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Old 07-28-2015, 06:31 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Robinhoodland
Posts: 3,537
loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.loopytheone has ascended what used to be the highest level.

It had been two days since the flight on which I had the extraordinary pleasure of sitting next to one of the most beautiful people I'd ever met. I couldn't get him out of my mind.

That night after I got home from the airport, as I laid in bed trying fitfully and unsuccessfully to fall asleep, I let my mind replay our time on the plane over and over again, like a song on repeat. Except, instead of parting ways as we did, I'd let my mind come up with scenarios in which we didn't have to go home alone.

It was easiest to imagine him coming back to my place, and us curling up on the couch, or going out for a late dinner together and getting to know one another better. In fact, during that twilight awareness between being awake and drifting off to sleep, I couldn't remember what was memory and what was a product of my imagination.

Now, I was struggling to stay focused enough at work that nobody would notice that my brain was clear on the other side of the city. Specifically, it was in a quaint little coffee shop nestled into a strip mall in the older part of town, away from the high-rises and skyskrapers.

I had driven past the shop on my way home from work on the previous day, hoping to "accidentally" run into the store's blue-eyed shaggy-haired manager. Unfortunately, since his day started so much earlier than mine, it likely ended much earlier as well. And I didn't have time to stay and chat if I had run into him, so perhaps it was for the best. It was just nice to have a visual of the place where Derek spent his working hours.

I am a hopeless daydreamer.

When I wasn't imagining Derek at work, or wrapped up in a blanket on my couch, I was imagining how our dinner date for the evening would go. I had picked out an outfit in my mind, after a great deal of internal conflict. We were going to an Irish-named restaurant that was about five steps up the culinary ladder from a pub but with all the same atmosphere. It was in Derek's neighborhood, not mine, and I hadn't been there, but he promised it would not disappoint. I kept to myself that it didn't matter if we were eating out of a dumpster as long as I was near him again. I could save that for the second date.

I futzed through the rest of the day while nearly crawling out of my skin with anticipation. When four o'clock rolled around, I was out of the office like my arse was on fire and there was a big trough of water in the parking garage. If I flew, I could beat the worst of the rush-hour traffic.

I tried public transportation. It wasn't for me. While I did love Panama City, I couldn't stand the attitudes of so many of its citizens. If you didn't have a hard beach body and a perfect tan, you were second-class.

Okay, so I had a decent beach body; I got wolf whistles in a bikini. And I was tan as a byproduct of enjoying the Florida sunshine. But it was more a product of my environment and good genetics than something I worked hard to achieve. I wore board shorts and t-shirts to go grocery shopping, not tailored capris and high heels. I never went out just to be seen. That sort of narcissism never made sense to me. Those people never seemed real.

Derek was real. Aside from the fact that I was mouth-wateringly attracted to him the second I laid eyes on him, it was the whole package of a luscious body and a sharp mind that got my heart pounding.

And people of Derek's stature were painfully scarce in this corner of the world, let alone when coupled with well-paying steady employment and a good sense of wit.

No wonder my brain was buzzing.

I got home in record time, ran up three flights of stairs to the door of my high-rise beach-facing condo, shed my business attire like molting skin, and showered as if the shower was set to self-destruct in T-minus 1 minute. I dressed in comfortable khaki hip-huggers and a deep-red sleeveless blouse that revealed a dangerous amount of cleavage. So what if I didn't have to worry about convincing Derek to see me? I was fairly certain it couldn't hurt. Did my chocolate-brown hair in a fancy but easy to assemble up-do, brushed on a bit of makeup, and raced back across town.

I was an hour early.

So was Derek.

The evening was nice enough that I wouldn't have complained about sitting at the outdoor bar by myself, nursing a drink, listening to the music, people-watching and daydreaming, until Derek arrived. But apparently he couldn't wait to get there either. As I was getting out of my car, a familiar head of hair bobbed between vehicles on the other side of the parking lot. I took a few steps to the end of the row of spaces to be sure before saying something, and I announced my presence with a nervously delighted laugh. When Derek turned to see me, his face lit up like an airport in a snowstorm.

He looked amazing in cargo khaki pants, leather sandals, and a navy blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. I walked up to him as quickly as I could without breaking into an all-out sprint. As soon as I was within arm's reach, he leaned down, wrapped his soft, strong arms around my body beneath my arms, picked me up, and squeezed me close. I hooked my arms around his shoulders and hugged like both our lives depended on it. I took a deep breath, savoring the moment, and Derek's cologne, and the sensation of his body nearly enveloping mine.

We stayed like that for a very long moment, and probably would have stayed that way for hours, had a car not driven down the lane in which we were standing. Derek set me down gently. My hand immediately found his.

"Couldn't wait another hour either, eh?" I said, blushing a bit.

Derek gazed down at me, shaking his head slightly. "I just wanted to be here to see you make your entrance."

That got a laugh out of me. "My entrance?"

"I just figured if you were glowing as much tonight as you were when we said goodbye at the airport, all eyes would have to be on you by default."

Whoa. I was blushing so hard I was afraid my hair spray would combust. I was completely speechless. Derek paused when we got to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and turned to face me. He took my other hand as well and looked down at me with an adorable mixture of nerves and impishness.

"And I was right."
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