He whipped his big red Jeep into the parking space and hit the brakes. The Jeep was just a ragtop Wrangler, but he’d jacked it up on enormous tires and it looked like a monster. Wasn’t really a macho thing, but maybe it was. He grabbed his laptop and jumped down from the seat and strode into Borders. Ah, good, not crowded, plenty of seats. He dropped his laptop at a small table in the middle of the room facing the door and flipped his Boston Red Sox cap on a chair. At the counter he ordered a cup of coffee with an extra shot, then returned to his table and sat down to work.

She drove slowly through the parking lot, admiring the twinkling lights that seemed to drip from the surrounding trees. Ah, a space. She slid in next to a red Jeep that towered above her little blue Matrix. She checked her makeup in the rearview mirror, ran a brush through her hair, and decided not to reapply her lipstick. Gathering up her purse, books, cell phone, and laptop, she stepped out of the car and locked it. The late-spring air felt velvety on her skin as she crossed the lot and stepped into the bookstore.

A gush of air from the door. He looked up as the door opened and the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen entered. Face like an angel, long brown hair with a bit of bounce in it, a perfect figure, and those legs. He’d never seen legs like that. And set off by tight-fitting white shorts. He suddenly realized his chin was practically on his chest.

She took a seat in one of the big overstuffed chairs in the corner just inside the door, another girl next to her and a coffee table in front of them where she could lay out the books she was using. She didn’t know the girl. Good. They wouldn’t have to make conversation. And a girl, not a guy. Better. She wouldn’t have to fend off some idiot’s come-on.

He sat staring at her, his Google search forgotten. He couldn’t take his eyes away. And when she crossed her legs, his heart pounded.  Just then she looked up. He looked away.

He’s looking at me. Oh, my gosh, he’s gorgeous, totally hot. Her face flushed. She looked back down at her computer. She tried to concentrate on her work, picking up one of the books she had laid on the coffee table and flipped through the pages, raising her eyes often to see if he was looking at her. He was.

She shuffled through the pages of the book she had opened, stealing glances at the boy. Then their eyes met and held. Without thinking, she jumped up. “Would you watch my stuff?” she asked the girl next to her and walked toward him.

Oh, crap. She’s coming this way. His palms got sweaty. He could feel the blood pounding in his head.

Nearing his table, her heart began to race. She could feel her face getting red.

As she passed by, he smiled up at her and croaked out a weak “Hi,” trying to keep his eyes on her face and not her luscious body.

She smiled and practically whispered “hi” back, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

He started to rise and go after her but sat back down. She’s going to the bathroom. I’ll wait a minute then catch her as she comes out. I have got to talk to that girl.

At the end of the coffee shop counter, she turned right and headed over to the information desk in the middle of the store. Calm down, she told herself. She sat on one of the benches near the desk.

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three…he counted to one thousand sixty twice. Then he stood and looked around. No one was sitting near him. Guess I’d better take my stuff with me. He quickly packed up his computer, walked past the coffee shop counter and turned left into the hallway leading to the restrooms. He’d wait for her there.

This is stupid, she thought. I’ll just go over and say hello to him. So I’m embarrassed for a few seconds. Big deal. She stood and walked back to the coffee shop. She froze. Air rushed out of her lungs. Her smile sagged. His table was empty. He was gone. She walked slowly across the room, glancing around to see if he had just moved, touching the chair he’d sat in as she went by the table. No, he’d left. She picked up her laptop and books and started for the door, no longer in the mood to study. Outside her eyes filled with tears as she walked to her car, unlocked it, and climbed in.

He leaned against the wall for a time until another girl came by on her way to the restroom. Maybe this looks weird, he thought, and ducked into the Men’s Room and back out again. He paced up and down, walked out to the coffee shop counter and back to the restrooms again. Finally, he decided to sit down and wait for her to reappear. He sauntered back into the coffee shop and looked around the room. Her chair was empty. Crap. She’s gone. He stood there a few moments, shoulders sagging, then walked slowly to the door and outside. Why hadn’t he just gone over and talked to her? Why had he been such a dipwad? They could have been sitting there right now laughing about something if he’d only had the cajones to approach her. What a dumbass. He walked to his red Jeep, hardly noticing the blue Matrix next to it. As he reached the left rear side of his car, the Matrix started up. He lurched up into the driver’s seat as the Matrix backed out.

“Damn! Damn! Damn!” she said out loud as she drove slowly out of the parking lot.

“Son. Of. A. Bitch!” he muttered as he followed the Matrix ahead of him.

The traffic light on Orlando Avenue had just turned red as she pulled into the left turn lane. She sat waiting for the light to change. The red Jeep that had been parked next to her at Borders pulled up next to her. She couldn’t see the driver, because the vehicle sat too high.

The light was red as he pulled into the right lane. The blue Matrix waited on his left. He couldn’t see the driver, because the little car sat too low.

The light turned green and she turned south on Orlando Avenue. She sighed. What a handsome guy.

When the light changed he hooked a right and headed north. Shit, he thought. I blew it.

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