My emotional radar pinged as soon as she walked in the door, triggering the door-bell to alert the counter assistant.
Red hair. Long legs. Slim-waisted and full of life.
She half-walked, half-danced her way to the counter, unaware of the effect she was having on me. Her long hair with a wave in it, cascading over her shoulders to half-way down her back. Cropped jeans and slim ankles, one with the hint of a tattoo enticingly showing just beneath the hemmed bottom on the inside of her left leg. The porcelain skin of an unfeasibly long neck swanning down to the freckling of her shoulders, her pale boho-chic blouse plunging deep down the front so far as to catch my attention in less than half-a-heartbeat; even though my pulse was, let me say, already somewhat higher than my normal resting rate.
And then it struck me. She was Adrianne. Exactly as I’d imagined her.
Forgetting my coffee, I turned in my seat, all thoughts of being discrete completely gone. She was shorter than me but her heels brought her up to my height, her eyes so deeply brown to almost appear black. Her lips were full and curved into her ‘trademark’ smile; a smile that radiated warmth without artifice and a friendliness that was irresistible to everyone it fell upon. She asked for her cafe mocha - of course - insisting on that extra squirt of cream that I knew would end up smudged around her mouth. Inviting a wetted finger or, even better, another’s softened lips to remove it. Returning her face to its usual state of perfection.
“Excuse me,” I said, rising to my feet only to be pole-axed by those eyes as they turned my way. “I’ll get the coffee for the lady. It’s my birthday today and I always buy folk coffees on my birthday. Or at least my friends,” I added, suddenly hearing a number of chairs scuffing on the floor as their occupants began to pay close attention to my words.
Of course, she accepted my charity, as I ‘knew’ she would. She nodded her assent, donating me one of her ‘special’ smiles. The one with a little more tooth than usual, the kind you’d give to a fellow conspirator or someone already within your inner circle of friends. “You really didn’t have to do that,” she purred, her voice darker and deeper than I’d imagined.
She took her coffee, thanked the counter assistant and then walked over to my table, pulling out the chair opposite mine and turning it sideways on to the table. Sitting with me but not fully committing to me, not wanting to break the companionable bubble and lose all reserve with someone she’d undoubtedly had never met before today. “So, kind sir,” she said, her voice softening so that only the two of us could hear her. “Is it really your birthday today or was that just a line to catch my attention?” She grinned, then suddenly looking quite guileful, continued. “Don’t worry, I promise I won’t scream. I habitually accept generous offers from gentlemen like you. It’s rather like a community service I do to spread goodwill everywhere. Besides, you looked like you needed a little company. Fancy sitting yourself in the corner like this. Anybody would think you were trying to hide yourself.” She jabbed a long manicured finger into her coffee, scooping up a dollop of cream which she then closed her lips upon, winking as she did so.
“I… er… yes, I did, I suppose,” I said, beginning to blush but still unable to to turn away from her. “But you’re exactly like a character in a story I was writing but got stuck on. I couldn’t help myself. I had to see you close up.”
“Mmmm. A writer,” Adrianne nodded, her ‘special’ smile returning. You’d be surprised how many of those I meet. Although…” she pulled her mouth into a brief moue. “Sometimes that just HAS to be a line. Unless I’m some kind of muse or something.” She laughed endearingly, looking up then around when the door-bell sounded again.
And then in walked Cash. Exactly as I’d imagined him.
“Oh gosh,” Adrianne breathed, guiltily. “Gotta go. My ride home’s here.” She stood up, her smile now back in place, offering me her hand. “It’s been nice chatting with you. You keep on writing and maybe we’ll meet again.”
And that was the last I saw of her. But I’ve never missed a day’s writing since.