“Two Can Play That Game” – Delaney & Tyler

A strong cup of hot black coffee was the only thing I wanted.

Until my eyes landed on her…

eye

Photo credit: hansvandenberg30 via Foter.com / CC BY

A strong cup of hot black coffee was the only thing I wanted.

Like everyone else standing in the queue, I needed my morning caffeine fix so I decided to stop at the first coffee shop on my way to the office.

For the first time that week, I was actually early for work. But that was only because Brittany had kept me up for most of the night and I had never really gone to bed. When I’d picked her up from the airport the night before, she had wanted to make up for lost time, lots of lost time. I was glad that I had no meetings that day because I knew that when the wave of tiredness eventually hit me, it would hit hard. Right then, all I wanted was to sit and enjoy my coffee in peace before starting my work day.

With my cup in hand, I scanned the coffee shop for an empty table but there were none to be found. If I really wanted to sit, I’d have to do it by joining someone at their table. I took a minute to assess my situation.

Two nerdy guys sitting in the far corner with their noses almost pressed against their laptop screens?

A gaggle of loud teenagers who looked too young to drink coffee…

No.

And no…

Three cute but young twenty-something women in a corner booth giggling and giving me the flirting eyes?

I smiled at them and they all smiled back.

Yes, sitting with them was the only way to go.

Until my eyes landed on her

Sitting alone at a table for two, dressed in black yoga pants, wearing a bright mauve T-shirt with “Au Naturelle” printed on the front and a black hoodie, she stood out among the business attire and teenage trendy school wear.

Her dark curls were in a messy ponytail, a pair of glasses dangled dangerously from just above her forehead and she was sipping from a large mug as she flipped through a newspaper. The way she slowly took her time to peruse the page and the fact that she had a mug instead of a to-go cup meant that she wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

I watched as a smile spread across her face at whatever it was that she was reading. When she picked up her cell to check the time, she glanced around just enough for me to get a perfect view of her face.

And I immediately wanted to know what shade of brown her eyes were.

As I passed my “threesome” with a nod of acknowledgement, I noticed their looks of disappointment.

But I was on a mission.

I walked up to her table and positioned myself in such a way for her to notice me. But when she didn’t, I had no choice but to break the ice.

“Hey! This place is pretty crowded. Would you mind if I sit with you?”

She graced me with the warmest of warm dark brown eyes and her smile could have lit up the entire coffee shop.

“Be my guest. But you might regret it…”

She motioned for me to sit and I promptly accepted.

“With a smile that beautiful smile, regret would be impossible.”

I expected her to avert her eyes shyly or at least blush at my compliment but I got neither. She never even flinched.

I watched as she smoothed out the newspaper and folded it into four. As she did, she continued smiling and her eyes never left mine.

“So tell me, why would I regret sitting with you?”

“Well, I’m not that much of a conversationalist this early in the morning. And those girls over there seemed more than ready and willing to entertain a good-looking guy like you.”

She gestured behind me and when I turned, the three women were looking in our direction.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. I was impressed that she had observed that subtle exchange because it meant that she had been looking at me. Then, there was the fact that she had called me “good-looking”. Things were looking up so I cranked up the charm.

“You’ve been watching me? I’m flattered.”

“No, I wasn’t watching you. Let’s just say that I’m very aware of my surroundings and the people around me.”

She grinned and slipped the newspaper into her bag.

I laughed at how she skirted around my shameless flirtation.

“Maybe you should be a cop.”

“Who says that I’m not?”

I leaned in towards her across the table and whispered, “You’re too pretty to be a cop.”

She leaned in to match my action and whispered back, “That’s a bit insulting to all the female police officers in the world. Maybe…just maybe, I’m very aware of my surroundings because I’m…psychic.”

There was a long quiet moment as we simply looked at each other. This was getting more and more interesting by the second. I was enjoying this little banter between us, chatting like we already knew each other. At this rate and if I wasn’t careful, I would quickly go from being early for work to being late.

I studied her pretty face and wondered how her skin could look so smooth when she had on absolutely no make-up.  Her “Au Natural” T-shirt was definitely on point. There was a sense of familiarity about her which was a bit odd because we had just met.

“A psychic, you say? Okay then, “read” me. Tell me all about me.”

She took a long sip from her coffee mug. I, on the other hand, had completely forgotten that I’d even bought myself a coffee. I took a quick swig of mine and waited for her volley back. She outstretched her hand and showed me her palm. I frowned, a little confused.

“What?”

She wiggled the fingers of her outstretched hand.

“Give me your hand. I’ll give you a …”reading”.

I laughed again as I gave her my hand.

“How much will it cost me?”

I had started this game and she wasn’t afraid to play. I was already hooked.

“Not one penny.”

Her hand was smooth and soft as she slid her palm across mine. When she simply held it in hers, I no longer cared about being late for work.

“Okay Ms. Psychic?” I teased, “Tell me about my future because I could definitely see you in it.”

She gave me a long look and then whispered, “From what I see in your palm, I would much rather tell you about your past.”

I was completely amused by and intrigued with her.

“Go ahead,” I dared her. “Future or the past, I’ll take anything you’re willing to offer me.”

Anything?”

She tilted her head to the side and gently squeezed my hand.

Yes, I was truly taken with her. I was just about to respond when she closed her eyes.

Was she actually going to go through with this?

She reopened her eyes. The stroking of her palm against mine was giving me wicked goosebumps.

“What did you see?”

“Let me concentrate.” She closed her eyes again. “I’m seeing a dog, actually a puppy.”

I shook my head. “Your powers need a little work. I don’t have a dog.”

“But you did at one point in time.”

It was a statement, not a question.

“Yeah but…”

“A cockerspaniel…Her name started with an S?”

Shit.

The puppy’s name had been Sandy. When she had gotten sick, we had to put her down in my last year of high school. It had hurt me so much that I had vowed to never have another pet again.

“That’s a good guess but lots of people have had dogs.”

“Okay,” she looked down at my palm again. “I see…snow, a broken leg, and deep sadness. Skiing was your passion and you hate the fact that you can no longer do what you loved so much.”

Another statement, not a question.

And again, she was right.

Fuck.

Just the other day, I’d been thinking about how much I missed hitting the slopes. But being an asshole and showing off my skills when I was 18 on a family ski trip had busted my knee and that had been my last time on the slopes.

I was floored but pretended to be aloof about it.

“You could have Googled that information about me.”

Her dark brown eyes gave me a serious look.

“And how could I have done that when you just approached me?”

I was about to tell her that everyone in the city knew my family and who I was, that maybe she had recognized me and had read about it somewhere. But I realized just how conceited it would sound to say out loud and decided to keep my mouth shut.

“Okay, tell me something else.”

This time, she took my hand and placed it between both of hers as if she was trying to pick up a better vibe.

“Blue is your favorite color. But not just the regular, run-of-the-mill blue. It’s more like an ocean blue. You love the ocean – it reminds you of the summers you’ve spent at the beach. Maybe as a child? Strangely enough, though you love the ocean, you have a love hate relationship with water, a true fear of water that you eventually overcame.”

What the f…?

Only a handful of people knew about my childhood fear of water. Shit, I hadn’t even thought about it in years because it was no longer an issue. Her words took me by surprise so when I quickly released my hand from hers, I startled her. Her eyes were big and wide as she saw how freaked out I looked.

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said any of that.”

She gave me an apologetic look and downed the rest of her coffee. Then, she abruptly stood up, grabbed her bag and headed through the coffee shop doors. I quickly picked up my coffee and trailed behind her.

“Wait! Where are you going? I don’t even know your name.”

As I tried to catch up to her, she didn’t look back.

When I managed to grab hold of her arm, she finally had no choice but to stop.

“How did you do that?”

She shook her head vigorously. “I’m sorry but I’ve got to go.”

I didn’t know what to say to get her to stay. But I did know that I wanted her name and number.

“Hold up! A minute ago, you had all the time in world and now you’re just going to jet? Come on, at least give me your number.”

She readjusted her bag on her shoulder. I noticed her take a deep breath and finally smile again.

“You don’t need my number.”

“Excuse me?”

“Why should I give you my number when I’m not interested?”

My mouth fell open in amazement. I couldn’t remember the last time a woman had shot me down. It felt like she’d thrown a bucket of ice-cold ice water in my face.

“Wow! You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” I was still a little shocked.

“No, especially when your interest lies solely in beating around my bush.”

Did she realize how twisted her words had come out?

From the smirk on her face, she had purposely chosen that double entendre. Shit. She wasn’t just hot, she was explosive. And she had me from the moment of “be my guest”.

“That’s not true! Hey,” I tried to defend myself and though she had me on the ropes, I loved it. “Don’t be quick to judge. You don’t know me, remember?”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I told you a little white lie. I do know you. And the fact that I’m not even a tiny bit familiar to you is a little disappointing but that’s okay. I probably shouldn’t be that surprised.”

Had I slept with her and simply didn’t remember?

Impossible. There was no way I would have forgotten a creature like her.

“You won’t believe me now but I did sense something familiar about you… And now I’m almost afraid to ask. How exactly have we…uh, met?”

I’m sure that I looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car because her eyes twinkled wickedly.

“I’ll leave that up to you to remember.” She couldn’t contain her laughter anymore. “Didn’t I warn you that you might regret sitting with me?”

Someone called my name and in the seconds it took me to turn around to see that it was a co-worker of mine, my naughty girl with no name was almost half a block away.

“Wait!” I yelled.

She stopped and turned in my direction.

“Do you always go to this coffee shop?”

I watched as she lifted her shoulders as if to say, “maybe”. And then she disappeared around the corner.

Needless to say, not only was I late for work but that girl was the only thing on my mind.

All. Fucking. Day.

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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