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 brown jacket.
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.
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.
Romance Contemporary [Entangled Lovestruck, On Sale: August 8, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633756373 / eISBN: 9781633756373]
About Jolyse Barnett
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.