Back in college, a guy friend of mine asked me out to dinner. We’d been friends
more than a year and hung out together quite a bit, so I didn’t suspect it was
an actual date until I learned the restaurant he’d chosen was across the
US-Canada border, about two hours from campus, and that he wanted to make a day
of it. Open to the idea of travel, I agreed to give it a go.
On the big day, my friend showed up in a suit and tie. Feeling underdressed in
spite of my new shirt and pants, I changed into a dress and heels. Back in the
eighties, that involved the wearing of panty hose. He’d put a lot of thought
into our itinerary, though, so I decided I could tolerate a little itchiness.
The drive to our destination was pleasant, and the weather and stroll through
the city’s historic district was beautiful—almost enough to distract me from the
torture of navigating cobblestone streets in heels. Turned out, those scratchy
nylons were a blessing in disguise, since they helped contain the swelling in my
newly twisted ankle. Next up was our museum visit. I stifled a groan at the
thought of all that walking, and instead asked if he wouldn’t prefer hanging out
with me on a bench in the nearby park. He rolled his eyes and assured me I’d
love the place. Apparently, I’d become a war history buff somewhere between the
car and the museum that sunny spring afternoon, because never before had I
expressed such an interest. Still, the way my friend’s eyes lit up when he spied
the military paraphernalia made me reluctant to set him straight.
When our tour was complete, I allowed a sigh of relief to trickle out. I’d
failed to notice how long my friend’s legs were or how fast his stride prior to
trekking eight exhibits in ninety minutes. I’m pretty tall for a woman, but my
bugger of an ankle wasn’t cooperating, and my toes had started to whine. I’d
survived, however, and we were off to the restaurant next. Who knew? If I were
lucky, he’d use the restroom early during our meal, and I’d have a chance to
request a little ice for my ankle and have it resting discreetly beneath our
linen-covered table before he returned. We’d enjoy our candlelight dinner
together, and all would end well.
As fate would have it, the moment we stepped onto the plaza across from the
restaurant, my friend let out a blood-curdling scream. My heart racing, I turned
to see white and grey goo covering his perfect hair. Must’ve been a big bird,
too, because the slime was even dripping onto the shoulder of his immaculate
I admit it was an unfortunate circumstance, and I can’t fault the guy for being
upset. But after the initial shock, I’d expected him to laugh, or at least
acknowledge the humor he might see in the moment, if not then, one day far into
the future. Only he didn’t. In fact, he did just the opposite, turning toward
me—his face red and veins bulging dangerously at the temples. That’s when I
realized I was laughing. Not at him, of course, but at the irony of the
situation. He’d been so intent on having the perfect date, only to have a bird
come along and make a total mess of it. My giggles died and I apologized
profusely, then I hobbled over to the nearest shop to return with a peace
offering of paper towels.
But the damage was done. Perhaps, if I hadn’t laughed, he wouldn’t have
responded with anger. Perhaps he would’ve even been able to laugh at himself.
Then again, maybe not. We didn’t go to dinner that night, and the ride back to
campus was one of the longest, most uncomfortable experiences of my life. We
remained casual friends the remaining college years, but he didn’t ask me out
again. That’s just as well, because I wouldn’t have accepted. Even at the tender
age of nineteen, I knew life wasn’t going to always be sunshine and roses, and
that I wanted, heck, needed to surround myself with people who choose to see the
bright side of life…even when they’re covered in bird poo.
A Single in the
He'll play her game, but in the end, she's going to be his.
New to the Big Apple, the last thing Lexie Bloom needs is to fall for two
guys at once. Especially when she can’t have either. One is her personal
trainer, an Adonis way out of her league. The other? A Brit Lit professor her
svelte boss insists she woo for her—via text message, no less. Little does she
know, the two are the same man
Matthew Hennessey is intrigued by his shy new client at the gym. But before
he gets the chance to ask her out, he discovers she’s the one crafting the
flirty texts sent to him by a woman who wouldn’t know Lord Byron from Lady Gaga.
To get to know her better, he allows Lexie to play her role. She may have given
up on the idea of romance, but Matthew’s bound and determined to show her love
is alive and well in New York City.
[Entangled Lovestruck, On Sale: August 8, 2016,
e-Book, ISBN: 9781633756373 / eISBN: 9781633756373]
Jolyse Barnett is a country girl living her happily-ever-after in suburbia
with her real-life, hunky hero, two offspring aptly nicknamed Thing One and
Thing Two, and a cuddly cat that sleeps 23-7. When she’s not tapping away at the
keyboard or with her nose in a book, Jolyse can usually be found in her backyard
dreaming about tropical escapes.
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