“Ashley I'm telling you to meet, Derek, he's a runner like you, headed into the military like you, and he's really nice.”
“I know nice usually means not very cute, right, Carrie?”
“You'll have to decide for yourself, girlfriend.”
“Is he Air Force?”
“He's a Marine. Believe me, Ash, I'm good at this, he could be your soul mate.”
“ Why not, he sounds interesting. Let's make it easy, tell him I jog past the bookstore most mornings about 7:30.”
Carrie set it up for the next day.
I showered, slipped into new shorts and a purple tank, slid on my scruffy, dog chewed tennies and wished I had bought some new ones. I grabbed my I pod put in the earphones, tugged the door shut, checked the lock and bounced down the street.
I kept up a steady pace but didn't push, thankful for the cool air, wouldn't want to drip sweat ..
Boundary's Books and Coffee Shop came into view. Derek would be wearing camo fatigues First meetings are the worst, my palms went clammy, and my heart thumped . Shading my eyes with one hand, I crept around a tree hoping to glimpse the interior undetected.
I only saw one man in fatigues, Oh my goodness, eat your heart out George Clooney, there's a new man in my life. He was coming toward me. I licked my lips and tried to smile .
Be cool I told myself and stepped through the door.
Catching my toe on the rug, I went sailing toward him. Lord, I hope he has good reflexes, I prayed
Two tanned bulging arms grabbed me in midair raising me off the floor and spinning me around.
“Careful there little lady.”
I looked into two soft, shiny brown eyes that appeared to like what they saw.
I was reminded of an old John Wayne movie, I caught my breath and stared, speechless.
“Are you Ashley?”
“Yes, that would be me, I smiled, sorry about my graceful entrance. Thank you for catching me.”
“All in a days work, he grinned extending his hand, I'm Derek.”
I was waiting for the mam, John Wayne would have said all in a days work, mam.
I took his hand and he led me to a table.” What would you like?”
“Hmm the Frappuccino looks yummy in that picture.”
“It does, I'll get two.”
“They'll page us when they're ready. Would you like to walk around, I've never been here before.”
“ I'll give you the tour. Do you have a favorite author?”
“I like C. S. Lewis and Tolkien.
He likes the classics hmm.
“Those are two of my favorites, Carrie said we had a lot in common.”
As I turned to smile at him my shoulder took out all of the plastic letter markers on the shelf. They clattered to the floor.
I bent to retrieve them as Derek bent to do the same. 'Thud', I saw stars, rubbed my head and patted his arm as we rose to look at each other.
“ Are you ok?” he looked me over clutching my arm to steady me.
“I'm so sorry.”
He looked dazed but began to laugh. A very good sign I thought.
“I need to confess up front that, if I am attracted to a man, I turn into the biggest klutz ever. “
He shook his head. His eyes twinkled,” You may not believe it but so do I. Well not when I like a guy ...”
“Truly,” I said and my heart did a little flip.
“Once in junior high I was dancing with this girl, Sarah, I had a big crush on her. I waltzed her right into the punch table. What a disaster. He held up his hand, True story I promise.”
I began to feel at ease. He just might be my soul mate!
“Ashley and Derek your fraps' are up!”
I liked the sound of that, Ashley and Derek.
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