt. Normally when someone is trying to keep me from going somewhere, they grab at me and a feeling of fright and uncertainty clouds my mind, but this was gentle. This was a gesture meant to garner attention.
“I would really love that, especially if it meant getting to know you better.” His eyes are pleading and honest. I had never felt a connection like this before and letting someone in this fast was against all of my better judgment.
“Do you want to come over to my house? We can talk and I can get a fire started.” For the first time since meeting Reece, my voice was clear and sure. I had the police on speed dial and my house was right next to a police officer’s house, so if Reece wasn’t truly who he said he was, I would be safe.
“I’d like that.” A smile tugs at the corner of his mouth and all of my doubts fade away. I throw my keys at him and begin the walk to my car, Reece striding right along side me.
The car ride is agonizing. It’s filled with tense silence, accept for my occasional whisper as I direct him to my house. The entire time I’m panicking about the dangers of bringing a stranger home. Heck, letting a stranger drive my car. But I rationalize to myself that I had never done anything irresponsible or spontaneous in my life. I would enjoy this. Maybe tonight, I would kiss this handsome stranger from the café. Maybe, we would talk until the early hours of the morning. Either way, I was at peace with it, because he seemed like a genuinely good guy.
As soon as we pull into my driveway, I shoot out of the car, and he follows, an image overwhelming me as we made our way to the door. His body unknowingly gravitating towards mine. As soon as we reach my front door, he pushes me against it and his mouth covers mine, tongue invading, hands roaming. My legs wound around his waist as I pulled him closer. My hands were woven into his dark curls as we kissed. Slowly his mouth trailed down to my neck and my head fell back against the door.
“You going to unlock the door, or are we going to stand out here all night?” His voice is filled with silent laughter, as I shake myself out of yet again another day dream. Slowly, I unlock the red door before us and let him into my home.
He slowly twirls around the entryway soaking in the essence of my home, before staring at me as if to say, what’re you waiting for, show me around. I set my purse on the entryway table and lead him to the living room. His frame seemed huge in comparison to my tiny cottage home, but he somehow fit. He’s leaning closer and closer to me and my mind is screaming at me that I am finally going to get my first kiss from a stranger at the café and it couldn’t feel any more perfect.
Then the sound of my phone, shatters the silence and we jerk away from each other. Our breathing heavy in the silent house as I try to calm myself down before I answer my cell. Once I feel like I’m collected enough, I hit the green button that’s illuminating the darkness.
“Hello?” My voice lilts in question, as I wonder who would call me this late at night, on a weekend.
“Mrs. Kilkenny?” The sound of the school’s secretary comes through the line, causing my curiosity to deepen further.
“Yes, what do you need, Mrs. Bemet?” My questioning tone is gone, and all that is left is exhaustion and disappointment at the missed opportunity, as I wait for her to get to the point. Yet, I barely hear her answer as I see Reece behind my back looking around the cottage. Slowly, I tune back into what Mrs. Bemet is saying.
“…dearie. It’s just so wonderful! Have you met the new fire chief yet? I hear that he’s single.” Her older voice is the epitome of excitement and my mind no longer has to piece together why she’s calling me at this hour. Ever since I had started at Grandview Elementary, Bemet had made it her personal mission to find someone for me. Just word of an eligible bachelor for her to pair me with probably had her in a tizzy. At her question, Reece stopped his wandering and seemed to listen more intently to the conversation at hand. It didn’t even phase me that Mrs. Bemet’s voice was loud enough to be heard across the room through my phone, because that was just that type of voice she had. It was not just loud, it was warm and echoed filling up any empty space.
“Yes, I’ve met him and no Mrs. Bemet, I don’t need you to set me up with anyone.” I replied. However, rough I may want to be with Bemet about her intentions, I could never find it within me to crush the dreams of this older woman.
“I know, you don’t need a man and blah-dee, lah-dee da. But, one day you may want one Haven, and I’ll be there to help you find one. Did you know my grandson Finn is in town? I could arrange a get together.”
Of course he was. Yet Finn Bemet and I had only one thing in common, besides being pawns in a matchmaking game, and that was that we both held not even a smidgeon of interest towards each other.
“Now Patti, I have already told you that Finn and I can barely stand in the same room, mainly because his ego takes up all the space. So, there is no way that we would ever speak congenially to one another, let alone date. I am going to hang up and go to sleep now; I advise you to do the same. Goodnight Mrs. Bemet.” And with that I ended the call and slid my phone onto the entranceway table.
Throughout the end of the call I had forgotten Reece was still there, so I startled when I feel his fingers intertwine with mine.
“No interest in the new fire chief? I hear he’s quite hunky…” Reece’s husky voice erases all of the tension evoked by that call and I melt into his eyes.
“I should get to work on that fire, feel free to look around.”And with that the beginning of my modern day romance was at hand. I could feel it. It wasn’t like the movies where eyes and then bodies meet, but it was this warming feeling all over. It was as if my heart was so full and warm from just the chance of knowing this man. But, I wouldn’t know for sure until I got back in there and stopped psyching myself out.
So, that’s the second installment of my novel/story. I’m not sure when the next update will be up, but feedback gives me inspiration so….Give me some feedback, tell me what’ya think!